Hello again friends, bloggers and muses,
Welcome back to another installment of Behind the Author. This is where we journey behind the scenes in one writer’s life to understand a little more about them and how they’ve ended up where they are now. As always, the point is to better understand the inner sanctum of successful writer’s and bloggers. However, they’re also meant to be fun and personal as well.
Today’s Guest: Jill Dennison of Filosofa’s Word
Today’s Behind the Author is going to be unique from the other interviews of the past, because Jill Dennison is a political journalist/blogger in the USA. Some of you may have differing political views, and that would be unfortunate, but now is not the time for people to remain silent when the entire world is in a crisis. So, if you’re not fond with the contents of this interview, because it does not match your political agenda. Then I’m sorry, but not sorry.
Blog of the Wolf Boy will not be turning into a political blog any time soon, but as the author behind this blog, I will absolutely be speaking up for what I believe in and I will not shy away from contentious issues either. Neither in Canada, where I’m from, or in America, do I care about political affiliations, but I do strongly care about what’s right for all of humanity based on governing political agendas and moral ethics. As a father – these political issues are important to me to the extent that they are beyond my care for who it may offend. I would not tell a “flat earther” that the world is flat because it would offend him that it’s round, so in that same sense, I won’t blow smoke up anyone’s ass about what I think of their politics if it feels contemptible to me.
So, let’s get to it!
Mathew: Hello Jill! It’s great to have you here for a segment on my Behind the Author series of interviews. This interview is a little different then usual, because we are stepping outside of creative writing and into the realm of journalism.
My first question to you is this; what motivated you to start your blog? Can you take us through your journey from the beginning until now and how your blog has evolved?
Jill: Thank you, Mathew, for this opportunity! I really appreciate it! I have actually tried my hand at writing fiction a time or two, but it just falls flat. What I do on my blog seems to be my forte.
My blog has certainly undergone a transformation from its origins. I retired in 2008, after 30 years as a CPA. I’ve always been an avid reader, so I started writing book reviews, publishing them in such venues as Amazon and Goodreads, and someone, I cannot remember who, suggested I start a blog as another means of getting my book reviews noticed. At the time, I had some vague notion that perhaps I could become a paid reviewer.
In June, 2013, the Supreme Court struck down DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and I saw that as a huge step forward in Civil Rights in this country. I just had to write about it. And then, George Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin and my fury had to have an outlet. I think that was the first turning point from a happy little blog to a socio-political one. At that point, Filosofa’s Word had 30 followers and I thought that was a lot! And then, on June 16th, 2015, Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president and my blog would never be the same again. That was the second turning point. Though at the time, I didn’t take his candidacy seriously. I thought he didn’t stand a chance, and it was mostly a joke, or so I thought.
Mathew: It’s obvious that your blog is politically charged. You’re one of the only political blogs that I actually follow, and it’s because you create great informative articles but I also feel your passion and the humanity behind your messages. Do you feel like you’re an advocate for a certain party or do you feel like you’re an advocate for justice and human rights?
Jill: Thank you for the high praise! I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but an Independent, which surprises most people. In the past, I have actually voted for a few Republicans. I like to think that my advocacy is for justice and human rights, as well as one of my big topics these days, the environment.
However, the polarization between the two parties in the past decade, or what I refer to as “the great divide”, has left no place in the middle. It has become all but impossible to be a moderate anymore, and my view is that the Republican Party has evolved to stand for things I find abhorrent, such as white supremacy and bigotry in its many forms, pandering to the wealthy at the expense of the poor and middle class, greed and arrogance. The Democratic Party isn’t perfect, either, but they do tend to stand for inclusion, for taking care of people… ALL people, not just those who are white, straight, and Christian.
Mathew: Are you afraid that once Trump is out of office (with a bit of hope), you will have much less material to blog about?
Jill: Oh no, I don’t see that happening! First, it will take years, more likely decades, to repair the damage Trump is doing. But most importantly, Trump and his minions are but a symbol of what’s wrong, not only in this nation but throughout the industrialized world. People put Trump into office, and his approval rating remains somewhere in the 40% range, so there are still a lot of people who like what he says and does, who won’t be happy with a Joe Biden or a Kamala Harris. In truth, I see a long, rocky path ahead for another decade, at least, both here and in Europe.
If we don’t start paying attention to the climate scientists… Well, that is a topic for another day.
Mathew: Were you always a politically motivated person?
Jill: No, I can honestly say I wasn’t at all interested in politics until I was five years old. It was 1956, and the race was between Dwight D. Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson. My parents listened on the radio (we didn’t have a television back then) and I sat on the floor and kept track with my marbles! When I first started college, I decided on a career in Accounting, for that was where the jobs were. But Political Science was my love, so I double-majored, earning both an Accounting degree and one in Poli-Sci. Then, while working full-time, I went on to earn an M.A. in Political Science, and after I retired, began work on a Ph.D. in International Relations. Some of my friends would likely tell you that I cannot seem to carry on a conversation without bringing politics into it!
Mathew: I have to admit, I was pretty excited when I logged on to your blog for the first time and noticed a picture of a wolf as your background. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I tend to have an affinity for wolves. Does that mean anything to you, or is it just an image that you like?
Jill: Ahhh, you have hit on a subject that is dear to me! Like you, I have always, even when a child, had an affinity for wolves for some reason. I am not religious, but I am undecided as yet whether I believe in reincarnation. But, if it exists, then I’m pretty sure I was once a wolf. A friend (well, she was a friend in the pre-Trump days) used to raise wolves out in New Mexico, and she offered to bring me a wolf pup one time. I wanted so badly to take her up on her offer, but with ten cats at that time, I knew it was a bad idea. So, I declined. One wall of my bedroom is covered in wolf-themed dream-catchers, and I have countless books about wolves.
Mathew: I’m a 30 year old man who has never been very interested in politics in my life until recently, because the world is so volatile right now that I feel it’s extremely important to take an interest in what’s going on. As a new father, I worry about my daughter’s future and climate change. If you could share one message with young people out there about the importance of getting involved in the political landscape right now, what might you say?
Jill: I find many people are like you and always took governance/politics for granted until recently. The populist movement that put Trump in office has spread wide wings in the Western world. Look at Brexit, which was orchestrated by the Russians largely as our 2016 election was. I could go into the history, which traces back to Arab Spring, but suffice it to say that in the past, especially in the U.S. and Canada, we have been able to largely ignore the day-to-day politics because we believed we had leaders who had our best interests at heart. Today, that is not necessarily the case.
You’re very right to be concerned about climate change. The ‘deniers’, I honestly believe, know that it is a real crisis, but they refuse to admit it because it’s inconvenient. Those who would deny climate change fall into two categories: the ultra-rich industrialists for whom the demise of the fossil fuel industry would be catastrophic, and the average Joe who really doesn’t want to give up his gas-guzzling SUV, turn off the lights, eat less beef, buy a distiller instead of single-use plastic bottles, etc. It’s an attitude that is especially prevalent among the devout.
I shy away from religious discussion, but when I hear somebody say, “God put everything on earth for our happiness and God will take care of it all”, my blood boils. The reality is that the human race is on a path to self-extinction unless we wake up, and soon! One message to young people today?
Look to Greta Thunberg and the survivors of Parkland, they are shining examples of activists fighting the two most lethal things in our society today: Climate change and guns control (In the US). Be proactive, don’t expect that everything will just “somehow work out”. Don’t be afraid to challenge the ‘norms’! Be the change you want to see in the world.
Mathew: Jill, I want to thank you once again for joining me for this Behind the Author interview. It’s been a real pleasure to have you and to get to know you better. I hope you keep fighting the good fight for human rights and important civil progress. In a divisive world, these words are so important. It’s my opinion that the world is in need of more unity and less separation, but beyond that, our governments need to be both ethical and moral in conducting their duties. We have our own problems with some of our officials in Canada. Anyways, I like to leave these interviews on a lighter note, do you have any plans for the future of your blog or any other writing aspirations?
Jill: Thank YOU, Mat. I have enjoyed this immensely! I fully agree that the need for unity is so important, and we must learn to find common ground among our differences. Frankly, I’m not sure we can just now, but we must never give up trying. I strongly suspect that I won’t be around to see the end of the current troubles, for I think they will last for a few decades.
As for other writing aspirations! I have tried my hand at fiction a few times, but.. SPLAT… It’s about as interesting as watching corn grow. I even put myself to sleep! I am not a poet, except for the occasional bawdry rhyming verse. So, unless I someday write a book about the “Reign of Trump”, I suspect the blog is to be my legacy.
It is my hope to somehow spread a message of compassion, humanity and love, if only to relatively few people. Thanks again, Mat! I hope you’ll have me back for a follow up in a few years to see how things have changed!
Gone are the days of cloaked pretense and hidden messages. Although these things are still present now to some extent, the truth lay more bare than it ever has before in politics, both foreign and abroad. Not only politics, but our own humanity. The entire world is polarized right now, between progressive values and regressive values. The question of our futures balances on a tight rope walking along the present moment. Will we make it to better days, or are we going to watch as humanity painfully and slowly falls off the deep? I’m hopeful for better days, but not complacent.
If there was ever a time to fight for what’s right in the world, that time is now. No matter who you are or what country you live in. It’s time that humanity unites as a whole and the majority lets their voices be heard, that what we will accept in this world is nothing less than equality, fairness and conscientious behavior with our children’s futures in mind. That inclusion is stronger than exclusion, and that love belittles hate. We will not remain afraid!
I digress, from a writing perspective, Jill shows that all blogs follow a level of evolution as they’re crafted from the ground up and may undergo many changes before they become something special. So, never feel afraid to try something new and change your sites identity if something isn’t working for you. Follow your gut instinct.
I also appreciate Jill just a tad more for sharing my spirit animal. 😀
Thanks for joining on this week’s, Behind the Author!
Questions? Comments? Leave them down below!
Click here to visit Filosofa’s Word and say hello to Jill.