Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
I have published maybe two articles in the past three months. Because I have so many subscribers, I think some sort of explanation is in order.
Here’s the situation: I’m 55 and in construction as a high end handyman. The original plan in starting a blog was to use it as a springboard to a new profession involving writing and speaking on psychic stuff. I need to change careers because I will eventually no longer be able to work in construction. Already I’ve become allergic to countless molds, wood dust, chemicals and what-have-you so that many jobs make me miserable. A dust mask will only get you so far. I’ve injured my right knee and while it’s been healing, it’s been about a year and half and it’s still not right. Age, in other words, is catching up to me. Did I mention that we can’t afford health insurance? My wife and I are self employed and live in an expensive area where the wages are high, but so is the cost of living. We fall into that no man’s land of making too much to qualify for subsidies but not enough to pay for medical. So I very literally cannot afford to get hurt.
At the end of last year, I basically threw in the towel on this great experiment. I came to realize that I cannot make writing and talking about parapsychology, the nature of consciousness, skeptics and psychics translate into dollars. My book earns me maybe $20 a month in royalties. My monthly mortgage is around $4,000. The math is rather unforgiving. I need to be doing something that people will pay for that doesn’t involve me slowly wrecking my body.
Parapsychology does not attract the new age crowd and there are no other large groups of people expressly interested in these topics. I’m not going to start talking angels and rainbows and encourage people to get in touch with their spirit guides, -effectively becoming a guru of sorts- because that’s not me and it never was. Instead I have found myself helping people a few at a time, often through personal responses, to deal with all the crap that comes along with being psychic. I never tire of telling people that they aren’t crazy and I do my best to give them something useful in their struggle to deal with who they are and what they are experiencing. While I haven’t been posting, I have still been doing that and will continue to do so. I seem to be uniquely suited for this role and it’s one I’m happy to fulfill. Every now and then I am a tremendous help to someone.
But it doesn’t pay and I do need a new career. It has to be something that I’m more or less already good at. In order to come up with a new start I needed to change my focus entirely and that meant getting some distance from the psi controversy for however long it took. It’s a very intellectual pursuit and it puts my mind in a very particular place. Righting great wrongs is spiritually fulfilling, but it’s not a career.
I’ve made changes. Last summer I started attending the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City. Their guiding philosophy is one that I had already embraced decades ago. They don’t care what you believe; you are supposed to find your own path and they support you in this. They feel that all religions and even atheism have something to offer. Ever so slowly, I’ve begun to become part of that community.
Rather than simply panic and choose another path, I waited (and waited) until something finally gelled. It was unexpected, but within my set of talents. As strange as it may seem, I’m going to try stand up comedy and see if I can turn it into something profitable for myself. I might not succeed, but at least I know that it can be done. You’d never know it from this blog, but I can be very funny if I put my mind to it. I’ve been to a couple of open mics in the area. It’s enough of a sample to know that I’ve got quite a bit of work ahead of me to get from being a mediocre open mic guy to getting paying gigs, but I have quite a bit of speaking experience and this has proven quite useful so far. I’m not afraid standing alone with a mic in front of a crowd.
This blog is not going away, and I will still publish occasionally, but for the time being, my main focus is elsewhere. I will stay on top of new comments, approving them when necessary and make myself available to those who reach out to me personally, but the blog will have to take a back seat for now. My twitter and personal Facebook accounts will reflect a shift to humor.