THE BLOG
05/02/2008 03:32 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Don't Be A Whiner

Superdelegates are defecting. Maybe I know how Hillary feels.

The "critical success" of my last book left my family broke and tired. My publisher made me pay for my own author tour, my shipping charges, and thousands of dollars of photos they never used. They held onto my royalties months past the due date (something they've done again this year) and had a marketing budget of O dollars and O cents.

By the time, Library of Congress invited me to speak, I'd maxed out my credit cards traveling to New York for an interview with N.P.R. (Of course, it was fun!) I begged my publisher for a little pin-money to speak in D.C. Strangely, the Editor-in-Chief himself called from Cambridge, to say no.

"Don't be a whiner," he said.

Then he offered me a 'free lunch.' They had money for press employees to travel and entertain, but nada for authors. So, although it felt like I was declining the Silver Star, I said no to Library of Congress and then later when I won a Gold Medal, I declined that invitation too.

The book appeared to do well. I live in Vancouver with family and friends spread across North America. Many phoned believing that because they'd seen me on CNN or heard me on N.P.R., I would fly around the continent to weddings and parties handing out a lot of free copies. Around this time too, a production company affiliated with HBO called to option the chapter about spies.

For $1.

Meanwhile, I renovated our old house, a six-bedroom behemoth. After five years and a lot of improvements, it has nearly doubled in value. We'll sell it for a small profit and downsize into a town home in the city center. No longer will we live directly on the coast where I often fantasize that the seasonal gabbling of the migrating birds finds its way into the rhythm of my pages.

I'll miss my office, too.

We're going to live near the new elevated rail line that will take tourists from Vancouver Airport to their Olympic Hotels in 2010. I'm concerned how this move will affect my writing. My wife regards this as proof that I'm a hopeless dreamer. I can't explain that when you stand under a startled uprising of Arctic geese, their gabbling voices and swirl of black wing markings assault you like an overdose of cacaphonous calligraphy or that I wonder what impact an elevated whoosh will have on my writing.

Will I write sibilant sentences full of the synthesized sounds of wheels on steel? Will I become an urban Whitman?

Probably not.

More likely, I'll do what I have always done: and what my friends in America are preparing themselves to do come November. I'll pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again.

After all, I'm writing a new book. I no longer 'belong' to the tightwad publisher. We'll have a lot less debt. Our town home will be smaller, but my wife will love the stainless steel appliances, the granite counter tops and the hardwood floors. My sons will live closer to their friends, to the swim club training pool, and also to the basketball court where sometimes, in the off season, a stretch SUV deposits Steve Nash at the center of an instant crowd of true believers.

"No shit, dad! STEVE NASH."

My basketball player is 18. He graduated from high school last year and will start college next fall. He took a year off to travel, work, save money and get his head together. Things I heartily recommend.

(Look at what they did for Al Gore).

Corey has begun to ask questions about what he should do in life.

Since I'm no paragon, I answer reluctantly. But with a recession coming, this much seems clear: 'Whatever you do, don't do it only for the money since in the future there may not be as much of it around. Look for something where you can make a difference. If you make a mistake, learn from it. Don't be a whiner. Move on.'

If I had the chance I'd say all this to Hillary. But others already have, and she ain't listening.

She has risked everything now, and has changed herself doing it. The superdelegates perceive this, and despite Reverend Wright (how can you be so wrong?) they're turning in the other direction, eroding her final lead.

This is not to say that Obama will win in November.

But if this election is about being desperate enough at last to try something new and different, then Hillary, for sure, has to go. Simply put, she chose the dark side of the force, and there's nothing new about that.