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By Stephen Browne
Stephen Browne
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By Stephen W. Browne
Aug. 1, 2014 11:30 a.m.

He either fears his fate too much, or his deserts are small, who dares not put it to the touch, to win or lose it all.
- James Graham, Earl of Montrose
Recently I made one of those decisions.
Yes, one of those decisions. One that feels so right, except for the odd times when something shouts in your ear, Are you blankety-blank crazy?
A few things happened first. One was a friend died. Not an extremely close friend, but a dear lady who graciously took care of my children when I was a new single parent and trying to get our lives together.
She did it for a ridiculously low price while I worked during that first summer. Loved my kids and they loved her.
She had just seen her first married daughter present her with her first grandchild. Though she wasnt very old, she died of congestive heart failure.
This reminded me that all flesh is grass, and we do not in fact have enough time to accomplish everything we want to.
While reflecting on this I realized something that had been bothering me about an old friend Ive known a very long time.
My friend, to put it mildly, is a pill.
Everything and anything in the news is evidence of what a thoroughly awful country we live in, how everything in the world is our fault and always has been.
He calls himself a libertarian, but in fact hes a right-wing progressive. Since he believes we could achieve Utopia, anything less is not worth having.
His negativity is intensely irritating. My guess is hes unhappy with what hes accomplished in life and blaming it on the world.
I dont want to be like him. So Im quitting my job and taking six months off to write a book Ive been talking about for a decade.
Its not totally half-baked. Ive had a working outline for a while, and the main points have been written up and published in various places.
My job as I see it, it to reorganize it and write it up in a more readable form. Looking back, I see that my writing has improved over the past ten years.
I also see there has never been a better time to get it done.
The working title is, The Progressive Mind: Reflections on the Suicide of a Civilization.
The theme is that in America in particular, and Western Civilization in general, the most affluent and privileged classes absolutely loathe the civilization that made them arguably the most fortunate people in all of human history.
This sounds seriously crazy, but I believe I know why, and I believe I can explain it.
Im giving myself six months to write it before I have to return to regular work. I have the resources to live on, and beyond.
My children wont suffer because of Daddys eccentric quest, quite the contrary. Im going to set up a work schedule for the school year: take kids to school, write for three hours, exercise for health maintenance.
After school time and weekends are for my children, because thats the other thing about being mortal.
Ill also devote more attention to my neglected blog and continue to write columns and take the occasional freelance assignment.
Then we shall see if my battle plan survives contact with the enemy: sloth, procrastination and self-doubt.
With the responsibility of two children I cant undertake adventures like I could when I was young, pack a bag and go.
But I can I hope, set them an example theyll remember when Im gone.

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