Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
There is no doubt that Mr. Stephen King will be displaying many of his office awards and artifacts on his interactive web site. But here is one of my artifacts. This is a piece of the Championship Floor from the 1991 NCAA basketball tournament, when Duke beat Kansas for their first championship. This hunk of hardwood sits atop one of my office shelves and was given to me by Steve and Mary Baker when I lived in Noblesville.
After I took this photo, I also noted that there was a piece of wadded paper sitting next to it. That paper has been there for three years, and remains there, because my wife refuses to clean my office. I remind her daily that this is one of her roles--cleaning woman! But whenever I point this out, she curses at me and leaves the room. And so the paper remains. I have no idea what it is, but you can bet I'm not moving it.
Mr. King has pristine book shelves. Mine are dusty.
Mr. King has a willing wife who is also a cleaning woman. I've got a busy school teacher who makes me cook, clean, wax, repair, paint, restore, sweep and mop. When I am finished writing this blog, I'm going to wad up another piece of paper and place it next to my hunk of the Championship Floor. We'll see who wins!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Mr. Stephen King and I have few things in common. Mr. King is a famous and successful author. I am an unknown unsuccessful author. Mr. King is suave and sophisticated. I am a hick.
However, Mr. King and I do have one thing in common. We both like to read. Here are some of the books in my office. These represent about a third of the books I own. I love to bring people into my office and show them my books. I like to hear them whisper, "This guy must be an intellectual giant . . . reading all these books!" But then I speak, and they realize that I am just a Hoosier dork who happens to have 2000 comic books on a shelf.
I have several of Mr. King's books on my shelf. Mr. King has none of my books. And if he did, that would certainly be a most frightening proposition!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Mr. King has many writing awards on his wall: autographs from famous actors who have graced his films. I have a blank wall.
Mr. King's wall is loaded with photographs of him standing shoulder-to-shoulder with celebrity and power. My wall is a sad indication of the total empiness of my life, the sheer barrenness of my existence, the complete and utter despair I experience each time I sit down to write.
Mr. King drinks coffee while he writes. So do I.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
My hope has always been that I could paint my wife in the nude, but she tells me I will have to settle for painting slugs and other invertebrates. I paint wonderfully with my hands (as I learned in Kindergarten) and this method has served me well.
Mr. King has posters of his many movies, cameo appearances, and screenplay awards. My wife once gave me a birthday card that said I was the greatest, but that was twelve years ago, and there has been a lot of water flow under the bridge since then. I recycled the card and used it to take out the coffee grounds.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Here you see my writing space. The computer is a twelve year old Compaq with an old floppy drive. The monitor is about shot, and often, as I am writing, it shorts out, smolders for a few minutes in a purple haze of ozone scent, and then, after a gentle pounding, blazes forth again. I have written a dozen published books on this machine and have plans to write more if it doesn't burst into flame. As you can see, I have many floppies. Nearly a hundred of them, in fact. These are loaded with book proposals, short stories, essays, manuscripts in various phases of production, and ideas that I hope to work on in the future.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Writing these notes always challenges me in good ways. I must stop, think, and consider what I want to say to people I care about.
But my wife is always the toughest. What do I say to a woman I've known since age fourteen? What do I write to the mother of my children? I find my letters to my wife are just too businesslike, even as we approach out twenty-fourth anniversary. They always go something like this . . . .
To Whom It May Concern:
It has recently come to my attention that we have been married for twenty-four years. During this time, this association has produced some marvelous results. It is my hope that our mutual association has been beneficial to us both, and I hope that our good relations may continue to grow exponentially into a third decade of profits.
Thus far our pension funds have grown faster than the S&P 500 Index, and your contributions to the bottom line have been much appreciated. The two junior partners have also helped, but one is now due for a promotion. However, I not looking to take on another junior partner at this time!
Please receive this letter as official invoice for services rendered from 1985 to the present. I trust that the next quadrennium will produce much the same results and that the cafeteria plan and other full benefits will continue unabated and that profit margins will continue rise per our agreement.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I'm not sure that many of our founding "fathers" knew all that much about fidelity. Benji seemed to have a woman in every port and even by the time he became ambassodor to France (he was an old man by then) his prowess with the fairer sex was legendary.
Personally, if I ever go to France, I'm going with my wife. I'm not wearing a powdered wig. I'm wearing my own hair. I'm going to show my wife a good time.
This is going to happen in 2028! I hope my wife can hold out for a few more years.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Benji was also nothing to look at . . . kind of like me on Saturday. I showed up for a day on the town wearing a pair of flowered shorts (green) and a bright blue shirt with whales as the pattern. I noticed that a lot of people were looking at me as we walked around town in the a.m. I asked my wife about this. "It's because you look ridiculous," she said.
I didn't really believe her until three gay guys who noticed me at breakfast started laughing at me and later, when a tour boat sailed by down the canal, I heard the tour guide over the loud speaker say, "Hey, Ladies and Gentlemen, take a look at the guy on my right. Yes, you see all kinds of fashion statements when you are in town, some better than others!" The whole boat-full of passengers and the crew were laughing and pointing, but I just waved and walked on.
Later, I changed in the back seat of the car. As Benji would have pointed out in his Poor Richard's Almanac many years ago: "A fool and his clothing are soon parted."
Friday, August 8, 2008
Dad, don't write about mom. You're embarrassing her.
--Daughter (18) who will soon be leaving this house and won't have to endure further embarrassment from her father.
When do we eat?
--Son (15) whose kitchen excursions continue to drive our food bill into the stratosphere.
You're insane. I'd always suspected that I got the better half of the gene pool, and your blog proves it.
--Brother (43) who doesn't realize that I'm adopted.
When are you going to give up this charade of being a writer and come home to my lovin' arms?
--Wife (?) who never said this, but seems to share this sentiment every time she burns the meatloaf and asks me to come to bed during a late night writing marathon.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
So, I rewrote it for another clergy mag and last week I got the word that it had been accepted as a "retread". That happens a lot in writing. A writer gets an idea, slants it for a particular magazine's tone and tenor, and then the piece dies on the vine and must be rewritten for another audience and tone.
I recently also sold another "retread" to an editor of a book series. That's fulfilling--the ability to be able to find something that is old, moldy and littered with dust and then find a home for it.
Next week I'm going in search of more treasure. I have piles (and I do mean piles) of written material that I have stashed away in filing cabinets, shelves and boxes. Hundreds of thousands of words, millions of words, and most of it I can't even remember where, how, or why I wrote it. Kind of like discovering gold in the backyard.
Excuse me...got to go dig now!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I wonder: are we really so helpless that we don't know "how to" do some of these things? I mean, if you look closely, there are actually instructions on how to fix a Pop-tart (the instructions are on the box). Are there people who actually need a manual for Pop-tarting? Heck, I've ruined entire meals without any instructions at all!
Still, I've been thinking: Do I have any books inside of me that could assist some of these helpless Americans who need instruction so badly? I think I do. Here are a few of the titles I've come up with. I'm glad to help and show you "how to".
How to Clean a Navel: Ten Easy Steps to a Better You Before You Nap.
How to Start an Andy Griffith Show Rerun-Watchers Club in Your Garage . . . and Twenty-five Recipies Aunt Bee Used to Make
How to Choose a College for Your Child: The Ultimate Parents' Guide For Talking Your Daughter Out of the Ivy League and Into an Affordable Four-Year degree at a State University Nearby and How to Pay For It Over the Next Decade
How to Understand a High School Freshman: What Makes 'Em Tick, What Ticks 'Em Off, and What To Do With the Ticks After You Remove 'Em from the Scalp
How to Please an Older Woman: The Ageing Man's Guide to Interpreting Female Overtures, Innuendos, and Subtle Body Language
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
I did finish reading When You Are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris, one of the funniest writers on the planet by my estimation. His essays always make me howl and in reading this, his latest book, I've kept pace with his entire corpus of writing. The guy spends most of his life in Paris, which is envious, but somehow he manages to have enough odd American experiences to justify a book every year.
He has a couple of hitchhiking stories--which is an experience I've never had. The closest I've come to hitchhiking was when my car broke down (actually wouldn't start) in a parking garage. I managed to find a ride home, but the guy who offered the ride was a college student and I don't think he said a single word the whole trip.
Getting my mail every day is about the longest hike I make. My driveway is 125 yards long, and this morning, going out to get the newspaper in the thunderstorm, I had all the adventure I wanted. I thought of the title of the book when I noted a lightening strike across the road. I'm grateful that I was not engulfed in flames.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Over the years I've had my picture taken by a number of professional photographers who have been sent my way via publishers, newspapers, and magazines. They are never what I hope for. Every time, I anticipate that I'm going to get a female photographer who will conclude our photo session by saying something like: "You know, you look kind of buff. Why don't you take off your shirt, go outside, use that shovel, and let me photograph you chucking that pile of pea gravel over your shoulder?" She would click away at the shutter and admonish me to "work it, baby, work it!" or "now you're showing me something!"
This never happens. All of the photographers who have been sent my way have looked like Chuck Norris or Grizzly Adams and they always start the photo session by asking, "So, where do you want to do this?" I always take a step back before I realize they are talking about photography. They always carry tripods and get their beards enmeshed in the attachments.
Even at home I can't catch a break. My photo is usually taken by a forty-seven year old, slightly bow-legged, pidgeon-toed wife with two thousand dollars worth of dental work. She looks through the shutter and says, "Get back in the house, take off that shirt, and put something else on. You look ridiculous."
I ask her if she wants to go with me while I change shirts.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Reading this book helped me to understand why Aaron H. wants to move to New Mexico. It's far more intriguing.
Shapes and sizes, of course, define much of what we do. People are drawn to some shapes, and not others. People have always considered me square, for example. My wife is a peach. My dog is an oval. I prefer triangles. In fact, I would drive a triangular car if they made one. But I'm stuck driving a box in a little box state.
Some day I'm going to break away like A.H. and buy a triangular car, load my square body into the circular seat and drive away to a hexagon-shaped island in the middle of a rhomboid sea.