Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Shack

Last week I also read The Shack, by Wm. Paul Young. And I read the entire novel in one day, no less. This, after dozens of people kept telling me, "You have to read The Shack! You have to read The Shack!" So I read The Shack. Not a bad book. But for some reason, I kept thinking that a large basketball player was going to be introduced into the cast of characters. But he never appeared.
I would characterize The Shack as a kind of allegorical fantasy--not usually my favorite type of read--ala C.S. Lewis and his novel The Great Divorce or perhaps like some of McDonald's novels (not Ronald McDonald). But The Shack is about redemption, questions we have about God's justice, and one man's search for healing through immense personal loss. All in all, it is a theological treatise and a work that is exceptionally thought-provoking. And I did enjoy it, although I would not have wanted to read it for more than a day, as it was too painful.
Hence the reason I read the novel during the two hours I waited on my son while he was undergoing an orthodontics adjustment. Every time the good doctor ratcheted another screw in his jaw (I could hear my son screaming for me from a padded room fifty yards away) I would lick the ends of my fingers, turn a page, and begin another chapter. And when my son emerged after his ordeal, jaw slack and bleeding, I just told him to trust God, casually took out my wallet, and paid another installment in the two year plan. Now that's faith! Too bad The Shack didn't address any of the questions I have about God's justice!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wine Women Song and Lots of Money

In the past two weeks I've read a small library of books, including The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Story of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine. What a read! And what a fascinating glimpse into the billionaire world of the Forbes family, who once paid in excess of $156,000 for a single 1767 vintage of Lafitte wine that had suppossedly been purchased by Thomas Jefferson when he was ambassodor to France.

Now, I'm no wine expert, but the most expensive bottle I ever purchased was a half-used bottle of Coppertone (vintage 1979) from a garage sale in Hymera, Indiana (population 900). I didn't really want the bottle, but there was a nice-lookin' girl sitting on a lawnchair who was beggin' me to "come see what she had in her garage." I did. And I walked out with the bottle and ten dollars less in my wallet. She was quite a saleswoman and I was quite a nerd. I don't think the bottle purchase was at all what she had in mind.

Still, you have to admire Kip Forbes and his daddy's deep wallet. When old pop told him to go bid on the bottle, he told him to bring back the goods at any price. Too bad the bottle turned out to be a clever forgery. But I know how he felt. The only thing I ever got from that bottle of Coppertone was a bad burn.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Flat World

Last Saturday I drove to Illinois to officiate at a family wedding. Naturally, I made my plans for this long haul and took along Thomas Friedman's, The World is Flat, a book on CD (7 in all). And yes, it was hours of boring fun.

I did enjoy Friedmans' analysis of the world in which we live...how the world has grown smaller and we now live in a world that has become flattened by technology, immediate communication, and markets that cross national boundaries with great ease. In essence, it ain't your momma's world no more! We have to grow up and face the fact that the world is a much smaller place than a generation ago, and the competition for the world's resources is incredibly keen, and we must relearn all that we had taken for granted only a generation ago.

There are, of course, a great many things that have flattened over this same expanse of time. My spine, for example. It's flattened. I'm about an inch shorter than I used to be. My feet have flattened, too. They are now about as wide as they used to be long. And my mind has flattened. I can't remember where I ate yesterday, and that was at Hardee's! God help me if I go to McDonald's. I won't remember how to order from the value menu at Wendy's either. Come to think of it, Friedman may not be onto anything novel here. Everything flattens over time. Except my waistline!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rewriting rewrites

This past weekend I was burdened with the task of rewriting the rewrites for a book to be published in the fall of 2009 (more on that in another blog). I worked all Friday night on the book (why is it that my Friday's usually consist of sitting in front of a computer screen and typing words?) and finished up early Saturday morning. The great thing about a second rewrite, of course, is that it usually represents the culmination of a writer's work on the manuscript. So, as far as I'm concerned, it's done!

Finishing a book is a great feeling. I love the writing, I like the research, I enjoy the process of seeing the book being birthed--but God knows I won't ever look at the thing again once it hits the book shelves. I'll be working on something else by then.

In fact, now that this one is complete, I'm ready to move on to something else . . . perhaps a book about donuts. Sugared. No, maybe coconut or lemon-filled. I deserve it. So tonight, I'm buying a whole box!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Journals #3

As I kid I took pride in my "penmanship". In fact, I recall receiving a grade for this in school. But then came the personal computer and my handwriting skills flew away.

This lack of gracefulness is evident as I read through my long-lost journals. In fact, there are long, tedious passages of indecipherable scratchings. The longer I stare at these the more confused I become. It's emotionally traumatic--not being able to read one's own writing. But then, my hands are mangled, too, and I have the first pangs of carpel-tunnel syndrom, and I'm sure my caffeine tremble doesn't help either. But these journals were written years back . . . .

Did I intend to write "Bologna"? or is that "Begonia"? Is that a "T" or an "L"? No wonder I switched to writing on computer.

And, come to think of it, I'm not so sure if some of my entries were intended to be in secret code. But now that I have a mystery on my hands, you can bet I'll be trying even harder to find out what I was thinking in 1988.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Journals #2

It's a funny thing how the discovery of old journals makes a person realize how much he has changed over the years. Once again, last night, I read a very excerpts from my long-lost journals and noted this one entry:

"MM called today and informed me that Legends to Live By has passed into the sacred halls of publication and that the editor will be sending along contracts and financial offer very soon. She has also informed the publisher that I could produce a trilogy. Conversation ended on a high note and the promise that she would call from England once the offer is approved by the publisher."

Now, this doesn't mean much from just a cursory reading, and I'd forgotten all about this little incident (isn't it incredible how we push pain out of our minds?). But MM was my agent at the time. She was returning to England and had just called to inform me that the big ol-bad publisher was eager to snatch up one of my books and was actually going to pay me!

But of course, you guessed it . . . the whole deal fell through at zero hour, the editor in question left for another publishing house (one of the recurring sidebars in my literary career), and all of the editor's projects, including mine, were dumped on the trash heap of history.

I skipped ahead in my journal and noted that it wasn't long after this that my agent also dumped me (thanks MM!!) and I, of course, went on to publish several more books on my own, without representation, a sales force, a name, a web site, or a brand: one of the most difficult set of accomplishments in this man's life, bar none, as the publishing industry is all but closed to any writer who doesn't have a high-powered agent for a friend or a bank account to cover air fare, hotels, and the millions it takes to market a book to success.

But hey, who's complaining? I've got it all down in my journals. And some sweet day I'm going to send little excerpts anonymously to all the players who have had a hand in helping to make me the grand failure I am today! I wonder . . . would they pay me hush money?

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Journals #1

I found it Saturday night in the bottom drawer of the night stand: my collection of journals. I'd been looking for these babies since we moved to Brownsburg, but, given my proclivity to keep boxes and boxes of books and papers in heaping mounds, I had no idea where they were.

Saturday night I settled in and began reading my journal entries from fifteen years ago, when I was a young, lithe, bright-eyed, thirty-five-year old stud with a four year old daughter and a new born boy. E-gads, what happened to me?

My journals revealed thoughts and ideas from another world. In fact, I didn't even recognize myself. Many of my entries, which at that time I was keeping with nearly daily regularity, revealed the struggles of a man trying to balance work, family, marriage, and writing. Most of my angst was outsourced through the church, with reflections on difficult parishioners (and yes, I've had MANY of those), as well as my not-so-nice thoughts on deadbeat publishers, lazy editors, and my wonderment and amazement regarding my two toddlers.

Those fifteen years have shot by (where did they go?). I'm a lot grayer, a lot dumber (yes, my mind is shot!) and a lot weaker (one of my entries revealed that I had completed, that day, a 1200 pound leg press and a 350 pound bench press, personal records both). I can hardly lift a donut to my parched lips now.

But am I happier? Most days, yes! I just have to remember to change my diaper.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Thousand Miles and a Cloud of Dust

Earlier this week I was in Kroger buying three boxes of donuts for my lunch, when I happened upon the book and magazine rack. Suddenly, my mind hearkened back to a book-signing excursion. It was 1998, and the publisher had asked me to do a thousand mile book-signing tour around the Midwest (on my dime).

One of the places I visited was a Kroger store in Cincinnati, OH. For some reason, the publisher had set me up with signings in grocery stores, and when I arrived, the manager looked suprised, told me he'd never heard of me, and then led me to a small table that he popped up between the magazine rack and the frozen food aisle.

There were no books (luckily, I'd brought some in the trunk of my car, but I knew I would be eating the cost of every book I sold). But then, I was in a grocery store, so perhaps it was appropriate.

Of course, I didn't sell a single book, and every one who passed by asked me if I had any free samples. They thought I was sitting there because I had frozen yogurt, or snack crackers, or some other item dished out in bite-sized portions for sampling.

I'd say, "You wouldn't, by chance, be interested in buying a book, would you?"

They'd look at me and answer, "Heck no! I came in here to buy waffles! " or "Are you kidding? My wife sent me in here to get feminine products!" or "What's a book?"

It was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life and I'm still bearing the scars from it. Better yet, I also travelled to Columbus, OH, points south in Kentucky, many points in Indiana, Michigan, and several trips to Chicago, and every stop was the same. No one had heard of me, no one purchased a single book, and by the time the "tour" was over, I was a few thousand dollars in the hole from travel expenses, overnight lodging, and meals.

Book signings are a blast! Especially in grocery stores.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I eat great, heaping mounds of donuts! I have to do something to forget, and donuts are my comfort food.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

More Health Coach

Earlier this week I received another phone call from my "health coach" in Houston, Texas. We've never met, but this wonderful lady is trying to whip me into shape from afar. She calls every month to ask motherly questions like:

"Are you eating your fruits and vegetables?"
"Are you exercising regularly?"
"Are you taking care of that gorgeous, well-shaped body of yours?"

Okay, so she didn't ask the latter question (not even my wife asks that one!) but my health coach does seem fixated on exercise and she is heavy into the nuts and berries. I do try to make my case for donuts being one of the major food groups, and I point out that a coconut frosted donut or a lemon-filled scone is, technically, a source of fruit . . . but she doesn't buy it.

"How about cinnamon swirls?" I ask. "Isn't cinnamon a herb? Doesn't is lower cholesterol?"


"Seems to me I read that somewhere,"I say, "like The New England Journal of Medicine."

"You read The New England Journal of Medicine?"

"It's like my second Bible. And aren't some pastries, like, say, blueberry-filled donuts and pecan bearclaws a major source of niacin and anti-oxidants?"

"Where did you read that?"

"Think it was on 60-Minutes last week. I mean, take a look at Andy Rooney. He scarfts donuts by the bag-full and he's a handsome man . . . if I can say that over the phone. He doesn't look a day over seventy."

"Look, Mr. Outcalt," she says, "you just stick to those bananas and apples, climb the stairs, and leave the diet to me. I'll guide you into the land of health and plenty."

I'm grateful for my health coach. Where would I be without her?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kindle Kare

Recently I noted that Amazon.com has reformatted two of my books for the new Kindle device that is being marketed so heavily. The Kindle is a hand-held device, about the size of a mass market paperback, that can store dozens of books, allowing a reader to carry an inventory of reading in a vest pocket.

It's not a bad idea (there are many others out there of similar concept). But what readers want in an electronic device has not yet been developed. In short, book readers still prefer a book to an electronic gadget for three simple reasons:

1. Bed
2. Bathtub
3. Beach

Essentially, these hand held units just can't tolerate any water (so that rules out reading in the tub or in the bathroom--I won't say more about that). And the beach is a no-no due to sand and intense sunlight, which tends to wash out the screen resolution. As one friend stated so truthfully in a recent conversation, "I'm not going to buy a $200 device, take it to the beach, and get sand in it." No, that's why we take cheap, used paperbacks to the beach. If they get destroyed, it doesn't matter.

There's a big difference between a Kindle and my swimming trunks. If I get sand in the Kindle, it's a gonner. If I get sand in the trunks, well . . . I just jump in the water and rinse. It's how I begin every day. And, since I like to read in bed, too, I don't think I'll take a Kindle under the covers. That's what my wife is for, and she's a lot cheaper!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Going to the Dogs

Monday night I completed my reading of a massive "first" novel by David Wroblewski: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. Reading all 565 pages of this tome (the longest I've read in a decade) gave me hope that the literary novel is not yet dead in America and that, yes, publishers may still take a chance on first time authors and may actually publish works that are not of a particular genre.
What is the book about? It's the story of a boy born mute (he can hear and see, just doesn't speak), a boy who gains a peculiar affinity and ability to communicate with dogs. But the story is about so much more--witness the title "Sawtelle". Mr. Wroblewski's clever title was not lost on me (I love literary devices, allusions, and symbolisms, and this book was thick with them). Edgar can't speak, but he sees everything, and as his family is divided and destroyed, he tries desperately to redeem the people he loves.
Now, the book is a downer (I won't spoil the ending). But Mr. W. has created a nice story and tells is so wonderfully and in such complexity and beauty, it is a pleasure to read. In fact, reading this book set me to writing my own book about my childhood dog. I couldn't communicate with this mutt, but the dog was with me through my entire childhood and into my early adolescence and when he died he had three legs, a big gash in his side, and one ear. How did the little dog get in this condition? You'll have to read my book. But I can guarantee it won't be 565 pages!

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Ancestor the Comic

Last winter I made contact with an historian in Louisiana who is the premier biographer, expert, and art collector of R. F. Outcault memorabilia and facts. I had to do some digging to find this guy, but he was more than willing to talk to me for quite a while about my ancestor, who happens to be the man who created the first "comic strip", a one panel comic titled "The Yellow Kid", in the 1920s.

Original Yellow Kid memorabilia sells for big bucks now, but I've tried my best to begin collecting some of this stuff. R.F. Outcault also created the most popular comic strip of his time, Buster Brown, and he made a fortune.

Thinking of R. F. in recent months dredged up some old material I had written many years ago, an entire book of doodles and poems, ala Shel Silverstein, that I had forgotten about. But I found the manuscript the other day in one of my giant piles of kindling in my writing closet. I'd originally written the book for Chelsey, when she was three or four years old, but I don't think I ever read any of the book to her, and when she came of age to read on her own, she just wasn't interested in reading old dad's drivel.

So, there it sits in my closet, another 150 page book gathering dust, one among dozens of others, ready to be burned by my ancestors. Lord only knows what kind of history I'm writing now.

Perhaps I'll be known as that other Outcault guy who couldn't spell his last name properly and who wrote more bad and unpublishable books than anyone in history.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Writing Weddings

A few weeks ago I received an invitation from an editor to write about some of my most memorable weddings (for an anthology about weddings). Naturally, I can't resist this. I could write about:

* My quickie wedding I performed in a birthing room at the hospital, where the bride had her feet in the stirrups and the delivery doc took a break so I could ask "Will you take this dude as your husband?"

* My "Texas Wedding", where the bride had fourteen bridesmaids and groomsmen (total of 28!)wearing cowboy boots, hats, and vests, and where the groom sang, "Will you love me when I'm old and ugly?" (I also got stiffed on the honorarium and ended up doing the wedding pro bono despite the fact that it was largest wedding I'd ever presided over!)

* My wedding held outside at the groom's swimming pool in hundred degree heat. The bride fainted dead away twice and ended up taking her vows lying on the bed in the house with a cold towel pressed to her forehead.

* My wedding where one of the bridesmaids vomited as she was walking up the aisle.

Yes, these and many more I could write about. And as I always say, "I can't make this stuff up." Truth really is stranger than fiction, and when it comes to weddings, there are few things that gravitate toward the odd, the peculiar, and the downright laughable.

Friday, September 12, 2008

In Studio

Last week I went "in studio" to record a CD, a collection of essays I've been wanting to make audio for a long time. It was a great experience, much different than radio. I had to make sure I was reading in my best Charlton Heston voice and every now and again the director would stop me and say, "Wait, go back. Reread that last paragraph!"

I'd do it, then a few minutes later he would point out something like: "You know, these microphones are super sensitive. I could hear you scratching yourself on that last take."

I had to sit perfectly still in the chair, hardly breathing, and then I'd burp or something, and we'd have to do the whole thing over again. The director would sit back and say, "Okay, take number six!" just like in Hollywood, and then he'd point at me and say, "Rolling . . . ."

But I never saw anything rolling. There was just computer equipment and a few dots on the screen and occasionally a slight beep when he pressed a computer key. There were wires running across the chair, over the chair, under the chair, and there were times I was afraid he was going to throw a switch and electrocute me. "Roll on Two!"

Good gravy, I was nervous . . . but seven hours later I'd done it. My first CD.

"How'd I do?" I asked as I was leaving the studio.

"Great," said the director. "You're a natural."

On the way home I stopped at Starbucks and bought myself a large coffee with cream. I had to have the caffeine to bring myself down again.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Health Brochure

A few weeks ago I received a brochure in the mail regarding my new "health coach", a person who will be working with me over the next twelve months to whip my into shape. Every pastor in the conference was assigned a health coach, so we could reduce insurance costs and bring a better level of health to all concerned. And hey, I'm for it.

But after reading over the brochure, I was perplexed. The brochure listed stretching excercises that were suppossed to reduce stress and help osteoperosis (two things I don't think I've struggled with of late). It also listed a calorie-burning guide for walking, jogging, etc. Later, I received a phone call from my health coach in Houston, Texas (a nice lady) and a portion of the conversation went something like this:

Coach: How would you rate your overall health in comparison with your peers?

Me: Most of my peers are much older, almost decrepit, near death.

Coach: So, would you rate your health as being about the same, lower, or superior to most of your peers?

Me: Far superior, lady! I just benched pressed 250 pounds yesterday.

Coach: Oh, my. Do you use proper technique when you lift? Do you know how to work out with weights?

Me: Been doing it since I was thirteen years old. You know how old I am. Do the math.

Coach: So, what goal can we set today?

Me: How about I lose five pounds of this donut fat?

Coach: You have five pounds of donut fat?

Me: I eat donuts like they are my lifeline to heaven. I buy boxes of them and consume them in giant mounds along with gallons of milk.

Coach: So, what's say we lose that fat then? Maybe do some walking. Hiking.

Me: I walk or hike four times a week. I kayak. And don't forget how much energy it takes to lift a box of donuts. I burn dozens of calories just chewing.

Coach: ?

Me: Yeah, I'll lose the fat, baby.

Coach: (Pause) You're in the car aren't you? On your way to Dunkin' Donuts, right?

Me: Yes, but I'm jogging. How many calories is that?

Okay...so I elaborate...but you get the picture.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

An Old Chicago Story

Last week I also finished reading Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul, by Karen Abbott. A book titled like this, how could I resist reading it? It's a history of the infamous red light district in Chicago at the turn of the century, a saga of dirty politicians, self-righteous pastors, harlots, and, in short, all the stuff that has made America great!
Now, this was a compelling story. I loved it. The book takes the reader inside the infamous Everleigh Club--Chicago's largest and world-famous brothel at the turn of the century. There were also a couple of Methodist pastors involved in the mix (trying to close the brothel) and some really sleazy politicians (thank God, we don't have sleazy politicians anymore!!!) who wanted to keep the red light district going so they could pad their pockets.
This book was one of the most fascinating I have read this year. So that's what I need: more books about brothels. Made me also want to meet a few of these politicians: guys with slick names like Hinky Dink Kenna and Big John Calusimo. I'd love for people to call me Hinky Dink. And tonight, I'm going to start calling my wife "Big Maude". I'll just see where that takes me!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Less For More

Four weeks ago I received editing proofs for a book that will be published in 2009. The edited manuscript was about 220 pages in length and I was given the task (should I decide to accept it) of reorganizing the entire manuscript from top to bottom, line-editing any errors I happened to see, and expunging any material deemed superfluous.

Okay, I can do that (I had three weeks to accomplish this 50,000 word task). But mystery of mysteries, when I submitted the edited version back to the editor for final approval, I had a manuscript of more than 250 pages . . . how did that happen? I'd cut mounds of material (added some) and reorganized the entire manuscript paragraph by paragraph.

(I am now officially "sick" of this book and this is why writers never read their books after they are published. I know ever word, every line, every paragraph by heart, and it makes me want to barf!)

Now, I must wait to see what my editor thinks of this new and improved (and much longer) version. Something tells me I may be asked to chop off a couple of fingers before this thing goes to press. EENIE, MEENIE, MINIE, MO . . . .

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Team Sports

Last week I finished reading Church is a Team Sport, by Jim Putnam. Yes, it is a hokey title! No, it didn't have any earth-shattering revelation about church. But I did enjoy reading about Jim's pastoral call and his adventures in building a gigantic, vibrant church in Idaho. (Way to go, Idaho! Got tatters out there?)
Now, the basic premise here is that everyone has to work together for the church to be unified (duh!) and that is takes leaders, cheerleaders, and a team spirit for the church to accomplish the mission of Jesus (another duh!).
I hate to do it, but I'm blowing the whistle on this book! I'm calling "too many men on the field" on this one! I'm bringing out the Gatorade early and dousing Rev. Putnam before the game is called on account of darkness. I'm gonna go Keith Jackson on this book and yell, "WHOOAAA NELLIE!" I'm gonna send a letter of protest to the commissioner and insist that we not use any more sports lingo to talk about Jesus (the coach!) or the church (God's team!). Illegal procedure. You get the picture!

Friday, September 5, 2008


Having finished reading, Six Disciplines: Execution Revolution, by Gary Harpst (a NY Times bestselling business book), I am not impressed. It's difficult for me to fathom why anyone in any business would read this book for any reason. But then, I guess I'm not in business . . . so that's that.

About the only thing I took away from this book was Harpst's accurate portrayal of 1981 as a "leap year" in technological advance. That was the year, and accurately so, I think, when the PC overtook the typewriter as the tool of choice in business, education, and elsewhere. Sure, there were PC's prior to 1981, but the PC just didn't invade our space until that year in any significant numbers.

By the time I arrived at Duke University in 1982, there were a few students who were using PCs, but these were the rich kids, and there were a few professors by 1984/85 who had discovered the PC and were using them for research and more. The Duke library still had a gigantic card file in those days (which is what I used to find books). Not a computer anywhere in sight.

At least Harpst awakened a memory for me in that regard. But I can't believe I read his book. Excuse me now while I look for a donut to eat. I have better things to do with my time.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

She's Back

A couple of weeks ago I dropped my daughter at Ball State and thought it would be some time before I heard from her again. But she keeps writing, dropping me emails and such. I have to read these emails, of course.

A few days ago she informed me that Free the Slaves (www.freetheslaves.net) had done a profile of her on their web site. So I checked it out. You can too. Just type in "Chelsey Outcalt" on the search line and you'll get some fancy-looking photos and a profile of her efforts.

I typed in my name, too, and got nothing. But I haven't freed any slaves. My daughter has.

I am, however, hoping that some day I can free up some time to eat a box of donuts. These delicious little tidbits need attention, too. Dozens of them need my time and attention. Boxes of them.

I have an idea: what comes up on google when you type in "freethedonuts"?

Cannibalism at Sea

For the past two weeks, as I've been posting the photos of my home office, I've also read a number of books. The most compelling was probably Nathaniel Philbrick's National Award-Winning, Into the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. It's a great book, recounting the story of the sinking of the Essex in the early 1800's, a story that became, in part, the basis for Melville's, Moby Dick.

Most intriguing, however, is the fact that several of the sailors were consumed at sea, and this was without a BBQ grill or a cooking pot.

In point of fact, several of the survivors wrote narratives about the cannabalism in the boats, so it is well documented and created quite a stir at the time.

Which leads me to wonder: under what circumstances, if any, would I be compelled to consume another person? The early Christians were accused of being cannibals (Jesus: "This is my body, this is my blood"), but, of course, we don't consider the implications, usually.

I've come to the conclusion that I simply couldn't consume human flesh. I think I have the willpower to resist someone's liver or large intestine. I'd rather starve to death.

But when it comes to donuts . . . well, that's another matter entirely!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Writing Space #12

This will be my final installment pertaining to my writing space. You've seen it all by now. But if you want to see a real writer's office, you can always visit Mr. Stephen King's interactive web site. This is Mr. King on the left. As you can see, he is a handsome, devilish fellow who wears a tux while he writes. He buys a new tux every day and gives his old clothing to charities for other starving artists like me.

Anyway, this is Mr. King at sixty years of age. I hope I look as good as he does when I am his age. But I doubt I will. I'll probably look more like the fellow on the right . . .

Monday, September 1, 2008

My Writing Space #12

One thing about Mr. Stephen King, he will never show you his closets. This is what the closet in my home office looks like. Here is where I keep my largest inventory of writing, and this represents about a fourth of everything I have written over my lifetime.
Here are novels (about twenty of them) that have never been published, hundreds of short stories and essays, and stacks and stacks of work I have had published in magazines, journals, and anthologies. My son once asked me, "Dad, what is all this junk?"
"This, my son, is your heritage," I told him. "Other fathers may pass along stocks, houses, cars, and the business model. When I die, you get to burn all of this!"
Mr. Stephen King has immaculately-groomed walk-in closets with hardwood floors. I have a closet loaded with kindling.
Mr. King remembers everthing he has written, and where it has been published. I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday.
Mr. King may have a few skeletons in his closet. I am getting poorer, and may have to resort to eating my work very soon.