Sunday, October 30, 2011

Things That Go Bump

Now that I'm of a certain age, sleeping through the night is a little more of a challenge. Okay, I know I'm not close to pushing up daisies yet (I hope) but it's fair to say that Mother Nature comes a callin' at 3:00 a.m. now more than ever before. So there I am, entertaining a pre-dawn stroll to the powder room when - squish- I step bare-footed on Puppy's newest chew toy. It squeals. I jump. Stumble. Smack. A doorknob to the hip. Then a shoulder bank shot off the door frame.
Ouch. Bleep. Choice swear word.
This morning finds me sporting polka-dotted skin. I'll admit it isn't my best look. In fact, it's downright spooky. On this night before All Hallows' Eve, I wish you lovely readers, a very happy Halloween. May your treats be o' plenty. And remember that thing that goes bump in the night, just might be your mother.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gone Fishin'


I'm at about the halfway point with my current work-in-progress, as yet officially unnamed. For kicks I call it Nancy, mostly because it's a novel that's kinda sorta got some elements of mystery - a la Nancy Drew. (If you don't know who she is you are obscenely young.) It's usually at this time in the creative process when I notice that the characters and I need a little break. By now, we've become well acquainted. Some of us are on our way to a lifelong friendship. While others of us will be more than happy to jump ship at the next nearest exit. Not to worry. The plot is still there. Still playing out through the mysterious combination of keyboard and muse. And the manuscript love, well naturally it's still flowing. Then what gives, you ask?
Simply put, Nancy and I just aren't so hot and heavy for one another at this moment. No, we don't need emergency manuscript therapy, religious intervention or a dose of Dr. Phil. Nor do we require the honeymoon suite and unlimited supplies of cheap champagne. We need a time out. 
Nancy (as a collective group) and I have hung the sign. Gone Fishin'. We're taking a breather in order to refresh and reload our batteries. Typically what I'll do with this time is dive into a good book and meet some new people. No, Nancy, that doesn't mean I'll forget you and no, you'll never be replaced.
It's merely for inspirational recharge. It was Ernest Hemingway who said:
I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it. 
So for today, tonight and possibly tomorrow, Nancy and I will part ways. And before long we'll be at it once again. With me willingly, excitedly filling the pages of her story, giving life and action to her cause. It's a writers way. Bait and all. Worms anyone?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mama Said There'd be Days Like This

Disclaimer: I love my mom.

Let's face it. Call a spade a spade. People originating from a certain era (say somewhere around circa 1940 give or take) sometimes aren't the most tech savvy individuals. This isn't an example of ageism. It's merely a fact. At least it's the case in my family. Take my mother, for example. She tries, bless her heart. And after about a year  or so of fiddling with the "dang dopey internet mail" I think she might finally be getting the hang of it. I think.
Or not...

So I called her the other day to see if she wanted to check out an author interview I gave here:  and we had this exact conversation.

"Hi Mama. I forwarded you a link to an interview I did online. Check your email."

"Oh, dear. I can't."

"Why not, Ma?"

"I forgot my passcode."

"It's password and I thought you wrote it down."

"I did but I can't remember where I put it."

"Well, Ma, there's a way for you to reset it. Just follow the prompts."

"Oh, dear. That sounds confusing."

"No, Ma, it's not really. Okay forget that. We'll go at this another way I'll tell you how to find it. Go to your search bar."

"Oh, dear."

"It's that long open line way up at the top of the screen, Ma."

"I went there once. It wasn't pretty."

"You really have to make your peace with the world wide web, Ma."

"The what?"

"It's what the www stands for."

"Well I'l be darned. Isn't that clever? Look dear I have a pot roast in the oven. Why don't you just tell me what channel the interview is on and I'll watch it later."

"No, Mama it isn't on a channel. It's a website and you can't watch it you have to read it."

"Oh, dear."

"What is it now, Ma?"

"I forgot where I put my reading glasses."

"Okay then. My work here is done. Goodnight, Ma."

"Goodnight, dear."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog

Blogger has been watching a good deal of Long Island Medium lately. It's my newest guilty pleasure. It fascinates me, the whole business that takes place on the "other side." I often wonder how it feels to sit down and chat with the dearly departed. In honor of the month of all things ghoulish and ghostly, I went there.
The preceding psychic encounter is purely fictional. No dead people were harmed in the creation of this post.
(Blogger dons her purple satin cape, spreads her tarot cards and closes her eyes. And then, alas! A bustle in her hedgerow)

Me: Hark who goes there?
WS: Pardon? Does thou know who I am?
Me: Bill? Is that you?
WS: That's Mr. Shakespeare to you, madam.
Me: My apologies. Why have you chosen to come forth to me on this fine evening, Mr. Shakespeare?
WS: I'm done to death by slanderous tongue. Was the hero that here lies!
Me: (sighs) In English, please Mr. S.
WS : I'm pissed.
Me: Wow. What gives?
WS: Tis a nasty rumor surfacing that slanders my original talents.
Me: You mean the latest movie claiming you didn't actually write your own stories?
WS: Otherwise known as this thing of darkness.
Me: You know, it's kinda obnoxious to continually quote yourself.
WS: I am dying, Egypt. Dying.
Me: With all due respect Will, you're already dead. The drama is over the top. Anyhow who cares what people think. It's just a theory.
WS: It's rubbish dear girl. Lord what fools these mortals be!
Me: You're doing it again.
WS: Sorry. I've called upon you to spread the word of truth. Defend my honor.
Me: Well, okay but...but what if its true? What if you weren't actually the author of all that cra - uh - stuff they made me read in high school. I mean the word is you were uneducated, and that your will makes no mention of your plays, poems or writings. It's a little odd, don't ya think? Maybe all that glitters is not so gold.
WS: Et tu, Brute? Please, woman how else can I set the record straight?
Me: Why don't you just chillax, Willie? Stop worrying. Isn't there something better for you to do with your time these days?
WS: Hmm. There is that Caribbean poker game I have lined up with King Henry the Eighth and Elvis. But those guys cheat.
Me: Get at it then. Thanks for dropping by. Parting is such sweet sorrow.
WS: Ciao baby.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Tail of Two Cities

The way I see it there are two types of doggies in this world. There are the ones, like mine, who spend their days lounging on the sofa, between two perfectly plumped pillows, cold water dish at the ready, wee-wee pad at the back door just in case Nature calls before the humans get home. They have a wardrobe closet complete with woolen jackets for inclement weather walks. These are the upper-crust canines, the pampered pooches.
Then there's the kind that kick it outdoors most days, trapped behind a gate, digging in the dirt for amusement and seeking out a splotch of decent shade when the midday sun blares harshly from above, an awning when the gray skies let loose. I affectionately refer to these as the every-dog, average Joe-junkyard variety.
Both are born equal. Yet where they end up is anybody's ball game. I'm beginning to wonder if there's a class distinction between these doggies. Maybe not so much upper and lower. Maybe in a dog's world it's more like Inner Class and Outer Class.
I was taking my pup for a stroll yesterday when we trotted past an average Joe-junkyard, his nose wedged inside the fence grating as he sniffed us out, deciding quickly that he'd better bark to keep us back. Pampered Pooch barked a greeting in return. If I were to translate, I believe the conversation actually went something like this:
AJJ: Hey pal, nice sweater. Your human knit that for ya? (snicker)
PP: Nice yard. How's that cement bed treating you?
In reality perhaps the greatest thing about dogs is that they have no frame of reference, no prejudice. Upper, lower, inner, outer, its all the same to them. Reminds me of one of my fave quotes on the subject:

In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi human.  The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.  ~Edward Hoagland