Dog Ear
Mr Congeniality (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 26 April 2018 19:30

pparently I have a problem.

It seems I’m a crank.

I guess I’ve known it. I’ve had a pretty good life so far but like every life it’s had disappointments. I got screwed out of benefits by a company who owed me so much and curbed me like garbage. And my rocket ascent to historical writer reentered prematurely when my publisher died in a car wreck. There were also three or four women I knew to be perfect wives for me who did not share that assessment (“I still look for them in crowds,” as a favorite movie puts it).

So I never gave it a thought in my writing. It showed up in Kingdoms, a novel that went after middle-class acceptance of life with a rolled-up newspaper across the nose. One publisher asked how I was supposed to attract the primary market when I was busy insulting everything about their lives.

Over the years people have mentioned it, my mom in particular. I just figured it was “who I was”. A couple of people dropped me in Facebook because of my cussedness. My adapted daughter found it cute (the enabler!) but then again, her idea of a fun night is to sit in Barnes & Noble and spit acid at the yuppies. I love her all the same.

But it’s come up a couple of times this week alone, people mentioning it. And while serendipity has a place in explanations, it seems more like a form of consistency. So I’m left with that.

Yet “This above all: to thine own self be true”, as the bard put it. But can one be true in modern life, in the wedding bed and across the corporate boardroom table?

I’m going to think about this a lot, this notion that, for public consumption, I need to limit my bitter side. I’m really not sure how I’ll pull this off, especially with the world giving me so much to disdain. But I’ll try. If I can write thirteen-year-old Phoenician princesses, I can embrace the positive (or at least limit the negative).

So let’s see how I do.

>>>IF YOU WANT TO SEE HOW, EXACTLY, I WROTE A THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD PHOENICIAN GIRL, FOLLOW THIS LINK TO FIRE AND BRONZE, MY ANCIENT HISTORY NOVEL.<<<

 
Books as Pals (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 19 April 2018 18:31

’ve been getting a lot of work shit recently. Other than one or two people, a lot of folks have turned their backs on me. That pisses me off since last year I hemorrhaged purple and avoided a major auditing scandal that would have lost the company tens of millions of dollars. And now they’re like this? I feel like the main character from Falling Down – “When did I become the bad guy?”

So fuck you.

Got home and decided to sit out back at the Indian table under the breeze sky with a glass of wine and some cheese. I’m halfway through Luftwaffe Fighter Aces but I didn’t feel like any of that. So I dug through the sack near my bed and found A boy and his Tank, an old scifi. Looked cool. Looked like just what I needed. So I sat out there and caught up with Mickolai Derdowski, who has just been sealed up inside an automated fighting cybertank in the far future. Lots of fun. And interesting setting, an interesting character (and not like those bland drones and pasteboard walls and bland pasteboard friendships of work).

And that’s why books (like cats) make the best of friends. They are always there. They great you with great imagination and their presence calms you. You might be alone in the world but inside the head of a main character, suddenly his problems become your problems (and your problems cease to exist).

So don’t binge watch when you feel bad. No, go to the bookstore and buy a bunch of books you’d love to read in some future date. Stack them somewhere in your house. And when you are down, troubled, and need a helping hand, you can just dig your arm up to the elbow in pulp and yank out a new tale to enjoy. It’s right there.

Trust me on this. You might get backstabbed at work, but all a book will give you is a papercut. And a smile.

>>>AND HEY, NEED A BOOK? I’VE GOT A BUNCH RIGHT HERE! CHECK THEM OUT!<<<

 
Fast and Slow (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 13 April 2018 07:23

have a lot going on this week, one of the things this Corporate 5K. I’m in for setup, the walk (was “the run” in years past but a knee injury fixed that), and takedown. Rode over on the tandem with the missus. And so, my impressions…

There. Sitting for all the late corporate people of my group to show. Unfolding chairs. Arrival. Rearranging chairs. Guiding people in on phone. Set up. Set up. More set up. Group photo. Final piss. The milling wait to walk. Niece (with her own bad knee) finds me. Chatting.

Go.

Walking along Central. Talking about this and that. Family secrets. Shared observations of such. Wonderful night. Cool bands. Crowds, but at least I’m not dodging in a full run. People people people.

Finish.

Last in. Grab some food. Fetch a car for a sprained ankle. Confusion. Dark. Carry stuff to far cars. Carry stuff to near cars. Throw everything else away. Look around. JB and I are the last. Nobody here.

And so.

The ride home was so quiet. We coasted along Livingstone on Stretch the Tandem, just enjoying the peace. The cosmic joke was that the only three cars that passed us had to at Mills where the bike lane ends and the road gets tight. But otherwise, it was a soundless glide along in the dark, with only our flashing lights pulsaring our way along. Turned onto Ferncreek, another bike lane, so thank the city gods for that. Crossed Colonial like the team we are, with JB keeping watch over the stern. But it’s so quiet out, so perfectly silent, with naught save the hum of our tires and the shush of cars one block over and the occasional old-couple half-sentences, the air so cool, the pace mine again, my life mine again.

I’ll leave it to you young writers to figure out that point of this structure. And remember, as a writer, don’t volunteer for take-down. Rip off.

>>>WANT TO SEE MORE WRITING IN ACTION? GO HERE AND BUY ONE OF MY BOOKS. YOU’LL GET TONS OF IT AT A PENNY PER PARAGRAPH!<<<

 
Clerks (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 05 April 2018 18:54

nteresting use of historical reading today.

Found myself on the Sunrail plaform, reading the Southern Pacific Railroad’s Historical Group’s magazine, specifically an article about a couple who clerked in the early fifties. They were involved with working the orders by customers coming in, securing them seats on trains a month (and possibly, in larger groups) a year out.

Image that – doing all that work across a railroad with something like a hundred passenger trains each day, getting people into seats and to their destinations. And no Excel, or internet, or anything beyond a typewriter. They were even limited in their phone use and tickets to customers in the LA area were carried over by messengers riding the trolleys. There was even a photo of this huge circular filing cabinet, reaching up to the ceiling, that the clerks on the table around it would spin, inserting their cards into the slots for the specific trains/cars.

At first, of course, I was taken by the inefficiency of the thing. But my mind mulled over it. See, I work for a modern American corporation, one with internet at each desk, and with emails and skypes flying about.

But as I read it, I realized that these clerks were working their jobs. Possibly 90% of their time went into getting things done, passengers booked. And me? With all these tools, I’ve got a million distractions. There are long-winded meetings, crazy drop-everything requests, people coming by, people wanting information, people just looking to host a meeting to inflate their withered egos. And that takes up my time. A lot of it. I suspect that my effectiveness (i.e. how much profit-pushing work I do) is probably 20%.

And so I had my Jerry Maguire moment. I wrote the director, included the picture of the working clerks and the massive lazy-Susan hopper, and told him that what pisses everyone off in the department is not the work that we do, no, but the work we don’t do. That with all the status-sucking meetings, people go home and wonder what it was they actually did this day. I know I do.

Haven’t heard back from him on this. I don’t think he’ll just can me because I was presumptuous. We’re friends and I just flew a tough audit for him clean and mean. And even if he does walk in and (like in Jerry Maguire) fire me over pointing out that the emperor has no clothing, fine, I can deal with that too.

But it’s what happens when you read, and reflect, and react. It’s critical thinking and solid appraisal. It’s what true reading grants us.

I’ll report the results in a later piece.

>>>HEY, SINCE I MIGHT GET CANNED, YOU SHOULD SUPPORT ME BY BUYING A BOOK. GET THEM HOT, DOWN THIS LINK!<<<

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 April 2018 18:57
 
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