Dog Ear
Desperate (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 05 January 2017 00:00



write something

think think think think

something that happened


what it means

think think think

write something anything something anything

the only goddamn reason this page is filling up is that its double-spaced. how can i write several paragraphs about something when i don’t know what to write about? has anything happened? book in the mail? amazon intrusion? witty phrase?

richard adams died. but nobody knows what watership down is. and I’ve already bitched about that one two years ago.

crap, but the bottom of the page is a long way off.

so this is writing. having to fill a page twice a week with stuff. one book review. one writing column. day in day out.

this piece i came up with after posting my last reserve dog ear and wondering what to do next. i thought of this and i thought of that. then i realized that i could capture the stream of consciousness, riding the brain waves, capturing the thought process. and so this whole unorganized effort found a purpose. for non-writers, you could see the process in the raw. for writers, you could appreciate the effort, knowing what it’s like to fill a page when energy is low and emotions flat. we all go through this.

and so now i have the eye-catching intro, the draw-in of the gimmicked confusion, the tie-up of purpose and reason. and this is the point, the entire reason i did this. i think it worked.

one thing remains.

clever closing.

>>>buy book here<<<

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 January 2017 11:40
Personalized (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 29 December 2016 00:00

’ve always said that I like books as presents. If there is something you’ve read that you really enjoyed and you’ll think I’ll enjoy it, by all means, send it. Why people don’t give books more as Christmas presents, I’ll never know (well, I do – most people haven’t read a book since high school yet have watched all the Marvel action movies).

Interesting thing I noticed, though. Just got a book for my birthday from my best friend, titled Algorithms to Live By. It’s an interesting study he enjoyed and so he told Amazon (that magic genie of wish fulfillment and bookstore obliteration) to send me a copy. Inside the cover, he had a nice paper-slip typed note wishing me well and hoping I’d enjoy the book.

So, yes, I am reading it and enjoying it. And yes, it will probably find a place on my shelf. But it’s missing that personalized touch. While lots of time was saved in driving to the store, buying it, then going to the post office to ship it, the downside is that he never got to sign it. I don’t have his written wishes inside the flap, just a fortune-cookieish note slipped into the cover, best wishes and all that. So what should I do? Tape the typed note into my cover? Just leave it in there and risk losing it? Keep it? Toss it?

I’ve got books that I have gotten signed. And I’ve bought used books with echoes of well-wishes – to’s and from’s and lost good will, still boldly inked inside the cover. I like that. It’s personalized. And if Amazon is scanning such postings as mine for ideas, maybe they’ll think of a way to allow users to hand-write a personalized cover-dash which would possibly be stamped in some way inside the jacket. But even that’s not the same. The pen’s kiss is missing.

At my many bookshows, I signed a hundred or more Early Retyrements, offering all sorts of witty wishes for unknown readers, or just signing my book – personalizing it – with a wild Raymondish John Handcock. That’s what makes a book stand out. Maybe it will never be read again, maybe it will stay on the corner of a shelf until cleaned out and dumpstered by an estate sale group. But still, it’s in there. I’ve even got an old buddy who wants to drop by work so I can sign a copy of my book for his son in time for Christmas. I’m delighted to do this, not for the buck or two I’ll make on the sale (the balance of the deal, of course, to Amazon) but because I’ll be a part of this memory.

I even just got my copy of The End from Jurassic Publishers (who are going out of business) – the cover contains a collection of author’s signatures, a private greeting from them to me. And I love it all the more for that.

So, yes, in this high-speed world of e-reading and next-day-delivery, it’s nice to have something that was placed on paper, from someone who likes you, a greeting, well-wish or even an epitaph that will last the years.

I just like old stuff like this. Nothing more.


Last Updated on Thursday, 29 December 2016 08:34
Lent (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 22 December 2016 00:00

was brought up Methodist. But a very unstrict Methodist (that must have my ancestors rolling in their graves – they used to be stump preachers) since I didn’t even know we practiced Lent. Really. The first time I even considered practicing Lent (and the idea of sacrificing something for the good of your personal well-being, if not your soul) came as a bet from a Catholic friend of mine (she’s so Catholic, I’m wondering if she doesn’t patrol the city’s rooftops in the moonlight with a cape). But there I go again. It’s what I do. I’m a natural storyteller.

I’ve noticed this a lot. Everyone else stands around the coffee pot at work griping about their commutes or bad weekends, and I want to spool off a sea-story. Or the plot of a novel I just finished. Or a series of events that lead to a cosmic realization. Or my trip through the stars, hopping from one to the next, searching for an elusive Messier Object. Hey, it’s what I do. And yes, I do see the eye-rolling and secret grimaces. I’m a Mark Twain storyteller in a sound bite age. So be it.

Having just gone over to the team I am loosely associated with and told a story to a couple of backs (nobody even grunted), I am increasingly of the thought that for Lent this year, I should give up storytelling. Oh, I will still answer direct questions about my commute or weekend, and I’ll still talk and breathe and think; I just won’t emote. So yes, it will be very quiet. But I think perhaps I’ll learn something (as will those around me – when their stream of stories dry up, they’ll have to go to their sad twitter sources for amusement). So, yes, I’m firming up on that. No embellishments. No exaggerations. No colorful descriptions.

I’m still not without caveats. As I said in a recent DOG EAR, I have a column to put out. I’m not going to discuss the use of pronouns or other dry topics. If something happens that is blog-fodder, I’ll post it up. After all, it’s what this site is founded on – storytelling and life experiences (well, mine. Start your own damn blog). Further, I’m looking at spending time with my best friend on his fiftieth birthday, just him-and-me time. I was in a quandary about that, but another Catholic girl told me to “not be Spock” and just have a good time. So, yes, there is that. But I’ve really felt myself firming and warming to this idea.

Actually, I’ll probably blog about my experiences over the weeks of limited storytelling.

Be ready for some really exaggerated blogs.

Hey, that’s different!)


Deadline (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 15 December 2016 00:00

have to admit that I’m rather surprised at some of the web-efforts I follow, and how prompt they often arn’t. Specifically, the well-known XKCD and lesser-known Two Guys and a Guy – I love both strips, but recently they’ve been a little… off… in their publishing schedules. Others (Penny Arcade as well as anything “officially” syndicated) are always there.

And that got me to thinking about my own blogging.

I always blog – maybe nobody reads them (actually I just checked – most of them get about 500 hits or so. Whether that’s actual readers around the world or creepy web crawlers, I have no way of knowing). After every model railroad session (sometimes after an hour or two drive home, or sitting in a hotel room) I’m blogging. After every telescope session (no matter how frozen I am) I’m blogging. And certainly every week I produce a book review and a DOG EAR piece. Think of that – the first DOG EAR went in on June 11th, 2012 and have been popping up every week like clockwork. And it’s tough to do.

I suppose it’s good practice. If you are going to produce whatever art you are going to produce, you do so, no matter how tired or uninspired you are. This weeks’ DOG EAR, I was really looking for something to write about (after 241 of these things, finding new thoughts about writing, its difficulties and my various observations of such) can be a little problematic. Sometimes I’ll get into a rush and have a half-dozen of these things out in front of me, all scheduled out for every Thursday for the next month and a half. Other times (like now, sigh) I’m writing under the looming edge of my own deadline.

But that, in itself, is the lesson here. If you are writing that novel at home, you need to force yourself to write. If you think you write because it’s fun or fulfilling, yes, it can be those things. But it’s also disciplined. And that’s why you should approach it as such. Because I know what I feel, deep down, when I click on XKCD on a Monday morning and nothing is there.

And I don’t want people to think that way about my own efforts.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 December 2016 05:33

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