Dog Ear
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.

>>>HEY, BUY A BOOK AND IF YOU ARE LOCAL (ORLANDO, FLORIDA), I’LL SIGN IT FOR FREE!<<< 

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!)

>>>STORYTELLING? DO I HAVE STORIES TO TELL! AND HERE THEY ARE, RIGHT IN MY OWN LIBRARY OF BOOKS. CHECK THEM OUT. EPICS FOR EVERY TASTE, ASSUMING IT’S HISTORIC FICTION. G’WAN, HAVE A LOOK<<<

 
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.

>>>SO IF YOU REALLY FEEL MOVED BY MY EFFORTS AND COMMITMENTS TO MY ART, YOU SHOULD SUPPORT IT. THIS LINK LEADS TO MY BOOKS. YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO<<<

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 December 2016 05:33
 
New Media 2 (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 08 December 2016 00:00

nteresting discussion this Thanksgiving after a couple of Go cage-fights with my sister. Of course, what else can siblings and the nieces and associated boyfriend talk about? What do we have in common?

Media!

Everyone connected through their Hulu and Netflix viewings. My brother was watching The Musketeers (didn’t know that). My niece's boyfriend and I shared a laugh over One Punch Man. Some people had watched Chance. There was a difference of taste about Jessica Jones. And the women tittered over the coming revisiting of the Gilmore Girls.

It’s the “New Media”, my sister explained.

Yes, but (and sometimes, it’s my purpose in life to add the “but”, it seems)…

It’s great that there is a new media. When The Mindy Project got cancelled, it was quickly picked up by Hulu. Had this sort of thing been around a decade ago I’m sure my beloved Firefly would have continued. Now, just about any weird comedy or surprise-ending drama can (and likely has) been made. In a sense, this is the same moment book publishing went through when self-publishing took off. Now anyone at all can get into the game. No more corporate committees and agents and such. Good things, bad things, rotten things, ill-conceived and directionless things could all be pushed out into the media sphere.

And that’s good. But I must point out that I watched 75 episodes of Hikuro No Go. And likewise in Space Brothers. I watched all three seasons of The Musketeer and both seasons (several times) of Rick and Morty. It’s rather like that time I spent playing the video game Spelunky, only to glance at the game stats and see that I had 2500 games (at about 10 minutes apiece) out there.

All that time comes from somewhere.

For me, I haven’t been writing much (professionally). Oh, I have a collection of erotica for an on-line publisher who has commissioned me in the past. But Jurassic is gone now. And besides being the president of an always-struggling model railroad club and astronomy events and Go and that goddamn Roku box, I don’t have a lot of time. It would seem that we’re swimming in New Media, that everything is available, that DVD collections are as relevant as the VHS libraries they replaced. And that what little time we had, time for writing, for loving, for communicating, for visiting, for walks and chats and friendships, is all going into entertainment.

Remember, time is the one thing you can’t buy more of, and there isn’t any way of winning another life (like some Spelunky powerup). Sure, it’s great to have a century of entertainment at the click of your remote. But is it a good thing? Is will this end up as just a new version of The Matrix.

Be well. Be wary. And be conscious. For you writers – write!

>>>HERE IS A LINK TO MY BOOKS AND NOVELS, THINGS I WROTE WHEN ALL I HAD WERE VHS TAPES AND AN ATARI. LIFE WAS SO MUCH SIMPLER. AND I WROTE THREE TIMES A WEEK. ENJOY THESE EARLIER WORKS OF MINE!<<<

P.S. Interesting point. I went to enter this into my Dog Ear archives and found I already had commented on New Media earlier this year. Might as well repurpose an old entry, so here it is, RIGHT HERE!

Last Updated on Thursday, 08 December 2016 08:10
 
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