Dog Ear
In a corner (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 02 May 2013 00:00

Monday sucked. Like a vampire (and not the nineteen-year-old pouty type, but the prince-of-darkness-and-you're-dead-as-a-doornail type). Problems with code. Problems with the Indian contractors. Problems with the our patching processes. Finally dragged my tired ass out to the car, slumped into the seat, gasped in tired relief and looked on the floorboards. And there were those three agent packets sitting there.

Oh yeah. That vow deal.

I would rather have gone home. It was getting ready to rain, the cat needed to be fed, I needed a glass of wine. But Tuesday would be a bike riding day, Wednesday the train club, and Thursday maybe dinner with the parents.

So today it was.

So that's how I ended up in the empty lobby of the post office just after six. It would have been more efficient to have waited until the weekend to post but then I'd be out a grand. I promised (vowed, even) to have those submissions out in a week. That's how I found myself last Thursday night running off three packets of thirty-five pages each out of my poor little printer (rather than the more conventional early morning slip in and print at work deal). And that's why I was over in the post office, dead on my feet, posting things out.

The trick of getting things done is that waiting is a slippery slope. You might wait a few more days, and that turns into a week, then longer. Now it's raining. Next there is something on TV. Then the weather is too nice and let's ride bikes. And so on. Ad infinitum. Literally.

And, really, once I was there, it went quick. Unlike the usual post office visit where you stand in a line and wait while the one counter takes care of a functional illiterate who can't make their minds up on the difference between $2 and $3 postage, the postage machine was open. While I'm not a fan of electronic self-service, I've sent enough packages through this thing that I can pip-pip-pip those screens and have three packets stamped and in the slot in a few minutes. It was even on my way home, so no big deal.

So, if you work for...

Richard Henshaw Group

RLR Associates, LTD

Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency

...you should be getting my packet late this week. Just the perfect thing to carry home with you on the train. Blink at the unique vision of the crow vantage point. Laugh at their human truisms. And consider representing me.

You can see, by my bloggings, that I work hard.

Especially when there's a grand on the deal.

>>>IF YOU CAN'T WAIT FOR "INDIGO", THERE IS ALWAYS "EARLY RETYREMENT", RIGHT HERE. HAVE A LOOK!<<<

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 April 2013 19:25
 
This I vow! (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 25 April 2013 00:00

I can’t believe this. After all the blogs about pushing yourself out there, of facing the adversity of the publishing field, I suddenly awoke to the fact (as a drunk wakes in a gutter and sees what he’s become) that I’ve been putting off submitting my agent packets.

First it was a train show. Then the new computer arrived. And I’ve been cross-loading my files and playing glass-smooth Spelunky. And also weeding the yard, running a  5K race, finishing a “Thrones” book, all sorts of things.

It turns out that the best thing you can do for yourself is to make a deal with your devil (as to what you need to get done) and then make that deal public. Mentally vowing to lose 10 lbs during a boozy New Year’s party won’t do it, but standing on a windswept parapet and shouting your intentions to the world will keep you honest.

Yes, I drive myself through shame-avoidance.

It works.

Years ago, I took a week-long improvement class called EST. One of the things was to make a commitment to do something and then do it. In fact, part of that commitment was to write a check to charity and give it to a friend, with instructions that if you didn’t do your thing by a specific date, that check would go into the mail. For me, the goal was a pilots’ license. The check? $500 to a charity (don’t remember which, but that was a LOT of money back in the ‘80s when I did this). I gave this to my good friend Joy, and once I earned that license, Joy and her family and I had a check-burning party.

So that’s what I’m doing. By the next DOG EAR, I’m going to have three submissions posted. If I don’t, I’ll give $1000 to the Sierra Club. This I vow.

>>>WITH $2 PROFIT PER SALE, I’M GOING TO NEED TO MOVE 500 “EARLY RETYREMENTS” BEFORE THEN. SAVE ME FROM MY BIG MOUTH! BUY A BOOK!<<<

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 April 2013 20:31
 
Passion (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 18 April 2013 00:00

I was in a funk about writing. Just re-upped the site for five years and found myself wondering what the point of all this writing is. There was even a cartoon I saw HERE that said it all for me. Yes, it made me sad, but it's oh-so-true.

And then tonight, my wife and I went to Arby's.

JB was over at the table and I was standing at the counter. The counter-guy had gone off to dump our curly fries into the vat and I was just standing there, thinking my what's the point of writing thoughts. And that's when a behind-the-counter girl walked by, saw me, and just said "HI!" (yes, all caps).

She was so cheerful. I noted (smiling ruefully) that she wasn't missing much by working tonight, what with the rain sleeting down.

"Oh, I'd be practicing anyway."

Really? What?

"My cello."

She told me how she loves to play; been playing since she was ten. And how, if I wanted to learn any musical instrument, how she could set me up with a tutor, even a free one. And how she was trying to get into Rollins College just to formalize her skills, but that was incidental. What she wanted to do was play her cello.

It was what she did.

As I walked back to our table with the food, I thought about her quest for... cellation? Would she ever really get a chance to play in some symphony? Would she ever wear an evening dress and bow, bulky instrument in hand, while rave applause came down? No, probably not. She might never even get into Rollins. But when she wasn't behind that counter at Arby's she practiced, not worrying about fame and fortune and recognition and success.

She just defined herself by her art, and that was good enough.

Not often a fifty-four year old worldly writer can pick up a tip from a fast-food cook twenty-five years his junior.

But I think I did.

Writers write. That's what's important.

>>>AND EVEN THROUGH I WRITE FOR THE LOVE, A SALE OR TWO HELPS. HAVE A LOOK AT MY BOOKS AND PICK ONE UP IF YOU'D LIKE!<<<

Last Updated on Sunday, 14 April 2013 21:40
 
Perspective (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 11 April 2013 00:00

Authors love their jacket photos to show them sitting in a studious den with some books, a wonderful view out the window at their back, and wood paneling. And a globe. Like they are going to spin it and peer intently – “Hmmm. I shall send my hero to Madagascar…”

The image is that here is where they arrive at their great insights on human nature.

My insights on human nature come over the front of my bicycle handlebars when I ride to work.

Honestly, I see more of what it means to be human in my commutes by bicycle than one will find in a musty old den. In the brisk morning air, in the cool darkness, I’ll see true humans. I’ll see the oblivious middle-class drivers, grinding through their long commutes from the burbs, driving their pastel FUVs without headlights. I’ll sit at the light and watch an entire line of cars make their left turns without signals. And I’ll deal with Odyssey-wandering soccer-moms in the perpetual distraction they think of as their lives.

Nobody is out to cripple me. Nobody is out to kill me. But human nature being what it is, they don’t give a tinker’s damn if they do hit me. It’s an even chance they’ll run if they do (I speak from personal experience). And regardless of what their plates say about “life being precious”, regardless of their “coexist” bumper stickers, they don’t care. Not really.

When I apply this to history, I get a much more realistic view. Do I think that when Vikings sacked a village, they did it because their warrior prince was out to prove to his father that he could command a longboat, or that he’d cut a bloody swath because of the loss of his eye or the death of his maiden love? Do I think he was mo-ha-ha evil, that he’d chortle in baritone delight at the carnage he’d create? No. I think most Vikings were just out to rip a lot of people off and kill anyone who got in their way. And that’s probably more horrible when you give it a thought, that you might have home and loved ones torn from you, not in an act of dynamic melodrama, but just as an unthinking humanist act.

When you look at it, perhaps that’s why writers pen the villains they do. Certainly, dramatics factor in; it might make for a better story. But perhaps authors write meanings behind bad things because we need an explanation. Like religion, perhaps writing requires a reason for the terrible, inhuman acts we see about us. Because anything else, from seeing your village afire to that crushing impact of an FUV bumper against your thigh, requires a reason.

Anything else would be too terrible to imagine.

>>>”EARLY RETYREMENT” HAS GLOATING VILLAINS AND ENRAGED GENERALS, SO PERHAPS I DIDN’T FOLLOW MY OWN ADVICE. BUT IT’S SOMETHING TO CONSIDER (BOTH MY THOUGHTS ABOVE AND MY BOOKS IN THE LINK!)<<<

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 06:55
 
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