Dog Ear
Rest (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 31 August 2017 00:00

t’s been a tough couple of months. I suffered a month of nonstop overtime, only working or sleeping for five weeks in a row. And all this went largely unrecognized. Then there was the scare that I might have a degenerative disorder, something that might lead to my crippling or death. We had a train convention in town and I had to work like a dog to get us through that. And then my beloved cat’s kidney packed up, and we did everything we could (including painful things) to save her but failed, and ended up burying her in the deep soil in her favorite sunny spot. I still tear when I think of that.

So I’m left battered and exhausted, worn out by all the heartbreak and betrayal of everything I counted on.

With everything behind us, we took a break, traveling up to my mom’s cottage in Beech Mountain, North Carolina. And here I can sit (as I am now) with my laptop open, looking down over a peaceful valley, just unwinding and learning how to write again.

And so much to write.

I’ve got a half-dozen books to review – when my cat was sick, reading was my only opiate, and I plowed through book after book with her frail failing body in my lap, just losing myself in other lives. So now there is a stack of reviews I’ve got to backlog through.

Also had a short story I promised for a group. So I finally got off my ass and got to finishing that. And I had an OpsLog (a model train ops session) report to write. And even a Dog Ear (this one).

So I’m sitting in peaceful surroundings typing away, remembering what I’m doing and checking the Windows date because I don’t know what day it is. But yes, this is nice. I’m glad to see I can still write. I was afraid I’d lost it (in the height of my grief, I had).

But it still doesn’t solve my problems. The work orcs are still there, still building their siege towers to assault my professional position. My cat is still gone – I miss her horribly. And there are more train shows coming up, things that will cost me precious weekends.

But at least I can keep writing. That’s what’s important.

>>>NEARLY AS IMPORTANT AS YOU READING MY BOOKS. GET ONE HERE. LOTS OF FUN TITLES!<<<

 
Backlogged (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 24 August 2017 00:00

ne of the only positive things to come out of the last few weeks (while I watched my feline companion slowly wither to nothing, during which time I inflicted pain to hydrate her and endlessly bothered her to eat) was my reading.

There were a number of things I did to escape from the tragedy taking place. When Mookie was awake and about, I’d tend to her and coo over her. But when she slept, I diverted myself.

Writing? Not a chance. I couldn’t put two thoughts together (and the thoughts that I might have put together were darker than the belly of a whale in the bottom of a coal mine (how would that happen, exactly?)). I couldn’t write. I couldn’t even think of writing. Because writing made me think and thinking made me feel and feeling hurt. Excruciatingly.

So I played Spelunky, over and over and over. And I watched anime, dozens of episodes of the stupidest stuff: T&A harems, giant robots, inline skaters. Even shotgunned through The Legend of Korra, which was good – I’ll have to review that someday.

But I also read. I tore into books, looking for any escape. The usual way I do it (since I book review what I’ve just read) is to finish up and toss the book next to the keyboard, just to the right. Usually I’ll maybe have a book there. Sometimes I have to go looking through the stacks for something I read a while ago that could be reviewed. But this time?

I had a stack of books.

I had Razor Girl (which I just reviewed). And The Girl on the Train (up just a few minutes ago). Then there was This Census-Taker. Lamour’s Utah Blaine, I finished in two days (tossed it onto the stack and Razor came off. And last night, How to be Happy, which was a glorious find.

I’m figuring that people in hospital waiting rooms do this. On long flights, sure, you might read (but you also are on vacation so the book goes dormant). I can’t think of anytime outside of lingering tragedy that we might read so much. And to all the authors who comforted me with their vivacious redheads, their troubled mountaintop children, and their don’t-back-down gunslingers, I thank you. It’s not often that the people of the page  can give us so much comfort. I wrapped myself in paper and escaped the realities of my world.

And now she’s gone. Poor cat.

The pain lingers.

I’ve just started Stone Lake.

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Book Acquaintances (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 17 August 2017 00:00

’ve mentioned this topic in the past but recently a bout of serendipity has brought it to the fore again. Once more, we discover the solidarity of readers.

Event 1 – at the weekly get together at Juniors (not the place my wife and I go to lunch and read at on weekends but the pizza parlor the model train buddies meet at). Was sitting there talking to a couple of guys about Razor Girl, a crime novel I’d just finished. Suddenly Steve, an older guy (practical, levelheaded) tells me that he’s currently reading it too. That surprised me – I actually blinked. Funny to find that we were both reading the book pretty much at the same time.

Event 2 – A few days later, I went to drop my Mini Cooper off at the shop (water leak). Plunked down in the chair opposite the service guy, a young black fellow, friendly and outgoing. He saw my copy of The Girl on the Train, which I had heard about and had picked up in the used bookstore. Yes, he’d read it and had seen the movie, too. The book, he told me, was much better (having just ducked out to see the trailer I’d have to agree). But it was funny to talk about a book where the main character is so unlikable. But it was a fun chat, literature drawing two different people into an honest discussion.

That’s where I was going to leave this blog this morning. But then, as we were waiting in our local weekend diner (Juniors, the first one this time) for a table to clear, an older couple paused while passing us on their way out (I’d been standing there reading Girl again). Turns out the wife had read it and had not quite liked it (the author’s follow-up book was more to her liking). But we chatted about the characters and first-half situations (I showed her my mid-book progress and told her not to spoil it). But it was funny that while considering writing this when we got home, Event 3 just popped right up. Serendipity, indeed.

But I won’t be posting this until Thursday. Let’s see what other tricks the universe might play on me.

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Event 4 – Crazy. Went to Train-Club Juniors last night and told Steve I’d written about him, and that now I was reading The Girl on the Train. And he tells me that he’s reading that book too. Okay, Universe, what are you trying to say? What are the crazy odds that two completely different people (Steve and I only share commonality in trains) would read two books (out of all the millions of books out there), both of them a year out of date, in the same order, a week apart? Weird. Just very weird. I don’t think my life is normal anymore. I think I’m in the Twilight Zone.

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 August 2017 17:02
 
Lower than Whale Shit (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 10 August 2017 00:00

eah, the cat. She’s hanging in there but it’s a heart-ripper all the same.

Years back, I wrote every day at work. I actually wrote Indigoin my lunch breaks, and a lot of the half-way Tubitz and Mergenstein, as well. I’ve knocked out a number of erotic collections (yeah, for sale, and dollars legitimizes anything in America) – how strange to write about heaving sweaty bodies, her fingers reaching down to play him and coax him until he was as hard as a ram, while at the next table over a woman grinds at her kids on her cell for not doing their SAT homework. Many of my seventeen years at this corporation have been spent writing.

Jogging took our the first hit on it – I started jogging with others here to get ready for the Corporate 5k. That has gone on for years now, and people being people, they all dropped out. Now it’s just me with my water bottle and cell phone jogging down the tree-lined corporate-park road (where yuppies in beamers fly so fucking fast), knocking out a couple of miles three noons a week. The leaves two days for writing.

And now the cat.

Even when I do find time, when there isn’t a lunch meeting, brown-bagger (or time-waster), there is the mood issue. My heart is leaden. I just don’t feel like writing. I’ve brought my laptop to write something – short stories or state-of-mind pieces, and munched a sandwich and stared at that white screen of virgin word. Nothing. It’s not writer’s block – I don’t get writer’s block. But I do think it’s depression. And I don’t get it because I am able to write (irony alert – I’m doing it now). But this is a duty, to my DOG EAR commitment, and that provides reason and motive enough. But fun writing, pleasure writing, the stuff that I used to do every lunch, writing five minutes, ten minutes, twenty minutes past back-to-the-desk time, that’s gone. The flame seems extinguished. I can’t find my heart.

It’s really just enough to get home and hug my frail wasted cat and try not to cry. But writing for the joy and contentment of the act? Can’t do it, not anymore.

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