Dog Ear
Grateful (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 12 January 2017 00:00

ery nice lunch the other day. An old friend - a really old friend - a guy I knew like 30 years ago - contacted me and wanted to have lunch. Sure, love to. Then he mentioned that he would like to have me sign a book for his son. (yeah, it has been that long). So sure, we met and I signed the book with a big flourish and all sorts of personalized jokes - I love signing books. We ended up chatting about things, some of which will follow in the next DOG EAR.

But that was the thing - I got to make another sale. Sure, it's work chump change after Amazon or whoever strips off their cut. But its nice to know that I made some money, that I reacquainted with a friend, that we had a good time (and that we stayed at lunch hours longer than expected).

If I needed further evidence of this, only the other day (just before Christmas) my wife pointed out that Amazon had given us about $35 bucks from all the holiday sales. I haven't gone in to look but that's a modest bump over the trickle I usually receive. And sure, in some cases, it's because of people who know / knew / wished-they-hadn't-known me. And sometimes maybe the Amazon search engine takes pity on me and bumps someone over to my book. And maybe, I'd like to hope, that sometimes this column (this and the book reviews) brings people over. After all, I've written 250 or so DOG EARS and 260 reviews. And every one of them has a link to my purchasing page. When you think about it, these years of blogging equate to nearly a novel in themselves (so look at all the free stuff you are getting!).

Anyway, yes, so thanks to new readers who picked up my book this way or that. I appreciate the support. And thanks to all my readers who follow my day-to-days in my efforts to read and write and share.

This is, after all, a labor of love.

And like the best of charities, very little goes towards my profit.


Last Updated on Thursday, 12 January 2017 08:56
Desperate (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
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
Written by Administrator   
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
Written by Administrator   
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!)



Page 10 of 71