Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Elmore Leonard

So long to Elmore Leonard, who died yesterday at the age of 87.  Leonard was, to put it lightly, an inspiration.  He wrote clever, real, entertaining novels that made you laugh, cringe and learn something about our shared humanity.  Finding novels like that - written "with just the good parts" - was, and continues to be, a revelation.  His TV show Justified has been one of the best.  Ever.

Leonard's career didn't take off until he was 60 years old.  I find a bit of inspiration in that as well.  Elmore, you will always be cool.

Monday, August 19, 2013

First Date

After swearing for the third time in my life that I was done, tonight I start writing a new novel.  The feeling is a little like a first date.  A tingle in the stomach – excitement from the vast expanse of possibility.  A vast that includes all the great things that can happen shadowed by the terrible, which is why I've quit so many times.

There is a particular kind of high that comes only from creating, and I think I may be addicted to it.  A runner’s high or that charge gamblers get.  There is also a peculiar disappointment deriving from the creation’s failure.  Deep and bewildering.  It is, for the most part, never worth the risk.  It is not better to have written and lost than to have never written at all.  Seriously.  It’s not.

Yet here I am again, because my publisher thought this last novel of mine might have a world interesting enough to warrant another book or two.  That is a wink.  A tiny smile.  And, of course, all someone like me needs to say “let’s get together every night at nine for the next year.”  Alcoholics don’t have one drink.  I, apparently, don’t flirt - I marry.  What do you say to someone who wants to get married for like the seventh time?  

I do, I guess.  That's what I said.  For better or for worse.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Urban Green Man

Yesterday I received my very own copy of The Urban Green Man in the mail.  It’s an anthology of 31 stories, one of which is the first short piece I’ve sold since . . . well . . . let’s just say the Obama years have not been good for shorty story production.  The whole ‘yes we can’ was followed by ‘find better things to do than add to our rejection slip collection.’

While it is always thrilling to get a story out into the public – I write to be read, not for the money, never ever for the money – this book puts my name in the same index as Susan MacGregor, Susan Forest, Billie Milholland, Suzanne Church – after an into by Charles de Lint, whose work has delighted me for years.

Thank you to Adria Laycraft and Janice Blaine for the opportunity.  I hope my contribution is never singled-out in a review with the words “except for.”

Friday, August 2, 2013

Can you see me in a monocle?

I’ve always had odd tastes.  Wore a pith helmet quite a bit between the years of 9 and 11.  I have no interest in motorcycles without a sidecar.  So my attraction to the monocle is suspect. After whipping out and folding away reading glasses for the last six months, my suspicions have changed.  The monocle may have a place on the face.

Warby Parker, makers of beautiful eyeglass frames, also puts out a monocle, designed for one of its high-grade prescription lenses. I know the hipster market is flush, but a good monocle approaches $100.  This is not a steam punk or Halloween costume accessory.  Is there really a market?  The question has bothered me ever since I stumbled across the devices. 

Because they are weird and eccentric and if I had a legitimate reason . . . Anyway, I know for a fact that I don’t always need reading glasses.  I frequently need assistance – I can’t see who’s calling me or texting me without squinting really, really hard.  Two lenses at full magnification are not necessary for a glance.  Pull them out, open the arms, now both hands are occupied, making an incoming phone call a complete physical commitment, which it shouldn’t be.  If I’m checking to see who’s calling, not simply answering, it’s because I was already doing something or equal or greater weight to new communication.

A little lens – a one-hander that let me check my phone, that could be cool, in a Col. Mustard, Prof. Moriarty, I’m totally going to take over the world kind of way.  Paired with a silk ascot and a .9mm Luger . . . see, I’m doing it again.  In the end, I can’t really trust my own tastes.  I will use a monocle after Ryan Gosling starts.  There.  A line on the blotter.