Not only are the gods not smiling upon me, but they've spit on me, slammed
the door in my face, and hung out a "don't call us, we'll call you" sign.
I went to bed Sunday night feeling a little congested. I woke up
Monday morning, just barely. I went downstairs to shave and could
barely stand. It was as if the gyros in my head had gone off kilter.
(I really should invest in those new-fangled laser gyros.) And who
switched my light-weight, ultra compact Braun razor with their thirteen
pound heavy gravity model?
Needless to say, I called in sick. (Although I can probably get just as
much sleep at work--I know where all the good hiding spots are.)
Tuesday wasn't any better. By Wednesday I was feeling almost human
again, which exceeds the Canadian Armed Forces recruitment requirements,
so it was back to work. I have to admit, I was still pretty dopey
all day, and people often had to say things to me two or three times before
I caught on. Oddly enough, no one mentioned noticing any difference
Last night, the water heater just up and quit, but not before returning
all our water. Oh well, the basement floor needed steam cleaning
anyway. Of course, that meant going to work this morning all smelly.
(Again, no one seemed to notice the difference.) The plumbers showed
up at ten thirty to replace the heater, and promptly broke my wife's vase.
He offered to pay for it, and I felt bad about that, seeing it was a $70
vase and all, but then he just whipped out his wallet and counted out the
cash. Suddenly I didn't feel so bad anymore. Anyone who carries
that kind of pocket change around doesn't deserve my sympathy. Besides,
he'll probably just tack it on to the bill when he gives it to the military
Anyway, between being sick and all, I didn't get any writing done.
I vaguely remember doing some research on Voodoo, but I can't recall much
of it, or even why I decided to research Voodoo. I'm hoping it was
for the book, but then again, with me you never know.
People are constantly complaining about life. Most of us probably
aren't all that satisfied with where we are or where we seem to be going.
Of course, there's always some upbeat cretin (who's probably doing better
than you, so what does he know) telling you to, "Cheer up, things could
be worse." And they're right. There are people starving in
Third World Countries, dying of diseases that we thought were eradicated
a hundred years ago, living in squalor, and just struggling to survive.
But I don't live there. I live in North America, and my expectations
are higher. It's not fair to compare my situation with that of some
poor tribesman in some Third World Country. Compared to the Trumps,
the Gates, and the Turners, I must seem little better off than some
starving wretch. No, I measure my success and failure against my
Of course, that's not exactly fair either. Let's face it, that guy
at your office who's doing better than you might just be smarter, better-looking,
and more personable than you are. Maybe they're just better at doing
your job. I read in a report recently that most incompetent people
don't have the necessary tools to realise just how incompetent they are.
In other words, they're not smart enough to figure out that they are, in
fact, stupid, or at least not qualified to do any better than they are.
In some cases, they may already have exceeded their level of expertise,
so they're already ahead of the game.
So, in the words of Jack Nicholson: "What if this is as good as it gets?"
You may have already achieved peaked performance, in which case it's all
downhill from here. So maybe that cretin was right. Cheer up--it
could be worse.
A good friend of mine, and a talented writer, got the ďthanks but no thanks,Ē
treatment from the Warnerís First Novel Contest recently. While Iím
genuinely sorry for his rejection, I have to admit it raised my own spirits,
and not in an ďI made it and he didnítĒ sort of way. Itís not because I
donít have to worry about competing against him, either. Itís that,
to be totally honest, I didnít think that the fact that they asked for
the rest of my manuscript was all that big a deal. Itís a first novel
contest, after all. I pretty much figured that as long as you didnít
submit in crayon, your grammar was passable, your synopsis demonstrated
a logical plot and resolution, and your opening line wasnít, ďIt was a
dark and stormy night,Ē theyíd at least ask to see the rest of your
manuscript. (Although I was tempted to start the sequel to
Darkside with, ďIt was a dark and stormy night--no, really. It was.Ē
My friendís rejection made me realise that this was simply not the case.
In my honest opinion, heís a better writer than I am. That they would
turn down something of the quality of work that he submitted made me realise
that maybe my being asked to submit the entire manuscript was much more
of an accomplishment after all. That maybe I really do have a shot
at this. Or at the least, if it doesnít win this competition, some
publisher somewhere will want it. So while Iím sorry he didnít make
the cut, it was a real boost to my ego. And when it comes to writing,
I can use every boost I get.
On a less selfish note, I finished the first chapter of Darkside 2.
Which means now it's on to chapter two of Jinae.
It was a beautiful, sunny day today. That may not sound like much
to you, but it's been a rare occurrence around here lately. We set
the record for most rainfall in June by June 15 this year, and it still
hasn't let up. The ground can't absorb any more of the rain, and
the water lies in pools on people's lawns, and in the parks and playing
fields. It's supposed to rain again tomorrow. What I wouldn't
give for two straight days of sunshine. I don't even care if they're
on the weekend or not. All this rain really saps your will to live.
I keep humming that little song from the old Hee Haw show.
Gloom , despair, and agony on me.
Deep, dark depression. Excessive misery.
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all.
Gloom, despair, and agony on me.
And now for the band update. As you may or may not know, my band
broke up. Our bass player quit the military and moved to Montreal.
Since the bass player was leaving, our guitar player decided to quit too.
Then the bass player decided he would make the trip from Montreal to Trenton
to play on the weekends, so of course, our guitar player got posted to
Winnipeg (which is much too far to drive.) As the guitar player is
due to retire soon anyway, he decided to fight the posting.
In the meantime, our back up singer's boyfriend took a job in some ungodly
part of the country, and she moved away with him. As luck would have
it, they decided not to post our guitar player to Winnipeg, but to Borden,
and not until next May. On hearing the happy news, our singer got
pregnant. So that leaves us with a drummer (me), a guitar player
who may or may not be posted next year, a bass player who has to drive
three and a half hours to get here, and no singers. Things are definitely
On the writing front, I only managed to write about three hundred words
today on Jinae chapter two, but they were good words--words I've never
used before--like taciturn.
The Vatican finally revealed the third secret of Fatima after eighty-three
years of secrecy. Over the years, the Vatican's refusal to make the
secret public has inspired doomsday cults convinced it predicted the end
of the world. And what was this dreadful secret? This event
so terrible that the church felt compelled to keep it to themselves in
order to preserve the sanity of the masses? It predicted the rise
of Communism in the 20th century and its persecution of Christianity, and
foretold the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul. That's
I'm no conspiracy theorist, but it sure sounds like a cover-up to me.
I'm pretty sure I could have handled the news without mass panic and rioting
in the streets. (Then again, there's rioting in the streets when the home
team loses a hockey game, so maybe there'd just be a little bit of the
rioting, and no mass panic.)
I don't quite buy it anyway. The actual vision was of an "angel with
a flaming sword." They then saw "a bishop dressed in white . . .
passing through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting
step, afflicted with pain and sorrow (and) he prayed for the souls of corpses
he met on his way." When he reached the top of a mountain "he was
killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him" and
bishops, priests and nuns and others "died one after the other."
That sounds like a hell of a lot more than a failed assassination attempt
to me. It's like me dreaming that I'd be in a horrible twenty car
pileup on the highway where they'd have to amputate my leg to free me,
then stubbing my toe on the door while getting our of the car and thinking,
"Whew! I'm glad I dodged that bullet."
On the writing front, I added about another three hundred words to Jinae.
Not good enough, I know. But I'm trying.
Someone put up pictures of female bodybuilders in the gym yesterday.
I'm not sure that's a good idea. I find it kind of discouraging when
I realise that if I work out religiously every day, maintain a strict diet,
and down my weight in Turbo Blast and MetaboLean, someday I just might
look as good as her.
And what's with these old guys running marathons and stuff? I'm sick
of watching seventy-eight year old geriatrics running the Boston marathon
while towing a freight car with their teeth. Damn overachievers!
I know I'm supposed to find it inspirational, but it only drives home the
point that I can never stop exercising. I've been working out hard
for as long as I can remember; maybe even longer. I need an excuse
to stop, and these guys are ruining it for me. Of course, at their
age, all that health food probably doesn't seem so bad. It's not
like they can taste it, and odds are they have to eat their steak pureed
anyway, whether they want to or not.
I had a brief discussion with Steve Nagy the other night, about what it
takes to get read, never mind published. You keep hearing from the
editors how the first line has to grab their attention, or at least the
first page, or they don't bother to read further. Yet time and time
again I read novels that are actually rather dull until you get quite a
ways into them. I could understand if they were novels by big name
authors with proven track records, but often I'm talking about an author's
first novel. What I want to know is, how do they get away with this?
Just who do you have to sleep with to get your novel read?
Of course, having met a fair number of writer's recently, I highly doubt
that sleeping with the editor was the way to go. Have you seen these
people? Most authors are more likely to look like Angela Lansbury
than Angelina Joli. And Steven King? Puh-lease! I can't
imagine any editor so hot to bed these in-crowd rejects that publishing
deals are exchanged for sexual favours. To be honest, most of the
editors are a damn fine better looking lot than ninety percent of the writers,
and tend to be a lot younger too.
No, I'm sticking with blackmail. I'm pretty sure if I stalk...er...follow
one of them around long enough, I should be able to get something juicy
on them. Who knows, I might even catch one of them in a tryst with
some bone-ugly hack writer. If I'm lucky they might even be related.
That should net me a multiple book deal for sure.
Um...there aren't any publishers reading this journal...are there?