Jun 8 
          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 in me. 
          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 housing office. 
          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. 

Jun 9 
          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 contemporaries. 
          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. 

Jun 25 
          A good friend of mine, and a talented writer, got the “thanks but no thanks,” treatment from the Warner’s First Novel Contest recently.  While I’m genuinely sorry for his rejection, I have to admit it raised my own spirits, and not in an “I made it and he didn’t” sort of way. It’s not because I don’t have to worry about competing against him, either.  It’s that, to be totally honest, I didn’t think that the fact that they asked for the rest of my manuscript was all that big a deal.  It’s a first novel contest, after all.  I pretty much figured that as long as you didn’t submit in crayon, your grammar was passable, your synopsis demonstrated a logical plot and resolution, and your opening line wasn’t, “It was a dark and stormy night,” they’d at least  ask to see the rest of your manuscript.  (Although I was tempted to start the  sequel to Darkside with, “It was a dark and stormy night--no, really.  It was.”
          My friend’s rejection made me realise that this was simply not the case.  In my honest opinion, he’s 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 doesn’t win this competition, some publisher somewhere will want it.  So while I’m sorry he didn’t 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. 

Jun 26 
          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 looking up. 
          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. 

Jun 27 
          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 it?  
           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. 

Jun 28 
          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. 

Jun 29 
          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?