I thought I had a quiet evening to myself the other night. Pen had
to work late (11:00 PM) and there wasn't really anything pressing that
I had to do. I planned to read, watch a little TV, snack. Pen
had other plans. She decided that I should go pick up the treadmill
we'd been thinking of buying. "It'll only take you a little while."
To pick it up, maybe, but then she'd expect me to have it all put together
and ready to go for when she got home. Of course, she had an
answer for that one too. "It says it's easy to assemble." What
a relief. I was afraid she wanted me to pick up the one that comes with
the warning label - Caution: A Real Bitch To Put Together.
As luck would have it, our local Canadian tire store didn't have one in
stock. Pen was undaunted. She called the store in Belleville,
a neighboring city, and of course they had one in stock. So the five
minute drive turns into a twenty minute drive (one way.) The kid
at the store was nice enough to wheel the huge box it came in out to the
car for me, but of course when I got it home, I was on my own. I
could have used some of that ancient egyptian pyramid technology to drag
this huge cardboard slab into the house, but I managed with only
a minor hernia and a few popped blood vessels. By the time I deciphered
the instructions (another place where ancient egyptian would come in handy)
and got the thing together, Pen was home. So much for relaxing.
I got even with her, though. That huge cardboard box is still kicking
around our living room.
On a writing related note, Karin commented on her own web page that she
didn't know if non writers or actors could understand that it was possible
to feel affection for someone who doesn't exit. Of course they do,
Karin. Fans do it all the time. Just ask authors who have received
pleas, or worse yet, hate mail, demanding that they bring back a character
that they've killed off. Or asking how they could write that Debbie
would marry Burt, when Craig was really the guy for her. It's our
job as writers to make sure that readers feel for someone who doesn't exist.
We must create characters that the readers can identify with, love, or
hate. That is probably the most important task that a writer must
accomplish in his work. But then, Karin knows this. I've read
Why is it that the things that can't be definitively proven one way or
another are the ones we wish to believe in the most? Things
like God, or life after death, UFOs and extra terrestrials, magic and ESP.
It must be a subsection of that same inane universal law that states that
anything that tastes good must be fattening, or bad for you. Of course,
that never stopped anyone believing in God, or UFOs, any more than it stops
them from eating food that they know is bad for them.
You'd think that after a few million years of evolution mankind would have
managed to answer at least one of these questions, or developed potato
chips that are low in calories and fat, and don't give you the runs when
you eat them. Who knows, maybe the two categories are more closely
linked than we think. I bet you if we created these wonderful new
potato chips, aliens would land and buy a couple of bags, thereby proving
their existence to mankind as well. (Sure, they'd probably be fat,
overweight aliens, but it's a start.) And if you could design a Twinkie
that was low in fat and sodium, high in protein, and cured baldness--hell,
if that ain't magic, I don't know what is.
Who'd of thunk that junk food cold hold all the answers to the mysteries
of the universe. Cool, eh?
Pen and I went to the movies last night to see Frequency, with Dennis Quaid--a
pretty cool flick, I might add. Anyway, while we were waiting for
the movie to start, I glanced over at Pen and there she was, legs crossed
in that way only women seem to be able to manage, and filing away at her
fingernails. When she asked me what I was laughing at, I told her,
"No one could ever acuse you of being butch." So she spit on me.
No, not really. She just called me a big brute and threatened to
take my popcorn away--but I think my version is funnier.
By the way, Caroline, my theory on dogs and running still holds up.
The only reason I manage to be "sporty" is because I'm too stuborn to quit
when I'm tired, or hurting, or old. Which, when you come to think
of it, really isn't all that bright either.
Woo hoo! My web site has had over a thousand visitors as of today.
So what if eleventy-four of them were me. In a related note, the
odometer in my car hit 225,000 kilometres today. For some odd reason
I'm not quite as overjoyed at that milestone.
I started to plot out the sequel to Darkside today (tentatively titled
Darkside ll--hey, I save the creativity for the important stuff!)
As usual, my plot outlines leave something to be desired. Just a
few ideas jotted down here and there about things that might happen, an
overview of the book--okay, a distant overview. All right, an overview
as seen through the Hubbell telescope! It's not like I ever follow
the stupid things anyway. They're just an excuse to start writing.
I use the outlines to trick myself into thinking that I know what I'm doing,
and once I've started the book, it's too late to stop. Then I'm stuck
writing without an outline again, letting the book lead me wherever it
wants to. Heck, why should this book be any different than the other
I'm getting old. I've been working out hard this last month, but
I seem to be going downhill. Obviously I'm over-training. What's
the point of being in great shape if you're too tired and sore from your
workouts to function? When I was younger this didn't happen.
Sure, I can still kick butt, except now I need a couple of days to rest
and recuperate before, not just after.
On the writing front, Warner Aspect requested the rest of Darkside, which
means it's made it past the first stage of the competition. The letter
was encouraging--sort of. It was a form letter, addressed to "Dear
Author." Still, that's the first time anyone ever called me an author
before. I spent most of this week making sure the manuscript was
nice and presentable before I mail it out. I've been trying to plot
out the sequel, but so far I've only got a couple of scenes in mind,
and a general idea of what I'm looking at. Nothing I'm happy with.
Maybe I should just start writing. That's always worked for me before.
Okay, it's time for me to pick on the ballet again. That's part of
the agreement I have with my wife. I'll go with her, but only if
I get to make fun of it later. We went to see Cinderella. In
all fairness it was pretty cool--great sets, great costumes, great athletes.
Before the performance began, they announced that instead of the regular
dancer, the title role of Cinderella would be danced by...well, someone
I'd never heard of. (A fact which shouldn't come as too much of a
surprise.) I had to wonder why they just didn't use the other two
girls who normally performed the part, but no, they went with a second
soloist. I'm not sure how they decided on who would be playing what
part at casting that afternoon, but I got the impression that this girl
won it by being the only one without a chair after the music stopped playing.
She did do an excellent job though, which leads me to believe that maybe
this ballet thing isn't all that tough after all. I envisioned a
dancers strike, where the company brought in replacement dancers, scouring
the local ballet schools, discos, and strip bars to fill their quota.
I can see it now. "The part of Cinderella will be performed tonight
by Miss Cherry Forever, who will be signing autographs in the lobby during
the first intermission. Lap dances are extra." Well, maybe
I think I’ve figured out the secret to fine dining, at least the pricing.
Apparently, the more they can make your salad look like they dug it out
of the compost heap or scraped it off the bottom of the lawn mower, the
more they can charge you for it. Anything someone would have to double-dog-dare
a kid to eat costs a fortune. Things like escargot (snails), pate
(goose liver), caviar (fish eggs) and lamb fries (sheep’s testicles) comes
to mind. I’d hate to see what the going rate for a plate of worms
or bugs is.
And it seems that by the time the restaurant has finished paying for those
huge, over-sized plates, there’s not much left in the budget for food.
At least that would explain the minuscule portions, though that may be
a blessing in disguise. I mean, who actually wants a heaping plate
of fish eggs or sheep’s tesicles?
And lobster or crab? I make it a rule never to eat anything that
looks like it would eat me first given the chance. Though in all
fairness, I believe those two crustaceans (even the species name is unappetising)
would prefer to feast of my dead carcass rather than my live one.
(Which still doesn’t put the critters on my list of “yummy to eat.”)
I was watching a program on the Space Channel today about prophetic visions
people have had during near death experiences. And yes, I do have
better things to do with my time--just stay off my back! Anyway,
this one woman drowned in a pool while doing backflips, and saw that an
uncle of hers would commit suicide. She was resuscitated, and sure
enough, a couple of years later her uncle did. A short while later
she drowned again when she fell out of her inner tube, and saw visions
of earthquakes and volcanoes along the Pacific Rim. If you
ask me, this woman should do everyone a favour and just stay out of the
Why is it that the only people who tend to have these experiences and visions
tend to live in trailer parks? I'd kill (or die) to have something
like that happen to me, not that I'm any more of a reliable source, Id
guess. Let's face it, I'm a Speculative Fiction author. How
would you know I didn't just make it up. Of course, that never stopped
Scientologists. Hey, I could start my own religion. Rule
1. Do what you will, just keep your mitts off of my stuff.
2. Charity starts at home--preferably my home. 3. Anything
good that happens is my doing. Anything bad is...um...the Back Street
Boys. (Always have a fall guy.)
I started on the sequel to Darkside today. Not much, just a few hundred
words. I know I said I wasn't going to write until I had the synopsis
and query letters complete for Darkside and Naejin, but there's a big difference
between rest and recuperation and just plain goofing off. To be honest,
I wasn't getting much done on the synopsis/query letter front anyway.
I have a synopsis for Darkside that I'm happy with, but that's about it.
I'm still not happy with the query letter, and I've made barely a dent
in the synopsis for Naejin.
I know it really doesn't do me a lot of good to write novels and then keep
them to myself. If I'm ever going to make it as a writer I've got
to get them out there. I just really suck at the salesman end of
the business. I'm a writer damn it, not an ad man! Charlie
said something about being able to boil your book down into one or two
sentences. Hmm. How about Interview with a Vampire meets
Army of Darkness? No? I told you I suck at this.
I read in an art book yesterday that when drawing older people, you should
make the nose and ears a little larger than you normally would. Apparently,
they said, the nose and ears keep growing as you get older. If there
is a God, He/She/It must be one hell of a practical joker. First,
He/She/It designs man so that he'll lose the hair on his head as he gets
older, and grow it in weird places like his back, ears, eyebrows and nose.
(Hey, maybe that's why the nose and ears keeps growing. He/She/It
had to make room for all that extra hair.) Then, as if your head
doesn't already look goofy enough, your nose and ears keep getting
bigger. Let's face it, if something has to keep growing as I get
older, my ears and nose would be last on my list. I'll leave it to
you to guess what would be first.
On a somewhat happier note, I wrote some more on Darkside 2 today.
Only a couple of pages in, and I've already blown my plot outline out of
the water. I knew that would happen. Anyway, I guess it's time
I get back to my thousand word a day goal. I'll finish this chapter,
then write a chapter of Jinae, then back to Darkside 2, until I'm finished.
At least that's the plan. That's if something bright and shiney doesn't
catch my eye first.