You ain’t a writer if you don’t write
Much to my embarrassment, the last time I wrote a real blog post for this blog–not a shameless advertisement for one of my books–was January 23 of this year. (My other blog is not much better. Last post: August 16, 2019. And that one was preceded by an eight-month hiatus.)
Once I completed The Endless Cycle (a four-book series for middle-grade readers (all installments now available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions (I couldn’t resist (sorry)))) I decided to take some time off to regroup, relax, recover, rethink… and do some jigsaw puzzles.
Time’s up. I have to put something out here to prime the pump for my next large-scale project, one as yet to be decided. So here goes: A brain dump of random strange thoughts that have been piling up.
Lessons I’ve learned from my grandchildren, Part I: Any truly good book has stickers at the end.
I don’t think, therefore… am I?
I love Maine. It’s a beautiful state. My favorite spots are Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, or as we say in Boston: Bah Hahbah and Arcadier National Pahk. (Contrary to popular opinion, we don’t discard our “r”s, we recycle them.) I have one problem with the state, however. They need to put a moratorium on the use of the pathetic pun “Mainely” in their advertising and business names. Driving around the state, you’ll encounter “Mainely Lobster”, “Mainely Antiques”, “Mainely Burgers”, “Mainely Brews”, and Mainey more. Enough already.
Speaking of Maine, on my last trip there, I saw this bumper sticker:
I thought it was a souvenir, but then I noticed it was on Donald Trump’s car. Makes perfect sense.
It’s a shame that the common expression is, “sweat like a pig.” Two fun alliterative alternatives exist: “sweat like a swine” and “perspire like a pig.” Just sayin’.
Here’s some word weirdness that makes me say hmmm…
- Overlook and oversee are opposites. As are “look over” and overlook. Yet an overlook (noun) is something you should look over rather than overlook.
- Loosen and unloosen mean the same thing.
- Flammable and inflammable mean the same thing.
- Valuable and invaluable aren’t quite synonyms but they aren’t the opposites one would expect, given the spelling. Invaluable, in fact, means more valuable. Go figure.
- A one-way mirror is the same thing as a two-way mirror. Good thing streets aren’t like that.
The English language was obviously created by committee.
Working on a new book (actually five of them!) so the blog is lower priority. Hence the sparsity of posts lately. Here’s a quickie that’s been on my mind. A few thoughts spread among a few shots.
Try looking up “Funk & Wagnalls” in your Funk & Wagnalls.
Welcome to a new year. In my younger days, I’d be writing the previous year well into March. Now it’s like a tick of the clock. I started writing 2019 on January 1 without missing a beat.
By my observation, people usually say more than they know yet know more than they’ll say. Some of us err on one side more than the other. But we all do it.
I was in California not too long ago. I saw a truck for a local business called “Leadership Fumigation“. Do you think they’d do a job at the White House?
Coming in March!!
Watch this space for the announcement of my new book series for middle-grade readers:
The Endless Cycle
Life takes up all my time. Even weekends. That’s why I’m often reduced to dumping collected thoughts into posts just to meet my arbitrary weekly deadlines. Thus, here are some dead lines for this deadline:
Why isn’t postcocious a word, the opposite of precocious? It would apply to those who demonstrate an immaturity beyond (before?) their years. No one I know fits that description… outside of that guy in the mirror.
Whenever I watch a movie on DVD, I have to endure the declaration that “Piracy isn’t a victimless crime”. Tell me about it. I just wasted 10 seconds staring at the message.
I love my library. And I love my librarians. Still, I have to ask, how scientific is “library science”?
How lame is it when the news anchors blame the weather forecaster for bad weather? They don’t blame sportscasters when their teams lose. I hope one day to see the weather guy turn it around. (“Hey, Jim, when are you going to stop this rain and send us some sunshine?” “As soon as you stop all those mass shootings, Mary.”)
There are 2 kinds of people in the world: those who separate people into two groups and those who don’t.
Some say there are 10 kinds of people: those who understand binary and those who don’t.
I wish I had a nickel for every empty bottle or can I see thrown on the side of the road. Wait…
Most house fans I’ve owned turn on at the highest speed. Dumb. That’s like a radio with an on/off dial that starts at the highest volume.
Remember when we worried about privacy? We’ve sacrificed it on the altar of social media. As Keith Lowell Jensen wisely observed, “What Orwell failed to predict [in his book “1984”] was that we’d buy the cameras ourselves, and that our biggest fear would be that nobody was watching.”
I was at a food truck event not long ago and took this picture:
When I blow that picture up (below) you can barely make out a disturbing sight in the background: Yes, that’s a bloodmobile. Evidently, they were expecting vampires at this event.
What’s with all the moving graphics?? Watch news or sports on TV and count the number of moving graphical objects on the screen. My ADD nature causes me to watch them obsessively and miss whatever is going on in the program. One more reason I don’t miss “news” broadcasts.
Did anyone notice I blew off last week’s post? I thought not. Here’s what I’ve been up to these days:
- Finishing up my second novel, to be entitled “A Song in the Storm”.
- Prepping for the annual trivia game to raise money for Haitian entrepreneurs.
- Gearing up for my annual bike ride to raise funds to fight MS.
More on all those in later posts. For now, to save more time…
It’s time for Silly Pictures with Rick, the part of the show where Rick shows some silly pictures. (Apologies to Larry the Cucumber.)
I’m a word guy, but whenever I see something that evokes the absurd, I pull out my camera. Phone. Or whatever it is. When enough of them back up, it’s time to dump them on my unsuspecting readers. Consider them all to be writing prompts. There’s bound to be a story behind each one.
This week, here are some photos that capture certain facets of the weird world we live in.
When time is short, I rely on photos to cover my… bases. This is such a post. Herewith, three photos that make me say, “Huh?”
No time this week to devote to a fully developed article.
This excuse might wear on some nerves – I’ve used it more than my share of times – but it can’t be helped. If you knew my situation, I’m certain you would agree. Nevertheless, I’ve made a pact with myself and my readers to put something out here every other week (and on LITL on the in-between weeks). Rather than shortchange you, I’m publishing a longer one than usual… if you buy into the maxim that a picture is worth a thousand words.
For reasons I won’t get into, I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals lately. Based on the way people park in those places, you’d think they were hospitals for antisocial morons. This is just a small sample. There were many, many more examples. A hospital? Come on, folks! As tempting as it is, I would never key a car. But it’s hard to suppress the hope that someone will.
Whenever the subject of book tours is brought up in the company of writers, they all talk about how much they dread them. The travel, the repetitive questions, the crowds or the absence of them. I can’t imagine why they don’t enjoy the experience. If I had a book tour, believe me, I’d make the most of it. Easy to say since the prospect is slim for me. I can always dream.
If it’s any consolation to those jaded scribes, I enjoy hearing author presentations of any kind. The standard format is to have the authors read excerpts from their work then endure a line of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of autograph hounds. Serious RSI potential.
One of my favorite writers, Mark Helprin, did the signing thing but declined to read from his book, claiming that there were only a few great actors in the world and there was no way he could do his prose justice with his weak performance skills. There’s a lot of truth in what he said. What’s the point in hearing him read his own stuff anyway? Usually, I’ve already read it. If I’m there, I’m probably a fan so he doesn’t have to sell me on the book.
Instead of reading, Helprin described fascinating, often bizarre experiences he’d had. Not surprising, since his books are filled with such occurrences. He concluded his talk by urging his readers to follow his example by keeping our eyes open to the amazing things that happen around us all the time. (That’s heavily paraphrased. My addled memory can’t recall his exact words and my comparatively pathetic prose can’t come anywhere near his lofty standard.)
In the spirit of his admonition, and my unwillingness to devote too much time to this post in the face of deadlines and exhaustion, I present some photos of things I’ve observed in recent months. Since each is worth 1,000 words, this could be my longest post of all.
Enjoy, but then go out and have your own experiences.
I saw these two buses drive off a ferry recently. Which one would you prefer to ride, “Elite” or “Lamers”?
This is what’s called a “no-brainer”. Who’s the marketing wizard who came up with “Lamers” for a name? It’s almost certainly a person’s name – a person who put his (or her) ego before the company’s best interests.