[See the 12/21/2020 update at the end of this post]
Hi friends and loyal fans. That promise to be back with you in a “few days” seems to have put a slightly adjusted time frame on the notion of the word “few.” Sorry about that. But there have been a number of things going on in my/our world that have slowed down my writerly time table.
Our dog Lucy died last spring and there was a bit of grieving that needed to be done. We live on a large property so we buried her beneath a sprawling English walnut tree at the foot of a forsythia bush that she enjoyed hiding toys and taking naps under. Our little chunk of the world is now guarded by the spirits of Chewy the wonder dog, Elvis the guitar playing cat, and Lucy the world’s fastest canine outfielder.
I’ve taken up pottery to further clutter our book-laden domicile and provide an additional excuse to procrastinate when writer’s block beckons. Part of the nice weather lent itself to the consideration of constructing an outbuilding to help declutter the garage and surrounds and potentially house a ceramics studio. Initially the site for that was envisioned in an area that required moving about fifty feet of fencing and clearing the understory of several thirty year old spruce trees. The fencing and clearing was accomplished just about the same time we decided on an alternate location on the property.
Covid also prompted us to put in a full veggie garden “just in case.” It seems Covid has had us doing a lot of “just in case” activities, some of which have turned out to be more relevant than others, but while it may not hold off what seemed like a potential famine that some prognosticators warned of it did, again, help with procrastination in another very healthy capacity, both dietarily and fitness-wise. Our neighbors have also appreciated the roughly 3x over planting we seemed to have accomplished. That again is another smart writer’s procrastination planning as we enter into the high rpm harvest period.
We did manage to work in two brief land trips to visit relatives and relax in the great outdoors between lock down periods. Wife Linda helped her aunt Lois move from her home of some 50 years into a condo to make wintering in Fargo, ND a bit less daunting. Freed of snow-blowing and yard work she promises to be a more freqent visitor to the Northwestern reaches of the clan. Left at home alone, of course I had to take over the full spectrum of household chores in addition to the yardwork and puppy rearing.
Oh, I didn’t mention that we adopted a five month old mixed breed pup from a shelter in Hailey. Roxie is known to be half black lab, and half unidentified “other.” While unidentified we have nearly certainly concluded the other half is atomic bomb. She’s loveable, but she is a handful!
The summer’s coup de gras came literally “on the winds of change” a couple weeks ago when a violent cold weather front laid a 30 year old Austrian pine on the roof of our house and damanged another, requiring a week’s work involving tree removal and related property cleanup. Home ownership sure is fun! Thankfully there was virtually no damage to the house itself.
I’m engaged in a couple of community organizations that have been going through some desperate times as we all work to cope with CoVid. Linda and I have a strong sense of community commitment and decided that this time of stress and quiet turmoil demanded we live our values and put our shoulders to the wheel. For my part it has been in partial hope of providing new story fodder as we learn entirely new things about the human condition and human behavior in these circumstances that only a few years ago would have been inconceivable, but that have exerted their reality with a vengence.
But there is a bit of writerly news. I’ve been pecking away slowly at a couple of dormant novels, that seem more timely and worthy of fruition of late. I have a couple new short stories brewing and aimed at submission in the coming weeks. I’ll share info on those when the time comes.
My story “Transient Pains” is now available in “The Golden Door” an anthology edited by Jamie Ferguson and available from Universal Book Link ~ Amazon ~ Apple Books ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo. If you are interested in stories related to the challenges and achievement of diverse societies born of immigration and multi-culturalism, this is the book for you.
My story “Between the Zeros and Ones” won first place in NewMyths.com’s 2020 Readers’ Choice Award competition. It will be published this fall in the themed anthology “Neosapiens.” The anthology draws from the full gamut of stories published by NewMyths. The editors selected six stories and poems for the competition. Those will be joined by a larger assortment of related stories and poems that touch on the nature and challenges of humanity as we literally step into a new epoch when our species will be capable of literally re-engineering itself gene by gene, molecule by molecule, implant by implant and so on. Look for Neosapiens at Amazon possibly as early as mid November.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who has been hooking back up with me. Getting this update out today was particularly gratifying since my main computer suffered a hard drive crash a week ago, and while I was able to “recover” 100% of it’s content, the recovery software did a good job of mishmashing the storage architecture of all my files. If that weren’t enough, today in accessing Word Press a single keystroke of operator error nearly blew my website out of the water.
If the fates are doing this to help keep me “occupied” and prevent boredom during “The Plague Year” I would kindly ask them to KNOCK IT OFF!
Stay in touch and stay safe. Wash your hands. Wear your mask. Socially distance. And I promise you’ll be hearing back from me “soon…er…” ;o)
I’ll be blogging again before the end of the year. But I wanted you to know that NewMyths.com’s editor, Scott Barnes, informed me a couple days ago that the publication date of Neosapiens has been pushed back to Spring. Scott apologizes, but it seems he and his crew have also experienced some speedbumps in recent months. The crew of NewMyths.com are great folks and they’ve been supportive of my writing for years. So, I’m not complaining. In fact I wish them all well for the Holidays and hope they get through to the other side of their share of unexpected stuff in these hard 2020 times we’ve all been working hard to cope with. More in a few days…