The local library probably has more actual "books" inside their doors than the last "bookstore" you were in. Still, most of them are now lending e-books and actual e-reading devices, and I am sure they are not lying awake all night worrying if they are doing the right thing. Which thing? Take your pick. This is going to be kind of like those books you buy in the gas station when you are on a long road trip and they fill in the blanks in the story and then you are supposed to laugh or marvel.
Anyway, it is moot. Libraries run on tax dollars, right? Not counting the tote bags they sell and the money that they get from over due fines, and from the used book sale and that box in the corner of the hall full of unclassifiables that are twenty five cents a piece. Oh, no. Wait. Now those are free. They have the unclassifiables shelved and priced now.
(Aside) I used to take a book I owned and had finished reading and put it on that shelf. Hardcovers 50 cents, paperback, 25 cents. One day I got "caught". You have to put it in a special slot so it can be catalogued. A person does this, a library employee, paid with your tax money. Not a volunteer. I asked her why they decided to do it that money wasting way and were they afraid someone would not put down the quarter or the two quarters that they were charging for books people left off for free? I guess our town is so safe and secure that they do not have a training program at the library for new hires on how to deal with the local anarchist. I just set my book on the shelf while making a noise that I hope sounded like a wry chuckle and not a threat and left. She can stick it in the slot herself.
Anyway, I just read another article about how Penguin is determined to crush the world of publishing and reading under their heel, or maybe that is the wrong metaphor. Maybe Penguin is actually trying to bring the world of publishing to its knees. Heels, knees, what ever. Now they will not give the author of the book a copy of his own book pre-release, unless he pays $300. Why did he NOT upload his MS to Adobe Books before he sent it to them? Well, someone said then he is not seeing any of the final edits. Lora Leigh sells like hotcakes, and you would go through two red pencils sitting and editing any of her books just for fun. The same rule applies to the cover art, or the facsimile of the actual cover, or something. And everyone is ringing in, which is I guess what I am doing here, and wringing their hands about rights and DRM and piracy.
I am small potatoes. I do no promo and I drop off the map in two or three months. But I did enough business back in the day when I cared about being a writer to win a spot in someone's algorithm so if someone buys even one of my titles, my rating jumps way up. Of course that probably doesn't mean anything to most of you since you don't know anything about purchasing one of my titles since you have no experience at that sort of thing. (Yeah. Bitchy.) During one promotion when I was able to offer Sacred Sin for free, I had over 6,000 downloads. The day after the freebie was over I had eight cash sales (no returns) and shortly thereafter, in one day, which I remember clearly, cuz it never happened again, I had thirty two cash sales of different titles. I have had (few) cash sales in Germany, France, and Italy and I do pretty good in New Zealand for some reason. I am building up to this. As an Indie I may have had equal or less success than most, but most of the stats I have read state that I have sold more than the average Joe E-pubber. Well, actually it said I made more money than Joe. And this is my point. I am on Pirate sites. Some let you download a PDF for free. I saw one the other day that was charging more for my Anymore than I do. I don't see a cent of that money. I actually find it flattering. They go on about DRM which has been a non-issue for at least four years. You can find how to break DRM in dozens of places on the net. They talk about having a real publisher, a real agent, a real book. I net more on a single copy of my book than almost anyone who goes through the traditional method. Unless it keeps selling for years, like Harry Potter but not like Shades of Gray which is already dropping out of sight.
I cannot understand the furor they are trying to create. It is like they are screaming from the bottom of a well and there is a hurricane roaring right over head of that well. I know they have to try. I know there are firm believers, but how many JKRowlings come along? Not enough to make more than one publishing house happy. That David Foster Wallace was goopy and he is gone. Did you read him? Did you try? I tried. I think I checked out a Franzen but returned it unread. I read this book that knocked my socks off about this guy that was having weird dreams and deja vus and then a missile crashed into his office building and I never saw a review of it and I cannot remember the title much less the author's name.
Maybe I will never publish another book. Maybe I am a flop. Maybe I am jealous. But that is all about me trying to be an author. Me being a reader, I have the creds. And I know these people are barking up the wrong tree. (That happened just before they fell in that well. )
Did you see that movie Happy Feet? They inserted a huge electronic tracking module into the body of this famous dancing penguin and he was happy. There is surely a metaphor in there somewhere.
I am going to try to move the posts from what I wanted to be another separate blog over here. I kind of can't get the mileage out of it that I had hoped for. I will post them separately and try to put them in the right order. If I copy them all into one post it will be quite long and I know some of you prefer the twitter-like postings. I tend to go on and on, no matter what. So there will be four or five repeats. But I like them and want to share them with you. I would appreciate your comments as, so far, my remarks have made some folks very unhappy.
There are so many things that women know, either from experience or education, that men will never know. In most cases, it would not matter if we revealed these things to them because they would not understand. This is partly genetic, and partly because of the male to female language barrier, and surely, in some instances at least, directly attributable to the male art of selective hearing.
I am going to explore this phenomenon in this blog. Some of the revelations will be personal, some conjecture, and some reader contribution. I will not differentiate for you.
Also share your arguments, should you disagree with my content. Some of that will definitely be used for blog fodder. You can also do this in the captcha free comment area.
There is a confidential blog for women in which they are guaranteed anonymity. The Secret Society of Women. You can read the most amazing stuff there. It has its usual share of arguments about cloth versus disposable diapers, global warming, what have you read lately, why I don’t want to have kids, what a cute thing Poopsie did to the back of my couch, etc. Its many forums cover just about anything. It regularly lists the porno sites that they feel, or their contributing readers feel, are the most female friendly. The site, and others like it, (Google!!) cover a wide variety of sexual orientation and taste. For the record, this particular blog I have named has been hacked twice, at least to my knowledge, and males have tried to pass off the most outrageous contributions and remarks as female. They have also attacked, as male, some of the content. This is just a note to remind you that, on the Internet, you probably should never assume you are sharing something that you don’t want attributed or associated with yourself.
It is amazing to me, even now, after many, many years of marriage, what a woman will not tell her husband. Some of it, I am positive, is best left unsaid. Some of it might be helpful to the general well-being of the actual marriage if it was shared. Much of it, the guy involved, and I cannot speak for homogenous unions, although I am sure this applies in some respects, does not care about and wishes you had never brought it up at all. Sometimes you might hear, “Why didn’t you tell me that”, this usually at the marriage counselors, or “I wish you didn’t tell me that” this, I can only assume, while he stares in disbelief at your tear-stained face.
In each case the woman must make the decision on her own, and this is not an easy call. Many times the woman is the share everything type of person and spouts lots of extraneous gobbledy gook that goes, for the most part, ignored. The husband in most cases learns when to tune out. Maybe he will miss something important or useful, but that is the way the game is played. Like it or leave the field. She also has to consider the husbands nature before she spews. Maybe he is the laissez-faire kind of guy, or maybe hearing about your third boyfriend will cause him to have a performance crisis. I am pretty sure, if your instinct is not to share, you should not share. Don’t for a minute think, no matter how long you have known this person, that you “know” him. I think this applies to any every day relationship. The person you think you know may be a long way from what that person is. And the face they present to you is what they want you to see. As the facets of the personality are revealed, deliberately or not, you again have to make judgments about what you can tolerate or what is a game ender for you.
Let me start off by sharing a few bon mots from some of the supposedly confidential sources.
A woman wrote in that she was longing to experiment with the more extreme version of the three-way. Many, many forums discuss the three-way, so this part should not be news to you. You can read about them and glean whatever you need or want to know about them in many places.. For example, I kid you not, it has been scientifically shown that observing the sexual play between two men and a woman causes more motility in sperm than the observation of the play of two women and one man. Take that how ever you wish. Anyway, in this particular scenario, the woman desired to experience double penetration and was asking for advice as to how she could broach this subject with the husband, and how to select the third party without endangering the dynamic of the family she was currently a part of. The general consensus was that, if the husband went for it, preceded by the bigger if she was able to broach the subject, the third party should be a stranger that you could trust. A pretty unbelievable and probably unavailable expediency.
My informed guess is that, in most cases, the wife would keep this desire to herself and would fear to bring up the subject at all. And, I further conjecture without any back up info, that the guy is at work complaining how he never gets laid anymore.
In another forum, rich with personal secrets and information, Cafe Mom, initials are used to designate in a kind of shorthand who you are referring to. DH is dear husband, DD is dear daughter, and so on. After reading sporadically over a year or two, I was confounded by the reference EA. Then, by context, I determined that it stood for Extramarital Affair. In itself, I think, and kinda hope, you would take pause at how often this reference is made. But, more and more lately I am hearing, “That goes on all the time. People just don’t talk about it.” Someone told me the story of the upheaval in their family and ended the story with, “That probably goes on all the time. It is just that no one talks about it.” When relating the tale to another party (those stories are always very interesting), the person to whom I spoke said, “That probably goes on all the time. It is just. . . etc.”
But in off-handed remarks, I have learned that there are many reasons for this occurrence — an occurrence that is publicly considered a deal-breaker, and religiously and culturally a no-no. And one thing I know for sure, it is not related to the quality or quantity of sexual attention at home. I have heard for years that most men have extramarital affairs most often for emotional reasons. Yeah. (coff-coff). Here is the skinny from the grape vine. If you have had three kids and have gone through a rigorous self improvement program and have achieved amazing results, the person from whom you will hear, “You look amazing. I cannot believe what good shape you are in,” will be the EA. The closest I have ever heard of this type of compliment from a husband was a bit left-handed. A young mother who took exceptional care of her post-child birth body was asked by her husband to wear those new tight yoga pants to a work related social gathering.
And, tell me, ladies. Would it mean ANYTHING at all if you had to say to your husband, “Didn’t I do a good job of getting my figure back?” and he said, “Yeah.”
You are married to a person that wanted to marry you at the same time you wanted to marry him. Or maybe you felt like getting married and he was all warmed up on the bench and eager to get into the game. Or maybe this guy had decided it was time to get married and you were the closest thing available and you met his acknowledged or unconscious criteria. Or, perhaps ideally, you met each other and some electrical or chemical force developed between the two of you and you could not stand to breathe unless this person was in your immediate proximity.
In some situations, surely not the majority of them, the suitor hunted down the suitee and compelled that person to succumb by sneaky, devious, seductive or perhaps extraordinarily forceful means to enter the marital union. Who knows? You yourself probably ask yourself every now and then how you got into this (mess) or why the heck did you ever think you could tolerate this person for 24 more minutes much less the rest of your life. Most marriages have a really personal rationale as the foundation. There are so many scenarios that the Romance writers should never run out of ideas. And, it absolutely slays me when someone comments on a fiction story and says that would never play out in real life. Oh, yeah? You’re sure of that? I bet I can even one up it on a dare.
Perhaps the husband or partner is immensely flattered that he/she was chosen by you. Perhaps that partner looks around every single day and says “I could have/should have done better. I shouldn’t have been so hasty. What the fuck am I doing here and how the fuck did I get here?” Or perhaps it is you thinking that.
Perhaps you chose your partner because the guy you just broke up with wanted to marry you and you really really liked him but he had a really small penis. or he wasn’t very tall, or his voice was squeaky, or his dad seemed like a pervert. or his child support payments were astronomical. Perhaps you married a guy that you have known for a long time, maybe even like ten years, and you have gone through the second string and found most of them wanting, so you went with the starter. You brought him back into the game. You are never going to tell the guy these reasons. If he/she is in a mushy sort of mood and says he is so glad he married you and, really, what was it about him that made up your mind? You are going to quick think up some cliche romantic scenario that has nothing what so ever to do with or even reflects on your actual criteria.
Truth is he doesn’t really want to know and, in fact, you are way better off never knowing what his actual criteria are. Nor do you want to know the moment of weakness that convinced him he might as well be married cuz all his pals are and people are starting to look at him funny. Let’s just go with the feeling in the pit of your stomach when he walks in the room, the idea that he is the only person in the whole world, and you did check, that you could imagine spending your life with.
When a young lady is reading a bridal magazine, does she ever pause and get a far away look in her eyes and imagine to herself what it will be like lying next to this guy that just had the He-Man Platter at Grande Jakes for dinner and is laying there peacefully farting away in his dreams while you wonder if the sheets are going to be stained by it. No. I know that for a fact. No. She never thinks that. Here is a great idea. In the dead center of the bride magazine, after the articles about selecting the perfect venue, the perfect menu, the perfect, mind-blowing dress, and before all the expensive photos of the beautiful, if somewhat chubby, bride and her handsome, but somewhat balding, husband, they should put an article that you or I brilliantly penned, complete with outrageous photos and cartoons, dealing with that exact subject.
Search anywhere for inspiration if you have time. I have a lot of time lately. My spouse is in a rehab hospital, and I get amazing things done in short order without him here to criticize me, or without me delaying a project for fear he will criticize. So I have many more hours in the day when I feel guilt free and can spend some of my time on leisure or self-gratifying pursuits. Plus, I haven’t written or blogged in at least a month or so, so that also contributed to the plethora of extra minutes in my endless days.
I was perusing Cracked. (Cracked.com is a very valuable resource and the home of my highly touted and publicized Smurf remark, so I promote them constantly and visit them regularly.) I honestly cannot even imagine what the subject of the actual article was, but it linked to a whole bunch of articles on whether or not a male could be monogamous.
There are two clearly defined schools of thought. Scientists say we are biologically programmed to be monogamous (marker proteins on the surface of the ovum, etc.) in order to preserve the integrity of the gene pool. I love to hear about this stuff, but considering the fact that the epigenetic train is roaring through civilization like a run away, I myself would not argue that that particular theory may need to be trashed. I have a relative who works in the genetics lab at Duke. Too bad I am not on speaking terms with him.
Anyway the other school of thought is that a male cannot be monogamous. He is genetically programmed to spread his seed in order that the fittest of the fit may rise to the top and rule the world. Actually, someone needs to back down on that concept a little cuz the world is going to hell in a hand basket, and the fittest of the fit, the cream of the crop, is playing video games or getting advice on how to proceed in life from bozos. I will not go off on a political tangent here. I promise.
So in one of the comments to one of the articles I was so busily consuming, a male, in retort to someone who would not even consider fidelity or monogamy, stated clearly that you should marry someone because you love them,and not for their vagina.
I was thunderstruck. I am really old. I have been married really long. Such a theorem never entered my mind. If you read my fiction, you know my philosophy is strongly canted away from that idea. I never considered it. If I had waited until I met someone I was sure I was in love with (at the age of 19) I would not be married, even today. I have always thought that love kind of grew. Like I think I love my irritating husband. But the way I feel was not present when I was nineteen. I was in such a place that thinking didn’t really have much to do with it. I feel that the guy that wrote that comment is a rare bird. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I am so inordinately shallow, as my fiction reviewers attest, that my personal value system is beyond the ken of most of the rest of humanity. Lust ruled. It blinded me. It does that. I guess it would be swell to be one of those people who thinks about living with someone for the rest of their life in that way. But it ain’t me. It ain’t me your looking for, babe. Wasn’t then. Isn’t now.
I wonder if that is a product of my upbringing or what other factors may have made me that kind of person. I am surprised I have not been shot down in the streets or back alleys long ago. Really I am.
Every marriage has its ups and downs. This cannot be news to anyone, married, single, or otherwise. In fact, I doubt that anyone gets to the altar (so to speak) without first experiencing what is at the time considered to be life altering trauma. This is probably the major advantage the royal marriages of the past held over modern customs. Often they never even saw the spouse-to-be until hours or days after the party arrived from a far away land, and in some circumstances walked down the aisle with a person that gave them shivers of disgust. Yet this is how they were raised, how their customs evolved through necessity and perhaps convenience. And, in most cases, the obligation of begetting offspring was carried out in good order. We hear, usually in Historical Romance, but sometimes from supposed genuine historical chronicles, that there were marriages of great love and passion. But one of my favorite fiction authors who specializes in enjoyable retellings of the sundry machinations of various ancient monarchies, recently published a book about a not too well known real queen who was terribly in love with her prearranged partner. In fact, it was widely reported that he, in turn, adored her which led her to a lifetime (well in this case the marriage lasted about six years) of wondering about and being hurt by the fact that he refused to give up his string of mistresses. I am not choosing to read this one. Cluelessness can only take a person so far.
For myself, I am of the opinion that today romantic ideals about marriage are not dead but in fact are held in such esteem that people go into marriage expecting doves to fly out of the bathroom every morning to herald another day of blissful union. This could be, I assert, the very reason that so many marriages do not last. Pure disillusionment. And perhaps more than that, disappointment.
Every couple has to hold on through the rough patches and, if and when they do so, they do it not knowing if it is going to be worth their while. There is, of course, all this stuff about the integrity and commitment that put the real value on the married state. Too bad nobody bothers to talk about how much fun it is. Sometimes.
So hold on to what you’ve got and try to keep that song from running through your head now. You probably shouldn’t probe too deeply into why you are holding on. That will become apparent when you realize you have lost your grip and cannot hold on any longer. But I am pretty sure the best thing to hold onto is the cluelessness. If you are considering ending a disappointing marriage, realize that any other version of marriage that you may look forward to or seek or fall into is going to have just as many rough spots. They come in all sizes and shapes.
A female who was formerly earning her living as what she labeled a high class escort has written a book about why men cheat. The discussion about this book has been raging on Huff Post Books for several days. People point out that she only knows about guys who use “escorts” for cheating. This is probably a very small percent of the entire group of “cheating men” who mess around with their neighbor or the mail lady or some chick at work. Then, she is only reporting what these men tell her. First of all, they are “speaking” in a somewhat enhanced milieu under the influence of large doses of oxytocin and serotonin, and they may be embellishing their tales to gain sympathy or absolve themselves in the eyes of their benefactor. And, please do not tell me I know nothing about it. I once knew some one intimately that received a visit from a call girl as a birthday present. I can match any of your stories in spades. Try me.
This slays me. That it is given any legitimacy I am becoming so callous about the whole male-female interaction thing. SHUT UP. You have no clue. Then the arguments rage on. The male is programmed tomate with multiples. I have documented references in my book that PROVE there are proteins on the surface of the egg that interact with sperm to encourage monogamy. Then there is all the genetic, epigenetic, cultural and anthropological evidence about Neanderthals with too big heads and other things mother nature does to preserve and improve the gene pool.
Then there are hundreds of remarks about why a husband can do it, should do it, would do it, must do it, (be unfaithful) shouldn’t do it. This is interspersed with the remarks from the females about how their husband turned into a schlub and how she kept herself slim and fucked his brains out but he still cheated, and “throw the bum out’ and philosophy and religion, and law concerning the matter. It all amounts to a hill of beans. If any rules are left, they usually are broken. Okay. Maybe not inYOUR case, but in just about every other one. And you can’t say for sure, even about your own case, because you don’t KNOW. For the sake of all that is good and holy, do you not know that there are women out there, right now, that find unfresh female skivvies under the seat in the car and believe the “reasons” they are given for why they are there?
Yes. I AM the ultimate cynic. I have the credentials. I also know what havoc MY very immediate family has wreaked on the gene pool. I write fiction to deal with my confusion and disappointment in matters of love. Then people criticize my adorable fictional creations for their lack of moral scruples. It is to laugh. You have NO IDEA. If I hear one more person say, “Well, that happens all the time. People just don’t talk about it,” I may scream or commit mayhem.
The news of the last few days is so fucked up. Officials we are supposed to be able to trust with the well being of our selves and our children stand in front of the camera wearing their brand new ties and lie to the entire world. What? Do they say a prayer at night asking God to forgive them for telling those very necessary lies and go to sleep believing the gates of heaven are open to them? These are very serious things to lie about involving the welfare of our Nation. Doesn’t anybody out there give a shit anymore? Why anybody can or would focus on that “squirt in the dark” at this point is beyond me. But when the few remaining humans rise from the ashes, the first thing they argue about is not going to be some stupid apple. It’s gonna be, “I saw her first.” And she is going to toss her unwashed hair over her shoulder and flutter her eyelashes.
Just now I feel like I must be doing something right. At least about one thing. I think it would be better if I KNEW I was doing something right, but I take a lot of convincing. But this is good enough to actually outweigh my worries for the moment.
It doesn't matter it seems. I think I cry more tears over the good stuff.
The new addition was completed, and it seemed that everyone
had recovered from the break in. The Jackson business seemed totally behind
them. Tim mentioned in what Lily always
thought of as his way too casual
voice, that the whole case was pretty much wrapped up, and all the indictments,
and there were enough of them, were handed down, and the evidence was pure and
plentiful, and by the way—here it comes
thought Lily—they did get a hit on those cigarette butts found near her
property in Iowa, that for sure it was
Jackson stalking her that far back, and it helped screw the whole thing down,
and the guy that followed up on it—his name was Redding—yeah, he was watching her face for any reaction, but shewas ready for that—and the Bureau had
issued him a memorandum for his file for his foresight and cooperation,
and, “I thought maybe I’d go down there
and give it to him personally and kind of put a more positive spin on it and
maybe give the guy’s career a little boost, cuz otherwise, it’s just a piece of
paper and since I’m kind of personally involved and all, and I’ll take the bike
tomorrow and why don’t you guys drive down after school and we can make a long
weekend of it?”
“And you wanting to check him out personally doesn’t have
anything to do with it?”
“So what if it does?
Should I not show an interest--my wife having been nearly murdered and
“This is ancient history, and you know I don’t mean the
Jackson thing, but I get the ego thing, like I was avid and anxious when I had
to meet Paula at the airport that time, so go ahead. Just be cool.
He’s a good guy with a beautiful family.”
“Yeah, and so very
fucking helpful to you when you really
needed it. . .”
“Could we not just
let this be? Or do you really want me to
do the putting my foot down thing? Go
satisfy your curiosity and play big city Fed honcho at the same time. Didn’t know the ego was feeling so starved,
He left early the next morning, taking the bike, she knew,
being a huge part of the macho thing he
had to express to this poor little hick town cop, and the weathered old black
biker jacket, and no shave, and those old biker boots, and those crappiest of
all black jeans. He’s so cute.
But wait til he gets a load of Darryl.
I don’t want to have to see that.
No. On second thought, it might
be kind of fun to be a fly on that
Tim had of course checked with the locals in Iowa so he knew
Darryl would be at the station, and he told them why he was coming by and
insisted this was not to be any kind of ceremony, but he did want to discuss a
few loose ends about the case, which was the purest bullshit. He roared into the parking lot of the little
police station and that in itself caught the attention of everyone in the
stationhouse and half the neighbors. The
desk sergeant said to the secretary that was busy flirting with him and laying a
little unnecessary groundwork, “Who the fuck is this? Paul Fucking Bunyan? Blue Ox MC?
And why the fuck would anybody that big have to wear those boots? Does he honestly think he needs to look any
“It has something to do with safety and the brake pedals on
the bike, I think.”
“Right. Whatever. Jeez, huge fucking bike. I sure as hell hope this guy is here to pay a
fucking traffic ticket and not kill us all.”
“Maybe it’s that guy from Chicago to see Darryl.”
“Right. Like this guy
could be FBI? He’d be driving a fucking Taurus
and wearing a cheap, shiny blue suit.”
So when Tim took off the helmet and was shucking the jacket,
because, damn, this station house was like a fucking oven, and the desk
sergeant got a look at the shaved head and the tats and the grizzled face and
the pecs under the tight faded black t-shirt, and Tim did the badge flashing
thing and announced who he was, the desk sergeant at least had the grace to
give the cute little secretary, who was having a little trouble catching her
breath, a slightly chagrined smile as she
went to get Darryl.
In a kind of a shocked state when the guy walked out to meet
him, Tim quickly introduced himself and flashed the badge—ID thing and tried
not to trip over his tongue. What kind of vitamins did this guy take? A fucking red head? Jesus Christ.
She’s already weird for red heads.
Chiseled face like a fucking Celtic god.
Do I need this? Six foot two at
least. Well, I’llgive him three, so who cares if he’s as tall
as I am, and we’re not going to have to have a pissing contest, and why
wouldn’t Lily pick a huge good looking guy.
Jerk probably has his fucking polyester uniform tailored. Probably has to. Huge fucking shoulders. Why would she pass this up for me? If I was gay I’d be fuckin’ fallin’ in love,
maybe am a little, falling in love, that is.
Damnit. I never should’ve done
this.Fuck. Tim felt a small
unfamiliar shiver of inadequacy which he quickly shook off. Well, so
what if he’s younger; of course, I’m the better man. After all, I won. He offered Officer Redding his hand and asked
if there was somewhere they could talk.
“It is Officer Redding? Or would
it be deputy?”
“No. We go by Officer
and Chief. It’s deliberate. We’re trying to get away from the Barney Fife
“Well, pleased to meet you and I understand you go way back
with Lily and her late husband, Ben?”
mates. Double dates, standing up in
weddings, neighbors, the whole nine yards.
Ben was a great guy. Terrible
tragedy. Wrecks a small town like this
for a while. And Lily is such a
doll. Shouldn’t a happened to a sweety
like her. Cutest thing. We’d all go skinny dipping out at the quarry,
well. . . I was crazy in love with her,
but Ben was my best friend. And he was
that kind a guy, y’know, no one stepped on his toes. I just had to keep my mouth shut. Y’know how you never get over that stuff. .
. Did you get to know her at all working on the
“Kinda. Talked to
her about it a little.”
“How is she doing?
Heard she married a Fed. Hope
it’s not some wimp bureaucrat asshole.
She deserves the best.”
And you did your part trying to give it to her, you small town prick. “That would be me.”
“That would be me, the wimp bureaucrat asshole she married? I’m Senior Special Agent Tim Raia, if you didn’t bother reading my creds when I flashed ‘em for you, and Lily is my wife now and the mother of our year old son. And she’s fine, she’s doing just fucking fine. And thanks so much for asking. . .” Edge on the voice now very apparent.
“Sorry, sir. Thoughtless of me, sir. Not thinking you’re FBI, sir. Don’t look it, sir. Sorry. Well, congratulations, sir. (AmItwelve?) You’ve got yourself a real sweetheart there. Everyone loves her. Give her my best.” Darryl was just glad his voice still worked and wasn’t too sure what he was actually saying. Stopped himself up short when he realized he was actually backing toward the door. He knows, he fucking knows.
“You fucking red heads, with that fucking blushing, blinking on and off like a fucking Christmas tree. . .” He was kind of talking with his teeth gritted. I hope what you did give her was at least your best, god damn it. I never should’ve come down here. “Actually, I’m kind of ill at ease here, Darryl,” Tim said, white-knuckled, his hands gripping the back of the thankfully bolted down metal interrogation room chair, “putting bits and pieces of what I’ve heard from Lily about you helpingherout back then, together with tying up the loose ends of this nasty case. You are not at all what I was expecting, and this is apparently an Alpha dog situation, since I am pretty good at sizing up people, and we both know Alpha dogs don’t sniff each others’ butts. They go nose to nose, and one of us is going to have to back down and this time, I’m just guessing here, it’s going to have to be me because I don’t want the fucking roof flying off this cute little stationhouse you have here in your cute little home town. Just make goddamn sure I don’t hear your name from my wife’s lips, ever again. No, actually, I never heard your name from her lips, and we best make sure we fucking keep it that way.” Or maybe I should just go ahead and rip your fucking head off your fucking shoulders right now. And he slammed the tan envelope with the now forgotten letter of commendation down on the desk and
stalked out of the office and the little brick building and roared out to the
farmhouse and poured himself a stiff drink.
“Jesus, Darryl. Did
he know you fucked her? You didn’t tell
him, did you?”
“Nobody’s s’pose to know that, Ned.”
“Everybody fucking knows it, Darryl.”
“Yeah? Well, I better
not find out who told him.”
“He’s Bureau, Redding.
He didn’t get where he is not being able to add two and two, now, did
he? And y’know we’re supposed to think
those FIBs are a bunch of pansy ass detectives?
I’d steer clear of that one for a while.
Lay low a little. They’re out at
the farm house every couple weeks. God
help us you run into ‘em at fucking Pizza Hut or something.”
Hours later, Lily and the boys drove up to find a slightly stiff
Tim waiting for them on the front steps.
The lawn was mowed, the storm windows up, the pond closed down for the
winter, the gutters cleaned, the furnace cleaned and tuned up for the coming
winter, the floors mopped and dinner was simmering on the stove all within a
very few hours fraught with anger and nervous energy. He got up and walked across the yard and
grabbed her in a little bit too hearty of a hug and planted a little too wet
and serious kind of kiss on her and said, “Don’t say a word about him. Don’t dare ask me anything. Fucking bastard told me to send you his
best? I shoulda shot him right then and
there. Fucking small town ass-hole
trying to play big city detective with his fucking sniffer dog and his fucking DNA
lab. Don’t say another word.” Lily was still smiling about it in the morning
when she got up to fix breakfast even though Timmy hadn’t let her do much
sleeping. It was a nice weekend
anyway. Gorgeous weather for this time
My sister-in-law said I left out the word "his" near the ending of my first book. My brother said some of the sex scenes were a little strong for him. My nephew mislabeled one of my scenes as erotica (The distinction is really not that fine of a line. I do not write erotica. I would be making way more money if I did.) Another person asked if thus and such a book was the one about life on a military base. Well, one is, kind of about military lifefor about an eighth of the total, and most mention it, but none are about life on a military base. I don't even know what that would be like. I have reread some of my books and gone back and changed all the backward quotation marks that no one mentioned. I took down a book and republished it because a huge errant numeral "4" was in the middle of a random page. Glitches happen between me and the finished product. I find mistakes if I wait a while to read through. I made a boy child the eldest in the middle of a book and he was the second child at the beginning. I changed a neighboring family's surname half way through one book. This family played quite a large role at one point, and I am glad I caught that as no one would have a clue as to who I was talking about.
A beta reader was very helpful with general proofreading and language problems but she wanted to change all my colloquialisms to proper English, and I have to write in my speaking voice or my character's speaking voice. I had specifically asked if the love scenes were too graphic for the market I hoped to reach. She said they were fine, very true sounding. She also mentioned that the terrain in a part of the country I described was not like I described it. (She did not live there.) I had researched this with photographs in order to trace a path for the character to fit the story and I questioned her remark saying I had back up info. The person became a snake and said the person was carrying too much, the person couldn't have walked that far in one day, etc. She finally said even my love scenes could use a little improvement. I still wonder if I should have thrown out all the advice and haven't come up with a final choice on that.
One reviewer said my Point of View changes were distracting. I write third person omniscient and that is the point of view. I did notice in one edition where I had someone's thoughts going on. I usually do that in Italic and sometimes that doesn't carry through to the finished product. In this book, that I think printed out the very best of all, there were sections where the Italics didn't hold and I thought maybe a reader would become confused. But that one particular book is, in fact, the only one that has had only positive things said about it so far.
Today I was reading a blog or post or website that I have been subscribed to for quite awhile. I seldom have time to look at it, but I have noticed it has evolved. I was at one time invited to write a guest blog, but did not have the confidence to do so. I did mention they were free to copy any of my words they wished to, but just let me know. Well, it started out as a helpful spot for writers who were publishing electronically, but it has become a vanity publisher. You give them this much money and they do this for you, It seemed today's blog was only about trying to weasel out of being called a "Vanity Press" -- a phrase that is anathema to an e-pubber. The irony was that, not only were there mistakes such as the wrong "their" being used, but there were clear run-ons that were unquestionably supposed to be two sentences. There is a huge on-going debate about the Oxford comma, and I am a die-hard comma lover, but the Oxford comma question is use it or don't use it and has nothing to do with joining a clearly declarative sentence to a clearly interrogative sentence.
I have not yet re-read one or any of my blog posts that I didn't find some error of some sort. One I copied to WordPress and the entire blog was there twice. Some of this I catch. Of course some of it I do not. But when a person is offering me services at a price, then their work better be up to snuff. For the most part, I have found that I would not trust my words to any of these people that have variously approached me at different times. Tell me what is wrong and I will fix it and thank you. But don't go tooting your horn or calling me out for my errors unless you are producing material worthy of illumination by the ancient monks, okay? I will forgive people their errors, overlook most. I expect some. I know no one is perfect. But don't pretend you know more than I do when you don't. Actually, that doesn't just apply to book publishing in my philosophy.
But, yet again today, I read an article where two people were arguing over past and passed. Other people were ringing in on both sides of it. I still get it wrong most of the time. You would think it would have to be correct occasionally just due to the odds, but I always get it wrong. I also struggle with affect and effect, but I check if I have a doubt. One very popular mommy blogger wrote a huge diatribe about something and used effect over and over instead of affect. Well, that is a toughie, but look it up if you are going public. This was a person who describes herself in her profile as "over-educated". In what? Karate?
I think I have gone on and on before about the pot calling the kettle black, etc. (I suppose that is a racist remark nowadays.) And I know I am too sensitive to criticism. I find it impossible to accept my own human frailties, the source of most of my major difficulties. But it just seems to me, in general, the definition of quality is becoming more and more vague. Well, I will never get over the typo in the two page Chanel ad in Vanity Fair magazine. I try. Honestly. I think it is insulting to expect people to accept an inferior product, so I try very deliberately not to present that. And my point here, even though I am coming off as confusing, is let's brush it up a little. Let's not try to sell someone a book cover that looks like it was drawn by a marmot. And, especially, let's not then criticize someone else for an amateurish cover.
And let's not take someone's hard-earned money because of outright subterfuge, or if one is suffering from honest self-delusion, then let us follow through on delivering the product offered. What did that famous and attractive person say about putting lipstick on a pig? It is still a pig, but sometimes there just ain't nuthin' cuter than a little baby pig.
I feel like a fool. I have always been good at rationalization. Twice, in the recent past, I have posted stuff in my feeble attempts at irony or jest and been taken seriously. In another case, a person misread a facebook quote of mine and went into a well-meaning and correct explanation of the thing I was trying to be sarcastic about.
I do not have a sincere voice. My real life voice is a joke. I went to see a doctor about five years after my last appointment. I said, "Hi, I'm Virginia." He said, "Oh, I remember you. The voice. . ."
My writing voice is intended to be facetious, but evidence points to the fact that I am a complete failure at that. Actually, I have heard from three readers that they got the joke in three cases. Not a good percentage.
So, how am I going to steer this conversation back to rationalization or idealism? Well,I just clicked on a book title in a blog. Actually, it was a "website". I think. I am not too sure of the difference, and, no, Jonathan, you don't need to explain it to me. The site was The Rumpus. It is pretty liberal but kind of fun for writers. It has infuriated me enough that I have cancelled my subscription to it for years. I have had wonderful discussions on it. I found out, much later unfortunately, that one of the people I was arguing with was an author, unknown to me, of some repute. ( I admit I travel in the wrong circles.) So apparently I read something on or about the Rumpus that caught my attention. I am not subscribed to it, but am apparently subscribed to comments. Really, that is all you need anyway, frankly. It is even a bit too much info.
I linked to this book title which sounded interesting and that led me to two hours of linking through various sites connected, in sometimes vague ways, to the book title or author. And I just stopped it by closing some of the many tabs I had thusly opened. (I am relishing the fact that I have always wanted to use that word and have never before had the opportunity. I hope it is a real word.) (Aren't my asides annoying?) And, for a reason God intended, but that has never worked too well on me, a light bulb just went off in my head.
I have gone on and on arguing in favor of certain principles. I am calling them that because, although they may be philosophies or dogmas or truths or precepts or commandments or ideas, I feel, at the base of their structure, they must be principles. (I flunked philosophy twice. I have a former classmate who is a Professor Emeritus in Philosophy at a major University. I am able to communicate with him.) (I'll stop it now.) And, just now, when the light bulb went off, I realized that some of the things I argue the most fervently for, that shall for the most part go unnamed, for which I have published material with tedious documentation, I do not practice, have not practiced, and have no intention of practicing. And I seriously do not think I am a hypocrite. I think I earnestly believe in those principles and, in my own concept of idealism, those principles would be followed to the letter by all of humanity -- which, of course, they are not and never will be. And, in my dotage, I will gladly own up to the fact that a lot of the stuff I have done would not have been any fun if I had not felt like I was defying some moral precept or principle. And that makes me a sinner and that makes me a Catholic. And this is not a confession. This is just a light bulb moment that I have really enjoyed. And that two hours of linking from a book title has given me a lot more insight to my self than probably the whole rest of my life -- a life that has had its share of ups and downs, mostly downs, but has been a great deal of fun and very interesting so far.
A young man is walking along a stony
beach on an island in the Outer Hebrides. It is chilly but there is a spring
smell in the air. The beach is cross hatched with an occasional scarp. Farther
down the scarp meets the water and the young man will not be able to walk
further on the waterfront. But before he reaches the end of the beach, right
around the place he first intended to turn and head back, he spots a very white
baby lamb half way up the scarp. It is bawling piteously and very white but
smudged with dirt and a little redness. It is in distress. The man, wearing a
perfectly aged pair of Vasques, and happening to have an old thin pair of
leather driving gloves in the pocket of his oiled cotton Barbour Mac, climbs
somewhat carelessly, but with years of experience to support his efforts and
grabs the baby lamb. He continues to the top of the scarp from which the lamb
has fallen, carrying it over his shoulder and trying to hold its two back legs
when he doesn't need both hands to keep his purchase on the craggy rock.
After he reaches the top and begins
to walk over the barely perceptible path leading to his ancient but picturesque
cottage, he examines the lamb and sees it is fine except for a few abrasions on
its haunch from falling against the stone. He puts the lamb in the yard with
the other few sheep he owns, some who have recently lambed. None of the ewes
will let the baby nurse so the young man drives his little red car to town and
buys special formula for abandoned lambs. He loves the lamb. The lamb loves
him. The lamb thrives under his care and is always a bit brighter, a bit
bouncier, a bit larger than the other lambs. Sometimes the other lambs, now
young sheep, gang up to tease him, but they know he is the leader and usually
they let him lead. He is a good leader anyway, they know. The next spring, when
it is time to shear the sheep, the young man notices his favored lamb has a
more lustrous, healthier looking crop of fleece than the others, so as he
shears away, he keeps the wool from the special lamb separate. The wool goes to
market as is usual. Walking around money. But the special wool he takes to his
aunt's house who lives the other side of the tiny village. "This is
wondrous wool," she says. "I will make a special sweater." And
she does. Then the young man goes out in the world wearing the special sweater.
As he progresses through the world many people say, "Hey, cool
sweater." "Oh, what a lovely sweater." "Is that wool
bleached? It is so very white."
Then one day the young man is on his
way back home. He never stays away for long. He is on a pedway in an airport.
Approaching on the opposite pedway is a lovely young girl. The pedway is very
crowded but she looks up intently at the oncoming traffic as she notices a
certain evocative scent of aftershave that gets her attention, and she spots
the young man. "If I didn't have to run for this stupid plane, I would
vault over this wall and make a move on that guy," she thinks, and gives
him a delicious smile which he hungrily tastes as he moves past, returning a
glimpse of self satisfaction over what might have been, as they both well know.
As she moves on, the young girl, too busy to feel regret, thinks only,
"God, that sweater he had on was gorgeous."
I do not know if I was taught this, or if I realized it through life experience, but it is my belief that you do not hurt people you love. I know this is simplistic. We all know very well that we do hurt the ones we love. (The ones we shouldn't hurt at all. . .) And sometimes it is with acute deliberation. We either need to prove something to ourselves or to another. It is actually amazing how often, in retrospect, I have consciously done this, and the variety of reasons or rationalizations that I have used. And then there is the big general question that haunts my every waking and sleeping moment. "Is this love?" Followed closely by its red-headed step-child, "What is love?"
A very well-known person who is respected for her advice column and recently had a best selling book got into an on-line controversy about a statement that she made. Actually, she tried to stay out of the fray and the disagreement was largely among her commentors. A year later it cropped up again. She is so much younger than I that I blame my general disagreement with her philosophy on the fact that my life experience has been extremely various, and I KNOW better. I also seldom, if ever, had to do a brief hiatus with heroin to clear my mind in order to come to a decision. She is read by so many that turn to her for help in their moments of confusion, and her advice is always so unilateral. I feel it is dangerous, and, in fact, when the subject was re-introduced this year, it was someone who started out by saying why they thought her advice was dangerous.
I think we never stop learning and it is not a good idea to think our viewpoint is right for everyone. I had a conversation with my daughter today and we were both growing increasingly uncomfortable. Finally I said I thought this was the type of conversation we should have over martinis. It was SO not mother-daughter, but SO chick to chick. I kind of felt like I should not have said many of the things I said, but, on the other hand, I am glad she knows my viewpoint, and she already knows I am anything but coy.
Nevertheless, when I made the remark about the martinis, she said she wondered if the baby would wake up when we shifted her from one car to another. We neither of us said, "Ahem." but it was an "ahem" moment if ever there was one. Yeah, you DON'T want to know what we were discussing. Not that the subject has not come up previously in my blogs and fiction, cuz it has. But a blog, whether it is true or not, I like to believe is anonymous. The thing that we agreed on was that what ever may seem to be the right thing to do at one moment in your life, may in fact later be the wrong choice. And you can never be sure. How can you even think you are sure if you are over the age of twenty? (Under that age, saying you are sure is utterly meaningless, even to yourself.) And you are never going to know until experience shows you whether it is right or wrong. So, if it is going to hurt someone, for whatever reason, the one thing that I know about love, or even consideration or empathy, is don't hastily make a decision that will hurt someone. Circumstances may change for any number of reasons and you may wish you had a do over. I am betting many of you already know this. I bet many of you wish you had a do-over for lots of events in your life. I know I do. It may be for a marriage, or a break up, or just for picking out what color coat you wanted. Whatever. You may not get the do-over, so stop and think. And, take a freakin' long time to do it. If it feels right is NOT a good reason to do something. Not if love, whatever the heck that is, is involved. Anywhere.
I do not fear pain. I have learned a lot from it. I know it goes away. But still, there are times when I have a choice about whether or not to inflict pain. And even though I know it will go away, they will get over it, be better for it, I hope I will choose not to inflict that pain.