Monday, April 28, 2014

Love Story

The best stories are love stories.

Wait a minute...I know what you are thinking: paperbacks with shirtless, athletic men and busty women in an intimate embrace.  No--that is not what I mean.

Of course, stories involving romantic love can be great. I think of the Spiderman movie and the opening narration: “But let me assure you, this, like any other story worth telling, is all about a girl. [Cut to first shot of Mary Jane] That girl, The girl next door. Mary Jane Watson. The woman I loved since before I even liked girls.”

Or it can be impossible love, like the love of a mouse for a princess in The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo.

Or it can be the love of a boy for his dogs, like in Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.

Or it can be the love of a hobbit for a world of beauty where people can live a simple life as in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

Sometimes the audience falls in love with the characters. In that first chapter of J.K. Rowling’s The Philosopher’s Stone we just want to storm into the Dursley’s home and rescue poor Harry Potter. We want to take him to a better place and tell him everything will be okay.

If it isn’t a love story, then it doesn’t matter how many interesting and exciting things happen, because if we don’t care about the characters, then we won’t care what happens to them.

What love stories do you like?

#Tolkien #Rowling #harrypotter #dicamillo #spiderman #lordoftherings 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Coming Out (I'm a novelist)

I came out on Facebook the other day. Most of my friends, and even some of my family, didn’t know.

I came out to one of my teenage daughter’s friends last night. I’m not shy, but telling people is uncomfortable...somewhat embarrassing. Revealing yourself and letting people have a glimpse into your soul is hard.

We were talking about John Green’s books and Divergent and...I just want people to know...especially people who care about books. Besides, my novel The Globe just became an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist. Getting people to leave feedback on my entry is a part of the competition.

Yes, family and friends, it’s time you knew it—I’m a novelist. It didn’t just happen overnight. I’ve been a writer since I can first remember, handwriting stories in spiral notebooks, typing them on mechanical typewriters that were boat-anchor heavy, moving on to the electric typewriters, and finally writing my first novels on a computer.

“Wow, you’ve written a novel,” some have said. They are impressed. But I don’t see what I’ve done as much of an accomplishment. I write fiction because I like to do it. Also, anyone with a computer can write a novel with a little time. The hardest part is turning off the TV. The real achievement is writing novels that people like. The real achievement is writing novels that will sell.

But what if I never find that ‘real achievement’? Like I said, I like to write. I like to dream, to put my thoughts into words, and I even love the labor of editing. I still win.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Accident

“Are you sitting down?” my daughter asks. Those are her first words after I answer the phone.


“You need to sit down.”

“Okay,” I say. My heart has gone from a trot to a thundering gallop in the space of a pregnant pause. “I’m sitting,” I say, a lie, and I am feeling my way to the sofa like a blind man, feeling my way past the piano and coffee table. My wife and daughter left about thirty minutes ago; my wife was driving my daughter to her TCC class.

“There was an accident,” my daughter says.

“Are you okay? Mom? Did something happen to mom?” I ask. My hand is trembling and I’m having a hard time holding the phone.

“It was a drunk driver,” my daughter answers. “He ran the light at 51st and Memorial. The van is destroyed.”

I don’t care about the van. I realize that my left hand is clenched; I open it to see a mark of red where one of my fingernails drew blood. “Where are you?”

“We’re at the hospital. The emergency room.”

“In god’s name, honey, is mom okay? Can I talk to mom?” I can hardly hear my own voice for the pounding of my heart in my ears.

“I thought it would best if I called,” my daughter says. “Mom’s no good at telling stories. She doesn’t know how to build tension.”


“We just have some burns from the airbags,” she says, the intensity now gone from her voice. “Police said we should come here to the emergency room just in case. Looks like I’m going to miss my Creative Writing class.”

I don’t yell. I’ve been focused on composure and trying to remain calm and I hang onto this. My hands still tremble, but only as an aftereffect. “Honey. Dear,” I say. I really want to hurt her for putting me through this and I think I know how. “Do you know what an anticlimax is?”

Not a true story...I just wrote it and posted it on my blog for fun. #flashfiction. I hope you enjoyed it.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My first guest blog!!!

My wife was kind enough to let me do a guest blog on her website. How to count to 255 on your fingers (and not even use your thumbs!) Go to Clary's Math Lab and check it out.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bio Air Freshener

So I’m sitting in my living room watching Netflix with my wife.

“Was that you?” she asks, her nose crinkled up.

“No,” I reply, offended. “Was it you?”

Then we both look at the dog. Just like my wife’s uncle Weldon, the dog hasn’t mastered the ability to contain its bodily gases.

I think I would make a fortune if I could come up with a solution. What if you could feed your dog something that would turn those noxious gases into pleasant scents? Now imagine the scene again, my wife and I watching the boob tube.

“Do you smell that?” my wife asks.

Yes, I do. “Roses...with a hint of lavender?” We both look at the dog.

She breathes in deeply through her nostrils. She smiles. “Yes, it’s divine.”

Like I said. I’d make a fortune, right? I have experimented some. I mixed one of our Glade refill packages in with the dog’s Purina Dog Chow.

While cleaning the vomit off the rug I noticed the aroma of crisp McIntosh apples, cinnamon and nutmeg combined with the pervasive odor of bile.

April fools. I didn’t really do this and you shouldn’t either. You’d probably kill the poor dog.