If Pollen Could Talk, What Would it Say? Aw, C’mon I’m Snot Gonna Hurt Ya

Did I mention during my last post that I was in the middle of rewrites and edits?sneeze Now this is a rhetorical question because I did more than just mention that fact. I drove it into the ground, dug it up and like a bottle of shampoo instructs one to rinse and repeat, I did the same. Seems to me I may have even rented a backhoe.

Anywho, enough of that… I ran across a section where my protagonist and his entourage were a bit out of sorts due to the deadly desert heat they were forging through. It just so happened that on the very same day, we were experiencing temperatures that had climbed into the 70s and, complements of a cold front, dropped 30° in just a few hours. This sudden drop on the Fahrenheit scale signaled the rusty cogs in my brain to commence turning again–we’re now in the middle of the seasonal change from winter into spring.

You remember the old saying, “April showers bring May flowers,” along with severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, pollen, watery eyes, sneezing, boat loads of snot and gallons of phlegm. The difference in the two, by my reckoning, is snot emanates from the honker and phlegm from the pie hole. (I hope I didn’t get too technical in describing the two medical facts of life. If so, I apologize, but…there you have it.)

Pollen, watery eyes, sneezing and the bodily fluids that flow during this seasonal change remain the one constant, prevalent in all four seasons that we experience.

Having already described winter to spring (the vernal equinox), next in line is spring to summer. (The estival solstice)

Once again we’re plagued with severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, but this time pollen morphs from the trees to the ground in the form of grass. Alas, the snot still flows; albeit, much thinner than its springtime counterpart. There is also one small tidbit of information that bears mentioning. Those along the Gulf and East coast of the United States now have the additional threat of hurricanes.

Moving along we turn our attention to what most people refer to as their favorite time of year, the autumnal equinox, or fall. By now, thunderstorms have calmed somewhat, but hurricane season is at its peak and snot levels are off the charts, all because of my friend and yours, Mr. and Mrs. Ragweed. This time of year slow down and pay attention to your surroundings. Are not the colors dazzling (God’s silent fireworks) and the crisp air such a relief from the heat and humidity of summer? Take a deep breath, you’ll see……Achoo!!…… Excuse me please.

And now, we have come full circle. The circle of life, around the bend, back to the beginning, pass “GO” collect $200. We have reached the hibernal solstice (winter). It is during these few months that the river of snot is        more tolerable than any other time of year. The beauty of the snow, the wonder of the Christmas season, and the new year, when we hopefully try to better ourselves.

Once again it is time to bid you, “ado.” Thank you for listening to me whine about my yearly sinus problems. Of course, we know there are wondrous things to enjoy each and every day of the year and take time to say a prayer for those in harm’s way during tumultuous times embedded in each season.

Until next week!

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One more time and that’s it… Well maybe two… No more than ten, I promise!… We’ll just leave it open.

Well it’s that time again. Rewrites, rewrites, rewrites!torn jeans I’m in the process of finishing my latest novel so, now it’s time to go back to the beginning and start all over again rewriting what I have already written.

After the first wave of rewrites, revisions and edits are complete, I get to do it all over again. In fact, my second novel took four months to write and three years to rewrite. Each time I would go through the book, I wasn’t happy when I finished. This in turn set the stage for another revamping of the manuscript… Just between you and me, I’m still not satisfied with good ole number two… Guess that means another set of rewrites. Please don’t tell anyone or they’ll kick me out of the “I got my second novel right in less than four years” club; at which point, I will be automatically inducted into the “perhaps you should consider another vocation” club.

How strange we are as human beings that some things must be perfect and then again other things are okay just as they are or we even go to great lengths to turn what is satisfactory into what most would consider substandard.

Case in point:

It seems that in this day and age, advertisers feel that we should whiten our teeth to the point of needing sunglasses whenever we open our mouth. By the same token, we are encouraged to purchase designer jeans, mangled with holes and slits. Thankfully, there’s enough material left to cover our naughty bits.

Of course, these same effects may be achieved at a substantially reduced cost to the consumer.  There’s every reason to practice good dental hygiene and achieve a nice bright smile while avoiding the “supernova mouth.” Brush and floss daily, see your dentist regularly, and stop eating charcoal and other things that stain your teeth.

As far as denim fashion statements go, this one is easy and requires nothing more than normal blue jean maintenance. I can remember embracing the notion that jeans never wear out. I would purchase my favorite brand of jeans. From that point on it was a simple cycle of wash and wear. The first to go were the knees. No surprise there; this was always expected. As the years passed, chinks in the armor would develop in the form of small holes between the pockets and knees. Here was my first experience with the breakaway belt loop where at least one belt loop would become detached, but only on one end.

The knee or what used to be referred to as such, had by now morphed into an irregular shaped cavern with a small flap. After an undetermined amount of time had passed, the holes along what I like to call the quadriceptual vortex would begin to connect forming larger rips, tears, and holes in the space time conjeanuim.  This signaled preselected cotton strands to snap eventually causing a catastrophic failure. The unsuspecting wearer (that being me) oblivious to the true appearance of the most comfortable jeans in the world usually would not come to terms with this life-changing enigma until marriage opened his (once again me) eyes to what truly remained of his (yeah, it’s me) favorite pair of jeans.

As I sink into the depths of despair, I suddenly realized, this isn’t the end. My damage denim is primed for resale.

Ah, but alas, it’s back to the real world… Rewrite….Rewrite…… Rewrite.

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Boy! That’s a Lot of Words!

Ah, the written word. I spring from my bedbooks each day, eager to finish the morning’s necessities so that I can continue writing where I left off the night before. I press the computer’s on button with trepidation, fearful that my characters may have become a bit miffed with me for leaving them hanging or in dire straits while I comfortably slept the night away.

Before we go any further I would like to state for the record that I am not psychotic–that’s my other personality, Bob, and he’s afraid of what everyone thinks of him. Me, I don’t care if the little book boogers have an ax to grind or not. Right now, it’s time to get to work.

As I reach for the first key, I glance at the lower left-hand corner of my monitor to check the word count. I pause. Why would I do such a thing? I am confounded at my own thoughts; not to mention, the heckling I receive from my book-bound characters who are now threatening union violations possibly leading to a strike.

“Just try it,” I say. “You’ll never work in this book again.” There, that’ll keep’em quiet for a while.

Now, back to my original question–why such interest in the word count? Could it be that the commercial entities who control the business demand that it be so? I answer my own question with an emphatic, “yes.”

Amidst the grunts and grumbles of my pint-sized page walkers, I delve deeper into the word count conspiracy.

It seems that first and foremost the novel stands alone. Word count can vary anywhere between 55,000 to 125,000 depending on which genre you are writing. War and Peace was an astounding 561,304 words. I’m surprised Tolstoy’s not still writing.

Next the novella will range from 20,000 words to 55,000 words. “Excuse me one moment please.”

“Shut up, you little comic book rejects! Keep it up and I’ll see to it that you end up at the bottom of a slush pile on some editor’s desk in outer Mongolia.”

Sorry about that, my precious little ones are now demanding a raise.

We now have the novelette or long story, if you prefer. We’re talking 7,500 to 20,000 words.

The short story; 2, 500 to 7, 500 words.

The short, short story; up to 2, 500 words.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, up pops another category–flash fiction. This class of literature contains as few as 2 words or as many as 150.
I can’t resist looking in the lower left-hand corner of my monitor. The number tells me that if I were writing this newcomer to the literary stage, I would have nearly completed 230 pieces by now.

“Uh oh, here comes Bob and he’s lookin’ some kinda mad. Now you’re in for it you little pulpwood ingrates.”

“See you next week; I’m outta here.”

 

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A Normal Week at the Beach

Disclaimer:  Due to content I am unable to include any reference to writing.

Last summer we vacationed for a week along the coast of North Carolina. tornado at beachAmong the list of attendees included myself and lovely wife, my father-in-law and lovely mother-in-law, my son and his new bride, my stepdaughter and son-in-law, and one VIP, my grandson, “Lil’ Ed,” hereby known as the mostest cutest little boy in the entire universe.

This would be a very special vacation:

1.) The first time my in-laws came with us.

2.) The first time the mostest cutest little boy in the entire universe saw the ocean and played in the waves.

3.) The first time my son and his wife (having been boyfriend/girlfriend on every other vacation trip) could bed down together.

Now, as usual on these trips I do my security check before allowing anyone to enter the home. After that I dole out the weekly assignments, I take care of cooking, all cleaning, including but not limited to: dishes, clothes, clogged toilets, loose deck boards, shingles, siding, window replacement and general beach erosion containment.

From time to time I fill in as lifeguard making sure the beaches are safe, assisting in rescues, and demonstrating lifesaving techniques. I , also, use the lull to play with the mostest cutest little boy in the entire universe.

On this particular day (I believe it was midweek one sultry afternoon) I had been a bit apprehensive due to the weather, but dared not let on, not wanting to alarm anyone. Around 3 p.m., everyone but myself was sound asleep after an arduous day of frolicking in the surf.

Feeling a sudden drop in the barometric pressure, I quickly stepped onto the back deck. My senses were tingling, every muscle in my body rigid, ready to jump into action. I watched as my dread became reality.

What had begun as a small cone soon twisted its way down to the ocean as a water spout. I could tell it was beginning to strengthen as it moved on shore, becoming a solid F4 possibly F5 tornado. I sprang into action.

I began waking my family members. Those that wouldn’t awaken immediately, I carried to the safest part of the house even the mostest cutest little boy in the entire universe …the bathroom. After I had everyone comfortably positioned in the bathtub, I began to remove mattresses from each bedroom and packed them around my anxious clan. I assured them that everything would be alright and even took time to sing several soothing tunes to calm their fears.

I found a large tree limb that the twister had pushed into the house and stood in front of the bathroom batting any debris away from the room occupied by the most important people in my life.
After the deluge, the only thing that remained was the single bathroom that contained my loved ones safe and sound with not even a scratch, even the mostest cutest little boy in the entire universe.

I often think of that day and the horror it could have wrought. I honestly say this with all the humility I can muster:  Boy, it sure is a good thing I was there, for I shudder to think the outcome had I not been.

Now, I’ve talked enough about me, why don’t you talk about me?

And then we’ll talk about the mostest cutest little boy in the entire universe!

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If You’re Gonna Say It, Then Don’t Say It the Way You Just Said It!

Ah, the written word….the-corporate-speak-zombieso much more reliable than its close cousin, the spoken word. Way back yonder in them thar olden days, folks would have to commit important happenings and occasions to memory. And what was the most efficient way to accomplish this? Turn them into a story to be passed down from generation to generation, of course.

Can’t you just see it?

The Chief Elder, dressed in fur, staff in hand, flames from the fire dancing off his wise bearded face. throngs of children, young people, and adults alike awaiting for this gifted storyteller to weave his tale of adventure, romance, and intrigue.

Then, one day, some party-pooper picked up a piece of charcoal, or some such other soft piece of material that would make a mark, and commenced to scribbling on the cave wall… and there you have it–the twenty-six letters of the alphabet are born.

Now, I have mentioned the spoken word, the written word, but left out one very important part of today’s language, and that is none other than the stupid word. Please allow me to explain.

I spent nearly 16 years of my life in and around the corporate world, and every so often a new phrase, spoken only in what we will now dub “corporate speak,” would surface, rear its ugly head and spit out some silly nonsense.

Such as:

Think outside the box.…… Now that I’ve stopped laughing, I will admit that even though I know what this means, will somebody please tell me…… What does this mean!!! Do we really need this cornball phrase to tell us not to be like Jethro; instead embrace creativity. I hereby ban this saying and replace it with my own…… Don’t be stupid.

Here’s another little ditty:

Too much on my plate.…… Boy, there’s one for the ages. The last time I had too much on my plate…….I don’t think I’ve ever had too much on my plate. I have no choice but to flush……… and down the porcelain La-Z-Boy she goes.

How about number three:

Low hanging fruit……… I sure would like to know who came up with this one. Just in case you don’t know, it means to get the easy tasks out-of-the-way first. I can only imagine the phrases the creator of this one canned on the climb toward number one.

Picture wavy lines and fading scenery as dreamscape music ushers you to another time and place. The place where corporate speak is created. It’s a small room. The walls and ceiling are painted an institutional white. The single door and frame painted an inviting light gray; the carpet a stain resistant dark gray. There are no windows, and a small fluorescent fixture in the ceiling, its worn-out bulbs blinking to the tune of Good Golly Miss Molly. A small man, in a gray suit, with dark framed glasses, sets at a small gray desk humming, Ain’t No Woman Like the One I Got.  Every now and then he’d release a phrase and allow it to flow around the room before shooting it down into the trashcan and sending up another.

Let’s move in closer and intercept some of these words of wisdom.

1) Smash the eggs and let the birds go for now. We’ll blast them from the sky later.

Nah, too long and a hair too violent.…… I know… how about?

2) Stomp’em afore they get too big.

Won’t work either. The length is close, but the content’s just not quite there. I’ve got it!

3) It was the best of times, it was the worst…….

Nah, it’s been done to death.

What do they want from me? I’m going with my first choice, the hanging grape thing, the one my supervisor shot down. I’ll show him. It will become the greatest, nonsensical, off-the-wall corporate speak phrase ever uttered! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Needless to say, the phrase enjoyed moderate success and the employee was transferred to the mail room.

Now for the crème de la crème:

4) Who’s got the rock?

I refuse to waste virtual paper and ink on this ridiculous collection of words.

 So there you have it. Give mankind a toehold to create something totally unnecessary and of use to absolutely no one, and he’ll do it.

In a way, it reminds me of this blog. Chocked full of useless information; ready to use at your discretion.

Until next week

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Whadda Ya Know? Disposable Automobiles Who’d a Thunk It?

I am going to attempt to write something I’ve never tried before. Enough of these long-winded, drawn out novels devoted to nothing but fiction. compact carEnough of these novellas that you zip through in one evening leaving oneself empty wanting more and more and more.

No more short stories that barely wet the edge of one incisor before it’s over. No more long stories that barely wet one tooth.

From now on its public service announcements and this week’s will be centered around bad taste and non-discretionary judgment.

Now, we all have been hit by higher gas prices, but that doesn’t mean we should run out and purchase a vehicle that will fit into the trunk of most subcompacts.

You’ve seen the cars I’m talking about. They may hold one regular size clown or maybe two smaller ones but not much more than that.

Do we really want to sacrifice safety in order to save a few bucks?

I can’t imagine the carnage if one of these soap box Derby wannabes happened to collide with a regular size vehicle. If the truth be told I would have to question who would be the survivor between one of these windup’s and a small dog. It makes me shudder to think of the damage from insect strikes alone.

The other part of this equation has to do with aesthetics. If you want to be seen driving ugly down the road on four wheels, well, that’s absolutely none of my business. After all, people have the right to drive whatever they wish; however, I would check my local jurisdiction in case there are any restrictions on the amount of ugly allowed in your area.

Before you buy one of these fuel misers, think about it. Even though they conserve our fossil fuels which leads to less pollution, I would rather you spend that money at the fuel pump than giving it to a funeral home.

I hope no one was offended by my first public service announcement. After all, I’m out here for you.

After a great deal of thought and agonizing over my personal responsibility to assist my fellow-man since the last sentence…….I think I am going to stick with novels.

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Bite Me!!

I’ve often thought of writing a children’s book…. Well, not so much, often thought of it… It’s more on the order of never thought of it. Actually, if the truth be told, I’ve never considered considering writing a children’s Bippy the grub wormbook. Okay, you got me, this is the first time I’ve ever mentioned it.

 But if I did:

 I would have to decide on a cute, little, desirable character. Bunny rabbits, chicks, turtles, baby birds and even little lost fish have been done to death.…… I know, a big, fat, juicy, baby, grub worm. I could name him Bippy. And the book would be about Bippy’s adventures moving inches each day through the dirt and rotten tree stumps, doing what big, fat, juicy, baby, grub worms do. Then, one day a man making a survivalist television show eats Bippy raw. Poor Bippy.

 How about:

 Bogart, the legless mosquito? Unable to fly since birth due to a lack of ballast offered by the missing legs, we find Bogart in the backyard of your average, middle-class, suburbanite family. We follow Bogart on his perilous trek through a finely manicured lawn, dodging avian attacks, and avoiding such dangers as snakes, turtles, frogs and cannibalistic insects as he makes his way to the house.

 Bogart continues his death-defying journey, knowing that his first meal awaits in the life-giving fluid that courses through any one of the humans that abide in yonder abode. Finally after squirming, rolling and wriggling his way the necessary three feet to the back deck, he nestles himself into a crack on top of the handrail awaiting his bipedal victim.

 A likely target steps out of the back door and places a hand on the very same rail that the emaciated Bogart has taken up residence, poised to strike. Before the hand can reach the gaunt mosquito, Bogart is devoured by a wingless bat that throws itself from the roof and snatches the hapless Bogart from his hiding place.

 The bat we will call Wrigley (because that’s his name) promptly rolled off the rail and onto the ground. He begins to squirm across the finely manicured lawn, still masticating poor little Bogart, until Wrigley himself is slowly gummed to death by a toothless cat called Knuckles. Knuckles is later found dead, having choked trying to swallow a wingless bat with puffed out cheeks full of partially digested mosquito parts.

 Sadly, these mosquito parts contained no legs, but now Bogart was finally able to soar high with his fellow departed mosquitoes.

 Aye, a fitting end for all concerned. I think I’ll call it, “Bugs, Bats, and Cats: the Other White Meat.”

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