In the ink well

Dog Ear

July 16, 2020

The nicest morning (DOG EAR)

oke up this Saturday the usual way, my head alive and spinning with ideas. No going back to sleep. So I ended up on the computer for an hour or so, reading the online paper and emailing model railroad design plans back and forth with a buddy. I’d just gone back to bed (at 8am) when the neighbor started mowing the lawn. So that’s out. Instead, I went out and got Manfred (my Brompton folding bike) out of the garage and (sans helmet) went for a spin around the neighborhood. Outside of it being a glorious day full of sunshine […]
July 9, 2020

Juniors (DOG EAR)

hen I was working, we’d walk over to Juniors on Sunday mornings to have our omelets. And being readers, we’d settle into that crowded, muggy background and prop open our books and read. The waitress (who was used to this bookworm way of breakfast) would keep the ice-teas filled and bring us the check when we closed our books. Once I retired, we shifted to Thursday. Now seating was always available, the mood was slower and more casual. There wasn’t the Churchie rush at 11pm that packed the joint. We’d sit by the huge plate glass window, look out on […]
July 2, 2020

Early Bird (DOG EAR)

se to be, back when I was a working man, that I’d need to wake up and be out the door in twenty minutes, riding the bike through hot and cold, watching for cars, figuring out my work. You can’t commute on a bike in Oburg while muzzy with sleep. So now that I’m retired, twenty years in the purple have left me altered. Now when the furry kids wake me up at 5am for their feeding, I can’t get back to sleep. I lie there, mind spinning up, unable to drop back into slumberland. So this morning I did […]
June 25, 2020

Blessed Creativity (DOG EAR)

howed up a little early for a dentist checkup the other morning. Was the only one in the waiting room and the TV was on mute (and I wasn’t going to disturb it). They were running a little late so I sat quietly for twenty/thirty minutes while they got to where they could see me. When the nurse came out, she said she hadn’t thought I was even there, I was so quiet. And on top of things, I’d forgotten my book. I was thinking. Unlike that kid the other day at the hair cutters (the one who stood and […]
June 18, 2020


t’s probably a bad idea. I’m going to start role playing again (after 30 years or so). Role playing (if you live in a cave and don’t know) is where one person acts as an impartial (or so they say) referee, setting up everything from the nature of the world to the price of a beer. Players describe what they want to do, and the ref determines (using tables and rules as guides) the outcome. Back in the day, I hosted a very successful StarWars campaign (which ran pretty much weekly for fifteen years). I can figure that a lot […]
June 11, 2020

Insomnia (DOG EAR)

don’t know if this is the classic definition of insomnia. I just know it’s before 6am and I’m up. I’d planned to post something else out of my prep-stash but looking out the windows into the dark morning, I thought I’d cover this topic instead. Are you a writer? Do you find yourself up way too early in the morning, tired yet active? I think I know where my case came from. For the last twenty years of working, I’d have to get up and pretty much hit the ground running. Commuting in by bike, I didn’t have time to […]
May 28, 2020

Dead Slow (DOG EAR)

ell, this is ironic. You’d think that during the greatest pandemic we’ve seen in a century, in a house loaded with all the books I could ever want (and all my old favorites) I’d be burning through titles. But experience has proven otherwise. My primary issue is that I’ve been very busy. I’m experimenting with Squiffy Gamebook programming. And dental surgery has gotten in the way of everything. Then there are all those bike rides I’ve been making (I’d gotten pretty fast, now that my lack of junk food has shed some pounds). And with live streaming, I’ve gotten through […]
May 21, 2020


ave writing advice this week in, of all places, the Squiffy forum (Squiffy is an easy-to-use text adventure game maker). Since I’ve been messing for squiffy for years, I’ve gotten to be a SME on site and I usually provide answers. But the other day, I happened to glance at the general forum where you can post damn near anything. Someone had written a story about his uncle and was asking for critiques. The story was slow. It didn’t get anywhere quickly. It didn’t hold my interest. I couldn’t get more than a few paragraphs. And so I wrote the […]
May 14, 2020

Print Ready (DOG EAR)

t’s that time of the quarter again. Tonight is deadline for The Journal Box, a model railroading publication that I assemble four times a year. And it’s a real labor of love. This is the all-important election edition so I’ve been getting biographies of candidates (as well as the division reports). And these communications come in all sorts of formats – I get emails, text files, Word docs, and even PDFs (which I need to strip the text out of). All of these I gather into one Word document so I can sort them and then shift them to Publisher. […]
May 7, 2020

Fire and Bronze Revisited (DOG EAR)

nteresting call from mom the other day. As mentioned in the last DOG EAR, I was hunkering down and dealing with the depression of plague politics. But she called and I was in mid-something, so I put it down and talked. She told me that she’d been sitting around in her own doldrums and saw my novel, Fire and Bronze, under her coffee table. I’ve always seen it there and it’s always given me a little pride. You see, my dad and I had little in common as I grew up. He had been an only child and had done […]