In the ink well

Dog Ear

October 5, 2017

Open Office (DOG EAR)

ll writers face impediments. Nothing kills a writing career like a wife (and, eventually, children). It’s hard to hold the edge when someone’s dumping a load into their diapers. Not that I’m blaming them – there are plenty of other distractions. In older days, there was absinthe in Parisian cafes, whisky in run-down gin joints. And now (sadly) the world is now full of very petty distractions. Computer games, streaming TV, Iphones; you name it, it’s out there. Even I have too many things – cycling, astronomy, model railroading, game design – to write my passions. The world is more demanding […]
September 28, 2017

Evil (DOG EAR)

f you are talking fictional motivation, nothing works better, plot- and story-wise, than being evil. Two sea-faring examples: First, Ahab. A white whale he was attacking to drain it’s blubber and oil scars him and chomps a leg off. And now he’s angry at it in typical blame-the-victim fashion. And that’s well enough – it’s a great story that he is so driven that he sails the Pequod beyond both known waters and profit margins in his pursuit of a fish. Of course, we know how well his little rage works out, with the sole survivor floating on a coffin. […]
September 21, 2017

Political (DOG EAR)

s a writer, you run a big risk if you are going to make a political statement in your book. Since politics tend to come down to one side or another and they usually break down 50/50 (as the sides grab up all the undeclared that they can (and cantankerous people such as myself naturally gravitate to the underdogs)), you’ll pretty much piss off half your potential market. Of course, you could come off as the darling of your side but you’ll also be cast as a dickhead by everyone else. I got this the other night – I was […]
September 13, 2017

Scared Shitless (DOG EAR)

Scared Shitless (DOG EAR) p until the 50s, heroes were never scared. When faced with a wave a Zulus or an airship unraveling beneath their boots, heroes would clench their lantern jaws (whatever that means), tighten their fingers around their bold-action rifles and think of England. But never, never ever were they scared. In the 60s, Louis L’Amour would occasionally mention fear in his stories, but it was usually the secondary character chattering his teeth while the blunt hero would tell him it was natural to be frightened. Not that we’d witness the hero’s own fears, just that he would […]
September 7, 2017

Emotional (DOG EAR)

kay, so it’s been a hard couple of months. It started with something at work resembling a North Korean prison, working 140 hours of overtime in five weeks. This was while we were making organizational changes and a toxic person was stirring things up behind my back. Then there was the strange thing with my hand, the little null-spot, which doctors took three weeks to casually examine before announcing that, no, it wasn’t a degenerative disease. We also had a national train convention in town and our club was high on the host list. I had to run ops sessions, […]
August 31, 2017

Rest (DOG EAR)

t’s been a tough couple of months. I suffered a month of nonstop overtime, only working or sleeping for five weeks in a row. And all this went largely unrecognized. Then there was the scare that I might have a degenerative disorder, something that might lead to my crippling or death. We had a train convention in town and I had to work like a dog to get us through that. And then my beloved cat’s kidney packed up, and we did everything we could (including painful things) to save her but failed, and ended up burying her in the […]
August 24, 2017

Backlogged (DOG EAR)

ne of the only positive things to come out of the last few weeks (while I watched my feline companion slowly wither to nothing, during which time I inflicted pain to hydrate her and endlessly bothered her to eat) was my reading. There were a number of things I did to escape from the tragedy taking place. When Mookie was awake and about, I’d tend to her and coo over her. But when she slept, I diverted myself. Writing? Not a chance. I couldn’t put two thoughts together (and the thoughts that I might have put together were darker than […]
August 17, 2017

Book Acquaintances (DOG EAR)

’ve mentioned this topic in the past but recently a bout of serendipity has brought it to the fore again. Once more, we discover the solidarity of readers. Event 1 – at the weekly get together at Juniors (not the place my wife and I go to lunch and read at on weekends but the pizza parlor the model train buddies meet at). Was sitting there talking to a couple of guys about Razor Girl, a crime novel I’d just finished. Suddenly Steve, an older guy (practical, levelheaded) tells me that he’s currently reading it too. That surprised me – […]
August 10, 2017

Lower than Whale Shit (DOG EAR)

eah, the cat. She’s hanging in there but it’s a heart-ripper all the same. Years back, I wrote every day at work. I actually wrote Indigoin my lunch breaks, and a lot of the half-way Tubitz and Mergenstein, as well. I’ve knocked out a number of erotic collections (yeah, for sale, and dollars legitimizes anything in America) – how strange to write about heaving sweaty bodies, her fingers reaching down to play him and coax him until he was as hard as a ram, while at the next table over a woman grinds at her kids on her cell for […]
July 27, 2017

Lettered Friends (DOG EAR)

acebook friends will know (and readers of this column have gotten a whiff of it), my cat Mookie is slowly fading. Every ounce we coax on, she slowly loses. Depression is the state of our world now, just my wife and I trying to get every last experience out of Mookie before she fades into the night. I suffer from occasional mild depression (the writer’s badge). And there is nobody to talk this through with. Train club buddies are sympathetic but that’s as deep as it goes between guys. Work? Don’t make me laugh. I go through days in my […]