In the ink well

Dog Ear

August 11, 2016

Andre (DOG EAR)

o last week, we chatted about Athos, the literary character I see myself as. This week, we’ll look to Andre-Louis Moreau, the character I wish I could be. Andre, a lawyer from Gavrillac, is a man famously described as “born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.” He gets royally screwed (actually, in this case, nobly screwed) by the Marquis de la Tour d’Azyr, who butchers his friend and forces him (like Athos) to hide in the gutter. But Andre undergoes a series of transformations, eventually becoming a man of influence, power and deadliness. […]
August 4, 2016

Athos (DOG EAR)

een thinking of Athos a lot recently, the oldest, wisest, drunkest, and darkest of the famous Musketeers. In the recent BBC adaptation, Athos is played handily Tom Burke, who might be a wee bit young and drunk on demand. No, for my money, it was Oliver Reed back in the 70s who hit it on the head, portraying the man who’d once been the Count de la Fère before he’d hung his wife for the thief she was and sank into low-class oblivion as a lowly musketeer. There have been other Athoses of course, including John Malkovich, which is all […]
July 28, 2016

Backed with fists (DOG EAR)

as going to lunch, my wife and another couple the other day. Mentioned I was reading The Eyre Affair. The woman in the front seat hardly turned. “By Jasper Fforde”? I blinked. “Wow! How would you know that?” She told me she’d started it a couple of weeks ago. Me, I’m midway through and really enjoying it. I started to babble about how funny it was (militant astronomer groups?) and she sniffed (you couldn’t hear it, but all the evidence was there for a down-her-nose dismissal). “Oh, I dropped it after the first chapter. It wasn’t very good.” I started […]
July 21, 2016

The Dream (DOG EAR)

t’s been a rough couple of weeks. Actually, looking back at that opener, I nearly deleted it because of its triteness. Rough? Forty-nine dead in my hometown, then Dallas. And this brings up my feelings about the massacre at Virginia Tech, my alma mater. Yet through it all, on Facebook, with friends and at work, I get to listen to simplistic statements, slogans, and opinions of people who want to take tragedy and reshape it in my mind. As if in my quiet and thoughtful life, where I bike or drive across the city without the distraction of radio or […]
July 14, 2016

The Loaner (DOG EAR)

t’s been a weird sorta a year. Maybe it’s because my site pulls in about 200 readers per blog (not many, but I’m proud of the hits). Or maybe it’s because I’ll chat about books and reading at work and over at the model train club. But I’m known as a writer and a reader, and suddenly this year I’ve been buried in loaned books. Last year it started with The Name of the Wind and A Wise Man’s Fear, two monster books you can use to chock a car’s wheels to keep it from rolling. And then the deluge […]
July 7, 2016

Double Negative (DOG EAR)

is complexion was dark, the eyes and hair almost black; the former very bright and penetrating; his brow was high, broad and square; his nose was prominent, and there was about the mouth an expression of firmness, not unmixed with kindness. This from Caesar’s Column, a book by Ignatious Donnelly, written ornately in 1890. Now, I understand the baroque dialog of the time and often (as in the case of War of the Worlds) love it. But here it gave me pause. And not in a reflective good-way. No, I had to stop and decode what was being said. So, […]
June 30, 2016

Free to Play (DOG EAR)

kay, trust me on this. You want to click down this link. Yes, this is Robert telling you this: the star-peeping, train-running, cat-petting, bike-riding guy. Have fun!    CLICK TO PLAY MY ADVENTURE.   >>>CLICK TO BUY MY BOOK!<<<
June 23, 2016

Graying over Grey (DOG EAR)

kay, Sherlock, figure this one out. A friend loans me the book Shades of Grey. From that alone, is the writer English or American? My head is filled with a lot of useless rubbish. I can remember scenes from movies so trivial it would make your nose bleed (in the afore-mentioned Shades, there is a reference to the line “And don’t you yell at me, Mr. Warwick!” – I instantly got it). And so, that question – Yankee or Limey, which is it? I read somewhere that that color between black and white, the one with fifty shades? If you […]
June 16, 2016

Upshift (DOG EAR)

t was about the hardest thing I’ve ever read (the review is already up), The Republic. Not that the contents were difficult. I just had a hard time focusing on it. Listening to Plato’s version of oh-so-clever Socrates lay out logical lines of reasoning really became tedious. And with his listener supplying gushing large amounts of “Such is true” and “It is how you say” and “Dat’s a fact, Jack!”. Really, it’s like those times I sit in a diner or bar and overhear blowhards a table or two down talking about a political candidate I simply cannot fathom or […]
June 9, 2016

Opener (DOG EAR)

e’ve talked about the importance of hooks, and how critical it is to draw a short-attention-span audience into buying/reading your masterwork. So how about character development? Shouldn’t we be able to form our character descriptions quickly? Hundreds of years ago, traveling troupes set up archetypes so that ignorant peasants in every village wouldn’t have to suffer the drag of character development. Scaramouch was always the trickster and weaver of plots. Harlequin was the mute jester. And so on. The characters dressed and acted according to their established types and were known immediately to their audiences. So here’s a good example […]