In the ink well

Dog Ear

February 27, 2014

Serendipity (DOG EAR)

A little something happened while I was running a mile-long freight through the Carolina foothills, hogging on the Tennessee Carolina & Coast. I placed a magazine article. See, I was running trains up in the Asheville area (you can see my blog on trains, over on the left, for details of prototypical operations of trains). Guy named Steve was on the dispatcher’s panel, in the other room, directing the traffic by line phones. He’s got a magnetic board in front of him and he’s moving his markers to keep track of the trains (and telling the crews how far they […]
February 20, 2014

Pondering (DOG EAR)

It’s just a flatline day. I’m in the office before everyone else. Rode the bike in across misty fields, oddly quiet amid this city of a million souls. I’ve got an hour before my next meeting and thought I’d pop out a DOG EAR. But I’ve got nothing. This is one of those moments of existence that are so tough to capture, occur for everyone and yet hardly ever show up in stories. All across history, men have stood on the edge of fields or sat before their clerking desks, dangling in this moment of indecisive inactivity. It’s a moment […]
February 13, 2014

Shared (DOG EAR)

Jesse is my best friend on Earth. We’ve a friendship that has gone back a bit over thirty years. And even though life has separated us, we still talk once a week, to argue politics, talk life or work out new games. So for Christmas/Hanukkah this year, I decided to pick up a book for him, my vastly-enjoyed The Fencing Master. This is a book recommended by a used book shop owner in London, the note of which I carried in my wallet for over a year. And when I read it… Wow. You know that sort of book. You […]
February 6, 2014

Holy Moley! (DOG EAR)

Keep in mind that I need to review a book a week. Anything from a short story to a 800 page monster, something’s gotta show up. I’ve been holding this schedule for years. Anything I read, I review. I have to. The story then goes to the train club, where I was under our mountain, inside staging (where all the trains are kept lined up and ready for a session), entering boxcar numbers into a database I’m writing to handle car routing. A friend is outside the mountain, and we’re discussing theology and religion through the plaster hillside. The thing […]
January 30, 2014

Keeping one’s head (DOG EAR)

I made a big mistake in Googling myself recently. I wanted to see how I came up. Depending on how I entered the search, my amazon postings and blogs came up either on the first page, a couple back, or not at all. Worse, there are other “Robert Raymonds” writers (like who would have guessed there’d be clones out there) who tended to end up higher than me. My first inkling was to panic. It’s usually my initial reaction to just about anything, this combination of fight and flight (life, nothing but a fighting withdrawal). The thought is that to […]
January 23, 2014

Time in a bottle (DOG EAR)

It’s no secret to writers that time is a precious commodity. Between work, bicycle commuting, and sleeping, a big chunk of the day vanishes. And worse, I’m going to list some stupid things that really pull me away from writing. Model Railroading: How can toy trains get in the way of a writer’s career? Well, I’m VP of a big club. We need to keep the lights on so it means running operations (to make the members happy) and doing shows (to get even more members). Normally Monday and Wednesday nights, I’m over at the club working on our sectional […]
January 16, 2014

Who are our readers? (DOG EAR)

This question actually perplexes me. Who reads our books? Not only our blockbuster, publishing-house-backed books, but our little indie books. Have you ever looked over your fellow citizens, wondering who reads? Those heavyset man-children who wear flipflops and a ballcap into restaurants? The arrested youth who define our movies as simplistic drivel requiring only minimal attention to follow and only a touch more to predict? And desperately unhappy political worrywart? That Walmart black Friday pre-dawn shopper? The self-proclaimed over-stressed working mother? There is a 90% illiteracy rate in the poorer district in town. The bookshelves (limited as they are, pressed […]
January 9, 2014

Life imitating art (DOG EAR)

I‘m a cyclist-commuter. Bicycles catch my eye. But none has better than the one a month or two back, a bright orange bike (and I do mean orange – wheels, chains, everything) ridden by an orange man (and I do mean orange – a full body stocking (how did he SEE in that thing???)). That was notable – I mentioned it to my wife. Strange. Then a few days later, going into a local fast food place, I saw another orange bike chained up outside. Now, the tire was flat and it didn’t look like it had been ridden in […]
January 2, 2014

Rejection (DOG EAR)

(This was written a few weeks back, in the middle of the ‘overlord’ series. I’m mostly down off this, but still disappointed. However, I decided to post it up, just in case some other writer who feels the same way finds fellowship. And why would I want them to quit? I don’t want to be the only one who gets hammered like this.)  I don’t feel like writing tonight. I got fucking rejected. A while back I got a request for stories from a publisher I’ve have contacts with before – a call for submissions. It had to be a historic piece. I thought about […]
December 26, 2013

The Perfect Gift (DOG EAR)

Okay, so this would have been a handy thing to post up a few weeks earlier, but I was in the midst of the Overlord series (and I didn’t think about it until now) so there. But Christmas gifts. Everyone worries about Christmas gifts. Why? If you follow this blog (and there are about 100 out there who do), you are a reader and perhaps a writer. You are someone who likely knows books and are interested in them. This being the case, you should have the makings of a wonderful gift for that loved one you are shopping for. […]