In the ink well

Dog Ear

May 29, 2013

Storyteller (DOG EAR)

Sat just six rows back, center, at a Garrison Keillor event tonight and listened so hard my ears dried out. This is how you tell the story. Everyone knows (or should know) the host of NPR’s Prairie Home Companion, a two hour variety show on weekends. Keillor’s been doing this for years, a gentle lampooning of Minnesotans, Lutherans, and old radio broadcasts. And he’s got it down pat. With his soft voice and his distracted look, he’s very agreeable, a perfect vehicle for storytelling. And that’s the thing; while I was enjoying it, I was dissecting it. You could actually […]
May 23, 2013

Anti-Semitic (DOG EAR)

“He was a man of about fifty, but from his appearance might well have been taken for at least ten years older. Small and skinny, with eyes bright and cunning, a hooked nose, a short yellow beard, unkempt hair, huge feet, and long bony hands, he presented all the typical characteristics of the German Jew, the heartless, wily usurer, the hardened miser and skinflint. As iron is attracted by the magnet, so was this Shylock attracted by the sight of gold, nor would he have hesitated to draw the life-blood of his creditors, if by such means he could secure […]
May 16, 2013

Carnegie (DOG EAR)

Writing has gotten me to some interesting places. It’s gotten me behind a booth at a scifi convention. It’s gotten me into packed living rooms for a book club speaking engagement, and an empty hall at the library. But this time it got me behind the assistants’ desk at a Dale Carnegie class. I took a twelve week course from the Carnegie folks last year, even got elected class president. I know from previous experience that keeping classes going forward after they end is part of the trick. It’s too easy for people to fade into the woodwork. My idea […]
May 9, 2013

Inspector Raymond of the Yard (DOG EAR)

I remember in the movie The Sixth Day how a futuristic low-end assassin drove around in a rusted, battered neo-beetle, and how clever that was at the time. Well, now I’ve got one. My car is thirteen years old. It’s in good shape but its had its little share of aging problems. Right now, I’m concerned by the oil it’s burning. A slow steady drop. The other day, before driving to work, I popped the hood and pulled out the dipstick to check it. Stood there blinking. What the hell was this? After a few more seconds spent recalibrating, I […]
May 2, 2013

In a corner (DOG EAR)

Monday sucked. Like a vampire (and not the nineteen-year-old pouty type, but the prince-of-darkness-and-you’re-dead-as-a-doornail type). Problems with code. Problems with the Indian contractors. Problems with the our patching processes. Finally dragged my tired ass out to the car, slumped into the seat, gasped in tired relief and looked on the floorboards. And there were those three agent packets sitting there. Oh yeah. That vow deal. I would rather have gone home. It was getting ready to rain, the cat needed to be fed, I needed a glass of wine. But Tuesday would be a bike riding day, Wednesday the train […]
April 25, 2013

This I vow! (DOG EAR)

I can’t believe this. After all the blogs about pushing yourself out there, of facing the adversity of the publishing field, I suddenly awoke to the fact (as a drunk wakes in a gutter and sees what he’s become) that I’ve been putting off submitting my agent packets. First it was a train show. Then the new computer arrived. And I’ve been cross-loading my files and playing glass-smooth Spelunky. And also weeding the yard, running a  5K race, finishing a “Thrones” book, all sorts of things. It turns out that the best thing you can do for yourself is to […]
April 18, 2013

Passion (DOG EAR)

I was in a funk about writing. Just re-upped the site for five years and found myself wondering what the point of all this writing is. There was even a cartoon I saw HERE that said it all for me. Yes, it made me sad, but it’s oh-so-true. And then tonight, my wife and I went to Arby’s. JB was over at the table and I was standing at the counter. The counter-guy had gone off to dump our curly fries into the vat and I was just standing there, thinking my what’s the point of writing thoughts. And that’s […]
April 11, 2013

Perspective (DOG EAR)

Authors love their jacket photos to show them sitting in a studious den with some books, a wonderful view out the window at their back, and wood paneling. And a globe. Like they are going to spin it and peer intently – “Hmmm. I shall send my hero to Madagascar…” The image is that here is where they arrive at their great insights on human nature. My insights on human nature come over the front of my bicycle handlebars when I ride to work. Honestly, I see more of what it means to be human in my commutes by bicycle […]
April 4, 2013

Courtesy (DOG EAR)

I once had an agency dash ( in bold and angry words!!! ) across my introduction letter a message how they couldn’t, wouldn’t and won’t represent an author who couldn’t follow simple instructions. They rejected my offering without even looking. And my crime? They asked for 20 pages and I sent them 22. Because that’s where the chapter broke, and that’s where the story had a nice twist. Like, shit. I understand the dynamics. Authors beg agents. Agents, who are often failed authors, now sit on the Throne of Power, permitting those who come before them to crawl into their presence and […]
March 28, 2013

Writer’s life (DOG ESAR)

I’m a writer and I stand by that. It’s what I am, from my off-beat views and off-cuff comments to my crazy hair to my lunchtime laptop sessions. Everyone knows I’m a writer (with the possible exception of agents – sigh). But this is what I do, babe. So it’s not surprising that people take notice of this. A while back, one of my Indian coworkers asked if I might chat with his son about writing. I was given samples of his school work (which wasn’t bad) and asked to give him suggestions. So we chatted – he was a […]