In the ink well

Dog Ear

November 9, 2017

Ingratitude (DOG EAR)

ou might have read my piece from last week (if you didn’t, it’s HERE). In it, I blistered my company for not giving me recognition for an above-and-beyond assignment I worked on, and that thinking that a crayons-and-coloring-book seminar approach would settle things. Of course, Serendipity is a cruel bitch. I went back across the street to the hotel we were attending for this thing, and that’s when the VP from my department got up in front of over a hundred coworkers and told a story of dedication and commitment and what it means. And suddenly he’s talking about me. […]
November 2, 2017

Angst (DOG EAR)

“ come across my hating fair.” This from Poopdeck Pappy in the ill-fated movie Popeye. It’s a great statement from the top-down look. It says that hate (and anger and other passionate emotions) are not just felt, they are controlled and considered. I really like that. The thing is, I’ve mentioned that I’ve had a hard couple of months and work has significantly factored into this. Without going into details, all the things they claim they do (compassion, caring, teamwork), they, well, haven’t. I labored over long evenings for over a month and nobody said anything, did anything, or supported […]
October 26, 2017

Bootstrapping (DOG EAR)

ow that I’ve given up jogging and I’m doing quick lunch-time rush-writing (an hour each time, typing with one hand, holding my sandwich with the other) I’ve begun to notice a thing I do that I’ve only just identified. In fact, when I wrote Indigo years back during lunches, I’d do the same thing. So, what I’m doing is something I’ll call “bootstrapping”. Works like this. When I settle into writing, my mind enters a streaming state where part of it is imagining the moment of the scene. It pictures the characters, their actions and reactions, the pace of the […]
October 19, 2017

Writing at the edge (DOG EAR)

t’s been a hard couple of months for me, facing everything from a loved-one’s passing to the storm of a century (with more of those yet to come) to the inanity of our President (really, is it even  in doubt anymore?). At one point, doctors were testing me for a possible degenerative disease over a number of tense weeks (just Carpal-Tunnel, whew). And I’m getting older and not wiser, no, just creakier and more fragile. As mentioned in other pieces, I hurt myself jogging which has ended that for me. At least I’ve gotten the bike back under me. I […]
October 12, 2017

Legging it (DOG EAR)

’ve jogged for years, ever since my first Corporate 5k. And I hated every step of it. When I cycle, there is motion and wind and fun. If I stop peddling I glide like an eagle (as opposed to jogging, where when I stop I feel black guilt). I’ve never felt that “runner’s high”. I’ve jogged and jogged and never gotten any better, holding a just-over 10 minute/mile rate. And my support squad, the Lunch Runners, has dropped from a dozen years back to… just me. But still I had a commitment to this; Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, even though […]
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, […]