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Posts tagged ‘life’

A Farewell to a loved and loyal dog

I’m in a somewhat bleak spot – I had to take my dog into the vet for that horrible last trip yesterday.  She was the second last of the animals we brought out here from South Africa (one cat survives). That was a ruinously expensive exercise – it cost us about 1/3 of what we got from selling our home, and left us in a new country with next to nothing.  We did it really tough at first as a result, down to rationing our slices of bread. The cats and dogs ate fish I minced in a hand mincer to get rid of the bones, and – for the dogs (and us) cheap rice. Pet-food was too expensive. But… loyalty calls for loyalty, and we got through it. Ten years later, we’re getting back to where we were, but I came through that at least knowing I had done my best for them.  I wish I was one 1/10 as good a man as my dogs assumed I was. Read more

Seeing through a glass, darkly

Unhurried imagination.

That phrase occurred in a passage Amanda quoted in her Tuesday column, and it… so to speak… caught my imagination. Because that’s not how my imagination – or Amanda’s, to judge from her comments – works. Ha! Imagination should only be so polite as to present itself in long, leisurely segments that fit my typing speed! It tends more to arrive with the speed and finesse of a runaway train!

A long time ago Diana Gabaldon told me something about her writing process that exactly described my own (Yeah, I know, too bad my results aren’t as wildly successful as hers). I’ll try to paraphrase from memory: Read more

The Three Roads

The book I’m supposed to be plotting resembles a vast desert sprinkled with various artifacts — a couple of characters here, some dialogue over there, an enchanted swan in the distance — with nothing but echoing emptiness between. The part of my mind that’s supposed to be dedicated to writing seems to be skittering merrily around, pulling up bits of old stories and chattering about current events. Hence this irrelevant and probably unimportant meditation on Thomas the Rhymer, the Wise and Foolish Virgins, and what I am reliably assured is a college loan crisis. Read more

Not Enough

There is not enough coffee.

It’s been a week. And there is not enough coffee. Children packed, house cleaned, Dave readied (though not loaded, le sigh) and many miles fallen behind, and many miles yet to fall. I write this missive from the surprisingly light and airy Secret Lair of the BbESP and her Prince Consort. The Wee and Wee-er Daves are under the kind but skittish care of a family of wolves I befriended a few years back. Last I heard, they’d succeeded in taking down a rabbit, and a brace of unwary graduate students “communing with Gaia.” I’m so proud.

Yesterday was the long run, clocking in at fourteen hours of driving time, and arriving a bit past the mid of night. The next few are going to be pleasant, and relatively short jaunts through Flat Land, with stops for scotch, steak, and company, as well as seeing some genuine Americana, which I love. Most importantly, retrieving Plushy Wendell T. Manatee from the clutches of a vicious band of unnamed semi-feral younglings (really, he just wants a more restful trip). And then, the annual Congregation of the Libertous. Read more

Boundaries

I’m starting to believe normal really is just a setting on a device of some sort, somewhere. Unless, perhaps, you live in a cave, somewhere miles or more from the nearest other human. And don’t have any relationships or concomitant responsibilities. I don’t think I’ve had two very similar weeks in the last couple of years.
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On (Not) Writing Daily

They tell you to write every day, and that’s a very good habit to develop. However, since most of us live in this messy place called Real Life, it’s seldom possible to follow that advice literally. The babysitter just quit, the ten-year-old broke his arm, the nursing home has an emergency with your father, the kitchen caught fire, the garage roof fell in… Only someone completely without human connections and supplied with a large staff of perfect servants gets to be that rigid about rules.

I think most of the people who are sufficiently interested in writing to read a blog like this come as close as humanly possible to writing every day, even if Real Life does force them into some complicated detours. Read more

Welcome to the Fourth Quarter

Ah, September. We’re closing in on the end of the year, with less than four months to go. Are you on track with your yearly goals? What are your revised goals for the last tax quarter of the year?

Third-quarter estimated tax payments are due into the IRS by September 17th. (Yes, technically September is fourth quarter, by tax year. I understand it’s the end of the third quarter by mathematical ratios. The IRS doesn’t care about that; third quarter for taxes and accounting ends on August 31.)

For those of you who are or want to become full-time authors, and even those of you who don’t, now is a good time to put down your author hat, pick up your business manager hat, and answer a few questions for yourself. Read more