Of time and time lost...

Surprise, surprise.

Was searching online for my dad’s obit today, and found a notice that my short story collection, The Second Time Around had been longlisted for the Serena McDonald Kennedy Award for Fiction in 2016. Sure wish I’d have known before now. Anyway, three years later it was still a bit of welcome news.

Up and at it early today. The revisions started out a bit rocky, but I think I managed some quality work before I quit. We’ll see, tomorrow. Should come to the end of the long piece before the weekend. Hope so. I’d like to abandon it again for a bit before looking over the final (or what I hope to be final) revisions.

Leaving for Albuquerque on Saturday. Should be a pretty drive down through the valley. Gonna try and relax a little, get in some extra reading time.

Don’t know why, but this week feels longer than most. Been thinking it was Thursday most of the week, and wasn’t right a single time until tonight.

Wild and wooly...

Wild one.

Woke up early and got to it. Hammered away at the keyboard until 8:00. Spent the rest of the day with young M, shopping, playing, goofing off, etc.

Managed a quick trip to the gym, then home again and off to pick up J at school. Had a nice time till we got home and the world went to hell over a yellow marble.

Long piece is shaping up. There’s probably something akin to a twelve-step apology most writers owe their friends and family when they spend too much time with a manuscript, but I’m not sure it’s been codified yet. You can call it work, but at times it feels like an addiction. And not always a healthy one.

Nice bit of sunshine today. Wish we’d gotten out more, but that’s the way it goes. Looking forward to a spell of good weather so I can finish the yard work, start mapping out some new fishing adventures. The mountains look beautiful right now. Expect the water does, too .

Plunged into Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa last night. What a wonderful book. Can’t believe it’s taken me this long to discover it.

Not quite up to speed...

Not sure where this one went. Got up early and started strong. Kept at it till mid-afternoon then went off to the gym to see if I could clear the head.

Still making revisions to the long piece, but the big elements seem to be working and the exposition I worked in during the last pass is mostly okay. Gonna try and reach the end tomorrow, if I can. Young M comes early, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Put the Heller book to rest last night. Was a little disappointed in the epilogue. Seemed kind of hurried. A little too convenient, given the nature of the story. But hey, maybe that’s just me.

Overcast day. Cool, too. Don’t mind the latter but I don’t need anymore clouds at the moment. Need a break, I think, but I’m not sure Albuquerque’s it.

Enjoying the quiet...

Up early. Not early enough for a sunrise ceremony, but early.

Wrote till ten, then called it quits and went down to see the boys for an Easter brunch. Had a nice time. Egg salad sandwiches, pleasant conversation, a little tom-foolery for dessert, the off shopping for garden goodies.

All in all, a quiet day. The rain never came, but a breeze blew in a few clouds that hung around most of the afternoon.

Called Mom, but she was out to dinner. Happy to hear that. Also happy to hear her front tooth’s been repaired and that it looks great.

Eager to see for myself when we drop in on Saturday.

Not a whole lot else going on. Feeling rested. Ready to hit it hard tomorrow.

Of books and bushes...

Yeah. Getting used to the yard work.

Wrote this morning, the went off to Lowe’s to pick up a couple of boxwood bushes. Stood in line while an old woman verbally abused her grandchildren. Man. Kettle started to boil with that one. Would have liked to cub her over the head with a shovel, but changed lines instead. It wasn’t the cure, but it helped.

Put the boxwoods in front of the new brick fence in front. Just what it needed. Got some weeding and raking done too. Also got the mower off to the lawn doc for a tune-up. They’re two weeks behind, so it’ll be ready for pickup about the time I get back from Albuquerque for Mom’s 89th.

The Heller book isn’t bad, but there are a few unfortunate cliches in it, and at least two strangely-improbable, easily avoidable incidents that have left me scratching my head. Funny how it’s easier to see mistakes in someone else piece when you’ll overlook them a hundred times in your own stories.

Easter breakfast tomorrow at the boys’ house. Egg salad sandwiches. After that, back to the yard. At least for the morning.

Quiet day today. Overcast, but warm. Hardly a breeze to be found. Supposed to cool off the rest of the week with at least a little precipitation along the way. We’ll see what comes.

Here we are, Friday...

Minor comeback of a day.

Up early and hard at it. Made pretty good progress with the revisions. Knocked off early afternoon and went to the gym and the grocery store. Got home and put in a hour and a half of yard work. Mowed, fertilized, weeded, de-thatched, and bagged.

Read the Catherine Lacey story in the NYer after all that.

Whipped from the yard work. Gonna take a while to get used to being outdoors again.

Hadn’t realized it was Good Friday until late this morning when I saw the NY Stock Exchange was closed. Guess we’ll be looking at Easter dinner on Sunday, though I haven’t heard when or where.

Pretty day. Nice to have the birds back, singing again. Looking forward to a quiet weekend. Maybe a fire or two on the back patio.

Looking after things...

Been thinking about my old buddy, Tom, all day. The Notre Dame fire must’ve gotten to him, bad, despite his living a good distance from Paris. Hope he’s doing all right. Read in the news tonight they were able to save a lot of the permanent treasures, and that donations toward the cathedral’s restoration are strong. One more reminder there’re still good people in the world.

Was up early for coffee with G.O. Had a nice visit, as always. Wish like hell one of these times he’d walk in and say he’d just sold a treatment for a million bucks. Guy’s got all the talent in the world, but LA’s a tough gig. Thing I know is, he won’t quit. He’ll just get better. After a while they won’t have a choice, they’ll have to let him in door.

Young M great all day. Did some shopping together at Lowes early on, horsed around in the yard after that, got in some time at the gym while he was napping, then came home and rode out the rest of the afternoon in the house. Nice day. Looked like maybe another snow might be coming over the peak, but down below the weather was nice. Hope it sticks for a while.

Oh, the possibilities...

Early up tomorrow for coffee with G. Look forward to hearing how things are moving along out in L.A.

Happy with this morning’s writing. Think I made some decent progress. Gonna let the long piece sit a while and get back to the short story I was working on a couple of weeks ago. Maybe try something new with it, I don’t know.

Got in a nice workout at the gym, and even added a little bit of new aerobic stuff to freshen up the routine. It worked out pretty well. Maybe I’ll add a little more tomorrow.

Weather was decent today. Sunny, manageably warm when the breeze didn’t kick up. Could use a little more of that when young M shows tomorrow.

K here for dinner tonight. Pulled pork, straight from the new pressure cooker. We’ll see how it turns out.

One sad note.

Really sad.

Notre Dame is burning.

Just trying to keep up...

Starting to look like spring again around here. Some of the grass is already long enough to mow—which means I’m a week late getting the Lawnboy to the shop for an oil change and blade sharpening.

Got a nice breeze in from the west this morning, and it pushed along the gray that had been sitting over us since yesterday. It was a little cool when the sun got lost, but overall a pretty nice day.

Was up early making revisions. Came to the end of the long piece again, and figure to let it rest a while before looking at the new additions and subtractions. Meanwhile, on to other things.

It’s already mid-month, which means May is just around the corner. Mom’s B-day coming up soon. K’s & D’s as well. Also, the third anniversary of my dad’s death. Hard to believe it’s so long.

Saw The Mustang over at the Peak this afternoon. Nice, nice movie. Hard to watch in places, but well written and well worth the time.

Not ready to start the new week yet, but eager to get back to the gym.

Out and about...

Good day.

Up early, wrote hard. Worked till noon, then ventured off to the accountant’s to drop off a check. Grocery shopping after that. Submission research after that.

Weather took another turn mid-afternoon. Wet heavy snow. Just finished shoveling the walks.

Hey, whadda ya know!

Bit of a comeback today. Must have been the good night’s sleep I had. Up early to a number of chores, and managed to escape each of them unscathed.

Good morning writing. Good day at the gym. Weather made a comeback, too, so it added up to a pretty nice Friday. All it would’ve taken to make it perfect was a Starbuck’s, though sadly that wasn’t in the stars.

Think maybe I found my next novel…or two. Picked up Peter Heller’s The River, read the first chapter and liked what I saw. Also came across an article in the New Yorker on Nelson Algren, which got me interested in The Man with the Golden Arm. Might drive out to Barnes & Noble over the weekend and see if I can’t scare a copy up.

Got a funny rejection today (story title and publication will remain unnamed). It was prefaced with a note from the managing editor, telling me that a number of readers and editors had looked at the work with careful and exacting eyes. Then it proceeded to say my “poem” wasn’t right for them. Yeah. They were careful, all right.

Looking to get away for a while tomorrow. Maybe check out a movie. Like to see “The Mustang” if we can get tickets.

Turning the corner...

So. Gotta up my game, here. Looking back on the last hundred entries, you’d think they were written by a man in prison cell. Can my life really be this narrow?

Was up and at it early, and got in some good revisions before the baby came. He wasn’t feeling well, so the day was full of ups and downs. Plus a moment or two of solid, grade A comedy, e.g., “Get back! Here it comes!”

Weather went seriously cool compared to the beginning of the week, but it’s supposed to get nice again come the weekend. Just in time not to matter. Need to fertilize and get the mower in the shop for a blade sharpening, change of oil, before I start stressing about the yard. Meanwhile, the movie theaters are calling.

Been doing some math on the number of good fishing days ahead. It always seems like there are more of them than there actually are, which leads me to think I need to take a more proactive/aggressive approach to my summer angling. It’s all academic at the moment—I don’t even have my 2019 license yet, and here it is March—but better to start planning now, rather than make it up as I go along. Part of the plan is to spend more time on the Arkansas. Fewer people, bigger fish, no day permit necessary.

Friday tomorrow. Client time.

Gonna get to bed early, see if I can’t get some good rest, and come at it hard before the rest of the world wakes up.

Yeah, Wednesday again...

Had a great time at J’s birthday bash last night. Not sure whether his “first” drone ever got off the ground, but hope to hear news of it before long.

Got a decent night’s sleep for a change, thanks to mother’s little helper. Still had some bad dreams, but nothing to remember and nothing to dwell on. Was up early at the keyboard, and managed to have a productive morning with the long piece. Getting close to the end again. One of these days, it’s going to be the real, honest-to-goodness end, and a great weight is going to life from my shoulders and find on new life on someone else’s.

Hit the gym later than usual, but that was okay, too. By then the snow was coming in and the place was mostly deserted. Not sure what sort of accumulation to expect. Doesn’t look like much of it will stick, but I guess we’ll see. It’s that time of year to be surprised

Still searching for a new novel to read. Can’t seem to land on anything, but would like to track down the piece that was excerpted in the NYer a month or so ago. The Viet Nam story by Salvatore Scibona.

First things first. Young M back tomorrow. Need to gird the loins and stay prepared.

Easy Monday...

Restless night’s sleep, but it hasn’t caught up with me yet. Out of bed a little after six, and back to work on the long piece, hacking away at a small but quarrelsome section at the back end of the work. It’s not there yet, but better than when I began, so I guess there’s still some hope of salvaging it.

Revisited a Jess Walter story in B.A.S.S. last night. Reminded me of how much I liked his novel, The Zero. Gotta dig into another of his long pieces.

Made it to the gym early afternoon, put in a good workout, then came back home and got in a little more work.

The yard’s beginning to green up at last, but the weather folks are saying a new snowstorm is on the way, so I guess summer’s not here exactly yet. Still. Can feel the warm in the air and it’s real. Can’t wait to see the trees start to leaf out.

J’s “actual” birthday tomorrow. His quotes, not mine. Gonna have dinner with the family tomorrow night, do a little more celebrating.

Till then.

Another lost weekend...

Up late after a tough night’s sleep. But managed some good work at the keyboard, nonetheless.

J’s fifth birthday today (well, not exactly today) with a big celebration down in Monument Valley Park. Star Wars themed. S. baked cupcakes in the shape of storm troopers, and cobbled together a Darth Vader display for them. Pretty cool stuff. Caught up with some folks we hadn’t seen for a while, but split before the affair officially ended. The kids seemed to be having a pretty good time.

Came home and finished the last two N critiques, then headed over to the gym. Pretty day today. Glad I got to spend some of it outside.

Not sure what’s coming down the pike tomorrow, but have this strange feeling it isn’t going to include a whole lot of commercial work. Just a guess.

Month’s shaping up into a busy one. Mom visits, C’s wedding, other birthdays, etc.


Day lost in business doings. Was hoping for more in the way of the fiction time, but that that’s the way it goes. Did manage to finish reading the last of the N stories, and write another review, so there’s that. Also finagled a trip to the gym.

Big birthday doings coming up. Darth Vader themed. Got a hot date with foam core and an exacto knife tomorrow.

And there you have it...

The day started with promise, then fizzled. Slowly.

Client meeting was a story in and of itself. Spent twenty minutes explaining the different parts of speech. Was told my facts would be checked by the client’s daughter. An English major. Wow. They don’t usually drag out heavy artillery like that until they’ve seen the first invoice. Have a bad feeling about the direction it’s going, but who knows? Maybe this time I’ll be wrong.

Managed a brief trip to the gym, then home to write another critique for N. Not a whole lot to crow about, but something.

Young M tomorrow morning. Hope the weather gives me something to work with.