The wanting to live forever

moostafah and friend

Writers are afraid to die, so they scrawl messages to the future that they hope will survive their mortal bodies.

“Here I am!” the messages scream, or at least, “Here I was!”

Everyone has something to say. Writers have ego enough to write it down for posterity.

You never know when something you write in 2019 will be useful to someone in 2061.


“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

— Chinese Proverb

The death of the verb to be

vintage TV

It’s been almost 20 years since I first noticed. The first TV anchor I noticed using partial phrases in lieu of complete sentences was Shepard Smith of Fox News. Maybe he started it, maybe he didn’t, but it remains an irritating distraction, and the practice has gone on so long that now it’s ingrained in the news-writing culture.

A generation growing up with the mistaken belief that this is a complete sentence.

I think the practice was started to effect some sort of headline-speak. It certainly wasn’t to save time and use language more economically. Reporters saving only a nano-second by not using the word “are” where it belongs in this sentence.

Perhaps, metaphysically, by not using the various forms of the verb “to be,” they are making a statement about the nature of being, of existence. By not saying “is,” “are,” “it is,” “you are,” “they are,” etc., they question reality itself.

That, however, is probably assigning too much credit to those who first condoned and enabled this usage.

Easier calling it just bad writing.

Murmurs from my right mind

my right mind
When I am in my right mind, I wake up at 5 a.m. and settle into this blue chair a few minutes later, pick up pen and journal full of blank pages, and begin to spread words over the paper.

When I am in my right mind, I set my mind to writing words that will encourage people waking to uncertainty, to inspire them to face the day and tackle it straight on, and comfort them that they’ll get through whatever the day holds.

When I am in my right mind, the words are as much to reassure myself and think of what I would want someone to say to me to give me strength to go on.

Whatever is right, whatever is good, whatever brings love, joy, peace, I think on those things, to paraphrase Saul of Tarsus. We each need to be encouraged, entertained, enlightened, so I try to be of service that way.

How to get it done

how to get it done

“I don’t have time for all this!”

Yes, you do.

A person is what she thinks about. As a man thinks, his thoughts become him. If she thinks she will fail, she will. If he thinks he can do it, he will find a way. It’s that simple, and it’s that complicated. Because thinking is step one; now comes the doing.

A person does what he thinks about. As she works on the task, her thoughts determine the outcome. If he thinks he’ll miss the deadline, he will. If she thinks she can make it, she will. As Mr. Ford (or whoever) said, whether you think you can do it, or you think you can’t, you’re right.

Break it down so you can see the possibilities. Can I plot out a book in X days? Sure, if I invest Y minutes or Z hours a day. It’s like the person who wants to stop drinking: Can you go without a drink for this minute? Good. Now, how about this next minute? And the one coming after this? Pretty soon you’ve gone without drinking for a half-hour, then an hour, then two hours and four hours and eight.

Don’t have time for all this? Can you focus on doing it for one minute? Good. Now, how about this next minute? And the one coming after this? Pretty soon you’ve made the time and it’s done. Try it.

The place where 41 begins

41 begins

Saturday was a rare day trip for us – we haven’t often ventured so far that we need to ask someone to let the dogs out midday. We left the house at 6:30 a.m. and got back around 8:30 p.m.

The goal was mostly leaf peeping in Upper Michigan, with an added “bonus” of our first snowfall sighting of the season.

41 fall snow

Fortunately, it was a sunny day and we saw no flakes in the air, just on the ground just north of the Wisconsin-Michigan border.

But part of the joy for me was fulfilling a long-held desire to see the beginning (or end, as it were) of U.S. Highway 41, the blue-collar workhorse of the old highway system preserved in folklore (the Allmans’ “Ramblin’ Man” was born on a bus rolling down it) that still exists – much of it converted to interstate highway now – carrying travelers and cargo from the shore of Lake Superior in Copper Harbor, Michigan, to Miami, a distance of just less than 2,000 miles.

The last few miles before our destination was a beautiful winding and hilly stroll through mostly unspoiled forest that was awash with the yellows and oranges and reds of this particularly vivid autumn. Rewarding us at point zero was a sign denoting The Beginning of U.S. 41, built by a man named Byron Muljo, described as a “plow driver, sign foreman, maintenance foreman and road commissioner” for Keweenaw County, which is one of the most lovely corners of the universe I’ve ever been.

41 sign

Why did I have to see the beginning of U.S. 41? I like origin stories – I’m fascinated by beginnings and the contrast between quiet starts in gorgeous countryside and the huge industrial workhorses they become. There’s a power in such places – a power in quiet beginnings – maybe that’s why I like to start the day sitting and reflecting in this chair.

41 miami

Dejah is 5

Dejah 5th anniversary

It’s been five years since Dejah Thoris, Princess of Mars entered our lives. We named her before we set eyes on her, because I was so taken by the “failed” John Carter movie that I wanted to be able to recruit believers to the film when I explained why we named our dog Dejah.

It turned out to be a perfect name. She is a fiercely independent creature (although not very fierce in and of herself) and clearly not of this planet. That became clear within a month, when she needed emergency surgery to remove her diet of pebbles, mulch and other foreign objects.

It turned out that Willow The Best Dog There Is did not want an adopted sister, no way, no how, but even she has been won over – mostly. We have had various combinations of pets through the years, but this pair may be my favorite.

Much has changed in the past five years – for one thing, that first-day photo was taken in the halls of the Door County Advocate, from which I was cast by corporate bean counters a couple years ago – but Dejah has always been loved, free, and just plain nuts.

Take a dinosaur to lunch

international dinosaur month

And how DO you celebrate International Dinosaur Month?

Do you finish the book you were writing about a newly discovered kaiju?

Do you watch a different Godzilla movie every day? or Gorgo? or Beast From 20,000 Fathoms? or The Giant Behemoth?

Do you listen to T-Rex records?

Do you listen to records, period?

Do you invite to lunch someone who still writes in cursive?

Do you invite to lunch someone who still uses pencil and paper?

It’s a whole month: Maybe all of the above.

In any case, happy International Dinosaur Month.