Two friends diverged in the woods

two friends diverged

“I can’t.”

The other man stopped short and whipped around.

“You WHAT?”

The first speaker swallowed and considered whether to repeat himself. Continue reading →

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Second quarter + one month report

book shelf

I saw a quote recently that said nothing ever goes as planned – you wind up where you are by accident no matter what your big plans are. It’s a variation of the proverbial John Lennon quote, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”

And so, as I review my announced plans for 2017 for this month-late update, I don’t feel terribly bad about saying, well, Life happened. Continue reading →

Fleas, monkeys, and the box

fleas, monkeys and the box

Zig Ziglar told the story of how to train a flea. If you put a bunch of fleas in a glass jar with a lid on it, Zig said, the little critters will jump as high as they can, which usually involves banging against the lid.

Naturally banging against the lid is not a pleasant experience, so the fleas eventually will jump only as high as they can without slamming the ceiling. After a while you can remove the lid but the fleas will not escape the jar, because they have learned from experience not to jump as high as they can. Continue reading →

Our incredible shrinking electronics

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I used to talk about all of the incredible improvements in technology my dad had seen since he was a boy. And this was in the 1970s, when he was in his fifties. Now that he’s in his nineties, and I’m in my sixties, I marvel at what I’ve seen myself.

What a marvelous invention is the smartphone, for example. When I first broke into the real world and became a radio news guy, I was commissioned a cassette tape recorder that weighed about 10 pounds that I slung over my shoulder and plugged a microphone into – and that had replaced a reel-to-reel tape recorder that earlier news guys used and probably weighed 35 pounds. Continue reading →

First-quarter report to the readers

Author and Atomic Duck

A few days after the first of the year, I posted “My 5 goals for 2017.” How’s that going for me, three months into this latest 12-month adventure? Continue reading →

Every one of us has all we need

a-life-of-ease

As you may suspect if you are aware of my life circumstances (and I have not kept it secret), there are moments when I feel a tad out of my comfort zone. I felt one of those moments coming on as I walked out into an unusually not-cold morning.

I poked a button or two to call up some random music, and as often happens, the very first words I heard were what I needed to hear.

Every one of us has all we need:

Sky of blue, sea of green …

Never mind the next line (and if you are not familiar with the song, all the better). This is wisdom. When life tosses you a curve ball, remember that you have been equipped with all you need to knock it out of the park.

You have all you need. Take inventory, decide what you want to do, and go do it.

It really is that simple: Every one of us has all we need.

My 5 goals for 2017

obstacle-course

One thing holding up my writing career is the obstacle course I must negotiate to get into my home office.

Exactly one year ago today, I pledged to deliver a trilogy of novels about a huge beast from the sea, with the first one due May 11. I was later forced by my wiser nature to walk that beast back to the sea whence it came. I wish I could say “I didn’t say May 11 of what year,” but you can see I plainly intended to deliver the whole trilogy by July 1, 2016.

Wiser men than I have spoken of SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and within a certain Time line. The goal of writing a novel by May 11, 2016, and two more by July 1 was clearly SMT but not so AR. Continue reading →

Wait By The Shore

A short story

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Once upon a time in a place not far from here, but not close either, a man sat by the water. It was not a large lake – he could see the land on the other side – but it was not a small lake either – the land on the other side, he knew by consulting a map, was about 15 miles away.

“Slay the dragon,” he whispered to himself. He knew this dragon was worse than any mythical fire-breathing monster, and it was no myth. “Slay it good and dead.”

He pulled the flask out of his pocket, unscrewed the cap, and sniffed deeply so he could feel the aroma coursing through his body, tense with desire. Then, with a pit in his stomach, he turned the flask over and watched the golden nectar flow into the lake, every fiber of his being wanting to stop, to poke his tongue into the golden stream and pull in one last draught, knowing he couldn’t, not if he wanted the dragon to die.

“Die, you bastard,” he said to the dragon. “I need you, but I don’t want you no more.”

He screwed the cap back on and held the flask in his hand as if seeing it for the first and last time.

“Yep,” he said, “I don’t want you around no more.”

He set the flask down on a flat rock and drew himself up, forcing his breaths to come slow and calm. The day was cool and breezy. The waves licked rather than crashed, but it was what the old-timers called a crisp day. Autumn had reared its red and orange head and was now settling into a dreary brown, and it wouldn’t be long before it all turned into an even drearier blend of gray and white.

“Helluva time to give up your one and only pleasure, I suppose,” he mumbled to himself – of course it was to himself, who else was there?

Wait. Who else was there? Continue reading →