Category Archives: Fiction

The living room for all of my stories, great and small.

Starting My Slow Rise in Ebooks

June 4, 2015:

For many years I’ve been interested in making my short stories and novels available to the public, and for many years I’ve obsessed over the best method for making that happen. Like any writer, the moment I decided I wanted complete strangers to visit my brain to see what crazy characters and scenarios I could bring to paper, I wanted to jump right onto the publishers’ desks and say, “Hey, publish this, folks!” And, because what I had was so awesome, according to my own understanding, I thought that I was entitled to acceptance and permitted to make this my rite of passage into the real world.

Reality works at a different speed, however, and I’ve obsessed over the best method for getting my work published because I didn’t channel that desire into actual steps toward getting recognized. Much of my stubbornness to take chances on what I had written I had blamed on perfectionism, and perfectionism I had blamed on unwillingness to fail, and my unwillingness to fail I had blamed a lot on human nature, but also on my many failures at other things. You know, the human experience.

I didn’t want to self-publish because that was “unprofessional” and didn’t actually count as a credited publication in the eyes of publishers and other professionals in the writing business. For any writer who wants to make it in the writing industry, a “fake publication” is about as bad as “no publication” because it signifies a “secondhand publication” or a “failure’s publication” or an “unprofessional publication.” And, well, the quality of self-publishing often enforces those air quotes.

But, as ebooks have taken a sudden rise in the publishing industry, and as self-publishing is becoming a business of faster growth, greater diversity, and total creative control, I’m starting to think that bypassing traditional publishing (for now) isn’t such a bad idea. After all, I can produce books of any length and market them, regardless of whether they are 10,000 words or 250,000 words, and agents and publishers are no longer able to tell me they are commercially unmarketable. If readers want them, they can get them. And now there are e-retailers who are friendly to self-published authors, and will even post their books in their catalogs because why not? It’s only after lackluster sales that the publishers can tell me my book is commercially unmarketable now, and even then, there’s no rule saying that it can’t be rediscovered at a different time when the trends inevitably change.

So, last week, I checked my obsessiveness at the door and posted a short story I finished in 2006 called “Shell Out” as a newly edited ebook on Smashwords (I always want to call it Smash Mouth for some reason), which can now be downloaded as an epub (for Nook), a mobi (for Kindle), a pdf, online reader, and so on. And because I’ve priced it for free, anyone can get a copy risk-free. It even comes with previews for some of my future books.

Shell Out Cover Image
Shell Out Cover Image

So, that’s where I’m at today: exploring this new publishing frontier. I figure now is as good of a time as any to see if complete strangers like the stories I have to share.

If you want a copy of “Shell Out,” you can get your copy for free at these online retailers:

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/546745

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shell-out-jeremy-bursey/1122051415?ean=2940151945875

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/shell-out

Apple iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/shell-out/id1001360090?mt=11

And if you’ve found this blog via one of my ebooks or my Smashwords author page, this will probably be the best source for hearing about other releases of mine, present and future. I also hope to get set up on Twitter soon. I’m still trying to decide how I want to handle Facebook.

At any rate, check back often for news and updates on current and future books. I will file them under the category for “Published Ebooks.”

If you download and read a copy of “Shell Out,” then I want to officially thank you for your time and potential future readership. I also hope you’ll leave an honest review at whichever retailer you download it from. And don’t forget to check this blog often for information on future books.

Thanks.

Southern Fried Mullet

With summer just around the corner,
Unless you’re reading this in September,
You may want to try something new
To spice up your season.
Yes, you can play baseball or football,
Or go fishing or drag racing.
With the possibilities endless,
You may want to try a little of everything.

But, may I suggest something?
Try my favorite recipe:
Southern Fried Mullet!
It’s simply delectable.

Now, don’t let the name intimidate you.
It is much simpler to make than you realize.
You just need a pot and a few ingredients,
And you can be on your way to summer spice.

Before you can manage a hot, crisp mullet,
You need to acquire these items;
Remember, we do things differently
Down here in the South.
If you want a “Northern Fried Mullet,”
You’ll simply have to change your ingredients
According to your style.
But I don’t recommend doing anything “northern.”

First you need a medium-sized pot,
Perfect for holding plenty of water.
You’ll also want to grab a fry pan or skillet,
Perhaps the one you threw at your spouse last night.
Without these necessary kitchen aids,
You won’t get much frying done on that mullet,
So make sure you’ve got at least one of each.
It doesn’t matter if they’re clean.

Next you’ll want some “southern ingredients,”
Like onions, okra, peppers, and cheese.
Get creative!
Frying mullet is a celebration.
Be spontaneous.
If you don’t have the “right” ingredients,
Then you can use the next best stuff.
Improvise!

Most importantly, be sure you have the mullet.
You can’t fry a mullet if you don’t have the mullet.
Terrible people have tried, and disaster befell them.
Don’t fry a mullet if you don’t actually have the mullet.
Also, stock your cabinets with oil and breadcrumbs.
Down here in the South,
We love our breadcrumbs.
We bathe in breadcrumbs.

Once you’ve confirmed your ingredients,
Fill the pot with ten cups of water
And bring it to a slow boil.
Or, bring it to a fast boil; it doesn’t matter.

While you wait for the pot,
Spread butter and oil across the skillet,
Then set your burner on “high.”
Mullets need to sizzle before they fry,
And nothing says sizzle,
Like a mullet set to “high.”
Once you hear the gentle rolling pops,
Turn the burner down to “medium.”
By then the butter should be oil thin,
And the mullet should be ready
For its ten-minute date
With the fry pan.

When the pot water boils,
Toss in all your ingredients at once.

You may have noticed we skipped a step:
Measuring the amount of onions, peppers, etc. you need.
Like the speed of the boil,
The amount you use is contingent on preference.
Use as much as you’d like.
Remember that more onions means more spice,
And more peppers means more heat.
When you fry your mullet, you’ll want heat and spice.

Once your kitchen fills with steam,
It’ll be time to put the mullet in the pan.
Slow the boil down to “low,”
Then cover if your pot has a top.
Between the onions, okra, peppers, and cheese,
You’ll have a soup in the making.
A good fried mullet goes best with soup.
It’s how we do things here in the South.

Did you remember to grab a bottle of oil?
Now’s the time to bring it to action.
Measure two cups of oil with your favorite cup
And gently begin pouring it onto the mullet.
The mullet should be doused in oil
Before it hits the pan.
Doing so will soften its texture.
Then roll it through a plate of breadcrumbs.

Once the mullet is properly prepped,
You may finally set it in the fry pan.

Now, be careful with this step.
Be very careful.
For, you won’t want to burn yourself
On the pan or skillet.

Always use caution when frying a mullet;
I recommend you call on a parent or a friend
To help guide you to the pan,
As you gently lean over and tilt your head—
Grip the edge of the stove tightly,
For you’ll want to keep balanced,
As your oil-soaked hair sizzles in butter
For the next ten scary minutes.

Don’t worry!
That burning smell is expected.

Once your ten minutes are up,
Promptly remove your hair from the pan,
And grab a dishtowel to protect your neck
From the excruciating heat that may follow.
Just stick it between your hair
And the back of your neck.
It’ll be enough to prevent a rash.
But you might still have a red neck.

Finally, as your fried mullet begins to cool,
Lean over the pot and remove the lid.
You should be ready to soak it in the soup
And give it its final texture.
Let it sit in the cauldron for about three minutes.
Once the gooey cheese soaks in,
And the onions, okra, and peppers marinate the hair,
You can pull it out of the pot and turn off the burners.

Then: Viola! Southern Fried Mullet,
Just in time for summer,
Or fall or winter or spring.
Perfect for that fashion statement,
You’ve been wanting to make,
Proving that chicken nugget-skinned hair
Is just as stylish as gel or purple dye.
And that’s how we do it here in the South.

Oh, and just to be clear,
If you thought this recipe
Had anything to do with frying fish,
You should know by now,
I mean really know by now,
That we don’t care about that kind of mullet.
That’s not how we do things
Down here in the South.
You should really do your research
Before simply following orders.

–Jeremy Bursey

Note: This is part of series I’ve been working on in spurts since 2000, called “My First Mullet,” a collection of poetry (and other writing styles) about man’s struggle with trends, popularity, bad decisions, and bad hair. The majority of these works were written this year.

I’m aiming to have these assembled into a printed collection sometime in November. More information on that in future blogs.

My First Mullet – The Bonus Mullet

July 17, 2014

Wrote a new poem today. This one is the 9th installment of my infamous “My First Mullet” series (the other eight are not yet on WordPress). This follows the conclusion to the epic struggle between man and mullet and serves as the first of four postscripts to that tale. This one in particular summarizes the conflict that a man has with his most awful of haircuts.

Note: It’s supposed to be ridiculous.

My First Mullet – The Bonus Mullet

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing, I thought.
It’s not like it was a disease I’d caught.
Perhaps fine fashion is what I’d sought:
My endeavors, clearly, were all for naught.

My first mullet, a mistake, to be certain.
Wearing my hair like a nape-neck curtain,
Cause for the cursin’ I’d been blurtin’,
No dignity, no composure, just shame I was spurtin’.

Living with it longer than sophistication allowed,
May as well’ve made me hopelessly disavowed,
From any sense that one could be wowed,
By the devoid brilliance of the trailer crowd.

I must’ve been duped by a crafty lie,
Perhaps on the whims of a saboteur or spy,
Employed by the ranks of the fashionably spry,
Eager to watch a man’s dreams die.

I could no longer stand the sight of my blindness,
My complete ignorance to fashionable kindness.
I should’ve considered my stylist’s guidance,
Rather than stare at him blankly and mindless.

He told me my mullet would cause me trouble,
Said I’d be better off with baldness or stubble.
Perhaps I was just living in a fashion bubble.
My stupidity sure left me with emotional rubble.

I was willing to give it a fair chance,
As all things deserve their time to dance,
But mullets eschew the great expanse
Of wisdom employed; that is my stance.

The results, I thought, were expectedly disappointing.
A mullet, for shame, for my heart, was disjointing.
A prayer I would need, or a stylist’s anointing,
To end the humiliation, the laughing, the pointing.

In truth, I’d had enough of that insufferable blight,
Hair so bad that I’d go out only at night.
My sense of style had not been right:
A provocative mess I had to fight.

I told my stylist to cut it or pay;
I would not suffer indignity today.
He brought out the clippers without delay,
And shaved that dastardly thing away.

Now I wonder if I’d done the wrong thing,
Since no haircut is truly that disgusting.
But, I digress, with much understanding,
That to some atrocities I should not cling.

Maybe I’d feel bad about my heartless trimming,
Over a disturbance in which I’d been wading or swimming,
Where my anger or dread had been brimming,
And hope for a reprieve had quickly been dimming.

But perspective is a powerful force,
As I’d once read in a wise man’s discourse.
Plenty of tragedies had been worse
Than my urgent need for a mullet divorce.

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing, I thought.
It’s not like it was a disease I’d caught.
Perhaps fine fashion is what I’d sought:
My first mullet, I’d bought, I’d fought.

My choice, my bad haircut, today is gone.
Mullet zero; me one.

–Jeremy

Off a Cliff

May 21, 2014:

The man drove his car off a cliff. But he wasn’t inside at the end. He fell out of the cabin and rolled along the road as it continued on without him, over the edge, into the canyon below.

The woman he loved was in the car with him. No, don’t worry; she didn’t remain inside, either. As soon as she realized what was happening, she bailed. Just as he took his scratches, she took hers. But they survived.

The man didn’t know she had survived.

The woman he loved didn’t know he loved her. They had spent the drive talking about other things, things not so important. He wanted to tell her, but couldn’t. Based on the things she had told him, he didn’t think she wanted to know. To keep her happy, he kept silent.

Now he wished he had said something. As he lay bloody on the track, unaware of her fate (she had disappeared from his view), he realized just how much he wanted to see her, to speak to her, to put her back in that car, hit the reverse gear, and drive so far away from that horrible, awful cliff, to stay forever away from the wide open destructive maw beyond it. He wished it were possible to do just that; he would do so in a heartbeat. Now he missed her.

She wasn’t looking for him. She knew he had gone over the cliff. Didn’t know what more she could do, so she moved on, limping away, seeking help wherever she could find it. Perhaps someone would pick her up and take her somewhere new for treatment. She just needed to get anywhere safe before her injuries got the best of her.

He crawled to the cliff and stared over the edge. He wanted to see her again. But what more could he do? In his mind, she had gone over. He sat there and bled as he cried out her name. She couldn’t hear him. He knew that. She was out of earshot. She was buried in the wreckage below, no chance for survival.

She was out of earshot, not in the wreckage, but on a new road back to civilization, seeking what she believed she needed to recover. Looking back at the old road was not an option.

He called out her name. All he heard was his echo. Even then, he couldn’t tell her how he felt. It would fall on dead ears. It would’ve been the same blind madness that had brought him here in the first place.

He thought back to the drive. Thought back to the moment of truth. Wondered what, if anything, he could’ve done differently; wondered what, if anything, he could’ve understood about the situation earlier. The end of the road just hadn’t been clear to him.

It had been clear to her. In that moment when she realized they were about to meet a destructive end, she bailed.

Even as she fell out of the cabin, he failed to understand what was happening; he loved her so much that he could still see her sitting there beside him, even when she wasn’t there. It was her lack of response that he realized he was in trouble. He stayed beside her empty seat for so long that he nearly missed his exit. Even now, as he sat on the edge of the cliff, losing heart, losing hope, losing feeling in his soul, he wondered if he had bailed too soon. The last thing he wanted was to leave her side.

He could’ve taken a different road. He had his chance to make a different decision, a decision that would’ve kept them off the canyon’s edge. But the roads weren’t marked, and he never did find a map of his options, and she didn’t correct him when he steered onto this road. Perhaps destiny was leading them there all along.

But he had a working pair of eyes, as did she. And he was intelligent, as was she. The car was functional. The brakes worked. The gear could’ve easily shifted into reverse. His decision didn’t have to be final.

He drove his car off a cliff because, even though she had her eyes on the road, he had his eyes on her. She had failed to notice what was happening.

I Built a Fence

Originally posted to Blogspot on:

August 12, 2012:

I don’t write poetry much anymore. I sort of grew tired of it when I realized that fiction is a better resource for telling stories and essays are better for sharing my poignant discoveries and emotional meltdowns. But every so often I’ll become slapped in the face with inspiration and feel the need to jot down my ideas in poetic format. This happened to me last night when I was on my way home from taking a midnight walk through the neighborhood where I saw two fire engines racing by and where I passed many different types of fences and wondered who or what are they keeping inside.

I Built a Fence

I built a fence
To keep people out,
So they can’t get close to me.
If I let them in,
They’ll cause me harm
With pain I wish not to receive.

I’ve had no fence
For many a long time,
Much to my regretful dismay.
People got in,
And they moved me around,
Then left me with my disarray.

So I formed an idea
To build a fence,
That could separate me from pain.
But it took me time
To get the barrier right,
Because people won’t stay away.

The fence I wanted
Was a picket fence,
Ornamental and pleasant by sight.
But people are drawn
To its inviting design,
So I had to change my mind.

The fence I built
Was a two-rail fence,
Cheap and easy to pull.
Though, with space so wide
Between wooden slats,
Anyone could slip right through.

So, in front of that fence
I built a chain-link fence,
Made sturdy to keep them at bay.
But too many holes,
Created footholds to climb
For hopping over my barricade.

So, in front of that fence
I built a wrought iron fence,
Tall and narrow and firm.
But eager climbers
Could still shimmy on over
When skilled or eager or learned.

So, in front of that fence
I built a barbed-wire fence,
Sure to keep agile trespassers out.
But those meddling hands,
Yet padded with comfort,
Could just push my little barrier down.

So, in front of that fence
I built a privacy fence,
Closed off and sealed with wood.
Though if I stood too close,
And they battered it over,
They’d flatten me and ruin my mood.

So, in front of that fence
I built an electric fence,
Secure with ten thousand watts of power.
Now if anyone bothers
Or attempts to enter,
I’ll certainly cause them discomfort.

So, behind all my fences,
I am closed and well guarded,
And no one can reach me anymore.
I am safe, secure,
Free from your silly attempts to damage,
So don’t bother getting on through.

Yes, I have built my fences,
So many resistant,
And for years I will hide from “friends.”
But as I look around
To see what I’ve protected,
I realize no one wants to come in.

–Jeremy Bursey

This poem is free to share in any format provided you keep my name attached to it.

Nova’s Farewell

Originally posted to Blogspot on:

November 13, 2010

I’m at a loss this week. It actually started last Saturday when I attempted to find some lunch to satisfy my stale heart and discovered that two dine-in sub shops I occasionally visited were both gone (a Quizno’s and a Miami Subs). It culminated in the disappointment on Monday when I attempted to pick up a $40 ticket to see Former President George W. Bush speak at the Miami Book Fair (for tomorrow afternoon) and missed it because the writing lab was too busy the moment tickets went on sale, thus leaving a once-in-a-lifetime dream in the dust. Losses I would get over, certainly, but they still kinda sucked.

Well, last night, I was blindsided by an even greater loss when my cat Nova suddenly deteriorated from a lively, if not occasionally grouchy and unusual cat, to a weakened and unresponsive creature who not only couldn’t recognize her name, but failed to twitch whenever someone would touch her ear. She had gone from slightly injured last week, to somewhat sick this week, to delirious Thursday night, to dying the following evening. The speed at which she deteriorated was alarming, and even now I’m still in a daze from the reality that my cat is no more.

I should’ve known a few days ago that something wrong was happening with her when her usual desire to run outside or sleep on the couch faded. She had spent most of the week lying on the bed with a bandage over her ear to prevent her from scratching her sore. Much of the time she didn’t move, and there was one moment when I had to look closely to see if she had any life in her. Of course, she twitched at my presence, so I left her alone. I would often find myself doing that whenever I’d find her sleeping anywhere, for she was pretty old and seemed to have strange sense of comfort in bathroom halls, on top of towels, and so forth. Never knew if she was okay or not, but she’d always respond with the lift of her head, the twitching of her ears, and then a return back to sleep. It’s just the way it’s been for several years now. When mornings came, she was up and running, at her food bowl, and at the back door waiting to go sleep in the sunshine. That was her way. But in the last week, her usual cat energy was snuffed.

Thursday night was the night her future first showed its disturbing head. We (as in my family and I) were watching TV in the living room when she wandered out of the bedroom and had that air of dementia hovering over her that suggested she had no idea where she was. She didn’t respond to her name, and she didn’t walk to her usual hotspots. Even then the first question came up, “Is she looking for a place to die?” It was easily ignored because it just wasn’t possible. Our cats were fighters. They, as in she and Sniffy, the other old cat, survived three major hurricanes, lived outside during house fumigation among other things, and endured a number of photographs taken over the years. For her time to come so suddenly, it didn’t seem possible. But the signs were there. She was standing between the refrigerator and its door when I went to find a drink, and didn’t move when I tried to close it. She stood between the organ and the television, staring at the empty space between, and showed no sense of recognition. She had entered her own private nursing home for cats.

Friday morning, she fell off the bed, the first indicator that her muscle control had faded. She was on her back and couldn’t right herself. In the afternoon, she was taken outside to sleep on the patio under the clothesline (one of her favorite outdoor spots) and stayed there until after sundown. The last time I watched her move, she was trying to crawl under the patio chair. She tried to stand, took a couple of steps, and fell on her water dish. That was it. That was the last time. She stayed under that patio chair until her life faded down to a soft pulse. Around 9pm, when the light of her life was nearly burned out, we put her in her makeshift bed (pillow and a couple of towels in the top cover of her litter box), brought her inside, and let her spend her last hours on the same bed where she had spent the last week trying to recover. Sometime in the middle of the night, her pulse finally stopped. And that closed the book of her life on earth.

I don’t really know what I want to say here. I’m still dazed. My pet is dead. She’s been part of the family for about 10 years, and now we feel the hole in the heart she’s left behind. My sister is heartbroken. This morning, my mom cried for the first time in years that she had cried over any animal when she laid the rock down on Nova’s burial site. The other cats are visibly upset. Nami, the youngest of the three cats, spent much of the day in the window watching over Nova yesterday during the hospice period, while Sniffy patrolled the yard, keeping the birds away. Everyone is off-kilter.

In the end, though, everyone tried to give her a peaceful way out, and I think we accomplished that. She died her way, and not many animals can do that. Perhaps that’s the joy in this. She got to go out peacefully. For a cat that seemed so internally troubled, perhaps that was the best thing for her when her time finally came.

All we can do now is remember her:

Named after a space explosion,
You came into this world,
And though we did not know you then,
You exploded into our world.

Four months they had you caged,
But for four months you endured,
Four months you patiently waited for us,
Until your lonely life was cured.

You came home to a life of freedom,
I’m sure it was a sunny day,
You met your buddy Sniffy,
And life let you have things your way.

Ten years you ruled the house,
As the matriarch of cats,
And though kittens would come and go,
You kept your roost long last.

Sleeping on tables left you cautious,
Sleeping on couches kept you content,
Sleeping on beds made you queen,
Anywhere was a place well spent.

But as life eventually ends,
Your time finally came,
Last night the sun went down on you,
Today we’re still feeling the pain.

Your family will miss you, kitty,
Sniffy and Nami will the same,
A rock and a plant now cover your body,
But heaven holds your spirit’s frame,
Nova was your name.

Classic Photo of Nova

Banana Dream: A Short Story Excerpt

Originally posted to Blogspot on:

April 2, 2009:

Note: This is the first section of a longer short story. I’ll post fiction from time to time to keep this blog from being too self-centered.

(the story – part one)

Fingers sticky with melted fruit, caked with the remnant of tropical wonder, Annihila cracked her knuckles and began typing at seventy words a minute. She had a napkin lying around somewhere, but with mounds of documents toppling on her desk and a deadline ten minutes out, she didn’t have time to search for it. Wherever it was, it was gonna stay unused for awhile.

Beside her monitor, a final banana hung from a piece of string, tied to a tack nailed to her cubicle wall. The skin had gone spotty from sitting in the air-conditioning for several days and it was almost beyond her capacity to love; she had an affinity toward fresh fruit. Once a certain date passed, all care went out the window. The last banana of the bunch was on the verge of rejection. One more day before it became food for the office roaches. But it hung in there, patiently waiting its turn for consumption. Its heart would soon emerge from within the peel and Annihila’s eyes would grow wide with anticipation. Soon, the banana’s purpose would be fulfilled.

Annihila usually stared at the monitor whenever she typed, but this time she looked at her keyboard, ensuring she didn’t misspell anything. Bits of leftover banana smeared across the keys, covering the letters like paint. She’d have to find that napkin eventually. After she finished her report.

She finished it in eight minutes. That left her two minutes to run to the printer, fish out all five double-spaced sheets, and hand deliver it to her editor.

At the printer, she skidded to a halt, reached for the tray, then stopped, her hands poised over the sheets. As a professional, she could only turn in a clean report, free of banana residue. She took a moment to lick her fingers.

With thirty seconds left, she burst into her editor’s office with the proposal flapping in the wind. He was on the phone.

“Green light this now,” she said, as she set the report on his desk, “and I can have the feature ready by tonight.”

The editor scanned the pages as he nodded to whomever he was speaking to. They were talking about a corporate CEO who fell from his pedestal. He checked his watch.

“Cutting it close there, aren’t you?” he asked. “No, not you. One of my staff writers just came in and—” He stopped on page three. “Are you serious?”

Annihila folded her hands as she waited for the editor to finish the report, or the phone call.

The editor pointed at her. “I’m talking to you.”

“Oh.” She opened her legs a little and wrapped her hands behind her back. “I thought you were still—”

“You realize what you’re suggesting, right?”

“Of course. I feel very passionate about this.”

The editor set the report onto his desk. He didn’t bother touching the fourth or fifth page.

“Let me call you back,” he said to the phone. Then he hung up. His wrinkled face creased into a raisin-like accordion. “Annihila, what’s gotten into you?”

“I’m not sure what you mean.”

“What are you feeding me? How do you expect to pull this off?”

“With all due respect, the outline is right there.”

The editor rolled his chair backward, clutched the edge of his desk, and stood. Both the chair and his back creaked.

“I’m not suggesting an inability for you to write it. I’m expressing my doubt in your selling it. No one is gonna fall for this.”

She brought her feet back together, placing her fingertips against her hips.

“I don’t want anyone to fall for it.” Her collar warmed around her neck, and pressure entered her forehead. “I believe in my story.”

The editor picked up the report and threw it across the room. The pages blew past her knees.

“No one is gonna ban The Beatles’ music. Under any circumstance.”

“They will if you give me the green light—”

“Why should I green light this? Do you know how many sponsors will lose faith in us? You’re on a blood mission to nowhere.”

Annihila stooped to her knees and gathered the sheets around her. “This cause is important to me. We must ban their albums. We must rally nationwide support.”

“For what? Because you’re unhappy?”

She grouped the pages in order.

“I’m gonna write my feature, whether you approve it or not.”

The editor returned to his chair.

“I won’t approve it.”

“I’m still gonna write it.”

Annihila turned around and headed for the door. She half-expected the editor to stop her, to admit that he’s made a big mistake, but he did nothing more than breathe loudly.

She stopped a few feet outside his office. Her heart thundered. She knew this was the right call, despite her lack of support. It was as clear to her then as it was when she first woke up from her dreams of bananas that morning. People were under a vicious spell. They needed freedom. She knew it even in her sleep.

(end excerpt)

The Birth of Drinking Cafe Latte at 1pm

Originally posted to Blogspot on:

November 6, 2005:

Well, I’ve known about this blogging thing for awhile, but since I don’t journal that often, I haven’t really done much to take advantage of it. But for some reason in my half-awake state (at 1pm on a Sunday), I feel like doing something different. Maybe it’s just the fact that I still don’t have any new emails to appreciate, or that the other site I visit from time to time hasn’t had much activity in the last couple days–I can’t really blame it on boredom because I haven’t been up long enough today to blame it on boredom. But, whatever the reason, I thought I’d look up some information about setting up my own webpage (which I also have been meaning to do for the last year or so ever since I put my first book online for preview purposes), and somehow I came across this again. Probably a strange time to all of a sudden decide to take a look at how this thing works, but then I think there’s enough to think about lately that it’s worth writing it all down.

The first thing I discovered just now is that highlighting any block of text on this site while I’m typing is bad. Evidently when I press any directional key while a word or segment is highlighted, it deletes it. Good thing I know how the copy function works (Ctrl+C to copy, Ctrl+V to paste for those who are savvy enough to write a blog, but not enough to know about the copy and paste functions). So, just thought I’d mention that.

Well, now that I’m starting to wake up a bit from this caffeine shot, maybe I can start writing about some pertinent issues–at least enough to get me to the point that my sister will start bugging me for the telephone (I’m still on dial-up). Something tells me that won’t be long from now. She’s 13.

The biggest thing I’ve been thinking about lately is the issue of prioritizing. A few months ago I listed a series of projects that I would like to finish over the course of the next three years, and listed them in such a way to give old projects priority over new projects. I decided I had to do this because I just kept adding too many new things to my already extensive plate, and I just wasn’t getting anything finished. So, now that I’ve written out this planner (back in April), I’ve already finished some outstanding projects that I started way back in 2001, though there are others still on the waiting list.

So far the plan had been working out nicely, but then something happened around the third week of September. An outstanding idea came to me for a novel, and I thought it was something I had to write now, not at the end of my list. The idea was too fresh, and too important to let it sit, so I knocked everything else on the wayside and started working on this novel…about panhandlers.

Yes, I’m writing a novel about panhandlers. And it’s important. I’m not going to discuss the book itself any further because I’m only on Chapter 9, but it’s something that I can’t wait three or four years down the road to write–especially with my ten-book epic in the planning stages. Once I start working on the epic, that’ll be my writing life for the next several to many years, so I’d rather get my other stuff finished first.

But back to the priorities–the hardest thing about keeping them is knowing that new ideas keep filtering in, and somewhere along the line I have to cut the new ones off and keep whittling away at the old ones. That can get a bit unnerving when it means going back to projects that I haven’t touched in several years. Figure, the spirit behind my reasons for writing them in the first place had changed over the break period, and I’m not sure that I can go into the stories with the same heart that I originally began them with. Sure, I can finish the stories with some feeling, but after three years the risk is higher that they’ll be more objective. That doesn’t mean they’ll ultimately suck, it just means that they’ll be different than what I probably intended them to be.

But that’s all up for debate I guess.

So, what am I doing now, now that I’ve put my planner on the backburner (which I suppose defeats the purpose of having a planner)? I’m typing in all the handwritten content I wrote for my book during the massive power outage we had a couple weeks ago. Before the power went out Monday morning at 8am on October 24, I had written up to the 4th page in Chapter 6, which scaled down to book size will equal page 7. Pretty sizable accomplishment given that I just started the thing about four weeks earlier. Once the power went out, I stayed awake for three hours watching the news on a battery-powered television, and then I fell asleep about ten minutes after the eye of Wilma passed through and slammed us with the back eyewall, which kicked up our winds from about 15mph or so to more than 100mph in less than 30 seconds. For those who have never experienced that, it’s pretty cool (I’ve always imagined the Rapture to be something like that). But obviously the sudden increase plays havoc with your backyard, and the turbine on your roof will eventually fly off after the plastic bag covering it (to keep the rain out of the attic) rips apart. And that’s after you decide to bring in the stray cat who had been riding out the first half of the storm underneath the metal desk that you used to have in your bedroom before you picked up a better wooden desk with a hutch from Best Buy a little more than a year earlier, because the back side of the storm will bring in winds from the opposite direction, which would ultimately mean smacking the poor helpless feline right in the face with 100+mph winds, and no stray cat wants that, and neither did we. So we had our turbine fly off and we brought in a stray cat. But that’s derailing the point that when I woke up to the gentle cold front that followed the hurricane, and after I took my pictures of the damage (which I did after Charley and Frances last year, but not for Jeanne because I really didn’t know which damage belonged to her and which belonged to Frances), I ate a nice cold meal, read a few chapters of Douglas Adams’ s last book called The Salmon of Doubt, and then went on to write by hand on line-paper my own chapters. Over the course of a week I managed to write 55 pages stretching from the 1/3 point of Chapter 6 all the way to the 1/3 point of Chapter 9. Then last Tuesday I went to have a family dinner with friends of my mom’s, and managed to start my lengthy typing session over there, which thankfully I was able to resume in my own house the next evening when our power finally came back on. So now, after several days of hunching over my computer keyboard, I’m finally at the point that I can transcribe Chapter 9, which means I’ll be back on pace with the novel by the end of the day today. And that’s good to know because I hate having to write the same thing twice, especially when it involves nearly 20,000 words.

On another note, I just discovered that if you click an area of the page with your left mouse button after highlighting your text, you can save what you wrote. Interesting.

So, that’s the start of this blogging journey. I don’t know how often I’ll keep up with it because I don’t journal often, and I hate having to combat for the phone, but I can see why people are addicted to this, so I don’t know. Maybe next time I can talk about why I liked the new Batman movie way more than the last four. I don’t know…we’ll see what happens. I just know that I need to get a website soon so that I can showcase my books, so that people might actually want to buy them. That would be nice too.

Well, here I go back to the typing thing.