Cross-pollination begins in the home

I’m not a great self-promoter.

If you visit here regularly, you probably know this. If you’ve never been here before, see above.

I bet most people who stop here don’t even know I have another blog. Yeah, it’s mentioned in the sidebar, but sidebars are the last refuge of people who are not great self-promoters.

To take it to center stage for a minute, I have another blog: On that blog, I write about . . . well . . . writing. I know it sounds like a real hoot, but give it a chance. I mean, some people make good livings marketing online videos of themselves playing video games. It has to be better than that. Right?

Good bloggers with multiple blogs cross-pollinate their readership. I’ve never been disciplined about that, which goes a long way toward explaining my opening sentence. I’m giving it a try. Let’s see how it goes.

One of my favorite things to do over at that other place is to post flash fiction. (Read more flash fiction from In the spirit of cross-pollination, I will blatantly plagiarize a short-short from my other blog below. I hope I don’t get sued. I’m definitely suing.

What’s in Your Wallet?

I asked the nurse to hand me my wallet. She fumbled it a little and a condom fell out. She kept a straight face, discretely picking it up and setting in on my blanket. Then she left the room, not wanting to burst out laughing in front of me.

Rocky, my roommate, grinned at me from his bed. He was 50 years older than me, with his scraggly beard and glassy eyes.

“Sorry about that,” I said.

Rocky chuckled. “I understand. I was a young buck once. You a college boy?”


“I never went to college, but I did have my fun.” He nodded at an inevitable transition. “Then I got married. Margie and me was married 40 years, and I liked that a whole hell of lot better than carrying one of them things in my wallet.” He gestured toward the condom I struggled to stuff back into its home.

“40 years? That’s awesome!” It seemed like the right thing to say.

“It was.” He sighed. “Except for the last few. She got Alzheimer’s. I carried her license in my wallet ‘cause she’d lose it otherwise. She’d lose anything you gave her.” He shook his head. “Then she’d snip at me about it. Finally I said, ‘Margie if this next 40 years don’t go no better, I’m calling it quits.’ That was the last joke I told her.” He frowned. “Not a very good joke.”

“I’m sorry.” I didn’t know what else to say.

“She passed almost two years ago.”

I didn’t want to say sorry again. “Do you still keep her license in your wallet?”

“No. I couldn’t look at it every time. It only reminded me of the past. But I guess she told the last joke. After all that time wedged in that little sleeve, it left a faint impression of her picture on the plastic, like a ghost staring up at me.”

“Did you get a new wallet?”

“Oh no. I don’t mind the ghost. It doesn’t give me bad memories; it says she’s still with me. And being how I already invested 40 years, I guess I’ll keep her.” He turned his wet eyes toward the window and spoke at the sky. “Yup, I guess I’ll keep her.”


Going on tour by sitting in the same spot

I’m doing something a little different this time.

Fellow blogger, Naptimethoughts, has invited me to join something called the Writing Process Blog Tour. This “tour” involves me sitting in a chair and answering four questions about how I write. Then, I ask two other bloggers to do the same thing. In the end, I think some psychologist will come along and coin a new phrase for the mental disease that makes people want to blog, if narcissism isn’t enough to cover it.

sweet music

I banish Ethel to the porch, fire up my favorite pipe, and tap it out like sweet music. (Image: Harris & Ewing)

It’s always an honor to be asked to participate in a harebrained scheme by another blogger, especially one who is witty and writes things you enjoy reading. Keep up the good work, Naptimethoughts.

But why would I discuss writing on a blog about parents and children? Out of ideas? Filler?

Well maybe. But this is also a blog about writing. If you haven’t noticed it, that’s good. If you don’t think about how the words got on the computer screen, it means I’ve done something right.

Now that we’ve established the motive, let’s move on to the crime. Here is the info you probably (and rightfully) never cared about.

  • What am I working on now?

For starters, I am always working on this blog – trying to transport fragile, funny episodes from my memory to your computer screen without busting them into a million un-funny pieces with inadequate writing.

Beyond that, I am hoping to publish a new novel this year. This one is titled, A Housefly in Autumn. It’s a Young Adult book, or at least I think it is. I’ve never published YA before, so I’m a little anxious about it. Right now I’m trying to arrange for cover art, formatting, and all the other things that go into making a manuscript into a book.

I am also writing the first draft of another book. This one is also in a new genre for me, so I’m not going to say much, because it could turn out to be total crap, in which case you will hear no more about it.

  • How does my work differ from others in the genre?

There are lots of entertaining parenting blogs out there. If there is one way in which my blog is different from them, I’d have to say it’s that I don’t use the F-word as much. It turns out parents like to swear a lot when they talk about their kids. Go figure!

My fiction is different mostly because I like to write across genres. I do humor and drama, contemporary and historical. I even have a novel manuscript squirreled away that borders on science fiction.

a smile throug a tear

Humor and drama; historical, contemporary, and futuristic – all in one book. Variety is just one of the reasons I love short stories. (And that’s my self-promotion for the day!)

More about this.

  • Why do I write what I do?

I don’t know why I write at all. Writing is hard. It makes me tired and I’d rather be playing games. As far as what I write, I write what seems like a good story in my head, whether it’s a true story or something I just dreamed up. Sometimes it is still a good story when it gets to paper, sometimes not.

I most enjoy reading humor and history, so that probably influences the things I choose to write about and the way I approach the process. I like reading classics too. I wish that meant that I write classics.

feeling classical

Sometimes, when I’m feeling classical, I just slip on my writing tights and let go.

  • How does my writing process work?

I’m not sure it does work. I try to set a little time aside most days for fiction. Blog posts I fit in whenever I can. With three boys under six, time can be tight.

They say you find time for the things that are your priorities. I find time for my family and a few paragraphs here and there. This explains why my lawn looks like hell and I’ve always had a day job instead of a career in something.

Little by little, I finish manuscripts, and then I spend a long time figuring out what to do with them. Some of them I put away for later. Once in a while, I publish one. If I ever find the talent, time, and money for effective marketing, you might hear about one of them.

Until then, there’s always this blog. And it’s free!


Then I simply hand the manuscript over to my agent, and the rest takes care of itself.

Now it’s time to recruit some partners in crime.

For that I turn to Pieter at Ah dad. Pieter writes funny commentary about many topics, but when he writes about his family, there is a heartfelt quality about his blogging that emanates right through the computer screen to you. Plus, he’s in the Southern Hemisphere, and if I understand geography, that means he does everything upside down.

Also, Jon, from South of the Strait. A lot a bloggers talk humor at you, but Jon writes humor. His wit doesn’t gang tackle you. It’s a storyteller’s wit, thoroughly mixed in, not bunched up around the exclamation points. I like that.

Gentlemen, I leave it to you. If you want in on this boondoggle, just answer these four questions and pass the buck to two more victims honorees.