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: scottnagele.com. 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 scottnagele.com.) 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?”

“Yeah.”

“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.”

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The blog days of August

The blogging world slows down in the summer. Some bloggers take a vacation. Some try to rediscover the real world. I, on the other hand, have just been slacking. It’s not my fault though. I blame society, because society is convenient to blame for everything, with its constant breakdowns. But mostly I blame this intellectually stifling season called summer.

It’s harder to get motivated to write in summer.

First of all, it tends to get hot and it’s harder to think when you’re hot. My best ideas leak out through my sweat glands in summer. Then, all I’m left with are horrible images of an old man perspiring. When the humidity hits, I start thinking again. I start thinking about the mechanics of breathing. I start thinking about how sweating like a pig is supposed to cool a body down. Lying science!

I can't do my work.

I can’t do my work.

The boys want to be outside, running around like maniacs who laugh in the face of the heat index, instead of staying cooped up in the house where I can easily hear and see the funny things they say and do. They become totally selfish and don’t care at all about their responsibility to give me good blog material.

Since between one and two of the children are too young to be outside, running around like unsupervised maniacs, I find myself always outside running around like a supervising maniac, preventing kids from changing neighborhoods like the wind. I can’t type while jogging, let alone at a full sprint. We might be outside until dark, which is practically tomorrow in summer.

As Captain Oates famously said, "I am just going outside and may be some time." It should be noted that Capt. Oates was never seen again, and it wasn't even hot weather.

As Captain Oates famously said, “I am just going outside and may be some time.” It should be noted that Capt. Oates was never seen again, and it wasn’t even hot weather.

Then they want to stay up late, because, hey, there’s no school in the morning and it’s still kind of light outside. This leaves me hardly any time at all for a muse-provoking scotch on the rocks, because, hey, there is work in the morning and it’s going to take me two hours to fall asleep in this heat. Kids tend to supply zero writing prompts when they are standing between you and a quiet nightcap.

This makes me grumpy. When you are hot, sticky, and grumpy, it is the perfect time to write – if you are due to fire off another angry letter to the electric company. When you are grumpy, you tend to lash out at people, which is just what the utilities need and expect. Unfortunately, utilities probably make up a minority of your blog audience. So you should probably just go to bed and stew in your own juices until you fall asleep, as figuratively as you can manage.

All of this not thinking and not writing leads to large gaps between blog posts. This is not the end of the world because your audience is outside playing and getting heat stroke too.  The real problem comes when you get frustrated and give up on the thinking altogether because you figure you can still do the  writing without it. That only ever leads to a third-rate blog post.

And I hope you enjoyed it.

One day in Berlin

I have a new favorite author. So far, he only writes short stories, but that’s fine with me, as he has already established himself as a favorite visual artist of mine. The kid is multi-talented.

Here is one of his latest literary offerings.

Berlin

Since the original may be difficult to see, I’ll type it out:

One day in Berlin there where [sic] nine people playing football. Then uncle Bob acsadentliy [sic] therw [sic] the ball at a ponty [sic] fence and the ball went pop! They went to a store but the footballs were all gone. Then they went home to look for a pump and patch but the stuff was lost. They where[sic] in bad luck. Then they went to Jakes house and they played catch. the end

In honor of discovering this new talent, I will now hold an impromptu book club meeting regarding this work. Let’s dig deeper into the text.

There’s a surprising amount of mystery surrounding this episode. For example, why is it set in Berlin? Well, actually, that’s not so much a mystery if you have followed this artist and seen the pickelhaube and Prussian flag requests in his Christmas letters to Santa, like I have. Berlin is the capital of Germany. That says it all.

Were they playing American football or European football (soccer)? We can’t be sure, but the fact that uncle Bob threw the ball indicates that, unless he was goalie or was throwing the ball in from out of bounds, it was likely American football. Also, the fact that he threw it at D-fence, or in German, Die-Fence, indicates he probably owned a cardboard cutout of a picket border which he took to NFL games.

Also, all the footballs being gone from the store lends evidence to it being an American football, as the German sporting goods shops would less likely be out of soccer balls.

Who misplaced the pump and patch? This is the question a father asks every time something goes flat. No one ever takes responsibility, and no one ever will.

Did Jake have another ball at his house, or did they make the best of things and play catch with the flat ball? I like to think Jake demonstrated admirable character development by showing his eight comrades that inflation is just a state of mind. The world thinks you can’t play catch with a popped ball. You can submit to that kind of limited thinking, or you can change the world. Way to go, Jake! You are a true football hero.

Sometimes the answer to great problems (global strife, world hunger, playing sports with an uninflated ball) are all about shifting the perceptions of the major players.

This is an uplifting story of human triumph. It shows that you can do anything your mind allows you, like playing with a popped ball, or even hyphenating and splitting single-syllable words onto multiple lines.

I think I’m going to be a fan of this guy for a long time.

 

Books: so much more appealing when they have covers

Occasionally I take a post off from Daddy Blogging in order to talk about blogging or writing in general. This usually happens when another blogger tags me for some type of event that’s going around the blogging community. Then, I put the kids to bed and talk about my blogging process or the writing life.

This is like that, but different. I’m taking off the Daddy Blogger hat, but not at the behest of other bloggers. I’m doing it on my own, in order to make some exciting announcements.

The thing about me and announcements is I’m not very good at them. They make me nervous. People will know my plans, so now I have to follow through on them. I’d rather finish my projects and then say, “See? That’s what I did.” But that doesn’t build any hype, and hype is part of marketing, and marketing is what you’re supposed to do at times like this. So I’m told by successful writers.

And I want to be successful.

So, announcements.

We have cover art!

Last time I took off the Daddy Blogger hat, I mentioned that I’m working on publishing a new book. It seems like I’ve been working on publishing this book forever. One of the delays was finding the right artist to do the cover. I finally found her. Her name is Jessica O’Brien. She did this awesome artwork.

 

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I just have to get the final proofing done and we’ll finally have a book. Cross your fingers.

And when will this final proofing be done? Ha! You actually expect a man with my dread of announcements to give a date? Don’t worry; I’ll make an announcement.

I’m working on a new blog.

As part of this book rollout, I’ve replaced my author website with a new WordPress blog. My static website was a completely amateurish endeavor, built by me, a completely amateurish web designer. In moving to WordPress I hope to do more with less (time and money). That savings should allow me to maintain two blogs at once. We’ll see about that, won’t we?

At the other blog, I will be writing about writing. If that’s the sort of thing that excites you, you probably have issues, so you should go here www.scottnagele.com and click “follow” right away.

This blog will remain.

I’m proud of this blog. It’s not the most widely read blog, but I think it has its entertaining moments. (Click the Index of Posts tab at the top to see everywhere it’s been.) But when you are trying to publish a book, write another one, transition a website, work a full-time job, and raise three boys, time can get tight. (Note to the homeowners association: this has nothing to do with why my lawn is eight inches high; it rains every time I try to mow, so tell it to the weatherman.)

I cut down to posting once per week here over the summer. Maybe once my obsession with this new book eases, I’ll be able to post more. I hope so, because Daddy Blogging is the most fun writing I do.

P.S. My apologies to those who read the title and thought this would be a fun post about toddlers tearing the covers off books.