Well, I haven't been around for a while. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, even if it's just scribbling stuff in a blog. Here's some bits and pieces of thoughts rattling around in my head.
I have two sons, otherwise known as Thing 1 and Thing 2. I found the caricature of myself and Thing 2 whilst cleaning out a closet. Lord knows how old it is. I'm pretty sure neither of us actually look like that. No one yells and faints when we go out in public. Not often, anyway.
The closet also produced a small mountain of board games, a half ton of sports equipment, a complete collection of Hogan's Heroes action figures, several RC vehicles, an ancient VHS camcorder, a huge reel of 2-inch quadruplex videotape that probably holds an old Mike Douglas Show, dozens of fast food toys still sealed in their bags, and a production cel from a 1942 Bugs Bunny cartoon, amongst millions of other items. I don't know how I got it all shoved back in there but I did. You never know when you'll need video of Mike Douglas or a Hello Kitty mini-hairbrush set.
S. King sells books
During one of the Red Sox playoff games a reporter found Stephen King sitting in a seat close to the field. The reporter pointed at a book King held on his lap, and King allowed as to how he reads a couple of pages between innings. Then the reporter asked one of the dumbest questions I've ever heard: "So, are you reading one of your own books?"
"Are you freakin' moron?" King yelled. He smashed the reporter in the face with the book and poured a cup of beer over the reporter's unconscious body. Then he tore off his shirt and launched into a jerky victory dance while the crowd roared in approval and showered the reporter with batteries, ice cubes, and a dead octopus thrown by a confused Philadelphia Flyers fan.
Okay, that didn't happen. Instead, King forced a grin at the stupid question and said it wouldn't be any fun to read one of his own books because he already knew how they ended. He then revealed that the book was The Ghost by Robert Harris. I immediately rushed to Amazon and found that the book ranked 3,987. Not for long, I told myself. An hour later, The Ghost had moved up 1,500 spots and stayed there for quite some time. Not bad for a brief mention during a baseball game.
Thing 1 is a high school senior and seems to have inherited some of my odder genes, which he demonstrates from time to time. Last week we walked past Jimmy John's, a rapidly growing sandwich chain that started here. The food is okay, nothing I'd go out of my way to eat, but my sons can't get enough of the place. Anyway, we had this conversation:
Me: There's your idol, Jimmy John.
Thing 1: Yes...I must kill Jimmy John and drain his essence. Then I will become Jimmy John.
Me: Uh, sweetie, are you feeling okay?
Thing 1: Bwahahahahaaaa!
Me: Well, okay then.
I blame those Lord of the Rings movies. The kid is obsessed with them. Or maybe it's video games. He was playing one the other day and someone kept yelling "The leg has been taken!" followed by a burst of gunfire. That's what it sounded like.
When I was his age, all I had was a Pong, and I had to walk uphill through a snowstorm in order to play it. When I tell my sons this story, they shudder in horror, and I when I go on to tell them we only had six TV channels, they turn white and start foaming at the mouth. "Who could live such a hellish existence?" they wail. If I'm in a particularly evil mood, I remind them that there were no personal computers and no iTunes either. "No! No! Stop the madness!" they scream, running in circles with their hands over their ears.
Today Thing 1 took my advice and went out to play in the fresh air. Two hours later he was in the emergency room with a broken arm. He may have to get surgery to repair the break--we won't know until Monday. In retrospect, I should probably have kept my mouth shut about the fresh air deal.
I received an invitation to join the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association. It's got my name on it and everything. Trouble is, I'm pretty sure I was never a major league baseball player. Maybe the MLBPAA heard that I have a pink bat, one of the bats used by some players on Mother's Day in support of breast cancer research. My pink bat is leaning in a corner of my office, ready to use in case a horde of thugs break into the house. You never know.
Email of the day:
Dear Dr. Missy,
I'm writing an exciting middle-grade novel that takes place at Disneyland. (My husband read a few pages and said, "Honey, this is a thrillfest!") Well, I just finished an exciting scene that takes place in the It's a Small World ride. My main characters, a girl named Becky and a boy from some awful foreign country (my husband says I need a foreign kid to lock in good overseas sales) are being chased through It's a Small World by a group of exciting evil people and such--my heart beat a million times a minute just from writing it!
Well, imagine my surprise the next morning when a large group of Disney attorneys and several sheriff's deputies arrived with a cease-and-desist order. They said I can't mention It's a Small World in my exciting novel! Is that horrible or what?! (My husband said it stinks. Actually, he said something I can't repeat but you get the idea.)
What am I to do? How did the Disney people know what I had written?
Linda (not my real name)
I wouldn't fight Disney. Not unless you can unleash a strong artillery barrage to soften up the Disney forces and then send in a squadron of well-trained rangers to make the initial thrust into the enemy's right flank, making sure you keep an additional squadron in reserve in case the Disney troops prove to be resilient. You will also want to arrange for close air support, and if you have the resources, secure a battalion of paratroopers who will jump behind the Disney front lines and attack from the rear in a pincer movement with mortars and automatic weapons.
Hmm. Maybe I've been reading too many WWII books lately. You know, you don't have to use the It's a Small World ride in your story. How about:
It's a World of Vaguely Indefinable Yet Irritating Smells
It's a Slightly Smaller Than Normal World
It's an Eternally Long and Boring Ride World
It's a World with Disgusting Things Floating In the Water that Might Give Us Dysentary World
As far as how Disney knew about your story, I take it you haven't seen Tron yet. You know, the movie with the tiny people running around in computers? Get a copy now and study it thoroughly!