Showing posts from September, 2017

I Wish I Was There

I have to say a few words about an affliction that I have a love/hate relationship with. It's ear worms. If you don't know the affliction by name, it's when a  song gets stuck in your head, sometimes for hours, and you can't get it out. For me it usually repeats a single line of a song over and over. Sometimes it's a catchy lyric and other times it's just annoying. For myself, if you add this affliction on top of a bad case of Pulsatile Tinnitus (think, a whooshing sound in one ear 24/7) and, well, you've got a party in your head that you never wanted to go to. I mentioned this affliction in Dirty Shirt when we were deep in the quite woods of the BWCA and I was haunted for two whole days by a U2 song, Another Time, Another Place. When it first happened, I kind of welcomed it. It was like having a Walkman (at the time) when we were in the middle of nowhere. After 4 hours, the novelty wore off and I started to go a little insane. I sometimes wonder if

Writing In Past, Present And Future Tense

With the initial news of my memoir ( The Portland House: A 70's Memoir ) publication acceptance by Electio Publishing gone by, things are ramping up in the writing realm for me. The publisher reminded me there will be an initial push to get some things in order, then a significant lull in the action and then things will ramp up again a few weeks before the book comes out. (January 23rd, 2017). But in addition to the current push for the Portland book, as I refer to it, I am looking forward and backward a bit too. A few of the things going on at the moment. I am finishing up the final touches on the Portland manuscript. Specifically, I am tweaking a few things in the Acknowledgements, and making sure things are in order before sending it off to the publisher for their edits. I am also soliciting a few back cover blurbs from fellow authors. These are more difficult to write than you might imagine. You have to summarize the energy and emotion of a book in a few sentences. Some

Last Of The Aging Rockers - 2017 ed.

Well, we rounded out the summer of chasing aging rock stars recently. About ten days ago, my wife, a friend and I went to Ravinia Festival in Highland Park to see Stevie Nicks. I have been a Stevie fan since I was a kid. One of my first albums ever was Fleetwood Mac's, Rumors LP. There was something captivating about her with her capes, shawls and her witchy demeanor. At the time it didn't hurt that she had the whole 70's hair thing going too. I admit, it was a boy crush. Still is, sorta. So when we found out she was touring at 69 years old, we figured we'd better see her, because she's no longer on the edge of seventeen. More like the edge of seventy. At the time we purchased tickets, the only ones available for anyone other than a Forbes billionaire were "lawn seats." To add to the issue, these lawn seats are not even within view of the stage. Now there were big screens on stage, but even those were obstructed by trees/sight lines etc. I don't me

Uncomfortably Numb

I'm finding that, from a health standpoint being over fifty has its challenges and speed bumps. A while back I began having some numbness in my left foot. Then, it started occurring in my right foot a bit too. So I did what any normal person would do and went to the doctor. Now, I love my doctor - a nice guy, has been my primary physician for a long time - but when I described my issue, it turns out he's not a foot specialist. He could only guess as to what he thought it was. If I really wanted to find out what was going on, I would have to be referred to a foot and ankle specialist. So my simple trip to the doctor to fix an issue required scheduling another trip to another doctor. He was nice enough to refer me to the Foot and Ankle Specialists of Wisconsin, a clinic in Pewaukee. I went there and met my doctor who just happens to look like Ben Stein of the show  Win Ben Stein's Money fame, among others. This doctor pokes my foot with some pokey things and does som

Living It

Well, the dream just keeps getting better around these parts. On Tuesday of this week I got the email I've been waiting on for the past 3+ weeks. It's one of those you know will take some time, but you want it to come TODAY. When it finally came, I couldn't open it right away, I was so nervous. Eventually I opened it and found out my publisher accepted my next book for publication! Yes, The Portland House: A 70's Memoir , is really going to happen. It's hard to put into words the relief one feels when something that has been about five years in the making, comes to life. In addition to relief, there are also moments of exasperation, satisfaction, joy, elation, trepidation, uncertainty and maybe just a hint of post partum depression. Over the years, you write and toil and work and slurp buckets of coffee and revise and copy/paste and get advice and take out the crap and put in better crap and then take the crap out all together, and when it finally gets done,

On The Edge Of An Empty Nest.

Well, it's been a exactly a week since we became 9-month-a-year-empty-nesters around here. I got Sarah moved into her apartment in Minnesota last weekend, so this past week it's just been Donna, I and the animals, Toby, Chester and Isabelle. For myself anyway, it has been an interesting transition, mixed in with a fair amount of melancholy. While I really miss the energy of having kids around, I have quickly adapted to the quiet and solitude of a childless home. It has been 21 years since I've known it and I have to admit, I kinda like it. A few observations about life with just us: One of the unexpected pleasures I've discovered is coming home to a house that was very much the same as I left it. No backpacks laying around, no food containers or dishes on the banister pillar and no coming and going at any hour of the day or night.  At the same time, the other day it was so beautiful out I thought, "I should get Ben out for some golf this weekend." Oh

Everyone Has One

Like many of you, I love to read. Part of the problem of attempting to be an active writer is that much of my reading time is consumed by writing time. My wife and I have end tables on either side of our bed, and they are always stacked with books. Some in progress, some on deck, and some read that need to be shelved. I don't often do book reviews as part of my blog, but a book I recently read begs to be talked about a bit. The book is titled, Two Trees , by Julie Beekman . Julie is a friend and, in case you were wondering, did not put me up to this, nor ask me to review her book. I've really only met her a few times, usually at a writing retreat offered by AllWriters . But I can tell you from those meetings that her laughter and presence can light up a room. Her book details her young life as an adopted child. The story goes south when her adoptive father dies and her physically and mentally abusive mother raises her and her three step brothers. Without giving it all a

Beautiful Humans

I went back to Minnesota for a few reasons this past weekend. I took Sarah back to college, had a book signing on Friday night and went to the State Fair on Saturday. It was a whirlwind weekend but one of some really great human connections. I refer to them as such because they are moments of being highly present and listening to peoples' stories. These are the stories and interactions that make me look back and reflect on where I've been, where I am and how my story is inextricably bound to those of others as we fumble our way around on this this huge piece of dirt spinning in the universe. The moments/interactions were: At the book signing on Friday I was able to talk to some of my readers as we discussed my book and our lives together. When I told one woman about my brother's death from cancer at 47 and how death changed me in ways I'd never expected, she told me her daughter died in a small plane crash at 21 years of age. I was nearly speechless. It remind