The Importance

She was stunning, gorgeous in all the manners desired in the commercialized, western intersections of fashion, sex, television and movies.

The tragedy was that she knew. She’d been told since her curves first emerged and noticed lingering, admiring gazes.

All she wanted was for others to watch her as she walked and moved. She looked around to reassure herself that others were looking. It came to be all that was important to her. Nothing else mattered except to know that others noticed her.

She needed to be noticed, and she thought, all she had was what they saw.

How a Story Becomes a ‘Hopeful Thing’: George Saunders on His Writing Process

Saunders writes with more intelligence and awareness what I also go through as a process. It begins with a swift capturing of basic thoughts and elements I see and hear in a scene. After I’ve done that – writing like crazy, as I call it – I jump back into the process he describes to make it less lame, sharper and more vivid.


At The Guardian, George Saunders reflects on his writing process. The magical, romantic notion where fully formed art leaps from the author’s brain on to the page? It dishonors the writer, the reader, and the work. In reality, it takes “hundreds of drafts” and “thousands of incremental adjustments” to form a story into a “hopeful thing.”

If you love George Saunders, check out the Anton Chekhov-George Saunders Humanity Kit and see what it’s like to take a literature course with Mr. Saunders, for yourself.

We often discuss art this way: the artist had something he “wanted to express”, and then he just, you know … expressed it. We buy into some version of the intentional fallacy: the notion that art is about having a clear-cut intention and then confidently executing same.

The actual process, in my experience, is much more mysterious and more of a pain in the…

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The Reality

Khalvin rolled out of his bed with a snort and dropped to the floor.

Something had awakened him.

Everything seemed normal.

He moved to the reveal and transparented it.

Starry skies held outside. The ship still moved. Moonlight lapped the dark sea. He pinged his Backhand for the ship’s location. Systems confirmed they remained over the California Sea. Airspeed was ninety. The outside temperature was eighty-four degrees. Their destination was forty-nine minutes away.

Ordering a water bulb, he plucked it out of the air as it arrived, massaged his head against lingering sleep, and considered what to do as he sucked up water. He didn’t know what had awakened him. A dream’s wreckage drifted through his consciousness. He’d dreamed he wasn’t himself, Khalvin, but another person. He didn’t know that name, and he didn’t look as he now looked, but he knew it was him.

He’d been somewhere he couldn’t fully perceive. It seemed like a shop. Others were there, but he didn’t know them and didn’t speak with them. Music he didn’t recognize played above burbling conversations and crisp clacking and clinking noises. His dream self barely noticed. Sitting and bent over a keyboard, he was busy thinking, typing and talking to himself.

The image lingered with him, powerfully real. Wondering it meant, he considered the California Sea and thought of the ruins purported to be under its surface. In many ways, being here on Earth, about to explore ruins, seemed more like a dream than the dream he’d just experienced.

He realized he’d been Human in the dream. He was a Cat. He’d always been a Cat. To be Human….

He smiled. That seemed like the strangest dream of all.


Sorry for the shaggy cat story. Blame it on my dreams. Cheers

Today’s Theme Music

Today’s music is dedicated to Tucker and Pepper.

Tucker is ‘my’ cat. Sick, hungry and lost, he came to us through the smoky summer haze a few years ago. We were in a drought. Wildfires surrounded our valley. Temperatures were running one hundred degrees Fahrenheit plus. Going outside without a mask wasn’t recommended. Two of my cats were dying with cancer, as was one of my best friends. It was a challenging period.


Tucker is sweet but he fights other cats. They know this and fear it. We’re vigilant to keep him away from all of them except Quinn.

Enter Pepper, the long-haired black and nutmeg calico with a black face and green eyes. Pepper lives next door but enjoys our porch. She’s always hanging around the front door. Although she’s well-fed and healthy, she begs for meals. I feed her because, as my my wife claims, I’ve never met a cat who doesn’t need a meal.

Pepper terrifies dogs, raccoons and other cats. She has the battle cry down, loud and furious, like she’s going all ninja cat on them. She rarely fights, issuing the cries and making a lunge or two. It’s enough to intimidate other cats.

Except Tucker. He and Pepper sit side-by-side on the front mat, peaceful and relaxed. Open the door and they lift their heads and look up and back over their shoulders with synchronized perfection.

It seems like a strange little love affair. So for them, from 1972, is Billy Paul performing Me and Mrs. Jones’  on Soul Train.



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