Floofnanigans

Floofnanigans (floofinition) – mischievous behavior by a cat or dog.

In use: “The puppies’ floofnanigans as they piled over the children, licking faces, tugging on clothing (and sometimes pulling something off) and wagging their tails, helped break the room’s tension. Good thing, Becca thought, or it would have been a short — or murderous — Thanksgiving.”

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Friday’s Theme Music

I associate many things with my childhood, especially matters of pop culture. TV was just breaking big in the 1960s in America, as was pop and rock music, and all their variations, on AM radio. As an child who was four when the sixties began, I was swept along. I didn’t choose much of the music I heard. It was everywhere from transistor radios that people carried to car radios to television. Some of the music isn’t to my adult tastes, but they’re part of my cultural DNA.

Today’s song, “Never My Love” by the Association from 1967, is one of those songs.

Floofsant

Floofsant (floofinition) – feline or canine’s powerful or vigorous impact.

In use: “Although it was two in the morning, a floofsant meow caused him to leap out of his recliner and run into the dark night outside to find the source and help the animal, if necessary.”

Thursday’s Theme Music

I’m familiar with Atlanta Rhythm Section (ARS) but they never grabbed me. They were too mellow for my taste. I heard a lot of their music, though, first through the radio, and then, through a friend. ARS was one of his favorite bands. I believed that was because he was from Alabama, with stops in Georgia. Although he was a Crimson Tide fan, he rooted for the Atlanta Falcons and Braves. What was odd (to me) is that his other two favorite bands were Boston and Van Halen. Van Halen ruled as number one, with Boston slotted in as his number two favorite. He never specified whether he was a David Lee or Sammy fan, but I think he leaned toward the latter because he was a Red Rocker fan when Sammy was a solo artist, but not much of a Montrose fan. Still, with those two as his top two choices, it always seemed a little odd that he enjoyed ARS, and also The Little River band.

Whatever. Today, for some reason, I’m streaming “Imaginary Lover” by ARS, from 1978.

The Family Dream

IN THE DREAM’S BEGINNING —

I’m in a dim corridor with dusty, wooden floors, walls, and a ceiling. It’s not overly narrow, about wide enough for two people, but it’s rickety, uneven, and crooked. It’s also familiar in a way, as though I’ve been in here before. I’m walking slowly and carefully. Although the light is dim, I don’t know it’s source and I’m not certain where I’m at or what’s going on, so I’m being cautious.

I reach a juncture. The way is blocked by what I determine to be a paper wall. After some experimenting, I push the wall aside and advance. Another paper wall is encountered. This happens three or four times. By that point, I decide that I’ll attempt to smash through the wall instead of moving it. After doing that three or four times, I exit.

I discover myself exiting off a bus. I’ve arrived at my destination, and I’m happy. The destination is an old wooden building built on the side of a grassy slope. Others are there, as I’d hoped and expected, because I’m here for a family reunion.

Walking around, I meet others. I’m carrying a large orange doll of uncertain sex. The doll is precious to me and to the others. They’re impressed that I have the doll. I’m proud of it.

Arrangements and suggestions are made. I want to shower and clean up. Before I do, I want to bath the doll. Finding a wash basin, I fill it with warm, soapy water and gingerly lower the doll into the water until just the top of its head is visible. Beaming, I think and say, “Perfect.” Others come over to admire what I’ve done.

I don’t recognize any of the family from my current family, that is the people I know in this life. Five ideas come to me in this order.

  1. I’m in a movie.
  2. Or a book.
  3. Or another dimension.
  4. Or a past — or future — life.
  5. The people I’m meeting are all me.

The last idea seizes me. I like it. That they can all be me excites me. I think, I’m exploring myself. Walking around, I look at them more carefully for clues that they’re me. I don’t find any, but I’m undaunted.

Returning to the wash basin, I gently scrub the doll, and then rinse it off. This done, I show it to the others. They’re all impressed, clapping and making supportive and encouraging comments. With the doll clean, I’m free to clean myself. After some wandering around and talking to others, I’m pointed toward the showers. Other family members are present. As I strip down, shower, and shave, we talk about what to wear. My choice (which I can’t remember now) surprises some, concerns a few, but pleases the rest. I’m pleased and proud that most are pleased, and satisfied, that is what I’ll wear.

The dream ends.

Floofcuse

Floofcuse (floofinition) – a stare animals employ to convey betrayal, suspicion, and disappointment that hovers around being angry and contemptuous.

In use: “Opening the bag of chips, he began eating them only to discover two cats and a dog walking into the room. Sitting down, the three held a  floofcuse on him that began wearing him down. With a sigh, he held out a handful of chips and said, “Do you guys want some?””

“Four On Kyrios”

I’m feeling breathless, worried, and giddy today. You probably suspect that it’s the smoky air because I’ve been complaining about the wildfire smoke so often in July and August. Well, you’d be wrong, suckah. We have good air today.

I’m breathless and giddy because I completed the first draft of Four On Kyrios today. The novel has officially made the transition from beta to first draft. At the same time, I received feedback from two friends who volunteered to read the beta version as a second pair of eyes. They’d finished reading the manuscript and offered their comments. Both were enthusiastic and are ready to read the next book in the series. That pleases me, but I’m worried because, as a writer, I’m unique among writers, and worry whether others who read what I wrote will describe it as gilded garbage.

That was decent sarcasm, wasn’t it?

Four On Kyrios is the first book of the Incomplete States series. It didn’t take me long to read, edit, and revise it. I attribute that speed to several points.

One, it was the third book in the series to be written. That advantage means that a great deal of thinking about the concept, plot, background, and setting was already completed.

Two, I edit and revise as I write. My organic writing process drives this pattern. Writing what’s already written helps me connect with the muses and continue discovering and telling the story. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I fix grammar, punctuation, pacing, and continuity issues when they’re discovered. (Are you surprised?)

Three, Four On Kyrios is the smallest of the four novels in the Incomplete States series. MS Word clocks it at ninety thousand words and three hundred seventy-five pages.

Four, of the four novels, it has the simplest plot and the fewest characters. Those factors keep it easy to read and edit.

As this is the first novel in a series of four, it’ll stay in first draft status while I read, edit, and revise the others.  The four books were written to tell one larger tale, so they’re interconnected. I came out of the editing and revising process with one page of notes. Some are reminders, a few are continuity questions, and the rest were issues. All of the issues except two were resolved. They’ll remain open until I complete the other three books.

Most of the changes in the novel were more about expanding some scenes to slow down and let the characters breathe. I’ve been reading a lot since I finished the beta draft of the four books. Reading others’ published novels impact my ‘sense’ of the book. To me, this is the instinct we develop as writers because we read. It’s a feel for what seems right and correct about something we’re reading. It’s about flow and story-telling.

Just for the record, I’ve read Lincoln in the Bardo, A Visit from the Goon Squad, Godless, The Midnight Line, Time’s Eye, and Diary in the past few weeks after finishing the first three books of the Dire Earth Cycle. I’m now reading The Pagan Lord and The Order of Time and searching for The Triggerman’s Dance. I think La Rose might be up next on my reading, though. The Order of Time is a fascinating book about time, physics, and quantum mechanics by Carlos Rovelli. I don’t agree with all of his points, but it’s fun thinking about them.

Now, on to the next novel in the Incomplete States series, Entangled LEREs. I’ll begin editing and revising it tomorrow. Right now, though, my stomach is posting orders for something to eat.

I think I shall comply.

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