The Novel Update

Typed the final words to the novel in progress, The Constant, this morning. Was as satisfying as a cosmic orgasm or a cold beer on a blazing summer day.

For the record, this was the seventh draft. I started it in April of 2020. Just under one hundred five thousand words of speculative fiction. I wanted to finish it before 2022 but I was doubtful that would happen back around Thanksgiving. I shrugged off the hope and kept writing.

The elevator pitch goes, “This novel is about a television gunfighter in a dystopian civilization on another planet. Or maybe not.”

Feels odd to not need to write like crazy for the moment, though. Of course, other novel ideas are queueing up, eager for their computer screen time. Guess I’ll suck on some coffee and contemplate it all.


The Cougar Dream

My wife and I were in an austere but large, yet old, cement apartment. The walls were deep pink. So was the ceiling and furniture but the floor was burnt gold. Furniture was scant – bed, table, one stick chair. The ceiling was low and the lumens from the few lights weren’t high.

It was night. Awakening and turning on the lights, I discovered a huge cougar prowling the room. The animal’s presence shocked and terrified me. The cougar was closer to me than my wife. I told her, “Go open the doors so it can get out.” Meanwhile, I made myself big to keep the animal from attacking me, raising my arms over my head. Extending that thinking, I climbed backwards up on the bed. Picking up the pillows, I held them over my head.

The cougar watched all of this with quizzical interest. It was an enormous, healthy, beautiful animal. Meanwhile, my wife was walking around and talking. I kept telling her, “Open the door, let the lion out,” but she seemed more interested in trying to make friends with it. The animal moved away from me. With its back to me, I jumped down and shooed it toward a door. Just as I got it out, two men opened the door and let it back in. They were joking about letting my cat out while I told them, “No, no, no, we were trying to get it out.”

I then left. Outside was bright and sunny. I was on a narrow, sandy beach. Turquoise water lapped gently to my right. Nobody else was around. I walked a while, enjoying the breeze, sounds, and sunlight, before stepping into the warm, tranquil water and bathing myself.

I shared this dream with my wife. She noted the cougar never threatened anyone. I agreed; I saw it as a threat, but it never threatened anyone. She said that bathing myself was a sign of cleansing myself. I told her, after encountering that cougar, I needed to clean myself off.

A Short Tale

He sipped his beer, a locally brewed IPA, and then set the mug down. “I came to Ashland for love in 1972. I’d met this woman in Ohio. She lived here. So I followed her here.”

“Did you marry her?”

“No. We were together for ten years. Then she moved out and we moved on. She lives in Tacoma now. Married, with children.” He smiled toward the wall. “We remain on good terms. We talk to one another on the phone. Once in a while.”

Wednesday’s Theme Music

Not snowing. But snow in its piles and layers across lawns, trees, and just about everything but the street still dominates the mind’s intake.

Thirty degrees F. Soft grays infused with whites blanket the sky. Creamy blues enhance the edges above the snowed in evergreens and low mountains.

Today is December 29, 2021. Wednesday. Today, tomorrow, and the day after, and we’re done with 2021. Can stick it in the garage with the other years.

Sunrise crept in more like it was fog than it was sunshine at 7:39 AM. Sunset cometh at 4:47 PM. Sunset is slowly ratcheting back. Sunrise has hit a pause. More daylight is in the offering, if the clouds will let it in.

A 1972 Steely Dan song, “Dirty Work”, is floating on the morning mental music stream. Came into the stream last night as I cleaned the cats’ litter box, harvesting the potatoes. I don’t think much more needs said about that connection.

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask as needed, and get the vaccine and boosts when you can. Here’s the music. There’s my coffee. It’s like a moment of Zen. Cheers


Floofsurp (floofinition) – for an animal to seize and hold objections, locations, or food in possession by force or without right.

In use: “Thowing a hissy fit, the fierce little cat floofsurped the big St. Bernard’s bed, leaving the huge canine floofmmoxed.”

Tuesday’s Theme Music

Welcome to Tuesday, December 28, 2021. It’s 28 degrees F out there, so wear your warmest sandals.

Sunrise came at 7:39 AM, showing that the snow is still out there. Had fifteen inches on the ground yesterday. We shoveled off the walk and driveway and removed the snow wall the plow had kindly built for us. This morning, all was covered by a fresh two inches. Everything was closed, canceled, or shut yesterday in our little town — well, everything except grocery stores, hospitals, and emergency services. They all functioned. It’ll get up to 36 F today, so we might get some relief if the weather system can move on the clouds and let the sun in. After sunset at 4:46 PM, the temperature is expected to drop locally to 19 degrees F. Yes, that’s chilly for us.

These snow levels are not consistent across the area. We’re in a valley. Houses are on the valley floor and up the mountain slopes. My house sits at about 1800 feet. Some friends higher than me reported that they had two feet of snow. Others who are lower in the valley received two to three inches. Up the Interstate twenty minutes where the valley is broad and wide, a buddy reported he had two inches. Three thousand feet higher than me, down the road ten minutes, they received sixty inches.

Weirdly, I have a song by the Beatles in the morning mental music stream. “I Feel Fine” came out in 1964. I remember neighbor girls playing a 45 RPM record of the song on a little pink and white portable phonograph on their back patio but that was a few years later, probably in 1966. I guess that because, while I was young, we’d moved to a new neighborhood then, our fourth one in five years. A lot of moves, houses, and schools, but it helps organize and structure my memories, if you know what I mean. I suspect the song is housed in the stream because my wife and I were talking about The Beatles with friends last week. My wife confesses that she didn’t like the Beatles. Never thought them that great. Which, shrug, is fine, because tastes are different, as are choices and circumstances. That’s life, which is another song now playing in my head (covered by Frank Sinatra), but we’ll go into that another day. I think “I Feel Fine” is in my head because I like that opening bit of feedback they incorporated. I’ve gone with a live version of the song so that feedback note is missing (ironic, right), but I enjoy flashing back to these live performances of groups and the changes between now and then so sharpy etched. Guess it feeds my nostalgia.

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask as needed, and get the jabs and boosters as needed. Speaking of getting, I’m getting some coffee. Make it hot and black.

Here’s the tune. Cheers


The royal clowder’s faces were grumpy. “I’m bored,” the first floof said. “This — ” He flicked a tail of disdain. ” — snow outside is ruining my day. There are no birds to watch, other cats to chat up, nor even squirrels to argue. I want sunshine!”

“I’m bored,” the second floof said as the third said, “I’m bored, entertain me.”

“Sorry, guys,” the man replied. “There is nothing I can do about it. Here’s some catnip and a couple stuffed mouses to bat around.” He walked off.

The floofs glared at his back. “I say that we replace him,” one said.

“Perhaps,” the second said. “Look how long we’ve had him, and he still doesn’t give us the food and treat that we demand.”

“Not to mention that he can’t do anything about the weather,” the first floof said.

“I’m bored,” the third floof said, and then assumed an attack position. “Wanna fight?”

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