Sunday, January 27, 2008

took my books to the printer. i had twenty of them, originally, books of short stories, hand made, called A Dozen Crime Stories from a well-known, big-box, discount retail chain. about 80 pages each, folded in half, stapled in the middle. the first actual readers of the stories reported that pages were missing from the middle. oh great. my only christmas present, really; the calendars are still not made; but, the books are defective. don't know whether they'll give me twenty more, or not. it's really my first publication, the first thing i did. two more possibilities are on the horizon. one: a novel. i actually have the idea; all my attempts so far have been for naught. now that i'm swimming again, i can at least devote some time to thinking about it. two: a dozen crime stories from a well-known burger joint with golden arches on it. or some such variation. this would be, if the novel continues to flop, but the crime stories keep on coming.

the question has arisen, whether to print them more professionally (obviously a good move), whether to sell them on amazon (could require sales tax reporting), or whether to solicit serious criticism before changing them and then doing one or both of the above. now i'm leaning toward yes, yes, no. not cottoning to serious revision; it's against my nature. maybe changing the picture, so as to avoid copyright infringement, or at least taking out the scrawling in the inside cover.

activity on the quaker plays also, which get high reviews from people who read them and use them. I have a single print book of seven scripts but two actually are unfinished. a computer crash wiped out two or three of the seven; the web has made another one difficult to find. they need some work, some organizing, some fixing up, some finishing. they'd like me to put on a play in april, also, which could happen. if i get off my _

meanwhile i'll point my faithful readers to my writing blog, which has all the stories, in their complete form, though not in order. someday, this blog will advertise the book as a thing one absolutely must buy; however, loyal readers will always know where and how to find them in their entirety, without paying a measly cent. my overall strategy as a writer is to not work to hard to peddle them, but to hang on to the rights at all costs, since a media-saturated world will become hungry for content, it's only a matter of time. and even if they don't, so what? they're still my stories, i want to hang on to them. unlike my children, who seem to grow up and leave.

and finally, what about true stories, traveling stories? well, the hole in my head made me shy, and being unable to swim made me unable to think, so, i'm kind of out of sorts, haven't written much lately. let's just say, if the stories don't come, and the novel doesn't either, there are still a few traveling stories to tell. a couple of them just popped into my head recently. one involved going to fairbanks, standing in the back of a mission, hearing some guy say, oil's coming, this town is going to have work (this was 1974, mind you)...and me saying, no thanks. i was broke, but i wasn't working for the oil guys.

another story involves setting out from pittsburg kansas to find a quaker meeting down in arkansas, getting about halfway and ending up in a holy-roller church in the ozarks, a little ways south of joplin missouri, where the pastor was talking about the new highway delivering us into the new age. i eventually found the arkie-okie quarterly, which met at a camping ground in northwest arkansas, and we sat around a campfire for some silence and the smell of coal embers, before heading back up into the flat country. i'll tell it all, i promise. then, someday, i'll sit down, and put it in order...

and the music is treating me well, at least in terms of keeping me happy, giving me something to think about, and work on, and hope for. we have dreams, and hopes, though mine as usual go every which way, and include all manner of possibilities. including learning the pinata song, or learning, at least, how to make an enye, and possibly learning how to play african music on the fiddle. one could also, i hope, learn some really really good irish music, in time for saint pat's. my partner made a point: all the bars are smoke free now. this is an opportunity.

speaking of hopes and dreams: a stone soup restaurant reunion; 2010 would be its 35th year, i believe. you heard it first here. it could happen; i'm sure most of these people are around iowa city somewhere, and i'm only six and a half hours away. would love to see any and all of those people, though in general parts of that life are better left unspelled out. i was there, not for its vegetarianism, not for its whole-food aspects, though i liked all that, but because i was able to join in, start something, make it work, learn stuff, love people, stay alive. a good couple a years passed by there, and occasionally, i'd sit on the stoop, and maybe a pigeon would poop near me, to mark the passage of time. don't let the health department see this, i'd think, let alone the bats that were trapped in the dark hallways of the old catholic school that housed the place. don't mess with these ghosts, they would seem to tell me. but i did, and i wouldn't stop, just 'cause the place has been fallen for years. tornado came through town, and hit the other catholic school, i understand, or maybe it was the church, selective destruction i'm sure, but what do i know. someday i'll get to the bottom of it, maybe hear another story or two. like i don't get enough of them around here...


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