the girlies aren't too shrewd about getting along with boys, but the boys aren't so good at getting along with them either. everyone tattles, and pinches, and takes liberties with each other's stuff, or maybe their dog. i feel like i have to be a policeman sometimes, but what i really like is when i can back off and let young children just have a childhood, not worry about stuff. their imaginations are really lively, and i think the boys pick up on this and run with it sometimes. i catch them saying weird stuff about their father, and it turns out they are in a fantasy world, not saying anything about me so much as some construct their barbie has, who is a bad father maybe, or in jail like their father. i call out and say, "i'm not a bad father" and they say, "it's not you, daddy, it's pretend." in this way we try to work out what's going on. sometimes in their stories they talk about their "real father" and i have to remind them that i'm good and real, though i might not be their biological father. they can't even pronounce "biological" though, so it's an uphill battle.
the dogs love them, and have decided that they should watch out for all the children, no matter what, even if the children put them in leashes and march them around the house, up and down the steps. dogs are patient and faithful that way. i myself am not so eager to do whatever they request, though i will get them a bowl of cereal, or help them find their shoes.
slowly i've found people who are like me, they publish a little here and there, they try to publicize, they find this world where they're kind of an author but not quite. amazon has made legions of us, self-published, purgatory writers, i think souls' day was made for us, because we live in a world where we can think we are authors on a good day, but on a day when the car needs a new muffler, we know we're not a real author. we're lucky to have time to sit down and write anything, because we have a day job, and we're trying to think of ourselves as writers but really we're fathers, cooks, or teachers, or whatever, anything but the writing we don't have time to finish. in fact i'm stuck on my novel; i haven't done a thing on it in months, though i have some time this weekend, so i'm trying to figure out whether to haul it out and start slogging through it again, one chapter at a time, livening it up, making it consistent with itself, finishing it. the question now is, if it's about st. louis, whether i should incorporate anything about ferguson in it. this is partly because i'm aware that ferguson is ground zero for a reawakening of some kind, a kind of new round of insistence on human dignity and equality, and i'm wondering if i can incorporate that somehow into what is basically a simple murder plot. one of my problems all along is that i haven't really had a purpose, a drive, a reason to write a simple murder-plot novel, though i have a lot to say, and i'm not bad and making things happen quickly and in an entertaining way, and tying them all together in a way. where i'm weak is making real characters, 3-d people who you want to read more about, people who want stuff, so that you read in order to find out if they get what they want. slowly, i'll pick it up. with a story, it's more like a city bus. you get on, then you get off. maybe you remember part of it, maybe not.
for some reason, nobody's on screens this afternoon. they got off school at noon, played a little, came home, but for some reason, it just didn't occur to them. this could be because their brother stayed at school, i don't know. but for whatever reason, they can have the downstairs, have their fantasy, play out some of this violent feeling, these fears, etc., and i just sit here and type away, blog, in peace. outside the dog barks, somebody let her out and forgot to let her back in. that would be me.