As Good As His Word

I could see them — Jeep and Blaine standing tall against Venusian villains. Adam and Joy unraveling the puzzle. Hank and “Stella” taking on the thieves of alien tech. I even could still see Devin Green realizing the truth about Krayatura.

I could see them all.

What dastardly villain inside me was preventing me from telling their stories? Stark raving lunacy? Simple fear? Imposter syndrome?

The fear of getting it wrong? Maybe that was it — I was so afraid of telling the stories wrong that I didn’t tell them at all. Was that it?

It couldn’t be as simple as I just didn’t want to do it? Simply that, after all was said and done, I didn’t want to go to the trouble of telling their stories?

“TROUBLE!?!?” they shrieked in unison.

“That’s enough of this,” Hank said. Because he was the burliest, he grabbed my hand and pulled me off the chair and onto my feet, then took me by the shoulders and looked me in the eye. I saw the steely glint and was afraid until I realized he was holding back a smile.

Continue reading “As Good As His Word”

Ten openings plus one

  • The copper dome above the courthouse had faded to green long ago, testament to the bare fact that new and shiny doesn’t last.
  • The old writer resolved to fill his page with the first lines of 10 stories and quickly second-guessed himself – “It’s finishing that I need to work on, not beginning” – but then decided a resolution’s a resolution.
  • In her mind everyone’s eyes were drawn to the mole on her upper lip. “It’s a beauty mark, Shanna, you’re beautiful,” Mother would say, but it made her self-conscious anyway.
  • She saved the world. Not just my world, the world in general – your world, my world, and the world of a whole lot of people you and I will never meet but we could meet because she ensured they didn’t die.
  • He remembered being born. His first thought was that it was too bright, and while smiling creatures in masks cooed, “Oh, he’s got a healthy pair of lungs, isn’t he so cute,” all he wanted to do was vent his outrage at the disruption.
  • It still stung that, rather than understanding that he and his team had developed something special, they laid him off and sent the team to the four winds, but he didn’t feel the sting in a vengeful way, just a wistful coulda-been way.
  • “They’re coming!” the newcomer said after flinging the tavern door open and racing to the bar without so much as a howdy pardner.
  • Eight pelicans floated in the sun overhead, lazily turning toward the bay, seemingly not in any hurry, just wafting along in the wind currents.
  • “Nein!” the commander barked, and everyone froze.
  • She heard the oncoming rumble and felt the ground shake before she saw what was coming and wished she hadn’t.
  • “You don’t get eleven chances, son,” the judge said as he gaveled the hearing to a close.


Are you there, Muse? It’s me, Warren. I straggled out of bed before light to see if we could have a chat. They say showing up is half the battle, but I think it’s more like three quarters, because I know for a fact that you’re not going to show up unless I do. So here I am, and here we go, right?

It’s kind of fascinating that people are OK with invoking the Muse or Mother Nature or the Spirit of Gaea but get uncomfortable with the idea of God, who could be all of the above. Maybe it’s their idea of who God is, or how the concept of God has been co-opted over the years, seeing as they’re just fine with the idea of Someone or Something supernatural and bigger than us.

I had more than one dream last night that I was sure I’d remember this morning because they were so vivid and interesting. More water under the spilled milk, um, more crying over the bridge — hmmm, looks like I need my morning dose of caffeine.

That which has dissipated into the ether likely will return someday, disguised as something new. I find myself finding old blog posts where I said something I thought I’d thought for the first time just recently. I guess it’s a variation on “There’s nothing new under the sun”: There’s nothing new in my latest thoughts.

(The Muse and I had a marvelous conversation after this. I promise to share it someday.)

Reflections while sitting in a lawn chair waiting for an eBay delivery

2:20 p.m. 9-21-2020

Hello, hello, hello, everyone! In less than a minute you will be a mile away and wondering if you really saw a white-haired man in a lawn chair, leg crossed to reveal bare ankles and slippers, otherwise wearing office clothes and writing in a red journal with a pen.

Where are you going, anyway? People come and go so quickly here, off to the Emerald City along a yellow brick road, dump trucks loaded with soil and campers loaded with people, and the tinge of orange in the trees across the highway reminds one and all that tomorrow is the first day of autumn.

We have so much in common, you and I and all of us, as we rush from here to there bearing witness to what we have seen and what we hope to be. I wish we could focus more on our dreams and desires and not so much on our skin-deep differences.

We are each of us alone, no two exactly alike, and we share a desire to be left alone, to be free to live our lives in peace, but something-less-than-peace is thrust upon us constantly. Peace, then, is a fleeting joy, felt in a southerly breeze that rustles the trees on the last day of summer, focused on endings rather than beginnings even though (as the song says) they are one and the same.

What begins here, in this hour when one season is drawing to a close and another approaching? What begins today, as leaves turn to more vivid colors than green and — even though right now it is warm and comfortable — experience tells us the chill is inevitable someday soon? Every day, every moment holds promise if you seek it out. Every day, every moment holds finality if you look for it.

Billions of people interacting with each other, trillions of life forms interacting, lead to infinite combinations, so of course beginnings and endings are always within reach — beginnings and endings as significant as birth and death or as commonplace as beginning a new journal page and the end of an eBay package’s journey from shipping box to mailbox, which is the reason I’m sitting in our driveway waiting for the mail carrier, so I can sop up some sunshine and save the carrier a few steps up the walk.

And the travelers who rushed past when I started writing are now as much as 30 miles away.

Writers write

I got up early to write this morning — so I’d better start writing.

It’s really that simple. (I said simple, not easy.)

Over and over again, in the books that purport to tell the secrets of a successful writing career, I see the refrain. Writers write. Writers write.

So … Writers: Write.

The words don’t come if you don’t pick up the pen, or plant yourself in the chair, fingers at the keyboard, or somehow attached to a microphone and dictation app — you get the idea.

The words don’t come if you don’t write them down or otherwise preserve them in some way.

You say, “I’m a writer, but I haven’t found the time to write”? Then you’re not a writer.

I Meta Writer

“What are you doing?”

She could see what he was doing, of course: He was sitting in an easy chair, staring at the spot up across the room where the light green paint of the wall met the white of the ceiling. He had a blank page in his lap and a pen in his hand, but all he was doing was staring.

“I’m writing,” he said.

“Posh,” she retorted. “You’re sitting like a lump of lard wasting the day away.”

He turned to her and grinned.

“Thank you,” he said.

“You’re so welcome,” she sneered, and stalked away.

And he began to write: “‘What are you doing?’ She could see what he was doing, of course …”

A brief conversation with Almighty God

The day began in clarity.

“Good morning, world! Thank you for the rest,” he cried. “You know who I am; I know who I am. I’m glad we had this chat; let’s get down to business.”

Harmonies poured from his soul — answers snapped to his fingers — his mind and body answered the call. This would be a good day. The doubt that often nagged him was today a minor nudge, and a little bit of anxiety never crippled anyone. In fact, he could shape a little bit of anxiety into a ball of excitement and hurl it like a knuckleball at a befuddled batter.

“To what do I owe this jubilant feeling?” he said with a satisfied smile.

“To whom,” boomed the voice of God.

“Oh,” he said. “Hello.”

“I have to say I am feeling — shall we say — neglected,” God said. “And, I might remind you, I am a jealous God.”

“Pshaw. You’re a loving God, a forgiving God,” he said.

There was a poignant pause. Then God smiled at him.

“Got me,” God said.

And off he went, God willing, to do good stuff.