The End (or not)

Finally, finally you type “The End.” 

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Lord have mercy, it’s done!!! I thought I’d never make it. All those many long years, weekends and nights spent writing while my friends went to the theatre, gave dinner parties, traveled to all parts of the world, in other words, lived their lives while I was stuck in someone else’s or in a version of my own past. And now, I’m free!

Elated you shutdown the computer and take a walk around the neighborhood. The fresh air, the sun, the birds singing, even the neighbors you pass, no one knows the elation within you.  How can they?  They’re not crazy like you. 

CrazyWriterThen you send your draft off to early readers.You know, those folks who’ve stuck with you through the years of shitty first drafts, unrelenting self-doubt and abject paranoia. It’s unkind, of course, to expect them to suffer through yet another draft but they asked for it.  Or maybe they didn’t and you just imagined their glee at finally being able to read the completed masterpiece.  (By the way, the technical term for what you’re going through is “Euphoric Self-Delusion” or ESD.)

Days go by and your email only contains offers to prepay for your funeral (appropriate). But because you’re afflicted with ESD you begin to think your masterpiece is ready for the editor. 

And then it comes. The first bullet over the deck.  “Just finished your book,” your early reader says. Blah, blah, blah (the nice things).  You can now relax but only for a second. “However,” she concludes, “that’s it?”

“What do you mean ‘that’s it’?”  You type back.

“The ending is too abrupt.  What happened to the character after the trial?”

elephantYou’re now standing on a high dive thirty feet above a pool that looks shallow, teetering on one toe while an elephant decides whether to bounce along side of you.

“I’m not done?  How can that be?  You want more?’

The answer “yes.”

You have no more.  For you the story ended where it ended and yet you’re a writer with low sales and a publisher constantly telling you “write what the readers want” therefore you will cave.


… until the reviews roll in and you realize you should have trusted your own instincts.

How about you? Has lack of self-confidence ever forced you to make a decision you later regretted?

Graphics from Bing Images

Lazy Blogger’s Day: Old Thangs

This week I’ve been having an email discussion with a group of friends I’ve known for a long time, thus our discussion has centered on the issues we face: elderly parents and soon to be elderly us. But rather than delve into what is the most depressing topic (other than the sinking stock market and the ascendency of Dunce Trump)  I’m just going to post a picture one of the oldest thangs I’ve ever seen:


The inside of the Pharos (lighthouse) at Dover Castle England.



Outside view of the Pharos.

Of course, as lighthouses go this one is well past its prime but it was interesting to learn that during the bombing of England (WWII), Hitler was insistent the castle be spared; the surrounding town was not so fortunate.

The good thing about getting older is we get to be silly again. (Of course, some of us never stopped but that’s another story!)  Do something silly today!

Lazy Blogger Day: Alone


When the sun goes down,
I know I am alone.
I may be loved today,
I may be loved tomorrow,
But all things change.
All things.

When my toes sink beneath
a billion, trillion grains of sand,
waves sing golden,
and stars promise to
guide my way
till the dying day of
my eternity
I am alone but of all things.


Smokey Sunday


This isn’t fog or mist or even smog.  It’s smoke from fires over fifty miles away from San Francisco. It stings your lungs and sets off smoke detectors.  No one is outside; few cars are passing by.  On social media, the radio, and the television, fire departments plead with people to stop calling them to report smoke unless they actually see fire.


Mt. Diablo, towering over Walnut Creek California

Frightening when you realize this is the beginning of the fire season and not the end. The worst inferno to ever hit the Bay Area in modern times was in late October 1991 when hot, dry winds off the appropriately named Mt. Diablo created a firestorm which destroyed over 2,000 homes and killed 25 people. Video below:

The inferno came within a mile of my house but I wasn’t home at the time.  I was in a hotel in Los Angeles watching the coverage on the television worried sick about my dog who was in the care of our elderly neighbor, unable to sleep or eat, anxious to get home and yet afraid of what I was coming home to.


The scene many, many people came home to in October 1991

We were spared, however, because we worked in downtown Oakland, many of our co-workers and friends either lost their homes or had relatives who did.  It hung over our lives for years and still affects many people today.  Believe it or not, neighborhoods that resembled Dresden after the fire bombing soon attracted legions of ghoulish voyeurs whose slow progress along narrow streets as they ogled survivors got so bad that police closed the roads to residents only.  I wonder why people do things like that.  I guess they’ve never lost everything.

#ThursdayDoors – the “For the Duration” door

For the Duration Door Aug 07 15

“For the Duration Door” Image courtesy of Jude P. Paso

A reader found this door on one arm of the Sauer-McShane Mercantile (described as “an antique, miraculously-still-standing edifice”) which was in operation from 1877 to 1892 as a masonry warehouse in Central City, a town so named because it’s pretty much in the center of the state of Colorado. The “city” thrived for a duration as miners made their fortunes but then became the kind of funky, dusty landmark tourists love to frequent and artists love to bring alive. The name my reader gave the door is revealing as she ran a cafe in that town during a “duration” of her life.  How about you?  Do you have a duration door?  I’ll try to find mine for next week’s #ThursdayDoors.

Lazy Blogger’s Day, Auggie 12


Sign in shop in London. You think they really were?

In honor of Lazy Blogger’s Day – three totally unrelated pictures.  Can you make a story out of them?  If you can I’ll post it here on Ye Olde Twissel Bloggie!


Maimed sculpture in the British Museum. What do you think the model was doing with her arms and legs?


Beautiful penmanship but what do you think this person’s name was?

Okay, that’s it. Happy Lazy Blogger’s Day!

Breaking my Vow

When I first started blogging a couple of years ago, I vowed to stay away from three subjects: religion, politics and cats.  So far I’ve stayed away from two of them.


Guess which promise I broke first?

Yup, you got it.  Cats! Pretty Kitty claims I vowed not to write about all animals and that I broke my vow with one of my very first posts. 


From my second blog post “Man Training 1.0”

Well, I am about to break another.  I shouldn’t but after those two Republican debates I can’t help myself.  American people what are you thinking?  Those debates were broadcast all over the world and probably into outer space where this very afternoon the Federation of Planets is having their own debate: whether or not to  send Captain Kirk back from the future.


“In order to save Planet Earth you expect me to go back to 2015 and beam aboard a stage full of politicians? What if they infect the Enterprise and take us back to the Middle Ages?”

And the feedback from the “man/woman/idiot” on the street was even more mind-numbing. For example, Megyn Kelly interviewed a woman on The Kelly Show who basically said: “I like Carly Fiorina because she’s a bulldog!  She’ll take on Hilary Clinton and she’ll win!”

President Bulldog, er, Fiorina - are you ready for your breakfast of liberal over-easy?

President Bulldog, er, Fiorina – are you ready for your breakfast of liberal over-easy?

Really?  This isn’t a dog fight, lady, even though you might want it to be.

To the many people who say: “I support Donald Trump because he’s not afraid to speak his mind.”

I say, yes, and that’s the scary part.  Do you really want him to call someone like Andrea Merkel a fat, stupid cow for negotiating with Russia which you know he’ll do because he doesn’t hold anything back, remember?th-2

And for crying out loud, can we stop talking about fetuses already?  Why aren’t we talking about children living in poverty?

Images are from