Crazy For Susan

an unassigned lifeIt had seemed like such a sensible idea.   I would be the mild-mannered book reviewer by day who led a secret, sexy life by night under an assumed name who wrote stories about his sexcapades in the dark.   I can’t really help but see parallels to ‘coming out’  as a gay person.  Growing up closeted,  one develops acute instincts and learns to make quick judgments about who can be trusted with what information.    Because even though you are sort of living two lives,  you are in fact always one person.   And where is the fun in keeping a secret if you don’t have anyone you trust enough to share it with? 

My wallet name has been kind of going crazy for the fiction of Susan Wells Bennett.     I have finally got around to putting up the long contemplated fan page  and published a review of her Brass Monkey Novels.    And I totally broke my ‘only buy one eBook a month’ pledge, picking up not only her new Just One Note this month but also her short anthology Desert Choir and buying her early novel Circle City Blues.    I had of course already read and reviewed Circle City Blues,  but it was one of only a few books that I bought and read in a Kobo eReader program.    Much as I wanted to,  I was never able to like the Kobo app as well as the Kindle app.    And after learning about linking,  I’ve kind of given up the fight and joined the legions of folks who read pretty much only in their Kindle app these days.

I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the world of long haul trucker “Mac” MacDougall  and was reminded all over again why I have been so very enamored of Mrs. Bennett’s fiction.   My pen name, meanwhile has been taking it a bit slower lately.   Mostly just seeing old friends,  rather than rushing hither and yon meeting lots of new people all the time.   And my pen name has not even Begun the task of meeting and greeting and creating a reader base for what he’s started writing.   I would be comforted by the idea that he’s turned _that_ task over to the experts at Libdrone Books.    Except that I remember that that’s me.    In a very different context I find myself remembering the title of the late Jean Harris’ memoir A Stranger In Two Worlds.    A belated Happy Monday and here’s hoping your new week is off to a great start.

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Ancestors Society Countryside

ancestors society countryside

Today is a writing day.   Just finished working on a review of my friend Susan’s new book (which will be posted tomorrow) and I have recently been getting back to working on a long-stalled pseudonym that I am kind of thinking may be the best thing I ever write.   I’ve been toying with the idea in my mind for years and I did finally set up a blog and made an all to brief start.    And then I cycled down or the moon changed or whatever it is compels me.    And then the other day I got notice that it was time to renew the domain.    And I went back and took a long critical look at the writing I had done on that project.

It seems to me that I have achieved some success on social media and with my blogs.   On Facebook and on my blogs and such I use my wallet name and am happy to chat about almost anything,  occasionally excepting religion and politics and never ever talking about my sex life.    I have been so much happier since I changed my primary focus from my book review blog to this personal essay site.    Unlike Susan, I don’t believe I will ever be great novelist.   But I do believe I can aspire to becoming a great essayist.  I hope those long time friends and fans who’ve been following along, however erratically,  since my first blog post have come to see real improvement in my writing and presentation.  This blog is almost ideal for me.   Except of course that sometimes what I most want to write about is my sex life.   And now that I have finally realized that what I really need to do on my “sex” site is to write with the same kind of directness and intimacy I’ve tried so hard to achieve on this site,   on that site.   Whether the topic is Poking Straight Guys On Facebook or….oh….no….I don’t even want to hint at one of my sex post titles here.

The point is the blog really is a great medium for me as a writer.    And all of those book reviews and all of these essays really have been a kind of warming up for the writing that I most want to do.    And so my pen name has been busy gadding about the countryside,   living it up so that I can come home and write it down.     All of this activity under a pen name I don’t ever plan to share with anyone who reads me under this name,  really has taken a lot away from the time I used to spend on Facebook and Empire Avenue.    I continue to hang out with the folks I think of as my social media guru friends,   in their top secret hideaway I’d have to kill you if I told you about it.   Oops.    I will try hard to keep up with my Monday and Thursday schedule over here,  especially after a very long weekend of play leaves me not wanting to get up off this couch today.

I believe with all of my heart that I am luckiest man alive.   I have all my basic needs met.   I have family and friends who love me and take care of me.    And I get to spend my days doing what I what to do and then when I am feeling done I come home and write about it and try to create something that maybe some day may be considered art out of nothing more than my crazy ideas and a vocabulary that is actually bigger than my err  wick.   I’m now re-reading on my tablet Jack Fritscher’s iconic Some Dance To Remember.    I sometimes wish I had the camera skills of protagonist Ryan Stephen O’Hara.   Most times I think I’m going to be able to persuade my best friend to do the graphics to make the site ready for prime time.     Here’s hoping it’s as good a Thursday in your world as it is in mine.

orangutan forgiveness dolmathes

It’s not that often,  going through the three word suggestions from my readers that I come across a word that is quite unfamiliar to me.    But I honestly had no idea at all what the word dolmathes means until I looked it up.   Dolmathes it turns out are a Greek delicacy,  grape leaves stuffed with rice and pine nuts.     Click the word to see a recipe for this dish.    I am not really all that familiar with Greek cuisine,  though I love moussaka– an eggplant casserole traditionally made with lamb but also delicious prepared with beef instead.   I have a time or two had occasion to eat in a Greek restaurant,  but have never widely sought out this cuisine.   Honestly?   I don’t think I will try to make dolmathes.   I feel pretty sure none of us in this house would eat them.   (That makes me a little sad.)

My friend the novelist Susan Wells Bennett  recently finished her latest installment in the Brass Monkey series.   New Life continues the stories of Milo, Claire, Sax and Sondra all older retired people in Pheonix, Arizona whose lives are kind of a cross between a good soap opera and a ‘drama-dey’.   I was so thrilled that Susan allowed me to be a beta reader for the new book,  which I will tell you right up front is Wonderful.    I am going to be publishing reviews of all of the titles in the Brass Monkey series,  in addition to the review I’ve already published of Susan’s earlier novel Circle City Blues    I’ve also recently read Susan’s novel  The Thief Of Todays And Tomorrows and will be publishing a review of that novel as well.   I am setting up author pages for Susan both on my books blog and in my Amazon aStore.    Thief  was VERY different from Bennett’s Brass Monkey series and I just found myself agog at what a wonderful novelist Susan is.     If I ever interview her again,  I will be sure to ask her why orangutans at the zoo seem to figure so  prominently in her fiction.

It was Susan in fact who suggested these three words,  and I am so very pleased to have an excuse to brag some more about Susan’s wonderful books.    I am only allowing myself to purchase one book per month  (I get lots of eBooks from the library,  completely free of charge.   When the three week loan period ends,  the copy’s become un-openable and I just delete them from tablet).    The last couple of months I have bought nothing but Susan’s books,  and when New Life is released I definitely plan to buy it.     And finally today,   on the subject of forgiveness,   I’m please to report that only a few hours after I arrived home and found my huzband very hurt,  he was over it and forgave me.   The fact is we both forgive a great deal  with each other.    Which is I think a big part of why our relationship works and endures for us.

It’s Not Writer’s Block

a blogger suffers from writer's blockAdding a category cloud in the sidebar made me realize that I really need to do something that will allow me to use the #amwriting tag a bit more.   Actually,  I hardly feel as though I have “stopped writing”.    I am publishing a new 500-word or so post every calendar day,  and on some days more than one post.    I am making a real effort to respond to every comment I receive on this site.   I continue to participate in conversations on Facebook and on Twitter,  as well as private chats and IM’s on lots of different sites.   I can’t honestly say that I have taken any meaningful  break from “writing”.    And yet my plan to quickly update Walking Down The Avenue with a new section on Empire Avenue Missions and push out a version 1.2 early in the new year is,  I am just a bit ashamed to admit,  kind of on hiatus so far.

I could blame poor @Dups and the  #EAv team.    It is true that they are listening to user feedback and implementing some refinements to the new featue.   The fact that you can now target your mission by four fairly limited criteria,  does bring additional functionality to the feature,  although I am crossing my fingers that as Brad Grier indicated in a post in the #SocialEmpire group on Facebook that they may make it possible to restrict Missions by the length of time an account has been active on the Avenue.   This functionality would bring Missions from ‘that’s nice’,  ‘through Hey!  I can use this to drive traffic to my new blog’  (how many of you first visited this site through an Empire Avenue mission– leave a comment to raise your hand!) to ‘I can use this to target my book to the folks who need it the most’.   Let them earn eaves for reading a book that they really need to read.    It could be my Eureka!  moment on Empire Avenue.

So I resolve again to put the new blog aside and actually work on writing my book.   (I wonder if my successful writer friends like Brent and Susan  go through this procrastinating sort of routine?)   However of course I am not going to do it until I Schedule this post.   (With a daily deadline I am FAR too anal to leave it until it is the day it is due to start working on it.   And if as I intend I put this in the hopper just before midnight on Tuesday January 17,  I will be two days  ahead on the schedule,  and obligated at least in Theory to open up the manuscript and try real hard to force myself to working on the new section.   And yet I know that my Inner Lazybones  (I KNOW I have to give him a name but unlike Holly I’m not quite self-confident to call him something like Prunebutt) can still make endless excuses.

“But I said this new section was going to be part of the advanced guide,  the book for social media professionals  and I’m scared they will laugh at me and tell me in no uncertain terms that I am not one of them.”   (‘You’ve been making and keeping great friends with incredible people through online connections for more than 20 years now.   You’re even smart enough never  to tell people you’ve been “doing social media” for twenty years.  Why even Anise Smith appreciates that.’)  “But but but…  you’re doing so good and your share price keeps going up,  and the new blog is really doing well.   Surely you don’t want to stop that!!”)   ‘Well of course I don’t.     I’ve got two days in the can.    I might let you talk me into working on and scheduling a third post,  but if there’s three days in the can  I have no other deadline it is inexcusable not to at least try to complete an assignment’.   “BUT BUT BUT….”

I don’t honestly know what Lazybones will come up with after I schedule that third post.    But who knows,   maybe you will see the #amwriting hashtag from me again before too long.