Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Goober

So I was terribly, terribly hungry and wolfed down my supper. It was hard to stop to give the food time to settle.

"Why am I so hungry?" I wondered. 

"Because you only had two cups of coffee for breakfast and no lunch, you goober," I answered back. 

"No need to get insulting; I was busy, and sometimes I forget to eat even though I know diabetics are healthier with keeping a meal schedule," I replied to me. 

"That's why I called me a goober, you goober," I said. 

Sometimes I'm just not a pleasant person.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Needs a sountrack

Watching the sunrise. Hmm. It's okay.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Help Wanted

I need a maid! And someone to clean my house, too.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Important question

Why is my coffee cup so empty? WHY? It's enough to make me doubt the good will of the universe.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Daily Question

And how be ye today? Good? Bad? Upset that someone filled your house with happy chickens when you really wanted sad llamas?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Judge not less...

Just finished reading 142 writing contest entries. I'm supposed to be encouraging, but some of them need to be stopped. ‪#‎forthegoodofhumanity #grammar #spelling #storyflow #ohIamgivingup‬

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

It's Time

Sometimes you just have to stand up to people and tell them to their face, "Despite everything, you're still loved." ‪#‎standourground‬

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Rant 413

Rant start.

Just read a blog post in which the author said women who are overweight were "not motivated" to lose weight and would rather watch TV than exercise.

Ahem.

Since I can't punch the author in the throat, let me instead praise women with a bit of heft.

I know many larger women who raise children, who work jobs, who sing in their church and teach Sunday school, who enjoy life and laugh a lot, who volunteer at shelters and soup kitchens and food pantries, who write poems and books and songs, and who can cook a casserole that will break any diet. They worry about their appearance and they walk and they diet and they do their best, but here's the thing: None of us are going to get out of this life alive.

So if they choose to have that cupcake, they don't need their fellow women attacking them. They already have a society that's trying to say they have to be perfect, and it's almost more than they can bear.

If you can't support them, then get off their back.

Rant end.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The devil's correspondence

Dear Ex-girlfriend,
When you say you still love me after all the lying, stealing, and general badness, that means a lot...a lot of what, I don't know, but it's a lot of it.
Sincerely,
Me

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Often true

A rule of thumb that I have found often true: The phrase "I am not a racist, but..." is almost never followed by something I could imagine Jesus saying.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Not booking passage

In the new Star Trek trailer, they destroy the Enterprise...again. Is that three or four times now? That poor ship. Why would anyone sail on it? It's like the Titanic of space.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Wish List

I think I would like a self-driving car. It would be nice to be able to read or nap or watch a movie. People get upset when I do that now while driving.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Slow murder

Pinterest has been doing NOTHING except sending me diabetic UNfriendly recipes. Massively unfriendly.

I think Pinterest is trying to kill me.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Plain speak

Well, a news organization has announced it was laying people off as part of an "expansion plan." Huh. If they expand more, they may not have anyone working for them. And that isn't called expansion; it's called "closing the doors."

Monday, April 25, 2016

Frustrating

Struggling with my health and all my projects wear me down. I know I'm not exercising enough. But I stay too tired to do much. And I often lack the will. The results seem so far off. I truly need to find a local exercise buddy, but the people I know either are much fitter than me or have no interest in fitness at all. Still, buddy or not, I need to be exercising no matter how bad I feel. Easy to type, but hard to do. The story of my life.

If things go according to plan--and we know what happens to the best laid plans--I should publish Floozy Comes Back in July of this year. That's what I'm aiming for. We'll see if I have enough material for the book. Without a weekly deadline, I have not produced as much humor as I have in years past. Something about a deadline--and a paycheck--kept me pounding away at the keyboard. While some of the columns produced during that time weren't that funny, many were.

My problem is willpower or lack thereof. No surprise there. Hard to whip myself or reward myself enough to keep me at the keyboard. That's getting better, but I'm not where I should be.

In other news, I've been looking around for software to ultimately replace Windows and Word. The latest version of Ubuntu has many good qualities, and perhaps if I spent a few weeks with it, I would become accustomed to its quirks and abilities. Right now, I don't have time or the desire to do so. Particularly with all these projects going on. Today was frustrating because I messed with Ubuntu for several hours and could never accomplish what I needed it to do. I'm sure it's possible, but I don't have the hours to spend. My energy is limited right now, and I can't spend it on what doesn't deliver, even though it might in the future.

Eventually, Microsoft will make me mad enough to change over. Their policy of "change for the sake of change" is endlessly annoying. They have design people, though, whose jobs depend on them making changes, even if those changes are necessarily productive or useful. The changes will keep coming. You'd think they would have learned from Windows 8, but the lessons don't seem to have stuck.

This week:
More chores. There are always chores to be done. Always.
More dieting. Low carb. Never craved bread as much as I do now.
More writing. Floozy Comes Back and Murder by the Mile are the two projects that are commanding my time and attention. And both deserve all I can give them.
More editing. I'm trying to edit a story for a friend. It's too long, but I don't want to cut the "flavor" of the piece.

Hope you have a great week! Talk to you soon.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tech can only take you so far

In years past, I coveted the newest tech, particularly writing programs and faster computers. The idea I had was that "if only I had that writing program (faster computer, larger hard drive, etc.) I would be a successful author." Or certainly more productive.

And some of that turned out to be true. Word processing programs (WordPerfect and Wordstar--remember them?) allowed me to write two of my books (Murder by Dewey Decimal and Murder by the Acre) faster and with less errors than my Smith-Corona electric typewriter. And as those programs added spelling checkers and formatting, they became even more useful. Eventually, Microsoft Word out-marketed them, and I switched and never looked back.

However, eventually you come to the realization that tech has done all it can do. Oh, there are some writing programs out there that offer options for writing in various forms, but they help you only be more productive if you're writing in the first place. They automate tasks that writers do more often than other people, like creating table of contents, indexes, etc. They don't write the book or screenplay or play. Tech only take you so far; ultimately, your success in writing--or in life--is up to you.

This realization was hard for me. For one, it took away my justification for the latest and greatest computer--I had always enjoyed upgrading for the speed and sheer geekiness of it. The second reason it was hard because it placed the onus for my success--or lack of--only on me. It was...painful.

Lately, I have been reading and re-reading Your Own Worst Enemy by Dr. Kenneth W. Christian. The book has the subtitle on the cover: "Breaking the Habit of Adult Under-Achievement." As I've worked my way through the book, I've seen myself in so many chapters. It's like he wrote the book for me; I wish I had read it in my twenties. Over the years, I've read dozens of self-help and self-improvement books, but none of them spoke to me the way this book has. I cannot recommend it highly enough for any creative person who is frustrated by how they sabotage their creative efforts.

While doing the exercises the book recommends, I've also been working on three writing projects. I will publish at least one book of my own this year and hope to do two. Your Own Worst Enemy has allowed me to push aside fears and self-limiting behavior. I hope it--or something else--can do the same for you when you're stalled in life.

And besides chores and doctors' visits, that's my life right now. I hope life is treating you well. It not...make it do so!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Publishing news

It's been a long frustrating day, but many things were accomplished, some of which probably shouldn't have been, but there you go. In good news, much planning has been going on for the anthology Blackbirds Third Flight. So far, we have authors Heath Stallcup, Wendy Blanton, Jean Schara, Gail Henderson, and myself in place. We are "wooing" three others who will add new perspectives to the annual anthology. I don't know how people produce a monthly magazine, though. Just getting this out yearly takes a lot of effort!

In personal news, I also wanted to tell you Floozy Comes Back is also on track for publication this year. Yes, another collection of my mishaps and adventures for people to enjoy. It's good to know my bruises and pain are a funny thing for people. But in a loving way, I'm sure. Sort of sure.

And just because I'm sharing writing news: The first five chapters of Murder by the Mile are being proofed. I haven't scheduled that book for publication this year, but it looks increasingly likely that this will be the year of three books for me. Can't promise it, but it looks that way.

Otherwise, I spend too much time at the doctor's office. I don't exercise enough, but I'm trying. Don't eat right, but I'm trying. Don't accomplish enough, but by golly and by dingo, I'm trying.

How are you doing?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Buying a phone and other terrors

I bought a new phone. Control your excitement. As always, switching from the old to the new caused great anxiety. The change was overdue as my old phone—Josephine—could only charge if you bent the plug in a certain way and often would reboot in the middle of calls. Of course, I had dropped her many times, so I’m not blaming the phone, but I would have been content to use her for years more. Alas, poor Josephine had met her Waterloo.

It would have been easier to select a new phone if there weren’t so many models. While selling insurance, I learned to never present more than three plans; too many choices confused customers and left them unable to make decisions.

I determined to not be overwhelmed. I had a plan. I had willpower. Wasn’t I able to reduce hardened telemarketers to tears? Wasn’t I capable of getting exactly what I wanted from restaurants? I marched confidently into the cell phone store. Thirty minutes later, I was draped across a counter surrounded by dozens of phones and calling plans while the evil salesman kept pulling out other options. Black, white, silver, green, hideously pink, red, blue, and purple phones. Large screens, small screens, big bezels, small bezels, less memory, more memory, 12 meg cameras, apps, apps, apps... Shattered, I left the store without buying a phone.

I decided I would have no cell phone. None! But my roomie said I had to have a phone at least for vehicle emergencies. (My car is getting old; there are fewer and fewer places to buy coal for it.) Although I told him I would start life anew wherever my car broke down, he insisted.

This time I went to the people I should have gone to in the first place: my roomie's children and their helpful spouses who do things with their phones that would get them burned at the stake as witches if cell phones had been around when witch burning was a town celebration. Finally, after much deliberation and even more complaining, I picked one, but the sale was over, so I thought I would have to start over. Everyone groaned, and there may have been some weeping.

Fortunately, phone companies have more sales than Wal-Mart. The phone I picked went on a sale at an even better price! I marched down to the store, and an hour later, I owned my very first smart phone with text, Internet, data plan, and more apps than I will ever use.

It’s been a couple of weeks, and I do like the phone, although I have discovered a few things about it that give me pause.

First, since my old phone had the text capacity of a telegraph, I rarely knew what was going. Crisis after crisis was solved with me never knowing about them since I couldn’t read group texts. Now, I’m in the know. To put in my two cents: I don’t think he’s cheating on you; yes, she dyes her hair; the llamas should be set free; he had his neck lifted; and you should see a doctor about that rash immediately.

Second, I’ve had to get used to actually carrying a phone. I rarely had my old phone unless I was in the car. In fact, it was rarely charged, but I had a car charger. Now, I have to keep track of it.

Third, I never worried about anyone stealing Josephine. Who would want the poor thing? And while my phone isn’t an iPhone®—I have not been assimilated by Apple®—it could be a target. More reason to keep track of it.

Finally, sales people are actually calling me on my cell phone. Of course, they rapidly learn that is unwise. And I shouldn’t really complain. There are few things finer than listening to telemarketers weep in the morning.

(Excepted from Floozy Comes Back by Stephen B. Bagley. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sometimes

Sometimes the sun doesn't break through the thundering clouds.
Sometimes the cavalry doesn't arrive in the nick of time.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you lose.

God knows I've been there. At times, it's felt like I've lived there. Maybe I still am. Maybe when you've been defeated so many times, you start looking at defeats as the norm. It's the way of the world, you tell yourself. You adopt an ironic attitude with a drenching of fatalism and a sprinkling of desert dry wit. And what you dream...those are dreams for your next life.

I understand this. I know how easy it is to give up and how hard it is to go on when you've learned your dreams are too big and life is too hard. The wind breaks the butterfly's wings; the rain drowns the tiny scurrying hearts.

Still...it's not comfortable accepting defeat. You gain nothing by sitting there in your sorrows except the satisfaction of telling the world that you won't play anymore. It won't have you to kick around. You'll just withdraw. Take your toys and go home.

I guess, for some people, that's enough. The world beat them; they accept their defeat with grace and take pride in that.

But me...I'm stubborn. You're stubborn. There's nothing wrong with taking a break, catching our breath, having a bit of rest to recharge. But we have to get back out there. We have to face the wind and trek through the driving rain. Yeah, our dreams are big, but who wants small ones?

Remember, things don't happen to us; we happen to things. The world has teeth, that is true, but...friends, we got fangs.

(For CK)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Great Quote

"What if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. ... Pick a new direction, one you wouldn’t mind ending up at, and aim for that. Shoot the moon." -- Anne Lamott

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Time will tell

Had a productive day today. Very pleased with this. Checked a lot of items off my list.

Wish I could understand how this works. One day I am back in the groove, and then next day, I'm stumbling around again. Today I was in the groove and got a lot done. I would like to get several days like this in a row. That would be amazing.

In the past, I could do that. But for nearly three years, I have not. Perhaps the fact I get the groove days every now and then is a sign that I'm finally...finally...getting my mojo back. Don't want to get my hopes up...hope can kill you, you know...but the possibility is exciting. Perhaps I've finally turned the corner.

Time will tell.

And yeah, I'm hopeful, anyway. Sue me.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

The sorts of success

Defining success is always a problem. It's easy to figure what the world defines as such: money, big house, fast car, party hardy, and so on. And I think, for some people, that is success for them.

It's harder when that isn't success to you. Of course, there is the non-material success where accomplishments are measured by how many yoga stances you can master and your hours of meditation and whether or not you've given everything to the poor and marched for every right that you can march for.

Between those lies a more fulfilling road. That of moderation suggested by Apostle Paul. Of having enough financial success to pay your bills and allow for an occasional luxury and having sufficient peace of mind and compassion to help those you can help and pray for the others. That middle road is, for me, the hardest, because it requires control. It requires thought. You have to behave as an adult even when you're being childish, if that makes sense.

It's a journey that I'm still just starting, looking to the horizon, and putting one foot in front of another. I'm not sure anyone arrives in this life, but the attempt, the journey, is one we should attempt if we want to leave the world better than it was when we arrived.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Cultivate your garden

I had a busy three days last week. Felt ill the first part of the week, but better on Thursday and worked around house, catching up on many chores that I was behind on. And so now I face another week that I must fill with things.

I'm going to try to fill it with writing. Chores, of course. A couple of appointments. But writing. I need to write. To define me again. To move forward. To embrace what's ahead of me and to keep the best of what's behind me.

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater has always been the mark of an immature person. To not realize the good things you have while grabbing for what you think is better.... Does this make any sense?

Hucksters abound on the Net these days. They offer to sell the tips and secrets of an abundant life, a million dollars, perfect health, a glorious life where you rule the world. Maybe they hold sacred knowledge imparted from past gurus and mysterious cabals. I don't know. I can't judge. If what they say works for you...if it makes you happier, if it helps you grow, then go forth and conquer.

But...I have this suspicion that none of that can take place until you take the first step...until you decide to move forward. And then it takes work. Work, work, work.... I've not reached the point that Voltaire did in Candide, ou l'Optimisme where work is the only thing that makes life bearable, but I have reached the point where I don't believe in the free lunch, in the lie that we are owed anything by anyone, in the fear of the unknown in favor of the known present.

As Candide said at the end, "We must cultivate our garden." Wisdom in that, don't you think?

Have a good week in your garden of life.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Great Quote

"It’s time to get serious about joy and fulfillment, work on our books, songs, dances, gardens. But perfectionism is always lurking nearby, like the demonic prowling lion in the Old Testament, waiting to pounce. It will convince you that your work-in-progress is not great, and that you may never get published. (Wait, forget the prowling satanic lion — your parents, living or dead, almost just as loudly either way, and your aunt Beth, and your passive-aggressive friends, whom we all think you should ditch, are going to ask, “Oh, you’re writing again? That’s nice. Do you have an agent?”)" -- Anne Lamott

Monday, January 25, 2016

"Our Personal Armageddon"

Our Personal Armageddon
By Stephen B. Bagley

In our personal Armageddon
no armies of glory marched.
No horned fiends with sulfur smiles
raised mailed fists against Heaven.
No Lucifer, no Michael met
with mighty thunderous blows.

The only beast, our dying love.
The only sword, our razor words.
The only flag, weary white.

Six months now have passed
since our marriage ended at Megiddo.
Today I surprised myself
by smiling at a woman I didn’t know.
I guess even after Armageddon
blades of grass eventually grow.

From Undying, a poem of poems by Stephen B. Bagley & Gail Henderson. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

An Apology (sort of)

Dear Internet,

I've finally decided to stop blaming you for the sheer nonsense and vicious partisanship that fills up my feeds and is rampant on Twitter and Facebook. It's obvious some of my friends and most of the world are simply bat-weasel crazy.

I do think you might have helped make them that way. Or maybe you just gave them an avenue to unleash their inner imbecile. I remain deeply suspicious. I suspect our great great great grandchildren will look back on you as a blight on mankind--if any men still exist then.

However, this is an apology, however reluctant, for putting all the responsibility on your virtual shoulders. There are enough sins to go around.

Sincerely,

Me

Thursday, January 21, 2016

"Perfect"

Perfect
By Stephen B. Bagley

Once there was a perfect boy
who made perfect grades,
enjoyed perfect friends,
dated a perfect girl,
and lived a perfect life.

He grew into a perfect man
who had a perfect job,
raised perfect children,
resided in a perfect home,
and loved a perfect wife.

So we were perfectly shocked
when this perfect man
bought a perfect gun,
wrote a perfect note,
and shot himself one perfect night.

From Undying, a poem of poems by Stephen B. Bagley & Gail Henderson. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Dinosaur

I realize that I am a dinosaur, preferring cards and letters to email, actual physical contact to social media, and books to dubious Internet sources.

But before the asteroid of unrelenting and uncaring progress wipes me and the other few dinosaurs from the earth, I wanted to raise my head and roar my disapproval.

We may go down into that dark night, but we do not approve.

Monday, January 18, 2016

"Our Romance"

Our Romance
By Stephen B. Bagley

Not each other’s first love
or even each other’s second.
We both lived a life before
and carried the scars to prove it.

We did not love at first sight—
life would never be so neat—
you grimly committed to him,
and I determined to stay with her.

How we fell into each other’s arms
proved more to be a laugh there,
a shared moment here, a meeting
of minds and battered hearts.

Remember our sweet surprise
when this casual acquaintance
grew into a firm friendship
and deliciously something more.

Not each other’s first love
or even each other’s second,
but if fate is finally kind,
we will be each other’s last.

From Undying, a poem of poems by Stephen B. Bagley & Gail Henderson. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.






Saturday, January 16, 2016

Good books!

Blackbirds First Flight 
Anthology - Enjoy chilling poems and dark tales in this collection from Stephen B. Bagley, Kent Bass, Wendy Blanton, Gail Henderson, Jean Schara, & Tamara Siler Jones.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu
EndlesS
By Stephen B. Bagley
Poetry - Enjoy more than 50 sensual & moving poems, including the award winning "Non-Communion," "Torrent," & "Endless."
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Lulu

Floozy & Other Stories
By Stephen B. Bagley
Humor - Laugh at these hilarious tales from the author's decidedly different life.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

Murder by Dewey Decimal
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the librarian? Who's next to die and why? 1st in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

Murder by the Acre (Second Edition)
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the ladies man? Bernard, Lisa & the chief are back! New expanded edition. 2nd in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Lulu
Buy on Amazon

Murder by the Acre (First Edition)
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the ladies man? Bernard, Lisa & the chief are back! 2nd in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble

Tales from Bethlehem
By Stephen B. Bagley
Inspirational - Have you ever wondered about everyone else in Bethlehem on the night of the Nativity? These charming and touching Tales will tell you their stories.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

Undying
By Stephen B. Bagley & Gail Henderson
Poetry - Enjoy a good shiver on a moonlit night with these thrilling, chilling poems.
Buy on Amazon
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Buy on Lulu