• Tag Archives Superior Wolf
  • A Novel. Again.

    Imbolc                                           Waxing Bridgit Moon

    Signed up for 8 nights at Blue Cloud Abbey, Feb. 28 to March 8.  My goal is to push Missing at least to the 2/3rds mark for a rough draft, maybe more if I get on a roll.  I’m considering getting up into time for the early morning prayers, 6:45 am, just to get the day started and feel that living connection with the 5th century.  Since Missing has a medieval feel, an abbey carries a lot of that time in its essence.

    Missing is the first novel I’ve written that could, conceivably, be a series.  It has a range of characters and its rationale will make it easy to introduce new plotlines and new characters. In the world of fantasy the series has good traction, a way to build an audience.  Who knows?  Maybe this is the one.

    I do have two other novels, Superior Wolf and Jennie’s Dead, that are a good way along, too.  If this process works, maybe I’ll head out to Blue Cloud from time to time.  We’ll see.  There are, of course, those other novels:  Even the God’s Must Die, The Last Druid, The God Who Wanted It All and, believe it or not, two whose titles I can’t recall.  Each one could use a revisit, a revision.  So much work to do.  Glad I still feel excited about everything.  Life could get long otherwise.

    I’ve been at this, more and less, since 1992, so it should be no surprise that I have some production.   Several short stories along the way, as well.  Still, I’ve not pushed them out there, perhaps its fear, perhaps its indolence, perhaps its reluctance to discover my ability outside my own head.  None are compelling reasons, though all are, at least to me, understandable.  I’m back to the writing, wonder what it would take to get me marketing?

  • Back In Its Own Stall

    79  bar falls 29.84 1mph ENE dew-point 61   Summer, hot, moving toward muggy

    Waxing Crescent of the Thunder Moon

    The cracks in the red car’s head were tiny.  I saw them.  They ran, in one instance, down the threads that hold the spark plug in place.  While threading in a spark plug or under pressure, these cracks could have broken loose and allowed oil and exhaust gases to invade the spark plug and generally foul things up.  Carlson was thoughtful in showing them to me.

    We’ve sunk almost $5,000 in this car this year.   That’s almost a year’s car payments.  Even so, we could put in the same amount next year and still be ahead of the game.  It runs quite well now, though there is that piece that fell off on the way home.  No kidding.  A big chunk of something fell off.  I’m going to take it back and ask them about it, but not today.  It looks like a shield or rock barrier, not metal, rather some kind of composite, tarpaper like material.

    It’s 31-32 miles per gallon on the highway alone justifies keeping it in our two vehicle collection.  The pick-up we’ll park for the most part in the not too distant future.  $90 a tank to fill it up.  Ouch.  And it sucks the gas down, too, with its v-8.  What were we thinking?  It is, though, a useful vehicle for errands and landscape chores.  Another advantage is its four-wheel drive.  (Oh, come to think of it, that’s what we were thinking.  In 1999, when we bought it, Kate still had call and  hospital duty.  She had to be able to get to where she was needed.) That makes it potentially important in a severe winter situation.  Besides, pick-ups and SUV’s have lost significant value.  We could get nowhere the value it is to us.  So, it will stay, too.

    Our neighbor went to bed apparently healthy, then woke up the next day with MS.  A striking and sudden life change.  It has occasioned a major alteration in their lives.  They went from the salary of a 58 year old career civil servant at the peak of  his career to a fixed income household.  This was six months ago.

    How it will affect their family dynamics over the long haul is an open question.  The prednisone  makes  him cranky.  He’s gone from an active guy who built his own observatory and sailed Lake Superior to a wobbly man who can no longer read.  His mental acumen seems fine, but for now he wanders, lost in the bewilderment of this rapid change, as well he might be.

    Today is an inside day.  I’m going to write on Superior Wolf, get ready for my research on Unitarian Universalism in the Twin Cities and, maybe, crack the case and clean off my cooling fan.

  • Garlic Harvest

    77 bar steady 29.93 5mph N dew-point 49  Summer, hot and sunny

                          Waning Crescent of the Flower Moon

    Wrote this AM.  Appended chapter 3 of Superior Wolf to its page on this website.  Next week I’ll take down chapter 1 and put chapter 4 and so it will go until I have written myself to the end.  We’ll see where it goes.

    Moved mulch, created by renting the super chipper from Home Depot and grinding up branches, tree trunks and chunks of shrubs.  The mulch goes on the perennial bed first, keeping the weeds down as we move into high summer and also cooling the soil just a bit.  This involves a wheel-barrow, a pitchfork and a lot of moving from one place to another.

    After a nap I unburdened the kitchen table of a couple of months of magazines, catalogues and desparate fund-raising pleas.  This involved a paper-sack, a lot of sorting and moving from one place to another.

    Now I’m gonna cook supper, red beans and rice with some prime rib left overs thrown to make it interesting.  The now standard fare of lettuce, onions and cilantro from our gardens inside and out will join store purchased tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers for a colorful salad.  Later in the season we will have all of these ingredients. 

    I also learned from a piece of paper recovered from the literary overburden of the table that I can  harvest the garlic now.  Somehow garlic has become my favorite crop.  Don’t know why.

  • The Generator Failed

    60  bar falls 30.16 0mph NW dew-point 36  Beltane, twilight

                  Last Quarter of the Hare Moon 

     This story grabbed me.  See below it to see why.

    “MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – A woman who spent nearly 60 years of her life in an iron lung after being diagnosed with polio as a child died Wednesday after a power failure shut down the machine that kept her breathing, her family said. Dianne Odell, 61, had been confined to the 7-foot-long machine since she was stricken by polio at 3 years old.

    Family members were unable to get an emergency generator working for the iron lung after a power failure knocked out electricity to the Odell family’s residence near Jackson, about 80 miles northeast of Memphis, brother-in-law Will Beyer said.

    “We did everything we could do but we couldn’t keep her breathing,” said Beyer, who was called to the home shortly after the power failed. “Dianne had gotten a lot weaker over the past several months and she just didn’t have the strength to keep going.”

    Capt. Jerry Elston of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department said emergency crews were called to the scene, but could do little to help.

    Odell was afflicted with “bulbo-spinal” polio three years before a polio vaccine was discovered and largely stopped the spread of the crippling childhood disease.”

     I learned a couple of years ago that I spent some time in an iron lung during my episode with bulbar polio.  It was a shock to me.   Paralysis struck my left side and lasted for about a year.  I recall one event in an emergency room or an operating room, lights above my body, people in white working on me.  I saw all this from a spot up near the ceiling.  I know this sounds weird, but the memory has permanent residence in me.  The remarkable part is that no one from the family was in this  room.  Just me.  And the medical team.

    Seeing this story reminds me of all the others, like me, who were victims of the post-war polio epidemic.  Most of us made it through with little physical aftermath, but some died.  Some still wear braces.  Some required breathing support of one kind or another for their entire life.  It all seems so long ago, but this woman was exactly my age. 

    I wrote some today on Superior Wolf, about 1,500 words.  Moving forward.

  • Vanished

    67  bar falls 30.34 1mph WSW dew-point 29  Beltane, sunny

                        Last Quarter Hare Moon

    The piles are no more.  One more phase’s detritus has gone into the trash bin or file folder or magazine holders.  It feels good to have them gone, a relief.  Financial information up to date.  Philosophy News, SF Bulletin, Parabola, Scientific American and Wired are in places where I will read them now.  Hmmm.  Guess the upstairs on the kitchen table pile remains.  Gotta work on that.  But not now.  It’s of more recent vintage.

    Sleepy.  Nap time.  Then some outdoor work and some more writing on Superior Wolf.  Had a good idea yesterday that I will implement today.  It’s an old idea, in a way the first idea for this novel.  It has energy.  Which is good.

  • Why Did They Get The Boat With Holes?

    66  bar falls 30.06  6mph NE dew-point 38  Beltane, cloudy

                  Waning Gibbous Hare Moon

    The grocery store on Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend, quiet.  I suppose all those up norther’s have abandoned the first home for the second.  Made for an easy trip through the check out lane.  Though not purchasing much, I thought, I still rang up $155.  Surprised me. 

    Some shrimp, a walleye fillet, milk, bread, snacks, some fruit (that $10 bag of cherries maybe not such a wise purchase), butter, turkey for the dogs.  That’s about it.  Combine that with the $42 it took me to fill up the Celica, around 11 gallons, and you can feel the pincers of rising commodity prices clamp down. 

    Kate and I can afford it, don’t get me wrong, but I’m thinking about the person who checked me out at Festival, who put the items in the bags, theWalmart employee, the person who works in the convenience store, janitors and other back of the shop employees we rarely see.  Or, the  unemployed.  Or, the person whose income each month comes fixed by an annuity, social security, a meager pension.  Consider a person making 30-40,000 dollars a year.  With two or three kids.  A mortgage and a commute.  Thank you free market capitalism.  Why did they get the boat with holes?

    Planted a couple of ferns in the shade garden underneath the river birch, then went over to the second tier, where I began a shade garden 3 years ago.  Gophers have eaten much of the hosta and the daylillies, survivors from my attempt to clear them out back then have overgrown a lot of the rest.  I’ve decided to treat daylilies in this half moon shaped garden as weeds.  I’m moving them to other places, places where their wonderfully dogged lifestyle will help us rather than get in the way.  Any that grow from tubers left behind, though.  Out they  go. 

    Spent 45 or minutes or so writing on Superior Wolf, too.  Keeps on coming.

  • Making My Soul Hum

    Superior Wolf is underway again.  The other day I hit on the point that had me stuck, a character I’d carried over from another novel.  He didn’t belong in this one, but it took me 25,000 words or so to figure that out.  Now a new plotline, more salient and tight, has emerged with a strong character, a protagonist who will drive the book.

    It feels good to be back at fiction, a long caesura, and I hope the next one is brief.  Fiction speaks from my soul, the rest tends to be, as we said in the sixties, a head trip.  Over the years since then, I’ve learned to respect head trips.  I earned a living with them for many years and they’ve kept me engaged with the world.  They do not make my soul hum, though my  Self speaks through them as well.

    Kate made a trip to the Green Barn, a nursery she really likes on Highway 65 near Isanti.  She picked up composted manure, sphagnum moss and several plants.  We have some new ferns, cucumbers, morning glories (the ones I grew in the hydroponics died outside, though the tomatoes have done fine.) squash and several grasses. 

    Tomorrow morning I’m going in for a breakfast meeting at the Sierra Club, a meeting with the political director of the national Sierra Club. Politics makes my soul hum, too.  Though I can’t say exactly why, water issues matter a lot to me, so I’m angling (ha, ha) to get on the committees that deal with Lake Superior, rivers, lakes and streams.  Watersheds seem very important to me, so I hope to work on projects related to watersheds, too.  One thing I know about politics is that showing up matters, so I’m gonna show up.

  • Current Literature

    59  bar steady  29.90  0mpn WSW dewpoint 44  Beltane

                Waxing Gibbous Hare Moon

    A mediocre night at sheepshead, but we had a lot of laughs anyhow.  Bill Schmidt cleaned up the nickels tonight.

    While driving back and forth I finished I Am Charlotte Simons, a 2004 Tom Wolfe novel.  It’s reviews are all over the map and I can see why.  On the one hand it is an arresting look at college life in the Ivy league.  On the other hand the characters never reached very deep into my soul.  It was long and brimming with detail, a novel of manners of a sort.  I’m glad I “read” it. (Listened to it.)  Don’t know if I would have finished it as a read.

    Another writer who has my complete attention right now is Richard Price, author of Clockers and Lush Life.  I finished Clockers a few weeks ago and bought Lush Life last week.  I’m part way into it.  This guy writes dialogue with an ear like no body I’ve read before.   In Clockers he channels inner city drug dealers and homicide detectives with equal credulity.  Lush Life continues this same kind of street savvy attention to speech and mores, this time on the Lower East Side in New York.  Clockers was set in New Jersey. 

    Both of these guys, in different ways, reach into a segment of American life only a few of us witness.  Of the two, Price’s work has the ring of authenticity while Wolfe’s is satirical and just a bit off key.  Still, I enjoy both authors and am glad to have them on the scene.

    I returned, last night and today, to a novel I’ve fooled around with since 2001, Superior Wolf.  It has possibilities.