I have not posted anything in some time, and it is mainly because I have had little to say.
Or perhaps what has been on my mind translates poorly here. I have become less than an intermittent blogger. I have become a lazy one.
Besides, what else can be said about the tragedy in the Indian Ocean?
In November I traveled to South Carolina for nearly two weeks, leaving me rather busy at the office the remainder of that month. I posted nothing in November.
And in December I was occupied with completing a short story called “The Third Christmas Tree,” which is the fifth in my Christmas series, behind “The McBeezles and the Christmas Tree,” “The Mean Spirit of Christmas,” “J.T. Thornton’s House of Freaks” and “Merry Christmas from Medford Orchards.” I send these stories to members of my family as Christmas gifts.
A few friends in Seattle saw this year’s story well before most of my family on the East Coast. Problems with the mail. Also, I think I inadvertently sent most of them Media Mail instead of Priority Mail. I should have double-checked with my postman, Juan, but I did not.
I received a call yesterday that brought me some cheer. A friend named Danny had loaned “The Third Christmas Tree” out to someone at a Christmas party, and I guess the thing had gotten around. This woman in his office had asked Danny for more Christmas stories, and Danny obliged her. He reported to me on the telephone yesterday that his friend said she read the one from two years back very, very slowly, so that it would not end too quickly.
For any writer, that is a fine complement.
(This is the same Danny whose wife would not allow “Merry Christmas from Medford Orchards” read to their small children. She’s right. The story is PG. The death of the dog is rather traumatic, even for me. Furthermore, Danny‘s Labrador Retriever and my Labrador Retriever are sisters, and the dog that dies in the story is a black Lab, and was based on our two dogs.)
Speaking of dead black dogs, I have just completed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a novel by Mark Haddon. The book opens with the night-time discovery by an autistic boy of a murdered poodle on the lawn of a neighbor. The book is presented as the boy’s own diary, and his investigation into the death of the dog leads him to uncover family secrets that turn his world upside down.
I do recommend the book. Its power is in its unique point of view: that of a fifteen-year-old autistic boy who fears the colors yellow and brown, cannot relate to other human beings, and whose life must be perfectly ordered. I recommend the book unless, of course, you are bothered by the image of a black dog on a lawn with a garden fork through its chest.