Oh, Look What Showed Up in Redbook: Me-schmaltz.

“What was he thinking when…?” My contribution is about what I was thinking the first time I saw Emily.

If I end up in Redbook Magazine one more time I’m going to have to kill a grizzly barehanded to make up the man-points. #humblebrag


I just finished reading Alice Bradley’s post at Babble Voices about writing the first draft, being your own worst critic, and then some other stuff. Fine, then, I admit I didn’t read the whole thing. Who has time to read things? This is the Internet, with short attention sp

But her post, and Kate Inglis’ advice to give yourself permission to suck, and Neil Gaiman’s reminder that nobody cares about your first draft, has all bounced around in my skull head. I think I’ll write something today.

I’ve written unedited pieces before (in truth, most of them are unedited, apart from typos, but what I mean here is that I also write posts that just come out, off the top of my mind, as I think about whatever I’m thinking about, in real-time, how about another comma here? ,), but they’ve all been about me, what I’m doing at that moment. What would happen if I made something up? What does a first draft of my own fiction look like? And (to begin a sentence with “and”), what would a first-draft, rush-draft, bursting springtime of narrative from my brain head look like?

So…here goes.

A Fiction

Sam woke on the casino floor, head throbbing from something. What was it? I don’t know. I just got here. But Sam had been here for a while, from the smell of himself (to himself), and if it hadn’t been for the friendly Amish waitress walking pased at just the right time, he would have stayed there for a….

Wait. Amish? An Amish waitress in a casino. I don’t want to take you too far out of the story here, but Jesus, how badly could I have screwed up by just putting “Amish” in that sentence instead of some other word beginning with ‘A’? I could have used “Algerian” or “Albanian” or “American” or “Asgardian” and any one of those words would have added mystery to the story, making you want to know more while also giving you information. An Asgardian waitress? Okay, so we’re doing mytho-urban fantasy. An American waitress? Ah, the casino might be in Monte Carlo or something. But making the casino waitress Amish is just insane. Ah well, it’s too late now.

The Amish (fuck me) waitress knelt down in her black and white Amishy dress and pressed a hand against Sam’s swelling forehead. I guess she didn’t mind the smell of him, but who knows what goes through the mind of an Amish casino waitress? They’re not like regular folks.

“Hello? Hello sir? Are you feeling ill-behind?” Her accent was indistinguishable from any other Amish casino waitress, but her locution was all her own. Sam focused his eyes on her bonnet. “I’m flergin. Flern. Fine,” he managed. “What about my behind?”

“Oh, nothing kind sir, that’s just me way o’ speakin’,” The Amish-now-Irish casino waitress continued. She helped Sam to his feet, helped him dust his shirt off, and pointed up to the gaping hole in the ceiling whence Sam’s coating of debris, and he himself.

“Ow,” Sam confirmed. “Apart from that one, is there a way out of this place? I think I need to make a call.”

The Amish-but-often-Irish casino waitress bobbed her bonneted head eastward, down an aisle bordered by slot machines. The casino was empty, but for the two of them, but it wouldn’t be for long.

“Okay. See ya.” Sam ran off down the aisle, noticing a twinge in his ribs, but whether it was from the fall, or the beating he had taken before the fall, he couldn’t say.

The Amish casino waitress looked down at her digital watch (with built-in-calculator) as Sam dashed away. She reached up to it with her left hand, and flipped a hidden catch. The face of the watch snapped open, and she raised it to her lips, whispering “He’s coming your way now, bro.”

Came the reply: “Got it. Thanks dude.”

Sam’s day was about to get really weird.

I’m Going to Change My Name to BusyDad, Because I’ve Been So Busy

I’ve done a crazy amount of writing this week. You probably didn’t read it, because I just kept posting, posting, posting. I was also linking, linking, linking. It was annoying, oying, oying.

In case you missed/ignored/disbelieved what I claimed to be up to, here is a list-style post about my online activities this week.

First, here on this blog where I blog things:

  1. I cleared my entire backlog of Backpacking Dad’s Overdue Reviews posts, finally reviewing a pillow, a face-washing thing, and a back massager. I have none left. My conscience is now cleanish.
  2. I finally wrote about a trip I took to Chicago, where I got to play with power tools. I also let a home improvement dude give you home improvement tips. Again…cleanish.
  3. I dad-blogged, and felt good about it.
  4. I tried to imagine what Buffy would have been like with an alternate cast.
  5. I got a very nerdy new backpack.

Second, I got a new job blogging at Babble, because I don’t have enough writing to do (*cough* dissertation *cough*). I call it “Parenting Off the Map, with Backpacking Dad”, and this week:

  1. I told you to make your kids feel stupid.
  2. I told you that front-carriers are totally un-sexy.

Third, I started Stumbling things on StumbleUpon.

  1. If you already follow me on Twitter, you have seen many of my Stumbly links. However, I’m going to try not to send every single one to Twitter, because that is super-annoying. If you want to follow me on StumbleUpon, I can be found here.
  2. I will be Stumbling my own posts there too, because that’s not lame. It’s not. It’s not. Dude, it’s not. (Now it just sounds like I’m saying “It’s snot” over and over.)

Fourth, I have new Internet addictions:

  1. Bandwagon, a web-series with Emma Caulfield (you may know her as “Anya” from Buffy).
  2. Kingdom Rush, a web-game that has you placing towers along paths to defend your territory against invaders. I can’t stop.
  3. Sword and Laser, a podcast with Veronica Belmont in which many science fiction and fantasy things are discussed, in obsessive depth.

I’ve also been out of the house on several occasions this week. I’ve been trying to install a sliding screen door, which has of course turned into three separate trips to the hardware store because a) They don’t have one b) They have one but it’s too tall for the opening c) They have another one that claims to be short enough for the opening but is a god damned liar.

We went to a park in Los Gatos that has a steam train you can ride, and a carousel. And we played frisbee in a field where the geese had just been. You could tell they had just been there because of all the green poo.

Today, I wore Adrian in the backpack while we went to the farmer’s/farmers/famers’ market. He’s not too heavy. He’s not too big. I’m not done yet.

We’ve been getting a lot of cucumbers and cherry tomatoes from the planters we have in the backyard (and we ate all the peaches and I made no peach jam this year). Cucumbers, we believe, are better on sandwiches than lettuce. Stop using lettuce. Switch to sliced cucumbers.

So…how’s you?