2014 Anti-Resolutions

Written based on the Today’s Author Write Now! prompt on December 31, 2013, in which we are asked to creatively list ten things we will not do in the coming year. Of course, for obvious reasons I need to stick with a nice, lucky number like thirteen… I will no longer ignore the wise advice spoken to me in whispers by the steam rising from my coffee cup. I will not introduce myself to everyone I meet as “Zalbon, Prime Prince Extraordinaire of the Zarquan Collective of Ragabond Five”; Some people will come to know me as “The Great Ro-bini, Protector of Mauwg and Hero of Baldador.” I will not make my son do two pushups for every dollar he receives for his birthday or Christmas when five pushups per dollar would be better for him. I will not blame...

A Letter of Encouragement to My Son Upon Entering Sixth Grade Math

Dear Nick, We wanted to wish you good luck and let you know that we’re here to help you on the path to a successful mathematical career throughout middle school. As you know, I (Dad) am and always have been a math geek, so I wanted to give you some helpful advice I’ve learned along the way. Your teacher may get mad at me for letting you know these things, but it’s a chance I feel I must take. If you see a problem on a test such as: the answer is not: Etc. Similarly, the solution to: is not: 1six=? six=6 Nor is the solution to =?: Finally, when asked to find x, you’re better off if you do not answer as follows: Find x. If you heed my advice, not only will you be successful in middle school math, but soon you will be solving equations like...

Massanutten Vacation 2013, Day Negative One

Day Negative One of vacation.  What a glorious day, indeed! It is the reason we spend all the time since the end of the last year’s vacation working too many hours and doing too many things with baseball or dance or soccer or swimming or band or scouts. It is the light at the end of the long, dark tunnel between vacations, a beacon which guides us and calls us to stay the course, for soon vacation time will be here.  It is that wonderful day on which we get to brush the dust, spiders and other unpleasant debris off of our suitcases and fill them up with brightly-colored clothes, brand new tubes of toothpaste and the year’s worth of books we’ve collected to read during our week-long vacation. Such a wonderful, awesome, fantastic day! It is— Aww, who am I kidding? ...

My Midlife Crisis, or, The End and Beginning of an Era, Part 2

My very first car was a 1980 Ford Escort station wagon. I bought it from my grandparents for $500 in 1988 and it served me well for the next 5 years, well into 1993. But as I graduated from college, the road grime, duct tape and metal clothes hangers which held the rust together finally showed signs of giving out.  Since I was leaving the safe, walk-able confines of the college campus for the not walk-able, paying job with a two hour commute. So, I needed to buy a car. I was familiar with Ford, so I first went to the local Ford dealer. Before I had even had a test drive, the sales person had my blood pressure up, and my heart rate up and my head spinning, as he told me to ignore the sticker price because he was already cutting it in half and he was not going to...

The End and Beginning of an Era, Part 1

In the middle of August 2006, we had solar panels installed on our home. Unlike what a lot of early-adopters of the residential solar panel systems. the purpose of our installation wasn’t to make money but to make electricity and lower our carbon footprint and impact on the environment by covering as much of our electrical need as possible. The fact that the Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) are not worth today what we were promised they would be worth is annoying to me, but it mostly just makes the payback period longer.  Truth is, we loved the solar panels from the first day they were installed, despite the fact that they didn’t really perform as advertised, also from the first day they were installed.  I had tons of problems with the system from day...

Mourning’s Light

Written based on the Today’s Author Write Now! prompt on January 4, 2013, in which we are asked to write about an unnaturally foggy bay. For most people, silence is empty. I, however, have found silence to be full of stories – more stories, in fact, than the noise surrounding it. To me, the breaks in the noise of life provided a soundless symphony, spinning tales of joy and agony, elation and misery. But lately the silence has become a deafening roar threatening to overwhelm me as I sit here alone, with you by my side. “Remember the day we got married?” you whisper, breaking the silence for the first time in hours. You speak so quietly I can barely make out the words over the other sounds in the room. It is as if you are speaking from oceans...

Best Blog Writing on Creativity and the Arts 2012

Rus VanWestervelt, a writer, photographer, Creativity Coach and LifeStory Architect with whom I’ve worked at Write Anything, has put together an article featuring a number of fantastic links to blog posts written in the past year on the subject of creativity.  There are some terrific articles by a lot of authors I admire and have enjoyed reading.  The featured authors include: Adam Byatt, Alyssa Bailey, Bernadette A. Moyer, Cara Moulds, Jodi Cleghorn, Laura Shovan and Dan Cuddy.  And, oh yes, and I’m included as well. You can read Rus’s article here on his blog: Best Blog Writing on Creativity and the Arts: My 2012 Review.  I encourage you to check it out and read some of the fantastic articles he has included. I am sure you will find them...

An Interview with Me

I was interviewed by Tony Roberts today on his blog, A Way With Words. Tony contacted me via my bio page on Today’s Author to ask if I would be willing to participate in the interview and I agreed.  He sent me a few questions about the Today’s Author site and my wishes for it, about the writing that has impacted my life and about my feelings relating to script production and story publication.  You can read the interview here, on Tony’s blog:  Interview with Author and Playwright Rob Diaz II.  Check it...

My 2013 Anti-Resolutions

Written based on the Today’s Author Write Now! prompt on January 1, 2013, in which we are asked to creatively list ten things we will not do in the coming year. Of course, for obvious reasons I need to stick with a nice, round number like thirteen… I will not pay $1000 for a Twinkie, whether it is in its original packaging or not, even though I have always wanted to try Weird Al Yankovic’s vegetarian Twinkie-Weiner sandwich. I will not ask my doctor for a prescription for my daily Starbucks coffee just so that I can submit it to my insurance company for reimbursement. I will not take all the silly, little sweaters we have for the dog and put them up for sale on eBay… even though the neighborhood dogs, cats and squirrels make fun of him whenever he...

My New Writing Gig

As most people who have followed my writing are aware, I have been involved with the Write Anything website for several years – first as a participant in the Fiction Friday writing prompts and subsequently as a contributor and deputy editor. Write Anything is closing up shop this month and its departure left me and several others looking for a new gig.  What we decided to do was create our own little writing corner of the internet:  Today’s Author.  At Today’s Author, our goal is to inspire creativity.  We hope to provide insights, tools, tips and tricks for writing through regular posts, but we also hope to provide inspiration through our writing prompts and the interaction between us and our readers.  The goal, of course, is to be writing and in many ways...

Release Announcment: Deck the Halls

I am pleased to announce that Emergent Publishing will release Deck the Halls: festive tales of fear and cheer worldwide on December 6, 2012. My story, “Yuletide Treasure” is included in this anthology. Deck the Halls: festive tales of fear and cheer Editor: Jodi Cleghorn Original Artwork: Andrew McKiernan Cover Design: eMergent Publishing ISBN: 978-0-9871126-4-­4 (paperback) 978-0-­9871126-­5-1 (eBook) Pages: 226 DECK THE HALLS traverses the joy and jeopardy of the festive season, from Yule to Mōdraniht, Summer Solstice to Years’ End. The stories journey through consternations and celebrations, past, present and future, which might be or never were. Along the way you’ll meet troll hunters, consumer dissidents, corset-bound adventurers, a...

The Iliad (in about a Page)

I have ranted about my hatred of summer reading programs many times in the past, specifically zeroing in on how they focus solely on “The Classics”, a term which is defined as “The Stuff Most People Would Never Read If They Had a Choice.” A friend of mine recently lamented needing to write a one-page summary of “The Iliad” and how hard it was to condense everything down to just one page. It has been a long, long time since I read The Iliad but I decided to take a stab at it.  The following is what I came up with — it fits on one letter-sized Microsoft Word page (.5 inch margins on all sides). My daughter enjoyed it and thought I should share it with the world.  Since I live only to make her happy, I’ve posted this,...

No Fun! or, The Forgotten Tale of Harvey S. Whombaker

Author’s Note:  Since my kids were first born, I’ve been telling them that one of our family’s primary rules is:  No Fun! The reason for this rule is simple:  Fun, invariably, leads to head injuries.  They are certainly allowed to have a pleasant, good experience. They are welcome to have an enjoyable time. In fact I encourage it. But they may not, under any circumstances, have fun.  This has become somewhat of a running thing with my family and friends — neices and nephews know the rule and make sure to tell me what they think of it all the time.  Most recently my nephew, who is also my Godson, gave me a homemade card for Father’s Day which was entirely made up of attempts to prove, once and for all, that fun is acceptable. Well,...