Twelve Signs of Depression – Trumping Neurosis

Depression: The Prison of Our Own Devising

Depression - The Prison of Our Own DevisingI haven’t been very active here of late. Even though I’ve managed two posts over the last several days, it was nearly two months between posts before that. There’s a good reason for my lack of productivity. I thought the reason was Donald Trump, but it turns out that I’m probably just depressed. Continue reading

Humility and The Book of Job

Favorite Lines

My favorite passage from A Cup of Pending is this one from Chapter 3:

“… and that’s the third great lesson of Job. There’s no justice in a world where God makes bets with the Devil for his own amusement.”

Irreverent, sarcastic, a little caustic – this is the kind of line that defines my writing and my usual demeanor. My second favorite passage comes a little earlier in the same chapter when Blanche offers to pray for Cliff and makes a mockery of Christian charity in the process:

She still had a grip on Cliff’s hand. A crowd had started to gather around them, circling like sharks sensing blood in the water. Blanche looked up toward the ceiling, suspended acoustic tile punctuated with fluorescent light fixtures. So fervent was her gaze Cliff almost believed God must be on the other side of the tiles, hiding in the conduit and duct work, just waiting for the chance to bless a petitioner. Continue reading

The Six Dollar Man

Yes. I know it’s disgusting … but also interesting, don’t you think? This is the exterior view where a piece of titanium surgical mesh is poking through the skin over the bridge of my nose. It’s not as painful as it looks … except when it is.

Mo’ Betta Surgery

Looks like I’m headed back to the University of Miami Hospital to get some of the bone graft work they did on my forehead back in 2012 redone. The titanium surgical mesh has come adrift, probably due to some osteoradionecrosis, and needs to be removed and possibly replaced.

Osteoradionecrosis is a gradual death of bone tissue caused by radiation treatments. Doesn’t always happen. Doesn’t usually happen this late in the game, but my case has been an unusual one from the beginning. I am lucky to still be walking around and making trouble for people, so I try not to grouse too much.

In any event the surgeons are going to have to peel off my face once again to get at the affected areas. Fortunately they won’t be chiseling away any cancer this time around, but it’s still not shaping up to be a lot of fun for yours truly. Surgery will probably be in January. I now have appointments in November to get another opinion, discuss options, and schedule the procedure. Continue reading

Mr. Dancin’ Man

New Flash Fiction

A new bit of flash fiction in dialect. Enjoy!

antique jukeboxMr. Dancin’ Man

by Jonah Gibson

Vassar was in one a them moods where you don’t give him no shit, no matter what he wants to do, on account of he is gonna do it anyways. So what he does is, he takes all my change offa the bar while I’m sittin there watchin an plugs it in the juke they got over in the corner. He presses buttons an that juke starts to playin every weepy, pedal-steel country song there is—least the ones give country a bad name—an the next thing I know he’s got some ole gal out on the dance floor, pushin her around in a passable two step while he grabs himself a big ole handful of ass. Continue reading

Depth of Character

When Characters Write Themselves

If you’ve read any of my fiction, you know I have a soft spot for quirky characters–the kind we used to call half a bubble off plum or a couple of bricks shy of a load. These are the most fun to write and perhaps the most instructive, not that anyone is reading my stuff to achieve enlightenment.

In Speedster I have two favorites, Dwayne and T-Ball, a couple of neon-haired slackers who spend their days complaining about the fundamental unfairness of their lives and trying at the same time to achieve fairly lofty goals without putting in any effort. Much like real life, the smarter one, T-Ball, is continually over-ridden by the loud one, Dwayne, whose loutish ignorance is exceeded only by his abiding self-confidence. I imagine that T-Ball’s daily trials are very similar to those of the current crop of staffers and hanger’s on in the White House. I can sympathize. Continue reading

The Ice Pick Is Killing It!

ice pickWeapons of Choice

I just switched cable companies, and am saving enough money on my monthly bill to subscribe to HBO again. I haven’t had HBO for several years and was woefully behind on Game of Thrones. Now I’m bingeing on season four, which as you may know, contains a lot of defining moments. My favorite by far is the death of King Joffrey at his wedding.

As TV deaths go, it was pretty satisfying. Not perfect, mind you. I would have made it bloodier, more painful, and longer. Let’s face it, the little shit had it coming. Still, it was good enough to get me thinking about how I kill characters in my books. Continue reading

Stood Up! Shot Down!

pretty blond with nose ringNavigating a Tragic Love Life

I’ve been stood up more than my fair share of times. I don’t know why this should be, but my stats are undeniable.

This all started when I was in high school more than half a century ago. I arranged a date with a cute little slip of a blond from the neighboring village of St. Henry, Ohio. I had in common with the girl, whose name is long lost to history, that we both played saxophone in our respective high-school marching bands.

It was my first bona fide date in the sense that I’d manned up through my own force of will, asked her out in a straightforward manner without the usual teenage machinations and guile, and she had accepted in spite of already knowing what I looked like, an obvious fact to me since I was standing in front of her when she said yes. It was a pretty satisfying experience up to this point. Continue reading

Homeless and Unsheltered Living in Their Cars in Fairfax, VA

Mercedes Beater CarWhy is ‘Get a Job’ not a useful thing to say to a homeless person? If you don’t already know the answer, you are part of the problem.

Homeless and unsheltered folk are resourceful, and they work hard at maintaining some semblance of dignity and self reliance. If you think it’s easy, you’re mistaken. If you think not working is some kind of picnic, you are deluded.

Here’s a pretty good look at what it’s like in Fairfax County, VA – one of the wealthiest counties in the U.S.

My homeless characters in A Cup of Pending have it better than these plucky Virginians living in their cars, but my story is funny, even when it makes a point. The Washington Post article is reality. It is the point. It’s one of the points of Cuppa. It’s not very funny.

2 out of 5 Stars for Moby Dick??

humpback whale underwater blueThe Book Review: Bane or Boon?

I’ve been looking for book bloggers and reviewers to give me objective reviews of A Cup of Pending. Reviews are a numbers game for indie authors like me – the more reviews and ratings we get, the more readers we are likely to attract. It’s a snowball effect. It’s the on-line equivalent of word of mouth recommendations.

To this end, I have been trolling review groups on Goodreads. You’d think this would be a fairly straightforward process: find a post by a potential reviewer looking for books to read, reach out, and, if they’re interested, send them a book. There’s more to this than meets the eye, however. For example, you probably don’t want to send your military action adventure story to a millennial fan of paranormal romance. You are not likely to find an open mind in such an exchange. Of course, the reverse is also true.

With this in mind, I try to vet potential reviewers before I approach them. It just makes sense to get a sense of the kind of treatment I can expect before I put the future of my life’s work into someone else’s hands. Frankly, I have been stymied by this process. Continue reading

WHAT HO!

cartoon-1297067_1280Jeeves and Wooster

I’ve been binge watching Jeeves and Wooster on Acorn. It’s a BBC series based on the P.G. Wodehouse stories about Bertie Wooster, erstwhile English gentleman of leisure, and his manservant, Jeeves. To my thinking, this is excellent television. All TV ought to be this good.

It helps, I suppose, that the series stars Stephen Fry as Jeeves and Hugh Laurie as Wooster. Both established their comedic chops in this series, which originally aired from 1990-1993, and went on to achieve modest fame and acclaim in quite a lot of subsequent offerings.

Personally, I can’t get enough of this sort of thing. The theme music alone is enough to keep me coming back for more. The lines are hilarious, and they’re delivered with droll aplomb, especially by Fry. If that weren’t enough the cars are fabulous, the tailoring impeccable, and, if you watch carefully, you will see the debut television appearance of Highclere Castle, better known of late as Downton Abbey. Continue reading