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Friday
Mar312006

When you’re little you believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and yourself

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That's not the tooth fairy!
My six-year old lost another tooth. Like always, he put it under his pillow. And like always, I forgot to get up in the middle of the night to switch out the tooth for a dollar––like Indiana Jones switching a sandbag for the golden idol. My regular excuse is "ah snap, I forgot to call the Tooth Fairy and schedule a pick-up" Whew. He bought it.

What I love about little kids is their capacity to believe. When I ask my daughter what she wants to be when she grows up. The answer is never as wishy-washy as when my wife asks me the same question.

The downside of this unyielding belief is that little kids also eat bugs and dip their Oreos in ketchup. This is why Superman costumes at Halloween come with disclaimers that read: not for use in actual flying. "Billy, take off that cape and get off the barn roof!"

I’m trying to be more kid-like when it comes to writing. To remember that I used to believe new tennis shoes would make me jump higher. That duct-taping bottle rockets to my Big Wheel was a darn good idea. And that another human being might actually pay to read a book that comes from my keyboard. Maybe I need to eat more crayons.

Tuesday
Mar282006

Wal-Mart über alles

store.jpgI’m fascinated by Wal-Mart. It’s an interesting quagmire of humanity. Cluttered rows. Sticky floors. Like a porn theatre with the lights on. (So I’ve heard).

Even more interesting though, are their ham-handed attempts to flood the Blogosphere with bogus praise—courtesy of their egg-faced PR firm.

Does anyone remember Prodigy—the club-footed offspring of IBM and Sears that was mass marketed as an online service?

:::Squiggly flashback lines go here:::

I admit to signing up for a free-trial back in 1989. Unlike AOL at the time, with Prodigy you paid a low fee, and had unlimited access on your screaming 1200bps modem that only weighed slightly less than a four-slice toaster. But times were tough, so the story goes, and Prodigy began censoring any email that had "AOL" in it. As in "this service blows, I’m switching to AOL"—those emails vanished for some reason.

All because some middle-management marketer got too big for his Sansabelt britches and thought he could pull one over on the rest of us.

:::Squiggly flashforward lines go here:::

Now it’s 2006. And Wal-Mart is sending out press releases to bloggers. Hoping they’ll step-n-fetch their spoon-fed corporate credo in a new marketing ploy. And you know what? Like the rest of the crap they sell, a lot of folks are buying it.

But as creepy as it sounds, admit it, you’d still love to have a book (or five) on Wal-Mart’s shelves. Eye-level. Right next to the twelve-pound econo-pack of dress-shields and the Dale Earnhardt air fresheners.

Sunday
Mar262006

Go ask Alyce

hatter.jpgDid you know Alyce Hinton? Me neither. Apparently she died last year. She was my great Aunt. The sister of G.W. Ford. My paternal grandfather. A man I also never knew. He and my grandmother, Yin Yin, split the sheets when my father was a wee lad. She remarried, and it was bad form to ever mention him. (Aren’t families fun!)

How did I find this? A probate investigator called Friday. Aunt Alyce died with no surviving heirs. So they’re tracking down relatives to settle her estate. I’ve no idea what the amount might be, or how many other relatives will be found. But hey, they found me, and I’m practically in the Witness Protection Program.

Now here’s the weird part. I’ve been dying to know anything about G.W. Ford––a Chinese immigrant, given the name Ford through adoption. That’s pretty much all I know. I’ve searched the Web. Explored genealogical databases. Bubkis. I’d given up. So last week I decided I’d just fictionalize his story. Fill in the blanks––which are legion. I even sketched out a thumbnail outline. Just for fun.

Then I get the call on Friday.  A FedEx package Saturday.  And more on the way.
I keep looking around for Rod Serling. It's lonely here in the Twilight Zone.

Bizarre coincidence? Fate blowing in my ear? My delusional nature overriding the medication? Do strange coincidences ever inspire you?


Sunday
Mar262006

Killing the ones you love

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I've been busy with the rewrite all weekend. Dancing around it. Writing around it. Then finally lining up the first few chapters of my WIP and shooting them in the head. And what did you do all weekend?