Tag Archives: writing

Is this the end of the road?

Greetings, readers. Yesterday something odd happened to me as I was sitting at the computer trying to work on a writing project. First, it was the constant banging from the construction site. Next, Josie wanted out of her cage, and would not stop scratching for love or money. Then I had problems with the computer. Just when I got everything quieted down and was ready to do some good work, the maintenance lady turned on the vacuum cleaner in the outer hallway. Something inside me snapped.

I literally said out loud, “I can’t do this anymore,” and I closed the lid of the computer. At that moment, I did not want to be a writer any longer. Between minuscule book sales, the fact that my writing tool belt is missing a few skills, and a gazillion distractions, this blog entry was almost about to be our last. Then came the morning.

With a new day, came a brighter outlook, and I’ve decided not to close up shop. My parents did not raise a quitter. I might have tons of setbacks, but I push through.

Now that my lament is over, on Sunday, June 16th, I’m going to be a greeter at my new church. This is something I’ve never done before … even at my old church. Smith said that she will stand with me and that will be nice. I’m going to have to ask someone in charge when I can leave my post and walk in to the sanctuary to go to the service. That church just feels right to me. I am very happy I made the switch.

Lastly, with my newly acquired digital camera, I am finding myself walking outside every day that it is sunny to take pictures of such things as flowers, green trees, and even the high school football team’s field near the park. I am a photography buff, who knew? That camera, although I am not certain, must have a feature that counteracts a shaky hand. I’ve not taken a blurry picture yet and I am nearing 60 photos. I would like to get those pictures off my camera and on my computer but the proper cord is alluding me. I think a trip to Best Buy with camera in hand is in order.

I will put up a blog entry either Saturday evening or late Sunday. I have a hectic weekend scheduled but I will try very hard to put up something for you to enjoy.

Until then, take care, have a great few days, stay safe, and happy reading.

I need to define my life

Greetings, readers. What does that mean; define my life? It means that right now I feel like I am spinning my wheels in thick mud. I am going from day to day doing all of the necessary tasks just to get by. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I sat down at the computer and wrote a story for three or four hours. This blog entry might sound like a broken record in places, and I will apologize in advance. However, there are some things on my mind today that I need to purge. So, here goes.

When I was much younger, I thought that I would graduate from college, marry a college sweetheart, be father of two or three children, and own a house with a white picket fence and a nice SUV. Ha-ha-ha. Like, that happened… not. I can see my family now. I would marry an attractive, intelligent woman, who is just as old-fashioned as I am. We would raise our two children, hopefully a boy and a girl, teaching them morals and values which would make them loving, caring and productive members of society.

Back to defining my life. On July 13th, I’m going to be 54 years old. I have held two jobs, each one lasting only one year. Yes, I do have my published books, and that’s good. I need more. Somehow, I have to break this mold, go out into the world, and make my mark. There are plenty of places in town which are hiring right now for summer and fall. I’m going to try to line up a job which I will begin after I get back from Maine in August. I also need to become more social. I am not saying that I’m going to hang out at bars. I have recently joined the local Presbyterian Church, which offers many opportunities to get closer to the Lord, and also to socialize and meet people. Of course, I did not join the church to find my next girlfriend. That would be crazy. Am I one of those souls who are destined to go through life alone? Well, I’ve got news for you. Through my friend Dave and his family, I have enjoyed being Uncle Joe to all the nieces and nephews, and now to their children as well. I have been quite blessed. Perhaps… just perhaps, God gave me that family to go through life with. I have been honored.

I don’t think anyone’s life turns out to be exactly what they hoped it would be. We all just have to do the best we can with what we’ve been given. I have numerous health issues, but I firmly believe that the Lord does not give me anything I can’t handle. It’s tough sometimes, but with a good therapist, wonderful friends, and a fantastic personal assistant in Rebecca, everything I need to get done gets done.

Lastly, of course I have my kitty cat, Princess Josie. I will be posting a photo of her here on the blog site ASAP. So, keep a lookout for that. Until Wednesday, I bid you a wonderful Sunday, have a great start to your work week, and as always, happy reading.

I’ve been keeping to a Bear Spring Camps schedule

Greetings, readers. As I tend to do every late August, I desire to still be at Bear Spring Camps, my favorite place in the whole world. Although we got no relief from the heat this year, seeing all my family and friends made the temperature a moot point. Camp is centered around the three meals served in the dining room at specific times. When I come home, I like to keep that routine going as long as I can.

I’ll have my morning coffee and muffin either at home or at Panera at 7:30. During the lunch meal I am usually busy but if I can I’ll grab a quick something at 12:30. Camp’s evening meal has always been at 6:00 and at the very least I’ll grab a cup of coffee or a soda at that time. That might sound silly to some of you, but I love to reminisce about the wonderful times I have at camp and the wonderful food they serve.

Last year I got up at 3:45 in the morning … every morning. This year so far I have been averaging 5:00 or 6:00. Why the change you might ask? The truthful answer is I don’t know. Before, I would go to bed very early, get up early and play video games or write, until Rebecca would come at 9:30. Now I am a little bit more squeezed for time, but it is not bad.

I am getting into one very bad habit that I used to have, which is watching re-runs on TV in the evening. Last night, before I knew it, it was ten minutes until 11:00. I quickly stopped the episode of The X-Files I was watching (that show can be addicting) and hurried off to sleep. No 3:35am for me this morning. By wintertime I will have thrown away all the desires to keep a camp schedule and do what my Aunt Marilyn does; she eats her meals when she is hungry, and she told me that could be any time of day. One time I visited her in California and she mentioned that I was too tied down to a clock.

This morning I am feeling sorry for myself as I dictate this blog and here’s the reason why: If I was to put all my energy that I use in creating these fantasy worlds that I sometimes use to escape my real life and put them towards creative writing, imagine the stories I could come up with. I have a writing project idea for a man and woman to be the main characters set in a camp-like atmosphere, but every time I try to start it, I hit a brick wall with concrete behind it. It is extremely frustrating.

Sometimes my brain works overtime when I am trying to get to sleep at night. Perhaps I should invest in a digital recorder. I would have it by my bed and if my creative brain starts working overtime, I would begin dictating notes, character names, etc. I wonder if anyone knows how much a good digital recorder costs? Hint, hint.

There’s today’s blog. I know I rambled a little bit but I tend to do that from time to time. Next Wednesday I plan on dictating the blog via the soon-to-be-out-of-date voice recognition program, and Thursday is still up in the air. I think we will be here in the office but I’m not certain. Until then, have a wonderful weekend, please stay cool if you are in the heat wave, take care and happy reading.

Oops, what a mistake I made

Greetings, readers. Between back spasms, trying to clear out a few things on the computer, and getting ready to run to the bus yesterday, I goofed. I accidentally erased the short story we had ready to go for today’s blog entry. Rebecca reminded me what the subject was, and I quickly remembered that it is one of my recurring dreams, and it won’t be that difficult to recreate. I guess that is what you would call the silver lining. The dark cloud was that story was a page and a half long, which was one of my better accomplishments of late. Grrr.

I’m quite certain I will be able to reconstruct it very soon and I promise you that it will be up at some point as a blog entry, most likely tomorrow. This is my final week at my fast food job before I am taking the summer off, when I’ll have a lot more time to write. Last Thursday’s trial run of my summer daily routine worked beautifully. I’m really looking forward to getting a lot done creatively. Something I must overcome, however, is my morning back spasms while sitting at my chair. I told Rebecca that this could turn into something psychosomatic quickly. I can’t live on pain reliever and I won’t have time to crawl back into my chair and go back to sleep every morning. I must get work done this summer.

The last few days have been beautiful and warm. I love it. It seems like yet again we went from late winter right to early summer. I remember as a child at my parents’ house that the crocuses would come up every early April. That was one of my favorite signs of Spring. Whether it is climate change or what have you, I don’t think central Pennsylvania has a spring anymore. I learned many moon ago that Mother Nature and Old Man Winter can do whatever they want whenever they want, and we have no control. I’m looking out my window to a perfect blue sky and a forecasted high of 82 F, and although I haven’t looked at the forecast, tomorrow might very well be windy and 60.

Well, here’s an update on Princess Josie. She is learning her world quite nicely. When she misbehaves, such as getting on the work table with the computer, I pick her up and say no. I give her three chances to stop and if she doesn’t then I gently put her in her crate for a time-out. After several minutes I let her out and wouldn’t you know, she doesn’t do said behavior again. She is a very smart kitten. She was very much preoccupied with a bumble bee a few minutes ago, sitting on the window sill and looking outside. She was so preoccupied with said bumble bee, she lost track of where she was and slid off the sill. Fear not readers, she landed on her feet. Now she is looking for birdies. She was running around earlier playing with an empty pill bottle. She loves to play hockey. This morning, however, I caught her looking into my pill bag, with the bottles that actually have medication in them. I made certain that the two bottles I let her play with were empty before I let her have them. Now I need to be leery about her being alone with my med bag. I have solved that problem by putting my med bag in my bedroom with the door shut, but if I let her have free roam of the entire place, I will put my med bad in a cupboard.

My JMK Gaming Channel on YouTube is hanging on by a thread. I enjoy making the videos but never seem to have enough time to do them. Hopefully that will be another thing that changes this summer. I have one ready to upload, I just have to put butt in chair and do it.

Rebecca and I will be working here tomorrow. Either I will have recreated the dream house short story with the help of the voice recognition program, or Rebecca and I will type it up and post it. So until then, take care, have a great day, we’ll see you tomorrow, and happy reading.

On schedule for me today

Greetings, readers. I believe this is the second blog entry I have dictated via the speech recognition program. I’m on a slightly different schedule this morning, so I asked Rebecca to meet me at Panera Café and a little later than usual. Earlier on, I did some splendid work on my major writing project, also using said voice recognition program. I love it! It’s almost like acting; so fun.

I was up at 3:45 this morning, as usual, and began my day by making coffee, looking at Facebook, and doing a little virtual fishing on Steam’s Fishing Planet. With the new patch that came in yesterday via an update – a major update – the game plays so much better. The creators bettered the physics, I think improved the graphics, and added a Photoshop feature where you can take a picture with your humongous prize catch. It’s about three notches below Star Trek’s hollow deck.

This afternoon, I have an appointment at 3:30. It should not take more than an hour. After that, I’m planning on a light supper followed by more work on my writing project. I am really getting into the story now. As you all know, dear readers, it’s been forever since I’ve been in creation mode. If I am to take time off from my fast food job this summer to rest my feet, I must find some way to perhaps generate income through my writing. I don’t wish to just sit around for three or four months and just do nothing. Yes, one does get very used to that paycheck every two weeks, doesn’t one?

I still have an early bedtime this evening for tomorrow is a work day at the fast food job. I need to get plenty of sleep and rest my feet. When, or if, I am going to tell my manager I would like the summer off is still up in the air. My swollen feet are saying, “Go for it!” My wallet is saying, “Don’t you dare.” Right now, I’d say my decision is 50-50. I will know by early May.

Well, there you have it. I know this wasn’t the longest entry in the world, but it is what’s current in my life today. I bid all of you a great weekend, stay safe, take care and as always, happy reading.

My speech recognition software finally came in

Greetings, readers. Every penny that I spent on Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium voice recognition software was well worth it. It only took fifteen minutes for the program to learn my voice well enough so that I could dictate an email. Most impressive. I think this is going to be the shot in the arm I need to get my writing career going again. I have a couple of ideas, I just have to get them going. I’m going to talk to my boss at work and see if I can’t take a few months off. Walking to buses in the brutal cold and snow and/or ice, is something my handicapped body is not looking forward to. Call my a wimp if you want to, but I think I will ask if I can return in the springtime.

This voice recognition program has a feature that I was not expecting. It will read back to me what I dictated … in my own voice. Rebecca had an overwhelming reaction because it reminded her of something she heard about the late movie critic Roger Ebert, who had mouth cancer and lost the ability to talk. When they added a feature to his typing equipment that used his own voice from previous recordings to read out his words, his wife cried the first time she heard it, as it had been so long since she had heard his voice. I can talk just fine, I just can’t type or write longhand for any length of time.

While I got this software on sale, it wasn’t exactly $9.99, so believe me when I tell you I’m going to make good use of it.

The first project I have in mind to use it for is a book about former sports stadiums that have been demolished and what the land is used for now. The idea hit me last week in the middle of the night. It woke me enough to take a couple of notes about it. That is how I knew it was going to be a good idea. I love sports, classic things such as stadiums, and it is going to be such fun to learn about and report what’s on those sites. Old stadiums have long been an interest of mine, for I have been a sports buff since I was a child. In 2013, I did a top ten list on stadiums that have gone by the wayside, and was interested to see that many of the stadiums on the list are ones I want to research for the new book.

If I can get that voice recognition program to work without much hassle, I think this might be the project that kicks me in the proverbial butt. Cross thy fingers.

On a side note, I finished binge-watching the second part of the third season of Fuller House. A very cute season and already we can see the children growing up. The middle kids are in high school already. Good grief. SPOILER ALERT: Stephanie and boyfriend Jimmy are trying to get pregnant with Kimmy Gibbler as the surrogate. The final scene of the season finale was sweet and touching. With the announcement that Kimmy has baby on board that leads me to believe that there is definitely going to be a fourth season. I already can’t wait.

Okay, there you are up to date with what is going on with me. I am in a heck of a better mood than I was yesterday. It’s now time to go feed Kitty who’s been very good, edit this blog and post it.

Until next week, take care, have a good weekend, and happy reading.

Top ten list of things I would have liked to do in life

Greetings, readers. This is not a list to bash my self-esteem, but it might just serve to open my eyes and let me see some of the jobs or occupations I dreamed about having when I was younger. So here we go, and as always this is not in any particular order, except for #1.

#10. Be a writer with a lot of books and screenplays under my belt. [Over the last fifteen years or so, I’ve had many good starts on writing projects but they all seem to fizzle out quickly. Sometimes it is a problem with the story line, other times people beat me to the good idea, and a lot of times it is my body not cooperating.]

#9. Own my own vehicle again. [After my 2008 crash and other issues I won’t get into, my monetary situation is such that owning a vehicle is impossible. It’s too much money for maintenance, repairs, gas, parking, etc.]

#8. Play sports. [At age 52 and a half, my days of playing a pick-up game of football or softball are long behind me. My legs and knees are stiff and sometimes it is a chore just to jog across the street.]

#7. Have a son to carry on my name. [My plan to have a family young, in my 20s or 30s. is long gone. For me to be a father, I would either have to adopt a child or marry someone young enough to have a child. Most women in the age bracket of 20s or 30s would find it creepy to marry someone in their 50s.]

#6. Be a professional entertainer. [For years I was so shy, I lip-synced in all my musical performances that I did for family, friends, and, later, for my pals in my apartment building. Now that I’ve learned to drop my shields and actually sing, I’ve found out that I am not all that bad. Another chance wasted. I could have been the next member of KISS. Lol.]

#5. Own a house. [Yes, good old pride of ownership. I know it comes with its costs. I’d have to pay property taxes, mow the lawn, and fix the pipes. But I would have loved every minute of it. When I go to visit Dave and family in their house, I feel like I’m home. Here, it just feels like I’m in my apartment.]

#4. Be a TV sports broadcaster. [When I was a child, I loved watching Curt Gowdy call NFL football games. He had a style all his own. Later, there were the teams of Don Criqui and Bob Trumpy, and of course, Dick Enburg and Merlin Olsen. My favorite sportscaster though was the incomparable Howard Cosell. He knew his job inside and out, was incredibly intelligent, and covered every event from football to boxing with style and dignity.]

#3. Be a truck driver. [For a while when I was younger I had the notion of being a truck driver. I would have been able to see the country and do something I love to do; drive. Health reasons killed that idea.]

#2. Be a talk show host or D.J. [When I was a little boy, I had an old-fashioned tape recorder and I would pretend I was a D.J. I would announce the songs and then play them on my record player. It was so much fun. I also loved Johnny Carson of the Tonight Show. I had a fantasy that one day maybe I would have my own talk show or take over for him when he retired.]

#1. Be a pilot [I’ve always been fascinated by aircraft and my dream as an early teen was to be a commercial airline pilot. My health issues at age 16 ended that dream promptly.]

Well, there it is. Again, I’m not trying to throw myself a pity party. I’m just showing you, my readers, and me, my missed opportunities. I’m starting to find my niche in life and it could very well be that I write plays and either adapt them to a novel or give it to someone else to do it. Dialog just seems to be my thing.

Until tomorrow, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.

Making plans for a Thanksgiving visit

Greetings, readers. The bus tickets have been purchased and I am going to be on my way. Dave and family invited me to New Jersey for Thanksgiving weekend and I gleefully accepted. After checking out Zipcar and Hertz I figured out that Megabus was the way to go. For a modest price, I will be able to enjoy a five-day mini-vacation.

I am able to go because of generous friends who offered to take my work shifts on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. Two people offered and I hope my manager doesn’t schedule them both because one will be angry at me. If either one of you is a regular reader, you have just saved my weekend and I owe you a favor.

I’m going to have to look at the Megabus website again to see if I can bring a suitcase and a carry-on. If it is one or the other, the computer will be staying home. In the late evenings at David’s, after our brotherly chats are over, I like to go upstairs to my guest room, crawl under the blankets, and check my email or listen to music. The one thing I am worried about is that my body is programmed to wake up at 4:00am; that will not be happening at David’s house. I will be sleeping in.

I can’t wait to get there and enjoy the family’s hospitality. The Thanksgiving meal itself will be in the dining hall at Geri’s church and it is big enough for the entire family. I will probably ask David if I can say Grace or make a speech, as I always tend to do. I’m looking forward not only to the feast but also to be with family once again. I shall treasure every moment.

What are the things I am thankful for this year? With my life looking up at the moment, here is my brief list: I am thankful for my kitty-cat Keekee, who is in good health, besides perhaps a slight eye issue; she’s doing great for being almost 13 years old. I am thankful for my family and friends and the possibility to travel and see them. I’m also grateful and thankful that my job has worked out and that most managers think I am doing an excellent job … and making a little extra scratch doesn’t hurt either. Lol. Last but not least, I am thankful for Rebecca and Darren for their years of not only friendship but of hard work to help me put these various writing projects together. As I told my friend this morning, I don’t care if Darren’s book doesn’t put me on the map, I’m hoping it will put him on the map. Kimberly was a cute play. Was it polished? Not by any means. Darren took a good solid skeleton with some meat on the bones and turned it into a literary breathing human being.

I wish to say Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and readers. Your support over the last year has meant so much to me and has kept us going. The recent upswing in view numbers is continuing and we like it.

I said yesterday that this entry would be a top ten list, but other work earlier this morning took time away from our working hours here at the office, so the promised top ten list will come as soon as I come back from vacation. My mistake.

Next week Rebecca will post two blog entries, most likely re-posts of her choosing, as I will be on the bus and in New Jersey, cramming myself with turkey and trimmings.

So until next time, have a wonderful holiday, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Blog schedule for July and August

Greetings, Joe’s readers. You are seeing a lot of From Rebecca entries lately, and while I hope that all of you enjoy reading my pieces, I know that you are partaking of Joe’s blog to see what is on his mind. Last week, Joe’s friend Dave came to visit on Thursday, and two weeks before that Joe had something personal came up. Please bear with us, both entries this week will be from me, and this will continue off and on just another month. There are reasons for that.

This week doctor appointments have knocked out the working together time for Joe and me. Today Joe is at a check-up with his primary physician, and tomorrow I will be helping my husband Darren and his mom at an urgent doctor’s appointment for her; with her mobility issues and bringing the car around to the front of buildings, it is so much easier to get my mom-in-law to her appointments if there are two of us. To make up for the lost work time tomorrow, I am writing the blog entry for Thursday too.

Next week will be normal for us, working Wednesday and Thursday together. As usual, Joe will dictate the blog posts while I type, then we will edit. Joe will be busy getting ready for Bear Spring Camps, so I imagine that his other writing will be halted for the time being, but he will do the blog.

The following two weeks, the first two in August, Joe will go to Bear Spring Camps in Maine, and I will do those four blog posts from home. I will be spending time with his cat Keekee during regular work hours, so those entries will be a little later in the day than usual, but I will get them up on those Wednesdays and Thursdays.

After that, Joe will be back and we will go back to normal with two blog entries a week from Joe on various topics. I expect him to come back with lots of motivation and ideas for the rest of the year, as he does after every vacation at Bear Spring Camps. He will be raring to go with ideas for writing, cleaning, organizing, and improving his life in general. It is always an exciting time to be working with him.

So hang it there with us for the next month. I hope you will like my posts, and Joe will be back before you know it with more of his thoughts and wisdom, plus he will be here both days next week.

Until tomorrow, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.

I am set to enjoy a productive and restful summer

Greetings, readers. Some of you might be thinking that my title sounds like a contradiction, but that actually is what I am planning to do. I have several changes in my daily routine already in place, including meditation three times a week. It is very cleansing. I’m also going to leave time in my daily schedule to write, write, write. Rebecca and I have been talking about that magic formula for me and we may have found it. Short stories in 15 to 30 minute play or script form which then can be turned into prose. I’ve only been good in long projects twice in my life, so perhaps that 500 page doorstop novel is just not in the cards for me. I don’t think I have the patience for it.

So what is in the cards for this summer? I have many things on tap. Task #1 is a complete overhaul of this apartment. By September 1st I want to turn the living room into the bedroom and visa versa. I also want to completely rid this place of clutter.

Task #2 is to improve my health through meditation and yoga. I’ve never done yoga before and to be honest I’m not exactly sure what all it entails, but if it can improve my health I will at least check it out. My diet is going to get an overhaul as well. With spring time here, fresh fruits and vegetables are in the grocery stores. Two of my favorite summertime treats are blueberries and watermelon. There is a bus that stops right at our local Giant supermarket.

Before I can go to the supermarket, however, a complete clean out of my refrigerator will have to be done. I get Meals on Wheels and eat them most of the time, but occasionally I don’t like what is offered, and on those dark cloudy days that I am depressed, it is ice cream dinner to the rescue. So I will admit that my refrigerator does get cluttered with some of their trays.

My final big project for the summer is to grab a friend, pay him or her a few bucks, and clean up my walk-in closet. I have a gazillion VHS tapes, DVDs, CDs, and cassettes. Every item will have to be carefully gone through to see if it makes the cut. If it doesn’t, out it goes. I need to be able to walk in my walk-in closet.

I must remember that even though I have set a target date of September 1st, I won’t beat myself over the head if I don’t get it done until October 1st. Let’s not forget that I will be away for 10 days in August for my yearly trek to Maine. I’m starting to feel better about myself and my apartment. I just have to tell myself that these changes will be done and the key is to do a little each day.

Tomorrow I’m going to be talking about an issue that took place here at Penn State in February. I was going to blog about it today, but after discussing it with Rebecca I was so upset about what happened that I need a day to cool down, so that I can calmly explain what happened and my feelings about it.

Until tomorrow, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.