Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I Can't Wait

   I was idly drumming my fingers on the mouse, trying to think of how to get to the next plot point, when my cell rang. It was Uncle Billy.
  "When are you going to start answering your text messages?" he asked.
  "How are you, Uncle," I responded.
  "Okay, I get it ... you aren't."
  "Let's not get into this right now ... what did you want?"
  "I wanted to know if you'd read Clara's manuscript."
  "Clara's manuscript?"
  "Yeah, she's been writing a book and when I told her you were an author, she asked if you'd look at her stuff and see what you thought."
  Good grief. "What's it about?"
  "How should I know? I haven't read it," he said.
  "You haven't? But you're her friend."
  "Sonny, I don't have time to read an unproven author ... I haven't even read your books."
  "Yeah, I know, thanks."
  "So, are you going to read it or not?"
  "Well, I don't know ... I'm pretty busy right now."
  "So you want me to tell her that my nephew, the author, isn't interested in reading her manuscript?"
  "Come on, Uncle, that's not fair."
  "Okay, I'll tell her ..."
  "No, no, don't do that ... I'll read it."
  "You will? Thanks, Sonny, I know it'll mean a lot to her."
  "What if it isn't any good?"
  "That could be a problem." Uncle Billy paused. "Well, you'll think of something. I'll have her send you a pdf."
  "I'm out of printer ink ... and paper ... and I don't want to read it on the computer ... can't she print out a copy for me?"
  "I suppose so. When can you pick it up?"
  I looked at the paragraph that had just taken me two hours to write. "I'll be over in the morning."
  "Great, Sonny, I really appreciate it."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Funny in the Morning

   "You've been kinda quiet, Sonny," said Uncle Billy. "Somethin' troublin' you?"
   "Oh, I don't know." I took a sip of the beer that had been sitting on the bar in front of me.
   "Come on, what's botherin' ya, Bunky?"
   Staring at my reflection in the mirror behind the bar, I decided to come clean. "My neighbor, Mr. Nesbaum, wrote a book ... and he has made enough money off it to quit his day job."
   "You mean Irv Nesbaum's book about screwdrivers?"
   I grabbed Uncle Billy's sleeve and almost pulled him off the barstool. "How do you know about that?"
   He regained his balance and looked at me. "Watch it ... you dang near knocked me over."
   "I'm sorry ... how did you know about Mr. Nesbaum's book?"
   Uncle Billy smoothed the wrinkles out of his coat sleeve. "I heard him on the radio the other day."
   "The radio? Irv Nesbaum was on the radio?"
   "Yeah ... the morning show with Brick and Brack."
   "Brick and Brack?"
   "I listen to them every morning ... they're hilarious."
   "Irv Nesbaum was on Brick and Brack's morning show?"
   "Yep ... and he's going to be on Channel Two News Friday morning."
   "How do you know that?"
   "I follow him on Twitter, that's how."
   I leaned on the bar and let out a sigh. "You follow Irv Nesbaum on Twitter."
   "His book sounded interesting ... I posted a note about him on Facebook ... didn't you see it?"
   "I never saw anything about Irv Nesbaum."
   "You need to spend more time tending your social media, Sonny." Uncle Billy looked at his watch. "Hey, you've got to get me home ... Clara and I are taking the shuttle to the casino this afternoon." He stood up and grabbed the change off the bar.
   I stood up. "Thanks for lunch, Uncle."
   "You're welcome, Sonny."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Turn of the Screw

   I was surprised to see Mr. Nesbaum at the mailbox. He's a sales associate in the hardware department at Home Depot, so I rarely see him during the day.
   "Got the day off, eh, Mr. Nesbaum?"
   He smiled slyly. "I don't work at Home Depot anymore."
   I slipped my query letter into the slot. "Really? Why not?"
   "I don't need to work anymore. Can I get in there?"
   "Oh, I'm sorry." I stepped aside so he could get to his mailbox. "Did you retire?"
   He pulled out his mail and started sorting through the letters. "Sort of. I've got a new career."
   "No kidding? Doing what?"
   "I'm an author and lecturer."
   That got my attention. "Author and lecturer? I didn't know you were a writer."
   "Well, I'm not sure I'd classify myself as a 'writer' ... but I have a book out."
   "If you have a book out, I think that qualifies you as a writer ... what's it about?"
   "About the proper use of hand tools."
   Well, that made sense. "What's the title?"
   "The Truth about the Left-Handed Screw Driver." He stopped sorting and held up a letter. "Here's what I was looking for."
   "What's that?"
   "A check from the Southpaw Mechanics Association."
   "For what?"
   "I was the keynote speaker at their annual convention."
   "No kidding?"
   "Nope. Say, how're your books doing?"
   "Oh, fair to middling ... I just got a royalty check for twenty-two dollars."
   "Well, good for you." He started to leave, stopped and held up the check. "We ought to have you and the Missus over for dinner."
   "Sure." I watched him walk away.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

All Thumbs

   I got a text message on my cellphone from a friend ... it said, "Call me." I honestly didn't know how to respond to that. Why on earth would someone take the time to hunt 'n' peck on that ridiculously small keyboard to compose a message like that when they could've placed the call in five seconds? I know what you're thinking ... here's where the old fogey goes into his rant about all that new-fangled technology ... but no, that's not it.
   Heck, I embrace anything that will make my life easier or more fun. I get smart phones ... I get iPads ... I get GPS ... and giant, flat-screen TVs (be still my beating heart). But I just can't get my head around texting. Now, there must be some logic in there somewhere, because everybody does it ... and I mean everybody.
  The other day, I went to pick up Uncle Billy from the assisted living facility for our weekly outing to the convenience store to get his supply of, um, medicine, and lottery tickets. He is sitting in the lobby next to a pretty lady and both are holding cellphones, digits flying. He spots me and says, "Sonny, why are you here?"
  "I pick you up every Thursday, Uncle Billy."
  "But I have a date with Clara ... didn't you get my text?" He pats the knee of the pretty lady. She lowers her phone and smiles at me.
    See what I mean? Okay, enough of this ... you can text me if you want ... I just hope you're not in a hurry for a reply.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Walking in Tall Cotton

   I'm feeling rather flush these days ... I got my royalty payment from Kindle for June, July and August ... a tidy sum of $22.70! Hey, you may roll your eyes and scoff at that piddling amount, but I'm excited as a puppy with two tails. It's not often that I see money rolling into my bank account, so whenever I do it's time to celebrate. Now, I'm not quite ready to put a down payment on that villa in the south of France, but my wife was able to buy a pot roast for dinner on Sunday ... and it was delicious.
   The other positive aspect to this event is that it means someone, somewhere out there has a book of mine on their e-reader. Yeah, I know, that doesn't mean they are going to actually read it ... but they might ... and if they do, they might enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it ... and then, maybe, just maybe, they'll tell someone else ... oh, I'm positively giddy with the prospect. Okay, no chateau just yet ... but I wonder how much a BMW costs these days?