Sunday, October 26, 2008


I'm a fan of the sponge.

Really. They're everywhere you look. In the ocean, lakes, swamps. And quite cool. Blender them up and they re-form themselves.
I'm envious.
The wreck of the Antilla was covered with these yellow tube sponges.
If I'm philosophical I can say as a writer I'm a sponge. Soaking up everything around me and then re-packaging it.
I'll be at the store and hear a woman talking on her cell phone and I find myself imagining the scenario. Of course it's not just her calling her husband to ask what he'd like for dinner. It's really she's calling her operative and giving them the password to defuse the bomb to save the world.
The man in the parking lot isn't trying to figure out where in the heck did he park his car. He's a mastermind criminal who's scoping out how to rob the jewelry store next door.
The two boys on their skateboards?
They're teenage vampires.
The old woman in line ahead of me in the drugstore?
Is buying cold medication to make meth.
I try.
When I get home. I see Tooloose. Coming toward me.
Instead of a normal everyday cat - I see a powerful super hero animal that can - with one slinking rub with his body - turn a person into a zombie who waits on him hand and foot.
So what do YOU imagine?

Monday, October 20, 2008


I don't have a photo of Kialua. I walked past her every day. She was a trim classy little boat. Jaunty each time she left the harbour.
"Really salty looking," sailors would say when they saw her.

I chose a photo of sails to commemorate her. In this shot I was laying on my back on the forward deck. Not a smart place to be when flying a jib- but got a great photo.
Kialua ended up on the rocks at Makua.
It's not entirely clear how.
Engine trouble.
Sails up with an inexperienced person at the helm.
A sailboat's nemesis is the land. You having trouble? Head toward open sea. Stay away from the shore. But often times it just happens.
And a trim, dandy little boat meets its demise. Most likely they will not salvage her -- the diesel and oil will be removed and she'll be dragged off the rocks and sunk.
Home for budding coral and fish. A subterranean ecosystem.
A new paradigm if you will.
So give me a few words to help me remember.
Because there is a lesson in this. I am sure of it.
Value what you have at this very moment?
Joy is fleeting.
Soon it may be gone.
Like Kialua.

This just in...Pat from BAREFOOT sent me a shot he took.

Thanks Pat!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


A passel of Pisces.

They were staring me right in the face. Box 'o dead fish. In Curacao. The photo op was simply irresistible.
Would it have been everyone's choice?
It got me thinking about literary choices. Why we write what we do. What makes an author create a character who swears like a truck driver (now don't get all offended you semi-drivers you)- when they wouldn't think of using the correct anatomical terminology for an embarrassing body part?
What makes an author write about criminals, serial murderers and rapists?
What makes an author write a happily-ever-after love story when they've been divorced six times?
Inquiring minds want to know.
So I looked around for a writer to interview.
I didn't have to look far. Tooloose was right there reading over my shoulder. He's been a bit fragile since I've been back so I felt I should humor him.
He was leaping around. "Me! Me! Me! Pick me! I have the answer!"

"Okay Tooloose what makes you write about alien space monkeys when you turn your nose up at bananas?"

"Tooloose stop chasing your tail and answer me!"

"hmm so you say that it's the fundamental aspect of being a writer- You write what you want to be?"

"Yes I'm familiar with that philosophy- don't patronize me -so am I to beleive you see yourself as a space monkey?"

"So you're saying you could think of worse things to be? Such as?"

"Well okay you've got me there... a cat hating water but living on a boat IS a good example."

At that point the interview was over. Tooloose got distracted batting around the rolled up crumbled pages that he had just discarded from his WIP "Alien Space Monkeys Do Dallas"

hey sometimes you got to let art flow over you...

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I have been Internet-free for 19 days and am a stronger person because of it. I hope I don't have a relapse -- we will see...
I'm now in South Beach Miami (I'll be at Coral Gables Books & Books tonight)
WHAT CAN I SAY ABOUT the Panama Canal trip now that it's over?

It was astounding. Seeing the miracle of engineering and perseverance.
It made me realize that accomplishing a closely held dream is one of the greatest things a human can do.

and ever since I saw 'Romancing the Stone' I've wanted to see Cartagena, Columbia. What a marvelous city. I am so into forts and ruins and souvenirs...
I snorkeled at a ship wreck off Aruba-it reminded me of home... you'll have to wait for the results as I had to use REAL film...

Curacao reminded me of Bergen.
And best of all?
SO MANY characters... SO LITTLE time... They were ALL on the boat.
I will select a few meaningful phrases over heard.

"Marge you don't have to take EVERY thing on the damn buffet...You SELECT...SEE? Look at my plate..."
"But George I don't want the chef to feel bad..."

"Look honey! Those are just like the dolphins at sea world! I wonder how they train them to jump like that out in the middle of the ocean..."

"Sweetie yes. If you fell overboard I would most CERTAINLY report it" (then after she walked away he added in a lowered voice "if not that same day then maybe the next..."

They're ALL going in my novel.
If not this one...the next.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


The local color in Mexico was…well…colorful.

Our tour in Puerto Vallarto ended up being a pointless never-ending tour through impassible roads to …you guessed it…a tequila factory. One of those unscheduled stops that they don’t tell you about. Not rain, nor hurricane warnings nor rockslides would deter our guide (I think he worked for the Mexican Post Office part-time.

In Acapulco I found a great visual of how I come up with those secondary character names.

And there was something fishy about this market.

And what trip to Mexico would be complete without an authentic real live drug bust. Yes folks look carefully to your right. You will see soldiers, machine guns masked men and everything.
No. Don’t be obvious.
NO! Don’t let them SEE you taking pictures.
Hey! Wait! Stop!
That’s my camera…
My ID?
Yes sir.
No sir.
I will sir.
Cameras are very reasonably priced on cruise ships.
They are duty free.
Can you spell C-O-N-F-I-S-C-A-T-E?