I assume that the readers of this blog are lucid enough that they realize things have not exactly been going well.
It is no one thing; it is EVERY thing. It is mortality and decay and entropy and luck, and admitting when you CAN’T play today..
It is realism. Look, fans, I have written some good books, but I am unlikely to die rich. I would settle for out of debt. If Querencia and/ or Tiger Country/Only a Mountain haven’t sold to Hollywood I doubt they will quickly enough to pay my bills, I am unlikely to write another of either.
I have decided that the Gila monster venom isn’t working. It has been an enlightening experience, full of stumbles, pratfalls, and forced humility. God knows if old age isn’t for sissies then sickness isn’t for anyone who doesn’t have a sense of humor. I’ll have some details for those of you with a strong sense or humor and/or Buddho-Christian humility, but I warn you it is pretty coarse.
Re field sports. The big hawk had to go back to Bill Meeker. She was entirely too much bird for me. I had asked Bill for a 12 ounce Barbary tiercel, hand-raised. He generously responded by driving up a 34 ounce Gyr cross female, chamber-raised with an attitude. Not to mention that she was into four mile flights. Bill generously took her back after a few days, driving to pick her up from El Paso, and says that next year he will breed me a proper Barbary male. In the meantime, such falconry companions as Padre Pablo (Paul Moore) and Paul Domski have suggested that I should fly a Kestrel, Matt Mullenix style, out of my truck. As my apprentice, the nearly 80 year old Juan Gutierrez is recovering from multiple cancers, it is probably a good idea.
The Puppy also has many ideas and may be too much for me. Suffice to say for now that while she continues to be sweet and intelligent, she also continues to destroy every object that catches her fancy, and does not listen to a single thing I say, considering me to have the social status of a wounded puppy. She does listen to Libby.
(Guns: after selling off most of mine and attempting an ill-timed effort to crowdfund a last fine gun, two things happened: David Zincavage GAVE me an utterly Germanic sixteen, and John Besse came back from Idaho with two guns destined for me or my shelves at least — one is an interesting hammer-12 from the 1870s with the exact dimensions of my .410; the other, a Parker ten, is probably too heavy for me to carry these days.)
I’m recovering from a double hernia operation plus various falls, and to be honest, I feel a lack of attention from my primary neurologist. I’m making changes in this. It seems time when one receives more information from a consulting clinic in Denver once than in years of therapy.
The richest veins of humor and humility lie in the hernia operation. They sort of tell you what will happen. What they don’t tell you is the effect of gravity. That all your male parts will be swollen up to twice their natural size and purple as a grape is not in the information handout. That the condition will last five days and more, only is succeeded by itching is something you can find out for yourself. But the funniest thing is that all the rummaging around in your intestinal region that produces your fluid and makes you swollen and purple also stops peristalsis. When you realize you have not used a bathroom and are becoming inflated…well, let me repeat what I said to my sister Karen, who heartily agreed: “Old age leaves you nothing in the way of dignity except what’s inherent. I used to be modest and reticent. Well, see your dignified older brother at Happy Hour with a vodka lying on his side in his bed, trying to concentrate on his New York Review of Books while a nurse of his acquaintance rummages around in his large intestine looking for a blockage. And failing that, gives him a dose of sodium citrate so strong that he dares not go more than 20 feet from the toilet for 24 hours.”
So here we are. Will the blog continue? If you wish, and as it can. I cannot devote my primary time to it, particularly as I can’t type. Libby is typing this with much physical effort as my voice and her ears are not a good match for dictation, and dictation software has yet to prove itself to Parkinsonians. I have some more work but all work is extremely tiring right now. This may change as I adapt to my present meds, and may well change after Februrary and a new neurologist. A temporary neighbor has given me an interesting tip on a radical but rooted new therapy. Time will tell.
Meanwhile, FYI. The novel is at Penn and maybe one more place (Malcolm?). The Book of Books is apparently dead in the water at Lyons Press, as the previous Book of Books (Sportsman’s Library) made no money and its one proponent is leaving Lyons. Perhaps Daniel on how to revive it as a crowdfunding project? A memoir of sorts seems unlikely to sell unless one one of the others did, which seems unlikely at the moment. The same thing — sorry, Dutch — for an anthology. Though I would do the Book of Books for you.
The most maddening prospect is the Passenger Pigeon project. I am more convinced than ever that I have the key to the phenomenon. But I have no agent, and the only people willing to do it are SkyHorse. I trust Jay Cassell there, as he put Hounds of Heaven right, but they can’t give me enough money. Worse, the president of the company wants a new sample chapter and I haven’t a clue what to say in it. I’ve never been so blocked. except intestinally. The trips I need to make to Wisconsin and Berkeley are both expensive and mildly intimidating but I’ll do them if I can.
This is the point, along with many others, to put put in my inexpressible gratitude to Libby Frishman. She thinks she’s grouchy. I maintain that not only is she not grouchy; her occasional temper means that she is accruing far more virtue by having to work for it than would be demonstrated by a blissed-out ninny.
|David’s gun with 410
|Bo & Lib