Wednesday, August 29, 2012


…I’m just back from Spokane.  Following Portland, that’s four 200+ mile trips in five days. 
I’ve never been a fan of the long drive and I’m even less so now.

…When I got back I had 250 some emails.  A lot it was irrelevant, but still when you’re gone and come back to it in a clump like that it makes me think I might be wasting too much time on the inconsequential.

...One email was a really nice rejection on a story.  Here’s what it said:
Thanks so much for submitting. We're going to pass this time, but this is a really good story with not a wasted word, and I enjoyed reading it.”

I get that sometimes a story might be well-written but not a good fit for the magazine, so I’m fine with this.
…I wrote this story three years ago.  It’s creepy.  It was published by three different people.  I’m not sure why I picked this one to share with you, but what the hell:

                                                            Lake Waves

            Drunk, he staggered through the trailer as if it was familiar, as if he had done this sort of thing before.  He punched the hollow doors and watched them swing open.  He had grabbed a knife out of the butcher block, the longest one with the stained, serrated edge.  He growled guttural like a starving animal, then screamed, then made ridiculous gargling noises meant to resemble someone spitting up a fountain of blood.  That seemed to ramp up the tension. 

            He heard a girl respond in the rear of the trailer.  The terrified jungle monkey shrieked.  Wasn’t that how it happened, stupid sorority ditz blowing rationality to smithereens? 

            Only this was his daughter, his little dolly.  She had his same unctuous eyes and rollback lids.  “Hey there,” he said when he got to where she huddled, rocking back and forth in the corner.   “What’re you hollering about?  Aren’t you supposed to be sleeping?”

            He arched his back and his eyebrow and she knew what those signs meant.   She closed her eyes.  Her chin quivered as if yanked upon.

            He raised the knife.  He felt stronger than he was--bold and forbidden and masculine.  “Have a good dream,” he said.  He could be pensive and moody, theoretical as well.  “Hell, it doesn’t matter,” he said, “your dreams are lake waves, you can’t control them.”

             He bent down.  He wanted to kiss her.  Actually, he desperately needed to kiss her at that precise moment.  He puckered and leaned forward.

            “Cut!” the manic director yelled.

A collective, exasperated sigh went up on the set, the air smelling mildewed and hot after having so much halitosis poured out all at once.

The director wore a pastel argyle sweater and he seemed to be spending an inordinate amount of time touching his left nipple, as if it was bee stung.

            “What the hell are you doing?” the director asked.

            “I’m going to get to it, but you know, I thought it would work better this way, a kiss before dying?  Right after, I’ll kill her.  I’ll chop her to bits.”

            “But this is a comedy!”

            “It is?”
            “It is.”

            “Then what’s that?” he said, pointing at the knife.

            “Beats me,” the director said.

            Strains of overwhelming sadness buckled the actor’s knees and he tottered where he stood.  This was his first part and he’d already blown it.  He’d come to Hollywood against his father’s practical advice.  He was no good at comedy.  Drama--that was his thing.

            The girl stumbled his way, curious about the commotion, so he grabbed her wrist.  She was a skinny teenager, but skilled at making frightened expressions.  She gave him the perfect death stare as he plunged the knife through her chest.

 The sound was wet and meaty.

            “How about that?” he said.

            A moment later he had regret.  He shouldn’t have left the knife stuck in her.  He might have used it to fend off his attackers, and later, the police.  He might have really made a strong showing of it.



Sunday, August 26, 2012


…I went to Portland and lived through a heady weekend of Fantasy Football, friends and libations.  Tomorrow I head to Spokane and a five hour drive there.
I need to stop going places and get writing/editing.  Once I’m back, that should be it for a while.

Here are some things I learned, all of them interesting, but very random:

If you could save one of these original documents of American history from a fire, which one would it be?
50% -The Constitution
38% -Declaration of Independence
9%   -Emancipation Proclamation
2%   -Elvis's letter to Nixon

Heritage most commonly declared by Americans:
47.9  -German
38.9  -African American
34.7  -Irish
32.9  -Mexican
25.9  -English

The 2,000th American soldier was killed in Afghanistan yesterday.
While it took nearly nine years for  American forces to reach their first 1,000 dead in the war, the second 1,000 came in just 27 months.
Three out of four were white, 9 out of 10 were enlisted service members, and one out of two died in either Kandahar Province or Helmand Province in Taliban-dominated southern Afghanistan. The average age of those killed was 26, and the dead were disproportionately Marines.

In King County, Washington State, for 2011, over 11,000 people were arrested for DUI

...Here are some things I like:

"I'm not happy, I'm cheerful. There's a difference. A happy woman has no cares at all. A cheerful woman has cares but has learned how to deal with them." Beverly Sills

"It's not enough for your heart to break because everybody's heart is broken now." Allen Ginsburg

"Compromise:  The art of dividing a cake in such a way that everybody believes he got the biggest piece." Sherry Rothfield

"It's none of their business that you have to learn how to write.  Let them think you were born that way." Hemingway

"I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds around my neck." Emma Goldman

"And if by chance that special place you've been dreaming of leads you to a lonely place, find your strength in love." M. Masser

Thursday, August 23, 2012


…I’m going to Portland in two hours.  It’ll be a long weekend, but fun, I’m certain.
In the meantime, here are some things to ponder:

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." Anais Nin

"That is what we do as writers, we fail. And then we try again, and try to outlast our self-doubt.” Steve Almond

"The occupational hazards of making a spectacle of yourself, over the long haul, is that at some point you buy a ticket, too." Thomas McGuane

"Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses." Allophones Karr

"We must never forget that our powerlessness was, and is, a wound. It is also the way to new power." SK

"Healing is complex and mysterious. Sometimes it can happen only through the mystery of the wound itself." Allan Campbell

"You grow up the first day you have that first real laugh--at yourself." Ethel Barrymore

"I left because there was no room for me.  But you could tell me not to go.  Say it to me.  Tell me not to go." Stephen Sondheim, "Sunday in the Park"

"If you listen to your mate manically well, you can't go wrong."  Helen Gurley Brown

"Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'" Anon

"The great end of art is to strike the imagination with the power of a soul that refuses to admit defeat even in the midst of a collapsing world." Friedrich Nietzsche

"Maybe we've used our skin as an excuse to compromise." Doug Crandell, "The Flawless Skin of Ugly People

"It is an old and ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way." Rollo May

“To me, the thing that is worse than death is betrayal. You see, I could conceive death, but I could not conceive betrayal.” Malcolm X

“I have no trouble with my enemies, but my damn friends, my God-damned friends… they’re the ones that keep me walking the floor nights.” Warren G. Harding

"All animals except man know that the ultimate of life is to enjoy it." Samuel Butler

"A childlike man is not a man whose development has been arrested; on the contrary, he is a man who has given himself a chance of continuing to develop long after most adults have muffled themselves in the cocoon of middle aged habit and convention." Aldous Huxley

"It isn't for the moment you are stuck that you need courage, but for the long uphill climb back to sanity and faith and security." Anne Lindberg

"We find hope when we summon the courage to look for it." SK

"Salary is no object; I want only enough to keep body and soul apart." Dorothy Parker


Tuesday, August 21, 2012


…I wrote this a long time ago:

Little Boy Lost

I was not supposed to
write this,
not today of all days,
sun shining through sideways fingers of rain
that dimple my window
with incriminations and reminders
of another time
when you waited for me on a pale blue beach chair,
the one with the purposely chipped paint
and for some reason when I arrived
you said, “We are kind of like this chair, don’t you think?”
That night I combed the beach as it started spitting, drizzling, hissing on the sand and sea,
freckled starshine glittering on the black glass
as it roved like a panther into itself and out,
in and out this indiscriminate judge.
And I thought about how I loved you
and how that had eaten us alive,
such gory gluttony,
my need like a current sucking you into its vortex,
strangling you,
smothering you.

And I did not cry
nor did I return.
I let you go,
in my immature misery
that has now
all these years later
found itself a place to rest
here on my death bed,
and poorly worn.

…Here are some things I like and hope you do as well:
"Take your life in your own hands and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame." Erica Jong

"The poet doesn't invent.  He listens." Jean Cocteau

"Everyone struggles against despair, but it always wins in the end. It has to. It's the thing that lets us say goodbye.” Jeffrey Eugenides

"Great things are not achieved by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion." Kerouac

"The great man is he who does not lose his child's heart." Mencius

"A man is not much if he can't depend on himself, and nothing if others can't depend on him." Benjamin Black

"It is with bad sentiments that one makes good novels." Aldous Huxley

"I still each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, books I want to read, friends I want to talk to." John Burroughs

Saturday, August 18, 2012


…People are coming to my house tonight.  Many people.  One will play guitar and sing.  Some will drink too much.  Hopefully there will be plenty of laughter.

…Next week I go to Portland again.  Like a dolt, I’ve signed up to be part of a Fantasy Football League.  The rule book is 19 pages long.  Plus there’s a handbook of several pages.  I don’t know very much about football, so this will be like setting a pile of money on fire.  But hopefully it will be fun.

…I am slogging through my novel edits.  It’s a horrible process.  I don’t understand people who enjoy tinkering.  I just like to write.  But it’s hard to complain, right?  It’s not like I’m stuck in the blistering sun digging ditches.

…Someone nearby just said, “No good deed goes unpunished.”  I don’t understand a lot of those platitudes.  What does “No good deed goes unpunished” even mean?

…DNA is an interesting thing.  For instance, when I’m at Starbucks and it’s crowded I’ll see couples waiting in line with their kids.  Some of those kids will sharply resemble one parent, sometimes both, sometimes neither.
I guess a lot of it has to do with timing, if you know what I mean.

…I’m slowing making my way through Nick McDonell’s book, “The Third Brother.”  I’m reading it slowly because it’s written in first person, present tense, same as my novel.  It helps me stay in the right frame of mind while editing.  Nick also wrote “Twelve” when he was but 17 years old.  He’s a very talented writer and you’d be glad to read either of his novels.  He has a spare, dead-on style of writing. 
I’d like to meet him some day.

…Here are some things to ponder for the weekend:

-“Any idiot can face a crisis; it's this day-to-day living that wears you out.”
-“The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.”
-“What a fine weather today! Can’t choose whether to drink tea or to hang myself.”
-“Do you see that tree? It is dead but it still sways in the wind with the others. I think it would be like that with me. That if I died I would still be part of life in one way or another.”
-“If you want to work on your art, work on your life.”
-“When you want to touch the reader's heart, try to be colder. It gives their grief a background against which it stands out in greater relief.”
-“There is nothing new in art except talent.”
--Anton Chekhov

-"We are all invincible until the first heart attack."
-"It's always too early for dread."
-"You are your own story."
-"You can't erase the past, but you can live with it."
--Nick Donell, "The Third Brother

"When we are mindful of every nuance of our natural world, we finally get the picture: that we are only given one dazzling moment of life here on Earth, and we must stand before that reality both humbled and elevated, subject to every law of our universe and grateful for our brief but intrinsic participation with it." Elizabeth Gilbert

"Will and I could hardly wait for the morning, to be able to get at something that interested us. That's happiness." Orville Wright, co-inventor of the airplane

"The most violent element in society is ignorance." Emma Goldman

"How can we know the dancer from the dance?" Yeats

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


...As I write this, the beaver is swimming in the lake down below my office.
He’s a big fellow, flopping his tale now and then and sticking his snout out of the water, dog paddling.
I bet he’s bigger than most Labradors.
…Yesterday I gave blood.
I hate giving blood.  I had being punctured.  I never watch them stick the needle in.  I don’t even look when they prick my finger for a sample to test for iron.  The good news is I could never be a heroin addict.
But I’m O+ and it’s an almost universal type, plus they’d sent me a note saying they were down to an all-time low of two day’s supply on hand for my type.

…The reading Sunday night in Bellingham went really well.  It was all poets and me.  I say that because my pieces were really flash writings.  It’s fun to read, and like anything, the more one does it the more improves and gets the chance to learn from others.
I dropped off my daughter, who was meeting a Canadian friend, at 10:00.  That left me with nine hours of free time until the reading.
So I wrote and wrote and wrote some more and I finally finished the shitty first draft of my first novel.
Yay me.
Now I’m working on edits.  Now I recall why I hate working on editing so much.
But, like most jobs, it’s all about showing up, doing the work, keeping one’s head down.
My new mantra has been “Page up by nine.”  That means I have to have my manuscript on screen by nine o’clock and my fingers typing on the keyboard.
So far so good.

…Here are some things I learned that might interest you:

Which of the following would you be most embarrassed to be seen reading in public?
48% -"A Shore Thing," by Snooki
16% -Obama's memoir
11% -National Enquirer
8%   -Romney's memoir
6%   -"Fifty Shades of Grey"

Compared to you own parents, how would you rate yourself as a parent?
59% -The same
36% -A Better parent
3%   -A Worse parent

Which do you think is worse for a person's reputation--filing for divorce or filing for bankruptcy?
67% -Bankruptcy
25% -Divorce

When you go out to a restaurant, how much do you usually tip?
8%     -Over 20 percent
20%  -32 percent
15%  -32 percent
10%  -18 percent
Under 10%  -3 percent
Don't tip  -1%

Only 52 percent of Americans can correctly name the number of justices who sit on the Supreme Court (it's nine)

…I like these things.  Maybe you will, too:

"Oh, friend, think this over carefully!
If you are in love,
then why are you asleep?"

"I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive." Joseph Campbell

"You have everything, and so much of it."  Peggy to Don Draper on "Mad Men"

"Mere survival is an affliction.  What is of interest is life, and the direction of that life." Guy Fregault

Sunday, August 12, 2012


…I hope you’re doing well.  I hope you’re having a wonderful day.

…I am three scenes away from finishing my novel.  That makes me happy.  I should have a shitty first draft done in a few hours.

…I’m sitting at Starbucks in Bellingham, WA.  There are a lot of summer hipsters here.
I like Bellingham.  It has a big art house community and there’s water everywhere.
Tonight I’m doing a reading with other writers here at The Amadeus Project for “Cirque Journal.”  It should be fun.  I like reading.
This is one of the four pieces I’ll be reading.  It was published in PANK and is a favorite of mine.


            She says, “When I kiss you I can feel how much your teeth ache.”

            I kiss her again and she tells me that’s more like it.

            We sleep in.  All day we lay in bed like lumps, like lonesome cats and dogs, pillows becoming our neighbors.  When I ask if she’s hungry, we kiss again.

            She only has seven toes.  I knew this when I first met her.  She was helping out with lawn-mowing as a little girl.  I say, “But seven is a lucky number,” and she takes my chin and wags it in her palm.  “You,” she says, using her nickname for me.  “Oh, You.”

            The last time she tried it, the doctor said it was a cry for attention.  “It’s hard to drown yourself in the bathtub,” he said.  Which made sense.  Which was true.

            But this time she let the bath overflow and used a blade.  Two blunt swipes across the wrist.  She needs stitches, but for now the gauze and ice will have to do.  She’s not ready for the hospital, and, to tell the truth, neither am I.

            I have a book light that I blink off and on beneath the sheets.  “This reminds me of summer camp,” she says.  “I was happy before then.”

            I let her tell me the story.  I don’t say a word.  His name was Ben, a redhead with angry acne.  He said she was dirty.  There was an owl in the tree above them when he did it.  Since then, she sees that owl once a day, if not more.  The bird stares at her, mocks and accuses.

            I hold her hand and put my lips on her fingers.  Her pulse throbs through a wide green vein.  She says, “You know, it might not ever go away,” and I tell her, that’s okay, just don’t leave me. 

She says, “I don’t get you.”

I say, “Don’t worry no one does.”

She kisses me again, soft like Cool Whip, calls me, “You,” and adds “I love.”

Friday, August 10, 2012


Below is an exact transcription of a letter from a 10-year-old named Taylor, which she recently sent to her older sister.

Dear Katy,

Hi! I wanted to write you a letter because I got bored. BoyCat is gone, so I’m assuming he’s dead and the cat at the other apartment is eating his food. Or he ran away. But I’m hoping he’s dead so he didn’t leave us willingly. Because if he ran away he would be the most ungrateful cat ever, cause we bought him the cat food with the tender middles, and that stuff is pretty darn expensive. It makes me sad that I will never ever never see him again, but I’m happy that for the first 2 years of his life he was loved very much. I would’ve played with him if he ever showed up, but he didn’t, so now I want a bird. The type of bird I want is an African Grey Parrot, cause they can talk. I hope mom lets me get one. And I would take care of it. But now that I think about it I wouldnt clean it’s cage and would tire of it pretty quickly. So I don’t want a bird. And if BoyCat came home I definetly couldn’t get one. That would be the most expensive treat he ever would get. But he didn’t really get treats, just food & love. I miss him a lot. He hasn’t shown up for 3-5 weeks. Speaking of 3 weeks I’m growing a venus fly trap, but I had to soak it in water for 3 hours and now I have to keep it in the fridge for 3 weeks. It’s been in for 2. I’m also starting a garden. It’s made up of Poppies, Sweat peas, & wildflowers. Plus I’m growing pinto beans in snapple glasses stuffed with domp paper towels. It’s fun. I went out to lunch with Mom & David today. I got a Caesar Salad with croutons soaked in Olive Oil. My favorite part was the croutons. they were soft, but not soggy. It was the best ever! They were Kinda green like mold, but I ate it anyway. The salad was a little bitter. Last night I made brownies all by myself, they were the best brownies ever. I need to eat some not so excuse me. They are still delicious. Even more so. Yummy Yummy Yummy. If BoyCat aws human he would like them. He has always had a sweet fang. That sounds like a vampire. I vant to suck your high Blood sugar Blood! Do you know why BoyCat left? *Sigh* Too bad. I’m leaving for California on Monday. Guess what? I’m going to Disneyland!!! And I’m flying all by myself! On United or something, I don’t really care. But Disneyland! Isn’t that cool? It’ll my 2nd time. I’m staying at the Jolly Roger, and I told Mom it sounded ghetto but apparently it’s not. Also, Justins birthday is coming up so me & Mom are getting him something. So if you (Continuedd in 6) forgot, I just saved your butt! But mom probabley reminded you, or you remembered. How is your job? I hope you at least like them, or else that kinda sucks. I don’t want to ever get a job because there is nothing I like to do other than read and watch movies. I don’t want to be a book editor cause those people can correct their own darn mistakes, & I can’t be a movie critic because then I’ll turn really fat, like 700 lbs, & will never get an employed husband which is pretty much my only way out. But I don’t want a husband unless I want kids. I’ll probably change my mind later but that’s what I want now. I got married to BoyCat twice. The first time I got all the chairs and put them in rows then filled them with stuffed animals & got married to him. Then we renewed our vows in a bathroom. I was crying cause Mom wouldn’t come. Well my hands tired so I love you lots and am no longer bored.




Tuesday, August 7, 2012


…What's it mean?
I don’t know.  You tell me.

-51% of women believe in love at first sight and have actually experienced it.

-The average man has 1-5 neck ties in his closet
-5 of men still have clothes in their closet left over from high school
-32% of women have secretly thrown away something from their man's closet
-10% of people have had sex in their closet
-7 out 0f 10 men regularly feel underdressed
--1 in 2 men say their clothing accurately reflects their personality
-65% of women feel their man's warddrobe needs a makeover

-On average, Tuesday through Sunday, people spend 24 minutes complaining.
On Monday it's 32 minutes

-54% of women work more than 8 hours a day
-41% of men do
-11% of women work more than 5 days per week
-7% of men do

If you started a job and didn't like it, how long would you stay?
91% -Up to a year
9%   -More than a year

Hewlett Packard plans to cute 27,000 jobs by 2014

Percentage who are financially prepared to live to:
Age 75 --56%
Age 85 --46%
Age 95 --36%

American's spent $62.4 Billion on weight loss products in 2011, up 10% from 2006

Foreign Countries who own the most US land:
#1 Canada
#2 Netherlands
#3 Germany
#4 United Kingdom
#5 Denmark

43% --The Percentage of people who think the world recession will strengthen American character
43% --Percentage who think it will weaken American character

Percentage of workers who say they use all of their allotted vacation time:
-89% France
-77% Britain
-77% Spain
-75% Germany
-67% Russia
-57% USA

How often do you check your work email/voice mail on vacation?
Never -41%
Sometimes -34%
Regularly -20%
Constantly -4%

Parents lose sleep worrying about their children's:
30% --Financial security
21% --Health
20% --Education
18% --Values
11% --Friendships

58% of High School seniors admit to texting or emailing while driving

Every sixty minutes 29,000 status updates are put up on Facebook
29% --Drop in value of Facebook shares since it's debut one month ago

Each year 20 to 35 people jump to their death off the Golden Gate Bridge

Studies show that people who stay up until 2am or later eat an average of 250 more calories than others

Biggest categories of consumer sports equipment sales in 2011 (in Billions):
Firearms/Hunting --$2.9
Golf --$2.5
Fishing --$2.0
Camping --$1.8
Optical Goods --$1.3

States with the highest gas taxes (cents per gallon)
Washington --37.5
North Carolina --35.2
West Virginia --32.2
Rhode Island --32
Pennsylvania --31.2

Wal-Mart is now the Mexico's biggest employer

10, 000 people retire every day in the U.S.

America's five most violent cities are these:
#5 --Memphis, TN
#4 --New Haven, CT
#3 --St. Louis, MO
#2 --Detroit, MI
#1 --Flint, MI

How readers got their most recent book:
48% --Purchased it
24% --Borrowed it
14% --Library
13% --Other

Sunday, August 5, 2012


…There are few pursuits where rejection is more commonplace than writing.  Acting, perhaps.  Maybe music.  Some of other arts then.

Writing is personal and subjective.  What one person likes, another loathes.

You throw yourself out there and a lot times you come caroming back, boomeranging back. 

It takes a lot of guts vat and a person has to have a tough shell.  It reminds me of saying to someone, “Go ahead, take a whack at me.  Hit me in the gut as hard as you can.”

I got novel rejected the day before.  The editor who asked to see it was the same one who picked my story to be the winner at the PNWA Writer’s Conference.  He said I’d won by a long shot and wanted to see anything else I had.  I warned him that the story I’d written wasn’t my usual fare, that typically I write dark fiction where the characters struggle mightily and often suffer tragically.  I could tell he didn’t believe me.  He said, send me you novel anyway.

So it came back with a blunt note saying “Sorry, the story just didn’t grab me.”

And that’s okay, because a novel has to entirely believe in your work if they’re going to support it.  The problem is, after a while, I start disbelieving in the novel myself.  Maybe it’s not very good, maybe it’s too quirky or poorly written.   

You send your work out and you wait, and when it comes back, even if it’s accompanied with a kind note, it stings.  Always, it does.

Yesterday I got a poem rejected.  Funny, because that same piece has already been published and since I sent it out to the rejecting publisher almost a year ago, I’d already assumed he passed on it.  Said publisher said he “admired my writing” and would like to see more.  I guess the thing to do is believe him.

In her book, “Bird By Bird” Anne Lamott says, “Try not to feel sorry for yourself.  You’re the one who wanted to be a writer.”  That’s true, but self-pity sinks in now and then, whether one tries to shield themselves from it or not.

It’s a part of the game.

A friend of mine said, “Getting published isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”  She has a book out, of course, and therefore has license to spout such a thing.

And maybe it’s not all it seems.  I’ve had just under 700 short pieces published, I’ve won some contests and prizes, and my debut collection is coming out in a couple of years.  Still none of that is good enough to buffer the latest rejection.  I’m always left wandering, always left wanting more.

Maybe I’m a greedy bastard, a whiner.  Certainly, I’m better at feeling sorry for myself than the next guy or gal.

I’m okay.  Just a little self-reflection and ranting.  I don’t do that often here.  But it sort of felt good to get it out.  Hope you don’t mind.

Now I’m off to work on the novel which I hope to finish in days, polish, polish some more, and then shoot it out to the ether.

Wish me luck.

Friday, August 3, 2012


...It's another sunny day here, sky the color of a baby blue quilt.
So, for some reason, i wrote this...

                                                            Abundant Sunshine

            There was something wrong with the baby.  Sunlight could kill it.  My wife blamed herself, thinking it was payback from all the drugs she took in college.  When I said, “That’s crazy talk,” she reached up and slapped me.

            The baby had my nose already, but her forehead.  It looked like a normal newborn, squished and rashy. 

            Doctors said it was an extremely rare condition.  One said there were ways around it.  Another, “Things could be worse.”

            The baby’s mother and I fought about how to proceed, fought so much that we didn’t seem married anymore.

            And then we weren’t.

            Whenever I visited after that, there were always other women in the house.  They wore old-fashioned capes and matching bonnets, never smiled or spoke.

            My wife thought the child possessed, maybe even a vampire.  Canisters with burning incense tossed off a bonfire smell.

            I hired a lawyer.  I called the county.  They all said the same thing—everyone rears a child differently.

            So I gave up, made her happy, and moved to a country near the equator.  I found a new woman and got married.  Every day of the year we have sun, abundant sunshine, but no kids.