Category Archives: new projects

Living On After Writing

I finished a novel over the weekend. It was one of those novels that you have to write before you die because anything short of finishing it would leave your whole life incomplete.

So, now that it is finished, I can go ahead and die, right?

4clownsWell, of course, it is not as simple as that.  I created a cover for it.  But it is not proofread and formatted and I have to give it time to cool down, being fresh out of the oven, before I read it over again, make adjustments, and publish it.  And I have two other novel drafts that haven’t yet reached the published state of being.  So, I better put off dying for just a bit.  Any clown can tell you that giving birth to a novel that you have been composing for 4o years and writing down for six months takes a lot out of you.  And you have to stop and take a breath.  At least one.  Before you forge ahead with the next one.  I do have Recipes for Gingerbread Children already formatted and I am working through the final edit.  I am still in poor health yet and could drop dead at any moment.  My computer is all funky from some sort of virus, hopefully not computer flu… or computer black death.  So, I am still in a mad rush to beat an unknown deadline beyond which I am really dead.

I don’t have the luxury of dying yet.


I have to deal with the death of another beloved character,  I can’t seem to write a comedy adventure novel without killing somebody at the end of it.  Shakespearian comedies all end in marriages, and it is the tragedies that end in mass deaths.  But like any clown, I have most things backward in my life.  You learn that as a teacher in public schools, you really are just another form of professional fool pursuing your profession foolishly.  That is kinda what life is for.  And it doesn’t change when you retire and try to become a foolish writer of foolish novels to leave behind as a foolish legacy to a whole foolish world.


But, as for the question of whether there is life after writing… I really don’t know, and I am still not ready to find out.

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Filed under autobiography, humor, illness, new projects, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Fighting Back


The sad truth is that as this world progresses in the days since the Trump election, it becomes harder and harder to stay positive and happy.  It becomes easier and easier to figuratively stub your toe on the bad news each new day brings and fall into the deep dark pit of black depression.

Just after signing the paperwork for the bankruptcy, I get a couple of explanation pages from my health insurance, assuring me that I will have to pay somewhere around $4500 for my emergency room visit and 3-day hospital stay.  After I earned my first $100 dollars as an Uber driver, I ran over a glass bottle and punctured a tire in its sidewall, costing me over $100 to replace it.  And my bank account, in spite of scraping and saving and spending money like Scrooge McDuck, a thoroughly squeezed nickel at a time, does not contain near enough money to pay this year’s property tax.  In spite of the blood, sweat, and money put into this last summer’s pool crisis, we may still lose the house.  I may soon fall off of that cloud that I stand on.

The Trumpinator hasn’t been helping.  He got the tax plan passed that benefits him to the tune of $12 million dollars every year, and may give me $50, or nothing, or I may even have to pay more.  His tax plan removes the mandate from Obamacare that was its tentpole, probably causing its imminent collapse.  $4500 may only be the first wound in that battle.  And none of the terrible things he says and does get him even a hint of condemnation from the Republican Toad Army that backs him.  We are headed for even greater levels of income inequality, possible revolution and civil war, and general chaos, assuming North Korea doesn’t begin nuking us first.


But the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune do not find their target completely undefended.  I have ways of dealing with double-danged downers that are all but unknown to those who are basically unartistical.  (Yes, I know that is not a word in English, but I am creative.)

Do you remember that little perfume-bottle figurine that I bought at Goodwill and vowed in this goofy blog to repaint to express my artistical madness and creativiticockle?  (Yes, I know that isn’t a word in English either.)  I broke out the enamels and the acrylics and the brushes and the other stuff, and invited my daughter the Princess to paint with me.  She got out her ceramic dragon, a middle school art project that she never yet finished painting, and we both set to work.

We talked and joked and laughed at the table in the family room.  We talked about art styles and painting techniques.  We talked about art classes at school.  We talked about many important father/daughter artists sorts of things, and the regret we both have for never seriously trying to learn to play music.


And the result was the healing of many old heart-wounds and the painting of many spots of very nice paints. You can definitely fight back against a world of darkness by creating rebellious little acts of artistry.


Filed under artwork, autobiography, battling depression, commentary, daughters, feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, grumpiness, happiness, healing, new projects, photo paffoonies, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The Hardest Part to Write


I finished a novel rough draft today.  But the end is not the hardest part to write.  Well, this one was, but not because it was the end of the story.  It was the part where a character you have carefully crafted over time, and really learned to love, has to die because that is simply how the story goes.  It was not a sad death, or an unresolved death, as such.  It was a fulfilled life of meaning and magic that simply came to its ending point.  My own real-life story may come to an end sometime in near the future too, and I can only hope it is half as much a satisfying completion as this one was.  And yet, my heart is sore from having written it.

The novel is called Recipes for Gingerbread Children.  It is a story of a little old lady.  She is alone in the world, except for the people in the little Iowa town where she is now living, especially the middle school age people who gather at her house to eat her gingerbread cookies and listen to her German fairy tales.  She was also a concentration camp survivor, so this story has Nazis in it.  Don’t worry though.  They are dead Nazis.  And there is a werewolf in it.  But only a baby werewolf.  Oh, and there are two twin teenage girls who are practicing nudists in it.  But you probably aren’t worried about them.  There are also fairies in it.  She tells fairy stories, after all.  And the whole book is more or less a collection of fairy stories.  And there is a lot of magical gingerbread cookies.

But I had to write the “character dies” part that I knew was coming for about six months.  It is the part that will make or break the story.  It is the part I will most need to polish and rewrite.  But the fact remains, the story ends with a death.  So there is that.  Life with gingerbread in it is also life that eventually comes to an end.


And that part of the story is always really, really hard to write.

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Filed under feeling sorry for myself, humor, new projects, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, writing

Stop What You’re Doing and Fix It!


The gate leading to the pool was broken.


The pool itself was broken.  See all the cracks?


So the city inspector said, “Fix it or else!”

I had some old boards from the fence I took down.  And as an Iowa farm boy, I have skills.


So I fixed it.  For less than $20 .  New hinges and corner brackets, but I used old nails.

Now, to repair the danged pool my own little self.


Filed under cleaning genii, feeling sorry for myself, grumpiness, homely art, humor, new projects, photo paffoonies, work in progress

Spitzen Sparkin Time Again


Today I need to take some deep breaths.  My computer betrayed me just now.  I had been working on today’s intended post for a week with pictures and posing dolls and writing dialogue.  Then, as I was one more panel from the end, the computer pulled another one of its malfunctioning fits.  In a matter of two seconds it highlighted everything I had written on the WordPress writer, deleted it, and saved the changes.  This is now the seventh time the computer has done this.  And I have gotten used to it enough that I have bits and pieces of the work saved.  I can re-construct the piece for tomorrow.  But I was almost angry enough to dash the stupid word-munching machine against the far wall.  So I need calming thoughts.


Here is a recent picture of a visitor to the park across the street.  A snowy egret… well, in Texas, more properly called a cattle egret.  I snapped this picture while walking the dog.  Jade the dog did not even spook the thing, since she is littler than it is and timid of birds with glaring yellow eyes.  I didn’t realize I had a use for this picture until now.


Calming thoughts are doubly necessary today.  While I was composing my post, and ignorantly being unaware that my computer was about to eat it, I got a phone call from Page Publishing.  They have looked over the manuscript for Magical Miss Morgan, and have approved it for publication.  Of course, this is not only not a publisher that pays anything up front, they also require the author to invest money in the book’s production.  But they did tell me they do consider using the author’s own artwork for the cover.  And I do have credit again for the first time in three years, at least until Bank of America bankrupts me with their lawsuit.  The dawn photos I put into this post are particularly appropriate.  Calming thoughts with a bit of turbulence in the background.  And the computer tried twice to delete this while I wrote it.  But I foiled it each time.

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Filed under blog posting, humor, insight, new projects, photo paffoonies, publishing

A Full-Color Rough Draft

As terrible as my first published novel turned out to be, I have not given up on the idea of Aeroquest.  I am interested in whipping a part of it into the shape of a graphic novel.  So I bought a sketchbook and noodled down some Baby Mutant Space Ninjas gunk into it in full color.  But it is only a rough draft.  It is not finished artwork.  I can’t get over how pretty and colorful it is turning out to be.  I thought I would show you how it is going so far.












There are obvious signs that the dialogue and text boxes need to turned into a more finished form.  And serious editing decisions probably need to be made about moon shots.

Here is what it looks like to use computer editing to try to fix some of the problems.


I will continue to work on it, but I needed something to post today.  And sometimes you need to consider the work-in-progress warts and all.





Filed under art editing, cartoons, humor, new projects, Paffooney

Project Updates

Being a divergent thinker and guilty of trying to waltz down seven different paths at the same time, I have various projects going all at once.  I can’t always keep track.  So, I am going to take time out of planning to haunt people when I’m a ghost to take inventory of a few of the things I am juggling while trying to blog and write novels and draw pictures.  You may remember from posts related to playing with dolls that I am a collector with hoarding disorder and a room full of action figures and dolls.  You may even remember that I finished a year-long collection of My Little Pony dolls (the twelve-inch Equestria Girls, because the ponies themselves are not within the rules).  I took up a bigger collection after that.  The prices of some of these are coming down on the bargain shelf, and they are somewhat intriguing in concept for girls’ toys.  They are the Monster High dolls.

Monster Babes

These are twelve-inch dolls for under $20, and so they qualify, even though they are totally deformed with Chibi-like big heads.  They are supposedly the teenage children of the Universal Movie Monsters.  Starting on the left, Howleen Wolf is the daughter of the Wolfman.  Then I have two Cleo de Niles, the daughter of the Mummy.  One is the Black Carpet movie-maker version, apparently being played by a very young Gloria Swanson.  (The one on the left.)  The other version is wearing the family mummy-wraps.  Then I have Howleen’s sister, Clawdeen.  Unfortunately, the bargain shelf at Walmart is often ravaged by little-kid pilferers.  I am short a pair of golden shoes and a couple of undetermined accessories that were pulled out of the bottom of the box.  I am grateful to the thieves, because although there are no mint-in-boxes here, I was able to get the dolls at a reduced-for-damage price.  Now, you probably realize that this collection is not finished.  I have reason to believe there are other movie-monster children in the series.  Dracula has a daughter.  The creature from the Black Lagoon does too.  So does Frankenstein’s monster.  I believe there may even be a daughter of the man-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors.  How can someone with my mental diseases and disorders possibly resist that?

Flower Wagon 1The next project to check on is the flower wagon.  Last year, while cleaning rain gutters and raking up acorns, I managed to leave the kids’ little red wagon full of the stuff.  The unnaturally wet spring we had led to a bumper crop of weeds in the organic mess that I left there over-long.  Not willing to look a gift horse in the mouth for fear it may be filled with tiny, angry Greeks, I decided to pull out the weeds by hand, and plant flowers.  I got zinnias from Walmart  (Yes, I know what kind of poopy people the Walmart owners and pharaohs are, but I can’t really afford to shop anywhere else.  They didn’t leave anybody else in business.)  I planted carefully.  I let God do the watering.  (And prayed he wouldn’t drown them,)  And then I waited.  The last time I checked on the wagon, the flowers had made it this far;

Flower Wagon 2

I can’t wait to see if anything dares to bloom.  I want to post the happy little flower faces on my next update.  And I promise to get back to plotting future hauntings.   I have already chosen as my target the worst principal I ever had (a hard choice to make from a rogues gallery that puts Batman’s to shame).


Filed under humor, new projects, photo paffoonies