Category Archives: Paffooney

The Ultimate Goal

My only mountain left to climb in this life (taking into account that my health problems prevent me from climbing literal mountains) is to write that one final masterpiece that defines me as a writer.

The book on the left is definitely not going to be the one. It takes something more than a mere comic science fiction novel. It has to be a serious masterpiece. Like how A Tale of Two Cities defines the writing career of Charles Dickens. Or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn defines Mark Twain. Or Ernest Hemingway is best displayed in the pages of The Sun Also Rises. Or William Faulkner is at the pinnacle of his writing power in The Sound and the Fury. Or Michael Crichton entered the Pantheon of the Writing Gods with Jurassic Park. Or Saul Bellow mastered it with Henderson the Rain King.

By the way, if you add Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native and Thomas Mann’s Der Zauberberg (The Magic Mountain) to the list of masterpiece novels, you now possess Mickey’s List of novels you absolutely have to read to have any hope of becoming a really great novelist yourself… or a list of the books you have to read to know “what in the ever-loving heck” Mickey is talking about when he talks about novel-writing.

I believe, and several nudists agree, that Recipes for Gingerbread Children is one of the best things that I have written. It is not something that attracts readers like moths to a candle-flame, though. It does have naked twin teenage girls in it who unapologetically practice nudism at home and with their willing friends whenever and wherever possible. That turns some readers off. But it is a novel about a story-teller telling fairy tales until she finally has to face the story of her own survival in the Nazi death camps in World War II. The story has power and a theme of how love conquers fear and terrible loss. But I don’t believe that book is the best that I can do.

My novel The Baby Werewolf is among the best writing I have done. I think it definitely shows what skills I have at organizing a fiction story told entirely in first person, creating believable characters in a B-Movie world, satirizing the horror genre, and at the same time dealing with my own personal demons surrounding being the survivor of a sexual assault by a sexual predator.

It shares plot and characters and even events with Recipes, and the two books should be read in tandem. That and other small drawbacks prevent it from really being my masterpiece.

Magical Miss Morgan contains all the fictionalized versions of my teacher stories based on my thirty-one years as a teacher, working with some teachers who were far better than I ever was, and some really incredible kids.

I think, as semi-autobiographical fiction goes, it is one of my best novels, but won’t end up being the best that I have written when all things are said and done.

I also think Sing Sad Songs and A Field Guide to Fauns are among my very best endeavors. But neither one of those is the best work I have done either.

I would have to say that at this moment, Snow Babies is the best novel I have already written. More actual human beings have read and fallen in love with this story than anything else I have written. Is it my masterpiece? I hope not. I hope that I still have one more in me that will be even better. Right now my work in progress is The Boy Who Rose on a Golden Wing. At 4,000 words, it feels like a good one. Will it be my very best? I don’t know. But as long as there is breath in me, I will keep on writing and hoping.

Leave a comment

Filed under humor, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, writing teacher

Art Influenced by the Boob Tube

Yes, it is very possible that my imagination was galvanized in childhood by TV.

It seems to me that NBC had even more power over me than the other two networks. We could get CBS and ABC on our black-and-white TV. But the only NBC affiliate in Iowa was not able to be received in our little town. We had to go to Grandma’s house in Mason City where Grandma had a color TV.

Wow! Color!

Of course, it used to be referred to as the “Boob Tube” because psychologists and people who mattered kept saying that TV makes you stupid. Which, naturally, has a grain of truth to it because you don’t watch TV actively. You sit there and passively let the stories, commercials, and propaganda about sugary breakfast cereals flow in one ear, poison your brain, and then flow out the other ear leaving only water-logged thinking-muscles behind them.

The Saturday Matinees on CBS provided my youthful imagination with science fiction, fantasy, and heroes of all kinds.

I taught myself to draw cartoon characters based on the animated shows I watched on TV. I not only copied Mickey, for obvious reasons, but also Donald and Daffy Ducks, Space Ghost, Jonny Quest, Yogi Bear, and the Herculoids.

And Batman! With Adam West and Burt Ward and Cesar Romero as the Joker. Bam! Boff! Sock! Pow! Bright colors, goofy Riddler plots, and really bad jokes that were so bad they made you laugh.

And I loved monster movies. Not horror movies really. I never loved Freddy Krueger or Jason. But the Wolfman? Frankenstein’s Monster? Bela Lugosi’s Dracula? The Creature from the Black Lagoon? My inspirations!

And, of course, Disney on Sunday nights. The Wonderful World of Disney in living color.

Leave a comment

Filed under artwork, autobiography, humor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, TV review

Drawing from the Past

It is almost impossible to accurately draw from the future. One of the tests of good science fiction is how much of it finds its way into reality over time.

Computers and communicators and scanners and material printers are doing things daily now that were predicted as fantastical possibilities in the Star Trek episodes of the 1960’s.

Jules Verne’s novels predicted men walking on the moon and the existence of nuclear submarines patrolling the depths of the sea.

George Orwell predicted even worse things when it comes to government electronic surveillance and governmental control of everything they can take control of.

But it has never really been the future that my writing, as a fantasist/surrealist, has been about.

All of my writing is set either before the year 2000, or 3000 years in the future in the 51st Century and beyond. And all of the science fiction involved is really more about the past than it is even about the present. These drawings of the Civil War bugle boy and the Shakespearian portrait of Prospero, Ferdinand, and Miranda, were all drawn from either photos or paintings or woodcut prints from the distant past.

In my writing I don’t try to predict the future. I write about people who are basically the same now as they were in the 16th Century. In truth, only the costumes, props, and stage technology change over time. The actors in the great performance always play the same basic characters.

2 Comments

Filed under irony, nostalgia, old art, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, surrealism

Crazy Nut Images I Once Drew

Yes, I did not misspell the word “tiger.”

This picture was intended to depict the William Blake poem,

Here’s the start of the poem from Blake’s own self-published book.

So, who is the crazy nut? Blake? Or me?

Well, if you look at the piercing eyes of the Tyger in my drawing… obviously… me!

Consider the many humble self-portraits I have drawn over a lifetime.

Yep, definitely evidence in those self-portraits.

I admit to often seeing things that aren’t really there. And from strange viewpoints.

I have a tendency to see things through the lens of history.

And there are terrors in the past as well as the present.

But mostly, the crazy nuttiness is all a joke.

1 Comment

Filed under artwork, autobiography, goofy thoughts, humor, old art, Paffooney, Uncategorized

AeroQuest 4… Nocturne 12

Nocturne 12 – The Flower Planet Rising

While Ged Aero-sensei and Naylund Smith-sensei were busy flying the Super Rooster towards the planet Cornucopea, the White Spider students gathered in the recreation room with the forward view on the holoscreen.   

Mai Ling and Taffy King sat together on the floor, missing their third since Jadalaqstbr hadn’t returned from her mission until after they had collectively left.

Shu Kwai, wearing his white vest and white pants stood on the starboard side of the viewing screen.  Hassan Parker, nude except for the goofy red fez on his head (since he was dedicated to the goofy nudity notions of the Classical Worlds, also known as Space Nudists,) stood next to him.

Gyro Sinjarac, the blue-skinned Nebulon, and his best friend Billy Iowa both wore their cowboy hats, boots, and space-cowboy clothes sitting in the middle of the floor.

Junior Aero, blue-skinned Nebulon, and his beloved young lady friend, Sara Smith.  Stood together at the back of the group holding hands.

The planet kept looming larger and larger in the viewing screen.  It was amazingly green compared to similar planets where life wasn’t merely thriving, but exploding with life.  Most such planets were blue from immense bodies of water.

“So, this is a dangerous planet, huh?” asked Mai Ling.

“Yes, those Throckpods were trying to rip my head off and drink my blood,” said Sara.

Taffy King shivered.  “I hate the idea of plants that can move and talk… and eat you.”

“Yeah, and it will be worse for us than it was for you, Sara,” Mai Ling said.

“Oh, how so?”

“You had your boyfriend there to protect you,” she said.  “Our boyfriends… Taffy’s and mine, are not along to protect us.”

“You two have boyfriends?”

“Taffy loves Rocket,” Gyro blurted out with accompanying giggles.

“But… you, Mai Ling?”

Mai Ling blushed deeply.  “Yeah, um…  Phoenix says of all the girls he’s met before, I’m the one he likes the most.”

Everyone laughed awkwardly, more from embarrassment than anything else.  But no one argued either.  They all instantly realized that Phoenix did treat Mai Ling differently. He wasn’t cruel to her.

“So, what about Billy, Gyro, Shu, and Hassan?” Junior asked.  “Who are they supposed to protect.”

“Well, it’s rather obvious that Gyro and Billy are in love,” said Taffy with a cruel grin.  “And Shu Kwai is more of a monk than a man.  And who’s even gonna get near the naked kid?”

Shu Kwai frowned at the teasing, and Hassan looked quite sad for reasons unknown.

“Well, my clairvoyance is pinging right now with answers to all of it,” said Billy Iowa.  “I see Gyro with an Earther wife and ten blue kids of varying ages.  And Junior and Sara will marry and have a pair of blue twins, a boy and girl… Robert and Valerie, I think.”

“Oh, what about Phoenix and me?” squeaked Mai Ling.

“Well… you do get married… but…”

“Oh, no!  What?”

“You can’t have kids of your own.  You have to adopt… I think.”

“And what about Rocket and me?” Taffy asked.

“One son, Alfred Einstein Rogers.  He’s such a handful you both decide never to have any more.”

“What about Shu?”

“Well, he’s going to be a great teacher, and first among all the White Spider Disciples.”

“Of course he is,” scoffed Taffy.

“And Hassan?”

Suddenly Billy’s face grew pale and the look on his face was the kind of horrified you associate with seeing ghosts.

“No!  Don’t say it.  I don’t want to know.”  Hassan folded his arms across his chest and glared at Billy.

“Do… do you already know it?”

“The curse?  It isn’t really any of your business.  Take your time-snooping nose out of my future.  Don’t you dare tell anyone.”

“Okay.  Okay… I wish I could forget it… myself.”

“I’ll take care of it for you,” Hassan said, putting his first two fingers of his right hand to Billy’s temple and pouring blueish telepathic energy into the side of Billy’s head. That, of course, left everyone so stunned about Hassan’s terrible secret that all the romance and future-children stuff was promptly forgotten.

Leave a comment

Filed under aliens, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, satire, science fiction

Down the Gravel Road

Today I took my number-two son to the airport. He is determined to see friends in California over the course of his two-and-a-half days off. So, he is traveling during a pandemic. But he has had Covid already and is probably still pretty much immune.

It left me with some thinking time on the drive home from the airport, though it cut into my actual writing time.

Work has begun on The Boy Who Rose on a Golden Wing. It is a project that will take some time.

That is a story about growing up and overcoming bipolar disorder and depression. It will be for older teens.

And I have an idea that blossomed from this old illustration. I was thinking about it while driving. I want to write a book about a talking dog. It will be targeted more for younger kids. He solves crimes on the Niland farm and in the rural Iowa town where the Niland family lives and goes to church. Of course, though the character is based mostly on Mr. Peabody from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, Horatio T. Dogg is also based on my own talking dog, Jade Beyer. In the story Horatio T. Dogg, Super Sleuth, the dog actually only talks to his owner, Bobby Niland. Much in the same way that Jade only talks to me.

Dang! Just what I need. Another story idea that I need to write before I die. I will have to stay alive until I’m 125.

1 Comment

Filed under announcement, battling depression, humor, novel writing, Paffooney

The Art-Day Art of Responsibility

We, each one, have a certain RESPONSIBILITY if we are born alive into human life.

The root of the word is RESPOND. And that means we have developed a complexity of mind and beo havior that allows us to RESPOND to situations and problems that you haven’t encountered before.

Because we can RESPOND, we must RESPOND. That is how we come to acquire RESPONSIBILITY.f

When I got out of Iowa State University, I had to RESPOND to the situation where I was educated and legally an adult, and I had to somehow support myself in life. I suppose I could have chosen to live in my parents’ basement and done nothing with my life but draw and paint and eventually get fat. That is a way to RESPOND to that situation. And I had a RESPONSIBILITY to RESPOND.

But, choosing between a job doing artwork for the print shop in Belmond, or going to Grad School at the University of Iowa to get a teaching certificate, I took note of the fact that I liked younger kids a lot and got along with them quite well. So, I decided to RESPOND with a bit of teachering.

It turns out that this was a much wiser course of action in that, by the time I got out of the University of Iowa with a Master’s Degree in Education, my parents had to move to Texas in order to fulfill my father’s RESPONSIBILITY to the Lords of Accountancy and continue to wrestle with the evils of business numbers for the good of all mankind.

I would not have been able to continue to live in my parents’ basement, and being homeless in Iowa in the winter is a rather cold and lonely situation.

I had a RESPONSIBILITY to choose a life path.

I was fortunate enough to choose a good one. One that fit nicely into where my talents lay, and what I was able to do well.

I became RESPONSIBLE for lives, well-being, and intellectual development of kids (young human beings, not goats.)

I turns out that, with practice, I was eventually quite good at teachering. I got through to a lot of kids (even some of whom really were goats underneath it all.)

I feel like, in the long run, I artfully handled my RESPONSIBILITY to life, the universe, and everything. But now that I am teachering no more, I am RESPONSIBLE for doing something further with my life. This blog post is part of the becoming an artist and a writer RESPONCE.

The younger me with a favorite student expressing his deep respect for me with the War on Ignorance going on all around us.

Leave a comment

Filed under artwork, autobiography, humor, kids, Paffooney

Truthfully Again…

  1. Truthfully… I am glad I never tried to use this cover idea for Snow Babies. Naked kids do not give the right impression about the book. The snow babies themselves are spirits of the frozen dead. But this is not a horror story. And besides, the title refers to the kids in the story who aren’t ghosts as well, particularly Valerie Clarke, the female protagonist.
  2. Truthfully… I just got another five-star review on Snow Babies through Amazon. It now has ten, with one four-star review. While at least three of those five-star review are honest reviews by someone who read and loved the story, I believe most of them didn’t read the whole book, or only read a small portion of it, judging it five-star from reading the other reviews. Most of the reviewers come from Pubby where they must read a book and review it in four days or fewer to earn points they can put toward their own books getting reviewed. So, I understand why they don’t fully commit to the reading of the whole book. There is, however, evidence that some of them review my books without reading it at all.
  3. Truthfully…As a reviewer I try to read the whole book, even the long ones, before reviewing them. But some books submitted to the Pubby library are written by really awful or untalented authors. Still, I read as much as I can stand in the four days given, and I rate them as highly as I can justify it to myself. I have given only one two-star review, and no one-star reviews at all. But I have had to put a lot of three-stars on books that didn’t deserve it. Those authors have spent money on the service just as I did. They deserve something for their money. I see a lot of books, though, that I know are awful getting five or four stars.
  1. Truthfully,,, A while back I lost a dog here in Carrollton, my sister-in-law’s dog. And I only got it back because neighbors found it and made an effort to get it back to us. My butt was rescued from my wife’s fury by a good lady who found the dog hiding in her garage and posted it on the local news website, having remembered I had been asking around the neighborhood about it before she found it, but not remembering my name or address. Today my daughter and I rescued another fluffy little poodle-like dog who was obviously lost and wandering about the park near our house.
  2. Truthfully… Our effort didn’t amount to much since we couldn’t get the dog to come close enough to check for a collar with a phone number on it, like the last lost dog we rescued. But, as I went in to call animal control, my daughter watched it sniff around, preventing it from wandering too far or going into the street in front of cars. And as she watched it, the family of the little girl who owned and loved the dog were driving around looking for it, and they found it near our yard, called it by name, and it joyfully hopped in the car and directly into the arms of the relieved little girl. I do love a happy ending.
A painting by Maxfield Parrish
  1. Truthfully… I still think of myself as a nudist. In my head I have been one since childhood. But I am hardly ever nude. My chances of going back to a nudist facility and experiencing social nudity again are practically nil because my health is too poor and I don’t know anyone who would be willing to go with me and take care of me if I had a health crisis. And even working at my computer nude in my bedroom doesn’t happen anymore because psoriasis sores itch too much, and I end up bloody with developing scar tissue.
  2. Truthfully… My stories about nudism continue to do well. A Field Guide to Fauns now has three reader ratings on Amazon, two of five and one of four stars. One of those five stars has no accompanying review, but it still counts. Especially since that book isn’t even on Pubby’s book list.
  3. Truthfully…I still interact every week with friends who are Twitter nudists on Twitter where I often lose followers, especially fundamentalist Christian followers, once they realize I don’t treat nudists and naturists as sinners and perverts.
  4. Truthfully… My blog and my writing have benefitted from knowing real nudists, because they are usually far more accepting and empathetic than average Christians and Muslims.
  5. Truthfully… I like drawing and painting nude humans. There is something more basic and truthful about it than hiding the true form and structure of it underneath clothes.
  1. Truthfully… Everyone could benefit by telling the truth as they know it more often. It cleans out the constant cobwebbing of the mind by telling lies, both to other people, and to yourself. Even the lies you tell as a fiction writer.
  2. Truthfully… There are things on this listicle that I would not have been able to write about just fifteen years ago. The truth does set you free… Not in every single case… But enough to really matter.

Leave a comment

Filed under autobiography, commentary, empathy, humor, lying, Paffooney

Truthfully…

Truthfully… for a fiction writer, a humorist, a former school teacher of junior-high-aged kids, telling the truth is hard.  But in this post I intend to try it, and I will see if I can stand the castor-oil flavor of it on my tongue.

20160424_180210

  • The simple truth is, I rarely tell the unvarnished truth.  And I firmly believe I am not alone in this.
  • Yesterday I battled pirates.  (While this is not literally true, it is metaphorically true.)  They were the scurvy scum o’ the Bank-o’-Merricka Pirates who are suing me for over ten thousand dollars despite my efforts of the last two years to settle 40 thousand dollars worth of credit card debt.
  • I hired a lawyer, but in spite of what he told me, I expect to lose the lawsuit and be wiped out financially.  I also believe Donald Trump will win as President.
  • I am a pessimist.  And it helps me through life.  I am always prepared for the worst, and I can only be surprised by happy and pleasant surprises.
  • My son in the Marines has developed an interest in survivalist gear and chaos-contingency plans.  We are now apparently preparing for the coming zombie apocalypse.
  • 20160424_180244
  • I like to draw nudes.  I have drawn them from real-life models who were paid for their participation.  But no bad things happened.  It was all done with professional integrity even though I am an amateur artist.  Chaperones were a part of every session.
  • In high school I identified as a Republican like my father.  In college I became a Democrat (Thanks, Richard Nixon) and voted for Jimmy Carter.  I argued with my father for eight years of Ronald Reagan and four years of George H.W. Bush.
  • My father has now voted for Barack Obama twice and will vote for Hillary this fall if he is still able.  We spent most of our conversations this summer exchanging “Can you believe its?” about Donald Trump.
  • Blue Dawn
  • I have been collecting pictures of sunrises for three years now.  I stole the idea from my childhood friend who now lives in Florida and takes beautiful ocean sunrise pictures over the Atlantic.  But I do it because I know I don’t have many more sunrises to go.  I have six incurable diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, and COPD.  I could go “BOOM! …dead” at any given moment.  I believe in savoring it while I have it.
  • I was sexually assaulted when I was ten years old.  I can only tell you this particular truth because the man who assaulted me and inflicted physical and emotional pain on me is now dead.  It is liberating to be able to say that.  But I regret forty years’ worth of treating it is a terrible secret that I could never tell anyone.
  • Telling that last truth made me cry.  Now you know why telling the truth is not easy.
  •  
  • I really do love and admire all things having to do with Disney.  And when I was young, I really did want to find a picture of Annette naked.  There was no internet back then.  That quest helped me learn to draw the human form.  I know how bad that sounds… but, hey, I was a normal boy in many ways.  And I don’t draw her naked any more.
  • Finally, I have to say… in all honesty… I don’t know for sure that everything I have told you today is absolutely true.  Truth is a perception, even an opinion.  And I may be wrong about the facts as I know them.  The human mind works in mysterious ways.  I sometimes think I may simply be bedbug crazy.
  • (P.S.) Bedbugs are insects with very limited intelligence.  They cannot, in fact, be crazy or insane.  Their little brains are not complicated enough for that.  But it is a metaphor, and metaphors can be more truthful than literal statements.

1 Comment

Filed under commentary, Disney, drawing, feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, healing, humor, mental health, nudes, Paffooney, pen and ink paffoonies, pessimism, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Mr. Grumpy Holds Forth

(This is an idea that comes from Bruce the Bottle Imp, so, don’t blame me if this humor blog-post isn’t really very funny.)

The thing I am grumpy about today, besides the dog chewing up last night’s pizza box and spreading the shreds all over the kitchen before I had a chance to take it to the trash barrel, is the fact that it seems like the world is ending.

I know, the “How can you say that?” crowd are going to argue with me if I say it’s because we let Adam Sandler get away with making too damn many movies. But in spite of the existence of Jack and Jill, I actually kinda like the cartoons where he plays Dracula and Selena Gomez plays his daughter. So, Sandler doesn’t give me the feelings of existential dread his movies used to provide.

No, I think the reason is because when I went out to walk the dog this morning on a sunshiny and blue-skyed dawn, and took a deep breath of fresh air, I nearly coughed up a lung thanks to that yellow-gray patina delicately painting the horizon.

We are running out of time.

President Grandpa Joe, the mildly confused one, is proposing a huge infrastructure bill that is even larger than the one he rammed through congress without a single Republican vote in order to keep the poor and the middle class from starving and becoming homeless… and potential fuel for the zombie apocalypse. The infrastructure bill will provide a starting point for building green-energy projects, providing thousands of green-energy jobs to an ailing economy, bullet trains and healthcare improvements, and life-changing transformations to rival FDR’s New Deal, which Republicans will also vote against. And he might actually do it if Senator Turtle McConnell doesn’t convince Senator Grumbly-Grampa Joe Manchin to vote against his own party in dismantling the foofy filibuster and then voting down the infrastructure bill both to fully insure the extinction of the human race.

For some reason, probably involving dark money, Republicans want so badly to see all middle class and poor people die a horrible death that they are willing to sacrifice the lives of their own grandchildren and great grandchildren. After all, they will mostly all be undead and undying critters by that time, and they won’t want pesky younger generations to support using money from their treasure hordes that they are planning to swim in like Scrooge McDuck for eternity.

I am also deeply grumpified by the whole Congressman Eddy Munster… er, I mean… Matt Gaetz thing (seen pictured in the Vampyr Paffooney above.) That happy-go-lucky blood-sucker is facing child sex-trafficking charges involving a 17-year-old girl, and the investigation was started under Attorney General Bill Barr, Trump’s Fred-Flintstone-impersonating, Yabba-dabba-doo collusion-denier. Senator Al Franken(berry) of Minnesota, a leading Democrat, had to resign from the Senate over a picture where he wasn’t actually touching the sleeping Republican-lady’s boobs, just making a crude joke-photo the way former Saturday Night Live comedians will often do… er, well… doo doo. But Eddy Matt Gaetz doesn’t have to resign, or even give up his assignment to the Judiciary Committee. And that’s because we’re okay with unindicted criminals running our country, just not Democrats.

I hate to say it, but, now that we have gotten rid of the Orange Prexydent at long last, if we still can’t prevent human extinction, we deserve what’s coming to us. We have work to do…. and things to grumble about… and Republicans have acts of vampire-evil to commit.

Leave a comment

Filed under angry rant, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, humor, Paffooney, politics, satire