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Today was the funeral. We attended by Facebook Live. You couldn’t understand what the minister was saying over static and feedback. And you couldn’t see or talk to anybody who was there. My two sisters were there. My sister Mary’s husband and two kids were there. My mother was there. And twenty people attended by Facebook. My father deserved more. But Covid 19 doesn’t make bargains… or play fair. So, we make compromises with time and circumstance. We are patient and we endure. That is what my father taught us to do. And so, we honor him in the only way we can.


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Aggressively Writing with No Ideas

My mind is numb. I just awoke from a diabetes-enforced nap that I hadn’t planned to take, so I lost about half an hour. I had to edit my own father’s obituary this morning. It goes to the Belmond Independent local newspaper later today. The service will happen over Facebook Live direct from the funeral home. And I don’t feel like writing. But I will anyway. Writing is the only life I have left in me after this gawd-awful pandemic and even worse, plague of a presidon’t… namely Presidon’t Tronald Dump. He was never my president. Still not. I check my watch… still not. But I don’t have a watch. Can’t afford it after the Big Dump.

Looking at my invisible watch again…

Nope, still not.

My latest novel will be free in a Weekend Promotion of the e-book format starting tomorrow, Friday, November 20th.

Did you realize that you can’t have a Friday the 20th without having first survived a previous Friday the 13th.

Didn’t know that? You were obviously never a member of the Knights Templar.

The children in the above pen and ink are both ghosts. You can’t see through them, but they are both completely white in a scene that is all about bright-light sources on a dark and shadow-filled night. Neither child has any shadows on them even though the full moon and the lighthouse are both behind them, meaning they should both be backlit with the shadow-side towards the viewer.

Why did I draw a picture of ghosts while my father was in the hospice care that kept him comfortable as he was dying? It can’t be because the boy has reached the peak, and he is closer to the heavens than the girl. And the girl is certainly not my mother.

I can’t answer the questions because I still don’t know what I am writing about. I am just rambling and writing down whatever pops into my head, and choosing illustrations by scrolling through the gallery and choosing images at random.

It seems like the author of Look Homeward, Angel is correct. You can never go home again. The people you knew will no longer be there. The farmhouse will be sold, and probably plowed under to make more arable farm land. And the places of my youth themselves have been transformed and almost erased by time. Nothing lasts forever. Nor do we want those things to be changeless forever. Change is what the universe and time within the universe is for.

Sometimes free-writing and free associations can bring peace and quiet to the stressed-out mind. But not today. And I check my watch one more time. Nope, still not… and never will be. Every single thing changes. Yesterday I found out my father had died. And yesterday will never happen again.


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A Sad Song Sung

My father passed away last night, three minutes before midnight, in other words, three minutes before my 64th birthday was over. I am devastated at the moment, but it is not like it was unexpected. He was in hospice care since early August. He had Parkinson’s disease which was destroying his nervous system. He had multiple strokes during the time he was hospitalized. His memory was gone. If I had been able to go up to Iowa to be with him, I would not have been able to see him, and he wouldn’t remember me anyway. So, it is almost a relief that he is finally at peace. But I am grieving now. And the only reason I am telling you about it here is because I need to write it down to make it real to me. Dad, I love you. And you will be missed.


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A New Day

I woke up alive this morning. We also have a new, more human president. Today there is reason to be cautiously optimistic… Wow! That’s a new feeling for me!

Being from small-town, rural America, I have to celebrate how much the new president will be good for farmers, the rural economy, public education, and the environment. It will take time to repair the damage, but at least no more intentional damage will be done.


if we can allow ourselves to be united in the work going forward, can focus on the simple joys of being human and alive. We have given too much to greed and avarice recently, and now, we must take a fair share of it back.

We need to decide if we are going to live with the drawbridge down and the city gate open, or will we be the kind of people who want the drawbridge up and boiling oil heating in vats atop the city walls?

We desperately need to heal from the pandemic in ways that make sense and that provably save more lives.

We need to sing more songs.

And we need to laugh more, and joke more, and smile at cats more… well, take ourselves less seriously, at least.

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Head Troubles

My stupid old head is acting up in very strange ways. I am not depressed or anything. But I think I may have Parkinson’s Disease just like my father before me.

I have been reading up on Parkinson’s since my father was diagnosed with it four years ago. I have learned enough about it to think I may have it without absolutely proving I have Munchausen Syndrome or am simply a very bad hypochondriac. When I thought I had certain conditions before and went to the doctor about symptoms, most of the the time I was right.

Last night I had massive problems with motor control. My legs kept kicking and randomly jerking all night long, especially the calf muscles below both knees. I have had similar random-movement jerking of my shoulder muscles in my upper back and sudden, painful uncontrolled stretching of the muscles in my lower arms. I don’t know why they call it a Charlie horse, but Chuck has been living in my arms for a while. I have banged against brick walls with my hands and elbows at particularly inopportune times, and came away with bruises for my trouble. Walking has increasingly become the same stumbling shuffle I observed in my father a couple or years ago. It is bad enough that my dog has been complaining that I don’t keep pace when she’s walking me on her leash.

My talking dog has even been involved in the strange hallucinations and partial visions that I have been having. It is a common thing for Parkinson’s sufferers to see people they know who aren’t really there. And my sightings of the ghost dog, or the ghost dog’s disembodied walking back end are that same kind of visions that Parkinson’s patients often report.

Today, while watching voting-tally updates, I kept blacking out, leading to brief, vivid dreams of people I don’t know and have never seen before saying a weird, random sentence to me or to each other. Like the portly Chinese woman with lots of powdered make-up and bright red lips saying, “You shouldn’t even be thinking about tigers!” Followed by me being startled awake.

The awakeness-startling is itself a problem. I keep hearing hammer blows knocking on the outside walls of the house near my bedroom window. And that is on the second story, high enough to realistically be declared hammer safe. The noise has to actually be coming into my stupid head from the stupid inside.

I know I should be going to the doctor to find out for sure. But Covid is out there in a very big way, especially in Texas doctors’ waiting rooms. Since the disease is incurable if I have it, it can certainly wait until after the pandemic is over. In the meantime, writing this post is becoming difficult, and life has become an even more complex adventure.

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Anything Goes

Now we face a moment of decision. I keep hearing messages from the media that the Pumpkinhead President will steal the election with various strategies. I saw video of the Trumpkins in white pickups going after a blue Biden Campaign bus. A Trumpkin spokes-monkey said on television yesterday that the Trumpists would “Steal back” the election after it was over because of the Supreme Court, recently packed by Republican hypocrisy. I cast my vote already. I did it without catching Covid.

But, cynicism aside, I have always believed in the American people doing what is right in the end. I don’t understand why we let an obvious criminal take over our government for four years. Or why we are allowing him to compete in the current election. But it seems there is more than one criminal who didn’t really win the popular vote in power in our government. The foxes control the henhouse, and the keys to the henhouse door. I guess we must get on with things without making any more omelets.

I know this post is rambling and incoherent. But I am ill and upset with the state of the world in 2020. So, just go vote. And vote against the criminals… all of them. Maybe I will feel better in a couple of days. But probably not.


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Burn Out

I recently finished and published a novel, The Wizard in His Keep. I have been working hard to get my books reviewed on Pubby. You have to review the books of others to get reviews. So, I have read a lot of very bad books, and a few really good ones. Yesterday I wrote the hardest essay on my blog that I have ever written. I had to explain to Facebook friends from high school how it was that I was sexually assaulted when I was ten in 1966, and yet they never heard about it until last Saturday.

My energy levels are at “cooling charcoal” right about now. Just in time to watch Trump steal the election next week and force me to give up all hope But with fireman Mickey’s help, I should be back on fire again soon..

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AeroQuest 4… Adagio 20

Adagio 20 – The War Crimes of Trav Dalgoda

One could coherently argue that Trav Dalgoda was history’s most evil murderer.  997,463,756 died in the initial blasts from the Tesserah.  One and a half billion people would end up dead from the incident and the lethal fallout of its aftermath; earthquakes… or rather, coventryquakes, out-of-control fires, landslides, and radiation all caused casualties, both immediate and long term. It is no wonder it took seven Earth years to bring the incident to trial and condemn Dalgoda as an ultimate villain, perfidious skank, odious killer, and all-around really bad guy… officially.

But it must be pointed out, the reincarnated Trav Dalgoda was never punished for the crimes.  Not even a slap on the wrist by a nun using a metal ruler.  Nothing.  

There were a number of reasons for this.  Hard-to-argue reasons that actually made some legal sense.

First of all, Dalgoda was not in possession of his own brain.  It was proven through testimony by talented Psions that the Tesserah itself was a powerful mind-controlling psychic influence, and undoubtedly had control of Goofy Dalgoda’s rather limited intellect and all of his motor control.

Secondly, it was pointed out, in no uncertain terms, that Trav Dalgado had already paid for the crime with his life, having been beheaded by his lover, Dana Cole.

No prosecutor was able to prove that Trav Dalgoda’s head was not legally dead when Dana Cole, together with one of the intelligences left in the Crown of Stars, a device obviously impossible to understand being from a tech level so far above anything fully understood by Imperial or New Star League scientists.

It was also not hard to prove that the reanimated Trav Dalgoda, more Synthezoid or Metalloid than living being, was not the same person who fired the fatal blasts from the starship bearing the evil Ancient device known as the Tesserah.

I have to admit, I myself have often questioned the correctness of the verdict.  Trav’s war crimes could really not be wholly laid at the feet of the evil inherent in the Ancient device itself.  After all, the other Ancient devices that the Aero Brothers and Trav brought to light were not in themselves evil.  The artificial being known as Frieda proved quite beneficial to the New Star League.  The device known as the Hammer of God was used to create cities and starships and space ports that brought the web of interstellar travel to the New Stars.  Certainly, the starship Megadeath proved to be one of the most important starships ever created, and as the creation of the Ancient intelligence known as Frieda, was itself an Ancient artifact of sorts.

I further believe that when the artificially reanimated Trav Dalgoda fathered two children rather dubiously with Dana Cole, who may have used some cloning tricks in the process, those children may have also given an insight into the possible criminality in Trav’s genes.

One-Eyed Jack Dalgoda was a viciously greedy and obnoxious young mountebank, capable of chicanery well beyond the dreams of your average criminal or con man.  And that girl, Daisy Duckling Dalgoda, was one of the most infamous gold-diggers and criminal masterminds I ever encountered… by the age of ten no less.

But I get ahead of myself too far in the story.  I haven’t survived this little history yet at this particular point in the telling of the tale.

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Forging Ahead Full Steam

Having finished a novel…

I am now in that awkward spot where I need something more to write before the regular flow of ideas stops gushing out of the well. And unlike the last finished novel, this time I haven’t chosen a follow-up project to work on already.

It’s not that ideas don’t already exist, some of which have existed for many years. The problem is that I need something i can keep going on that won’t be derailed by further health crises or the possibility that Donald Trump may get reelected dictator for life. It needs to be a durable, fireproof idea.

Here’s the ideas I already have…

Kingdoms Under the Earth is a character study about a core group the Norwall Pirates falling victim to a mysterious and possibly fatal virus. This idea existed long before the pandemic of Covid 19. But it seems timely to take something like this up now. Especially if it is the last novel I write because this pandemic eventually kills me.

The story starts with Blueberry Bates, a transgender girl, falling victim to the mysterious illness. She fails to make it to school one day, and the other Pirates soon learn she is in the hospital in a coma. Mike Murphy, the love of Blueberry’s life, is distraught and worried that Blue is going to die. Tim Kellogg, the leader of the Pirates, gets a message from the fairy kingdom that the only way to cure Blueberry is to get sick too and go searching for her kidnapped soul-seed in the Kingdoms under the Earth. Of course, we as intelligent readers would realize that Tim is excessively imaginative and this is, in reality, a very bad idea. But Mike will try anything to be with Blue again. Mike kisses Blueberry on the lips and gets sick too. And Mike’s older sister, Dilsey Murphy, vows to rescue both of them and kisses Blueberry too.

Tim, of course, feels responsible for the three sick kids in comas, and he has a secret crush on Dilsey. So, he kisses Dils on the lips. And of course, four kids searching blindly in the realms of Purgatory isn’t quite enough. Just because he has nothing better to do, young Leo Toy also kisses Dilsey on the lips after she becomes ill, and joins the group in the realm of pestilence. Nobody seems to like him anyway, so he figures if they all five die, then at least he will have been a part of the group about something.

I know that is a pretty squirrely-sounding idea, but if Francis of Assissi can preach to the birds, then I should be allowed to write novels for squirrels.

I could also choose to tell the even older story I call There’s Music in the Forest.

This is the story of Dabney Calhoon, the autistic son of the late Joe and Sassy Calhoon who had the child late in life. Too late, as it seems they waited until only four years before they both succumb to stroke and old age.

The story is told by a school counsellor who worked with the boy after the authorities have returned him to foster parents following the year he spent living as a total wild child in the Sumpter Park woods.

Dabney was believed to be autistic, unable to talk, read, or write. But the school counsellor discovers he can do all three. He has apparently taken the books My Side of the Mountain and The First Jungle Book as his guidebooks for living off the land. How he lived in the wild for a year comes out slowly because he will only tell the story in the form of poetry. And somehow the guidance counsellor has to interpret all of it to help the boy learn to live with his foster family once again.

The choice is basically between those two novel ideas. I am, however, also working on another book of essays I am calling Mickey’s Rememberries. And I am about half way through the next AeroQuest book, Book Four. It goes without saying, I will definitely be working on those two projects also.

If you would like to have input on this decision, by all means, tell me in the comments how dumb you think these ideas are, and I promise to ignore everything but what I myself want to do.

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Sour Grapes Make Poor Whine

The situation: I finished the last novel I was working on, The Wizard in His Keep. I like it. It is not the best book I have ever written, but it might be the fifth best. I am now in the between-projects doldrums. There is no wind in my sales. And I have a cough that is making me miserable, especially if it turns out to be COVID 19. If that’s actually what it is, then the only place I’ve been where I could’ve caught it is the voting precinct. That means voting against Donald Trump may have cost me my life.

I have no real reason to go in and get tested, though. When I was in the most misery yesterday, I took some of the antihistamine the doctor gave me for the last illness I thought might be COVID, and my head cleared up during the night. I have no fever today. And the virus plaguing me now might actually be a cold brought on by allergic reactions to California smoke in the Texas air and the gawd-awful astronomical pollen counts created by global warming.

If it is the start of my final illness, I definitely blame Trump and the Republican Party of Texas. My mother in Iowa got to vote by mail-in ballot. My sisters got to vote by mail. But Texas requires you to get approval of your excuse to get a mail-in ballot. This I could not obtain by the deadline over two months ago in early August because we were in quarantine as it expired. And I had to go into a polling place that has mostly Republican voters coming in to vote early. I didn’t see any maskless wonders there, but the potential for virus in the poorly-ventilated air was pretty good.

And these sour grapes really do make for very poor whine. Even though they ferment pretty easily and stink to high heaven, they are not very funny or delivered with the least bit of dramatic irony. It will only be more sour if I manage to live to election day to see Trump, Cornyn, and their evil minions manage to win by cheating. The eternal pessimist in me is expecting that result. It has a 95% chance on Rotten Tomatoes.

So, I will leave the idea there for now, a moldering stew of sour grapes and rotten tomatoes. It stinks. And I feel too ill to do anything more with it.

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