Saturday, September 22, 2012

Daylight Sneak-Thief In The Neighborhood

Have you seen this bandit? "Who? Me?"
There is a  sneak-thief in the neighborhood, a robber, a bad-man, a rapscallion doing some daylight unauthorized home shopping. There is a neighborhood creep doing some widespread creeping.

I hate to think that someone has looked through my underwear drawer. (I was meaning to throw away the pair with the hole in the ass, just in case Monsieur Light Finger reads this and is of the judging sort- the rest of you Folks can just ignore and move on, okay?) Violation of personal space is somehow worse than any loss of material wealth.

So what did we lose? Just a handful of change, as far as we can tell. And let me be clear on what I mean about neighborhood, because here in Maine, that might not be the same as other places. We live on a dead end dirt road with seven houses and everyone has at least two acres (.8 hectares) of land. The sneak-thief knows we all work during the day and being so isolated, has taken advantage.

The days of leaving homes unlocked here in Maine seems to have finally become antiquated. How crushingly sad I feel.Things change, but not all change is of the nice variety and this, Folks, is the nasty kind of change I wish did not exist.

In the grand scheme, home invasion where a change collection of twenty dollars is lost, is no big deal, especially when it is considered that other home invasions turn deadly. Yet, there is the looming shadow of what comes. I think I see the shape of that change coming over the horizon and you know what?

I don’t like what I can see.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Conversations With Ollie-Dog

Ollie-Dog  Keeps up on his hygiene. From Foreverhouse
Ollie-Dog and I sit on the lawn and watch in the murk of the passing day the neighbor boys play guns, mini commandos darting in and out of sight through the trees. There’s no wind, so the cool evening invigorates both of us, though we stay close together for a little extra warmth.

Ollie-Dog is a good listener. Most of the time. He’s still a puppy and he gets bored and wants to play, nipping at hands and feet to get a reaction, to show his excitement. Tonight he just sits, fascinated by the rattling gun and the flashes he spots in the dim light, better than me, of boys at play. Tonight he consents to play the calm, attentive puppy role.

We talk about the kids a bit, then I ask “Do you want a baby brother or sister, Ollie?” He turns his head at the sound of his name, I say his name again, questioning, waiting for a response. His head cocks to the side, considering the possibility. He turns away, uncommitted. “I’m talking about a baby, Ollie, not a puppy. Does that make a difference?”

The staccato of the gun and the incongruent call of “Stealth mode!”, holds more interest. Ollie-Dog is happy with me scratching under his chin. Babies- human or otherwise- aren’t of interest tonight it seems.

I’m not bothered. Ollie-Dog is often like that, so I’m used to his indifference.

We move on to talk of work as the sun finally gives over the day to the night. Neither of us are interested in talk of work and conversation drifts to silence. Even the boys have quieted, or perhaps they’ve managed at last to discover the elusive stealth mode, aided no doubt by the darkness.

Ollie-Dog re-adjusts closer. I move my leg enough for him to tuck against my chest and we wait in silence. Mommy is supposed to be home. Ollie-Dog wants to jump and do circles in front of her when she arrives to show her how much he loves his Mommy. And Mommy might give him a treat when she goes inside because he’s Cute and a Good Dog.

We wait as long as we can but Mommy is late. She won’t want to talk about work, either, but that’s okay with Ollie-Dog. It’s okay with me, too. I think about a quiet evening at home with my wife and the little ball of sporadic red-furred chaos who now sits so innocent wrapped in my arms. By the way Ollie-Dog is shifting, I can tell innocence is almost lost. He’s ready to move.

It’s time to go inside, finish our waiting in the warm and bright where the balls wait to be chased and chewed and maybe a crumbly might fall from the sky for patient dogs who are always vigilant for such things. I can talk just as well indoors as I can out, I think, so down the walkway we go.

Ollie-Dog and I, on the move, going places. “Nice talking to you, Ollie.” He wags his tail, nips my hand, and together, we go in the house.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Writing Skill Diminishes In Youth

Here’s the rundown of my life so far in college, a place I never thought to be again, and perhaps somewhere I shouldn’t be, not a t my age. I say to people that I am old and though thirty-six isn’t young, I don’t actually feel old beyond a few aches that I never noticed before. Then I arrived at college a few weeks ago and bam! Pow! Right in the kisser with the age-punch I never saw coming.

Those kids are young, but it isn’t in the way they look, which is obvious, but in the way they think. They’ve come from a different education system than the one I grew up in and I guess... it irritates me. A grumpy (old) man am I? Maybe I am, maybe I’m just out of touch, or maybe I forget that once I was nineteen and thought I knew everything.

Of course, that’s part of the problem, knowing everything. In comparison to the kids in my class, I will claim an advantage now in terms of knowledge and I’ll claim that same advantage for my nineteen year old self, too. It goes beyond the spelling errors (adgenda? When the fuck did they put that second ‘d’ in there?), or not knowing how to write in cursive (I’m sorry to Mrs. Morang, my sixth grade teacher, who struggled so hard to teach me legible cursive, since apparently that sort of thing doesn’t matter anymore). Turning in papers for class that are handwritten instead of typed is a thing now, I guess (it is 2012, with fucking computers practically inserted in our asses, right?), but even that doesn’t burn me the most or make me feel ancient.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Blocked At Every (Twitter) Turn

There are two people I know of on twitter who apparently dislike me so much, that they have decided to push the little block button so that I can’t even follow them. That seems like the ultimate in insults in twitter land. I mean, think about it for what it really says.

If you have one hundred followers but you follow only one person, you only see the one person you follow on your twitter feed, right. If you had a thousand followers and still only followed that one person, the same holds true, just the feed featuring that single person’s tweets. No matter the number of followers, this still holds true, seeing only the tweets of the people you follow, not the other way around. So to block someone from your public twitter feed seems extreme. Especially when blocking a person who doesn’t send direct messages and who makes the attempt to be courteous and respond and re-tweet as often as he can.

Should I be upset?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Defending My Closet, Defending My Vests

Shayna Nickerson ‏@ShaynaNickerson
@mt_nickerson Can your next blog post be on vests? please?#organizingthecloset #imarriedahipster

Ah, so a hipster, am I? A couple vests hanging in the closet and we get to the name calling (no offence to all the hipsters out there, but hipster is not where I aim in my fashion choices). I feel the need to defend my closet from scurrilous remarks. Not for a second do I want anyone to think I write this because the suggestion was made by my wife.

I’m my own man.

(I might have more than a couple vests, Folks. I mention this, a full disclosure, as I have nothing to hide. It is my closet, right?)

Michael T. Nickerson ‏@mt_nickerson
@ShaynaNickerson Dear, it's called a collection, which makes me a connoisseur. You should be proud & honored

Proud and honored of a connoisseur was my thought, but the mind of a woman is a mystery. She saw an opportunity and without knowing, I was perched on the very top of a slippery slope.
Shayna Nickerson ‏@ShaynaNickerson
@mt_nickerson Ah. So this is also true for my coat collection? #denial #obsessedwithvests

Those coats. There are more coats than winter days it seems in our house. I even have three winter coats myself when one is quite suitable in my opinion. How do you even think to compare the versatility and style of a well-made vest with a clunky and cumbersome coat? Silliness.

As I said, women are a mystery.  
Michael T. Nickerson ‏@mt_nickerson
@ShaynaNickerson Vests and coats are clearly separate entities- complete different rules governing each #coatobsessionworse #vestsrule

I try to set the record straight, to interject some sense in the conversation. Really, coat obsession? What is the point of that?
Shayna Nickerson ‏@ShaynaNickerson
@mt_nickerson Vests are just coats without sleeves. #wannabecoats

Ahhh! Wannabe coats. Wannabe coats? I’m trying to find my footing, but how do I respond to a statement so blatant in its disrespect?
Michael T. Nickerson ‏@mt_nickerson
@ShaynaNickerson Vests dare to do more with less #coolfactor

Lame. I have been reduced to a response of Vests dare to do more with less #coolfactor. A stinging return, huh, Folks?
Shayna Nickerson ‏@ShaynaNickerson
@mt_nickerson Coats are functional. Vests appear to have been born in superfluousness. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=vest …

Born in superfluousness.  And there it is, the brick wall at the bottom of the that short, slippery slope. And there’s a link involved just to rub in the fact that though my intentions valiant, my ability to defend the contents of my closet was never equal to the task.
Michael T. Nickerson ‏@mt_nickerson
@ShaynaNickerson Ouch. Why do always have go all smart on me?#can'tcompete (#vestsstillrule)

The bruise square on my ego is hidden from view. I can at least be thankful for that and besides, I have two, or five, or... a few more vests hanging about just waiting to be worn. Intellectually bettered, perhaps but bettered while remaining stylish.

I’ll do that trade.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

(Traditional) Publication Rules Of Writing

Introduction

Thinking of a post I wrote recently titled Manuscript Length A Thing Of The Past prompted me to consider what I thought about the current state of publishing. Normally I go with the flow, write short blog posts of little consequence, but the times we find ourselves today as writers is exciting, a little scary and confusing.

I felt the need to sort my feelings with more structure than I typically apply to my blog. In doing so, I discovered that one post was too constraining but I also understood the need to begin somewhere, so what follows is a (long) overview of where my mind is at today concerning the state of writing. What I find wonderful as a writer is the ability to rewrite previously published work, to expand and grow opinions more organically than at any other time in history.

There are things I’ve left out due to space, half-formed thoughts that remain undeveloped and sections that I’m not even certain I agree with, but here they stand for others to read. To disagree with, to argue for and argue against, to dismiss or take to heart.

Here, then, is my first draft. A writer in progress begins with a word, hoping others will follow for the rest.

What Are The (Traditional)  Publication Rules Of Writing?

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
-W. Somerset Maugham

Rules. There are as many rules about rules as rules themselves, but unlike Maugham, I was able to sort out in my mind four rules as regards to writing publication. Remember as you read further, my rules are broad and in no way meant to be comprehensive. Other folks will come up with their own rules I suspect, and that in no way diminishes their rules or my own, I think. It just means that writing and publication isn’t definable to the tenth decimal point. Writing and publication must be viewed in terms of range and described with phrases such as ‘most likely’, ‘I believe’ or ‘In all likelihood’.  

Or so I believe.

Here, then, are four rules of (traditional) publication: