All posts by Rob Darnell

That Was A Scare

Seven years I lived here before buying the house from my landlords. The smoke detectors would go off when I’d burned some food while cooking, but I could always shut them off by waving a towel in front of them. Every once in a while, a smoke detector would chirp repeatedly when a battery needed to be changed. But that was about it.

It never occurred to me that a smoke detector would go off like something was burning just because it was not a good detector.

So, tonight, I just happened to be drunk on Pabst when I became aware of one of my smoke detectors going off. I hadn’t cooked anything today. I ate at my mom and dad’s house. So, if anything was burning, it wasn’t because I was cooking.

I went through the house until I figured out that it was the detector in the basement that was going off. I did not smell smoke or see any flames. I didn’t know why the damn thing was going off. When I waved a towel in front of it and it wouldn’t shut off, I became highly alarmed.

When I was a teen, we had a fire in our house. I was upstairs when I started coughing because of smoke rising from a vent. After a while, I realized how dark that smoke was and I had to go down to the basement to get my brother whose bedroom was in the basement. My parents and sister were not home.

We called the fire department. They came in a long line of trucks. They entered our house and eventually carried out the dryer and put it down on the driveway. When they opened the dryer, flames rose out of it and they sprayed their hoses into it.

You just don’t forget things like that. It’s always been something that was not far from my mind. How close we’d come to losing everything.

So, when my smoke detector went off tonight and I couldn’t figure out why, and I wasn’t able to make the detector stop, I thought I was about to lose my house. That it was maybe an electric fire that would soon show itself.

Not so long ago, I found out that Lapeer County 911 has a texting option. I’m deaf, so this was the best option for me. Though my typing was sloppy, I got my message across and I was relieved that 911 actually responded.

They sent an officer from the fire department to my house. He went down to my basement and checked out the screaming smoke detector. He found out that the detector wasn’t any good. He communicated with me by writing in a notebook I keep handy. He told me that, free of charge, they could replace all of the smoke detectors in my house. I have six smoke detectors.

I asked him if he could replace my current smoke detectors with detectors that are designed for the deaf. They flash lights when they go off. I had been thinking about these detectors for some time now. Although I’m not completely deaf and I can usually hear my smoke detectors going off, there were a couple times when I didn’t know they were going off for several minutes.

He asked for my cell phone number, to text me, and told me he would look into the detectors that flash lights when they go off.

Fantasy Short Stories Book Three

I just got the word that Fantasy Short Stories Book Three is out in print now. It can be bought from Amazon. I posted about the release of the ebook version the other day.

Like I said, “The Assassination of Stonewall Jackson” is a favorite of mine, out of my own stories. It’s also the second story I’ve sold that had something to do with the Civil War.

The editor threw together a little video.

The Assassination of Stonewall Jackson

I feel like I’m moving up in the world when I see my name on the same cover as Gustavo Bondoni’s.

Fantasy Short Stories Book Three is out. The ebook version, anyway. The print version is not out yet, but hopefully it’ll be out soon. My story “The Assassination of Stonewall Jackson” is in this anthology.

“The Assassination of Stonewall Jackson” is one of my favorite stories. I had fun writing it and I’m thrilled that it’s been published.

My First Flag

When I was a kid, I asked for a big American flag for Christmas one year. I kept it all these years. It’s not the same flag that I fly on my front porch. I don’t display this one outside.

Tomorrow is the 4th of July. I’ll be at my mom and dad’s. My dad is going to grill something, but I don’t know what.

The Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy

I don’t feel like my review is going to do this novel the justice it deserves. I’m not feeling very crafty today and I’ll probably butcher it, but it’s my practice to write something about the books I read and I don’t want to make an exception for this one.

The Prince of Tides. I have seen the movie. It’s a movie that I remember well and often find myself thinking about. But the novel Pat Conroy wrote takes the story much deeper than any a movie ever could.

Tom Wingo is a southern from Celleton, South Carolina. He and his siblings, Luke and Savannah, grew up in a small house on an island. Their father, Henry, is a shrimper and their mother, Lila, was a house wife.

Tom gets word that Savannah had attempted suicide again and that she is in the hospital. He goes to New York City where Savannah has been living her entire adult life and spends the summer telling Savannah’s psychiatrist, Susan Lowenstein, the stories their lives in Celleton county so Lowenstein can understand Savannah better.

This is complex story with very believable characters and situations. Henry Wingo had been a violent, abusive father and husband, and Lila, although not quite as brutal with her fists, was abusive with words. Henry and Lila had scarred their children for life.

The story is full of heartbreak, joy, struggle, heroism, suffering, forgiveness and so much more. At times, I had tears in my eyes as I read. Other times, I laughed out loud.

I’m not pleased with my review here. It’s lacking much. There’s so much more about this novel that I didn’t touch on. I’m having one of those days where I can’t find the right words.

But this novel, I recommend it highly. There’s much to be learned from it.