Category Archives: Misc

That Book

Every once in a while, Michael Knost posts a question on Facebook about books that we’ve read. For example, his latest question about books was “What was your first book that made an impact on you as a reader?”

I’m often among those who responds. I love books and I appreciate the invitation to share about the books I’ve read. Though, to several different questions that Mike had posted over the years, my answer was “The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton.”

This copy here is the exact same copy that I read when I was 12 or 13. I kept it all these years. It was just lying around the house when I was a kid. I believe it came in a box of used books that our aunt Charlotte gave us.

There is no book that I love more than The Outsiders. I relate to Ponyboy in a lot of ways. This is also the only book that I’ve read more than a few times. I read it several times when I was a teenager, and I read it a few more times when I was in my twenties. I plan to read it again. It’s on my to-read list, I just haven’t gotten to it yet.

The Outsiders influenced my writing. I feel it every time I’m writing a story. The emotions that I try to bring out of my characters and hopefully my readers. I’m always trying to write something that will shatter even the toughest of my readers. But I’ll probably never pull it off the way S.E. Hinton did.

Well, today was productive. I wrote ten new pages into the novel and I edited 10 pages of a short story.

I’m sad that Mike Resnick died. He once explained to me how he was able to write around 15,000 words a day, finishing novels in a few days. Resnick was one of the writers who inspired me to just bang down one story after another.

Aunt Barb

I just got the text from my dad. Aunt Barb passed away this morning. This feels like “The Queen has died.” and church bells should ring for hundreds of miles. Barb was Catholic and she carried herself with dignity.

Gray Tides Have come In

The drums of doom sound in my head as deep depression washes over me. I approached 2020 eager to launch a new year. I had hopes of high productivity, successes, and I had planned to get out more and have a social life. I thought 2020 would be a good year for me.

Since day one, 2020 has been a downward spiral. An entry that I had intended to be nothing more than an update about my day started a chain reaction of misconceptions that I cannot set straight. Now I feel like I could never again be in the same room with those involved.

I’m struggling to hold my head above the water. Maybe I’ll make it to shore, but it’s hard when my ankle is tied to a brick. Maybe I’ll make it to shore or maybe I won’t, and I’m not sure I care if I don’t.

The 4th Day of the New Year

Well, 2020 is not off to a good start for me. First I was sick, and now I’m struggling with emotions. Overnight, I went off and on about whether I should keep up this daily blogging goal. This post here indicates that I’ve decided to push forward.

Guys, I probably won’t get mad if you, after reading a post where I mention I’m sick, suggest I see a doctor. I might get mad if, after I tell you I don’t need to see a doctor, you call me a stubborn ass or something similar.

Maybe you were joking and it went over my head. Or maybe you were being snarky and I caught it right in the face. Under the circumstances, a comment like that could have been intended one way or the other, and it’s entirely possible that someone could take such a comment the wrong way.

But if you then tell me it was a joke, I’ll likely believe you. I know that I take things the wrong way a lot, but I’m probably not always wrong.

I blog about all kinds of things, some of it could be considered personal stuff. But I don’t share anything that I’m not comfortable sharing. I’ll likely get mad if you tell me I shouldn’t have posted something.

I blog for a number of reasons. I enjoy it and it’s an outlet for me. There are things that I want to say and I write better than I talk. Sometimes I try to be entertaining and sometimes I try to be educational. I have experiences that I want to share and maybe people will be able to relate or feel comfort, or whatever. Sometimes my posts are short entries and sometimes they’re long rants.

I’ve been asked if I write nonfiction. My answer is no, not really, not for money, anyway. I’m just not very interested in writing nonfiction. I’m a fiction writer. Fiction is the stuff that I consider work. It’s what I send to publishers in hopes of making a buck..

But then, there’s my website, RobDarnell.com, where I’ve posted hundreds of pieces of nonfiction (Everything that I post on my website is also posted on Facebook and JAD). So, I guess that’s another thing that my blog is. Nonfiction.

If I’m ever offered money to write nonfiction for a publisher, I would probably take the gig. But I’m not actively looking to sell nonfiction.

Back on the Train

I’m starting to feel like myself again. I feel much better. I’d say I’m 92% cured. My energy is returning. Today I wrote five new pages into the novel and I edited five pages of a short story. I aim for more than that, but that’s still a decent score.

My new alarm clock just arrived. I’m not yet sure how it works, but it’s supposed to shake the bed. I’m not completely deaf, but I sleep through my alarms too much. I’d heard about these clocks since MSD, but I’ve never had one before. I hope it makes a difference.

Going to cook a pasta-burger mix for supper. I like Barilla medium shell pasta best, and Prego Italian Sausage & Garlic pasta sauce. The burger comes from the Brower Farms in Brown City.

Think I’ll go ahead and install one of my old games. I want to relax for the rest of the evening.

I’m Still Boring

Ghostbusters on AMC. I’m sorta watching.

I’m thinking about installing one of my old Grand Theft Auto games. I have Vice City, San Andreas and IV. I love them all, but haven’t played them in a while. I never got very far with GTA IV, though. Never had a computer that could run it smoothly. The game kept crashing.

Can’t think of much to say tonight. I could tell you about how eight neo-Nazi thugs kicked in my door and we had a shootout, but who’s going to believe that?

The Pistons play at 10:30. Will probably watch.

A Failed First Day

Today did not go as planned. I got a little done, but not much. My checklist includes not only projects, but also household chores and other tasks that I try to get through each day. It’s not so much to keep me moving, it’s more so I don’t forget to do things.

Keeping a checklist works for me. Not perfectly, but it helps a lot. I kind of approach it like a game and I try to have a perfect year, but that never happens.

Today’s failure was the result of me being sick. I woke up this morning with an ax blade stuck in my head. I got up, walked around a bit, felt really fucking dizzy. I was also coughing so hard, I thought I would break my spine.

I went back to bed, lay under layers of blankets and tried to sweat this disease out of my system. The headache went away at some point, but I was still coughing a lot.

I noticed a little while ago that the coughing is starting to subside. It’s not so constant anymore. Maybe in another day or two, I’ll be disease-free and have my energy back.

I’m watching Tremors on Netflix.

I’m not Barbara Walters, but this is 2020

Five years ago, automobiles flew along interstates in the sky, we had hover boards and automatic dogwalkers, and a number of amazing things that people fifty years earlier thought impossible. But here we are, grounded in 2020. Only airplanes and helicopters hover and fly. That’s what happens when a society moves backward instead of forward. So much was gained and later lost in the ongoing political-social tug-a-war. The struggle is real.

The Roaring Twenties are on us once again. This being an election year and considering how polarized our nation has become, I reckon there’s going to be a lot of roaring.

I’m going to try blogging every day, about random things. Whatever happens to be on my mind when I’m ready to blog. I’m also going to try getting work into short stories and novels every day. The novel I’m writing now is currently at 55,119 words and 270 pages, and I’m not halfway through it yet. My daily planner allows me to get work into a novel and a short story each day, though it’s not always writing, sometimes it’s editing.

Today sucked. Been sick for two days and I feel like crap. I hope it’s over by the time I wake in the morning. I don’t want to be sick while I try to make the first day of 2020 happen as planned.

This Old Tractor

I started driving big tractors probably when I was fourteen. We went through a few of them. At one time, we had one from the 1940’s that ran very well for it’s age. I guess I had a particular interest in operating tractors, because I was often the one doing it. I pulled the plow, the brush hog and trailers with fencing supplies or junk we were cleaning up and so on, and sometimes I drove them around the field for fun.

This international tractor here was my favorite. It had belonged to my dad’s uncle. We bought it, I think, when I was in my late-teens. We also bought other farm equipment. At the time, we wanted to plant hay and corn, and increase our livestock. That plan fell through, but the tractor was still useful.

These big tractors are not like cars. Their controls are different. They have a lot of power. Once my dad hired a construction crew to bury an old concrete porch. The crew was using a huge dump truck to pull the porch into the hole next to it, but they got the truck stuck and couldn’t get it out. So, my dad got the tractor and pulled the dump truck out like it was a feather.

I was disappointed when my dad decided to sell this tractor, but he had bought a new tractor. Although the new tractor wasn’t as big or powerful as this one, it suited all of his needs.