Tag Archives: a personal note

Doctor’s Verdict: I’m OK

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Thank you, everybody, for your prayers: God must have heard them, because the doctor told me this morning that I’m doing very well–nothing wrong with me that some fish oil capsules won’t cure. That’s for lowering my cholesterol, and I can live with that. Everything else, he said, is just my body aging.

Meanwhile, I would much appreciate it if you’d all continue to pray for my wife. We are two wheels united by the axle of our marriage, and if one can’t turn, neither can the other. You should’ve seen the work she did, preparing our taxes–and without the fatzing instruction booklet, which did not become available to us until yesterday, literally just an hour or two after she’d finished her colossal amount of work. Patty always sticks with a task until she’s done it: an inspiration to me.

Back to the Doctor’s, Again

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I won’t be here tomorrow morning. The doctor has summoned me to discuss the results of the blood work I had done two weeks ago–which, he coyly hinted on the phone, shows “a weak kidney.” And some other stuff. I don’t want to make too much of it, but to be on the safe side, I’d appreciate your prayers. I mean, really, nobody wants to hear he has a bum kidney. And other stuff.

Spring Is on Its Way

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Yes, it’s still cold out, it could still snow, and Patty’s garden looks like something left over from the Day of Fire–but Spring is on its way.

Yesterday we had robins, this morning they were singing, and just now I spotted the first little shoots of daffodils coming up from the ground. God has not forgotten His promise to keep the seasons coming.

Warm weather–well, sort of warm: less cold–means that soon I can start writing another book, as soon as the Lord gives me a starting-place. I can hardly wait to see what that first image will be; and I have no idea at all where the story will take me next. I do love those surprises.

Anyway, before you know it, we’ll be seeing baby squirrels coming out of their nests, little green shoots popping up all over, and snowdrop flowers on the front lawn.


Insensitive Things to Say to Authors

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What with self-publishing so common nowadays–it used to cost a fortune–there aren’t a lot of people who remember how blisteringly, punishingly hard it used to be to get a book published by someone who would actually pay you for it. In fact, it was just this side of impossible.

Not that many people understood that, at the time.

When I finally got a novel published, it was only after enough fruitless work to sink the Bismarck and enough frustration to discourage Hercules. Understandably, I couldn’t fight the urge to tell everybody that I’d finally accomplished this.

When I told my next-door neighbor, his eyes lit up and he blurted out, “Wow! When’s it gonna be a TV movie?” Not, “Where can I buy a copy?” Not even, “I hope it gets made into a movie.” No–he wanted a TV movie so he wouldn’t have to pay anything, perish the thought that he should buy the book.

Then there’s my hometown library. When the library director was my friend, she used to make sure the library purchased each of my books as they came out and displayed them in the Young Adults section, where people could see them. But then came a new director who knew not Joseph, and next thing I knew, my books weren’t there anymore. I searched, and finally found them exiled to the Local Authors ghetto, one step up from being hidden in a crypt under the floorboards.

I asked the new director if my books could be moved back to Young Adults where I thought they belonged. She gave me the kind of look one generally keeps in store for cranks and twaddlers and answered, “You’re self-published?”

I’m afraid that hit me on a raw spot. “No, I am not self-published. I am a real author. I am paid for my books.” Like, I only wanted some respect. Didn’t get it, though.

Sorry–didn’t mean to diss any of you who have opted for self-publication. But I come from another time when self-publication was not an option unless you were rich, or prepared to shoot off your life savings to publish a volume of your poetry. Really, when I started writing, it was virtually unknown. To me, it just isn’t real, the job just isn’t finished, until I’ve been paid for it.

I don’t go to the freakin’ library anymore.

Ta-Dah! My Prescription is Refilled

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I am a happy puppy now, because my blood pressure medicine prescription has been refilled! Gee, it only took me four phone calls today–yeah, just four–and a stern tone of voice, and voila: I can pick ’em up tomorrow at the Walmart pharmacy. You’d better believe I checked.

Why it should be so hard to do this, I dunno. It’s not like I can slyly sell my blood pressure pills and diuretic pills somewhere on the street. This stuff has no recreational value at all. You’d get just as high on sawdust tablets.

Meanwhile, thanks to all of you who sent up a prayer for me. For the next three months, my life will be free of this source of irritation.

Small Gifts of God

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God has given us great gifts that can hardly be imagined–His only begotten Son, for starters–but He has also given us small gifts that get us through the day. I was thinking of a few of them, and being thankful for them, as I took my shower this morning.

A nice meal.

A good laugh.

The antics of a kitten or a puppy.

Remembering the taste of the black raspberries my grandpa used to grow in his back yard.

The way you feel after successfully completing a hard job of work, and knowing that you’ve done it well.

But of course we could do this all day. And that’s a gift, too. Thank you, Lord.

I Had a Dream

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I often work my dreams into my books; and I had one the other night that ought to fit in somehow.

I dreamt I discovered a neighborhood in my home town that I never knew existed–lovely old houses, street shaded by overarching trees, beautifully paved streets; long, sweeping hills; and nobody else around. I rode my bike up and down the neighborhood, exploring it, wondering how I’d missed it when I’ve lived here my whole life.

One street led to the beach, and I got off my bike and enjoyed that for a while. People playing in the surf. Kids playing tag.

Exploring another street, I found it gave way to a vast green meadow, sparkling green. I parked my bike and walked out onto the field. There a lioness was waiting for me; she rose up from the grass. I don’t know why I wasn’t terrified, but dreams are like that sometimes. Instead of being afraid of the lioness, I shared a romp with her–chasing each other back and forth. The lioness leaped and capered like a kitten.

Then I woke up.

I think that encounter with the lioness is something that must have happened, or soon will happen, in Obann.

An Odd Way to Treat High Blood Pressure

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So I’m almost out of blood pressure medicine and I need my prescription refilled. You wouldn’t believe the song and dance.

First they wanted to give me only a two weeks’ supply, so that in about ten days I could start the torment all over again. Then they said okay, three months–but you’ve got to have blood work done before you get your refill. So I went in this morning for the blood work.

That’s when they told me I’d have to do this every three months if I wanted my blood pressure medicine–“It’s our policy.”

I always get angry when I hear that. “I don’t care about your stupid policy!” I’m afraid I raised my voice. “No one in North America gets blood work every three months! I won’t do it!” So they said every six months would suffice. It should probably be only every twelve months, but I’ll fight that battle later.

After they took my blood, I was just about to go when they decided they ought to take my blood pressure, too. “But I’m already mad,” I pointed out, “and I haven’t taken my medicine yet today.” Well, they took my pressure anyway. And would you believe it? It was rather high.

“This is no way to treat high blood pressure–driving the patient crazy,” I protested. Yeah, yeah. Tee-hee. Supposedly now they will refill my prescription by the weekend, at which time I will have run out of what’s left. I made them promise. I made them write it down. Which probably means they’ll forget, so I’ll have to phone them Friday.


‘More on My Writing Methods’ (2012)

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The good old stuff

I’ve refined my technique (I hope!) during the seven years since I wrote this–and where did that time go?


One is always working to refine one’s technique. But one thing hasn’t changed: if you want to be a writer, you still have to listen to other writers. Agatha Christie and Edgar Rice Burroughs are still there to back me up.

Anyway, after seven years of working at it constantly, my literary voice is more my own, and mine only, and someday maybe new writers will try to learn from me.

That’s a rather humbling thought.

A Blogging Milestone: 1,000 Followers

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If blogging were a game a Mille Bornes, I’ve just won!

Carl Vick signed on today as this blog’s Follower No. 1,000. That’s right–we now have a thousand followers. And it took almost nine years to get ’em.

Does that mean a thousand people, at least, read this every day? Don’t I wish! Very low viewership, these past two days. But still–it’s a major milestone. Exactly what it means, I don’t know. I once got over 600 views in one day, a few years ago, and that’s my all-time high so far. I haven’t cracked 500 since then, although we do get 400 now and then.

Gee, now I realize I should’ve had a contest and offered a prize to whoever came aboard as No. 1,000. Remind me to do that if I ever get close to 2,000.

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