Inside The Gazebo

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Location: Central Michigan, United States

Spent a long career making lots of money for other people. Now it's my turn. _____________________________ Email:

Friday, April 28, 2006

What's up?

Tonya set coffee, juice and water on the printed paper placemat in front of me and said, "What's up with you, Erik?"

"Not much," I replied.

"Me neither. Same-o, same-o," Tonya said.

Tonya walked away from my table to place an order for what she would decide to be my breakfast today. I watched her walking toward the kitchen and said to myself, "That conversation really sucked!"

I didn't have anything interesting to talk about and Tonya didn't have anything interesting to talk about. Her day would likely change toward the interesting, mine likely wouldn't. Unless, of course, I made it change.

So, what's up with you folks today?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Just Do It

Jason Evans at has a 250 word writing contest posted on his blog. It's a fun challenge. Prizes too!

Wander on over to Jason's and; "Get 'R Done!"

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Bug Tails - "Update - The Stray Dog"

A little more than seven weeks ago, a stray dog entered the lives of my wife and me. We initiated the appropriate "found dog" notices, and when no claims were eventually made for the dog, we concluded that our home would become his too. During that period, my wife, Barbara, gave the young corgi the name of "Rusty" due to the color of his coat of hair. I began to call him by "Bug"; short for bed bug. He liked to jump up on the bed two or three times each night and wander around on my body. So I thought "Bug" to be appropriate.

Having made the decision to keep the dog, we took him to the local Veterinarian for a "dog physical". Rusty (Bug) was diagnosed with heartworm disease; his heart enlarged with the affliction. Well, no choice for us, we opted for treatment.

Following Rusty's three day ordeal of shots and other tests at the Vet's clinic, we went to pick him up and were told then by the Vet, "It is critical that he be kept extremely quiet for at least the next four to six weeks. If not, he can easily die." Okaaay.

Taking seriously the Vet's advice and other instructions, we purchased a wire dog crate, lots of toys for in the crate, bedding and so forth. For the past five weeks that crate has been Rusty's small world. Ours too, in many respects.

Let's go back toward the beginning for a moment.

When Rusty first came to us, I posted here on my blog a short story describing his arrival. The story contained a bit of fiction so I requested critiques of the story. You were all very polite. By email, however, it was suggested to me that I rewrite the story as a dark flash-fiction for submission over at Tribe's. Good idea, I thought. Taking the suggested ideas for the story, I started to write a dark flash-fiction about the dog. Couldn't finish it. You see, I believe in the power of prayer and I also believe in the power of our thinking. Accordingly, it wasn't in me to write a dark story about the young corgi, especially under the circumstances. Sorry.

Back to the present.

Yesterday morning, early, we took Rusty (Bug) back to the Vet for a follow-up treatment (oral this time), and another "dog physical". When we went to pick him up in the evening, we were told by the Vet, "He's done very well. Keep him in low gear for a couple more days then you can let him shift into any gears he wants. He's again a healthy young dog." Thank you, God.

Last night I lie in bed on my stomach, reading a book and eating a Popsicle. My pillow was wadded under my chest and I had laid my book open on the bottom sheet. FRUMP, I heard and felt Bug jump up on Barbara's side of the bed. He trotted over by my head and, PLOP, dropped a dog biscuit onto the open pages of the book I was reading. Bug lie down on his belly, at the top of my shoulder, then proceeded to eat his biscuit. I was still eating the Popsicle.

While we each enjoyed our respective treats, I said to Bug, "Heh, during the day I write the pages of Placemat Crumbs, and here in the night you are making crumbs on the pages I'm trying to read. I'm glad I didn't write those pages about you for Tribe's."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Funding the Business

During the past several days, Mark Terry has put-up a series of informational Posts on such topics as; agent's expectations, editor's expectations and, of course, "money", to name a few. For those of you who haven't met Mark, he is a professional full-time writer. I have included the link to him below.

Mark's post titled; "money and its writer is soon parted", speaks about personal expenditures involved to promote his published book(s). He also talks about writing as a business. It is from his comments on the business of writing that I have stolen a topic to post here.

"Writing is a business", is a statement frequently made in blog postings and the comments on postings. Presuming the statement to be true, it seems appropriate to exchange ideas on how various writers have arranged to provide (secure) the necessary operating capital to fund their individual writing businesses. I'm not talking about "profit" here; I'm talking about "cash flow". Cash flow being defined as the money available to purchase the equipment and supplies necessary to write the book and then fund the promotional requirements of publication. In addition, it is the money available to pay normal living and household expenses while the book is being written or, while off traveling to promote the book, etc.

All types of businesses that I am aware of require a certain amount of available cash to operate. Some use lines-of-credit, some have accumulated their own cash reserves, some use private investment money, etc. The point is that if we are going to operate our writing businesses as bona fide businesses, we need cash available to do so over the length of the "marathon", as it has been described.

Please elaborate on the subject to the extent you are comfortable. My question, however is:

Have you ever attempted to obtain a bank loan to fund your "writing business? A worthwhile site to visit.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Writing Weather

More snow. Shit.

This morning, I walked outside through the back door of my house and saw a frustrating layer of new fallen snow covering my truck and yard. I didn't consider it as being---God's gentle covering of nature with a soft blanket of pristine white---that writer's write about. I considered it as, goddammit, just more snow. "Welcome to northern Michigan in April!" I thought.

When I attempted to hand-brush the snow from a side window of the truck, I found underneath the snow a thin layer of ice. Enough is enough.

I arrived at Woodpecker's Diner for my usual early breakfast. I took my regular seat at my regular table then flipped open my Doodle Pad to pen a few words of early morning prose, anticipating the first mug of strong black coffee.

The waitress, Tonya, came quickly to my table with coffee, juice and water. She placed them on the table in front of me while mumbling a few words which, included, "fucking snow". Finished with her first chore on my behalf, she went into the kitchen; presumably to place her choice for my breakfast order today.

Waiting for my breakfast, I sat staring at the blank top sheet of paper in the Doodle Pad. No desire to write much of anything. I didn't feel the inspiration to write another vignette, start a new chapter for my novel or, write a few lines for the business book. None of the above had any appeal.

Tonya brought my breakfast and made a comment about my just sitting there looking at the blank paper, not writing. She was concerned that I may be feeling ill or something was wrong in my family. I told her I felt fine, there were no family issues, and that I just plain didn't feel like writing. She opined it had to be because of the weather. She concluded the combination of cabin-fever and "this crappy spring weather" sapped away enthusiasm and creativity.

Yep, Tonya's likely correct.

Does weather influence your writing enthusiasm and creativity?