CSotD: Rant Mode On

I noted this Edison Lee (KFS) story arc earlier, but Orville the Novelist has been particularly amusing in light of my having written two not-very-good novels myself.

There is the obvious barrier of needing to keep the seat of the pants firmly in the seat of the chair, but there is also the barrier of needing to have something to say.

The first part is hard, the second is even harder, as Orville is discovering, though if you can manage the first part, you can completely overlook the second.

Which reminds me that I once kept this Guindon panel from 1980 over my desk.

My family and friends thought I was doing good work, and my dogs thought everything I did was wonderful, which made it take longer — despite a string of rejection letters — for the fact to sink in that maybe novels weren’t my thing.

At one point, I spotted a published novel, a Literary Guild Pick of the Month no less, that seemed a lot like the one I was working on, so I got a copy and found that it was not very good at all, mostly because we’ve all been to college and fallen in love.

So, yes, a lot like the one I was working on.

My reaction was that, if you’ve published his crappy novel, dammit, you should publish my crappy novel, too.

Then I looked into it and discovered that his father ran a major publishing house and his mother edited a major literary review.

Which made it my parents’ failure, not mine.

Serendipity rears its head: Dark Side of the Horse (AMS) posts this within a day of my having remarked to someone that I have one Facebook account for my professional observations and another for my personal stuff, but that not many folks maintain that dual approach.

The result being that my professional FB page still fills up with pictures of what various people had for dinner and their vacations and their children and their dogs.

The posting of Wordle scores appears to be dying down, but there’s still a lot more chaff than wheat.

Back in the days when everything was done by email, you could impose blocks on certain words and phrases you knew were going nowhere, but Facebook doesn’t even allow you to create a spam filter for pictures of food.


As for your vacation photos, Colin Tom makes the sensible point that, first of all, you won’t get a better picture than is available in the gift shop or somewhere on the Internet.

Second of all, how’s about you put away your camera and live in the moment, eh?

I saw “Paris Street: Rainy Day” at the Art Institute of Chicago, and, while I’d seen reproductions, I was totally blown away by the size (83 1/2 × 108 3/4 in.) of the original, and, thus, its detail.

None of that could possibly be captured in a photo and I’m glad I didn’t waste my moment of astonished reverence by trying.

Besides, it’s not like I’d have had to go home empty-handed.

Today’s Cornered (AMS) hit within 24 hours of a rant, though one I only shared with the dog, since we were alone in the car.

I was making a right turn from my street to a main street and found yet again that, while my Honda Fit seems like a normal sized car to me, “normal” for everyone else these days seems to be what I would call “bulbous.”

As a result, it’s impossible to see around parked vehicles from a Fit, much less a Fiat or a Miata, and tell if anyone is coming in the near lane.

I wouldn’t put the driver’s seat on the roof, mind you, but it did occur to me that, if we can have cameras that tell us what’s behind us, why not a sort of periscope attached to a dashboard screen, to help us see over these overstuffed monsters?

It could even go up and down like a periscope, since you’d be stopped at the intersection or in a traffic jam when you used it.

But I’d still want the heat-seeking rockets, so maybe it’s just as well.

Alex Hallatt has lived in three or four nations, so I’m not sure this Arctic Circle (KFS) refers to a real energy-based tax system or is an eco-fantasy, but I certainly endorse the concept of reverting to rakes and brooms.

I do like the idea of graduated taxes, but I have some other leaf-blower laws in mind: One is that they should only function for 20 minutes in a 24 hour period, which is sufficient time to get most of your grass or leaves into a rakeable pile.

Another is that, instead of the operator having to wear them, it should be mandatory to distribute noise-canceling headphones to everyone within two blocks of your worksite.

I recognize that, while Hallatt’s reform is intended to save energy and thus the planet, my reforms are strictly based on lowering personal inconvenience to myself.

I have no problem with this, since my ideas would also accomplish her goal.

Meanwhile, her call for natural wool swimsuits, first of all, appalled me that we distinguish “wild swimming” when it ought to be the default. We should, rather, speak of “captive swimming” or “chlorine immersion.”

But mostly it reminded me of being a young lad before the days of nylon bathing suits, when I had one made of terrycloth that, once immersed in water, weighed as much as I did. It also took a few days to dry out on the line.

The most natural solution is no swimsuit at all, but that’s a whole other level of wild swimming.

Digression: Saw signs at a beach in California that mandated diapers on babies. In the 714-trillion-gallon-Pacific-freaking-Ocean.

It made me wonder if anyone knew what the fish and sea lions and others are doing in there. Besides what Bill Fields remarked upon.

As a reward for having listened to all this ranting, here’s a reward: Mark Evanier is beginning a three-part profile of Frank Robbins, who I know from Johnny Hazard, one of my favorite KFS Vintage strips,

but whom you might also know from his work at DC Comics. Evanier is an insider whose views are invariably worth your time.

Thanks for dropping by!

14 thoughts on “CSotD: Rant Mode On

  1. Hey, at least you got those two novels written, even if they weren’t published. While reasonably talented, and always having the desire to write, I cannot tell a story in a salable form worth a damn, thus limiting what writing career I’ve had to technical manuals, instruction booklets, and training materials for Federal jobs programs. Pride of my life is writing a manual on welding, although I’ve never done it in my life. It was just a matter of reading two or three existent technical manuals, then rewriting what I’ve read to fit in the planned class. Yes, I can write. Creativity is another matter, however.

    Of course, you could always go the self-publish/Kindle route, like my ex-wife did. I think she’s on her sixth or seventh novel of the fantasy series she’s been doing for the last thirty years. Definitely not my taste (I’ve read the first three), but competently written. Publishing has become like rock and roll. Without the professional gatekeepers anymore, anyone can ‘make it’ in their desired field.

    1. I self-published a novel years ago and just got paid a tidy $1.90 for this month. Suppose it’s better than nothing. 🙂

  2. I suspect the diaper rule is less about what happens in the ocean than what happens on the beach. Ultimately, I don’t think it makes much difference since what you end up with is a beach full of dirty diapers, something I have seen too often.

  3. “Back in the days when everything was done by email, you could impose blocks on certain words and phrases you knew were going nowhere, but Facebook doesn’t even allow you to create a spam filter for pictures of food.”
    You can filter things on Facebook with the excellent extension F. B. Purity. https://www.fbpurity.com/

  4. In West Africa, I saw hundreds of people poop on the beach and then high tide flushed it all away.

  5. People just don’t want to swim through turds. That seems fair.

    Some of my most moving experiences with art (or Art) involved being overwhelmed with the scale of the things. Saw Monet’s “Water Lilies” at the New York Museum of Modern Art: three panels nearly nearly 7 feet tall and 42 feet wide in total. All you can do is gasp and sit a while to try to take it in. Entirely different than seeing it reproduced on a poster. Ditto with Rembrandt’s “Night Watch”: I expected to find the cigar box cliche but in person it’s stunning.

    I’m reading Evanier’s series about Frank Robbins with interest. I like Robbins’s comic strip work but really don’t think he was cut out for superheroes. Others disagree. He seems like one of those artists that readers hate when they’re kids but realize are masters of the craft when they grow up. I’ve had that experience myself. I’m always open to getting educated and changing my mind.

  6. A rear deployed periscope, for backing out of the parking place that did not have a humongous S-Haul-V in the next space when you pulled in would be helpful too.

    Saw Amenhotep III at the Cleveland Museum of Art several years ago. Just sat and gazed on the statue of Sekhmet.

  7. In regards to publishing, as always it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Plenty of talentless hacks become successful because they had connections that could get their foot in the door.

    ugh, I own a Honda Civic and I HATE HATE HATE SUVs. They’re everywhere, and they’re damn near impossible to see around, and I ALWAYS end up parked between two of them.

    I am reminded of a riff from MST3K “Some little kid pooped in the ocean and they had to close the whole thing”

  8. “The most natural solution is no swimsuit at all, but that’s a whole other level of wild swimming.”

    My favourite kind. As long as no one else is around!

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