Update 08-25-2016

August 25th, 2016

I finally have some good news to report: at long last I’ve finished the first draft of the first installment of Book Two. Obviously that’s only part of the equation. Now I have to go back and make it ready for posting. The good news is, that usually doesn’t take very long, but there’s a caveat. As I write this, my wife and I are about to leave for our annual week off the grid.

We’ll be traveling to the real-life setting for Island Girls, a place with blessedly limited access to the wider world. We do not get cell service, a situation I have no desire to remedy, and since pay phones are now an anachronism in our society, we have no easy way to call or be called from the larger world. I should have WiFi access so I can check email, but since I’m too clumsy to use the small, annoyingly touchy tablet/smartphone keyboards, writing anything is problematic, so why bother? I go there to relax, not get aggravated by modern “conveniences”.

For a little over a week, our days will be dictated by sunrise, sunset, the tides, and the weather. The island sits smack in the middle of one of the most prolific fog factories in the northern hemisphere – we’ve spent times there where the fog was so thick the entire week we couldn’t see the road a mere twenty feet from the deck of our cabin for the entire time. If that happens, we stay inside and find alternate ways to amuse ourselves. If the weather is decent, we’ll do some hiking and beachcombing, maybe rent bikes or a tandem kayak, but, good weather or bad, it’ll mostly be a week of adult entertainment and reading.

So it comes down to a week of laziness and solitude, both things I am in great need of right about now.

The upcoming installment has been maddeningly difficult to finish for a lot of reasons. There have been two unexpected deaths – a family member and a friend – unusual work commitments, and computer problems. I seem to have more than my share of bad luck with computers, which I’ve always chalked up to my propensity to be pennywise but pound foolish – I buy cheap computers to avoid the high upfront costs, only to have to replace them every year or so. So, around Christmas I decided to bite the bullet and spend nearly $1,000 for a brand new all-in-one (glorified laptop) with a 22” touch screen, hoping it might actually last a couple of years. Needless to say, that was a forlorn hope. Now I know it doesn’t matter whether I spend $300 or $1,000, they’ll all run poorly right out of the box, and go belly up in less than a year. As long as I remember: Backup, backup, backup (thank god for thumb drives and clouds!), it doesn’t matter how much – or little – I spend on computers.

Deaths, computer woes, the ordinary vagaries of real life intrusions, all have played a role in slowing me down. I don’t intend to predict how the next chapter is going to go, but some very interesting paths have been revealed by the Muses. I know I’m anxious to get going down those paths.

To my fellow Americans, have a happy Labor Day, and take heart: the political races wrap up in a mere two months.