Happy Belated Solstice!

Everything’s going well. It’s just that I spend every waking moment either typing or doing the basics of keeping the household running. Will post soon about the convention and all the GREAT stuff I learned or figured out. Perhaps this latest book is evidence that I’ve had a breakthrough or epiphany as to how to cut down on word count without losing voice. Monday morning, BAD HEIR DAY goes out.

I’m already editing down NICE WORK so it can go to the agent along with CAMILLE’S TRAVELS.

Mama (Jodie) has a lung infection and asks that anyone who’s so inclined please pray and/or light candles (or whatever) on her behalf, so that she gets well and that her COPD recedes again. If you get “down” in that disease and don’t get better, you have to carry an oxygen tank on your back; that idea panics her, and she and the doctor believe that she’s not at that point. Still, she’s been worried for a couple of weeks. I think she’s already better. She’s on prednisone, large doses, and is meaner than two pit bulls rasslin’ in a pillowcase. But anyhow, that’s what happens. You take six pills of cortisone, and the pituitary feedback system says to the adrenal glands, “What the #*&$ is this? We’re out of balance. There should be equal amounts of adrenaline and cortisone.” And the glands reply, “That’s not ours. We didn’t put it out. But here, have a rush, on us.” So you have panic attacks on the first day or two until the system adjusts to the idea. She took Valium to stop the freakout and was therefore simultaneously panicked and too weak to run through the house screaming (and would have been too short of breath to do it anyhow.) Ack! It’s sort of mostly because she smoked, so it’s tough not to be somewhat angry at her for helping this disease take root . . but on the other hand every cool cat smoked back then, and of course she had to be cool.

Unlike me. I like being the freak. Le freak, c’est chic! Laughing at the cool crowd because only a couple of them are naturals. The rest of them are desperately paddling underneath (like ducks) and totally insecure. Poor things!

What am I doing NOT TYPING on a book? Back to the QWERTY mines!


Happy Juneteenth!

Juneteenth, in Texas at least, is the anniversary of the day Texas’ freed slaves learned, after the Civil War, that they had been emancipated. Around here, they learned it two and a half years or so late!

On June 19th, 1865, Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had been put into force January 1, 1863.


But anyway, it’s a day of celebration that they found this out AT ALL EVER. So enjoy!

It’s also the birthday of my cousins, Jay and Jennifer. (They weren’t born in 1865, though. A bit later than that.) Happy birthday, y’all. Go do something fun.

Pain in tail

Tetanus shots hurt!

I insisted that the Mean Doctor give me the shot NOT in the arm, but in the butt. I explained that I have to finish polishing one mystery pronto to get into the mail before week’s end, and then I have to run quickly through two other novels and print them out next week. Cannot have sore arm or useless typing fingers. He agreed, but laughed when I said it hurt anyway.

However, my numbers were all good, diabetes control admirable, everything looking ex-cellent except the bad cholesterol, which was still a tad high. Need to take a statin drug, but I hate ’em. I agreed to TRY one again, but if I get leg cramps again, it’s goin’ down the dunny. (They can cause a muscle problem that my mom, my aunt, my hubby, and my cousin ALL had with EVERY statin formulation they’ve tried so far, and I’m leery.)

Been editing frantically during waking hours. Except for the entire morning spent getting physical (EKG, bone density scan, breathing test, whatever you can think of) and getting Mama to all her tests for her physical, and then helping the neighbor put pots under the leaks in his shed roof, and then finding out that my aunt and uncle and my other aunt both had serious flooding that got their carpets wet today. Sherman, Texas, had flash flooding that flooded the expressway and kept people from going to work and had some on top of their houses. Freaky, as it’s INLAND. We also had to make a run to the bank. Then I did get to edit a bit. Exhausting job, life. It beats the alternative.

Conference notes coming up, if possible . . . soon.

SW-MWA Conference News

I won that manuscript contest.

Okay, the agent chose three winners. She asked to see all three of our full manuscripts. I don’t know the other two winners, but I have their e-mail addresses and we’re going to keep in touch about where things are going (not tattle-tale stuff about the details, but just whether she takes each of us on and how things proceed with revisions or whatnot.)

I have my annual physical today at 9:20 and Mama has hers at 10:20, so this will be very brief. I’ve gotta shower, dress, feed the dog, etc. I’ve been too exhausted from the convention and related activities to post until now.

On Saturday, the day they announced the winner(s) of the manuscript/query contest, I dragged out of bed at 7 AM to find that it was pouring rain and thundering. I had a slight headache and felt terrible. I got all dressed anyway and fed the dog and ate some oatmeal (a Medifast version–mostly soy filler and cinnamon flavoring!) and then had a bottle of drained Green Giant mushrooms for good measure (which was a mistake.) By the time I got on the road, I was nauseated. Nerves? The usual writer-recluse reluctance? Mushrooms for breakfast? Diabetes? Hmm. A few crackers (soy snack, Medifast again) and a diet Coke and two Gas-X tablets helped a bit. The rain was so hard that it was tough to drive, and the wipers seemed to be making me dizzy.

I got to the conference registration table at 9:30 and told them I felt terrible, and I intended to stay only through lunch to hear David Morrell’s keynote speech, so I wanted to release that late appointment (the one that they’d changed to 4:20) for the agent pitch so that someone else could have it. I knew that with my stomach the way it felt, I would never make it all day.

They looked me up and the official guy said to the woman with the list, “Oh, look, Bob told us that 11:30 was open. Put her there.” I thanked them and toddled over to sit on a chair until the next panel talk began at 10. I sat through the talk (and got a few people’s e-mail addresses so we could exchange notes) and took notes, feeling only slightly better. At last my stomach settled. At 11, I returned from the mezzanine level to the area where registration was, determined to collar someone and rehearse my pitch.

Cindy, the contest organizer, was at the desk. She said, “Give me your pitch!” So I pitched her the Kay/Whit Pundit’s Corner novel. She said it sounded good. I sat in a nearby chair and the next couple of victims who wandered by (wearing the conference badges, I mean, not just everyone who passed) agreed to hear my pitch. One fellow, Earl Stagg, a published author, said it was good but asked me further questions, which I answered, and he thought of a good line for me to add. He worked up a better pitch for me, in fact, which was darn nice of him (go buy his books.) I muttered the new pitch over a few times and also rehearsed the pitch for the old faithful Jacquidon novel. Remember that one–the one where she gets fired and then the boss is poisoned and she has to prove she didn’t do it? The one that finaled in Malice Domestic’s contest in two different years but lost to Donna Andrews and later to David Skibbins? Yeah, that one.

So finally it gets to be 11 and I approach the Inner Sanctum where Agent* is waiting and the Gatekeepers say, “Wait a minute–Cindy is having a word with Agent, and then you can go in.” I got slightly suspicious that they were talking about my having moved my appointment, and what a prima donna I must be, but everyone kept grinning, so that was even more suspicious.

Cindy strode out and sang, “You can go in!” I did the “dum-dum-da-dum” Chopin Funeral March and they laughed . . . I felt intimidated, thinking that this agent would definitely be tough, but that I could leave soon afterward and go feel sorry for myself. But instead, she seemed to know who I was as I walked in, and we chatted a moment about Dallas weather, about the various events at the con, and so forth.

I asked if I could pitch a novel other than the one I had entered in the contest, and she said that was OK, so I pitched Kay and the Pundit. She said it sounded cool, but that right now New York has a bunch of terrorist novels and they’re not selling (some are not so great, either), so her advice was to wait on that one and we’d think of something else “evil” that these people could be. “Commies,” I suggested, and she laughed. “Vegetarians?” I thought we had a good rapport going.

Then I pitched Jacquidon. She said, “Send me that one. That’s the one I want to see. I think it’s a cozy with an edge, and it has the sex clubs and innocent maidens going in there to find the killer.” I explained that I also had the Ari series and that I’m sending it to a contest, adding that she mustn’t tell anyone about the contest, as I want to be the only entrant. Her eyes widened, and she said, “Marfa lights! My goodness, I just heard about those. Someone here just pitched me a novel with Marfa lights in it. By chance, have you talked about your plot here or on the Internet?”

*BOOM* I confessed to having talked wildly about it on my LJ. She nodded. “I suspect they have seen that. Here’s what you do. You send this novel immediately to the contest and if they choose it, you’ll know in September, and yours will be out first. If they don’t, you can send it to me then, or send it around. That’s only three months from now–not time for anyone else to get things really moving. If you can beat them, then they’ll be the one who loses out. But if you don’t hurry, you won’t be able to place yours, because there’ll already be one with Marfa lights.”

[I assume she didn’t ask for the full on that stolen–I mean, that other person’s Marfa book. I don’t want to jinx myself by wishing crappy luck on that person’s book, but perhaps it has lots of typos and illiteracies and a main character that reminds editors of someone they loathe. . . .]

She asked how many agents I’d talked to, and I explained a bit. “You are sending to one at a time?” I nodded. “No, no–that takes forever! You can’t live long enough to do that! Send to more than one at every stage.” I told her that my fantasy novel had sat at agents’ desks and at Tor for months on end. She pulled out a card and wrote down the name of her fellow agent who takes fantasy and told me to send it to him. *wow* And told me to send her my bio as well as my full manuscript of _Nice Work_.

“A bio. One sentence, or one paragraph?”

“No, a page . . . everything you’ve done, all the places where you worked before. We want to intrigue the marketing people about your credentials and your marketability.”

Someone banged on the door. We had talked almost 20 minutes! And we got on well. I still couldn’t believe she’d asked for the full, so I think I thanked her. . . I hope I did. I don’t know WHAT I said as I floated out the door. Everyone watched me expectantly, for some reason, and I told ’em she asked for the full, and they said, “Good! Now go on to the lunchroom!”

I went and put my stuff at a table in the rubber-chicken room and talked to a few people. None of the others I spoke with had gotten a request, but they were impressed that she had obviously read our query/synopsis packages and had told them in detail why she didn’t think the books would sell right now. She had reasons like “cozies can’t have animals or children in danger or getting hurt,” or “yours is chick lit and that is dead,” and other reasons that made sense. People felt that this was far more helpful than the standard “just didn’t love it enough” answer that typically comes in the mail, and I agreed.

Various people went up to the podium/lectern and gave out some door prizes, talked about various conference events, and then announced the results of the query/manuscript contest. They said there would be three winners, as the agent had found three that she wanted to see. They called out two other names first, so I thought, “What the heck, she asked for mine anyway, so it doesn’t matter.” But then they called me, and my table all stared at me. Then they applauded. I went up there for my little certificate–no check, as the prize is sending your full manuscript to the agent with her go-ahead. But that’s enough!

The short story contest winner got $100, as some private donor had arranged for the money to be given. We all applauded. Then this David Morrell guy spoke, and I thought he’d just be some Green Beret who wrote action-adventure because the only book of his I’d heard of was the one that got made into Rambo, but instead he bared his soul and explained about how his childhood experiences had been used in each of his novels, using the emotion and events and putting them into a different context, making the stories more powerful. I think that’s the same thing that most of us do. He said that he had an epiphany in which he discovered (with the help of his mentor, a professor) the emotion that drives his fiction. What he described he called a “vivid daydream,” but of course it was obviously a vision . . . though I do understand why he wouldn’t have wanted to use that term (loaded as it is with religious/philosophical/woo-woo baggage) in front of the audience. Perhaps he himself doesn’t accept that it was a vision, but it was definitely a message from not just his subconscious but also what Jung calls the collective unconscious, or from the Universe, as I see it. Anyway, if you have the opportunity to hear him talk, you should go. He brought the house down. I was the idiot who asked a question at the end, and I think we discovered the emotion which drives MY fiction. In front of 200 people. *weak grin*

I was just exhausted by the end of all that, and shook a few hands as I limped out to the car. I called home to announce I had won, and Mama said, “I knew you were going to say that–as soon as you didn’t call right at 1:20 when the lunch was over, I got this ESP thing!” She said she was sorry I wasn’t sending the Marfa lights mystery to this agent, as it is the best so far, she thinks. I’m pretty nervous that the Jacquidon novel might not be as good as I think it is . . . and I could blow this all if it stinks! *sigh* All she read was my query, the synopsis, and the first PAGE. I only hope it doesn’t go into the toidy on page two. Some people don’t like the setup that I use in that one.

Also, I hope that my Marfa story beats the other guy to the punch! Now I feel like a dummy for talking about it too much. On the other hand, had I not posted it here on my LJ, I would *not* have such a strong opening scene, as I was against starting with the sisters, believing that would be a weak opening. So I have several of my LJ readers to thank for that input. It MIGHT still be a coincidence about the other Marfa lights book. Stuff happens. Perhaps I should make a pilgrimage to the Lights so as to cause the magic to put my book into print first, eh?

*Agent. Being deliberately vague on that for now. Hubby and Certain Other Knowledgeable Types warn that maybe I should keep very VERY low-key about it, such as don’t name the agent and don’t say too much, so as not to bring out that voodoo doll again. The old voodoo curse that I’ve had for a while seems to have broken in half, so let’s not get them going on it again.

I hate going to the doctor, though I love my doctor. Go figure.


Conference Not Rained Out!

Must . . . sleep . . . soon. But here’s a quick update on the first day of the Southwestern MWA Conference here in Dallas. I survived and thrived! The “lunch” was very minimalist. Glad I brought a Medifast bar and crackers for a snack. People were fighting over the dinner mints.

But first, a word from Barbara Jernigan (from the WRITING echo): “Minimalist isn’t always better. And a ‘block’ is often the back-brain’s way of saying, “No, I won’t write that way, I need to write OUR way.”

Print this out and mount it on the wall above the monitor! I know that someone on LiveJournal (Rebecca, I think, and someone else piped up to agree) recently said she could not do FastDraft (which is writing 10 pages a day or some other artificial goal, as fast as you think you can) and that trying it had caused a terrible block/mess-up. This relates back to Patricia Wrede’s (and Kipling’s) one-and-sixty ways. FastDraft works for me, as I can write fast if I don’t procrastinate, and it gives me a way to fend off the “Why Aren’t You Doing Something Useful” remarks. But it’s being sold as a snake oil cure for everyone, kind of, and it isn’t. Just a reminder that if it doesn’t work for you–do something that does!

When I worked at Alcatel, one of my friends got me one of those pillows you hang on the doorknob . . . y’know the ones, with cartoons or whatnot. This one has a little stick figure with crossed arms, closed eyes, turning head to one side, and the caption is “Don’t Wanna.” While the entire group got a huge kick out of THAT one (which I hung on the coathook at the cubicle entrance to greet unwary visitors to the lair), I thought it worked well as a symbol. Sometimes that “don’t wanna” comes from a deeper source and it means you shouldn’t do it that way or try it that way.

Also, you might like to add to your wall-mounted collection these lines from a revision letter from editor Cheryl Klein (at Scholastic, who is J. K. Rowling’s American editor . . . !!! Yes, seriously!):

“. . . [G]eneral, very flexible principles:
a) While voice and atmosphere and description are all important, always keep an eye on the ultimate point of the scene and make sure everything in the scene serves that (or serves scenes yet to come).
b) Same principle as (a), but replace the word “scene” with “novel.”
c) The first chapter should be action, with just enough information about the characters and setting to make the reader interested; the
second chapter should be backstory. (Generally speaking)
d) A scene should end on the literary equivalent of a fermata: a summation or gathering up of everything that’s come before, the final note you want the scene to hold in the reader’s consciousness; but also something you don’t want to hold too long — something to tip the reader into the next scene as well.
e) Be very suspicious of all descriptions of feelings and adverbs [in tags], and cut both wherever possible. (“She felt sad”)
f) Watch for repetitive rhythms, particularly in dialogue; it’s easy to fall into the pattern like , , , , , ad nauseam. Vary the patterns of speech and response, and cut internal
responses and facial expressions, especially if they’re redundant with the dialogue.
g) Unless there is a very good reason for this to be otherwise, the protagonist of the book should have positive energy, especially if
the protagonist is also the narrator. Positive energy is generated by the character taking action and being funny (even sarcastic) or
hopeful or helpful or kind — someone we can root for (though of course s/he shouldn’t be smarmy). Watch for things that undercut
that energy — the character being described as “whining” or “complaining”; too much of the character’s pessimism in speech or thought; the character being overly self-deprecating or passive to the point where we start to lose respect for him/her, and tone those down.
h) Within reason, try to avoid passive voice.
i) But for goodness’ sake don’t have every verb in active voice.
j) Explanations are odious.”

(And she wouldn’t explain [J]. *grin*)

I might mention that we cannot eliminate EVERY adverb or we won’t be able to indicate the passage of time with something such as, “Eventually, he answered the door.” Some words that modify verbs are fine. Typically, it’s the said-book that we want to avoid . . . because of Tom Swifties (though I do note that some very famous authors who write very popular fantasy use adverbial dialogue tags quite well.)

Because I am a schoolmarm duty-head, I will point out a few adverbs of time and frequency that are in common usage. They’re especially likely to show up in dialogue, but they can be in narrative sometimes. (Oops! “Sometimes” is another adverb. *grin*)

“Let’s do that -now-.”
“I -always- listen to my editors.”
“See you -then-.”
“-Sometimes- I get confused.”
“I’ll have my nervous breakdown -soon-.”
“I’ve -never- seen such a crazy writer.”
“But she was on TV -once- with Drew Carey!”
“I saw that one . . . -twice-.”

These are not no-nos. It’s only the adverbial dialogue tags (“I might as well be dead,” Tom said croakingly) that we can’t use excessively, as a rule of thumb. I don’t want to be rejected out of hand (“she said offhandedly.” *groan*)

Unfortunately, all the really funny examples of Tom Swifties are dirty.

Back to the conference notes. . . .

I spent today at the Southwest MWA conference (Mystery Writers of America) listening to Jerrilyn Farmer, David Balducci, FiveStar editor Denise Dietz, Agent Who Shall Not Be Named (with whom I have a pitch appt tomorrow around 4:20–send vibes!), and other famous pros talking about writing a mystery and marketing it. They seem FAR more down-to-earth than some of the other groups I’ve been to (not naming names, except for RWA, which is just . . . a weird place). I didn’t have to hide, as everyone there pretty much was gray and fat, except the Agent (OMG so NOT fat, very thin–I made sure not to sneeze for fear of knocking her over) and Jerrilyn Farmer (California girl, absolutely normal and great!) *GRIN* It’s interesting that mystery writers seem to come into their stride/prime after, um, fortysomething. Or so it would seem. Or maybe that’s just the sample we got of people willing to come to Dallas in June. It didn’t rain much, but it wasn’t hot, either.

Will be posting summaries of the notes I took (copious, as always–what else?) at the conference panels here on my LiveJournal when I recover. But tomorrow is the second day of the con, and at the luncheon they will announce who won the manuscript contest and gets to submit a full manuscript to Jane Dystel. Of course I entered the contest . . . and I do have a pitch appointment. They changed my appointment, though–it was supposed to be at 10:30 tomorrow (Sat.), but they moved it to 4:20 tomorrow, just before the dinner speeches. I don’t know if this was random or might suggest that maybe I placed in the contest and she’s more interested in talking to me after seeing whether I won. *grin* More likely, they figured I’m good for buying her a couple of drinks at happy hour. Little do they know that I’m hardshell and don’t drink. (Kidding–I’m *diabetic* and don’t drink!) But anyhow, I’ll do the pitch and perhaps will be asked to send something anyway.

I offered up one of my plots to be analyzed in the Hattie Ephron workshop and they seemed to like it . . . the other writers, I mean. Several of them came up and said it sounded like a good book. “From your mouth to God’s ear.” However, in another workshop I got flustered and when they asked what my protagonist Kate’s LAST name is, I had to say, “I forgot. I changed it recently.” *facepalm* Everyone got a good hoot out of that one, so the leader said, “Let’s call her Kate Jones.” From then on, he used “Kate Jones” as every female character in every example. *mortified*

I don’t HAVE to remember their LAST names, fercryingoutloud. The computer macro can plug that in if I *have* to know it. . . .

Did I ever tell y’all the story of the two Southern gals on the veranda? Be sure to read it with a thick Southern drawl.

Two Southern gals are sitting on the veranda, sipping their mint juleps. The first says to the second, “Do you know that when my daddy dies, all this land will be mine?”

The second gal says, “Oh, my, my, how nice for you.”

First gal says, “And do you know that when my daddy dies, all the cattle will be mine?”

Second gal says, “Oh, my, my, how nice for you.”

First gal says, “And do you know that when my daddy dies, all his money will be mine?”

Second gal says, “Oh, my, my, how nice for you.”

So then the first gal says, “Well, what’s your daddy done for YOU, honey?”

And the second gal says, “My daddy sent me to the finest finishing school in the South, where I learned that, when I mean, ‘Up yours,’ I should say, ‘oh, my, my, how nice for you.'”


Will she or won’t she

Tomorrow (Friday) is the first day of the “Hardboiled Heroes and Cozy Cats” mystery writers’ conference belonging to the Southwestern chapter of Mystery Writers of America. There are already many grumbles and attempts to block my attendance being made here at Casa el Dumpo, but everyone’s fine and I insist on going *by myself* (gasp! I’m old enough to know better and I drive a car and I CAN DO THIS, and it’s ALL THE WAY DOWN NEAR SMU, which is about twelve miles or fifteen/twenty minutes away, so it’s not as if I’m going all that far!) We’ll see if I have the usual dismal experience or if anyone talks to me.

Typically, I have such high hopes for meeting people at conventions, but when I actually get there, everyone’s got his/her own clique going and no one really needs to talk to me so they don’t, and I just plod from seminar to seminar with a vapid grin and holding my little notebook. I tried to volunteer for some helping-out stuff, but the only thing they needed was someone in the back row to hold up those cards that tell the panel that there are ten minutes left, five, four, and so forth, and not only am I terrible at this, having very little sense of the passage of time if I’m involved in something, but also I was planning to sneak in and out of several different panels, so I didn’t sign up to do that.

Jerrilyn Farmer is the keynote speaker! I have wanted to hear her speak, as I love her books and I know she writes/wrote for TV as well. If you’re in the area, c’mon out and register on Friday morning. I think a good number of the panels sound very interesting. One is about promoting your books, and another is about series characters.

My family was asking if there was anyone I know who’d be there, and of course I had to answer that there wasn’t. They questioned my reasoning for going, because they can’t imagine why I’d want to talk writing (and reading) when I don’t know anyone and it isn’t going to lead to money-making. *sheepish grin* Anyhow, even though everyone’s trying to work up some crisis and/or reason as to why I can’t possibly leave the house that day, I’m still going to go.
– – –

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Sun Sign: Pisces
Sun 27° Pisces 52′
Pisces Horoscope
for today »
Moon Sign: Cancer
Moon 16° Cancer 09′
Cancer Horoscope
for today »
Rising Sign: Sagittarius
Ascendant 1° Sagittarius 14′
Sagittarius Horoscope
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– – – – – – – –
Okay, then, my horrorscope for Friday: “This is a highly creative time for you, but others may not see the results of your work for several weeks. Don’t worry if recognition is delayed; you will be noticed when the time is right. For now, enjoy the action in the hidden realms of your fantasies. Focus on the dreams you want to manifest, for reality grows where your attention flows.”

Yeah, and love grows where my Rosemary goes. We know about how well that “believe and it’ll happen” scheisse works. Makes you trip over stuff while riding the pink cloud of delusion and denial. *sigh* Too bad I need to grow up and stop thinking “tomorrow’ll be better.” The action is ALWAYS in my fantasies. Recognition is always delayed, and the time is never right. Okay, so it’s a creative time . . . what’s the use of that, except for my inner mind to be entertained?

Well, these horoscopes are for entertainment purposes only, and they do work for that.

Music and Falling Down

I haven’t replied to my comments or done a darn thing today, as Real Life has demanded my attention.

Sunday must have been a bad day for Taurus. My mother fell down, and so did her cousin–both Taureans. Fortunately, they’re both OK now.

Mama got dizzy getting out of bed on Sunday morning at eight and fell down, hitting her nightstand (a pointy-cornered lethal weapon) and getting six skin tears (worse than cuts) . . . and a big goose egg over her ear on the left side. She thinks she stepped into her wire-mesh trash can that was next to her bed, and as it’s crushed like a Coke can, I think she must have. We went to the local emergency room and cooled our heels for FIVE HOURS from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM to get the cuts looked at (finally) by a nurse, get the cuts dressed by a nurse, and get a CT for her head. “Looks fine–superficial, nothing internal.” We then drove through to get her a burger and get one for hubby. Exhausting day. I didn’t get Penneys paid and I didn’t get any work done on the mystery.

But I’ve worked on it as much as I can today, while waiting on her (today she’s achy from falling and is weak-tired.) “It sucks getting old,” she said, “and it’s not for sissies. Though it’s better than the alternative.”

Pain relievers are good.

Her cousin was testifying in court for a friend and tripped on the courthouse steps in Fort Worth. A man caught him, so he didn’t break anything. He’s six months younger than she is, so he’s elderly, too. He says he was achy and sick all day today, though.

Watch your step!
# # #
For some reason this reminds me of a friend of mine who stopped liking me:

“Mirror image, see no damage, see no evil at all. Kewpie dolls and urine stalls will be laughed at the way you’re laughed at now.”–The Replacements, “Androgynous”
# # #
In other news . . . at Target on Saturday, I got Neil Young’s new (old) CD/DVD “Live at Massey Hall 1971” and have not had it out of rotation for a moment since, except while waiting in the ER. (See above.) It took me right back to 1971, which for me is a GOOD thing. (grin)

I also found and signed the online petition asking Reprise Records to release Young’s LP “Time Fades Away” on CD. I don’t know whether that was legit or just a way of getting my e-mail addy and my IP addy, but anyhow, I signed. I have NEVER had a copy of that album. My cousin had it (back when she had all her vinyl) and I have heard it, but her ex-husband took the records when they divorced and she LET him (she is not like me, not at all), so . . . anyhow, I hope they do re-release it. Unless Shakey says no, that is. I don’t know that he’d be against doing it, but y’know, that’d be a factor. He should be proud of that one, though.

I finally remembered to look up the results of the Amateur Cliburn 2007. The winners of the Fifth Annual Van Cliburn Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs are. . . .

First Prize: Dr. Drew Mays, Alabama, Ophthalmologist

Second Prize: Mr. Mark Fuller, Arizona, Lawyer

Third Prize: Mr. Clark Griffith, Texas, Composer/Retired Internet Technology Administrator

Audience Award: Dr. Drew Mays, Alabama, Ophthalmologist

Press Jury Award: Mr. Mark Fuller, Arizona, Lawyer

Hear them on YoTube:

J. Todd Spangler plays Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue during the semifinals. (Long!!)

Drew Mays plays Beethoven Sonata in C Major.

Marisa Naomi Haines plays Beethoven, Bagatelle, Op.126, No. 6 during the preliminary rounds.

Not part of the competition, but cute. A girl and her piano teacher do the Burgmuller ballade as a duet–adorable!

And now the topper–A CAT PLAYS THE PIANO, no fooling.

This is not a trick that was taught to Nora the Cat. She plays only when the mood strikes her, which is usually several times a day for short periods.

What’s NEXT? The sequel, of course!