Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday morning round-up: Martians, Democrats and a dying man's love for Abba

I am blogging this morning from the picnic table on our back porch. Eerily still and warm for the Ides of November. Cat snoozing on the chair next to me. He was up and about for an hour this morning and it apparently wore him out. Today is the last fall lawn-mowing. I also will winterize my garden. I'm a bit tardy with that but so much else has been going on. The weather forecast calls for snow Monday through Wednesday, so this is the day to get out and rummage around in the yard. Depending on who you believe, we will get from a couple inches of snow to a foot. We shall see....

Watched the Democratic Party debate from Des Moines, Iowa, last night. Gathered with my Dem friends. We ate and drank heartily. Who won the debate? The Democrats, as the three candidates came off as thoughtful adults in contrast to the swarms of whiny Republicans who take the stage in their debates. Bernie Sanders is a strong presence, his politics more aligned with mine than those of Hilary. However, Hilary is the one who can bring the big guns to bear against the Republicans. She's more corporate than the Democratic Socialist Sanders. But the Repubs will be fighting tooth-and-nail for this election, and there is so much at stake. Hilary Clinton is the one.

I'm reading "The Martian" by Andy Weir. It's a fast-paced, tech-laden novel about a stranded astronaut on Mars. Maybe you've seen the movie, but I haven't -- not until I finish the book. The author is a software engineer and "lifelong science nerd," according to his bio. This also is his first book. I hear that he self-published the book before it gained fame as a best-seller and a Matt Damon flick. Many of us writers experience fits of jealousy about such fortunate events experienced by others. I'm one of them. Green with envy. Also blue with admiration (is there such a thing?). I am about thirty pages from "The Martian" finish line and I'm hooked.

I published a short piece several weeks ago. Silver Birch Press in L.A. features an ongoing series of themed submissions. I submitted a 200-word short to one called "When I Hear that Song." The challenge was to write a prose piece or a poem about a specific song inspiring a specific memory. Many songs, many memories. But one jumped out at me. My father, dying from prostate cancer, got a yen for the music of Abba. He never was a pop or rock music afficianado. Somehow, the songs of a Swedish pop group spoke to him. So, over the course of a few days I honed a 200-piece called "S-O-S," based on the Abba tune of the same name. Read it here: Silver Birch featured it along with a snazzy photo of Abba and my bio, which didn't get the same attention to brevity as did "S-O-S."

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