Sunday, January 30, 2011

An Unexpected Detour...

"OMG... My fur coat is, like, so dirty. MOL!"

Hmmmm... A funny thing happened this morning, as I was proofreading my latest post.  After about the fourth time through it, I realized that I really liked it... a lot.  

So much, in fact, that I think I want to send it in to a certain magazine to see if they'll publish it.

I've had a few shorter essays published this past year, and that was pretty cool.  But I've never had a lengthier work of fiction or non-fiction published in a major magazine.

When I first began typing it this past Wednesday, it wasn't supposed to be anything deep or significant... or earth-moving.  Not that I think it's earth-moving today, in it's finished state.  It started out as a simple reflection on something that occurred at home... before I left for work one morning.

Of course, it started to get longer and longer as Wednesday turned into Thursday... which then gave birth to Friday, soon thereafter.  By the time I had put the finishing touches on it this morning, I realized that it was much longer than I had originally intended it to be.  But I think it's really, really good.  And I think that quite a few people would be able to relate to it, if they read it.

Sumatra Grade 1 Mandheling...
Roasted in the garage only
three days ago.
Before sending it in, I do need to make a few changes.  This piece, which I've written in the first-person, could probably be classified as a non-fictional memoir.  But, the particular magazine that I have in mind does not want non-fictional submissions.  They prefer fiction.  So, I need to put the finished copy back on the work bench and make a few changes.  Aside from changing the perspective to third-person, I'll need to add a few extra elements to give the story a personality of its own.  And I'll also need to add some sort of an unexpected twist for the main character.  If I'm going to submit a piece of fiction to be published, I'll probably need to come up with some sort of an ending, or 'payoff', that's more interesting than the main character arriving at the office on time, in disgust.

This will be an interesting exercise for me.  I love to write, but I've never cared for writing fiction.  I can go on and on for pages and pages about events and people that I've experienced, which have touched my life in a significant, meaningful way.  But, whenever I try to give life to a fictional character or a hypothetical situation, it always seems to turn into a train wreck.  It just seems really fake.

I'll take a week or so to make the necessary changes.  Then, I'll go through it myself one or two more times, and send a copy of the finished product to a few of my... 'grammar/proofreading consultants'... and have them take a look-see.  Once they've observed with a fresh set of eyes, I'll send it in.

I'm not expecting it to be published, but there's no harm in trying, is there?

"OMG! Get yer filthy paws OFF me, MOL!" 
Of course, this leads me to the good news and the bad news.  The bad news is that if I'm sending it in to a magazine, I probably shouldn't post the whole thing here on my blog.  I don't know if there are any rules regarding whether previously-published blog posts can appear in their entirety in a magazine.  Unfortunately, this means that you won't be able to see the finished product right now.  And I worked so hard all week to get it done.

Like... OMG.

The good news is that I'm going to post a short excerpt from the piece below, just to give you a sneak preview.  Hmmm...  I think I'll post part six.  Keep in mind that this is still the personal version, from my own perspective.

So...  scamper along, now.  Read part six.

Eventually, I'll send my entire revision to the magazine in question.  If they get this wild and crazy idea that it's good enough to be published, then I'll provide the link to the article in a future post.

If not, I'll post the rest of it here.  And, I will keep both versions...  My own personal version, as well as the enhanced, fictional version.

In the meantime, enjoy part six.  (And no, Hermans.  I don't need any smart-ass comments from you, which reference 'Leonard Part 6'):

The pictures in this post have nothing whatsoever to
do with the content.  These are homemade pretzels,
courtesy of Alton Brown.  The recipe can be found

Look Up...  Look Out...  Look Around...  (Part 6)

...eight drivers who was only putting his own life at risk.

The light turned green after another moment, and I made my turn.  I passed by a small plaza on my right, and two gas stations on my left, followed by a coffee shop.  A middle-aged man in a full-length dress jacket had just emerged from the entrance, carrying his brief case in one hand and a large coffee cup in the other.  I could make out a bluetooth attached to his ear.  His head was down, and he appeared to be talking to himself.

My first encounter with bluetooth occurred about seven years ago, when I was still working behind the teller line.  It had been a fairly quiet afternoon in the branch, with the lunch rush ending a few hours ago.   I had been adding up my most recent batch of checks, when a man who looked to be in his mid-40s stopped at my window.  He was staring at the floor, talking to himself.

When he turned his head slightly to the side, I noticed a foreign object attached to his ear.  It appeared to be some sort of an over-sized, robotic nipple.  Every few seconds, the areola would light up and blink.  I couldn't imagine that anybody in their right mind would choose to appear in public with an electronic mammary valve attached to their head.  I just assumed it was some sort of a modern hearing aid.

     "CAN I HELP YOU SIR!?" I screamed.

The man paused for a moment.  He appeared to be slightly startled.

     "Um, yes. I'd... like to deposit these two checks."  He handed me two large cashier's checks, along with a deposit slip.  Then, he looked down and resumed his conversation with his feet.

     "SURE! NO PROBLEM!" I screamed.

I totaled the two checks and verified the amount on the deposit slip.  Then, I credited the total to his checking account on my computer.  The man was still talking to himself, and he still seemed really concerned about his feet.  I just figured that he was probably insane.

     "WOULD YOU LIKE A RECEIPT!?" I hollered.

The teller sitting next to me had stopped counting her cash.  She was just staring at me with an expression of bewilderment.

     "Um, sure.  Yes... please."

I pushed the receipt across the counter towards the man.

     "HAVE A GREAT DAY, SIR!" I roared at the top of my lungs.

The man picked up the receipt and paused for a moment.  He started to open his mouth to speak, but no words came out.  Instead, he just turned around and slowly walked away from my teller window with his head down.  I remember feeling really bad for him, as he didn't seem like a very happy person.  Hopefully, his personal aide had driven him.  Any man who's constantly looking down and conversing with his feet is probably not fit to drive on his own.

     "What... was THAT... all about?"

     "What? Oh... that customer had a hearing aid," I said to the teller next to me.  "But you couldn't see it from where you were sitting.  I just wanted to make sure he could hear me, that's all."

     "Um, no. Dave, that was a bluetooth."

     "Blue... what?" I said.  "Bluetooth?  What's a bluetooth?"

She told me that it was a device used with a cell phone to wirelessly broadcast the signal from the phone to the bluetooth.

     "It's just another way that a cell phone can be used as a 'hands-free' device," she said.

Hmmm... that's interesting, I remember thinking to myself.

At the time, I realized how this 'bluetooth' device could make it safer to use a cell phone while driving.  But I didn't then, and I still don't have a need for bluetooth.  I've had a wired, hands-free headset for years, and I rarely even use that.  I probably spend a total of nine minutes each month talking on my cell phone while I'm driving.  Most of the time, I prefer to use my hands-free headset at home, so I can talk to my sister while I'm doing dishes, cleaning, or entertaining the cats.

I pulled up to a four-way stop sign, along with three other cars.  Being the last of that particular group to get to the stop, I waited for the rest of them to take their turn.  The first two drivers were both talking on cell phones.  The third had her phone wedged in the crook of her neck between her shoulder and ear.  Her head was down, and she was screaming and waving her free hand emphatically.  As she turned left around me, I crossed my eyes, stuck out my tongue, and turned my mouth down into a horrid frown.  I began moaning and wailing like a zombie, even though she obviously couldn't hear me.

     "Braaaaaaaaaains... BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINS!!!" I wailed, as I pretended to lick my driver's side window.

Apparently, she didn't see me either.  Oh well, her loss...

Taking my turn, I continued straight ahead through the intersection.  The speed limit on...


  1. Oh, and I love the cat. I want it.

  2. Me neither. MOL. Like omg send for grammar slash proofreading!