Writer’s block.  Seems pretentious to even call it that.  It’s not like I’m…  Actually, I am.  I am a writer.  My two ebooks have earned barely $60 in total but, hey, they are mine and, hey hey hey, I got paid for them.  But now I am blocked.

My son is a talented writer.  And thinker.  And story teller.  The other day he told me that when you are blocked you need to do something to kickstart yourself right out of there, even if it takes some time.  Find out what it is, and then do it.  For him, it’s playing video games.

If I did that, I would lose myself.  Trust me, as a former addict of the game World of Warcraft, I know.  I still dream of being in bear form and knocking the snot out of some big monster while my teammates go in for the kill and others shoot heals my way so I can outlive the monster who is trying to chew my head off.  I have a friend from those days who still plays.  She posts videos of her guild’s battles on her website and talks excitedly about her latest weapon acquisition, so I can enjoy the game vicariously through her.  But I don’t.  I don’t even watch the videos.  It would hurt too much, in a way, because I can no longer play.  I guess that’s partly what makes an addict an addict.

My son and I agree that reading a good book can help unblock the block.  I find that to be a lovely and safe choice.  Usually.

Right now I am reading Agatha Christie Mallowan’s Come, Tell Me How You Live, kindly sent to me by a friend.  It is an accounting of her travels and adventures with her husband, famed British archeologist Sir Max Mallowan, during archeological digs in Iraq and Syria in the 1930s.

If the internet existed back then, Dame Agatha would undoubtedly be tapping away at her blog every day or so–no writer’s block for her!–updating eager readers over tea on her struggles, both mundane and fantastical, ranging from constipation (not hers–she is a true lady, after all) to murder (also not hers, but probably inspiring her fictional works).   She would share with her contemporaries the beauty, charm, and magnificence of the Middle East and its people during this interlude between two world wars.  As for future readers such as you and I, Christie’s poignant references to Aleppo and Mosul, Raqqa and Beirut, Armenian, Arab, Moslem, and Kurd fall heavy on the heart.  But it is a grateful heart, blessed with a glimpse into our own very real world in another very real time.  Between those lines, one can sometimes find hope.

Where Dame Agatha’s work is a gentle, cultured read, my son’s recommendations lean toward the wild side.  Per his encouragement, I have read a dozen of Jim Butcher’s books in his series The Dresden Files, which follows the adventures of a modern day wizard-detective who turns out to be so much more.  Butcher is an incredible writer who blends nonstop action with humor, managing to squeeze in some real character depth while he’s at it.  I took a break from the series after finishing volume 12 last spring.  I’m still too exhausted to pick up number 13.  But I will.

My son is an avid Stephen King fan, as well, so upon his urging I read The Stand.  I texted the poor boy for days afterwards about how much I despised, no, DESPISED!!! the ending.  I slogged for weeks through a thousand-plus pages for that???  I felt so cheated!!!  On the other hand, King sure did manage to elicit a passionate reaction and, for any author, that’s success right there.

Bowing to more of my son’s advice, I read a sneak peak (10 percent of the book) on Amazon of King’s classic horror novel, It.  Yes, It is very well written.  Inspired, you might well say.  But, yikes, Mr. King sure taps into a deep well filled with some very dark stuff.  The sneak peak ended (OF COURSE!) with the frightened little wife shaking in her slippers, turning the doorknob to the bathroom where her husband had mysteriously retired… drip drip drip sounds from the other side of the door.  Amazon then asked me to buy the book.  Instead, I googled spoilers for It and found out what happened without having to get immersed in the remaining 90 percent.  Look who’s the cheater now, ha!

You have to be careful what you put into your brain, you know?

Actually, what I think works best to unblock the block, at least for me, is to simply sit and write.  Just start.  See what pops out, then follow it along until it fades away…  end of story.  Or maybe not.  Go back in a few days and tweak it.  Maybe a crazy video game scene will come crashing into a discussion of Agatha Christie who, in a ladylike turn, will toss her tea and shift into a monster out of a Stephen King novel.  Oh!  Bear form, quick!  I’ll kill Pennywise the clown with my bare paws!!!  And look!  Over 900 words later I have managed to unblock things, at least on the blog front.

Now, back to work on my next little ebook.  It will be sweet, a bit on the tame side, but hey, that’s what I know.  Heck, maybe I will toss in a little spice… but no clowns.  Absolutely no clowns!

(For any interested readers, my ebooks can be found on my Amazon author page,  If you do pick one up and enjoy it, please consider giving it a review.  That is helpful both to search rankings and to author encouragement.  Thank you!)

Nothing Like It

There is nothing like running and running through a productive but very long day, then finally settling into your favorite seat after a glorious dog walk, and looking out the window of your home at an expanse of green grass and trees that leads to a huge, peaceful lake.  A lake that is your front yard, for you to enjoy for a day, or two, or longer.  It’s up to you.  Then you can mosey along to the next restful or interesting spot as the spirit moves you.  Nope.  There is nothing like it.

Today was my “honey-do-list” visit to Phoenix Cruiser (PC).  As usual, Mr. Bob (my hero) took my list into hand and proceeded to knock each item off with efficient grace.  He even searched high and low for that electrical gremlin who continues to pester me at hook-up time–that sounds weird unless you are an RV’er and know what I am talking about…  trust me, it’s not weird, just a nuisance.  We came to an accommodation with the gremlin.  It seems that I must wait an additional 20 or 30 seconds beyond the 128 second countdown for the built-in surge protector to approve the power source.  Patience.  Not my strong suit but, hey, I’ll give it a try.

Mr. Bob took about three hours tinkering with this, fixing that, and explaining the other.  Some of the items were self-inflicted harm.  Like the cabinet that I jammed shut by overloading it so severely that the hinge arm could not extend to an open position.  It just so happened that my tools were trapped in there.  I could say that is why I was unable to fix other items on the list myself, but nobody would be fooled.  Especially Mr. Bob.

Some of the other items are things that a capable, talented, confident fix-it person would be able to handle on their own.  Me, I add them to the honey-do list.  This would include the automatic  house step that sometimes deploys outward even when I am driving (a big no-no) and an extraordinarily stubborn house door lock that arbitrarily threatens to lock me either in or out (apparently that electrical gremlin has some mean mechanical skill, too).  For the house step, Mr. Bob adjusted what could be adjusted, but he also wired in a switch for me so that I can now turn power to the step completely off and untimely deployment will no longer be an issue.  He’s so clever.

I love my little house.  As I wandered around the PC factory (whenever I wasn’t hovering over poor Mr. Bob’s shoulder) I could observe rigs being built in each stage, from completed, shining beauties backwards to hole-riddled shells (the holes occupying space for future windows and doors), electrical wires and plumbing pipes exposed, winding and raw.  These guys and gals at Phoenix really know what they are doing.

Dawny and I had a special treat in our wanderings when we met a new PC owner.  It turns out he has never had an RV before, and he bought the same model as we have.  His is a little bit different inside.  One of Phoenix’s tremendous strengths is their willingness and ability to do a certain amount of custom variation.  For instance, this gentleman is quite tall, and Phoenix made the traditional bed length longer for him.  Like Dawny and me two summers ago, he is camped out in the PC parking lot getting used to his rig and having the factory fine-tune and tweak things that need to be done prior to take-off.  We wish him a lovely take-off and an even lovelier flight.

After our house was put back into tip-top order, Dawny and I grabbed a quick walk, a quicker lunch, and took off for Ohio.  After four-plus hours of driving, navigating detours, and struggling with really crappy signage, we finally made it to our destination campground.  We signed up for two nights, no question about it.

What a great place to decompress.  What a great way to decompress.  Nothing like it.

Dawny has already tagged one of the local squirrels with a personal death sentence.  Too bad she is leashed.  And kinda old.  But then we do have two days for her to give it a try.  And I have two days (or more, if I choose) to relax, enjoy, and absorb this beautiful life in this beautiful spot at this beautiful moment in my beautiful home.

(For any interested readers, Phoenix Cruiser’s website is:  If you are interested in a small to mid-sized motorhome, it is a good place to start perusing their offerings and gathering data.  Their online forum, also found on the website, is active and full of PC-owner-experts waaaaaaaaay more knowledgable than I when it comes to taking care of things that inevitably, with any RV, go awry.  And when it is something you cannot handle yourself, or you do not have a trusted service professional to assist you, or you simply would like to mosey on up to Elkhart, Indiana, then have at it and for just $50/hour Phoenix will work on your PC rig for you).

Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh . . .

. . . I get to see my Boy soon!  Mom keeps telling me he’s not a boy any more.  He’s a man.  I tell her he’ll always be my boy.  And I’ll always be his doggy.  That usually hushes her up, probably because she realizes that same young man will always be her baby.  It’s important to have the last word, you know.

Anyhew, Mom and I are back on the road.  No more short trips to do laundry and Walmart and an occasional “explore,” some of which she has had the nerve to do without me.  We have a few stops to make along the way to our boy, stretching a 400 mile trip to more than three times that length.  Silly Mom.  Me, I’m direct.  I believe you should make up your mind and then implement.  Concentrate on one step at a time.  Sniff out the perfect spot, pee on it, then move on.

Mom would rather turn the journey into something of a dance.  A one and a two and a quick-step, we are off to flirt with Father Winter.  Foxtrotting northward first, taunting those snowflakes so eager to enter from stage-west, cha cha cha.  Followed by a sassy salsa to the east–I do have sass, you know–and, finally, waltzing to the south, and southward again, our final twirl will end in a deeeeply dramatic southern dip…  Out of reach of Winter’s frigid arms.  Oh, how exhausting!

Mom likes to romanticize and sentimentalize (if you can’t tell, I allowed her to write much of that previous wacko paragraph).  She goes on and on about how much she loves east Tennessee and her new friends.  Me, I’m more practical.  Yes, it has been a nice enough of a place to swoosh my tail for the summer.  Lots of good smells.  Nice people giving me good pats.  Great places to walk every single day, several times a day.  Plenty of Mom-and-me time, including some deep-relaxation, snuggle-naps.

Most interestingly, I have made a really good friend of my own, my walking partner, Millie.  That is her picture at the start of this post.  Pretty darned generous of me, huh, since there are lots of pictures of me that I could have put there.  But I think highly enough of Millie to give her a brief place of honor.  Remember, I am nothing if not generous.  Yup, that’s me.  Miss Generous.

In fact, I think we should make it official.  I am going to submit “Generous” to Mom for my newest middle name.  It has a wonderful ring to it:  Dawny Virgil Prewash Sassy Generous…  Yup, I like it.  It is also important that I give myself a name and not just accept the labels of others.

Although… Virgil, yes, that was bestowed upon me by my boy.  My wonderful, sweet boy.  He felt it conferred the gravitas and dignity that I deserve.  And I love him for that.

A one and a two and a swoosh-swoosh…  See you soon, Boy!

This post is dedicated to my Tennessee walking buddy, Millie.  She promenades along with her mom, my mom, and me (I take the lead, of course), carrying herself with tremendous style and wearing a great big smile.  Please don’t interpret this as sentimentality.  It is simply a fact.  I truly will miss Miss Millie.