Last weekend, I convinced my son-in-law to stand on an aluminum ladder in the rain and cut the tops off the cedar trees in our front yard with an electric hedge trimmer. The extension cord has a number of splices wrapped in electrician’s tape from when I was learning to use the hedge trimmer a few years ago. Which is why I asked my son-in-law to trim the cedar trees.
In my defence, it was only raining slightly. And it was not raining at all when I asked him to do it.
I wanted to get the trees trimmed before the real rain hits. It is supposed to rain every day for the next two weeks, averaging an inch a day. We already have two dogs and two cats.
In my previous blog, I wrote about a seminar I was scheduled to present on “How to write a murder mystery.” Unfortunately, the conference where I was scheduled to present the seminar has been postponed. I am sorry for talking about an event that will now not happen. (There is no word yet on when the conference might be rescheduled.) However, I thought that some parts of that blog might still be of interest, particularly some comments on how I began writing murder mysteries in the first place…
When we got married over 30 years ago, my wife and I developed the habit of reading together, especially just before bed. She said she liked the sound of my voice—it put her to sleep. We read a variety of books, but she liked murder mystery novels and got me intro reading mysteries. I hadn’t read many before that. Over the years, we read most of the classics—Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, Ross MacDonald, Ellery Queen. Having read most of the classics, we moved on to some lesser known writers—and discovered that sometimes there were good reasons they were lesser known.
I read a book review once that said, “This book should not be put down lightly. It should be thrown, with force.” It may be heresy for a writer to say this, but some books are not worth reading—at least, for some people. One night, Jackie and I had just started reading a new mystery novel. We had gotten two or three pages into it when I literally threw the book across the room and said, “This is terrible! I could write a better mystery than that!” And my wife, wonderfully helpful person that she is, said, “Why don’t you?”
And so I did.
Shortly after I posted this blog about the upcoming “Telling Stories: A Conference for Writers,” it was postponed, for reasons beyond my control. I apologize for this. I will post again if and when the conference is rescheduled.
For more information about the conference, go to http://mennonitemuseum.org/category/upcoming-events/
There was an eclipse of the sun in our area today. But I missed it.
I couldn’t look at it directly and risk eye damage, of course. My eyesight is bad enough as it is. And I wasn’t going to go online and pay $1,000 for officially certified viewing glasses. I am too cheap for that. I know, I could have made a pin prick in a piece of paper and held it up so that the sun shone through the pin prick onto a black piece of paper. But looking at a miniature shadow of a shadow seemed a little divorced from the reality. Pointless even. So, I stayed inside and looked out a north-facing window. It looked as if evening had come early. Or as if I was wearing a really good pair of sunglasses if I could afford a really good pair of sunglasses. Or both.
Besides, I had witnessed the previous solar eclipse thirty-eight years ago. That was when I was in university and still had hopes of learning something. Back then, they told us to look at the eclipse through a piece of exposed camera film. Camera film is…well, you can’t explain that concept in the modern world.
Instead of staring at inanimate objects, I decided to do something constructive with my time. Specifically, I decided to shampoo our living room rug. Well, okay, technically my wife decided I was going to shampoo our living room rug. It was a good idea. By the time I had finished, about the time the solar eclipse was at its peak (it only reached 87 percent in our area), all of the stains on the rug were gone. However, I did observe that later in the day some of the stains had reappeared. Probably some weird side-effect of the eclipse. Perhaps an astrophysicist could explain it. Or at least someone smarter than I am.