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Where Have I Been?

Okay, it has been a old friend Lisa Risley often refers to blog readers as "blurkers," at least I think that's what she calls them. It has been quite a while since I have written anything, because quite honestly, there has been so much going on that sitting down and actually writing anything for this has become nigh-impossible.

The summer has been busy, both in the writing and "real" worlds. What has occurred? Well, the work...I have just been flat out at it, until the past couple of weeks.

The world of journalism and radio have continued to keep me up at "The Crack of Ass" (as my old friend Adrienne liked to say), or Oh-Dark-30 as my WITF colleague Tim Lambert would say. 1:30 am is when I wake up.

Yeah. Earlier than the Today Show people.

The first few hours of that shift are a whirlwind. If you listen to one of the many stations around PA that air our content, you'll hear me. No more than say, a two-minute blurb, and damned good that it's recorded.

I'm entertained that NPR recently as been leading their hourly newscasts with, "Live from NPR..." I don't know why, but by the sound of it something made them change either to doing it live, or making sure you know there's a real live human being reading the news.

As I get older, I am beginning to see the changes in my body and my brain, and I'm not sure I like them. My touch-typing is not what it once was. I'm adequate once I get started, but I like the big old keys, not these flat, touchless keys you get nowadays. Doesn't feel right at all.

My voice is changing. It sounds the same, but I'm detecting that I am slurring my words at times. I know that I talk fast, and sometimes I have to put the brakes on when I deliver reports or stories.

I often my feel my mind is sharp, but the wires to my mouth aren't right. I sometimes sound like...well, it's like this:

Do you remember the kid back when you were say, eight to maybe twelve or so? That kid that would speak, and he would smash words together? Like he didn't know how to say a word so he'd fake it, or he'd talk so quickly some of his speech was gibberish?

That's how I feel sometimes. I'm a little worried about that.

I try to think about it, and hope that a lot of it is the speed at which I work, the caffeine/Monster/Vitamin B fueled insanity which our business runs on. Or at least with me.

I don't know who said, but some crusty old journalist groused years ago, "We won the war on whiskey and cigarettes." He then bitched that his younger fellows were all drinking wine spritzers.

I have no interest in being that. Yes, my old blog is called, "Words of a Pre-Curmudgeonly Zen Pagan," but I don't want to come off as that. Yet, a lot of my younger colleagues in the media I'd at times like to take out back and slap the fuck out of them.

Not where I work. Believe me when I tell you, I'm damned lucky where I am. WITF, owners of Radio want to know why I hung in there for six fucking years to finally get a full-time slot?

It's real. Real radio, both on my side of the cubicle city and at WITF, where I used to help out. It's radio, as it should be, its' journalism that is fair (whether or not you think so), and we do our damnedest to get it right.

Lot of people my age (mostly younger than me), and people who give a shit about this business. In this age of gimme-it-now, we still provide good stuff. Good stories, a lot of work, and I have nothing but respect for every person I've met in that building. Most of them are better than me: better reporters, better writers.

I spent a long time not feeling part of the family, because of my own issues. Sometimes I get this weird feeling that the moment I think I'm on the team, something will take that from me. Or rather, I'll do something wrong.

I think about it every day. Every day I'm in there, I try my hardest to get my words right, my English right, and does this sound right as I'm presenting it?

Yeah. I give a shit.

I also try very hard to be fair. Whether I agree politically/socially/whatever with a subject or not, I present it. Here it is, unfiltered, no bias, no snarky comments or hip talk, and no pop culture references to clue everyone in.

Now and then, you can have a little fun and it works. But only if it works. You have to figure that out.

I'm still working on all of it.

I want to think my better known and better paid colleagues do as well but often I don't know what they are thinking. They often are placed in positions that are likely pretty uncomfortable. I really don't find too many on the cable networks I particularly like. Not saying they aren't competent, but I don't go on looks, hair, sex, race or any of it. Do the job, do it right.

And don't smile at the camera with a self-absorbed, "Ain't I Great" shit-eating grin on your face, please.

OK. That said:

What have I been writing? Well, here's the thing: I'm still promoting "A Moment in the Sun," and I'm going to keep doing it.

I will be appearing at the Bosler Memorial Library in Carlisle, PA for the Book Fair on Friday, October 21st (see the Events section), and some of my fellow Sunbury Press Books colleague will be on hand.

And then the next day, I'll be back at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg for a book signing from 2-4 pm. Fellow YA authors and I will be on hand for that. Always fun.

THE BIG NEWS: "A Moment..." has been picked as a Finalist for the Dante Rossetti Award for Young Adult Fiction by Chanticleer Book Reviews! How about that? A lot of good books in that lineup, and there will be four knockout rounds before the spring.

To be recognized is fantastic...fingers and toes crossed, please...

Next up, will be "Live from the Cafe." The aim is to have that out and ready in 2017. What's it about...well...think of every coffee shop you've ever been in, and forget about them!

Imagine a small, small village in the middle of Quebec, when you leave the Trans Canada Highway, and you travel down a little two-lane road, where the signs are in French and English, and you arrive in a little rustic place.

In a small town with only a few businesses, one convenience store, a Chinese takeout joint...there's a cafe. Le Cafe is where the town's heart beats. The people who own it, work there, and live there all have stories to tell...and you never know who's gonna show up next!

Rough bit of it here:

While we're awaiting the proofer, there are other things to do...I've written the first cut of a new story, "Legend of the Black Swan." More young adult-Japan fare, but I'm traveling in other directions with it.

I have a lot to write, to do, and get out there. The cycle keeps going just as long as I can.

This is what I do.

Life is not without complete lack of enterprise. My recent trip up to the Poconos (real "Live from the Cafe" type of stuff, nothing up there) led me to the PA Blues Festival, which I covered for --

Great time, met a lot of cool people.

The house is slowly shaping up. I have not had as much time as I would like, but getting there. Not a lot I have to do, but there will be little fixes and I'm still setting up.

Out back is really nice.

To the left, I can sit and watch the cats...Sofia is really becoming a pain, because she is an escape artist. I have to watch/leash her...she is not liking it

Inside I'm keeping things kinda minimal downstairs. Upstairs, the usual bunch of things...

This is the office, and where I host "The Music Club" on Radio-Airwaves Station every Wednesday. The CD collection is immense...I've spent time converting to envelopes, and thankfully the CD cases are recyclable. What an amount of space...that's A-Z, but not the classical, world, jazz, etc. A lesser number, but I wonder how much of that I'm going to fill.

I used to have vinyl...long time ago. There'd be no place for it in this house. in Harrisburg is no different than anyplace else. It's a decent neighborhood, and I think my "normal" life is decent enough to keep me grounded and somewhat together.

The writer's life goes on.

Lately finished off "A Moveable Feast" by Hemingway. Lots of stuff about food and living in Paris. Really quite a nice chronicle of his life in the 20's. Different time.

Gabriel Garcia-Marquez in the Last Interview series was interesting. A few intriguing quotes and thoughts from him.

Other stuff, but I can't even remember.

Anyway, I'm still alive, still writing, still kicking like the old guy I am. Well, I dont think that anymore. I'll be 51 in another month. Weird, but I'm not feeling my age too much. Just a bit.

Outta here. Peace.

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