Writing is the Art of Reality

I believe writing is the art of reality.Do you want your reader to read the same old boring story?

Writers paint in words. We use the world around us to create, and we create immense worlds. We aren’t constrained unless we let ourselves be constrained. We can take as much as we want, or as little, depending on the story that wants to be told.

We are in complete control. The only limitation is ourselves.

I was talking to a writer friend yesterday. There’s a person in her writing group who does not accept criticism of his work. Every word he writes is gold, every sentence glitters. In his mind he’s a writer, and everyone else, especially the reader, is always wrong.

I don’t have to spell out to you how toxic this is.

Earlier this week I followed a link to a writer’s published work. It was bad. The dialog was cringe-worthy. I honestly felt embarrassed for the writer.

How does stuff like that get past agents and editors? Seriously, how does it? So much for the vaunted gatekeepers.

But these are extreme examples. Most published writers are technically able to turn out a readable story. Readable, yes, but not memorable.

Or maybe the readers keep reading them because that’s the only option they have?

I have wrestled with this my entire life. I always try to challenge myself. If you follow this blog you know my peculiar philosophy. I’m not saying I am successful. I fail more often than I succeed, but I keep trying.

I love and respect writers who elevate their craft beyond the mundane. I like seeing genres grow out of their cliched roots and welcome new readers. That can’t happen unless writers are constantly challenging the status quo, however.

I don’t think I am alone in this. I believe most writers want to write well. I think they want to bring something new to the reader, and I believe the reader wants to be challenged and entertained.

But when writers take the safe path  everyone loses, and the genre is watered down.

Then again maybe I am wrong about every blasted thing we have talked about today. Maybe writing is not art. Maybe it’s only a method to shovel thoughts and ideas down to the reader. But I don’t believe that in my heart. I don’t believe most writers think that way about their craft, and I don’t believe readers think that way, either.

Meanwhile, a lot of people are getting published.

But, by comparison, I am seeing fewer writers in the process.

So my advice, FWIW, is take a chance. Stand out. Separate yourself from the pack.

Look, if all you want to do is get published, if that is your goal…well, anyone can do that. Nowadays it’s not difficult. But if you want to be a writer? That’s something else altogether. You will have to work to accomplish that goal.

Trust me. It’s worth it in the long run. You won’t always be successful and there are never any guarantees, especially in this ego-shattering profession. But when you are able to pull it off….man, is it ever worth it.

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The Mithril Buddies – My Life in a D&D Gaming Group

I don’t play Dungeons & Dragons anymore. Not because I don’t like the game, but I don’t think I will ever find a group as good as my old one.

When I was living in Mississippi I got in touch with a group of guys and over the years we built up our group. Every Friday night we would meet and play and socialize.

We never had a specific name. The term “Mithril Buddy” is an in-game joke we came up with. (One of the few that weren’t R-rated.) We didn’t care about naming ourselves. We would just play and laugh together. And we didn’t only play D&D but many other games as well. It was a good way to cap off the week.

We went to SF/F conventions together, watched the LOTR Trilogy together as a “group project” and generally had a great time. One of the guys we used to play with isn’t in this picture, he was living in Arizona at the time. But along with him this was the core group and they are the Mithril Buddies, in every sense of the word.

I don’t get to see them as often since I moved to Texas. Some of the guys have moved away too. This picture is from August of last year, IIRC.  I get down there when I can, but it’s not as often as I would like.

No, I don’t play anymore. You can’t recapture perfection. But I will always have the fun memories and I hope I can see then again someday and ask them if the zombies are different colors.*

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*Another in-game joke I used to torment them with

Life is Getting in the Way of Writing

Got a lot to do today. Yesterday was busy, too. More than usual. Classical guitar and photography class took up most of the day yesterday. Today I am meeting my writing buddy at the coffee shop and will push to get this edit done on the new short story. At least whip it in recognizable shape.

Then I have to take the truck in for warranty service. I might be able to put that off until tomorrow. Once I get back home I can start signing up for specific science fiction conventions. While this is going on I need to keep getting my gear ready for the camping trip next week. Squeeze in lunch and classical guitar practice during the day. That’s along with the thousand other things I have to take care of.

Sometimes I feel I am trying to get too much done too quickly: classical guitar, photography, writing, camping, tutoring, working on the Argo Navis stuff, etc. As a result I get nothing done. Or not enough.

I am usually better compartmentalizing time and priorities than this. Writing is the main focus. A lot of other things are demanding attention and taking away the time I need for that.

I believe if I can get this short story shaped up that will go a long way to open up my time and making me feel better about what I have accomplished. This story is nibbling at the edges of my consciousness and I want to get it polished and move on to working on something else. Good grief, I haven’t even begun reading aloud the last Haxan novel for the third edit!

Hopefully I will get caught up on one or two things today and can cross them off my list (or shorten the list) and make progress. I need to get caught up. I don’t want to keep losing ground.

It is a busy time right now. I’ll get through it, but at the moment I feel I am slipping behind. I don’t like that feeling.

Yes, I am going to write The Great American Hobo Novel

I have finally decided I am going to do this for my next big project.

I have been interested in this idea for some time. A bit tongue in cheek, but I have called this idea The Great American Hobo Novel for some time. Mostly as a place holder name. I feel there’s a lot of potential here in this subject that hasn’t been mined. Yes, there have been other novels and films about this subject. I think I have found a way to approach it from a different direction and perspective. I have a plot in mind that may be workable.

That’s the problem. I have a plot. I don’t have a story. Not yet.

Writers will recognize this Catch 22 right away. Usually, we come up with the story first and the plot unfolds from there. This time, I came up with the plot first. But a plot is not a story. It’s a framework of a house. The story is the roof that makes the house.

This can be analogized by a simple plot: A boy finds a dog. He comes to love it. The dog saves his life.. Later, the dog catches rabies and the boy has to shoot the dog.

That’s a plot. Admittedly a recognizable one, but it serves our purpose of illustration. That’s a plot.  It’s  not a story.

So where’s the story in our example? Here: A boy grows up to be a man. That’s the story. The plot can be any framework that reveals the elements of that story. Maybe it wasn’t a dog. Maybe it was a hamster. See? Plots are not stories, and stories are not plots.

Thus, my dilemma.

I have the plot. I don’t have the story. Therefore, these are uncharted waters for me. I believe the story will reveal itself over time as I dig deeper and do more research. But I want to make sure I have it within my grasp before I get too involved with this project.

Meanwhile, it’s not like I’m lying fallow. I am getting prepared to attend several SF/F conventions this year, write more short stories, schedule readings at local libraries, and get more stuff out with Argo Navis Publishing.

A full plate by any standard. But times have changed and writing isn’t only writing anymore. Today writers have to be editors, publishers, marketers…God help us. I don’t like it, but I can’t pretend it’s unnecessary.

All the same I am getting excited about this project. I have been thinking about it for over a year and the idea has held up under scrutiny. That’s not always the case, either. Sometimes I will have an idea and after I study it a while I determine it’ s not worth the attention. I’m very picky and choosy about what I do and do not write nowadays. A lot of that comes with experience, a lot of it is having the belief in yourself to make the right judgments.

Because of the time frame you might expect there to be flappers, a particular subject I am interested in and have blogged about before. I don’t think so for this novel, however. It isn’t coming together in my mind to be that kind of novel. Not yet at any rate.

But it’s early days yet. There is a lot of history and culture which I need to start digging into.

Which is why I need to get started now. 🙂

Tension and Compromise, the Charybdis and Scylla of Art

Speaking only for myself, but I find it’s important to find a workable balance between perfection and compromise. I was responding on a Finding a balance between compromise and perfection is a necessary ingredient in your writing.classical guitar forum earlier tonight and it got me to thinking about this problem in more detail. Not only how it affects facets of our lives, but, since this is primarily a writing blog, how that dynamic between perfection and compromise can affect our art.

This came home to me last week before a guitar lesson lesson. I was home practicing “Malagueña” in the bedroom. Someone poked their head in the door and said, “That was really good.”

I thanked her and said it was kind of hard for me because of all the triplets. But later I wondered about this. She was being honest. She thought it was good. But for myself…all I could hear were mistakes.

Later, I had a lesson with my classical guitar teacher and related this experience. He said it was normal and while he didn’t use the phrase “find a balance between perfection and compromise” he meant as much.

I told him all  could hear were the mistakes. I told him all I ever heard were the mistakes. He also said ordinary people listening to you play the guitar don’t always “hear” the mistakes you make. Not in the sense you, as the player, does. That’s not what they are listening for. He told me a story how he had performed on stage and honestly believed he had played the worst he ever had. Yet people in the audience, and one of them was a Big Names Musician, told him he was very good.

I thought about this and I imagine there might be some truth to it. Of course, you will always have severely critical people who will find fault with everything you do. I am very critical of myself as I related earlier. When it comes to writing, or playing the guitar, or anything else, you have to find a balance between perfection and compromise.

An excellent example of perfection gone wrong is when you meet a writer who has been working on the same story without moving on. They keep rewriting it, editing it, “perfeFinding a balance is necessary in art. cting” it. The result is the story never gets finished and never gets sold.

And when it doesn’t get sold it doesn’t get read.

Now I am not saying you should write a story and throw it out on its little baby feet and expect it to run a marathon.  But there comes a point in editing and rewrites where you reach diminishing returns.

Every successful professional writer I know, every one of them, writes a story, makes it as good as they possibly can, and then moves on. They never obsess over that one story trying to perfect it into a diamond. Yes, they spend time on it, they sweat blood and tears over it, they open their hearts to it, but they reach a point where they know it’s time to move on and they do.

Every successful writer I know writes a story so he can move on to the next one. That’s their main goal. The next story. That’s what they are always thinking about. That’s what is always on their horizon.

I think it behooves us as artists to be aware of our limitations and strive to correct them and work through them. That’s what I’m trying to do right now with my classical guitar playing. I already do it with my writing.

I am not always successful, but I am going to keep trying. If you truly believe in your artistry, failure is not an option. It can’t be.

Passacaglia and Barre Chords in Classical Guitar

My classical guitar lessons have been going well. I honestly feel I am making good progress. I’ve memorized the two main sections of “Malagueña” Malaguenaand have to work on the lento (slow) section. The other song I’ve been working on with my teacher is “Romanza” or “Spanish Ballad”.

Malagueña is the feminine form of the Spanish port city Málaga. I think the tune was also used by Ernesto Lecuona in a piece of music. It has been featured or used in many other pieces of music as well. The song itself is pretty old, unless I am mistaken, and has its roots as a traditional piece from the port city of the same name in Spain. De Torres painted a picture he titled Malagueña in 1917 so it has been popular for a long time.

Aside from “Classical Gas” by Mason Williams, “Malagueña” is the second most requested song by audiences. There are a ton of different renditions and arrangements, but I am concentrating on the one by Christopher Parkening. My guitar teacher, btw, used to study under Parkening.

“Romanza” (Romance) or the “Spanish Romance” is of more questionable origin.  It appears it first appeared in the late 19th century, but other than that we don’t know the authorship. I am studying the minor section right now, and trying to get myself to mastering barre chords. Agh, they are my bane! (But I refuse to be deterred. I will master them.)

The third big piece I am working on (for myself, not my teacher) is “Passacaglia”. This is another musical form which originated in Spain and is derived from the Spanish pasar or “to walk” and calle (street). Even so it looks like there are Italian sources to this musical form sourced to 1606.

So it’s old no matter how you cut it. Again there are many different arrangements to this, but I am studying the one in Hal Leonard’s Classical Guitar Method. I like its strong, haunting quality. Any passacaglia has a brief sequence of varying chords over a bass line, which itself may vary.

Anyway, I like it. I am having fun now that I have committed to CG but I would be less than honest if I said there wasn’t some frustration along the way. CG is one of the most difficult forms of music to master. I don’t know what the most difficult would be. (Flamenco, maybe?)  But CG is difficult enough. I love the music and I love the structure inherent in the form. I am probably practicing about 2.5 to 3 hours on average a day. Sometimes longer. I’d say that feels about average. I am not interested enough to keep a record. It has probably has been longer of late because I have the opportunity to put in the time. That won’t always be the case, though, once the writing picks up again.

One final note, classical guitar doesn’t necessarily mean you have to play classical music. I kind of agree with the modern interpretation that says any kind of music can be played in a classical style.  To show what I mean, here is Per-Olov Kindgren playing Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” in classical form.

Maybe someday I can do this! (in about a million years) 😛

Chopping Out the Undergrowth of a Story and Revealing Gold

Today I will start the third (and I hope) final big edit of the new Haxan novel, Quaternity. I plan to read the novel out loud, as I mentioned before in this blog, and am eager to see (hear?) how it sounds.

I’ve been a little stuck on another short story I finished editing, though. After the initial big edit of this shorter piece (which I finished last year, Editing should be more than taking a hatchet to your story!that’s how long it has been sitting fallow) I saw it could again be edited one of two ways. I could change the whole meaning and structure of the story if I cut out some pieces. I don’t know if I want to do this. Yes, if I go that route I think I can probably find one or two magazines that would publish it, no problem. But if I leave those parts in (mostly heavy dark fantasy) then I might have to do a little homework to find a good place for it.

Which is fine, I have no problem doing that. What interests me most about this particular short story is how I can change it so dramatically by careful editing. Which, come to think of it, is probably always the case with any story I write. It’s just very blatant in this case. At least to me.

That is why I haven’t finished the final edit of this particular and as yet unamed short story about Magra Snowberry from Haxan. It could go either way. My philosophy about this has always stayed the same. I want to present the best story I can. That’s why I am on the fence as to which way to edit this thing. Even my instincts, which I always trust, says it could be a coin flip.

I think I am leaning toward keeping the very dark fantasy elements in it. The new Haxan novel Quaternity works variations on some of those familiar themes without the elements I use in the short story. So that is good.

I am probably over thinking this as I often do. But this is something I have to get past because it is hanging in the background like a flag demanding attention.

Thus, writing.

Conventions I will attend this year, and my other writing plans.

Here is a list of conventions I plan to attend this year, along with some other things I expect to get working in the pipeline:

MidSouthCon March 22-24 I used to go to this con all the time in Memphis with the guys in my gaming group. Probably too late for me to get on a panel this year. But it tends to be a good con all the same.
JordanCon/DeepSouthCon April 19-21 Roswell, GA. DeepSouthCon moves around and often hooks up with MidSouthCon, this year they are in GA. This is in our area and I can probably make this one. Not really a big deal if I miss it, but I would like to attend. Might be a better candidate for next year, though.
World Horror Con June 13-16 in New Orleans. This one is a definite.
Armadillo Con in Austin July 27-29.  Another definite. Sort of a low key con in some regards, but it’s fun and focuses more on writing than anything else.
Bubonicon August 23-25 in Albuquerque. I’d like to go to this one. It’s supposed to be pretty good and it’s right at the limit of our area. Might be time enough for me to get on a panel. Anyway, this is one I would like to attend but if I don’t make it this year it’s all right. I’ll make it next year.
 
LoneStarCon 3 WorldCon August 29-Sept. 3, San Antonio, TX. Absolutely going to this one. Because this is such a big convention I might pass Bubonicon by because by the time I get home from New Mexico I would have to turn right around and head out to this one. Anyway, next year I could plan to attend Lone Star Con all by itself since it’s always in San Antonio. (I think.)
FenCon October 4-6. Another Dallas convention and one I’ve been to before. I will try to get on panel but not the end of the world if I cannot. I can make this one easy.
Finally, I need to renew my membership for SFWA and HWA. Both are good because many of these cons have parties and meetings only open for members to meet and greet. Despite the many changes in publishing having these letters after your name still carries a little weight as well.

So that’s what I have planned as far as conventions go. Let me know what you think. I am also going to contact the libraries around here and set up readings. I know I have said that before, but this time I am really going to do it since I am focusing the entire year on writing,

There might be blood. But then we’d have to swab it up and who wants to do that?

I am finishing the second big edit of Quaternity. This morning I finished fixing some pieces in the story that had been bothering me. I think I mightCurve be reaching a point where I am starting to do more harm than good. Too much editing can have a negative impact on a manuscript.

I am not saying the manuscript doesn’t need work. It does. But I am becoming aware I am reaching a point where I have to be careful. There is always a cost-benefit analysis you have to be aware of when editing. It’s an asymptotic curve. You get closer to the point but you never reach it. There comes a time when you have to cut your losses.

Meanwhile I am working on a short story and completing a list of the conventions I want to attend this year. I’ve got a lot planned for the year and I am curious to see how it all pans out.

No Country for Old Men (book and novel review)

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy is a very good novel that, by all rights, should have been great.No Country for Old Men

It tells the story of a drug deal gone bad and how fate impacts different lives, and ends up shattering them. Written in a minimalist style with no quotation marks, commas or apostrophes, this literary quirk of McCarthy’s presents the story in raw and bold power. The violence of the novel isn’t symbolic or splatterpunk, it’s everyday real violence: unexpected and sudden and leaves you shivering and vulnerable.

The writing is laconic and powerful in its simplicity, as this passage relates:

“When he woke it was almost dark. He rose and went to the window and pushed back the old lace curtain. Lights in the street. Long reefs of dull red cloud racked over the darkening western horizon. Roofs in a low and squalid skyline. He put the pistol in his belt and pulled his shirt outside his trousers to cover it and went out and down the hallway in his sockfeet.”

I am a huge Cormac McCarthy fan. I think Blood Meridian is one of the best American novels out there. It’s easily in my top five.

I also like this novel a lot. There’sone thing that keeps me from giving it five stars, and it’s the thing that kept me from giving the film five stars. It has to do with the malevolent psychopath: Chigurh.

He is in effect little more than a Terminator, albeit in this case a biological one and not robot. He’s an unstoppable cipher (which is fine) but at the end of the novel he disappears leaving the reader with no resolution. This is done on purpose by McCarthy and therein lies the problem.

It’s transparent. It’s so obviously literary gamemanship that we see right through it. Chigurh’s disappearance loses its full power and leaves the novel (and the film) feeling broken and unfinished.

On the other hand, in Blood Meridian, the ending again is similar. There is no neat little bow to tie things up, and in Meridian we are  abandoned. But McCarthy pulls it off with more aplomb and skill in that novel than he does with Country.

Don’t get me wrong. I still like this novel and I still like the film. I think McCarthy is damn amazing. It just does not reach the level of Blood Meridian.

Then again, no one should expect it to. No-Country-For-Old-Men-m01

Dialog with Story: Hello, I’m There Again

Me: So I’ve decided to buckle down and spend the entire year concentrating on my writing.

Story: Big whoop.

Me: You’re not helpful. This is a big decision. I want to see where I am at the end of the year.

Story: See my previous statement. If you need me I’ll be over here yawning.

Me: I guess now you are going to tell me how wrong I am. Since that appears to be the thrust of most of our conversations on this blog.

Story: No, what I am going to do is tell you how right you are. Don’t faint. Even a blind hog can root up an acorn now and then.

Me: You know how to make a guy feel good, Story.

Story: You should have been doing this all along, spanky. Okay, some things got in the way and maybe you didn’t have as much opportunity as you would like, but now you do. This plan to immerse yourself in the profession and see how much progress you can make in a year’s time is nothing more than common sense. Attending more conventions, networking, visiting libraries and setting up readings…it’s all smart.

Me: I don’t know how much writing I can do. I’m pretty choosy nowadays which projects I take on and which ones I leave aside.

Story: That’s normal. That comes with experience and belief in yourself and your ability as a professional. Bob Dylan once said he had many more song ideas than he let himself write. He concentrated on the songs that spoke to him in a very specific way. The other songs, he said, he would let someone else write. I can understand that way of thinking. There’s no sense toiling away at a story that doesn’t speak to your heart. If you do, you’re not writing, you’re typing. Quantity isn’t the the keystone, it’s quality. One good story is infinitely better than three lousy ones.

Me: Wow, you compared me to Bob Dylan. That’s the nicest thing you  have ever said about me, Story.

Story: Well, you looked a little down and I thought you could use a pick me up. I’m excited, too, about your plans. What’s coming up?

Me: I have a camping trip scheduled and I think I will work on something out there.

Story: Good, I’ll come with you.

Me: That should make things easier.

Story: Less talk, and more packing, bunky. And lots more writing.

Making plans are one thing, settling on what they mean in the end is also important

 

 

Big Day of Edits

Late roundup posting but I was busy today. I got up before 3 a.m. and I did 150 pages of edits on the new novel. It went pretty well. The novel isn’t perfect. Well, I guess no story is perfect when you get right down to it. Though some classics come awfully close and I would argue probably do reach that bar. Anyway, for me the story is coming along. I have nothing to complain about.

Which is not to say there are not problem areas. But the fact I recognize them as such gives me hope I can ultimately correct them. Botis’s sermons are a little too long and they need to be tightened up and relate thematically to one another. This is one problem I have with electronic manuscripts. It’s easier for me to see separate pages from the manuscript when they are in paper form. That way I can jump from one to the other and compare each page in either hand and find the themes I need. I find it quicker than scrolling through a manuscript and something about bookmarking a manuscript doesn’t feel right. It feels clunky to me.

Such is my burden. So I might print out those sections and take a look at them and hand edit them for clarity.

The day wasn’t entirely spent on edits. I practiced classical guitar for about three hours, broken up into individual sessions. Mostly worked on “Malagueña” and arpeggiated Emi and Ami chords to build up my fundamentals.

Hope to have news about writing conventions I will be attending later this year. Keep tuned for that.

Off to bed.

A Pretty Important Announcement (well, I think it’s important) about My Writing

Because of some stuff that happened I am now able to make a decision about my writing as it pertains to this year. Pretty simple, really.

I am going balls out hit-the-firewall-and-push-it-farther for the year.

This means many more conventions. Library readings. Postings. Some other new stuff on the horizon, including more stories published by Argo Navis.

In general a lot of stuff I am lax about doing anyway and need to concentrate on. Which is all fine and I am good with the decision now that I have made it. I kind of had to wait until now to make the final decision, which means January is pretty much shot. But that’s all right. I am not going to obsess over that.

Not that I have been totally lax. I did, after all, finish a pretty big project that consumed me for 18 months…in only 19 days.

However, mixed in all this is, of course, writing. And still more writing.

And yet more writing. Including some short stories I want to write and finish.

Furthermore, I am definitely going to start the Great American Hobo Novel sometime this year. I was having a little trouble getting the story pinned down in my mind but it is taking shape. Mix in a little Sumerian Mythology…and, well, I think I might have something worth pursuing. *crosses fingers*

There are other things I have planned including a surprise or two. So, please, stay tuned to this blog and watch for upcoming announcements. As always, I want to thank you for showing an interest in my work. It means a lot as we take this journey together. In case you were wondering, I do need you there to keep me from stumbling. 🙂

Thanks!

The History and Location of Theater 13 Radio (for those who might wonder!)

Theater 13 Radio comes to you from a desolate graveyard surrounded by thick oak and dead pecan trees. Surrounding this ancient family cemetery is a rusty wrought-iron fence without a gate. Inside the fence stands a lone gray marble mausoleum with a single word carved in the lintel:

   ZARELLA

It is the last resting place of the lovely spirit you see in our banner.

Zarella died on her wedding night in 1923 after her third* husband succumbed under mysterious circumstances from, what were said to be, self-inflected knife wounds in his throat and chest. Go figure! Accidents in the home. What can you do to avoid them?

On her way to seek help, Zarella’s car, a red Dusenberg Model A, blew a tire. Some say she was driving too fast. Others say she was headed the wrong way because the only doctor was in the opposite direction. Well, you know how people gossip. Anyway, she skidded off a bridge into a river swollen with dark, rushing water. And there she drowned, trapped inside the car.

Funny thing that. Little problem with the logistics. When the car was pulled from the river she wasn’t inside. Doors were locked. Windshield wasn’t smashed or anything. She simply disappeared. There was a search and she was found dead half a mile down river. Some wags maintain she pushed the car into the river to fake her death and accidentally slipped in after it and drowned. Like that could really happen.

Gosh. It’s still a mystery, though. Well, there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio.

Now her aching, wandering soul channels OTR programs directly from the eternal ether to your PC — in an effort to reconnect with the material world, and return….

We’re not sure what she will do if she ever does return to this world. But it probably won’t be good.

And people say there are no happy endings in life. Enjoy the scary programs!

Theater 13 Radio, your one stop for OTR programming!

*They think it was her third husband. Records are kind of sparse since the City Hall burned down in 1934. Almost like someone was trying to cover up something. Anyway, it’s thought she might have been married before, but unfortunately her previous husbands died of tragic accidents around the house. One stumbled down the basement stairs in the pitch dark and broke his neck on the edge of a shovel. A one in a million happenstance, really, but what can you do? The second husband was found dead in the house library. He had been cleaning his gun and, well, it made quite a mess. The local police had trouble explaining this “accident” seeing as how he also had a letter opener in his back. But you never know about these things, and the past has a way of hiding its secrets. Everyone said the third marriage was for love.

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