Sunday, November 30, 2014
So here's my second annual holiday story. I hope you enjoy. This one was inspired by Susan Elizabeth Phillips's Natural Born Charmer. Her novel started, "It wasn't every day a guy saw a headless beaver marching down the side of the road..."
Hotdogs and Buns Belong Together
By RW Richard
I knocked on the door, but nobody could hear me. Snow swirled outside, merriment and blaring music vibrated my best friend’s home. Polite yes, but I wasn’t going to freeze my bun off. Yes bun, not buns. I was dressed as a hotdog bun.
The door opened just as I was plunging the handle. “Come on in.” Even though Teresa was dressed as a garlic, her throaty voice gave her away. “And, let me guess.” Teresa held my muffs. The door blew shut.
I took in the living, dining room and beyond. I’ve never seen so many vegetables, fruit, meats, fish. I giant walleye was eyeing me. We weren’t a good match.
“I’m not going to tell you who I am. Got any spiked punch?”
“Holly baby. It’s you.”
“The punch.” We were best friends, so I dispensed with the nice-to-see-you and hugs, partially because she reeked like the giant garlic she was and partially because she had set me up with the worse blind date ever last Saturday. Stinko Teresa had taken this reality thing too far. Besides hugging her as a hotdog bun might give the other foods the wrong idea. Again, a bad match, although I had nothing against garlic and hotdog bun, if that were your thing.
Teresa took me to the punch bowl. Luckily, the drinks had straws. I was parched from the raw wind outside. Whatever the liquid was—if there were any fruit juice in the mix at all—burned on the way down. “Whoa.”
“Jamison’s Irish Whiskey, girl.” She leaned closer to my ear. “Listen, Holly. There’s somebody here who I think is a good fit for you.” A natural born skeptic, especially concerning what Teresa thought about men, I looked around.
“Yeah sure. Your idea of perfect was that podiatrist. You know he went under the table to kiss my feet.”
“He makes good money.”
“In a French restaurant? It’s just so wrong. It spoiled my escargot.”
“Well, never mind that. Your future is in the kitchen.”
“What’s he do?” Okay, I should have known better. Teresa has never had any success at putting anybody together.
“I don’t know. He just grunts. I’m not sure who he is.” But the tone of her voice gave her away. She knew.
“Maybe he crashed the party.” I was messing with her. Teresa evited everybody and cautioned them not to make it easy to tell who they were.
“I’m such a sucker.” We danced to the kitchen, but Teresa was pulled away by a rutabaga.
I sauntered as best as a white bread bun could saunter, into the kitchen and inspected three guests. One was shorter than my five-nine and dressed as a rose bush. Was that allowed? She had to be female. The next was dressed as pumpkin. His legs were as thick as the old oak tree that snarled Teresa’s front lawn. That left the giant hotdog, whose head was rubbing the ceiling. Maybe he wasn’t tall but just dressed that way. Maybe he was a she. I checked out his or her feet. Plump doggie feet told no tale.
“You come here often, tall dark, and tasty?”
He flailed his arms to make a point. “You complete me.”
“Do I know you?” He was disguising his voice by dropping it down into a Lou Rawls bass.
“Frank Furter, at your service.” He bowed and nearly knocked me over with his head.
Then he attempted to rub his hotdog body into my partially opened bun. The nerve. I screamed. He chased me, arms out. “I’m not complete without you,” he bellowed over the Sade song, “No Ordinary Love”. I beat him into the dining room and slid a ham between us.
“Let me catch up.”
“You can’t cut the mustard, Frank.” I rounded the lovely rosewood table for the second time.
“I relish the moment we will be comlpete.” It was then, I recognized his voice. It was Tom, the truly—way to go Teresa—handsome Penn State quarterback of ten years ago. He was way out of my tall skinny freckled league.
He sneered. “I want you.” He lunged, but a carrot and a roast beef tackled him. Nonplussed he wrangled and twisted his way up. The chase was on again.
Maybe I should let him catch me.
“Slow down, Holly.” I hesitated and he was all over me or should I say he enveloped me?
“No. Absolutely no.”
“Maybe with relish?”
“If you were a kielbasa, call me, maybe.” We were both playing the crowd who nearly laughed their edible heads off.
“Oh, you really know how to cut a man down to size.” Now I pitied him. But at least he was a plump ballpark frank. Kind of heady, sexy, ramy. Need I paint a picture?
I used his self-pity to extricate myself and ran into the downstairs bedroom, much to the uproar—should I say anticipatory delight—of the fruits, vegetables, meats, one walleye and oh yes a stupid rose bush.
He waddled into the bedroom. I cowered in the walk-in closet getting my nerve up and senses back. I decided. I was really up for a make-out session if after he saw my face up-close after all these years, he’d still want to smooch.
“Jolly Holly, were forth art thou?”
I sneezed. You see, I might have been allergic to my bun.
The door creaked open and light streamed in. “Here you are my honey-bunny. I’ve always been too shy around you. I don’t know what got into me, tonight. Emboldened, perhaps.” He rubbed his hotdog into my opening bun. Oh gosh. Keep that up, mister.
“You could have your pick. Why not the rose bush?”
“Bushes are okay, but she has thorns.”
“How about Teresa?”
“Your girlfriend and I dated in college. It didn’t work out.” I knew that. Girls gossip, you know. I had gone to the west coast, UCLA, and missed all the fun here in Pennsylvania.
“How about you take that silly top off so I can kiss you before I explode?” Images of hotdog mess all over Teresa’s nice dresses would simply not do. I took off the top half of my bun, he took his top off, still ruggedly handsome. With a huge smile he planted a wet one on me.
We’ve been kissing ever since. We soon married and I had a beautiful baby girl. Teresa, my maid of honor, was right, not only were Tom and I a good fit, hotdogs and buns belong together.
Your extra credit today involves investing 5 minutes.You've already read my story, so perhaps just a peek at this classic will surprise you. I didn't know it existed. Charlie Chaplin - The Costume Ball, date ????
Sunday, November 23, 2014
I was driving my 7 and 10-year-old grandsons home from school and wondered what I could say that would get their attention even while they were playing on tablets. I always ask them what one thing was the most memorable or interesting that they did in school that day. Then, I told them about how people don’t remember much when they’re twenty and trying to recall what happened in school when they were kids. I related the story from my kindergarten about the little girl who was standing in line, had to go, wasn’t allowed out of the line and dribbled down her leg. I mentioned how little I remembered before I was five and I offered a remedy for any memory they’d want to keep. Just like in a dream, if you don’t repeat it back to yourself, the contents of the dream will disappear.
Later that day the 10 year old stopped playing on the TV, without warning reeled off the entire day’s activities at school and gave me a hug. You think that didn’t get me? Just as I asked them to treasure life’s experiences, it was my turn to repeat this story. I’ll never forget it. and didn't need repeating.
Generally, I put a YouTube video here, but I couldn’t think of anything. Any ideas? I’ll place it here: [Your idea.]
Why do I use videos? So that you’ll remember my blog by association (and be entertained), much like repeating a story to yourself from a dream or an experience, you’ll have a multi-faceted remembrance.
About the male POV: well this story describes the way I think!
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Dear blog reader,
I never quote someone without checking. I talked earlier today with this fellow author to get permission to publish his email to me. I present the letter to you because I find it instructive. I decided not to name the author not because he cared but because I want it to be an everyman letter. Everyman being your readers and mine.
I keep missing you and forgetting to tell you. Again this morning.
I had difficulty getting into the first 16 pages of your Novel [A More Perfect Union], something that is not unusual with me. On the third attempt, everything fitted. I enjoyed the characters and the plot. You have introduced imagination and original scenes that kept me engrossed.
I apologize for my delayed response, but I just have that problem, remembering who, what and where at the start of each book; with The Vacationers, by Straub, it took me three beginnings also.
Congratulations, a super job.
Best regards, Author X
Thanks for the note. It took me a while to assemble some thoughts on the matter of rereading. I struggle the same way you do. Although we are separated by a common language (X is from London), we get each other. I enjoy your stories and I'm glad you enjoy mine as well. I think trying to get used to another author's style is a struggle for me (and you) because we are at an age when we know what we like or prefer, and don't much need to expand or change. I suppose flexing our minds, trying new reads, being eclectic will forestall Alzheimer’s LOL. But it certainly won't be boring.
Yesterday I went to a writers’ conference. The speaker, Brenda Novak, a New York Times bestselling author gave the first fifty who attended a copy of one of her 55 books. I have haltingly made my way through the first chapter, reading during commercials of a Hallmark movie. Even though I know she's crystal clear, I needed to get used to her voice. It is a labor of love to pick up a new friend, make room in my intellectual life for another voice, perhaps different than who I’d normally read. I don't know yet how long it will take to finish her story. I am busy and as you know a slow reader. I want to because she's acclaimed and oh yes, I like her story (The Heart of Christmas). We will do no less for each other, right? Even if we aren't on the NYT list, just yet.
Brenda has found ways to build her audience, making it personal, I suppose, opening her heart to her readers. I sense and know she writes what she enjoys, not what she thinks will impress.
“Tonight, Tonight” from West Side Story (movie version, 1961) presents a cacophony of POVs about what each person or group wants or fears the most for one night in their little piece of New York City. Opening yourself up to each voice during the movie is due to the masterstroke of great writers and composers. Create your work with the same excitement.
My first writing coach once asked me if I was writing for an audience or myself. I now know that to be a false choice. In the beginning, you only have yourself to please. If you don’t write using brain and heart—well, who else will follow you?
Brenda also said she was an eclectic reader. Let’s all pick up something today we would not normally read. Wade through it if you have to, but definitely, in the end love what you read as much as the author loved writing it.
Sunday, November 9, 2014
Years ago I contracted with NBC for a screenplay and got the bug. Many years later I decided, as a male romance writer, to differentiate myself by writing stories that were hopefully unique and of interest to me. There’s a price. I have sent full manuscripts on request to publishers and agents and they typically say, love your voice, but the story won’t suit our readers.
A More Perfect Union has some politics in it. A NO NO.
Double Happiness has two heroes and two heroines. Nope.
Autumn Breeze (a romance) leads off in the mind of a thirteen-year-old girl with the opening scene in New York City on 9/11. Sorry, maybe the thirteen-year-old POV, but no real disasters please.
In Seven I write about a gal who has one boyfriend for every day of the week. Perhaps I have six too many boyfriends, even if I do kill them off. We’ll see on this one if I land an agent or publisher.
I won’t write any other way. I’m a guy, maybe stubborn. I'll read well written stories with tropes but enjoy the less traveled path more. Perhaps this preference is similar to literary versus genre argument.
"Am I Wrong", music and music video by Nico & Vinz, 2013 needs no explanation
EXTRA CREDIT: There’s a great article in this month’s RWR (Romance Writers Report) called When She is a He by Janet Tronstad. Janet wrote about the struggles and history (or in the beginning the lack) of writing in the male point of view. I highly recommend it. I know no more about the subject than you do! We’re all human beings and students of the human heart. Hey, throw in a dog here and there. Regarding male POV, sometimes I write about anomalies and sometimes it’s straight.
THE WINNER IS
I need your help. This fine story is not selling much. Any Goodread or Amazon honest plug you can do would be so appreciated.
Funny thing is. My first story (you know - before I learned how to write) Neanderthals and the Garden of Eden is still selling and has crossed the 5000 uunits sold mark.
A More Perfect Union, supposedly my best, has sold 10 units (so far).
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
I have recently published A More Perfect Union and my critique group critiqued the bleep out of one of these covers. Please let me know which one you like best and why. Anybody who comments will get a free copy or if you already have one, an initialed (by me) Italian Crystal rose. The Amazon link is: A More Perfect Union
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Previously, I had written about movement of any kind, including using expressions or body language as (much) more attractive than static beauty. The same goes for love. It may be fine for some to carry a torch, love from afar, have a crush, obsess. But it’s much too easy and comforting to the one doing it. Perhaps because it gives the person a cause or something to think about, and don’t we all at times (think and not do)? Dare ask this person to change things. It takes far less energy to sit and stew than stand and brew.
A mature love (and plot) is all about give and take. No energy into a relationship equals no relationship. This is one reason some long time married couples drift apart. They’re far too comfortable, sometimes comfortable in their misery.
Work at it.
Oops, male POV. Yes, yes, the theme of the blog. Okay, what’s the difference between a man and a boy? A man accepts and revels in responsibility. A boy hides behind his fears. I’m not saying a hero who is anywhere from nerd or geek to stalker is not writable. He needs an arc which should include internal and external change, a big arc.
Here's the trailer for the 1988 movie, Big, with Tom Hanks.
I have forgotten how this movie resolved the romantic conflict. Anybody?
Here's the trailer for the 1988 movie, Big, with Tom Hanks.
I have forgotten how this movie resolved the romantic conflict. Anybody?