Monday, January 28, 2013

Real Estate: What to Do?

In 2008, when I predicted the housing market would not recover until 2013 at the earliest, people either ignored or scoffed at me. I based this prediction on my own experience as a builder/developer, in California, during the savings and loan crisis and the now-almost forgotten Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Home prices in 1994 were roughly what they were in 1988.


I figured the 2008 financial collapse would be worse, even though I did not, and still do not, understand it all. But I still kind of suspected the overall economy was more diverse, more productive and more robust that it had been twenty years ago, and that the recovery would take less time because of that fact.

I was sort of right, and sort of wrong. The long and the short of it is that things are going to be much worse, overall. Yes, there will be pockets of "goodness." But they're just pockets (see below).

Read most newspapers, their Saturday Real Estate or Sunday Business Sections proclaiming that the housing market has turned. They generally quote some real estate broker few have ever heard of. Prices are up. Buyers make multiple offers, and available inventory is low, very low. It's so au courant for real estate and mortgage brokers to proclaim the sad days are over and that now is a great time to buy a house.

Even Warren Buffet said so, as I recall. My respect for Mr. Buffet is huge, but Berkshire-Hathaway, Mr. Buffet's company, has also made an enormous investment in Wells Fargo, who owns one-third of America's mortgage market.

This post is targeted primarily to real estate and mortgage brokers, but any present or future stakeholder--i.e., potential buyers or sellers--needs to take note and consider what forces are impacting the market.

If you ask a real estate or mortgage broker, "Is now a good time to buy a house," what will the answer be?

Right. What has the answer ever been? The same broker who told you to forego a home inspection and pay $400,000 for the house in 2006 because of competition is now saying in 2013 it's worth $200,000 and you'd better hurry up. Some things don't change, and as long as a broker's compensation is tied to the close of the transaction and not the client's best interests, the advice won't be any different.

But if brokers look at the current market and current mortgage rates, he or she might be a certifiable looney if the advice was to wait and see. My own recent experience in home buying supports this advice, which my heart supports but my head questions.

But this series of studies by the Urban Institute makes it worthwhile to consider, in a very personal way, what your goals are and what you hope to accomplish. In my view, the real estate market will not begin to recover for another few years, and even then, it won't be what people think.

Baby Boomers will continue to dominate the market in the short term. Many of them don't need mortgages, and they want what they want. But what happens after that? Being a certified Boomer, I can tell you that what we want is not a two-car garage with a three-and-two home attached in a 'burb miles away from a grocery store or hospital or whatever. Yet, if you look at the homes out there, few of which are for sale, that's what most of them are.

When Boomers die en masse  or move to urban apartments or assisted living or wherever, who is gonna buy all those suburban houses out there? Answer: No one, or, not many.

Gen X and Y are better educated and more underemployed than their parents, and unless the economy improves, they won't be forming the number of households necessary to absorb these mini Castles in the Air. Will the economy improve? Well, probably, but only a little. It will be a long slog.

Put it this way: What if Boomers did a big die-in and their homes came up for sale all at once? Who would buy them? And so many need updating besides. Who will pay for that?

While no one, least of all I, knows, my guess is that we're looking at a huge glut of houses over the next few years. And this doesn't count the new ones optimistic builders are adding.

Of course, the homes won't all hit the market at the same time. But what will happen over the next few years--and this statement is buttressed by simple demographics--is that a larger number of homes will hit the market than there are buyers to absorb them. Moreover, Gen X and Gen Y buyers are not forming families, on the whole, preferring to remain single longer than their forebears, if not forever--and want smaller homes closer to downtowns.

Pockets of good markets remain. Think Carmel, CA, San Francisco, CA, Boulder, CO and other such places are terrific examples. I live in a Front Range suburban area, and in desirable downtown Denver neighborhoods, one- and two-bedrrom condos and town homes are hard to find and will be for some time. Prices will see a steady increase commensurate with the demographic of buyers.

I do not know what all the implications of these trends are. Some are obvious, some are less clear. But if you're like me, you need to think about it. Really, really hard. Deny it or ignore it at your peril.




Saturday, January 26, 2013

Real Estate Market: and Novel Writing 202

Plucky has been quiet here lately.

Distractions abound, the most venal being (a) Facebook posts that piss me off, and (b) despair.

I was dissed and/or de-friended twice within the last few days. The first was a young woman whom I don't know that well (for real) but knew professionally when I was a professional. She worked in marketing for a title company, was of average ability, below average education, and just otherwise unremarkable, except she painted on her face with layers and layers of foundation, eyeliner, rouge, and so-on, so that you always had the impression you were talking to a hologram that had limited voice-recognition technology.


She wrote a post that contained the word "alright." My comment on her congenitally vapid post was, "all right." She unfriended me.

The next occurred in a string having to do with Michelle Obama, the original poster commenting on how hot she was. I ignored all subsequent frat boy posts on the First Lady's looks, butt, clothes, how she compared to Jackie Kennedy and so on, until some fucking moron wrote, "What has she ever accomplished?"

I responded with a few of the First Lady's accomplishments--Princeton grad, Harvard Law School, work with veterans, and other items easily discoverable, to which a poster named Willard vilified me for being a pussy boy, always being the first in the room to prove how much of a feminist he is, to which I noted Willard's accomplishments no doubt fit on a postage stamp, which reduced me, in Willard's view, to a "dumb ass."

Oooh. At least he made it two words.

Why did I waste time on this? I don't know. But this is the distraction thing I was referring to.

The Despair part is more complex and is something I don't understand. A curtain of sadness comes down and the lights go off.  I do not like being sad, but I'm just sad no matter what. Nothing makes it go away. It comes and stays as long as it likes, and it still hasn't gone away.

Technically, things are coming along....well, well enough. When Sad comes, the voice is affected (see a future post on What Is Voice). Writing is really, really hard without voice. 

Also, arranging scenes and stuff that happens/happened into scenes gets hard. In my case, I knew the ending shortly after beginning. You'd think you could just go chapter-by-chapter from beginning to end, but it doesn't work that way. Characters have a huge say, and they tend to do some goddam thing that makes you have to go back and re-do a previous part. Which affects voice, by the way, and when voice gets phony, bad things happen. Which reinforces Sad.

That said, I've managed to keep to my schedule and have broken the 14,000 word barrier.

REAL ESTATE MARKET: Everything I read on the Portland Real Estate Market and the Denver Real Estate Market is pretty much the same: Prices up, not enough homes for sale, turnaround for 2013 and so on.

Don't bet on it.

In the first place, who's saying this crap? Chances are it's real estate brokers. "Now is not a good time to buy a house," said no real estate broker, ever. It's not that they're so much optimists, as a group, than they are Narcissists who sincerely believe they can change market forces by (imagined) strength of will that will result in client gratitude.

Yes, prices bumped up, and yes, there's not enough inventory. Supply and demand laws will nudge prices up, and, with the pent-up demand, the market Shall Return, the Real Estate of Delphi sayeth.

It won't either. Supply is low, but notice no one is talking about demand. A lot of buyers are chasing too few homes right now, but the number of buyers will not reach historical levels. As in: What if all the Baby Boomers did a big die-off? Ninety percent of the subdivisions in America would have vacant homes with not nearly enough buyers.

Well, they (we) won't die off en masse, but demographics are demographics. In my view, home values over the next five or ten or twenty years may not even keep place with inflation.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Normal: When Did the Bar Get Lowered?

In "O Brother Where Art Thou," Ulysses Everett McGill's (George Clooney) fellow fugitives ask him why he was in charge, and he says, "Because I'm the only one who's capable o' abstract thought."

I bring this up is because I was Facebook-unfriended by someone earlier today, owing, presumably, to a very short thread on the cri du coeur of the moment, i.e., the gun obsession. My putative (now-ex) friend posted a link to a bogus claim that NBC News "admitted" that no assault rifle had been used in the shooting of 26 people at Sandyhook Elementary.

Which is an abstract thought that requires no capability.

When I first heard this claim a couple of weeks or more ago, I was intrigued. The competitive pressures of the news cycle often lead to the abuses once called "pack journalism," where reporters offered up the same facts based on (a) interviewing each other, (b) passive acceptance of unverified facts that somehow justify themselves by getting repeated over and over. I hate evoking the good old days of print reporting, but hey, let's give a point or two to editors, here.

Anyone who followed the Newtown story knows the early reporting was confused--the shooter's mother was a teacher at the school, the shooter himself was a former student, no children were among the victims, etc., factual reporting succumbing to hasty reporting. Indeed, NBC did report, early on, that police found four pistols at the school and an assault-style rifle in the shooter's car trunk, all soon corrected.

But that didn't stop certain people from claiming that NBC "admitted" its facts were wrong and that no assault-style AR-15 had been used in the massacre. You can guess who these claimants were (assuming, of course, you're not only capable of abstract thought, but even low-grade critical thinking).

And their source? Here are a few from Google page one: northeast shooters.com; connect.freedomworks.org; AR15.com;whatreallyhappened.com. Pages two and three are similar. I stopped after that.

What didn't exist were supporting links on FOX, NBC, NPR nor any other news or information website, nor any other site with even a vestige of objective correlation to reality. Shouldn't that fact alone have triggered  a hint of skepticism?

At the risk of glorifying the pre-nauseous ubiquitousness of Facebook where so many of these advocacy conversations take place,I've encountered the inability not so much to think, but how to think, very often. Don't like a logical opinion? Well, hell, deny the existence of facts that support it and go git your own facts. Don't watch the news, just seek the only news you want to believe.

While I've thought about variations of this notion for years, it's really begun to loom large in local and national conversations. On another FB thread whose running argument presently escapes me, I used a Wikipedia link (well-sourced with about a hundred citations) in the exchange. A woman gleefully dismissed my point by telling me her community college professor would not permit the use of Wikipedia, so  I was, ipso facto, wrong (she didn't say ipso facto, of course, not knowing what it meant and wouldn't have understood it even if she'd looked it up in Google Translator).

So much here. First, Professor, kudos for telling your education-deprived students not to use Wikipedia. Second, Students--how can you be so fucking ignorant as to use Wikipedia as a primary resource for research? Are you the part of society who had Library cut from your high school curricula, who didn't have to write a discursive term paper, who has no idea what "i.e.," "e.g.." or "ibid." means?

Third, Professor, how can you be so moronic as to preclude the use of Wikipedia at all? I get that the article on, say, Tobacco as a cancer cure may have been written by R.J Reynolds' publicist. But what about the tens of thousands of other articles with hundreds of citations linked to peer-reviewed journals and similar objective source documents?

Oh yeah, Fourth: Ye rigor-impaired, aka The Students, why do you believe anything, as long as it comes up in Google? Ah, students, ah Humanity. I prefer not to, either, but hey. This is life (and not sorry I, Mr. Melville--thanks).

I think the precipitate phrase that got me unfriended was my post saying, "Those who believe absurdities can be made to commit atrocities." Or some such. I didn't look up the exact Voltaire quotation, I just paraphrased it from memory, figuring it didn't make any difference with this particular audience who wouldn't know who Voltaire was and would probably be scared if they did, finding at least one link out there claiming Voltaire didn't exist, and if he did, he flew black helicopters for the New World Order.

And honestly, all this concern/rant wouldn't matter if, not so much ignorance but critical thinking ability, weren't so wide-reaching. I'm not talking about the Black Helicopter kooks, the Nine-Eleven conspiracy theorists and the other idiots. The woman who unfriended me (for the record, we are both more free as a result) isn't dumb. She works at a fairly difficult white collar job and does, in my option, a better job than many of her peers. I'm sure she received a high school education. But still, when faced with a clearly dubious source, she chose to believe what she wanted to believe and was so uncomfortable with an opposing opinion, she eliminated it. This is disturbing.

And it's disturbing because this kind of intellectual sloth is not confined to a small part of the American population, and these people vote for people and initiatives, run schools and so on. It's not that they don't know the answers, it's that they don't know how to ask the goddamned questions in the first place.

I am an unapologetic political Liberal who can argue with, and learn from, the likes of David Frum and Milton Friedman all day. But no one can argue with the dunces and fools who, either because of a lack of critical judgment or, just as likely, cussed laziness, see the world as so much Jabberwocky, and, as with Alice, come away thinking how it fills their heads with ideas, only they don't know what those are.

And thus unable to navigate reality, they believe what's easy, what they want to believe, because that's what someone said to believe and posted it on the Internet. And the egalitarian imperative of our society, where those who insist the earth is only 10,000 years old receive the status of "other opinion," enables them to go unchallenged. 

And what enables them to flourish is the widespread indifference of all too many of the rest of us, because fighting back just too much trouble. It's pushing on a string. It makes me wish I were stupider than I am, because then, I wouldn't be so afraid.



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Progress Report

Hard things to do keep cropping up. The latest is, how to put this book thing together.

I have this image of Hemingway or Faulkner or Fitzgerald sitting down to their carbon-ribbon Royals and rapping out the story from beginning to end: Someone wants something, followed by all the reasons he can't have it, followed by how he gets it but it turns out to be less than expected, and he's either dead or sadder but wiser.

I mean, Wolff totally visualized the Lighthouse, right? And just took it on through? Ann Tyler is close to the best ever at structuring a novel, and maybe she just sat right down and rapped the thing out.

Mmm, not, I suspect.

Not. What happens with me--and I think with all of them, because that's how the mind works--is that story sort of flows in with the particular character you're working with, and the whole storyline changes just a bit. At the risk of sounding glib, once a character starts to do and say stuff, he (or, in my most recent instance, she) pretty much takes over, and I (or you), as author, kind of have to run with it and see what happens. And yes, this feels weird.

The good part is that discovery happens, here. The bad part is that you have all these passages which are probably pretty good, but they don't seem to relate to one another. The challenge, as writer, is that you have all these passages/narratives/whatever all over the place, and you have to to somehow connect them.

Wouldn't it be nice to just sit down and do Chapter One, then Two, then Three and so on?

It doesn't happen that way, at least for me.

But I do have more than 11,000 words.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Les Miz: Little Man on His Feet, Standing on the Chair, and Clapping

I was once fortunate enough to have had a play I'd written selected for a staged reading at the Magic Theater in San Francisco. What still moves me to this day is the talent the director, but especially the actors, bring to a drama. The play I thought I'd written evaporated and became something else. It was scary and thrilling at the same time.

And so it is with "Les Miserables." I decided to see the film with a bit of skepticism, because, while sung dialogue can succeed, it can also fail miserably.  Russell Crowe (in the role of Javert) singing? Can he sing, and would doing so compromise his tough-guy persona and totally screw up the role? Could Ann Hathaway (Fantine) sing at all? I thought Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean) could, because so many British actors receive classical training in all performance arts. But still.

That said, Madonna, Antonio Banderas and Jonathon Pryce totally killed it with "Evita," which I felt was a far superior film than "Titanic," which took Best Picture at the Oscars. Parenthetically, Russell Crowe also starred in "L.A. Confidential" that year (1996), which was also ten times the movie "Titanic" was.

Directed by Tom Hooper (who also did "The King's Speech"), Les Miz is simply stunning. I had seen the Andrew Lloyd Webber production in San Francisco, years ago, and the movie was better. Why?

The plot and setting create circumstances for poignant drama--Jean Valjean, a convict who breaks parole, is ruthlessly pursued by Javert, variously a prison warden, cop and Captain of the Guards. Just out of prison, Valjean steals silver from a cathedral, only to be forgiven by the priest. With this booty, Valjean creates a new life in another town by building a badly needed factory, acquiring wealth and becoming mayor and generous man.

Moral crisis two erupts when Fantine, one of his workers, unfairly loses her job and is forced to sell parts, then all, of her body to support her little daughter, Cosette, who is under the care of some low-life innkeepers (Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, both absolutely stunning). Fantine first sells her beautiful hair, then a couple of teeth (it's gut-wrenching to watch someone having their teeth extracted with oversized pliers) and finally herself. 

Valjean feels responsible for her eventual death and assumes the care of Cosette, which will have enormous consequences for both of them, and others, over the next decade in the backdrop of post-revolutionary France, including a classic man-the-barricades rebellion.

What makes this film succeed so fantastically well are the camera angles and closeups. It's as though the camera is, maybe, two inches from the faces f the actors as they sing their most poignant words. Rather than hide blemishes and other facial imperfections with makeup, these deficiencies are augmented, moles, freckles, blotches, excess collagen and all. We are used to seeing actors as extraordinarily attractive people when they hit the screen, but not here. They are us, or could be. The anxiety, fear, rage or joy they experience boil over, and you become so caught up in their personal dramas, you experience their pain, their disquiet, their strain.

I can't say enough about Hugh Jackman's performance. You want to jump into the movie and give him a hug, tell him it will be okay, settle him down. Anne Hathaway, who sings beautifully, creates such a tragic person who fights to keep a shred of personal dignity that I get tears remembering her. That Russell Crowe can sign is no surprise--he did tour with a rock band, after all. But what he does really well is bring dimension and complexity, through the force of his acting will, to a character who really doesn't have either.

When I read the novel years ago, one of my favorite characters was Gavroche, the gamin, buy, street urchin, who brings an impish energy to the plot. The boy who played the role in the film was one Daniel Huttlestone (yeah, I had to look it up), who turned in an amazing performance by singing and scampering his way through coach and cannon and gunfire.

The novel is--or was--a literary standard, replete with human archetypes, spiritual quests, socio-political critique, abject plight of poor people and moral pondering. The author, Victor Hugo, also famously penned a letter to the editor entitled, "J'Accuse," in which he challenged the political and military leaders in the famous Dreyfus Affair scandal, individuals who would become the pillars of Vichy France.

But for all his talent, and for all the wonder of his novel, I think Monsieur Hugo would be stunned over the energy and passion the film brought to his book.

Do not miss this film. And bring extra tissues.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Piss Off Shit & C.: Miscellaneous, Including Writing My Novel

My legions of breathless fans will be thrilled to know that I've pretty much kept up with the 500-or-more words per day on my book. More below.

First--Did everyone see the Piers Morgan "interview" with pro-gun whack job Alex Jones? Excuse me, Piers, but how useful or helpful is it to get a fucking moron like this guy on your show, piss him off, have him erupt and then purport, if not journalism, "useful debate?" Give me a break.

Second--Some of the distractions, such as Facebook, & C.

OK, the book, and On Writing.

I earned a Creative Writing Masters Degree at San Francisco State University, and in so doing, I read countless graduate student manuscripts (they suffered through mine as well) and I don't know how many undergraduate ones (they did not suffer through mine, but through each others' which was arguably less taxing). I'm not sure why I'm bringing this up. Maybe it has to do with establishing my bona fides on talking about writing.

Writing classes and seminars are a chimera, just as is graduating from real estate school and getting a real estate license is a chimera that purports to qualify you to know something about real estate. It's not total bullshit, but it's damned close. Writing seminars are pretty much whiny therapy groups, where everyone trades stories about their parents and others being mean to them.

Real Estate School, and licensing, is like no other thing I know of in America. A five- or six-percent commission on a home sale is inordinately lucrative, can't come close to justifying the per-hour cost involved, yet it's not like law school or medical school, which are also bars to professional licensing (and has a far lower standard than, say, a massage therapist's license). But people do it, and worse, the public buys in, and I'm talking about both real estate and writing schools and seminars.

But I digress, Dear Reader.

Writing is hard. I'm up to around 10,000 words, which, I think, is pretty good, but I could easily rewrite every word if I wanted to, and, in fact, fight myself not to. It's never right. Some of what I've done has voice, some is interesting, but some is explicative, which seems to me a big fat snooze when I re-read it.

What's voice: I'm sure there are better definitions than I can give, but to me, it's the energy behind any writing that gives it its definition and meaning and force and uniqueness. It's like a well-done brand label, in that you know what it is the second you set eyes on it. Hemingway or Dickens or Clemens, for instance. Or Amy Tan. So many others. Anne Tyler.

I find myself despairing over so much of what I've written, but at the same time, some of it amuses me, as though it came from someone else, and I'm either a medium or a transcriber. Go figure.

So, here's the scenario. The setting is a real estate development similar to Orenco Station, except it's not, just sort of. Right now, it's placed in Eugene, OR, (a) so I won't get distracted with the real Orenco Station, (b) keep it out of Portland, because I pretty much think distinctive cities like that are as much a character as the people and I don't want this, and (c) Eugene is a town which is not only easy to kick around, but has a Rorschach quality to it (Editor's note: How many people realize Ann Tyler's novels are set in Baltimore? Just sayin').

Whatever.

The characters are all composites of people I have known, including myself, who, arguably, I know less about than anyone else. I think that's a lot of what's behind this book-writing caper--finding out what I'm all about. The hard part is that people who know me will read part of the manuscript and say, "O, that person is so-and-so," or "Oh, that's you when..."

Not. Kind of, sort of, I guess, but once you set characters in motion, they sort of tell you where things go. Yes, I'm drawing on my thirty-five years of experience in commercial real estate, but I hope that does nothing more than help create a fictive and not-too-boring world.


So, not much to do but plug on, at this point. What's a novel? A hundred thousand words? Has anyone ever counted?
























Thursday, January 3, 2013

Did It, Maybe, I Think

One distracting thing that happens daily are distracting emails containing amusing links, such as this one, purportedly some rare video of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as a child. A caveat is that many, if not most, of my friends, are politically to the Right, even though I'm a Lefty. Amazing how we get along, and a laugh is a laugh.

The next distraction came in the form of a grocery excursion I thought would take, maybe a couple of hours or so, since it would include lunch. Having just moved to Denver, we're on the lookout for a good organic grocer besides Whole Foods, as well as a decent specialty grocer. Nothing wrong with Whole Foods. We just like local.

We'd thought we found some grocers, and took off into the haze of the freeway. Perhaps the worst thing about Denver is that the Metro area is about as walkable as Kansas. No matter where you want to go, plan on driving. A lot.

Not only was the grocery thing a bust, but it took closer to four hours, pretty much blowing off the day. Besides, the dross of the day before always weighs in. Sure, you can complete all your tasks, on a good day. But problems that don't get solved are like dark spots on last year's dental X-rays: They don't go away.

I didn't get to sit down to write until 8 p.m. or so. I can't say with certainty that I got in 500 words. It could have been 400, but it could also have been 600 or more. I forgot to look at the start point. It felt okay, though.

I will say, though, that as you try to explicate character through narrative, something happens, and things take on a life of their own. A similar phenomenon happened to mean years ago, when I play I wrote for a class assignment was accepted for staged reading/quasi performance from a theater group at Fort Mason in San Francisco.

No, it wasn't the famed Magic Theater. But I was still pretty stoked. What struck me, though, was what happened to the play once the director and actors took over. It took off in a different direction. Actors, after all, are artists, and interpret dialogue and dramatic action the way they see things. So does the director. I found myself rewriting dialogue right on stage, as it was being read, questioned and interpreted. It was a rush I'd never felt before and haven't experienced since.

So it goes with this novel-writing project. The characters are having their say, and, Milquetoast that I am, I let them do it and get out of the way. I've always thought good writers were less generators than mediums anyway.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Sidetracked Again!

But I still did pretty close to 500 words. I didn't count, but after a while, you sort of know.

The sidetracking resulted from on of those cc-all, reply-all emails that pretty much ruin your day. As a rule, I refrain from getting involved, and actually, I did pretty well with this one.

The subject of said chain is my 66-year-old brother, Steve, who, besides being my favorite sibling because he is funny, warm, non-judgmental and loving, is mentally retarded and in pretty poor health. He recently moved to an assisted living facility.

Right after Christmas, he caught Clostridium Difficile, often called C-Diff, a very serious bacteriological affliction you can find out about here. It's serious, very contagious and can be difficult to treat and cure. My sister and nephew were both looking in on him, and they both caught it. Steve is in a quarantined section of the hospital used for infectious diseases.

Treatment for these things is really unpleasant, with tubes stuck in all orifices, catheters, intravenous feeding, & c. The attending doctor seems to have also found a bowel obstruction and, possibly, a hernia.

The doctors and nurses tell Steve this, along with the usual disclaimers and appositives about surgery and what not, the problem being that all he hears is "surgery" and gets scared. He does not have the mental capacity to sort these things out.

Which resulted in a 29-letter chain of cc-all, reply-all emails to relatives, some offering ideas, others giving information to the cc'd, all of them creating a drama with no beginning, middle or end. Word to the wise: If you know someone who may get really sick, make sure that person fills out and signs a health care directive.

I won't get into the drama, but suffice it to say that it directly confronted my resolve to write the 500 words to my novel. I won, but I really wanted to do 1,500 words today, so even though I succeeded, I feel I failed.

I know I promised to tell about what's going on with the book thing. What happened is that about six months ago, maybe more, a song entered my mind from nowhere, complete with words and music. Not all of it, but enough that I could sing the song in my mind much the same way as a familiar song will stay in your mind when you hear it on the radio first thing in the morning.

As you might imagine, this was weird. I can play guitar a little, and I was force-fed piano lessons as a wee lad, but I can't claim to be musical. No way. This happens to great ones, but not to me.

But it happened. So, what the novel is sort of about, I guess, has to do with what this means. What is desire. What is memory, both those had and those that might have been. It's an exploration.

More later. Enough for tonight. 



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Day Two: Notched.

I did it. New Years Day and everything, with a dinner to help fix and all that. But I wrote just over 500 words.

I know I promised to get into details a bit in this post, but it's gotten late, I'm sleepy and I will do it tomorrow.

Happy New Year to all, and best to you.