The Journal: Dropping by for a Visit

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* How are you?
* Weather update
* Well, I’m still writing, but
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quote of the Day

“Some days things don’t line up quite right. That’s why they make tomorrows.” Wes Crowley

Yeah, I know that’s the same quote from the last time I posted, but I like that one. One of the best things Wes ever said.

How’re ya’ll doing? I hope you’re doing better than I am. My brain’s still twisting in a wind of its own making (grin), with occasional heavy gusts from elsewhere.

I recently became aware that I no longer have children. I’m also aware, pleasantly, that there are several adults running around out there who look and act like me to varying degrees. That’s a pleasant thought.

If you’ll forgive me another personal note, for some reason I thought about my first NCOIC (non-commissioned officer in charge) in the USMC yesterday, a guy from Monroe (that’s MON-roe) Louisiana named Joe Aycock.

I worked for Sgt Joe in S&C (secret and confidential) files in Yuma in the early 1970s. Some of my favorite times happened on “burn-barrel Friday” when Sgt Joe and I would clear our files of declassified messages, load them into a hand-cranked burn barrel, and slow roast them to ashes over a fire on a barren hill overlooking the Battalion Headquarters.

We most often enjoyed a beer or two as we did that, and sometimes when the ashes were in the wind, I’d play my guitar to keep us amused.

I was a writer (and smart-aleck) of sorts even back then. Joe was instrumental in keeping me out of the brig after he intercepted a note I’d written to a lieutenant whose face I didn’t like. Or something. To remind me not to do that again, he fashioned a hangman’s noose, complete with 13 turns, out of a round shoestring and gave it to me. I still have it.

There was a great deal more to our friendship than that, of course, but those memories stick out. Joe often took time from his wife and family to meet me for a game or two of 8-ball at a local bar.

Joe and I mostly stayed in touch over the ensuing almost 5 decades, at first courtesy the US Post Office and later through the miracle of email.

Eventually, of course, our contact waned to exchanging Christmas cards and maybe a phone call on the Marine Corps birthday.

And I realized yesterday it had been a long time since I’d heard from Joe. So I looked him up on Facebook.

And I learned, sadly, he’d gone to his final post at Heaven’s gate on March 9, 2017.

What? How in the hell did that happen? Joe was only 67 years old. He was born in January 1950 and was only 2 years and a few months older than I.

He was my very first NCOIC and, more importantly, my first lifelong friend in the Corps, and he will be missed.

It’s monsoon season here in southeast Arizona.

Two nights ago we had a storm that approached from the northwest. That was unusual. Our storms usually blow in from the southeast, coming up from the Sea of Cortez, or as we Americans most often call it, the Gulf of California. And then occasionally we have storms come in from the southwest.

But when the thing got here, it came with a mind of its own. At first, most of the wind-driven, hard-slanting rain came in from the east. Then it blew in from the north for awhile. Then the south, and finally the west. All of that for a paltry 3/10ths of an inch, not that we aren’t grateful. And it was mostly horizontal and the opening at the top of my rain gauge is only about an inch wide, so we more than likely got closer to a half-inch.

Well, I’m still writing, but (not surprisingly) I’m not laying down the words like I did in “the old days” of a few months ago. And honestly, that isn’t a concern. Some days I spend a couple hours in the Hovel; others, not so much.

I’m stuck a little on my newest novel. Well, not really stuck. Just playing. It’ll run like a wildfire once it gets its wind, so I’m not concerned. I just wanted to drop in and share.

And you shouldn’t be gauging your writing productivity against mine anyway, good or bad. Just do what you do and be glad you aren’t mired. The fact that I couldn’t play a successful game of Tic-Tac-Toe at the moment has no bearing on what I’ve done in the past or will do in the future. Or on what you do at all.

The craft is there. The technique is there. And that’s what matters.

I’ve noticed one big difference between how I approached writing pre-break and how I approach it now: I’m not as frantic about it. I kind of wish I were and I hope to be again someday, but for now (here it comes) “it is what it is.” As they say down south, What cannot be remedied must be endured.

Which brings us back to the Quote of the Day: Some days things don’t line up quite right. That’s why they make tomorrows. Wade through moss at the edge of the lake today and, with any luck, tomorrow you’ll be gliding through the water.

Talk with you again when I can.

Of Interest

See “How To Speak Cop — Version 2.0” at A fun reading experience.

See “Writing in Broad Strokes” at

See “Step Off the Edge…” at

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 940 words

Writing of Blackwell Ops 8 (novel)

Day 1…… 1653 words. Total words to date…… 1653
Day 2…… 1043 words. Total words to date…… 2696

Total fiction words for the month……… 2696
Total fiction words for the year………… 312351
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4760
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 135830
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 448181

Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 5
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 12
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 50
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 208
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31