So we drove, me and Mom and Dad, we drove around Handsome like we were gypsies, riding our own little caravan to nowhere. Scrap houses with cracking whitewash porches and washboard lawns. Buffalograss as yellow as parchment. I felt a primal ache seeing those ragged houses; all of them the same, beaten down by neglect, and I knew we belonged to the same lost tribe. Something ran deep and sad in me those days, like brown tap water. You know you can handle it in yourself, but when you see all that ruination, it brings a catch to your throat. All you can think about is sorrow upon sorrow. I could tell it ran in my father, too, by the lonesome look in his eyes.
I see those oversized streets, cracks streaming through the pavement like spilled syrup, rusted oil tanks skulking behind tangles of horseweed. Everything is the same brown crayon smudge.
My first blog, my first Twitter account, my second or third Facebook account. It’s work. I admit it. I’m a man from an earlier era, a pre-facetwit time when telephones had dials and digital meant you just got a cool new wristwatch for your birthday and it glowed in the dark!
I just turned 55 yesterday and I don’t feel as old as, say, my grandparents were when they were 55. Or my parents. It’s a number. I get it. But still….
So I’m learning all this new social media stuff in earnest. Trying to figure out what goes where, what I need to cut-and-paste from one site to the other. Accidentally closing tabs I needed open. I’m reasonably intelligent, but it gets overwhelming for a man of a certain stubbornness. It’s not that I’m resistant to change… it’s just that I wish it wouldn’t, at least not so fast.
I had the simple idea of writing a book. It took me a long time, many drafts, many distractions, but I wrote it. And edited it. And rewrote and re-edited. I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words through the years, probably a dozen earlier novels packed in cardboard boxes, but Ordinary Handsome was different for me. The idea came to me when I was in my thirties, half-written, and then set aside. I picked it up again about three years ago, scrapped most of it, but left the core. And it grew. And it haunted me. It’s not the same novel I began when I was in my early thirties. And I hope like hell people like it. And even if they don’t, that’s fine. I like it. And that’s a big deal to me, because I’ve waited this long to publish something that I liked well enough to send out to an unsuspecting public.
So I had to learn (and am still learning) self-promotion. It’s a bitch for a shy man to promote himself and his work to the world, but here we are. My first blog. Enjoy! And let me know what you think.