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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Where Things Stand

Well, last Thursday, I sent a proposal to my contact at XM. It should have arrived there yesterday. Now the waiting game begins.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Les Is Not More

At the end of his song, "A Boy Named Sue," Johnny Cash exhorts his listeners to name any impending children "Bill, George, anything but Sue." If I may be so bold, I'd like to add that anyone considering naming their kid Len should give the idea a second thought or three before doing so.

Now, I like my name. I feel comfortable wearing it. I've never wanted to change it or to adopt a stage or pen name. It was my name, it was unique (when coupled with my last name, I'm one-of-a-kind), and I was proud of it.

Unfortunately, it is also a name fraught with complications. First there are soundalikes: Lynn, Lem, Lon, and Glen. Then there are the near-misses: Lee, Leon, and Leo. I have a three letter first name (all right, it's really Leonard, but that one's no picnic, either), and I have to spell it for people all the time. "No," I'll say, "L-E-N," putting a little extra spin on the E. And still they get it wrong half the time.

Just earlier today, I got an email from a professional acquaintance in response to an email of mine. And even though I had signed my email "Len," he began his with "Les." And this is someone I have known for at least three years and with whom I worked in the same small office for several months. In fact, I saw him at a party the other night, and he called me Les at least once then, too. As did someone else.

The funny thing is that back when I was born, my parents named me Leonard out of respect for my mother's father, Len. He was dying of cancer, and they thought the gesture would please him. When they came to him after I was born and told him the name, he replied, "Why didn't you name him Patrick?" Which not only goes to show that no good deed goes unpunished, but also that he may have been warning them off the pitfalls of the name.

The other funny thing is that they could have made a hundred bucks just by naming me Henry after my father's father. In fact, they could have picked up a hundred bones just for naming me Yvonne, after my grandmother. Maybe not the perfect boy's name, but at least it's not Sue.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Nowhere Man

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Have you ever felt invisible? I seem to go through phases of joining the ranks of the Unseen (which is somewhat better than joining the ranks of the Unclean, I suppose), some more profoundly so than others.

The main syptoms include things such as sending emails that seem to go off into oblivion and never get a response. I wait and wait, but, despite the candle left burning in the window, I know that I shall never get the reply. This can also happen with phone calls.

Sometimes, given the way that people shove past me in stores or cut me off on the roadways, I start to believe that I am functioning in some kind of stealth mode that leaves me visible only to my nearest and dearest. And my loved ones have to acknowledge my existence, even if it is only as a sharp pain in their sides or further back.

A few weeks ago, I even became convinced that I had misplaced my soul somewhere. It started with the odd behavior of squirrels who darted in front of my car with a sudden maddening regularity. Perhaps a tidal wave of despair had swept through the local squirrel community and a rash of suicidal tendencies had corrupted the population, but I'm not sure. They all looked happy enough to me as I applied the driving skills of a stunt man in order to keep them firmly tethered to this mortal coil. No. It seems far more likely that they were unable to sense my being, and let me tell you, being beneath the contempt of a squirrel is a pretty low place in life.

The real kicker came one day while I was taking a walk. Already, in the course of the first half-mile or so, several squirrels had zipped across my path, perhaps hoping that I would crush them manually or perhaps taunting me with their lack of fear.

As I crossed into the driveway of a set of low-slung office buildings nearby, I saw a young guy walking what seemed to be a wolf. If it was a dog, it was the Frankenstein's Monster of dogs, made up of outsized parts for ease of reanimation. I'm pretty sure it was a wolf, though. (I've seen it several times since.)

Anyway, as I crossed the street to enter the driveway, the guy and his wolf approached from the opposite direction. And here's the thing: As soon as the wolf saw me, he started growling and baring his teeth, and the guy said, "I don't know why he's doing this. He never does stuff like this." And in my mind, I flashed on a scene from The Simpson's, the one in which Bart sells his soul to Milhouse for five dollars, and I thought of the scene in which Bart, while traversing Springfield in search of his soul, is confronted by a dog who acts toward him exactly as the wolf was acting toward me. And that's when it hit me: I had somehow misplaced my soul!

Now, I hadn't remembered misplacing my soul, but I wouldn't, would I? I hadn't washed it or lent it to a friend. As I continued on my stroll, I tried to figure out just what I had done with it.

And I still don't know. It seemed to be back the next day. I got some long-awaited emails. No animals excessively feared or flouted my existence. Maybe it just went on vacation, but I'd hate to think that my soul went to the beach or Branson, MO, and forgot to take me with it. It's all a mystery.

And that's the problem with souls. It's all a mystery.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Yet Another Blog

Since I've turned back to writing my novel, I have created a brand new blog devoted to its history, composition, and progress: Michael Drayton, Detective Guy. I've added a link to the sidebar for ease of navigation.

If you're interested in the progress of a novel (five chapters done, more to come) or know someone who might be, go ahead and check out or refer them to Michael Drayton, Detective Guy.