Rejecting Rejection

(this blog first appeared on A Good Blog is Hard to Find)

I made it through the entirety of high school without having to endure the potential tragedy of a date.

Now, in that, it might seem as though I celebrate that I escaped the awkwardness of a staggered and indecisive conversation over a delightful dinner at Taco Bell, or that I rejoice in the passing of another dance without collapsing in a heap atop the punch bowl by way of two very clumsy, and inexperienced steps, or even that I am proud that I never had to answer that terrifying throttle of Ahab’s harpoon to the nerves, “Should I use my tongue, or would she slap ME?” But that would imply a choice in the matter. Sure, I was the shy kid that would blush if someone next to ME sneezed, but for the most part I gave gallant, if not altogether misguided, attempts at finding a girl who, “got ME.” The problem–the ultimate failing in this course–was that I spent those years of my life chasing after every single girl in the school that would rather have structured their weekends around delightfully dull dinners with their parents and younger siblings, than to have succumbed to MY cherubic charm (absent the charm). It made for quite a run of rejection, to be honest. The kind that, more often than not, left me standing bewildered in a hallway of students, a mere bumper to the course, a potential ramp of skateboarding delight, wondering why it was that a slap to the face could make MY feet hurt so badly.

The pure fact of it all is that rejection sucks. Sure, you can pick yourself up, you can tell yourself that they just didn’t get you, and that someday you’ll find someone to flaunt in front of the line of people that rejected you, and take the high road, give a simple raise of the brow, and maybe a knowing smile (which always works best with the tongue out, if you ask ME), and you’ll revel in your triumph, hand in hand with acceptance. But those words…those god-awful words, just never leave you.

“No, you’re just really not cool enough for me.”

“Yeah, um, I’m just not looking for you right now. Check back with me in a couple of years.”

“You’re a really great guy, and you have great potential as a companion, but I don’t think you fully understand what dating is all about. Maybe you should be looking for someone with lower standards.”

“You know, I might have gotten those messages, but I haven’t really had a chance to listen to them. How about you call me in a few weeks, and, if I’ve had a chance to review your proposal, we’ll talk then?”

“See, the problem is your pitch. If you had begun with the most important part–where you ask me out–I might not have lost interest so quickly. The whole, ‘I’ve been thinking a lot about what to say,’ bit is a horribly cliche start. It’s the way these things work, though. I get so many offers each week, and I only have so much time to listen.”

It’s a tired, tired, um, tired…thing, but you carry on. You carry on because you’re stubborn. You carry on because you just couldn’t imagine another day without a companion by your side. You carry on because, well, because you’re just plain lonely, and really want someone to share your time with. Mostly, you carry on because you refuse to be denied, and know that someday the right girl is going to come around, and that you will utterly, absolutely, and undeniably rock her world. You do this because the failure to do so, would mean the end of your dating life, which is something you just cannot allow.

But never mind that, we’re here to talk about writing, which has nothing at all to do with anything I have thus far said. After all, people will always appreciate you for spilling your guts out on the computer tremendously more than they do if you do so in person. You need thick skin in any area of life that presents the possibility for rejection, but writing is pretty straightforward, and is unlikely to ever cause you pain, or grief, or to feel like your brains have just been sucked out through your nose.

For example, I was on the verge of snagging a literary agent once at the William Morris Agency, but was declined, after a thorough reading, not due to poorly written material, but due to problematic scheduling, and an untimely submission. See for yourself: “Though we appreciate, and value, your talent as a writer, we feel that your manuscript is just not right for our agency, or for the market at this time. Please consider us for future projects, however.”

See? That’s not a rejection at all, and sounds nothing like the rejections posted above! They clearly wanted to represent ME, but were unable to because of the market. They just couldn’t wait to read the rest of MY work!

Earlier that same year, I had sent sample writings to the wonderfully compassionate, and caring, people at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. They were so very considerate in their attempts to encourage MY writing skills, that they sent me a letter to MY request that included the following: “Writing is a skill that we wish to harness, and cultivate, in each, and every, writer. We feel, though you do show great potential, that you would be best served to improve your skill further before applying again for Bread Loaf. Please consider sending us more material in a couple of years.”

Again, such a willingness to lead ME in the right direction! How can I feel anything but complete acceptance of MY skill, and ability? Goodness knows, I might very well have languished in a perpetual state of un-improvement for years to come! Now I’m a published author! Thank you, Bread Loaf!

Sometimes–yes, even in the publishing industry!–the level of acceptance you receive from publishers, or agents, or editors, or the like, can be twinged ever so slightly with a heavy, yet suggestive, hand. You might even feel a bit put off by the words they have chosen, but rest assured that they only have your best interests at heart, and want nothing more than to see you in their fold, successful and happy! They try so hard to offer you their acceptance that they will chance to wake you from your blissful rest with a most carefully aimed bomb. For example, I sent a manuscript to Harper Collins many years ago, offering them the glorious chance to view a book I knew they would trip over themselves to purchase. What I received was a carefully worded letter, indicating that my work was such a stellar piece of art, that they wanted to ensure I knew how elated they were that such a young man (I was 18 at the time, and fresh off a new branch of female-induced rejection) had, “taken up writing as a hobby.” Wow! What kind words! I mean, I’m sure that spell-check missed the, “hobby,” part of that. Obviously, they meant, “career,” but such are the follies of the computer age!

So, rest assured, dear friends of the craft, that rejection is not something you will ever have to deal with. Your best interests, and the cultivation of your art, will be coddled by those in your midst: by your friends, fellow writers, agents, editors, the kindly old lady in the cafe that threatened to beat you with her walker if you talked about your writing just once more, and so on. They want only to see you succeed. All you have to do is smile, and wait for the offers to pour in.

Just don’t ask ME for dating advice.

Dangling From the Vine

So, I’m still amidst MY archeological dig through the desert of MY past.  I don’t know why I insist on it, or what purpose it ultimately serves, but as it amuses ME to no end, well…this is MY blog, right?  So, why not?  I’ve found, in going through these journal entries that date back to high school (which was, what? like only a few years ago, right?  20?  Oh.  Eek!), that I can’t help but feel alien to the little kid who so scribbled his heart onto paper with nothing but the venom of his own emotional fang.  And yet, I find oddities that I might very well have written last week.  Such as this line from January 18th, 1990 (at approximately 5:27 p.m, should you be checking your date book): “Well, somebody wants me to learn patience.  Seeing as how I have none, I don’t find that particularly funny.”  Or I could cite some modern thought in a line from January 25th, of the same year: “I’ve never thought of writing about death before , but riding in that piece o’ shit DC-9 yesterday made me want to.” Or this nugget a couple of months later: “Emotions are like nuclear weapons.  If you mishandle them, they fuck you up.”

I will also quote, once again, MY favorite thus far, which is also from 1990, on March 25th: “Confusion is a state of mind.  I’d like to expand on that, but I can’t.”

Seems I had a lot of interesting things to say that year.  Granted, a lot of it was about celebrity crushes, the end of high school, girls, girls, and more girls (and the never-ending hope that, someday, one would actually like ME), writing and the satisfied confidence that I would someday be rich from it, and various other innanities that I deemed worthy of discussion, but that were as fascinating as the result of a goopy sneeze.

And yet, through 4 years of entries that I have thus far read, I have yet to find any inkling of the man who would write Anointed.  No sense, or sign, or struggle with religion, or God, or Christianity, or the entire mythos surrounding them all.  Humor, sure.  A desire to impale MYSELF upon the blade of loneliness, yup.  A sort of burgeoning awareness of the universe, and the concepts of the law of attraction, true.  But God was just sort of this bearded fella sitting in the, um, the…whatchacallit chair that a tennis umpire (umpire? is that right? Google anyone?) sits in.  He just sort of watched the game I was playing, and occasionally shouted, “Fault!” or, “Out!” or, “Game, Mr. Steele, Life serving!”  It wasn’t an absence from MY writing.  Rather, He was the parent I was trying to impress, the brother I didn’t want to beat ME up, or the best friend I wanted to chat movies with.  To that end, I may have still missed the point of God, after all.  At least the Biblical point, anyhow.  I rather think I nailed the reality of it.  But, as to the future voice of devil fiction that I would become, it was veiled, and notably absent.

The most remarkable thing is that I somehow thought that cogent, coherent, and other-worldly wise, thought was unleashed somewhere beyond the stroke of midnight, a point to which I know, unmistakably now and despite MY efforts to refrain, to be wholly untrue.  When I begin an entry at 4:25 a.m, with the words, “I’m a nutcase,” it seems to imply that I have crossed some immovable line of sanity that I cannot return from, when in fact, I probably had indigestion from too much pizza at midnight to allow ME to sleep, and the remnant of thought that had survived so late into the coming morning, was soundly, and decisively, coated in marinara and pepperoni bits.  Or perhaps Dunkin’ Donuts.  Either would not have been a stretch, both at once quite probable.  The sheer volume of deep, intricate, seemingly unwavering, philosophical thought I vomited after MY brain had officially checked out for the night, actually gives ME more insight into what living in a commune of hippies would be like, than does it MY awakening awareness to a world gone awry that I handled so heavily.

And yet, I’m there, somewhere.  Hiding behind Motley Crue posters, Debbie Gibson mania, and a pen.  Somewhere amidst the pages of, “Strings of the Heart” (gak!  bleh!), the first book I wrote while in high school, and the recap of MY five months dating a stripper, there lies something of who I am.  Somewhere between MY daily whine of loneliness, and MY prattling on about hitting the road and drifting MY way through America.  Somewhere at a beach in Florida, in the back of MY truck, at a campsite in the southern deserts of Arizona, in MY car at the Texas-Mexican border, or in every home I lived in over that time (and there were a few).  Somewhere, in all of that, is ME.  The ME I am.  The ME I still hope to be.  The ME that still insists on pontificating after his carriage has already diffused into a pumpkin, and the mice are nipping at his heels.  I guess I’m glad I wrote all this inane drivel, to be honest.  At least I know that I’m not crazy.  I’ve just always been this way.

Ramble On

No, this is not a post about Led Zepplin, so please put away all pipes, all bottles, and all frilly blonde wigs that you might be digging through your closet to find.  Actually, the truth of the matter is I really don’t have anything to say, which is a bit of a danger, since ME not knowing what I will say usually results in bizarro world type stuff.  For the most part, it’s how I write, and how I get about to writing some of the weird stuff that goes into print.  Which brings to mind what I am working on now.  Since I am without trendy topics, or useful talking points, you get what I know best: ME.

I’ve been working moderately steadily (EEK! Double ‘ly’s) on the follow up to Anointed.  At the moment, it is called Flutter, and aside from following the paths of a few of Anointed‘s favorite line-up, it introduces aspects of Heaven, angels with a grudge, God incognito, a virgin conception, a redemption of Biblical proportions, and social networking gone awry.  Oh, and, Alvin, Simon, & Theodore, now that I think on it, though, as with all things in MY world, even they are not quite what they seem. 

Essentially, there is a portion of the angelic populace (the Malcontents the earlier title represented), that has decided that the experiment known as “humanity” must come to an end.  Their weapon of choice: A social networking device they call, “Flutter.”  There’s only one problem with the plan: Angels aren’t all that smart, and have never done all that well with the, ‘war’, thing.  And, as if their own inadequacies aren’t enough, they also have to deal with the newly christened angel, “Timothy,” and his angel of desire, Natasha, whom as usual, would kind of rather see humans survive.

That’s the short of it, anyway.  If all goes according to schedule, you will hopefully be holding it in hand by summer 2010.  And since I really don’t want to spoil it further, I will instead offer you a look into the world of Flutter, by way of the first chapter.  I have read this twice in public already, and as no one threw rotten shoes, or leathery fruit at ME, then I suppose it wasn’t horrible.  Well, it is for Randall Crane, but that’s the story, isn’t it?

Feel free to pass along your thoughts.  Enjoy!

Chapter One

The Tweet of Death

Randall Crane did not know that he was about to die.  This, in no way, separated him from the rest of humanity, but did make the event rather surprising all the same.  He never looked up from his cell phone to see the car, never realized he had been hit, and witnesses later verified that he did not even appear at all aware that he had moved straight into the intersection.  He was eighty-six characters into an update on Twitter when he was tossed over the roof of a car driven by a very shocked, and later inefficiently suicidal, lawyer.  By no conscious act of his own, but somewhere through the force of the collision, Randall managed to send his partial message, leaving his three-thousand three hundred and sixty-one followers with a cryptic, and modest cliffhanger of a final statement.

#newrev lol@chipperchrist, ez 2 c u there. going 2 c finalized copy, hope it looks goo

When his body hit the pavement, broken and only mostly intact, he was still holding the cell phone.  He felt no pain, sensed no discomfort, and was remarkably coherent for a man who had just been crushed and tossed into the air by a few thousand pounds of unrelenting metal and fiberglass.  For a moment, he just lay there, listening to the screams, the cries for help, and the occasional blast of a car horn, thoroughly confused.  People crowded overtop him, though only briefly, as a good majority of them darted off with their hands cupped over their mouths.  A frazzled gentleman in a business suit, thin-framed glasses, and an expression that spoke in volumes of unrelenting pain, screamed and threw a handful of business cards at him.  Randall couldn’t understand why he had done this, but he could see that the man was in a great deal of distress, and was insistent on being vocal about it, so he said nothing.

But it’s all a bit odd, isn’t it? Randall thought.  Why am I on the ground?  He attempted to move, in order to gain a better view of his situation, but found his vision distracted, not by the oddity of his position, but instead by the pure blue clarity of the cloudless sky.  He was having a terribly hard time remembering the last time he had looked at the sky, or, when it had last seemed so pristine.  For that matter, he was having a hard time remembering when the world looked so…colorful.

“Randall Crane?”

Randall spun his head away from the perfect sky and the screaming, blubbering man in the business suit, and looked at a figure looming just behind him.  He was extraordinarily pale, dark hair curling neatly across his forehead, black pupils complementing the black robe he wore.

“Are you a vampire?”

The pale man looked at him with raised eyebrows.  “Not remotely, no.”

“Oh, well, that’s good,” said Randall.  “I don’t care much for vampires.”

“Have you encountered many?”

Randall thought about that. “No.  None that I can remember, exactly.  I just read a book recently that made me really not like them anymore.  Horrible book.  Bad dialogue.  Shallow characters.”

“I see.  Absorbing though that may be to you, I don’t particularly care.  It is time for you to go.”

“Time to go where?”  Randall attempted to shoo the babbling man and his business cards away, but to no avail.  Several people joined in, attempting to do the very same, but the man was rather hysterical and prepared to be a bit loud about it.

“You should get up now,” said the monotone voice above Randall.

Randall frowned.  “I was thinking that a few seconds ago, you know, but I haven’t yet figured out why I’m down here to begin with.”

“Does that matter?”

“Seems like it should, I think.  Sort of help me to deal with whatever decision I have to make to get myself out of whatever predicament it is that I’ve gotten myself into.  Now that I think about it, I’d appreciate any help you could offer.”

“I am not here to help you,” he said.  “Not in that context, anyhow.”

“Then why are you talking to me?” asked Randall.  “Seems you’re doing nothing more than keeping me from thinking.  I’d rather deal with this guy.” Hysterical Business Card Man was now on his knees and crying.  Randall was starting to feel a touch unnerved by it all.

“This is all quite fascinating, however irrelevant it may be.  You must go.  Now.”

“Go?  Go where?”  The man just stared at him, and feeling a bit odd in his place, and distracted by the babbling man at his side, Randall reluctantly stood.  He felt light and unencumbered, and his thoughts were a bit, well, they were a tad minimal, actually.  There seemed to be a limited number of them to deal with, which was thoroughly abnormal, and more than a little disconcerting.  “Well, how about I ask who you are then?  I’ll worry about my problems later.”

The man seemed to consider this for a time.  “Do you understand what has happened?” he asked finally.

Randall shrugged.  “Beats me.  I was just…just,” he paused, trying to remember exactly what it was that he had been doing.  “Well, I was just doing something.  Talking to someone, I think.  Yes, that was it.  I was Tweeting about my meeting.  Hah!  That rhymes!  I should tweet that!”  Randall looked at his hands for a moment, and then absently patted himself down.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Tweeting.  On Twitter.  140 characters or less.  Updating my daily ongoings, and the like.  Big thing now.  Quite a lot of people interested in what I am doing.  As well they should be.  Hey, have you seen my phone?”

The man offered only a raised eyebrow. 

Randall looked on the ground around his feet.  “Next thing I know, I’m on the ground with people screaming at me.”  Randall motioned to the activity behind him. “Seriously, where’s my phone?  I need to tweet this before I forget.”

“You don’t remember anything else?”

“Depends on what you’re trying to get me to remember.  I remember that I peed myself in fourth grade when my friend Tim shot a spitball in Suzie Perkins’ ear, if that helps.”

“It does not,” said the man, moving a step closer to grip Randall by the shoulder.  He offered something that closely resembled a sigh.  “My name is Gavin.  I am an angel of death, and—” 

“Where’s your scythe, then?” Randall asked, one eye cut to a slit as if trying to peer a line through multiple dimensions.

“Scythe?  I don’t carry a scythe.”

“Well, you can’t very well be Death without the scythe.”

Gavin rolled his eyes, and looked around impatiently.  “Listen, human, I am not Death, I am an angel of death, I don’t carry a scythe—but for what point it matters, I do have a rather fine sword I carry from time to time—and you are dead.”

Randall laughed.  “Dead?  I’m not dead.  I’m quite fine, in fact.  Look at me.  Just because I was on the ground there—whoa!”  He jumped back from the crumpled and bloodied version of himself.  “My arm does not go there!  Where’s my leg?  Hey, there’s my phone.”  Two medics squeezed their way through the crowd, and wasted little time beyond a cursory check for a pulse.  Thirty seconds later, his broken body was blanketed in a white sheet.

Gavin increased his grip on Randall.  “You must go now.”

“Go?  I don’t understand this at all!  I’m fine!  I’m right here!” he shouted at the medics, who were already prepping the gurney.  “Don’t put me on that thing!  I’m not dead!  And give me my phone back!”

“You are, and you must go.”

Randall slapped Gavin’s hand off his shoulder.  “What are you…go where?”

Gavin shrugged.  “Where everyone goes, eventually.”

“Heaven?”

“It’s a possibility.  I’m not a Judge.  Just an angel of death.  Your fate will be theirs to decide.”

Randall scanned the street, and the horrified faces of the people staring at his body as it was lifted onto the gurney.  “My fate?  Heaven?  I can’t go…I can’t be dead!  I have a wife, and kids, and a dog—”

“No, you don’t.”

Randall frowned.  “Oh.  Well, no, I can’t really back that up, but it seemed like the appropriate thing to say.  I was kind of hoping it would help my cause.”  Actually, now that he reflected on it, he was quite sure he remembered something about a wife—his, or, somebody’s wife, any way—and it seemed quite important, but his memory was a bit foggy.  “So, what if I don’t want to go?”

Gavin forced a smile.  “You are dead.  You can’t change that, whether you want to or not.  One way or another, one time or another, you will go.  It’s best if you accept that now, and move on.  Things can get a bit sticky otherwise.”

“Sticky?”

“The Judges don’t take too well to spirits who don’t move on.  You may walk here for a while, haunt friends or places, or whatever you choose, but they will come for you eventually, as do they for everyone, and let me assure you that it will not help your case any.”

“My case?  Judges?  This is ridiculous!  I have to go to this, this, thing that I have to go to!  It’s very important that I—”

“I am fully aware of where you were going.  And had you not met your fate, I am sure that you would have accomplished what you set out to accomplish.  But that’s irrelevant now.  You are dead.  That’s it.  Your road is at an end.  Deal with it and move on.”

“But I don’t want to be dead!”

Gavin offered another sigh.  “Well, that should make all the difference, I imagine.”

“Will it?”

“No.”

“So, what do I do?”

“You choose,” said Gavin.  “That’s all I can offer.  I’m here to help you along.  If you choose to stay, you do so understanding that you are trapped here, unless the Judges decide to retrieve you—a process you may find quite unpleasant.  If you go, you face your inevitability, and the Judges will decide your fate.  Otherwise, you cannot escape two distinct facts: You are dead, and the Judges will have their say.”

For a moment, Randall just looked around, watching the crowd thin, the babbling business card man—who stared at his cell phone as he was consoled, as if it were the cause of his pain—and the doors of the ambulance as they closed on his body, and, apparently, his life.  But Randall could still think, or at least he thought he could think, which was thoughtful in and of itself.  He was still here, and that could only mean that, to some degree, he was still alive.  He couldn’t deny that.  He couldn’t be dead.  Not now.  He still had…still had…something that he was having trouble remembering.

“I’m not dead, and I’m not going,” he said finally.

“Are you sure?”

Randall nodded.  “I’m not dead.  I refuse to accept that my life is over.  I don’t care what you, or these, these judge people say.  I have to go to, well, to wherever it is I have to go, if you don’t mind.”  That said, Randall drove his hands in the pockets of his jeans and walked off.

Gavin watched as the shimmering form of Randall Crane vanished around a corner. “Stupid humans.  So predictable.”

A Blog About Not ME

In most cases…ok in all cases, I come to you in order to talk about the wonder and magnificence of being ME.  I talk to you about Anointed, I talk to you about The Storyteller, I talk to you about MY views on writing, or on stupid politicians, or perhaps even the glory of cheese.  Today, I will depart from that, because I have been possessed with the need for you all to be aware of another writer.  Yes, believe it or not, there are other writers, aside from ME.

I will allow you a moment to pick yourself up off the floor…

Better?

There we go.  Now…keep focused, try not lose consciousness once again, and check this out:

I did an event on July 23rd, sponsored, and hosted, by The Georgia Center for the Book.  In that event, I was paired with another local author, whose book I did a horrible job of acquiring and reading before the day arrived.  By horrible, I mean to say that I didn’t do it.  Shoot ME.  I felt horrible enough when I arrived, and this author…this Joshua Corin fella, looked ME in the eyes, and said, “I loved your book.”  Deer in headlights.  No, more like a deer in headlights, frozen not by the oncoming car, but by the overwhelming guilt that it did not properly introduce itself to the car before allowing it to splinter it into a billion juicy bits.

Um…ew.

Anyway, Joshua was a super nice guy, the drama-school type that reads with the proper influence in his characters.  I still hear the eerie, wheezy, tone of his bad guy in my head.  I can’t sleep. Haven’t slept for 2 months because of it.  And by that, I mean to say that I have.  I’ve slept fairly well, actually.  Anyway, that’s not the point.  The point is, the idea of this character, spent in my mind with this creepy voice, intrigued ME.  Not to mention, after purchasing my copy from the owner of the great Eagle Eye Bookshop, the copy of this book–Nuclear Winter Wonderland–haunted me from the cozy confines of my nightstand.  It mocked me, and my growing pile of books stacked atop it, and seemed to indicate that I was unworthy of its pages.

So, finally, I relented, and read it.

The first thing I read, in one of the first few pages of jibber-jabber that accompanies almost every tome, was from Booklist.  A portion of it read thusly:

…if that isn’t enough to make you dive right into the novel, consider this: it is remarkably polished and stylishly written (remarkably, because the author hasn’t been doing this for years: this is his first novel). It is richly comic, surreal without being silly—except where it intends to be silly—and playful in its use of language. Christopher Moore writes this way, and so does Robert Rankin, although it would be a serious mistake to assume that Corin is imitating them or anyone else in any way. If you can judge a writer’s future output based on his first novel, Corin is one of those writers who, years from now, other newcomers will be imitating.

Well, that’s a pretty good sell, wouldn’t you say?  Alright, I was skeptical.  But I forged on…

…and could not stop.

Joshua does indeed capture much of what is valued in Moore’s writing, albeit with an alternated vantage point of northeastern insanity (he’s from Quahog…I mean, Rhode Island).  His characters are rich–just deep enough to make you want to know more, but not so deep that you are without mystery–and ascend nicely to the conclusion of the book.  It’s as much reminiscent to ME of the writing of Toni McGee Causey (look her up, if you haven’t already, for Timmy Christ’s sake, she’s awesome!), and the non-stop action-hilarity, than it is of Moore.  From the standpoint of an author deemed to write “devil fiction”, it’s easily one of the most ludicrously enjoyable storylines I’ve read in a while.  Seriously, it takes about twenty minutes at night for me to read enough to want to fall asleep.  If you can keep me up for nearly four hours, you’ve accomplished something I reserve for Christopher Moore, Terry Pratchett, and the great J.K Rowling.  I don’t devote that much continuous time to anything that doesn’t produce a pizza, in the end, otherwise.  Go, and read the plot of this story, be entertained by the possibilities, and buy this book.  Now!  Support Joshua (and, hey, remember to support ME as well!), and encourage him to keep this up.  I would love to dream of the day that he and I can reunite on the stage, this time as the next great author duo of fictional madness, beloved by millions.

There.  That’s my image of the day.  I rather like it.  Especially because it includes ME.

Well, sort of because it includes ME.

Also, because this book rocks.

Kicking Around in the Dust Bin

I was doing MY writerly duties this morning (and, as always, seeking a way to use the word, “duties,” in a sentence), when I found an dust bin of old writings pertaining to God and the creation of the Universe.  Well, MY universe, that is to say.  The Anointed universe, to be more precise.  At that point in MY life, everything I wrote about linked back to God and MY never-ending ambitions to twist His universe into something more likely to appease MY need to understand it.  So, I decided, since it amused ME to no end, to share it with you.  Enoy and feel free to drop in your thoughts.  I have more of these, and I’m not entirely sure how many of them will find their way into books.  So, they’ll end up out here, until I decide that they need to all be collected and put in a book that I will call, “Stuff That Makes No Sense.”

Enjoy.

In the beginning, the Creator created God.  And God looked upon his Creator, saw that he was good, and denied him anyway.  God then created heaven and earth, an occupational playground for his thorn-bristle curiosity, filled them with beings of light and flesh, commanded their love and adoration, and reigned as the universe’s first atheist.

There is a mode of thought that goes something like this:

The illusory nature of life is, in and of itself, infinite by design.  Spatial law disallows the limitation of thought, and or, to that end, the universe.  One cannot, in this sense, prescribe by way of mental apathy, a fixation on finality, an apocalyptic end of all, or a frontier that is anything but endless.  The resulting impact of such a contradiction of reasoning—the absence of infinity implied—would be paramount to a cosmic implosion. 

Life—or the universe more accurately—in this roving pontification of philosophical thought knotting, is akin to the proclamation that a single balloon may encapsulate a planetary mass of water, thereby solidifying the postulation that infinite structure can be limited by intellectual bounds.  It is akin to this only by way of structural integrity, in that, any attempt to bind infinity precipitates cataclysmic rupture.  And to the dimwit saturated by the deluge of celestial innards no longer flowing free on the planetary body but a glacial iceberg drifting now unchecked through the cosmos, there is only resignation of hope, desecration of a formerly proud and sage intellect, and the deferred sentiment, “Oh, wow, guess I was wrong then, huh?  Terribly sorry there.  Infinite it is.”

Such is the banality of the grand illusion of life.

It is the dogmatic individuals of this same school of thought that first challenged the heavenly hierarchy.  First challenged the existentialism and divine right to supremacy of God.  It is true, they would say, that in the beginning God created heaven and earth, but in the beginning of what?  And in the beginning of that unspecified and mystical time, who created God?  And in the beginning of God, who created the universe?  Could it not be stated, they would continue, that the very nature of existence, infinite in bounds, infinite in proportions, immeasurable in perception, could be nothing more than the wandering thoughts of a twelve-year-old boy named Elijah Emmanuel?  Could we be but the imaginative concoctions of a child genius?

Of course, it should also be stated that another of the more famous of their idle bits of pondering was, “Say, there sure are a lot of you with torches.  Are we having a bonfire?”  Which is something to take into account as you read on.

Still, it is said that no other collection of thought has since breached the innate wisdom of this collection of nomadic thinkers.  It could be said this because almost all concerned were promptly lynched and burned at the stake as heretics, the rest scattered and rendered philosophically mute.  Which is a shame, human compassion aside, because it could be said that this group of cindered prophets and future spiritual mimes of the world were the only group to have ever gotten it right.  It could be said that they had transcended truth and defined existence to the letter.

So it could be said.  Though one would be hard pressed to contrive the means by which to prove it.

Just one of those faith things.

God created man in his image.  And to a degree this is true.  As God is, in effect, a being of infinite light, so too is man, albeit with a pliable sheath of protection.  Beings of infinite light have a rather poor sense of restriction and tend to encompass, well, everything.  So, it is man who stands as the beneficiary of this practical yet fleshy veneer as it eliminates the continuation of only one singular being of infinite light and instead creates billions of beings of light with Dura-last coating and a singular purpose: existence in the world of a singular God.

Which is all well and good because it brought a sense of purpose to God as well.

Leaving NYC

I couldn’t help but notice, as I was looking over the dashboard to the blog to approve some comments (& blast some junk into oblivion, with some Schwartzenegger like “You’ll be trashed” line in my head), that the corner of the page that details the most often used search results to locate my blog had the following 3 as the top choices:

  1. “Zachary Steele”, “Author Tour”
  2. “zachary steele”, “NYC”
  3. “zachary steele”, “giraffe sex”

Now, please, whichever one of you did the third one, please, please, please, oh for the love of everything holy, please, let me know.  BRILLIANT!  I don’t know if I’m more amused that it exists, or that it worked.  Either way, I’m totally honored to be found under the search heading of “giraffe sex” despite the fact that I have neither written about it, or to my knowledge, had it.

Giraffe sex.  Tee hee.

So, my NYC escapades are at an end.  No pictures today, nor any from last night.  The camera is packed, and the room looks less of a disaster now that everything is placed quasi-neatly in the suitcase.  The coffee has finally woken me from my morning stupor, bringing ME to from a late night, and short sleep.  Last night at The Tank, I had the 2nd of 2 events, and rounded out a birthday celebration without song or fanfare for the first time since I drove alone to Montana.  Harry Terjanian was a hoot and seemed well at ease railing on religion.  We were a small group, but one prepared to laugh, and he didn’t disappoint.  Though I could cite a number of well delivered punchlines, his run on the disappointment of Easter candy was my favorite.  The idea that the large Chocolate Easter Bunnies, are “chocolate covered air” is still cracking ME up.

I plopped MYSELF up on the edge of the stage for what amounted to a cozy little story time with a handful of rapt listeners.  I gave the first chapter of Angelic Malcontentsanother go, and am now convinced that it’s going in the right direction.  The unicorn-head maid lady (did I hear Andora? or was that Andromeda?) was there again, at MY side as I read.  I’m less creeped out by her now, and find MYSELF chatting her up, just in case.  You never know.  She could be real somewhere, and though I’m not soliciting MYSELF to her, it’s always good to keep an open friendship with any potential unicorn-head maid ladies in the universe.  Seems like having one for an enemy could be rather unpleasant.  Just sayin’.

So, all in all it was a great trip.  Saw plenty.  Heard plenty.  Talked plenty.  Read a lot.  And stowed away, for future use, much more story content than even I could have planned for.  Thanks to everyone who has kept up, and I look forward to getting home, where MY wife is likely to squeeze ME into an alternate universe, and my dog is likely to have a coronary, after spending nearly 4 days convinced I was never coming home.  Time to give up this awesome view of Manhattan, take MY weary butt downstairs, and begin the trek to Laguardia by way of train and bus.  Cost savings aside, I’m good for one cab  ride per trip here.  Already did that, and I think I lost a few years in the process.  No need to lose more.  I might lose more hair.  Not ready for that yet.

Giraffe sex.

If Doesn’t Kill You, It’s Worth a Buck

Well, last night’s event at The Tank was a load of fun.  Aside from the fact that the venue is a quaint little, absolutely inviting theater space, it’s also a perfect space for readings.  “Just Working on My Novel” was designed by the ever amazing, always entertaining Russ Marshalek, as an outlet for those who have been working on, talking about, or professing a desire to write, a novel.  Each of these events will feature a published author, and I am honored to have been the writer to have had the priviledge to wear the innagural pair of JWOMN shoes.  I started the affair by reading from Anointed and closed it out by reading the first chapter from MY follow-up, Angelic Malcontents.  It was the first public reading of that particular material, and I was elated to have received such a positive response.

The stage at the Tank

The stage at the Tank

As you can see, the set-up on stage was simplistic, and included a weird little Maid/Unicorn Head…thing that was holding a copy of Anointed.  This too, was a Russ Marshalek special inclusion, and I really don’t know what to say, other than it will find a place in a story of mine very soon.  A bizzare, bizzare piece of, well, whatever you refer to it as.Tonight, once more at The Tank, is the religious roast, Fishsticks for Jesus.  It will be a night of comedy at religion’s expense, and I fully expect that there will be much to write about tomorrow morning, when I sit down, groggy, and struggling through words with a cup of coffee firmly in hand.  Then, sadly, it will be time to depart from the Big Apple.  There’s never enough time to see everything you want to see here.  Even with 3 full days, you just pick what you want to see & leave it at that.Today was a lazy day, to be honest.  As a birthday present to MYSELF, I slept in until 9, staggered downstairs to grab as much coffee, yogurt, danishes, and additional creamer/sugar for coffee later, that I could carry and returned to  MY room to relax, and attend to the weighty amount of birthday wishes and photo comments on Facebook.  I stayed there, spent some time catching up with Alice and telling the dog hello, and finally wandered out after noon or so to meet Russ at The Tank.

???

???

12:35 p.m: I arrive at The Tank and proceed to be a complete ass to Russ in front of his Tank cohorts.  He rightfully reads me the riot act, tells Alice on the phone that I am being a stupid dick, and informs ME that he doesn’t work for ME anymore and “doesn’t have to take that shit.”  I realize that he is absolutely correct, and that I apparently don’t have enough caffeine in ME after all.  To Starbucks!

1:33 p.m: The frap helped.  I’m feeling loose and free again, and after a bit of a ride on the trains, we’re in Brooklyn, heading for food and then, Word, Brooklyn’s best little Indie bookstore.  One problem though, which Russ points out with a question that I cannot answer.

Russ: Where are we?

ME: Hell if I know.

Yeah.  Lost in Brooklyn.  And not that, “well, this is the ok part of Brooklyn that you shouldn’t be afraid of,” but rather that, “Oh, dear God, we’re going to die,” area that you would rather avoid.  Yay Russ!  I ask him if it’s ok to hand him back the, “Stupid dick,” moniker.  He grudgingly agrees.  We head back to the train and the Greenpoint stop we should have gotten off at to begin with.

2:00 p.m: We arrive at Brooklyn Label, and I eat the absolute best burger I have ever had in my life.  It’s a neat place, full of character, and Russ pointed out some guy in the corner that is supposedly a famous musician.  Yeah.  Like I would know him.

Brooklyn Label

Brooklyn Label

 
2:40 p.m: We arrive at Word, where we spend an hour shooting the breeze, bashing stupid books, and discussing why James Patterson is sadly the best thing that Hachette Book Group USA can promote.  Well, except for that Twilight thing, anyway.  I buy a copy of The Book Thief, a Young Adult title I’ve been wanting to read since it came out in 2006, and we head out for the G Train. 

There has been an absence of notable excitement today.  Yesterday, after I blogged, I left the hotel in search of caffeine and dinner.  I got down to 8th street, a block away, when I was halted by 3 fire trucks, 4 cop cars, and 2 rescue vehicle, and a throng of people congregated and staring skyward.  I would find out, very quickly, that a crane had malfunctioned (or something like that), and that a netting that was holding broken concrete was threatening to spill its contents onto the road below.  I would find out later that this is not a rare occurance in the City.  I made it past that, only a block further before I saw 2 more ambulances, 2 more cop cars, another large throng, and a considerable amount of blood on the street.  Just past that, a bicycle split in half.  Yeah, man on bike vs. car, car wins.  From what I understand, the guy was beaten, broken, but would survive.  Crazy.  There’s no shortage of entertainment around here.  I look forward to leaving the hotel, just to see what I see.

Alright, all done now.  Need to make dinner plans and get ready for tonight.  More tomorrow morning before I make my way home!

More ME in NYC, Day 2

I didn’t want to go to sleep last night.  For a long time (once I had fully comitted myself to leaving Facebook and the plethora–what is a plethora?–of comments and such from yesterday’s activity) I just stared out the window at the city.  I think I was still in that, “Am I really here” phase that most of us go through when we’ve come to visit an exciting place, or a place we’re excited about because it isn’t exciting at all but quiet because everyone else isn’t  there.  Anyway, I left the shades open, and woke up the minute the light touched the sky.  Times like this, and times like this only, that I don’t mind short sleep.  Thus began the day.  I have no idea where I’m going now, only that I’m about to walk out the door.

8:32 am: I meander downstairs, showered & happy to MY free Marriott breakfast.  Before you get too excited, free, in this instance, is bagels and toast and cereal and coffee.  Honestly, I was happiest about the free coffee.  More so that they had little packages of Coffe-Mate French Vanilla creamer available.  MY caffeinated dessert, what you mortals call coffee, in hand, I was ready to face the day.

10:15 am: While on MY way to the Library, I stop for the 1st of 2 visits to Bryant Park, situated right next door (door? somehow, that seems wrong).  It’s a peaceful place in the morning.  Probably an excellent place to drink some coffee and wake up while people watching.  Hey!  That’s what I was doing!

I can haz nap?

I can haz nap?

 

Hello funny hat man!

Hello funny hat man!

10:10 a.m: New York Public Library.  I didn’t go in, as I’ve been there before & I’m running short on time before I meet Russ at (or around, on Russ time) 11.  Snapped a couple pictures of the lions, and some various shots of the local landscape, but nothing you wouldn’t have seen a bajillion times before on tourist brochures.  I’m beginning to get a little worried about the calm lack of adventure the day is displaying thus far.  What, Monday comes and we all act normal again?  What’s up with that?

10:21 a.m: Walking up 5th Ave, on MY way to St. Patrick’s Cathedral when it suddenly occurs to ME that I’ve been singing the coffee toffee twisted frosty song in MY head for the last hour.  Damn!  In order to purge the madness, I grant the repetitive lyrics to you

Coffee toffee, twisted frosty!

Do you wanna get frosty with me?

10:32 a.m: I arrive at St. Patty’s to discover that MY favorite NYC landmark is still there.  You can never be too sure when religion is involved.  Could have been swept away in a moment of vengeance.  Glad to see that they are renovating some of the exterior.  Most people are aware that I do not believe you can find God in a church, despite the fact that they exist, seemingly, for the that sheer purpose alone.  You can find religion in a church though, and St. Patty’s never disappoints.

Stained Glass in St. Patty's

Stained Glass in St. Patty'sCeiling at St. Patty's

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral

 

11:11 a.m: Lunch with Russ at Chipolte’s.  I need about 3 more cups of coffee to keep up with the speed at which he is talking.  Russ, I’m still a Southerner!  Slow down!

12:25 p.m: Russ & I have broken up, though I believe it to be short term.  Once he slows down his speech, we’ll be all right.  I decide to head back to 42nd street, and over to Grand Central Station, since I didn’t have time before, then head back to St. Patrick’s because, well, because it’s so freakin’ awesome.  Aside from the fact that I think of The Day After Tomorrow everytime I go into Grand Central, I rather enjoy it.  It is the pinnacle of activity.  Busy, busy, busy little people scoot around from one to the other, or from one floor to the other, to the fooditorium downstairs, or simply dodging pesky tourists with cameras.  OH!  Actually, the main floor of Grand Central is home to a scene from one of my favorite movies, K-Pax, so maybe all isn’t bad.  The travesty has been undone.  Sorry Mr. Gyllenhal and Mr. Quaid, but that movie just sucked.  Wolves?  Really?  Wolves in NYC? 

1:35 p.m: Back at St. Patrick’s for about 30 minutes.  It’s fantastic to absorb to just sit and absorb the history of the place.  Unfortunately, and by design I do believe, the pews are dreadfully uncomfortable to sit on for an extended period of time.  How can you feel the presence of God if you’re massaging your butt every five minutes!

2:25 p.m: Back at the hotel where I attempted a nap.  No go.  Nap fail.  Too easily distracted am I.  Answer the phone?  Sure!  Text messages, absolutely!  Facebook chats?  Well, I can’t be rude!  Anyway, it’s 5:30 now and I’m about to get ready for night one at The Tank.  I may, and or may not, post pictures and update the blog later this evening.  MY guess is on the no side.  You may just have to wait until tomorrow.  And, hey, whoa!  I totally buzzed a fly today!

I seez you mister flyz!

I seez you mister flyz!

Ok, so maybe it isn’t that cool.  But still, I had to wait a long time for that shot.

Trolling about in NYC

Taking the author’s tour of NYC for the next 4 days.  I’ve been here before, so it’s not your “country boy in the big city” kinda deal that is trademarked with open mouths and schedules chock full of touristy sites.  It’s still an amazing place, and it still leaves ME waddling in awe and inspiration.  I’ve never come to New York on MY own, with no guide (read in: friend) to show ME the sites or take me to great little shops in Little Italy where stories linger through time (I’ll share that one later).  But, I’m here, I have book events at The Tank on both Monday and Tuesday (where I will silently sing birthday wishes to ME, and will disallow others to do the same out loud), and I have brought the camera to let you see what I am seeing.  In order to do this proper, I’ll just have to check in as I pass through the hotel and update posts daily.  So, what you read now will have more later.  I’ll make sure to let MY Facebook friends know when the updates are in, and I’ll be dumping all of my photos there as well.

And so begins Day 1.

6:30 am:  I wake up, even though I don’t need to get up for another 45 minutes.  I’m a travel geek, and have, on many occasions, departed from quality sleep to get things going, jumping up and down like a kid on Christmas (albeit at 4 am, 3 hours before mom & dad are comitted to waking).  Coffee!  Quick!  I manage half a cup before I realize I didn’t need the caffeine to begin with.

8:00 am: Alice drops me off at MARTA.  I make it to Five Points, and switch to the Southbound train, where the automated voice informs us all that the train is going Northbound.  I quickly send the all important message to Twitter (& Facebook): “Oh MARTA, you do live to entertain.  Telling ppl on southbound train that its going north.  Very cheeky.”  I realize at this point that I needed more caffeine.

9:00 am: I arrive at the airport, where I realize at check in that airlines have changed their luggage check in policies.  No longer is it free for the 1st bag.  Now you pay $15…IF, IF that is you meet the size and weight requirements.  Ugh.  Are you kidding me?  I should have figured out a way to just carry on.  I would have threatened the lady that I would send me pet dragon out of hiding to destroy the minions of Air Tran, but she was really nice.  No worries Sandra, here’s my card.  Abuse ME.

10:20 am: I board the plane, sitting across the aisle from a young woman, who felt it necessary to bring her floatation devices with her.  Both of them.  They seemed to fit pretty snug in her shirt, and I don’t know what her plan was to deploy them.  Anyway, she slept the whole trip with her mouth wide open.  And I mean, she slept.  Hard.  Comatose like.  Through the take off, through the landing, and through most every other inconvenience in between.  I thought of grabbing her once we got off the plan and suggesting that she steer clear of any opportunity to fall asleep in the presence of her fellow college students.  But then I thought she probably already had, and if I looked hard enough, I could probably find the eveidence online.

1:13 pm: I grab a yellow machine of death for MY march into oblivion–or Manhattan, whichever came first. 

The View

The View

“Hello Mr. Cab driver.  Please don’t make me sick today.  Kthanx,” I said in a Tweet.  He didn’t listen.  Instead, he drove at breakneck speed through the barriers of time & space.  Somehow I managed to coerce him into dropping me off a block shy of the hotel, rather than sit in traffic and sneak up on the hotel a foot at the time (note: cabs DO NOT charge by the foot). 

1:47 pm: I am at the hotel!  YAY!  Here’s a few images from the 24th floor.  The ironic placement of McGraw Hill does not escape ME (though that is not entirely due to the publishing aspect, but because of sister Ali, who was convinced that Faith Hill & Tim McGraw had formed a business).

McGraw Hill

McGraw Hill Back for more later...So, an eventful end to the day. Here goes:2:24 pm: I wrote the words, "Back for more later..." and proceeded to flop on the bed & watch some of the Braves/Sox game. Completely useless info, but it made ME happy, so pfffbbbbbtttt!4:00 pm (or thereabouts): I make my way out onto 40th street, head over to 9th and walk the 5 blocks to 45th street to find The Tank, where I will be, as I've mentioned, the next two nights. I took this picture:The Tank

While I took this picture, I heard a tumble and groan to the left.  I turned and discovered that an elderly man–whose name I would discover was Billy–had lost his balance and fallen on the sidewalk.  I ran over to help him up, and with the assistance of another gentleman and one of Billy’s neighbors, helped escort him up the street to the entrance to his apartment.  He seemed to want to fall backward with every step, so it was quite the chore to get him there without him falling again.  So, there you go.  Welcome to The Tank.
 
 
 
 
 
 
4:50 pm: After wandering through Times Square, where I witnessed the most butts in the air ever at a Yoga gathering celebrating the Summer Solstice, I headed on a pizza hunt.  I wound up at Monetti’s Pizza, and partook.  While sitting there, enjoying MY pizza, a young couple (youngish?) passed by in order to pay for their grub.  This is the part of the conversation I heard.
Young Lady: “Am I overbearing?”
Young Man: (after a careful pause) “Well, yeah, sometimes.”
Young Lady: (takes this in with a nod) “Well, you know, I really think we need to get moving with things.”
Young Man: “What?”
Young Lady: “I mean, marriage.  You really need to propose to me.  We need to get married already.”
At this point, the guy looked over MY way, lowered his head (and his voice) and said something to the effect of: “We really don’t need to be talking about this here.”
Conversation WIN!  Pizza & Entertainment!  Well done Monetti’s!
 
5:00 pm:  I had the world’s biggest Caramel Mocha Frappuccio. 
It kills!

It kills!

It’s as big as the city!  And delicious!!! WOOOOOO!
5:30 to 6:45 pm: I wander through Central Park, where I see a whole many bunches of weird people, some bubble blowers, a photo shoot of a young girl that was beyond awkwardly dangerous and was just ultimately bizzarre, and accidentally ate an Oreo Ice Cream Bar. 
I have discovered, also, that though the majority of the pizzaria’s are five or more blocks from here, I will not be short of porn, should the need arise.  Apparently, there is an urgent need for porn and adult novelties on 40th street.  Should you ever be in NYC, and succumb to lonliness.  Or something.
Ok.  8:09 pm: I’m done with MY blog for the day.  Either Union Square and Battery Park tomorrow before the event, or Grand Central Station and the Public Library (I WANT TO SEE A GHOST DAMMIT!).  Either way, I’ll have more for you.

In absentia

I’ve been away.  Maybe you’ve noticed.  Maybe you haven’t.  Maybe you cared.  Maybe you didn’t.  Maybe I know that I should have written something on here since MY last blog, but then again, maybe I don’t.  Maybe I haven’t had anything to say.

Maybe I should stop this maybe train of retardation and write something worth reading.

Ok.  Right.

I’ll be in NYC for events on June 22nd and 23rd.  I’ll post the event details here and on MY Anointed Facebook Fan Page in the next day or so.  I’d be more specific, but I’m a bit smidgy right now, and I’m not even sure what that means.  Once I figure that out, then I can move on to the details of MY events.  I know they are both at the Tank, in the Theater District, off 45th street, and that they are pretty cool pairings.  I also know that I’m geeked about getting back to New York, and that I’ll be there on MY birthday, which may not really enhance the moment, but is still cool all the same.

I’ve been working steadily on both the follow up to Anointed (working title of Angelic Malcontents), and also the first book in a young adult fantasy series, the title of which is The Storyteller, though I’ve yet to subtitle it.  There will be 5 books in that series, each with The Storyteller title, followed by a book-specific subtitle.  I’m very happy with the progress on it (I scrapped 50ish pages and have rewritten almost all of them, now), and I look forward to blitzing through to the end, and then finding a home for it.  Which I will.  I think it’s an appealing story, to be honest.  At some point, I’ll post some more info on it, but well…truly, right now I’m blitzed.  Or smidgy.  One of them.  I’m something that isn’t totally coherent.  I’ve been helping MY good friend, Jim Mundy, this week at a chess camp he puts on each year.  20+ kids, 5 days, 6-7 hours a day.  Exhausting, and I didn’t even do the bulk of the work.  Been hard, squeezing in writing on a tenth of the brain power.

Oh, and if you happen to be interested in the timeline of Anointed, we reach an important date on Tuesday, June 9th.  That would be the day, within the world of the book, in which Billy Christ anoints Timothy Webb as his successor.  Despite the fact that it hasn’t developed the way I had hoped, or planned, I will still be following through with the Twitter switch over.  Billy will announce his retirement on Monday, spend the day reflecting on that, and then Timmy Christ will come in a few days later.  He’ll assume control of Billy’s twitter account, and I’ll be working to gain him a true following.  I plan on using his account more than I did for Billy–though in fairness to Billy, he has never truly embraced the technology at his disposal–and also hopping back on the TCC website and revisiting the blog, with Timmy in control.  Then we’ll all go for a six-week ride, as Timothy’s story unfolds.  I think, of all the things I have looked forward to with this project, these next six weeks may be at the top of the list.  Now, more than ever, the time to ruffle feathers has come.  I shall let (Timmy) Christ lead the way.

So, make sure to check in.  I’ll be tying all the sites and tools together in order to innundate everyone with what I’m doing.

But now I’m a bit smidgy and blitzed.  I shall sleep.

Here’s a video to entertain you, and make sure that this visit wasn’t entirely in vain.  Go.  Watch it.  Enjoy.  You’ll love it.