Sunday, October 28, 2007

Book signing, Halloween party, and other thoughts

The book signing went well yesterday. I want to thank everyone that came out, both personal friends and strangers who were interested readers of the book. I think we sold about twenty-five copies, which is a pretty good number for this kind of event (and a still new and fairly unknown writer).

My son played at a friend's house all day while I was at the signing. That family was having a get together that evening, so I went over and hung out for a while. A number of the adults played a card game called "Screw your neighbor" that was very enjoyable. I'm not a card guy -- I can play gin pretty well, but I have no idea about poker, so this card game, which was very simple and took about three minutes to learn, was perfect for me. I even won the first pot!

Woke up at 4:00 again this morning, after going to bed around midnight. I'm worried that if this doesn't correct itself soon, I'm going to have to find some sort of medication to take. I try to clear my mind when I wake up in the dead of night so I can fall back asleep, but I simply can't. I try focusing on my breathing or counting backward from 100, but nothing works. My mind obsesses over my failed relationship and everything I've lost. What is hardest for me is that, over the course of the past year, she became my best friend. I've always had close relationships with women, and this one was no different. We complimented each other perfectly, and I'm still having trouble coping with this sudden, agonizing loss. To be very honest, this has been far worse than my divorce. My marriage was slowly strangled over seven long years, so that when the end came it was almost a relief. There was pain and heartache, to be sure, but nothing like this.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sleep and scribbles

I woke up at 4:00 am this morning and could not fall back to sleep. I'm feeling wide awake now (I'm very much a morning person), but if you come out to the book signing and I look a little worn out, you'll understand why.

I've been feverishly scribbling notes over the past two weeks (has it really been that long?). I have seven pages of thoughts and ideas for a novel about this failed relationship. I will write it someday, but I have no idea if it will ever get published. The working title is LIFE LINE. Look for it in a couple of years....

Friday, October 26, 2007

Trick or Treating

Here's a picture of Alex and his two cousins out Trick or Treating. Alex is on the left, in a Jango Fett costume (a bounty hunter in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, for those of you scratching your heads). His cousin Kallie, in the middle, is a witch (obviously), and her younger brother Brennon is Optimus Prime from the Transformers movie.

A little progress

I slept until 5:15 this morning, after going to bed around 10:40. So I'm making some progress, at least.

Last night was Trick or Treat (I still have no idea why my township can't have Halloween actually on Halloween!). My son dressed up as Jango Fett (he is absolutely nuts about Star Wars). We went over to my mom's development so he could Trick or Treat with his cousins. We had a great time. It was chilly but not too cold. A local fire department stops by one of the main intersections each year with their fire truck and hands out free pizza and glow sticks, so that was a nice diversion in the middle of the evening.

My son also has an incredibly generous heart. When we got back to my mom's house, she had just about run out of candy to hand out. My son said, "Grandma, you can have some of mine, I got way too much," and proceeded to give her two big handfuls of candy. He didn't sort through to give her candy he didn't like -- he just took some out and handed it over. Now when I was a kid, I guarded my candy the way the government guards Fort Knox.

He's such a great kid. I'll post a few pictures sometime this weekend.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Lack of sleep

Since the breakup, I haven't been able to sleep past 4:30 am. Most of the time I seem to snap awake around 4:10, and then I simply can't fall back to sleep. It doesn't matter when I go to bed. My usual bedtime is 11:30-ish and I get up around 6:00, which, when things are fine, is plenty of sleep for me.

I was at a conference for work in Connecticut last week, and even on the final night, when a group of us went to dinner and then out for drinks and a dwindling number of hearty souls stayed out until 2:30, I still couldn't sleep past 5:30. And a few hours after that I had the travel day from hell trying to get home.

But four or five hours doesn't cut it. This has been going on for thirteen days, and I'm feeling run down and exhausted. Something needs to change.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Reminder: first Book Signing for THE WORDS OF MAKING is this Saturday!

For those of you in the Harrisburg area, just a reminder that I'll be at the Borders Express store in the Capital City Mall from 1-4 on Saturday. Please come out and save me from the embarrassment of sitting at a table of my books all by myself!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Random Thoughts

I have been corresponding with a lovely woman from Italy who posted kind thoughts on the blog entry about my father's birthday. I read through parts of her blog (you can find it here), and something she wrote a few months ago struck me very hard:

It is pointless to love someone who does not love you in return.

I agree with this statement completely. It is a self-evident principle. In theory, it saves countless heartaches. The truth, however, is that it is almost impossible to practice.

Let me explain. Those we do not know we have no need to love. Those who are close to us, however, can become objects of affection or desire. A friend may, in one's heart, grow to become more than a friend, though we know the friend will never see us in the same way. It is pointless to love that friend, but the heart cannot be swayed by logic, by reason. It does what it will, and cannot be persuaded from its course.

This entry is obviously informed by my recent breakup, in which I find myself in the unenviable position of loving someone who does not love me. My mind tells me to let go, to move on and find happiness elsewhere. But my heart, for now, stubbornly refuses to listen.

David and Alex and the Tent of Doom

As promised, here is the tent we slept in for two days at the Cub Scout camp. You can't really see the mouse holes chewed in the stained and moldy mattresses, or the many daddy longleggers crawling all over the canvas.

Amazingly enough, we both slept fine. I bought a couple of glow sticks to serve as a night light for him, and within a couple of minutes I think both of us were asleep.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Cub Scout Camp

After the rather moribund posts lately, I thought I'd write about a much happier time. My son and I spent two days at a Cub Scout camp back in August. The tent we slept in was utterly disgusting (I'll post a photo of it a little later), but we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

We arrived Friday evening and spent the evening around a campfire with our fellow scouts. Saturday was a day for crafts and fun. We made rope, learned how to make fire (my son begged me to buy him some flint and steel; I obliged, and he walked around making sparks all day), learned archery, shot BB guns, swam for a while, ate dinner, and then enjoyed an enormous campfire with entertainment provided by the camp counselors. Later, we made a smaller fire back at our campsite and cooked smores.

My son was, of course, absolutely exhausted when we got home on Sunday, and slept until almost 2:00 in the afternoon.

The picture is of the two of us (and his Teddy Bear, Little Friend) on our way to the rope and fire making area.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dad's birthday

My dad, to whom I dedicated my first novel, would have been 80 today. He died more than five years ago and never knew that I'd been offered a contract for my books.

It's amazing how often I think about him. For three or four years after he died, I thought about him every single day. Often it was something my son did that I wished my dad could have been there to see. My son remembers Pop Pop Forbes a little bit, but not in any great detail. I find that sad, but at least there's some memory. My father adored Alex, and I know he was bothered by his poor health and inability to really play with him.

I still think about him often, though perhaps not every day. It's amazing how much I still miss him.

I apologize for the two recent downbeat posts, but that's just how it is at the moment. I'll try to be more cheery next time.

Happy birthday, Dad. I love you and wish you were still around.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The fickleness of the human heart

Those of you who read this know I don't write "confessional" blog entries. I started this thing a few years ago to chronicle the life of a newly-contracted writer and the process a book takes from acceptance to publication. I stated up-front that I'm not much of a diarist and that entries would probably be rather sparse. So far I've kept to my word on all counts, though I've occasionally dropped in interesting or funny stories that happened to me along the way, like the footrace with my brother that ended with me a bloody mess (and losing the race to boot -- grrr).

This is going to be a "confessional" entry, so for those of you who disdain this sort of thing, feel free to take a pass.

I've received a couple of notes asking what happened to the "Bloomsburg Fair" entry that I posted last week. (One person warned me that I might have a virus that was "eating" my posts.) Well, that rather prominently mentioned my girlfriend, who was also somewhat visible in the accompanying photo. We've been dating for almost a year, and always had a great time when we were together. We never had a fight or so much as an argument, so this morning I was caught off guard when she decided to break up with me. I quickly removed photos, emails, and other reminders, both in my house and online.

Now I want to state very clearly that I'm not mad at her, I don't hate her, I don't wish her any ill will. I don't see the point in it. A guy she was involved with before she met me started calling her around her birthday (a few weeks ago), and apparently he talks a pretty good game, because she's decided to go back to him. (Either that, or I was really lacking something that she needed.) I was surprised because she'd told me repeatedly that I didn't have to worry about him. She said she felt like she dodged a bullet by breaking up with him when she did, that she realized he was completely wrong for her, etc.

We also had a damn near perfect year. Every time we were together we were amazed at what a great time we had. It didn't matter if we were going to a wine festival, out to dinner, or just hanging out and watching TV. We always had a good time, and both of us commented on that more than once. We were comfortable and relaxed together, never pressured each other about anything, and just seemed to fit.

(I will say that I've always had a little naggling suspicion that I really wasn't attractive enough for her, but that might just be my own insecurities rearing their ugly heads.)

But this is where the fickleness of the heart comes in.

Sometimes you just can't shake someone even when you want to (and I believe she did want to, at least for a while). I've been there and done the exact same thing, so I have no room to be upset with her. After our third date last November I broke up with her over a woman who turned out to be a complete and total psychopath. Fortunately I came to that realization within a couple of days and we were able to patch things up a little later.

I'm a little sad, but I also realize I may have dodged my own bullet, since this other guy obviously wasn't out of her system. I do believe she was telling the truth when she said she was over him. I'm sure that's what she thought. But a simple phone call can wreck the best laid plans and turn everything on its head. It's a shame, but it happens. Sometimes the memory of the heart is stronger than what it holds in the present.

What's really going to suck is telling my son about it. He really liked her a lot, and I know he's going to be upset.

So that's the long-form answer as to why the Bloomsburg Fair entry is no more. It just seemed kind of stupid to leave that out there in light of recent events.

I'm going to publish this as a bit of catharsis, but I may also yank it down in a couple of days. This may be one of those things that I look back on and realize it's a terrible idea.

On a somewhat brighter note, I received my first royalty check today for THE AMBER WIZARD! Woo hoo!