Tag Archives: E-book

When You Inexplicably Bray Like Donkey

Oh God, Now what?

Oh God, Now what?

Not everyone finds me as amusing as I find myself, but that’s OK. Sometimes I laugh so hard at the stupid things I do that I really do bray like donkey.

Was talking to my daughter last night and we started talking about stupid things we’ve done, funny movies and just life in general. We ended up laughing so hard that we could barely breathe. At the end of the phone call she announced that her head ache was gone. Proof that laughter can be the best medicine. I have sore stomach muscles this morning as a result of this over the top seizure of laughter. A lot more fun that torturing myself with an ab cruncher at the gym.

Even painful things can be funny, usually not at the time of the incident, but later on. I remember a time at a family reunion when my grandmother allowed one of her great-nephews to get her on the back of a dirt bike and ride up a hill. She managed to hang on for a good bit, but right at the top she fell off the bike and did an extraordinarily spectacular log roll all the way down to the bottom of that hill and landed in a cloud of dust, at feet of her entire clan. We were shocked speechless and then burst out laughing until we doubled over, gasping for breath, and cried. We did manage get grandma up, brush her off, and made sure that she was OK, laughing the whole time. She was not amused. Unfortunately, this happened at a time before everyone filmed everything on their phone.

Sometimes crazy and/or painful incidents can be the foundation for major life changes.  I think part of my decision to migrate from paper books to eBooks was the result of an incident involving a paperback book lying on the floor. I tend to scatter my possessions hither and yon.

One day I was walking across the den, coffee cup in hand and stepped on a paperback book. The book and my foot shot out from under me like they were greased with mink oil. I swooped into a split that could rival the antics of a true contortionist. Right then, lying on the carpet writhing in agony, convinced that I sprained every muscle and tendon in my groin, a love of eBooks was born. At least I can’t trip over them. My groin turned out to be undamaged, but not for lack of trying.

Many years ago my family was on an outing. My brother, who had been hit by a truck while riding a bicycle and was in a near full body cast, happened to be with us. I don’t remember how he was ambulatory, but he was. An elderly woman screeched to a full stop in front of us and began laughing so hard that she had lean over on her knees to keep from falling over. Finally she managed to say “Boy, you really did a number yourself, didn’t ya!”

Looking back on this, it seemed like an extremely rude reaction to another person’s suffering. But, my brother laughed and said something along the lines of “Yea, I really need to watch where I’m going.” He learned this lesson the hard way, and was not permanently injured. So in hindsight it was a good thing.

I don’t why we put ourselves though so many hard learned lessons in life. I’m not always that philosophical, either. Sometimes when life gives me lemons, I am just as likely to quirt lemon juice in someone’s eye as to make lemon aid. I guess that’s why we’re born with the capacity to laugh.


Mistress of the Obvious

Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing. Aristotle 384 BC-322 BC

I did a lot of reading this summer. We’re talking tons, morning til night, for days on end. The result of this is I’ve become a bit of a book review connoisseur. One thing I’ve discovered is that finding or writing a useful book review is no easy task. Reviews such as “this book is awesome” or “this piece of trash was not worth the paper it’s printed on” or “the author is a spawn of Satan” are opinions that make me want to rip my hair out. They are not helpful to the writer or the reader. Why was it awesome? Why was it trash?

In a way, I’m more tempted to read the trash books because whatever was in the book ticked the reviewer off so much that I want to see it for myself. The word awesome is so over used that it almost meaningless. To me is says that the reader is probably in their 20s and has read maybe 15 books in their life, the majority of them required reading. I could be wrong and maybe I’ll start asking the reviewers what their definition of awesome is. If it includes snowboarding and punking their friends on YouTube then there you go. Not my cup of tea.

One thing that I’ve gleaned from reading reviews is with eBooks and self-publishing, just about anybody can shoot a book out there. A person with enough tenacity to put together a book deserves at least an E for effort. Some of stories are absolute drivel that would never make through a major publishing house for whatever reason – thin to nonexistent plots, flimsy characters, the ravings of a lunatic, so smarmy it borders on nauseating. Unfortunately some potentially fantastic pieces of fiction get out there without the benefit of a good editor or proof reader.

This is where it gets sticky. Some beginning authors publish their book as if they were a lizard laying an egg. Just plop and move on, never come back to check on it. It’s a shame to see a book on amazon with 8 reviews and all of them suggest the author run their book through spell and grammar check, and then go on to complain about the formatting. Not one word about the contents of the book and never a peep from the author. Other authors that are engaged check on their reviews, respond, and put out a revised edition or whatever it takes. It’s easy enough to do with an Ebook. These are the authors that I will keep an eye on.

As a result, when I do finally spit out a book length fiction story I’m going to make double damn sure that I spell check it 187 times. I’m also going to try to talk everyone I can think of in to proof reading it with me. Hopefully there will be content buried somewhere in the collection of properly spelled and formatted text. I would not want it to die the death of faint praise. “Well it was OK I guess, but I sure wish she had run it through the goll dang speller thingy a time or 2.”

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