Friday, July 28, 2006

Super Mom Returns

Last night, my friend and I went to see Superman Returns. I was a bit mixed on how I thought the movie might turn out, but all in all, I was very pleased. About an hour into the movie, I thought things were going to turn out to be a bit predictable. But from that point forward, it wasn't. Kudos to Bryan Singer. While it wasn't as good as his efforts in X-Men, it was a movie worth seeing.

Which brings me to another super character. Super Mom.

Come now, surely you've heard of her? Able to squirt cleaning fluid from her hands, and scare any misbehaving teen into honest behavior?

If you don't know about her, well I'm about to tell you.

Super Mom, aka Birdie Lee, is the character created by Melanie Lynne Hauser, author of Confessions of Super Mom. If you haven't read it, you should. And nows a good time, because while the sequel isn't scheduled to hit bookstores until next year, Confessions is available in paperback now (or will be soon). That's right. Paperback.

For those of you who remember, I blogged an interview with Melanie several months ago. So if you didn't buy the book then because of the high price of hardcovers, now you can pick it up at paperback pricing. No excuses!

It is a great story. Humorous, touching, and a fun take on the world of superheroes. Check it out! And check out Melanie's blog, as well. Whereas I've been trying to learn the art of humor, she already has it down!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sadistic Agents!

Sometimes I think literary agents are sadistic. Sure, they claim to just be busy, but I have to wonder if they take secret pleasure in torturing poor writer-wannabes.

Their number one method of torture? Silence.

This is how it goes. You send them a query, and then they say nothing in return. You, the overly-anxious writer, start the clock the moment you hit "send" on the e-mail, or stick the envelope in the mailbox. Each hour, day, week, and month passes in silence. Yet, you can't help but allow your heart to leap with excitement when Outlook tells you that you have new mail. You expect it to be a request for a partial, or a rejection. Either would be the kind thing, setting your mind at ease.

But you wait and wait.

Of course, if they do request a partial, this process repeats, often for even longer periods of time. You go through phases of thinking that the longer they take the more likely they are considering your work. Then you think that the longer they take, the more likely they don't care. Then you think that the longer they take, the more likely the partial ended up lost somewhere between you and the agent.

And, when they eventually request a full (presuming they didn't reject the partial), you go through it all over again.

Torture. And they know it, I'm sure of it! Perhaps that's what they want. If a writer can survive the torture of waiting, then the writer might have what it takes to be a full-fledged author.

All the while, you sit at his computer, twitching, nails chewed to the quick, and muttering things about yourself in the third person. You may even start sputtering "gollum! gollum!" every once in a while.

Maybe agents figure writers have to be insane, and this helps ensure their insanity. Insane authors mean great authors who write best-sellers sitting nude in the back of some closet.

Not that I'm insane. Or, at least, no more than usual. But I'm quickly approaching the level of insanity.

I've been waiting and waiting and waiting now. Four weeks, actually. Not really that long in the grand scheme of things. But when you have a full sitting on the desk of an agent, the ability to perceive time changes, and what is only a day feels like a week, and a week feels like months.

I imagine that the agent already read my manuscript. The agent probably read it a few days after receiving it. But then the agent decided to set a reminder on her calendar to only contact me after months have passed. That is, assuming they are simply going to reject me. Then again, if the agent plans to take me on as a client, then she must not have read it at all. Yet. So, then the question becomes "when!"

The worst thing about all this is that when my wife calls me at work, it ends up being a let down. I love my wife. I enjoy talking to her. But in my mind, when the caller ID says it is my home number, it can only mean one thing. My wife is calling me. She is calling to tell me that the agent called and wants me to call her back. So, I pick up the phone, excitedly, only to find out my wife wants to know if I can pick up a pizza on the way home. (Really, honey, I do enjoy talking to you, it's just when I sound disappointed, it is nothing personal!)

And so the torture continues. Sadistic agents!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The "I Need To Brush My Teeth" Symptom

Yesterday, for whatever reason, was one of those mornings that I left the house and forgot to brush my teeth. So, I had to go the entire day making sure I stood a safe distance away from everyone, horribly self-conscious, imagining my teeth rotting away. You know?

I used to keep these little pieces of "paper" made from Listerine in my wallet just in case this kind of thing happened. While I hated how they tasted, they would at least take care of the self-consciousness. Thing is, I rarely ever used them, and after a year in my wallet, they were more or less melting and infested with pocket lint. (Have you ever wondered how lint gets inside your wallet?)

Anyhow, I do have a point to this...and it relates to diabetes, actually, and being self-aware of BGL symptoms.

You see, one of the sure signs I experience if my BGL goes high is a sticky mouth. Now, just because I have a sticky mouth doesn't mean I have high BGL, but if I have high BGL, you can be sure I have a sticky mouth. (Well, high as in over 200 for more than a few hours.)

Trouble is, my failure to brush my teeth yesterday also left me thinking I had high BGL all day long. And quiz time here...when that happens, what is the first thing you should do?

That's right. Test. Problem was, my BGL really wasn't high most of the day. Regardless, it is another case of utilizing every change in the way your body behaves to keep tabs on your BGLs. Sticky mouth? Test! Because if it is sticky because of being high, it gives me an opportunity to bring it down quickly.

But in order for it to work, you've gotta brush your teeth, as I learned yesterday. So don't forget to brush!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Superheroes, Revisited (Again)

As a follow up from my blog entry about Superheroes a few days ago, I wanted to share something my wife found: What's Your Superhero Name?

Sure, it asks you your name and whether you are a boy or girl, but I honestly don't think it matters what you put. Everytime you reload the result page, you get a different result.

It's a lot of fun, actually, and might even cause you to burst out laughing to find out that while your super power might be "Radiation" (which, honestly, I'm not sure how that is a superpower...unless you use it to heal tumors or somethig), but your weakness is "Peanut Butter stuck to the roof of your mouth."

Clearly, it isn't meant to be taken seriously. But I can't help imagine what if some of the combinations they present were really true about superheroes. I'm thinking maybe I should write a short story from two or three randomly-generated Superhero characters.

Well, if you'll excuse me...I have to go save the world by irridating cancer patients as Stone Jack, all the while avoiding Vince Vaughn. He makes me all weak in the knees, you know. Just gotta find my Invisible Whip and then I'll be off in my Chariot!

Have fun!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Art of Small Talk

I'm a thinker. Not necessarily a great thinker, mind you, but a thinker, nonetheless. Because I have to think about things all the time. Sometimes I'm thinking about small, inconsequential things like who decided that there should be a deposit on bottles containing carbonated beverages, but not on those without. Other times I think about deep or gradiose ideas, like how does Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac impact my life today?

Usually I tend toward the inconsequential end of things.

Anyhow, it takes time to think, to formulate a conherent, logical thought. Normally, when I'm thinking to myself, this isn't a problem. But when it comes time for conversation, that's when I run into trouble.

You see, small talk is an art. (Not to be confused with SmallTalk, which is a programming language.) It is an art that I'm particularly horrible at. So bad, in fact, that I come across, at times, as terribly rude.

To give an example, take a recent trip to the grocery story. As I was standing in line, an elderly man got behind me and noticed that I had my daughter with me. (He seemed oblivious to the fact that I also had my three sons with me.) He started talking about how little girls are cute, but wow, are they trouble when they get older, blah, blah, blah. I smiled, and desperately wanted to say something in response. You know, to be friendly.

But there I stood, smiling with nothing coming out of my mouth. My brain was frozen, trying to work out a response that was friendly, not rude, and had to do with the subject at hand. I came up with nothing. So I just kep smiling, nodding, and laughing when I thought that perhaps, just maybe, he was being sarcastic. Then, I tried to act busy by discplining my son for doing nothing more than standing next to me looking at the candy. Because if I have my hands full with my kids, then maybe the man would stop talking to me and I wouldn't have to come up with any small talk.

I was saved when it came time to load up the conveyor with my groceries, but even that didn't take long, and the man was still talking.

I felt bad, really. The man was trying to be friendly. I wanted to be friendly back, but my over analytical brain didn't know how. I probably rather looked like a codfish.

Sadly, this isn't an isolated incident. I'm like this all the time. I've even practiced on my own figuring out what kinds of things to say to people or ask if I don't know anything about them. Yet, in the heat of the moment, I turn out to be a dud.

Back when I was still in high school, I once brought my wife with me. (Well, at the time she wasn't my wife. She was just "a friend". But she eventually became my wife.) She didn't attend my high school. In fact, she had already graduated from high school. But I had a meeting, so she waited for me.

As we walked the hallway, several classmates passed by and said, "Hi, Ryan." Me? Well, I didn't saying anything in return. My friend-who-would-eventually-be-my-wife told me later that I was terribly rude. No, really I wasn't. Instead, I was just a doofus, lost in my own little world.

And today, as I paid the cashier at the cafeteria for my Diet Mt. Dew, I stood there trying to think of something to say. Some small talk that might brighten her day. After all, she is always rather friendly.

Me? I stood there like a dunce. The only words that came from my mouth? "Thanks." This, in response to her chipper, "Have a nice day!"

Small talk is definitely an art... I guess I need to head off to art school.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Speaking of Superheroes

I don't have a lot of time today, so I thought I would leave you with this. I rather like superheroes, in their various forms. So, what kind of superhero are you?

Here are several on-line tests to help you decide:

Which Superhero are you?

I came out to be Robin.


I used this to generate my superhero, which you can see on my About page.

I'll have more later...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The World According To Ryan

So, I finished Ender's Shadow. I blogged about it not long ago, if you recall. Anyhow, great book. Also, I'm a member of this writer's board, Backspace. On the forums they have a section for book reviews and discussions. So, I posted about my undying love for author Orscon Scott Card and his two "Ender's" books.

Then something interesting happened. Turns out, there are some others who have read Ender's Game as well. Not only that, but a couple of those didn't really like it all that much.

Uh...hello! We're talking about Ender's Game, right? What's not to love? I then go into why they must be mistaken, or must have missed something, and why anyone who has any taste in great science fiction literature should love this book...not to mention a great deal many who don't have great taste in science fiction literature.

But they aren't convinced.

So it occurs to me...could I be wrong? Could it be that Ender's Game (and Ender's Shadow, for that matter) are simply mediocre books? Maybe I'm a geek for enjoying them. Then I think to another science fiction work I absolutely love: The Matrix trilogy. Because you see, I think I'm in the minority of folks who found all three movies, as a set, to be some of the greatest science fiction movies ever made. Still can't ponder why that is, and so anytime I get any resistence to the idea that Reloaded and Revolutions are incredible works of art, I feel the need to educate the person as to what they are missing.

Usually they stare at me blankly when I'm done and say, "Huh."

That's it. And so I'm convinced that my apparently superior intellect is the reason they didn't grasp the layers of symbolism embodied in the movies, and it isn't their fault at all. I'm happy believing that, because it means I'm smarter than everyone else.

But, see, it is happening again with Ender's Game. There are people who don't get what I get from it. But these are smart people. These are writers, who comprehend literature often at a level far beyond my own understanding. So I can't use the "I'm smarter" card.

Which means I'm not smarter. In fact, it could mean quite the opposite. I'm stupider. Or worse, naiver. (Yes, I realize that isn't a word.) Maybe I'm finding things that aren't there. Which means I'm not naive at all, but a hallucinator!

And I know who to blame for this (because it can't possibly be my own fault). It is the fault of one Eric Rabkin. Also known as Professor Rabkin.

See, I took his science fiction literature class back when I was in college. I thought it would be fun, you know? A class where you get to read science fiction? How hard could that be?

Well, aside from the fact that I couldn't keep up with the book-a-week pace, due to how slow I read, it turns out that science fiction had a whole lot more depth than I ever imagined possible. So, I struggled. Came really close to failing the class, too. But something clicked. By the end of the class, Professor Rabkin had opened my eyes to a new level of understanding. He had shown me how to dig deeper, beyond the surface of the story.

But it is only now that I see that what really happened was he made me see things that aren't there.

Thing is, I rather enjoy the hallucinations, I think. I rather enjoy finding deeper meanings that may or may not actually be there. So, while I may blame Professor Rabkin...I also thank him.

And just where does this leave me? Well, I see that every one of us gets something different out of what we read or watch. Just as the humor in the Monty Python and the Holy Grail eludes me, despite the lectures I've been given by countless friends insisting it is funny, perhaps I get something from The Matrix and Ender's Game that eludes others. Perhaps it isn't about anyone being smarter than anyone else at all, but rather a reflection of life's influences and experiences and beliefs, not to mention a side of personality (or lack thereof).

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Maybe I Don't Want To Be Funny

Some of you may remember, back in the good old days of this blog, that I started out with a goal of trying to become funny. I wanted to learn the art of humor in writing, since it was an area I was seriously lacking. See, I've always had a knack for taking myself, and everyone else around me, entirely too seriously.

But I do enjoy a good joke. I love a sitcom that makes me laugh out loud. I nearly pee my pants reading a short piece of humor. So I wanted to bring that kind of humor into my own writing.

I've learned a lot since then...the good old know, about ten months ago. I'm certainly no expert, and most of the time I still make things too serious. But I've figured out how to interject a moment of laughter into my writing now and again.

But one thing I've also learned is that I'm not sure I actually like reading humor. At least, not anything of any serious length. A short snippet here or there is great. But anything longer?

See, I started reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. Some have suggested that I certain cannot call myself a fan of science fiction if I haven't read this book. I put it off a long while, but finally, while sitting in the back row before Sara Gruen's booksigning event for Water For Elephants, I noticed that the back of my chair was up against the science fiction section, and right next to my head sat Doug Adams' books. So I bought one.

When I bought it, I read the introduction, and thought it was hysterical. I laughed out loud several times over the course of a mere two pages. This was going to be good.

Chapter one was also funny. But then, by chapter two, I was getting rather tired. I got it already. The book pokes fun at the seriousness of the world, with absurdities all around. Fine. Great. Original. But now let's get on with the story already!

Last night, I finished chapter five, and the humor has become tedious. Rather like watching one of those Ernest movies. You know what I mean? (Vern?) Funny in small doses, but not quite able to sustain itself for a full two hours.

I recognize that Adams' isn't at fault. It is me. I'm just not the right type for those kind of writing.

So I started thinking about this and decided that maybe I don't want to be funny. Maybe I prefer being serious. And just maybe if I like reading stuff that is serious, others do, too. Maybe I can survive as a writer taking myself too seriously. Maybe.

We'll see.

Oh, and on a complete unrelated note...last night I had a dream that I sold my book and got a $30,000 advance, allowing my wife and I to use this as a down payment so we could finally move out of our cramped home and into a "real house". It was a rather nice dream. Too bad I had to wake up.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Losing My Mind

Several weeks ago, I was with my wife and kids at Walmart. Not sure why it is, but for some reason, my wife and I seem unable to go into Walmart and come out without spending more than $100. This is particularly perplexing since we go to Walmart because of their "Always low prices".

Anyhow, after loading up the cart, two separate trips to the restrooms (once for the sake of my son, and the other for the sake of my daughter), having said, "No, we can't buy that," about fifty times, and then making the all-important decision as to which line not only is shortest but least likely to end up with a blinking lane light, it was our turn to pay. I reached for my wallet, only my wallet wasn't there.

"I don't have my wallet," I said to my wife.

She stared at me, blinking.

"Do you have your purse?"

She stared at me, shaking her head.

"Is it at home?"

She stared at me, nodding her head.

So, there we were with more than $100 worth of merchandise and no way to pay. Not to mention I drove to the store illegally!

Do you know how often this has happened to me? Pretty much never. And if it has, never in such a situation where I actually needed my wallet for more than to just ease my nerves while driving. Yet, it happened to me.

I chalked it up to one mistake. Happens to the best of us, right? (I assume you are nodding your head in agreement.) So, the cashier "suspended" our transaction, I drove home, and returned forty minutes later with my debit card in hand.

But then, last week (okay, not just last week), my wife sent me to the store to pick up three things. I have this rule. If I'm to pick up more than three things, I must have a list, otherwise I'll forget something. But three things? I can always remember three things. Especially when the reward for going out to get said three things was going to include a romantic evening together! One of those three things included Snyder's Honey BBQ pretzel pieces. No problemo!

So, I returned home with considerably more than three things. And when my wife sat down to watch a movie with me, she said, "Uh, where are my pretzels?"

I'm sure my face turned white in the terror of realization. I forgot to buy the pretzels! Was I losing my mind? I apologized profusely, and she gave me this pathetically sad-looking expression and said, "It's okay. I'll manage."

Rip my heart out, why don't you!

But, you know, even the best of persons forgets things like that on occasion. Right? (And again, I assume you are nodding your head in agreement.)

Then, a few days ago, I was heading off to work in the morning. I dutifully kissed my wife goodbye, patted all my kids' heads, and headed out to the car carrying a bag of garbage to the curb for trash day. Reached into my pocket, and what is missing? My keys! So I headed back to the door, but it was locked. Of course I locked it. So I pounded the door. But my wife was still asleep. I pounded again. But we taught our kids not to open the door to strangers (and father's who are hopelessly going insane). It took about five minutes of pounding before someone finally opened the door.

But, you know, even the best of persons can forget... oh, who am I kidding!

Now then. Yesterday. We hopped into the van and headed to Kroger for a bit of grocery shopping. When we arrived, I reached into my back pocket and discovered I had, once again, left my wallet at home!

Which only supports my fears that I truly am losing my mind. Or I've lost my mind already. I mean, sure, I've never been an altogether organized person, but this is downright ridiculous!

Ordinarily, I'd pin the blame on my kids. They've driven me mad. But this time, I'm going to blame my wife. Why?

Well, in the first case, she should have had her purse with her just in case I ever forgot my wallet while we were out. Clearly, she's to blame there.

In the second case, she should have made me a list. I know the rule is more than three items...but honestly, when the stakes are so high, there is no reason to make such a gamble on one's husband!

In the third case...well, I'm not sure why that is my wife's fault...but I'm sure I'll think of something.

In the fourth case, having proven myself unreliable once before with regards to remembering my wallet, my wife should have either reminded me to grab my wallet, or else she should have brought her purse along. So, yeah, most definitely her fault.

In the meantime, anyone know any remedies for lost minds?

Friday, July 07, 2006

New Pin-Stripe Detailing

Each time the lease on my wife's van is about to expire, and we muse over what the next vehicle should be (hmm, should we go with the minivan this time, or the minivan?), my wife has one rule.

It must be black.

I noticed this pattern early on in our relationship. We would be driving down the road, and we would pass a shiny black Cadillac, and my wife would ooh and ahh over it. Next, it would be a Chrysler 300m, or a even a Mustang. I thought she had a fabulous taste in cars until she declared her love for a shiny black Escort. All that time, it wasn't the car, but the color.

So when we picked out our first minivan...a Ford Windstar Sport...can you guess what color she went with? Black. And we've had three black minivans since.

Black does look pretty, I admit. Sure, it looks dirty pretty quickly, but that's what they invented the ability to buy a car wash at the gas pump for.

And so for the past year, our Mercury Monterrey (which is just a codename for a rebadged Ford Windstart/Freestar) has remained in pristine condition. Until now.

My four-year-old has been spending a bit more time outdoors in the past few weeks. And, oddly enough, I've begun to find little tiny scatch marks in the paint. Nothing major, and from more than a few feet away, you'd never know they existed. But they weren't there last week.

Alarms went off. Or, at least, alarms should have gone off. They didn't, however. Instead I offered a warning.

"Do not touch the van. Not with your fingers, not with sticks, not with toys, not with bikes. Nothing. Nothing is to touch this van, do you understand me?"

"Yes, sir," all my kids said back to me. Such obedience. It makes a father proud.

But then yesterday, as we loaded into the van to head to a friend's house, I noticed some pin-striping along the door. White pin-striping. Not really even striping. More like petroglyphs.

I stepped back and looked. I ran my hand over the markings, then stepped back even more.

"Boys!" I yelled, and they cowered in fear.

"I didn't do it," one of them cried.

"This one wasn't me," another said, which of course sidestepped the fact that the other one, then, must have been their doing.

My four-year-old looked at the ground shamedly and said, "I did it, Daddy."

After a few deep breaths, and a brief reminder to myself that killing your own children is still illegal in most states, I got the full story from them, about how they ran into the van with their bikes. Nevermind they had the rest of the driveway to ride in. No, they had to pick riding on the one foot border between the edge of the driveway and the van.

So, bikes have been declared off limits until further notice. They took the news well, considering. I think they were relieved to still be alive.

Me? Well, I'm learning to love the new pin-stripe detailing. My car has some as well, but since it's red and not black, it isn't so bad.

My wife? Well, I think I might have to sedate her for a while until her heart recovers from the shock of seeing her black van is no longer just black.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Little Sensitive, Aren't We?

I'm a sensitive guy, and I can prove it. Just hand me any form of ice cream bar or popsicle, and let me have a bite. I'll yelp. Or I'll cringe. And it seems no amount of Sensodyne toothpaste can eliminate the pain. (Although, it does help reduce it.)

I've learned to accept my sensitivity. I've adapted my eating methods to be able to enjoy a bowl of ice cream, for example.

When it comes to fillings, however, I'm a big baby. Oh, I put up with it. Better to do that then end up with a toothache. But it amazes me that in this modern world of medicine, there isn't a painless method of filling a tooth.

Or at least, if there is, no one told my dentist about it.

When it comes time to numb of mouth, just the sight of the needle is enough to...ugh...okay, I won't even talk about it. But it hurts. It hurts a lot. A lot a lot. My hands clutch the arm rests, my muscles stiffen, and I count down the seconds in my head to when it is over.

Thing is, one shot is never enough. I tell the dentist this, too. I say, "Listen, one shot is never enough. So can you give me extra in the first shot so that we don't have to do this again?"

He smiles at me and says, "Well, let's just see how this one works first."

I can tell him how it works. It doesn't. Oh, sure, I could poke a hole through my cheek, and I'm certain my eyeball has gone numb, but as soon as they start drilling, I can feel everything. They might as well be hammering a nail through that tooth.

So, I scream, and they stop drilling. Then the dentist says the silliest thing.

"You feeling that?"

Uh, no. I just screamed to clear the saliva running down my throat is all. Carry on, please.

Of course I'm "feeling that"!

So, out comes the needle, and another ten seconds of horrific pain, followed by another ten minutes of watching the clock to let the anesthetic start working. They come back, and start drilling again. Of course, by this time, the entire side of my face has slid off, I'm quite certain, because if I try to touch myself, I'm not there. But at least the drilling can continue pain free. Well, almost pain free. I still feel pain, but at least by now the pain is less than the pain from another needle poke, so I bear with it.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, if you've read this far, perhaps you can't really relate. Perhaps you're one of those lucky people who can skip the novocaine altogether. But I'm bringing it up because I'm in a predicament.

My son got his first cavity, and he has an appointment in a couple weeks to have it filled. Thing is, he is scared. And just what am I to tell him? What can I do to ease his fears? Truth is, he might not really feel much at all. He might not have inherited my propensity for tooth pain. But then again, he might have.

Do I tell him he'll be fine? That there will just be a tiny pinch at first to numb it up, then it is smooth going? Or do I tell him that he should consider practicing for the pain by driving staples into his own arm?

Poor boy. And what makes it worse is that I'm his father. I mean, if he were just someone else's kid, I could detach my own emotions and think, "Poor boy," and leave it at that. But he is my son, which means if I could, I would die for my son. I would take up his seat in that dentist's chair and put up with the drilling on his behalf.

Problem is, his teeth aren't in my mouth, which means I'm helpless. Kind of like watching the nurse stick a needle in my son's arm for the fifteenth time while trying to draw blood. It is worse on me, I think, than my son.

There is, of course, one plus that is coming out of this. Suddenly my son has become a far more prolific brusher. Too bad that can't undo the cavity that is already there.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Superheroes Won't Leave Me Alone

A couple days ago, my wife and I were discussing my writing. I hate discussing my writing, actually. You know how it is. My ideas, the things that consume my thoughts every day. Me, me, me. I mean, of course I prefer not to talk about my writing. But she made me. Really, she did.

Okay. So, she didn't make me. Truth is, she gets tired of me talking about my writing, about some new ingenious story idea I came up with. She is very gracious, however, and doesn't roll her eyes at me. Usually.

But anyhow, a couple days ago we were, in fact, discussing my writing, and she told me that I only know how to write about superheroes.

"That's not true!" I said, pretending to be hurt.

I mean, it wasn't true. I can write about more than superheroes. But, there was a bit of truth in her comment, because the fact is, I love to write about superheroes. And a great many stories that I start out writing intending to be speculative in nature do end up with an angle that could at least be construed as superhero related.

Case in point, the story that was just accepted for publication (date of publication yet to be determined) is a superhero story. And I have another story my wife read called Choice, that is a superhero story. And Mindburst could easily be considered a superhero story.

What can I say? I love superheroes. I spent my childhood either pretending to be a superhero, or...well, I guess that's about it. Everything we played as kids seemed to be tied to superheroes in some way. So, it is only natural that I write about them.

But I like all kinds of superheroes. X-Men, Superman, and Spiderman, of course. But also the very intellectual angle portrayed in M. Knight Shamaylan's film, Unbreakable.

Anyhow, I figured I needed to prove my wife wrong and write a story that was undeniably not a superhero story. So I started working on one. Here is an excerpt from this story, which is a work in progress:

I sat in silence, hoping and praying it was my imagination. Yet their silence told me I had every reason to be afraid. They were going to do something to me. They would transform into bullies for no other reason than because they could. They would have their fun, and when it was all over, the two of them would laugh as though it was nothing but a harmless game. But something was different this time. Something within myself. I could feel it deep down, but not label it. Something powerful. And I wouldn't know what it was until it was too late.

See the last sentence in that paragraph? Do you know what it means? It means that along the way to writing this story, it turned into a superhero story.

Whatever you do, please don't tell my wife. She'll tell me, "I told you so." I hate it when people say, "I told you so." It implies that I was wrong. And clearly, that can't be.