Here’s an Abert’s towhee out here in the backyard, pecking up some bugs under the paloverde tree. They’re effective insectivores — the birds, that is; not the trees. Along with a thrasher or two and a passel of sparrows, they’ll keep your yard free of ants and any number of other little crawlers.
Most of the hummers have (wisely enough) migrated north. They’re leaving the Valley earlier each year, in response to the climate change that doesn’t exist.
The Anna’s hummingbird used to migrate with them. They stopped doing so, though, with the influx of human admirers who hang out sugar water for them. For many years they buzzed about the Valley all year round. But this particular variety of flying gem is also damn scarce this spring…summer, or whatever it is. Reloaded all the feeders but have only seen one or two of them. So presumably this is yet another loss to what was once a pretty spectacular quality of life in Arizona.
My son says he wants to buy 40 acres in southeastern Utah, park a Tiny House in the middle of it, and go completely off the grid. Just him and his golden retrievers.
I have to say…there are times when that sounds pretty damn good. Think of how many unpublishable novels a creative type could scribble under those conditions.
But turning to the writing career, let us speak of cabbages and journalism… The other day I picked up a sort of scholarly disquisition published by a Canadian university press. It is, shall we say, spare. Not to say “slight.” Which is, yes…that is what it is.
It’s only about 100 pages of copy, including a very lightweight introduction that does nothing but outline the book’s contents.
Looked at that thing and thought…huh! What I’ve already got in the “Drugging of America” series would fill that much space. Especially if, as this guy’s book is, it’s set in large type with wide margins. The guy has gotta be someone’s son-in-law.
So I decided to trick out a proposal. Preparatory to that, I took the first post and de-bloggified it yesterday. First step was to convert the links to end-notes.
Well. Naturally this led to another garden stroll through the Internet. HOLY shit, but this is a rich topic. Madly saved sets of links to a new Wyrd file, and came up with material for a good three more chapters. This would give the proposed book ten solid chapters, plus an introduction, plus a bibliography. And that would be one heckuva lot stronger than this little hardback I’m looking at now.
So over the next few days, I need to write an introduction, a chapter outline, a TofC, and a proposal. In a week or two, I hope to have that ready to send off. I’ll also send it to Columbia, which has published another of my books. And the UofA Press, where I have friends who have friends.
Step aside, Barbara Ehrenreich…
Choir season is winding toward its end. It’s been a splendid year with our two new musicians operating as director and associate director. The latter proposes to give voice and music lessons over the summer.
A friend and I have already imposed on her for the same, during the past couple of months. She (assoc. director) would like to be paid in the form of donations to the church. That would’ve been OK if I hadn’t used a large slab of this year’s required minimum drawdown from retirement savings to pay off the damned car. But having done that, I’m running dangerously low on money — have about four grand to last till the end of the year…and since operating this shack, eating, and maintaining the hounds and the car cost about two grand a month…well. Houston, we have a problem.
Really, I don’t know how I’m going to get through the summer, to say nothing of making it to the end of the year.
Complicating matters, the pool replastering job can’t be delayed much longer. There’s a crack under the coping that clearly extends through the shell, meaning the water that’s leaking through it is quietly creating some major structural problems. So that needs to be fixed.
Maybe it can be patched. But that will not fix the other issue: the plaster is flaking off because it’s almost 15 years old. That will cost four to six grand.
Speaking of the writing career, I told myself I would finish (or at least make progress on) a chapter of Ella’s Story. Since I have to be out of here in an hour and a half to meet my business partner in lovely downtown Tempe, I seem to have procrastinated about as much as possible on that scheme.
And so, away…