Category Archives: Florida

A Dangerous Place To Write

dangers

Don’t envy me because I’m in Sunny Florida. (That sounded pretentious, didn’t it?). This is not a safe place. It’s downright dangerous. I’ve already had to pull a snake out of the pool!

And I was talking to my sister, Annette, a couple of nights ago. She said she doesn’t go anywhere near the beach. Sharks. Loads of ‘em. And if they don’t get ‘ya the rip tides will.

My sister Lucille, has a lake in the back of her house. They have to be careful when they go outside. There are three alligators in it and they like to come out of the water, every now and then, and and walk around their property.

And now people are telling me about bears. Black bears walking around the nieghborhoods. What? Oh, yeah, they say. You’ll see them sometimes in people’s back yards. Don’t feed them, someone told me. Like she had to tell me that! As though I’d be outside calling out, “C’mon over here, seven foot bear, and take this bread from my hand.” The idea of feeding a bear that was in my back yard would never occur to me. But I guess there are people who need to be told that kind of thing. It’s the reason they have to put warnings on stuff that say things like, “This lawn mower is not to be used for cutting hair.”

And Panthers. Can’t forget those. I was warned about them, too. And don’t let your little dog go outside alone. Hawks will grab her. Okay, what the hell did I get myself into? I had visions of sitting out in the sun with a cold drink at my side and my laptop in front of me, happily typing away at the keyboard. I imagined writing with the warm rays on my face and the sound of the pool’s gurging water in my ears. How relaxing. Now it seems as though I’ll be taking my life in my hands.

Oh, okay. It’s probably not all that dangerous (glances out the back window looking for bears). But there really is a lot of wildlife walking around. We heard a racket one morning and ran to the front window. A flock of four foot high, grey birds, with long legs and necks were coming down the street like they owned the place. About eight of them. They were screeching loud enough to wake the dead. It was like they were daring anybody to come out. They were like feather covered gangsta’s. “Come on out! I dare ya’!” We all cowered inside our houses until the went away.

It’s cool, though, really. There’s a huge conservation area nearby and people really did tell me all those things to watch out for. Being a writer, this is all just more material. There are stories, here, just waiting to be told.

I’ll tell them from inside the house, though. No, I’m not scared of the animals! It’s the sun. It’s very hot. Really.

Goodbye, Texas…Hello, Florida!

 

carExcuse the quickie cartoon. I’m so damn tired that it was my eight year old daughter who reminded me about my blog. “Did you do your blog?” she asked me.

“Uh…no!” I said as I ran to grab my laptop.

It’s been crazy getting ready for this move, but by the time you read this we will probably be in Florida.

Why? Well, my wife has wanted to do it for years. She never quite got used to Texas. She’s a beach girl, and well…there’s not much water in Dallas. Of course that’s not something I could have said about a week ago. We were giving the tropics a run for their money with all that rain. This is Dallas, though. They’ll be a drought in no time.

But, really, this woman was serious about getting out of here. She had been telling me, for years, that as soon as our teenager graduates high school she wanted to move. Well, June 9th is graduation day. June 10th we’re on the road. This will post on the 11th so we should be seeing palm trees while you’re reading this (Hopefully, someone is reading this).

I can’t say that I was happy about it right from the beginning. The idea of moving terrified me. I’ve done it so many times that I feel like a gypsy. But she was charging forward regardless of what anyone was saying. Every day she was on the house-hunting sites. “What do you think of this one?” became her mantra.

We went to Orlando on vacation and I started to come around. It sure is a lot prettier than Dallas. But, and no offense of course, most places are.

One good thing about moving to Florida is that I’m working on a novel that takes place in the South Pacific during World War Two. I can sit out in my back yard and gaze at the tropical looking surroundings and feel as though I’m there. It’s Orlando and not the jungles of New Guinea, of course. But still, as I sit out back in my yard surrounded by palm trees, sweating in the humidity and fighting off the mosquitos, it will help to put me in the moment. The pages will almost drip with perspiration!

So, off we go on a new adventure. I hope we can stay for a while. The wagon is getting worn out.

Can You Have Too Many Books?

LOTSA BOOKS

Some people say that you can never be too rich or too thin. Some people who like to read (and maybe write, too) say that you can never have too many books.

Well, I’ve heard of people who are too rich. Take the Kardashians. Or how about Paris Hilton? They’ve got so much money they don’t know what the hell to do with themselves! “I’m bored. Let’s release another video of ourselves having sex.” Yeah, they have too much money.

And, c’mon! Of course you can be too thin. I know people who are really proud of the weight they just dropped, but I don’t want to tell them that they may have overdone it. I feel like force-feeding them some cheeseburgers.

And I know that you can have too many books. I found that out because I’m packing to move. We’re heading to Florida. Sun, beaches and Mickey Mouse.

Now, I already knew that I had a large amount of books. But I found that I had a staggering amount of books. As they were coming off of the shelves and being boxed, I suddenly realized that I could not take all of these books with me! I had twenty, thirty, and then forty boxes of books. I was like some insane book hoarder. Some were already in boxes, piled up in a large closet because I didn’t have enough book shelves for them. I had books that I’d had since 1967! It was time to admit some of them had to go.

Wow! Now the big decision. Which ones? I started to go through them and saw a few, right away, that I realized I could part with. I’m an airplane nut so a lot of my library is about aviation. But, even the most avid airplane nut doesn’t need ten books about the P-51 Mustang. So I started thinning the herd by cutting down on some of the redundancy. There was a lot of it. That helped a little bit, but it was only a dent. I had to start getting really serious. Cold blooded. None of that, “Oh but I always liked that book. I can’t part with it.” I already read it. Will I read it again? Probably not. It goes.

But, goes where? My wife was having a garage sale, so I started there. I sold a few, but not enough. And so I hauled four boxes of books into my SUV and headed down to Half Price Books.

I heard, “Joe to the counter! We have your offer.” I went, hopefully and naively toward the call. Eleven dollars and fifty cents! Four boxes of books? Eleven dollars and fifty cents? That was barely going to pay for lunch. Oh what the hell. I thought about carrying those heavy cardboard boxes back to the car. I took the money and walked off grumbling.

A few days later my wife had a doctor’s appointment in downtown Fort Worth. We decided to take some books to the big Half Price Books down there. Man, that place is big. Maybe I’d get a better deal there.

Three boxes of books. Seven dollars and thirty cents. Grumbling once again, I took the cash.

So, even with the garage sale, the theiv…I mean, Half Price Books and giving a few away, I’m still hauling a lot of literature to the Sunshine State. I don’t know…maybe I’ll put some on E-Bay once I’m down there. My wife wants to sit out back one night, at our new home, and have a big bonfire. She wants to roast marshmallows to the sound of flames crackling over burning paper. I think she’s kidding. I think.

So, in answer to my question…can you have too many books? Hell yeah!