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You have to Start Somewhere

The need to create stories, characters in situations, seems to be a part of my makeup. However, had I not taken a certain class during my 9th year in school, – I won’t mention how long ago that was – my novels might have existed only in my imagination.

As it turned out, typing was a required subject in those days. Otherwise, I would never have enrolled in such a class. And had it not been for Mr. Brown, who was in the habit of giving his budding typists a qualified free-time during the last ten to fifteen minutes, it still might not have clicked. I say qualified because we couldn’t leave the classroom, talk amongst ourselves, or cause any disturbances, but other than that it was ours. We could use the time to practice the day’s assignment, do our homework, or sit quietly. I did none of these things. I began typing short stories.

I truthfully don’t know where this came from. I grew up in a blue-collar family in every sense of the word.  I was taught a very no-nonsense style of life. And, quite frankly, reading, much less writing, was never discussed. I was never told it was a waste of time, but it was pretty much inferred.

Nevertheless, there I was, alone with my typewriter, and short stories, featuring a bungling superhero began spilling out. I didn’t take the stories home and I didn’t dare tell anyone I was writing them. I just left them on my desk, hoping someone would read them. As it turned out, I developed quite a following, as it didn’t take the students long to figure out who was creating the comical series.

Unfortunately, or not, depending on how you look at it, after the class was over I went back to being who I was before; a shy boy who avoided attention. Many years later, the dormant but never extinguished desire fought its way out again.

Click the link below to read a sample of Beneath a Buried House:

http://www.amazon.com/Beneath-Buried-Detective-Elliot-Mystery-ebook/dp/B003SE7J6I/ref=la_B002BM2VJ8_1_2_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434671286&sr=1-2

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You're Missing the Point

Kathi and I often have lunch in a park that’s located in an area, which is not far from where we work. One day during the May monsoon of 2015, a curious break in the precipitation occurred during one of these luncheon interludes, which offered a short opportunity that the birds and squirrels quickly took advantage of.

Feeling sorry for the critters, Kathi threw out a few scraps of bread. Typically, the birds battle it out for precedence over the handout. However, on this occasion, in the midst of the ornithological onslaught, a squirrel fought its way in and grabbed a tidbit of the soggy bread. The squirrel immediately jumped onto a wooden pole just in front of the car, where he began to eat his procured morsel, as if, in order to honor his benefactors, he chose to dine with us within the bird battlefield, rather than retreating to higher ground.

Afterward, the weekend, now seemingly cemented in routine, came and went rather quickly. Sunday afternoon, after church, and after staring through the window at the steady rain, I step into the office to get a bit of writing done. However, as often is the case, my mind refuses to cooperate, and my hopes of diving into the world of Detective Elliot are dashed. I begin to go bonkers. I’m the type of person, who has to have something to do; all the time. This can be a good thing, but it hardly ever seems that way. I should envy those people who enjoy sitting on the couch for hours completely submersed in some television program, but I don’t. I cannot even begin to understand it. Even the thought of it drives me up the wall. But nothing else comes to mind, so I decide to give it a try.

Have you noticed that most reality programs concentrate more on personal problems between the participants than they do on what the show is supposed to be about? I love cars. I always have. When I decide to watch a program that’s supposed to be about cars, I want to see the cars, and not worry over Joe Blow getting the wrong part and missing some trumped up, artificial deadline.

And what is it with all the prescription medicine commercials? Aren’t commercials designed to convince us to buy stuff? And shouldn’t doctors be making those decisions?

I switch off the television and begin to make laps around the kitchen and dining room. The rain continues. It’s commonly believed that the amount of water on earth never changes, but gets recycled, moved around in some way. The water you drink today could have been swallowed by dinosaurs millions of years ago. I do not find this thought pleasing. However, if that is the case, it stands to reason that if one area is experiencing too much water, then other places are dealing with too little. I pray for balance, not for the rain to end, but for it to move on to areas where it is needed.

I think back to the squirrel, and how his attention seemed to be completely trained on eating his lunch. Of course I cannot know what was going on inside his furry, little head, but I imagine it all revolved around the bread. That would make a good line in a poem. I don’t think the squirrel was concerned about what had happened yesterday, and I doubt he was worried about what might happen tomorrow.

God does work in mysterious ways. Through the squirrel, he reminded me that life does not have to be complicated. Throughout the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus often makes this point, for those who have eyes to see, and ears to listen.

 

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It All Adds Up

And now for something completely different:

Typically, I tend to bury the business side of things near the bottom of the newsletter. My lovely wife, Kathi, often comments on this, subtly suggesting better luck might be had by exercising a different approach. I’ve decided to try it.

I have what I believe to be some great news. Twisted Perception, the 1st Elliot novel in the now (I wish) infamous series, is now available in Audiobook format. Yea!!! I can practically hear the squeals of delight, coming from my adoring fans as the momentousness of this epic event dawns on them. And now, here is the link:

http://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Twisted-Perception-Audiobook/B00XWQFALI

Please follow the link and check it out. Once you’re at the site, there’s a button you can click to hear a free sample. Charles Bice, the reader we chose, did an excellent job of portraying the characters as he tells the story. I believe you can even get the audiobook of Twisted Perception for free, if you join Audible.com. And who wouldn’t want to do that?

And now for the rest of the story:

And there I was, (I’m using a lot of Ands in this newsletter) strolling the isles of some mega-mart when I drop to my knees to explore the bargain-brand (Hyphens too) section in an area of the store dedicated to the killing of bugs.

A collection of dust, and spider web covered cans occupies that particular spot on the bottom shelving.

I begin to reach for one of the cans, though further reflection upon the condition of the product causes me to pause. (Hmm… something poetic about that) Should there be spider webs on a can of bug spray? I realize the ultimate purpose of the metallic packaging is to maintain the contents within the confines, but there’s something about spiders congregating upon that which should repel them that just isn’t right.

As I remain there in the crouching-tiger position, still undecided upon the potential possession of non-lethal bug paraphernalia, I overhear someone in the next isle excitedly exclaiming: “Did I tell you we found grandma?”

Grandma, I wonder? Is she okay? How long has she been missing? Could I be one isle away from a tearful, family reunion, years in the making?

Seconds later, a man, propelling his wheelchair precariously balanced on two wheels, speeds around the corner. A crazed look covers his face. “Did I tell you we found grandma?” He asks.

I smile. “I’m so happy for you.”

I rise to me feet then, while projecting the best nonchalant attitude I could muster, I continue to pretend I’m shopping, while in reality I’m beating the hastiest retreat that doesn’t look like one in the history of mankind.

I’ve now lost all interest in bug spray. All I want is to get out of the store. However, my fall through the wormhole, or rabbit hole, or whatever isn’t exactly over.

I mount an evasive maneuver down another isle, but as I approach a man in Bermuda shorts – who has the audacity to wear with the atrocity, dress shoes with white socks rolled down over his ankles – reaching for a jar of olives, he suddenly turns and grabs my arm. He’s also smoking a pipe. Gripping the stem with his teeth, he grins around it, a bizarre Hugh Hefner from… Well you get the point.

Wait a minute, I think. You can’t smoke in stores anymore.

“You just never know about people,” bizarre Hugh says. He points to a lady perusing the pickles. “She’s soccer mom nine to five, but jams as a base player for some punk, rock band, making the nightclub scene by night.”

“How do you know this?”

“It’s my job,” he says. “Did you happen to notice the slender, black man in the cereal, isle?”

“Not that I recall?”

Hugh shakes his head. “You’re going to have to pay better attention. Later in the week, Mr. Cereal will put his all into gambling, energetically high-fiving plastic and steel, while he prays to the electronic circuitry of a slot machine, harbored in a dark corner of a small casino outside the limits of some dusty, Oklahoma, town.”

I roll over in bed and remind myself not to eat pizza so late at night.

I want to thank everyone who has signed up for my newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it. If you know of someone who might enjoy it, too, please email it to them.

I also give programs for writing groups, reading groups, or any group that’s interested. If you belong to a club, which needs program speakers, keep me in mind.

You have permission to reprint, forward, or use the contents of this newsletter in your newsletter or e-zine. The only requirement is the inclusion of the following footer:

This article was written by Bob Avey, author of, Twisted Perception, Beneath a Buried House, and Footprints of a Dancer. http://www.bobavey.com.

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I Get By With a Little Help

Brother Bob’s Newsletter

1st Quarter, 2015

I’ve worked on my share of cars, performing some fairly difficult procedures in the process, mostly out of necessity. When the repair costs exceed your bank balance, you have to do something. However, I do not, even in the farthest reaches of imagination, consider myself a mechanic. With me, it’s take off the old part and put on a new one. If that doesn’t work, I’m lost.

It’s different with the BMW. I’m not sure why. I’ve owned cars produced outside the United States before, and I have worked on them. Not the case with the Bimmer. I’ve had the car for nearly a year now and I’ve only raised the hood a couple of times, even then approaching the intrusion with a mixture of trepidation and respect, a bit like visiting an antique shop where you fall into a state, which closely resembles reverence, speaking softly and keeping your hands to yourself.

My Bavarian fugue has not come without cost. Upon bringing the 328i home, and realizing my lack of knowledge, I immediately began an internet search for an independent BMW automotive specialist. I intentionally avoided the dealerships. It’s what I’ve always done with other cars.

Of course, I quickly found what I thought I was looking for. Answering the phone with, Hello, uh, yeah this is blank and blank auto, the guy convinced me to bring the car to his shop, an out-of-the-way, backstreet building with a garage in the back. Finding the place locked and having to bang on the door to get the guy’s attention should have given me a clue, and to be honest it had, but in my eagerness for things to work out like they should, I pushed the warning aside. I even let the big, grumpy, bearded proprietor’s gruff attitude slide. What kind of BMW mechanic insults his customers for owning the kind of car he repairs? Well, after researching the subject on the internet, apparently a lot of them. Taking it all in stride, I kept the mechanic on board for a few months, going along with his recommended repairs. And then it happened. During my last visit, which was right before the Thanksgiving holiday, the guy changed the oil and in addition ordered some parts for the car, which he charged me for with instructions to bring the car back in a few days for installation.

Well you’ve probably guessed where I’m going with this. After the allotted time had expired, I called the shop but received no answer. I repeated the process for about a week, leaving messages that were never returned. Finally, I drove to the location but found the building locked up. This time no one answered my door banging.

Not all was lost. I disputed the charges for the parts, and the credit card company refunded me. However, it was then that I began to wonder what exactly had been done for the car. If the mechanic had been dishonest about the parts, what else had he done, or not done?

I began to search for another shop. Having jumped the gun on my previous attempt at procuring affordable but effective European auto care, I increased my efforts and widened the scope of the search. I do sometimes learn from my mistakes. I even sought online referrals and perused available comments associated with the shops. A few days later, after narrowing my list of prospective automotive gurus down to three, I sent emails, inquiring about the cost of possible service. Two of the prospects proved to exceed what I considered my price range. However the third shop on the list began to look like a possibly viable option. Their prices seemed appropriate and their website offered further encouragement. In addition, the return email contained language urging me to call a provided phone number.

“I’m glad you called,” the voice coming over the phone said. “My name is blank, and we’re all about long-term relationships. Why don’t you come by the shop and let me show you around?”

I told the mechanic I’d get back with him but I had no intentions of doing that. I hung up the phone and took a hot shower. After that, I gave up and called the dealership.

I don’t wish to leave you with the wrong impression. I love the BMW. It’s an absolute thrill to drive and it has never failed me. The only thing I’ve taken the car to the shop for is oil changes. The minor repairs were for things recommended by the first mechanic. I’m not sure if any of it was necessary, or if any of the work was actually done.

I want to thank everyone who has signed up for my newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it. If you know of someone who might enjoy it, too, please email it to them. Thanks.

 

I also give programs for writing groups, reading groups, or any group that’s interested. If you belong to a club, which needs program speakers, keep me in mind.

 

You have permission to reprint, forward, or use the contents of this newsletter in your newsletter or e-zine. The only requirement is the inclusion of the following footer:

 

This article was written by Bob Avey, author of, Twisted Perception, Beneath a Buried House, and Footprints of a Dancer. http://www.bobavey.com.

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I Get By With a Little Help

Brother Bob’s Newsletter

1st Quarter, 2015

I’ve worked on my share of cars, performing some fairly difficult procedures in the process, mostly out of necessity. When the repair costs exceed your bank balance, you have to do something. However, I do not, even in the farthest reaches of imagination, consider myself a mechanic. With me, it’s take off the old part and put on a new one. If that doesn’t work, I’m lost.

It’s different with the BMW. I’m not sure why. I’ve owned cars produced outside the United States before, and I have worked on them. Not the case with the Bimmer. I’ve had the car for nearly a year now and I’ve only raised the hood a couple of times, even then approaching the intrusion with a mixture of trepidation and respect, a bit like visiting an antique shop where you fall into a state, which closely resembles reverence, speaking softly and keeping your hands to yourself.

My Bavarian fugue has not come without cost. Upon bringing the 328i home, and realizing my lack of knowledge, I immediately began an internet search for an independent BMW automotive specialist. I intentionally avoided the dealerships. It’s what I’ve always done with other cars.

Of course, I quickly found what I thought I was looking for. Answering the phone with, Hello, uh, yeah this is blank and blank auto, the guy convinced me to bring the car to his shop, an out-of-the-way, backstreet building with a garage in the back. Finding the place locked and having to bang on the door to get the guy’s attention should have given me a clue, and to be honest it had, but in my eagerness for things to work out like they should, I pushed the warning aside. I even let the big, grumpy, bearded proprietor’s gruff attitude slide. What kind of BMW mechanic insults his customers for owning the kind of car he repairs? Well, after researching the subject on the internet, apparently a lot of them. Taking it all in stride, I kept the mechanic on board for a few months, going along with his recommended repairs. And then it happened. During my last visit, which was right before the Thanksgiving holiday, the guy changed the oil and in addition ordered some parts for the car, which he charged me for with instructions to bring the car back in a few days for installation.

Well you’ve probably guessed where I’m going with this. After the allotted time had expired, I called the shop but received no answer. I repeated the process for about a week, leaving messages that were never returned. Finally, I drove to the location but found the building locked up. This time no one answered my door banging.

Not all was lost. I disputed the charges for the parts, and the credit card company refunded me. However, it was then that I began to wonder what exactly had been done for the car. If the mechanic had been dishonest about the parts, what else had he done, or not done?

I began to search for another shop. Having jumped the gun on my previous attempt at procuring affordable but effective European auto care, I increased my efforts and widened the scope of the search. I do sometimes learn from my mistakes. I even sought online referrals and perused available comments associated with the shops. A few days later, after narrowing my list of prospective automotive gurus down to three, I sent emails, inquiring about the cost of possible service. Two of the prospects proved to exceed what I considered my price range. However the third shop on the list began to look like a possibly viable option. Their prices seemed appropriate and their website offered further encouragement. In addition, the return email contained language urging me to call a provided phone number.

“I’m glad you called,” the voice coming over the phone said. “My name is blank, and we’re all about long-term relationships. Why don’t you come by the shop and let me show you around?”

I told the mechanic I’d get back with him but I had no intentions of doing that. I hung up the phone and took a hot shower. After that, I gave up and called the dealership.

I don’t wish to leave you with the wrong impression. I love the BMW. It’s an absolute thrill to drive and it has never failed me. The only thing I’ve taken the car to the shop for is oil changes. The minor repairs were for things recommended by the first mechanic. I’m not sure if any of it was necessary, or if any of the work was actually done.

I want to thank everyone who has signed up for my newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it. If you know of someone who might enjoy it, too, please email it to them. Thanks.

 

I also give programs for writing groups, reading groups, or any group that’s interested. If you belong to a club, which needs program speakers, keep me in mind.

 

You have permission to reprint, forward, or use the contents of this newsletter in your newsletter or e-zine. The only requirement is the inclusion of the following footer:

 

This article was written by Bob Avey, author of, Twisted Perception, Beneath a Buried House, and Footprints of a Dancer. http://www.bobavey.com.

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