September 2020 newsletter: Real Life is no Fantasy

September 1, 2020 – It’s basketball season again! Well, sort of. It’s in a bubble and it’s only the pros finishing off a COVID-delayed year in front of no fans.

It’s baseball season … finally! Sort of. It’s basically only the Major Leaguers, and they’re playing in front of no fans … well, sometimes cardboard cutouts of fans.

It’s football season! Sort of. Some high schools are playing (they’re doing it in Indiana where I live), and some colleges are going to try, and the pros are about to start. Which means I have two fantasy football drafts to do. One will be online, like it always is. That’s the league in which I own Manya’s Polish Ponies (it’s a Seinfeld-themed league this year, so maybe you’ll catch the reference).

The other league, which is known for its tasty vittles and in-person camaraderie, is going hybrid this year. If you want to go indulge in the famed bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers, you are more than welcome. But since the at-home option was made available, and we’ve got a higher-risk-than-normal person at my house, I’m selecting players for the Cheeze Heads remotely. Yes, I’m from Wisconsin.

Don’t ask me how my baseball teams are doing. But since some of you will no doubt beg me to provide the names of my baseball teams, I will do so … the WC Fielders and the PaulBearers. We attempt to instill a bit of humor in this fantasy sports thing; it doesn’t always work.

Which brings us to the non-fantasy (real life) portion of this month’s newsletter:

Real Life Publishing

PathBinder Publishing has its own bank account! I finally got through all the paperwork and red tape and clandestine masked meetings with government officials and financial institution personnel. So, you can make your checks out to PathBinder Publishing now.

Yes, now.

And remember, no donation is too small. Well, it should be more than the value of the coins I find on the street in a typical month.

“I got the company credit
card! Let’s go crazy!”

Having gotten all official and everything and having access to the company credit card, I thought I’d go wild and treat everyone to an expensive meal at a fancy restaurant in The Caymans. Then, I realized that I was the one who would have to pay the credit card bill. So, those types of things will have to wait. Perhaps Hoboken in the spring? Perhaps.

We are roughly 90 percent done designing our next book, A Perfect Childhood: Growing up in the ’60s with Baseball, The Beatles, and Beaver Cleaver by Gary D’Amato. I’ve contracted the amazing Anna Perlich to design the covers. Anna used to work in my employ when I was in charge of a magazine and special publications division at a group of newspapers in south central Indiana. Anna’s fantastic. I’m so glad she’s with us.

Real Life Authoring

I’ve also decided to get back to my novel, 3 Months in Dublin, which is set in the Dublin of Irish fame, not the one in Ohio nor the one in California nor any of the other ones not in Ireland. I’m pretty sure there are nine in the United States, in case you were curious.

A bit more plotting will help me focus on where the story heads, although I’m 99.52836% sure I know how it ends. I just need to get there in the best story-telling way possible.

I did have the opportunity to talk at length about my two nonfiction books during a podcast centering on true crime that came out in August. Focusing mostly on my first book, Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher, the debut episode of Scott Stick’s Undoing Evil podcast can be heard here.

We not only discussed the case of the 8-year-old boy who went missing in 1925 and the subsequent investigation into his disappearance and death, but we also talked about the true crime genre in general, how I researched Buddy’s story, my second book, Wicked Columbus, Indiana, and a few other things.

Real Life Reading

In the past week, I’ve finished reading Marian Keyes’ latest novel, Grown Ups, and read the entirety of the first Inspector Rebus novel, Knots and Crosses, by Ian Rankin.

Marian, who hails from Ireland, one of the funniest, sweetest ladies around, has written seventeen novels. This was the first one I read. It was grand.

Reading Grown Ups by Marian Keyes in the backyard last week.
The first Inspector Rebus novel, Knots and Crosses, by Ian Rankin.

As was the book about the Edinburgh (Scotland, not Indiana) cop, John Rebus, the first of twenty-three Rebus novels. I did read a collection of short stories featuring Rebus a few years ago. So, the character was not new to me.

Unlike in my younger days (like five years ago), I find as I read nowadays, I not only read for entertainment, but also to learn the craft of writing. I notice how authors introduce characters’ backstories, show them doing things and saying things that reveal their personalities, and employ various methods of authordom. I made that word up. It’s going viral. I swear it is.

My current book? Going back to Ireland for a bit of craic (fun): Irishology: Slagging, Junior C Football, Wet Rain and Everything Else We Love About Ireland. I’ve already found out about tin whistles, “ah sure”, potatoes and Liga (cookies for children).

Ah sure, I’m thinking this book will help with the writing of 3 Months in Dublin.

Real Life Ailment of the Month

This thing has gotten worse, which actually concerns me, unlike most of my ailments, which seem to ebb and flow as the sand through the hourglass. I’ve had lousy eyes forever. But there was a long plateau of lousiness, where they really didn’t get worse; they just sucked.

Then it was time for bifocals. Yay.

Then it was time to get the prescription for the right eye increased three notches. Hurrah.

“Paging Mr. Kent. Mr. Clark Kent. Your fake spectacles have been located. Please come to the information desk to retrieve them. That is all.”

But those developments took time. Like years.

Lately though, my right eye has been increasingly horrid. The three-notch thing, which I only got six months ago no longer affords me the ability to see fantastically awesome. I’ll be going back to the eye guy next week, when he’ll probably tell me the Cadillacs in my eye have gotten worse. Oh, he’ll most likely say “cataracts,” but I’ll definitely hear “Cadillacs.”

Then I’ll have to get a lens that magnifies microbes and stuff littler than that. Or maybe I’ll get new eyeballs. Freaking yay.

At least today’s visit with the dermatologist went well. All my aging stuff is normal aging stuff.

Real Life Miscellaneous Stuff

So for fun, we bought a new water heater and a new dehumidifier for the basement, an appliance I’ve had to dump water out of every four hours of my waking life since purchasing. And just for fun, we will pay those off soon.

And for more fun, I’ve been duct taping some plastic thing under my car because a couple of bolts or screws, or whatever was holding it to the underside of the vehicle, came out. My temporary fix is on week number three now. I’ve gotten so good at the tape job that I only have to replace it every three days now.

Another really “fun” – I’m now putting that word in quote marks now – thing I’ve been doing is working in the yard, sawing down dead branches from trees that line our property and dragging them out to the street. We have two acres. And lots of dead trees. But the REALLY “fun” – note the quote marks – part of this is the lots of big, nasty, biting, flying mini-leech-looking-type things. Bastards! One of these days, I will put on jeans and long sleeves to do this job and not care how hot I get because I’d rather not deal with slapping these jerk faces off my legs and then applying liberal doses of lotion stuff from the medicine cabinet to red, itchy, weltish bites because I didn’t get them all. Bastards all of them!

Here’s some stuff that actually has been fun (no quote marks):

Some good stuff on the old television lately. Especially when ice cream is involved.

Real Life for Real Fun

  • Going to the theater … with masks on (until popcorn time), every other row blocked off. My wife and I have seen Goldfinger, Tombstone, and Modern Times over the past month at The Historic Artcraft Theatre in Franklin. This month, they’re showing music movies on consecutive Wednesday nights starting Sept. 9: Quadrophenia (The Who), Stop Making Sense (Talking Heads), and Purple Rain (Prince). That’ll be cool.
  • Watching movies and TV shows at home … with masks off, a bowl of ice cream in my lap. Movies like Noble, Eight on the Lam, The Aeronauts, and Knives Out; TV shows like Moone Boy, Monk, and Seinfeld.
  • Watching the sun rise during my morning walks, which include my stuffed border terrier, Packy, who brings awareness of Huntington’s Disease, and my camera.
  • Finding money on said walks. $11.51 in spare change collected in August!
  • See the slideshow below for lots of great photos from those walks.

Let’s see. What else is coming up? Oh, our annual trip to Louisville for the writing, film and gaming extravaganza will be done via Zoom later this month. Imaginarium, which we’ve been to all but its first two years, is heading into its seventh year with a central focus on providing creative writers and other creative talents educational, networking, professional, and mentoring opportunities. It’s a cool thing. Check it out here.

That’s it for this month. Have a good one!

Real Life Links

PathBinder Publishing website

PathBinder Publishing on Facebook

PathBinder Publishing on Instagram

Paul on Instagram

Paul/PathBinder Publishing on Twitter

Paul J. Hoffman author page on Facebook

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It’s just that easy!

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