ok, I am going to get bombed on this, but I will have my say. Write what you feel, screw the conventions of proper grammar. Real people don’t talk that way, and real people don’t expect characters to speak that way in a book. They expect them to be real. I write a bit as a hobby, have never been published, just give it away to friends. I once gave one of my stories to an editor and what came back was so not what I was trying to say. Go with your guts, it is you telling the stories, not an editor. I might say again I have never been published, probably for good reason. I write about things that have happened to me, but throw in enough entertainmaint value that I call it fiction, even though 90% of it is true. I find that writing about stuff that really happened gives a lot of credibility to it, writing fantasy stuff takes a lot more imagination and talent that I have. I Don’t have to make stuff up, I merely have to make it interesting. I know it is long, but I include a modest example here:
The Power Outage
So it is Friday night. I have had a bad week and am feeling more than a little bit sorry for myself. I have a few stiff drinks and go to bed early. Early for me is like eleven PM. At about 1:30 or so my eyes pop open. It is quiet. Dead silent. I hate quiet. Quiet is not a part of Mort’s normal life, or at least as normal as Mort’s life gets. I have a fan always on just for the noise, and an aquarium with the noisiest filter pump I could find. But it is silent. Shoot. Power outage. Sherry says Mort! Get a flashlight! I tell her to just settle down and above all, don’t panic. The power company people will have it all sorted out long before morning.
She insists I get a flashlight. I have over the years bought about a half dozen MagLite flashlights, those totally everything-proof aircraft aluminum you can drive a truck over it and still works jobs. They always disappear. I keep a cheap “it comes with a ten pack of batteries” plastic job in the bathroom cabinet. No one ever swipes that one. So I get up to get the light. It never occurs to me why the blind lady wants a flashlight to begin with. She is the one person in the house who does not need it. So I get up, in total darkness, and walk right into her, lose my balance and we both go down with a thud.
“Don’t panic” I tell her. “But as long as we are both down here anyway…” She makes it clear the flashlight is a priority. So I get the flashlight, and hand it to the blind lady. She then leaves me standing in the dark, taking the only known flashlight with her.
I go back to bed. No need to panic. A few minutes later there is a tug at the blankets. MORT! MORT! The lights are acting funny! What the heck? I look up and the lights are acting funny. Just barely on. I realize we are not having a blackout, but a brownout. That is when the power is not out, but you are only getting a small piece of the normal power. My father in law was a refrigeration
mechanic and told me that a brownout is the worst for fridges and freezers, because the compressor motors try to get started, but without enough juice to start properly, they burn out trying. So I tell TA to turn off the main breaker, cutting off all power to the house. Then I tell everyone, “Don’t panic and go back to bed.”
Momma bear is having none of it. Full emergency measures in effect. Battery powered radio on the kitchen table. Shoot, I can see the power company truck driving by outside, this is all going to be over soon.
There is no arguing with Momma bear when she gets this way. We get the oil lamps off the mantle and make sure they are ready to be fired up. She says since it will be at least a little while before the power comes back and we should start up the fireplace. Well it was real warm under my blankets, but I know there is no arguing with momma bear at this point. Fireplace sounds reasonable.
“You do it.”
I head for bed. A little while later, just when I am inspecting the inside of my eyelids…MORT! MORT something is wrong with the fireplace! I drag my ass out of bed yet again, in the cold, in the dark and look at the fireplace.
Dang! She got one wowser of a fire going. I mean “Smell the chimney pipes get hot” kind of fire. This one log is burning like an F-4 Phantom jet just laid down a napalm strike. This log must have gotten something soaked into it or something, it is just not right. Burning way too hot, and not just burning, but shooting flames out. TA and I try to squirt a little water on it to calm things down. No effect. Now I am getting scared. Fortunately we have a fire extinguisher near the fireplace. A fairly good sized one charged with foam for just such an occasion. I give TA the nod to let her fly. TA let it rip, and the obvious happens. If you shoot a lot of stuff at high velocity (the foam) into a small box (the fireplace) some stuff is going to come back out. And in this case, a lot of it is still on fire. I am still saying “Don’t panic”, but am rapidly changing my mind. There are a thousand little “Lightening bug” embers flying around the place, TA is trying to nail them with the extinguisher, and catches me in the face with the foam spray. A fine snoot full of foam there thank you. At the same time he yells “It is no good, it is just spraying soapy water!” With the calm that can only settle in at such a time I ask “What the hell do you think foam is???” Okay we are beyond the panic stage.
In a remarkable show of teamwork, TA uses the last of the foam to knock the flames down enough so I can grab the log with the fire tongs and Sherry opens the patio door and that log, still on fire, goes sailing out the door looking like a fleeing jet with the afterburners on.
“Don’t panic” I say.
“Get stuffed” is the general reply.
Now while this is entertaining enough, remember this all is happening without power, the only light being the fire we are trying to put out. Add soot, smoke and other assorted airborne impediments to vision and it is pretty dark. And if that isn’t enough, we are not all exactly suited up in our fire-fighter gear. Skivvies and body hair is about it.
So we are all exhausted. Get the smoke cleared out and everyone goes back asleep (which is what I said we should do at the start, but noooooo, momma bear knows better). Except AJ. He doesn’t have to go back to sleep. He is sleeping at the start and never wakes up during the whole sorry mess.
So a few hours later I am once again awaken.
MORT IT IS COLD IN HERE!
Twenty degrees below zero outside, and nobody remembers to turn the main breaker back on. Is there a flashlight around here? My cheapie flashlight has disappeared, so with the little LED flashlight on my keychain I get to the power box and throw the breaker back on. Light and heat come back online. Life is good.
As I stated at the start, I had a few drinks down the pipes when this whole mess started. Little did I realize TA had been downtown and was not in Einstein mode himself. As he observed the next day, four people in the house; sleeping beauty, two drunks and the blind lady. No wonder the dog wanted to go outside so badly…