Yesterday, a writerly associate asked how my summer reading was going.
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I'm continuing, I told him, to plow through self-published or faux self-published books. I put up reviews on the blog every Wednesday. I want to read more novels; I want to read more polished novels. Most of the self-published writers have good story ideas, but fail to realize the full potential of those ideas, though there have been some gems. However, writing really takes a toll on reading, as does the extensive gardening I do. Family takes up too much time. I married into a large family (59 direct descendants and growing from my m-i-l an f-i-l). The family has, at least, one "emergency" every 36 hours. And being an available writer at-home, it means...
"Well, you're not doing anything are you?" my brother-in-law says when he calls me up.
"Well, yes I am. I'm reading Wind Over Troubled Waters by Francene Stanley & Edith Parzefall."
"Yeah, yeah! That's not as important as the hanging toenail I have. Those things can really hurt. Cousin Iggy says you're the only one who clips toenails with precision."
"Oh, you're so funny."
I fail to see the humor in my comment, but trudge across town nevertheless and, "OMG! I've seen bears in the wild with better maintained toes. We've got to get you to a doctor."
Seven hours later, the battery on my kindle has long since died. The guy with the arrow through his mid-section can still only lie on his side. His elbow is propped up on a fat book to stabilize his position. He stares at me with hatred while doctors in some remote corner of the hospital mull over what to do about his situation. The women nearest him hasn't moved in four hours; she may be dead. I hear a power saw every now for a few seconds at a time. I wonder if it's related to my in-laws toenail issue; those things were gnarly and massive.
magazines. It takes only four minutes each, and that includes reading the articles. I still think Zooey Deschanel is the hottest woman out of all the twigs with cloth between the pages. It's amazing how much there is to say or photograph about the same person in each publication. As long as she's there, it's tolerable.
The first drunk spills through the door. The bars have closed. An orderly mops him up. Squeegees him onto a chair. Two more drunks come in: one has a bleeding black eye. Drunk Number 2 is the happy kind, laughing and joking with the no-nonsense Admission's Clerk. However, when #2 sees Arrowman, he gets quiet.
"I saw dat 'afore." He walks toward Arrowman, who looks concerned.
Just then, an orderly wheels my in-law through the door in a wheelchair. He then disappears with Bleeding Eye back through the same door. Dead Woman sucks in a breath. #2 hovers over arrowman just as the two doctors who looked at Arrowman hours ago arrive. My in-law says, "What are you waiting for? Let's go."
Son of Cochise. The movie. They had to remove an arrow." He grabs the arrow from behind Arrowman. Arrowman screams, "What the hell do you think you're doing you damn idiot." The doctors run toward Arrowman. My in-law screams, because he's a screamer. #2 snaps the arrow in half. As the pointy end drops to the floor, he reaches around Arrowman and pulls out the feathery shaft end from the front.
"Mother of God," screams Arrowman, as he socks #2 in the face. #2 hits Dead Woman with a flailing arm. She snores awake. #2, still holding the arrow, falls backwards into my in-law. The jagged point of the arrow sticks into his fleshy thigh. He's screaming like a woman in labor with a twelve pound baby. An orderly grabs #2 and holds him down. The doctors run to Arrowman who's up and holding a bloody shirt to the front hole made by the arrow.
"Man. That feels a lot better. And cheaper than what you yahoos would have charged," he says to the doctors. He heads to the door, trailing drops of blood across the waiting room. The doctors beg him to stay. He refuses.
A rent-a-cop takes away #2. The Dead Woman is asleep again. The doctors take away my brother-in-law to deal with the arrow sticking out of him.
Brother-in-law yells, "You should have learned more about cutting toenails."
They whisk him away, but still I hear him wail, "This is all your fault, you bum." Then one more plaintive plea comes from down the corridor. "Wait for me."
Seems that you are always the bum when writing is your job and you're a self-published writer, waiting for your turn on the New York Times best-sellers list. Respect comes first from outside the family. But all is not lost, Arrowman had been leaning on War and Peace. Finally, something to read. My summer reading is not a lost cause.
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So, whatcha reading this summer that you can recommend?