July was hot but August, ah, is in a league of its own. It is the month of quiet fire...reassessment....and plans for rebirth. August is the month of hope.
We're in the very middle now of the year's third quarter--while I'm also at the end of my first year in Seattle. Time to set my clock to yours and examine what I've accomplished in 2015...and also where I've fallen short. After that, I'll strategize to keep my first year in this city on track.
It's the apt month to remember the Roman emperor Augustus, who left a terse but telling list of his main accomplishments. In the Augustine spirit:
1) After six hellish months at The Joint, corner of Third and Pike, I said goodbye to the drunks, drug dealers, degenerates and dilettantes I'd put up with for too long. I also said goodbye to a loser salary and a company I'd stuck with for nearly six years, starting off in Charlotte.
2) Within 3 weeks I found a job in a better part of town, at a far better salary. My escape from retail.
3) I began investing in my quality of life, beginning with a decent TV and DVD player, and other home essentials.
4) I began to build a world-class DVD collection, including as many Criterion classics as I can afford, also buying types of films that I don't usually watch.
5) I weathered a family brouhaha with dignity and honor. Life is too short to be little or to be belittled.
6) I bused to San Francisco in March and met with an online friend. A chance remark during the visit inspired my next book--whose subject I'd never considered till then.
7) While I worked on it, my formatter, Yvonne, scanned the paperback version of my third novel, Mastery. And I went on to proofread and rewrite it, a project that took me four months.
8) I had my first tattoo done, tired of thinking about it. No truer words were ever said than these: no pain, no stain.
9) I continued to build my first savings account.
Not too shabby, all in all, though not at all Augustine. Still, I need to own up to my failures so far:
1) No social life.
2) No love life.
3) Dismal sales on Amazon.
4) Failure to return to Gold's Gym.
--The changing face of Third and Pike. Since my arrival I'd been told that it would never change. The Scourge of Seattle, they told me, couldn't be solved or removed. Walk by or pass through at your peril. Night or day, here or there, you were just a blink away from a shank in your ribs or a hammer on your skull. And God help you if you noticed a bruiser selling drugs or got in the way of a thief on the run. In 2014, 10,000 complaints were received regarding this one area.
Per Seattle Times, 4/21/2015, Seattle Times Daniel Beekman and Steve Miletich:
Bus stops will be moved, alleys restricted and newspaper boxes used by drug dealers removed as part of the new “9½ Block Strategy,” which refers to the small section of downtown between First and Fourth avenues and Union and Stewart streets where much of the city’s crime is concentrated."
The new look, they say, may be something like this:
Let's make our groovy city safe for shoppers at Nordstrom and Pacific Place! And send all street musicians who sing between the cracks to either Oakland or Portland.
The late summer/early fall curriculum will focus on the complex art of spending dough to make more dough. So step right up and meet MacRath, Career Investment Student.
1) Today I invested in a Vidal Sassoon haircut by the director of the shop. Since I don't have the dough I should have at my age, all the more reason to look like a mil. I recall one Charlotte photographer trying to build up his business while cutting his own hair at home with a bowl and buying his cigs with rolled pennies. No, dude, we don't need to to look to know we know your work.
And a special word to all you SOGs (that's right, Slightly Older Guys): love the hair that you're still with.
2) I began consulting with my ebook cover artist, Jean, about creating a new branded look for my Boss MacTavin mysteries. They should be selling better, but readers haven't a clue what they 'are'.. They need to see that at a glance. Whatever this costs will be money well spent.
3) Furthermore, I began checking out online operations that can help promote my books and, maybe, help gain more reviews. Folks can't buy what they can't see in the daily blizzard of signs.
Entertainment Kicks of the Month
A new cinematic passion has brought me unrivaled hours of joy: the films of Brian De Palma. Why would I spend 16 hours on a plane to see the Sistine Chapel when I can view wonders like these in my home?
Currently reading: Darkness by Bill Kirton. My third encounter with the charismatic Aberdonian cop, Jack Carston. A highly addictive, and recommended, series.
In the works: MonsterTime--scanned from the original paper novel Mastery, and rewritten/jazzed/tweaked/and proofed, will be released by August 15.
And this will free me to resume work on Caesar's Ghost for release by November.
--She had one of those faces we're doomed to remember as one of those faces we don't wonder which.
--I'm sick of books I can't put down. I want a book I can, and must, and will put down repeatedly: to gather a tan in the sun of its style or savor a tryst with a foxy young phrase.