Sunday’s hodgepodge

  1. I’m currently reading Richard Powers’ The Overstory, the 2019 Pulitzer Prize winner about trees and the people who love and defend them. Unique theme and plot. I’m enjoying the book, but have a strong feeling it’s not for everyone. The Pulitzer Prize comment for this book states that it is “An ingeniously structured narrative that branches and canopies like the trees at the core of the story whose wonder and connectivity echo those of the humans living amongst them.”
  2. While progress on my novel is slow and unsteady, I was happy to hear that my publisher Thomas-Jacob has some other offerings in the works.
  3. Since the homepage of my website features a picture of Florida’s Apalachicola River, it seemed only fitting to write a short post about it in the website’s blog The Depot Cafe. The river is featured in my Florida Folk Magic Series.
  4. I’m surprised that Robbie, the stray cat that adopted us has been spending so much time outside during the day in spite of the cooler temperatures. He does come inside during the devening for food (of course) and a warm place to sleep. He’s getting along better than I expected with our two 18-year-old female cats, Katy and Marlo. Even though Marlo is a shrimp compared to the other two cats, she’s the one who stands up to Robbie if there’s a differerence of opinion about who’s supposed to be eating out of which bowl.
  5. Here we go again as another station (WXIA in Atlanta) is having a standoff with DISH network about fees. This means that we’re not seeing any of our regular NBC programs such as “Chicago Fire” and “New Amsterdam.” Naturally, we don’t get a refund for having one less channel than usual. This kind of thing happens randomly, and the viewer is always the one who loses out. Fortunately, the World Series wasn’t being carried by NBC this year. And the Braves won for the first time in about 25 years!
  6. Chattanooga Airport

    We’re planning on doing some air travel later this year. Since the handy airline is American, we’ve been watching the news about all their staff and weather problems. We don’t want to get standed on the other wisde of the country. But perhaps theres hope. I saw in today’s news that the airline is planning to triple pay its flight attendants during peak periods of make sure they keep the planes flying.

  7. It took me an hour to reset all the clocks in the house, so that hour I “saved” actually ran me at a net loss, time-wise.


Save on the Florida Folk Magic Series with this four-book set:

Two new characters showed up and said they decided to be in my short story

Yogi Berra once said, (and I’m paraphrasing rather than looking it up) If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.

I’ve inserted this clip art to make the post look easier to read.

This is the case when I write. I just read in the latest issue of Poets & Writers Magazine that author Richard Powers creates what amounts to a huge outline and treatise before he begins writing a novel. Far be it from me to criticize his approach because whatever he’s doing is resulting in great work.

Yet it gives me the willies. It reminds me of the research papers we did in high school where we had to turn in our note cards and outlines along with the papers. I always prepared that crap after I was done with the paper because none of it helped me write the paper. It doesn’t help me write stories now.

I think that I would miss a lot of opportunities if I created a synopsis and outline before I wrote anything. Just yesterday, I was writing with no roadmap and two new characters showed up. With my usual tact, I said, “who the hell are you?”

The ghost, whose name is Slappy, said who he is is none of my business and that I’ll discover whatever I need to know as the story unfolds. Shauna was more politically correct. Referring to my muse, she said, “Siobhan sent me. I’m supposed to play the role of a graduate student on an internship at the haunted theatre in your story.” I guessed that Slappy was there to help out with the haunting.

So far, they’ve worked out well. But, if I’d had an outline, my receptionist Gypsy Rose Lee would have turned them away at the front door. The story wouldn’t have been as much fun to write, and none of my adoring readers would have said, “How do you think up characters like this?” I would lie–because that’s what writers are expected to do–and say “my imagination.” In reality, I don’t think them up. They show up.

If you’re a planner, my approach will drive you insane. It might have already driven me insane though, typically, I’ll be the last to know. Meanwhile, I like surprises. They make writing a story as much fun as reading a story because I never know what’s going to happen next.


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Florida Folk Magic Stories,” a collection of my three magical realism novels, “Conjure Woman’s Cat,” Eulalie and Washerwoman,” and “Lena.”