During the final proofreading of Notes from the Nineties, I’m finding small amusements in MS Word…which seems to be contradicting previous versions of spellcheckers.
Or is that spell-checkers? Spell checkers?
I’ve always had a habit of using single words where others prefer double or hyphenated words. To me, reproducing spoken language makes dialog in particular (of course) and prose sound more natural. Now that the automated spellchecker (spell-…spell…) is suggesting single words over other options, I’m finding a number of inconsistencies.
From first to last: the final story in the collection, “Training the Mountain Warrior,” is based on two specific events that happened to me shortly after moving to Japan in 1999. The date thus places the story barely in the Nineties; the paired-poem (“Asian Dreams”) was written hastily—scrawled, really—in an old yellow lined notepad the night before I left the US (permanently, as it turned out). I still have the notepad, well used and abused.
The short story describes my attempted nighttime climb of Mt. Fuji (which ended short of the summit due to high winds) and my trek through the ancient mountains of the Kinai peninsula, whose hiking trails later became a World Heritage Site. There were a lot of details that I deliberately left out, and of course the dialogue is completely fictional. But I did, actually, dangle my friend over a cliff.
It’s been a long fall. Lots of work the past two months, with intermittent bouts of family sickness, but somehow we managed to pull through in time for the holidays.
Of course Christmas is not a national holiday where I live (central Japan). It’s mostly treated as an excuse for couples to enjoy a romantic evening at an overpriced restaurant. Except for us, where it’s an excuse for moms and dads to have their kids wreck the house while the parents have a few drinks.
Fortunately. the food is good. Very good. No Christmas turkey or ham here (the main fare is typically KFC actually, since some KFC chief in a brilliant PR stroke managed to convince the entire country that Americans eat fried chicken at Christmas). But there are plenty of parents nearby who are really good at cooking.
And of course there’s always cake:
So Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays, and other non-denominational festivities to you and your kin!
And no, I don’t want to talk about the 2015 World Series. I’m too busy using the NL Champions shot glass set to be depressed…
This past week I’ve been scouring through some short stories of mine that have been sitting collecting Microsoft dust for years now…in preparation for putting out a collection of stories and poems later this year or early next (tentatively titled “Notes from the Nineties,” which lets you know how long I’ve been sitting on these files). Some of the earliest versions of the stories were written so long ago that MS Word consisted of a single 3.5″ floppy.
What’s a floppy? To quote George Carlin, next person who asks that gets stabbed between the eyes with a pencil.
As I began the tedious process of converting the files to newer, editable forms of word processing software, it occurred to me that much of my fiction is really very thinly-disguised non-fiction. Kind of. Continue Reading
Over the weekend, I decided to make the ebook version of Approaching Twi-Night free, in celebration of the beginning of spring training. Just for a couple days. The book slowly crept up to number 3, then 2, then late last night hit the top spot in free baseball ebooks….in non-fiction.
I guess it’s so realistic a novel that it’s non-fiction, insofar as, yes, there was a baseball strike in 1994 and there are Class A teams in New York.