Small Victories

My wife Lisa and I went out with some friends of ours to a posh local dance club in Dallas Friday night. Lisa’s physician friend was able to “get us on the list” and the four of us arrived around 9:30 pm – late for us but the place was still empty – a pert, tanned graveyard of bouncers, bartenders and idling go-go dancers waiting for the real fun to begin.

We milled around for awhile, touring the multi-level dance floors and checking out the pricey VIP rooms, equipped with flat screen TVs, red velour couches and large balconies overlooking Main street in downtown Dallas. I told Lisa we were “living a short story” right then – the atmosphere was so strange and comical, and the four of us were so obviously fish out of water in the loud neon blare of the place.

Around 10:30 people started showing up, and the scene reminded me of a Sadie Hawkins dance in grade school – everyone was in their 20’s or so (except for our group – all of us pushing or having broken past 40), but instead of getting their groove on the crowd stood expectantly around the disco ball brightness of the dance floor, waiting for something to happen. Finally, after waiting for what seemed like an eternity, Lisa and I walked out onto the dance floor and started grooving.

And that was the tipping point – the entire place took our cue and erupted into hours of vapid, oversexed gyrating. At one point the go-go dancers came out with dollar bills stuffed into their skin-tight dance shorts, the word “S-E-X” spelled out in pink rhinestones on their butts in case we were somehow unable to receive the message being transmitted by the jiggling of their silicone-enhanced curves. I also vaguely remember a scene from the movie “You Got Served” being re-enacted, with a girl and guy performing an aggressive kind of mating ritual / dance-off right before our eyes, surrounded by a howling bunch of hooligans.

My right ear is still ringing from the booming drone of the house music, but knowing that we were able to show those young whippersnappers how to cut a rug made my month.

Dream Big

After seeing a letter to my 6 year-old from someone named “Eddie”:

“Who’s Eddie?”

“A silly boy in my class.”

“What’s he like?”

“He wants to be a clown when he grows up. And Sarah wants to be a State Fair owner. She’s going to have Eddie come and be a clown at her State Fair.”

Word Play

Today after karate class the girls and I were eating dinner at a greasy spoon, waiting for our grub, and talking about imaginary karate techniques. It went something like this:

“I’m training for my rainbow belt.”

“Well I’m training for my one thousand black belt.”

“The rainbow belt is after that. Duuuuh!”

“It is not.”

“Is too.”

“Then I’m training for my pink belt.”

“Do you know Red Apron?”


“Then you can’t get your pink belt. That’s required. You know … RED. PINK.”

“And so is Evading Form Seventeen.”

“Do you know Shattering Mirror?”

“No, but I know … Dubious Reflection.”

“What about Stare of Death?”

“So what you just … look at them funny and they die?”


“I don’t know that one either.”

“You better get on that.”

And Now, For Something Completely Different

We went camping this weekend, 7 (or was it 8?) families at a beautiful lake in west Texas. I was stressing about losing the weekend, which is usually prime writing time, to the fun but mindless task of packing, driving, unpacking, cooking, herding kids, organizing hikes, etc. and worried that it would eat into my weekly page goal.

But the opposite actually happened. Getting away from the city and the computer for a few days was the best thing that could have happened. The overdoses of sugar, junk food, hyperactive children and fresh air acted like a kind of spa treatment on my brain, flushing all of the crap out of there so that when we returned last night I was working with an almost blank slate.

I’ve just started a new section of the book and am switching POV for awhile, and was having trouble settling into the new character’s skin. Today when I sat down to read what I’d completed so far, I scrapped the whole thing and started over. The result is much, much better than what I had going into the weekend.

It takes a ton of routine and discipline required to plug away at a book which could never see the light of day, but I’m finding that it’s going to be important for me to step back and build in regular “off the beaten path” experiences as well to ensure that the creative juices keep flowing.

Some notable quotes overheard this weekend … maybe future fodder for a story line or scene:

  • 8-YEAR OLD GIRL: “My dog ate my brother’s umbilical cord.”

  • 6-YEAR OLD GIRL: “[Redacted] just hit me.”
  • PARENT: “Aren’t you in karate? Next time he does that, you should karate chop him.”
  • 6-YEAR OLD GIRL: “That wouldn’t be appropriate.”