Journal of a Pandemic Year: Part Thirty-Four

Dear Readers,

I hope everyone has had a pleasant week or so. Hopefully soon, I’ll have some exciting news for you. Molly’s Song “should” be available for pre-order in another few weeks. I will also have a book trailer to show you! Technically, it is ready now, but I am holding it to release on the day that the book is available for pre-orders. The past week has seen me busy with school stuff along with putting together a media kit to send out for the book. Last week, I also had a virtual chat with retired firefighter/author Greg Renz. You can catch the interview on my Old Flames podcast. To find the latest episodes, just visit the tab at the top of the page that says, well, Old Flames.

My wife got her second dose of Rona vaccine on Wednesday of this week. Unlike me who was ready to call a priest for Last Rites the day after my second shot, she did fine. However, she had gotten slightly ill after her first shot, which I did not, so that might be why. Now, she just has to make it two weeks or so without catching the virus to reach full protection status. It is amazing, really, that a year ago, we had just entered lockdown mode and here we are today vaccinated. Talk about Operation Warp Speed!

Did anyone catch the Ken Burns documentary on Hemingway that aired on PBS? It is three episodes and about six hours total length. Ken Burns does tend to be on the verbose side. I’m pretty sure his Civil War documentary lasted longer than the war did! Still, his Hemingway film is really good. Of course, as a writer, I’m inclined to like in depth biographies of other writers, so maybe I’m predisposed to like this film. It’s really worth watching, though. I’m sure they will air it again and you can probably catch it on some on demand services too. Hemingway was definitely an interesting fellow. I know his has fallen out of favor in some literary and academic circles because of his testosterone fueled machismo, but he truly was a gifted writer. His novels are good, but the newspaper and magazine stories he wrote are top notch as well. Plus, as a person who has battled mental illness for the past seven or eight years, I can sympathize with Hemingway’s own struggles. We have a few things in common. Like him, I have great affection for Cuba, though I’ve never visited. The reason is because my Spanish teachers were all Cuban, and so I speak the Cuban dialect of Spanish and came to appreciate the culture. And, of course, Hemingway loved cats, just as I do. He lived in a home in Key West filled with cats and I live in a home in La Porte, just a few blocks from the water, likewise filled with cats. Hemingway longed to have a daughter, just like I did. It did not work out for him, and that ship has sailed for me too. It is my only regret in life. Finally, I am a huge boxing fan, as was Pappa Hemingway. He was a better writer than I am, though, and I’m okay with that. He did the best he could, just as I do the best that I can. It is good enough for some people and not good enough for others, but that is the nature of the game. World War Two jokes aside, I do treat my wife a hell of a lot better than he treated (all) of his. And I like to think I treat my son better than he treated his sons.

Partly due to great writers like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, etc, young people who aspire to be writers are often left with a false impression of what it is like to be a writer. When I was a teenager and first realized that I might like to one day be a writer, I envisioned myself leading a life filled with travelling the world, consuming copious amounts of booze mingled with generous dollops of sex, and occasionally writing a book that would be an instant bestseller. The true writer’s life is quite a bit different. We spend thousands of hours alone, staring at our computer screens and trying to string words together in a coherent form. Many of us are frequently crippled by self-doubt. Far from writing bestseller after bestseller, most of us could wallpaper our entire house with the rejection slips we get. Success, if any is to be had, often comes late. In my case, I had always dreamed of writing my first novel before I turned 30. However, So Others May Live was published when I was 41 and Molly’s Song “should” be out just before my 43rd birthday. Better late than never, though, right? And I don’t consider myself to be an overly “successful” writer, though I have no complaints about my sales or awards. I consider myself to be more of a journeyman writer than a successful one. That’s fine by me. I’ve been truly fortunate to be able to write two books and to have found people who, as crazy as it still seems to me, actually enjoy reading my scribblings. And that, Dear Readers, is all I need.

I’ll leave you with this question, if you have read much Hemingway, what is your favorite novel of his? Mine is A Farewell to Arms and my favorite short story he wrote is Snows of Kilimanjaro.

Until next time, friends, take care of yourselves, and each other. L.H.  

One thought on “Journal of a Pandemic Year: Part Thirty-Four

  1. Really enjoy your updates! I am looking forward to the Hemingway PBS documentary. I realized, after reading about your life and often the lives of others, that autobiographies and biographies are my favorite genres, but they easily tie with historical fiction. So glad your wife did well with her second shot. I did, too, but was so sorry yours hit you so hard. I have been busy as a substitute assistant in special education with a group of great educators and special children that I really enjoy teaching, as well. I have even more respect for that field now than I had before this long term job. I have your Old Flames on my must listen list.😊 I am so happy for you about Molly’s progress! 😊🏆 , but not surprised! Hope you are having a good spring…all two weeks of it as is often the case here in south Texas?! God bless you and yours! Keeping you all in my prayers , Mrs. K😊💕🙏

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