Darrell Bain's Newsletter
From the organized chaos of Darrell's computer and desk.
Note: Responses to subjects brought up by this newsletter are welcome. I can be contacted by e-mailing me from my website.
Pleasures of Life, Daydreaming, Tonto, Current Projects, Memoirs, Book Report and more.
The Pleasures of Life
For instance, isn't it nice to be able to sit down at your computer and roam the world, correspond with friends thousands of miles away, even in different countries, and have the wealth of knowledge of all mankind at our fingertips? A dozen or so years ago that would have seemed like magic and now it's an ordinary, everyday experience.
Or how about being able to walk into a supermarket and be able to buy just about any delicacy you can imagine, have wide choices in what you eat, be able to buy just about any household apparatus in the world for the equivalent of a few hours work? Think about how many people in the world can't do that.
Lack of pain is a real pleasure. Two hundred years ago, and sometimes less, a person undergoing surgery or with a toothache or the truly awful pain of some cancers, or like me, with my degenerative spinal disease, had no recourse but to just grit their teeth and suffer--or commit suicide. Today pain medications alleviate most of that. I hardly feel back pain now, but let me go without my pain killers and I am extremely uncomfortable. It's a pleasure to be able to live without pain. Even now, in many parts of the world, people have no recourse. They simply have to suffer.
Shucks, just having thousands of new books a year to select from to read is a pleasure denied to most of humanity through the ages.
All these pleasures and many, many more are part of our everyday lives. Take a moment to be grateful for them and to feel sorry for people in some parts of the world who don't have them. I do this quite frequently.
I think that says it pretty well. I know it does for me. When I was a child, I was often accused of being absent minded. Actually, I was just daydreaming and slipped out of the real world for a while. At any rate, I think it is fascinating that an activity which occupies so much of our time is one that is so seldom discussed anyone, much less with our family and friends, and not often even with our spouses. However...I'm going to share my favorite fantasy with you. Betty and I didn't meet until I was in my late thirties and she in her forties. I often daydream about us both being real young again, in our early twenties or thereabouts, and being together at that age. Foolish? Well, maybe, but most daydreams are a little foolish when you stop to think about it, but I love fantasizing about that one. I don't think I'll share any of my others, though.
There's one other thing about daydreams I think I should mention. It's not a good idea to turn your daydreams from fantasies to wishes. What you wished might have happened might not have turned out nearly as good as your fantasy. Take an example. Suppose you're daydreaming (and wishing) you had bought that stock you were thinking about that would have made you a large amount of money. If you had, perhaps you would have used some of the money on a vacation. You might have had a car wreck on that vacation and died. Or injured someone else. Or you might have bought a bigger house and robbers thought it was attractive and killed you during a robbery. See? Fantasies are one thing; wishes are another.
I'm content with my life as it is; more than content, actually. Any time I find myself wondering or fantasizing about something I might have done, I always stop and tell myself that if I had done that, I probably wouldn't have met Betty and thus missed out on the very best part of my life. Fantasies and day dreaming are usually harmless and probably fulfill some necessary function of our working mind. Wishing you had done something different isn't quite so healthy, in my opinion. The outcome might have been better, but it could also have been much worse!!!
Weapons in School
I mentioned that Tonto makes and uses tools. For those readers who are new to this newsletter, look at the September 2005 issue in the newsletter archives at the web site and you'll see a picture and a description of him using a tool he created for a specific job. People keep telling us we should get a camcorder and capture this idiot-savant little doggie for viewing in a video, but we just never get around to it.
Current Projects and Writing
In the meantime, I've just finished editing the print version of Shadow Worlds. It's been out as an E-book for a year or so now. The print version will come out later this year. Dr. Bob Rich was the editor for this book, as he was for Savage Survival (which will appear as a hard cover later this year). He is the best editor I've run across in the E-book and small press publication field, and those of my books he's done are much better because of his efforts. Whenever I draw him for an editor, it always makes me wish all the small pubs could could afford editors of his caliber.
Doggie Biscuit was number one on the humor best seller list at eReader.com last week. Dog stories were some of my favorite books when I was in grade school and I still like them today. I'm glad I was able to write one. Doggie Biscuit is also one of the books available on my web site for sale as autographed copies. Adults enjoy it and it is suitable for young people from ages 9 or 10 and up. It's also available at bookstores and Amazon.com.
Sales remain good for Alien Infection, both in print and as an E-book. I just had requests for two autographed copies for the sons of the man whose real name appears as one of the characters. When he gave permission to use his name for a character, he asked that he "die gloriously", and so he did. This book is also available as an audio book. Interested readers may follow the link on my web site under Audio Books.
A note on The Focus Factor. It got mispriced at eReader.com. If you passed it up originally because you thought the price was too high for an E-book, look at it again. The price has been corrected and is now only $5.95 instead of $16.95. Quite a difference!! Even with the overpriced listing, it sold pretty good and has very good ratings. Not unexpected, what with all the illegal immigrants in the news.
Another note about the memoirs. They have drawn a lot of comments and induced others to begin writing their own, as a legacy for their offspring. I'm really pleased that they've had that effect. So many stories are lost because they're never written down.
John Varley's sequel to Red Thunder is out. The title is Red Lightning and it's every bit as good. He told me he's working on a third book in the series. I can hardly wait!
Steve Martini's Compelling Evidence is a very good courtroom drama/mystery. It is a re-read and well worth it. I also re-read The Glorious Cause, the fictional history of the revolutionary war I've told about here before. It is absolutely great. Another old friend I took down from my keeper shelves is Forgotten Planet by Murray Leinster. It is a novel composed of stories written back in the twenties and thirties which have been in print in one form or another ever since. That ought to tell you how good they are. It's a story of a group of humans stranded for generatins on a planet where insects grow to gigantic size. His details on the behavior of the insects are absolutely accurate.
By the way, in case you don't realize it, insects are the most implacable carnivores on earth. Tigers and sharks don't hold a candle to the ferocity of some of the creatures you can find in your own back yard.
And speaking of monsters, I also re-read Midworld by Allan Dean Foster. For otherworldly monsters, no other book holds a candle to it. Another re-read was Chains of Command by William J. Caunitz. This was his last book and was finished by another author. It is very nearly as good as his other police novels. While I was doing the editing of Shadow Worlds, my own book of alternate earths, I re-read Alternities by Michael P. Kube-McDowell. It's one of the best alternate earth books I've read.
I just discovered Dan Mahoney by reading Two Chinatowns. It is a mystery and his lead detective, Brian McKenna is a compelling protagonist. Mahoney's writing is also very realistic and descriptive. He doesn't pull any punches. The book was so good I followed up with another of his, Black and White. I wasn't disappoiinted. If anything, it was better.
And last but not least, I'm going to recommend a real old one, The Dog Who Wouldn't Be by Farley Mowat. I first read this book long ago as a condensed version from Reader's Digest, but it was so hilarious and so compelling, unusual and heart warming that I never forgot it. While we were on that little vacation I mentioned earlier, Colleen mentioned she had just read it. Then when we got home, Pat, Betty's other daughter, handed it off to us (she had gotten it from Colleen). As much as I wanted to re-read the book, in the unabridged edition, I gave it to my sweetie first, since she had never read it. It was worth waiting my turn, just from sitting and watching Betty snicker, chuckle, laugh and howl about some of the escapades of this dog and its family. It was published in 1957 and became a best seller, so I'm sure you can still find some used copies at Amazon. I recommend it most highly.
An Anniversary to Remember
For our 37th wedding anniversary James took me San Antonio. He got us a room at the Menger Hotel. He took me to the movies and dinner and then on a carriage ride thru the King Williams District. All went beautifully until the 20 minutes of our carriage ride. As we were crossing an intersection, the driver urged the horse to a trot. As we were going thru the intersection there was a slight dip in the road and the next thing we knew we were covered in horse poop! It seems the horse kicked his diaper and created a shower of poop. The driver and his student caught it full force and causing it to shower down on James and I. As you know, sometimes you've got to make lemonade out your lemons and we did. Needless to say we got many stares as we finished our ride, and when we walked thru the bar and hallways of the Menger. I think James created us a very memorable evening, one we'll never forget.
Only in our family! DB
The WWII years, when women took what were formerly men's jobs, did a lot to dispel the attitude in women, but it persisted long afterward (and still does to a certain extent today). You can see remnants of it in our society and in most women and men today. I include men here because their actions were a mirror image of women's. Each influenced the other. Women catered to men and men came to expect it.
Until I married Betty I didn't pay much attention to that aspect of life, probably because I had never been so much in love with a woman before, to the extent that I noticed how much she catered to me and took care of me. The longer Betty and I were married, the more I saw how much she strived to please me, but I no longer took it for granted. Her catering to me made me want to do things for her, and impelled me to consider what she would think before making decisions, even though I knew she would almost always go along with whatever I wanted to do. Thinking of her made a better man of me, and just observing her actions in everyday life taught me more about how a couple should get along than a ton of books would have. She set an example by being such a good, caring person and made me want to act the same way. Well, I'm getting a little carried away here, but I frequently do that when talking about the love of my life. There's very few things in this world that I wouldn't do, or at least try to do, should she ask me.
I seem to have run out of the subjects I had listed for this month and can't come up with anything else, so it must be time to close. Thanks for reading, and remember, comments about this newsletter can be addressed to me at my web site.
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This page last updated 06-26-06.