Brown River Queen cover art

Monday, November 19, 2012

Things That Go Blah

Okay, so I have an embalming pump downstairs. Who doesn't?

Last week, during a daring midnight ghost hunt deep inside the forbidden ruins of an infamous cursed Antebellum manor house, I obtained video footage and an in-depth 22 minute EVP interview of an actual ghost. The afterlife and its mysteries were revealed to me, rewriting the entirety of modern scientific and metaphysical thought and philosophy. Too, I recorded a new Elvis song, and I can tell you where Amelia's plane wreckage lies.

Fig. 1: Random image bearing no relevance to text. Enjoy.

Sadly, an industrial rock-crusher chewed my video camera to bits and I accidentally dropped my audio recorder into a vat of molten steel. So that's bad.

Okay. The truth is, I engaged in no ghost hunts this last week.

Fig. 2: Turns out this guy was NOT a zombie. He just tripped at the All You Can Eat Spaghetti Buffet. Sorry about the machete wound, Mr. Ferguson. 

Instead, I engaged in the sordid pursuit of roof repair. What I could have done in a day twenty years ago took me three, and left me with the primal and enduring realization that the phrase 'getting too old for this' is soon to take on terrifying new significance.

I can't tell you how much a bundle of roofing shingles weighs. Fifty pounds? Sixty?  Eighty? I can't tell you because it never mattered before. No, before now, I grabbed the nearest bundle, scrambled up the ladder, no problem, done.

Saturday I found myself halfway up a ladder, bundle of shingles across my shoulder, when my body decided the remainder of the climb was very much a toss-up in the fall off or keep climbing arena. Make it to the roof? Freeze? Collapse?

These were all options explored by my spine in a nanosecond of humbling panic which left me with lingering and unpleasant reappraisals of my own mortality.

I made it up the ladder, panting and sweating, if anyone is wondering. That time. Next time?

It's anyone's guess.

So there will be no EVP snippets this week. No photos of obscure Mississippi cemeteries. Hopefully, I can get back to posting interesting blogs next week.

Oh, I haven't gotten any writing done either. I've been so depressed about sales lately that's not surprising. Look, I understand this business well enough to know that for every Stephenie Meyer there are ten thousand Frank Tuttles. I'm okay with that. I never set out to finance my collection of vintage Ferraris by writing fantasy novels (sure, I may go on ghost hunts, but even I know a pure myth when I see it). But to watch your titles sink like a bathysphere into the frigid, inky waters of oblivion -- it's just unpleasant. Having forks shoved in your nose unpleasant. Being trapped in an elevator with the whole Westboro Baptist Church unpleasant.

It's no fun, is what I'm saying.

I know. No one said it was going to be fun. It's work, and there's a business aspect to it all, and a certain level of unavoidable drudgery is both implied and inescapable.

But there's part of me which keeps whispering things such as 'Ha ha, you're nearly fifty. Face it, you've peaked. It's all downhill from here. Ha ha.'

It's that snide little laugh I hate the most.

Have I peaked? Am I destined to be just another footnote in literary history? Will a Google search of my name in 2060 return the single result 'Tuttle, Frank, born 1963, died 2050, should have avoided ladders, not much else to tell.'

First of all, Google, shut up, and second, shut up again, it was a rhetorical question.

And really, does that even matter? I know there are people out there who've read and enjoyed my writing. Many of you have even taken the time to write and tell me so. And believe me, it's appreciated, maybe more than you know. Markhat and Darla. Mama Hog and Evis. Meralda and Mug. They all have stories, and I'm the guy they're stuck with, and if I stop typing, that's it. The End, literally and figuratively, for all the fictional worlds and make-believe people that have been such good company thus far.

So I guess it's time to stop worrying about the weight of a bundle of shingles or my future obituary and get back to work.

Sorry for whining. We writers are a moody bunch. Now if you'll excuse me I have to go and have a series of excrutiating back spasms. Ignore the screams, please, those are merely a means of coping with the sheer joy of residing in a not-quite-miraculous physical body...

Fig. 92b. Extreme haircut, and why is my head shaped like that of a Yeti?


  1. Dear man, you are most definitely not alone. (Now go ply Faulkner with drink until he's looped enough to let us sadsacks channel some stories!)

  2. Thanks! I'm feeling much better today. Why, once I even stood upright without the assistance of four orderlies and a fifth of Jack Daniels.

  3. For what it's worth, I truly don't understand why you aren't meeting with more success. That you haven't been picked up by a big six publisher leaves me at a loss.

    I only wish you wrote faster, since I've got everything you've done to date. I'd talk you up (well, ok, I /will/ talk you up) but I'm afraid I have a pretty narrow circle of influence.

    But Markhat? Garret, only done immeasurably better.