Be My Valentine

I get kinda silly when I think about it. Although Phillip and I have been married for a little more than 2 years, we’ve actually been together for 5 years, having our first day on my birthday. Yep, had my birthday with a total stranger and never let him go. We’ve had great times, sad times, trying times and blessed times, but we’ve never had bad times. I’m a very lucky man.

Valentine’s Day is pretty normal around here. When you get down to it, we’re not very fussy people, don’t require a huge production, and rest easy on the simple. For instance, our idea of chocolates will be a bag of M&M’s, flowers will be the hibiscus outside our window, and a romantic evening would be ordering a pizza, turning out the lights, and laughing by the glow of the television set.

But, five years on, I want to do something a little more special for my man, because five years is a long time of uninterrupted adoration and love. Maybe instead of pizza we’ll do his favorite, fried chicken. Maybe I’ll have it all set up so that when he comes home from work at the wee hours of the morning, the house will be tidy, the couch will be plumped up with pillows, I’ll have his favorite anime waiting and all he has to do is sit back and bask in the love.

So, I’m selling this little panda and the Madam’s afghan to gather up a few extra dollars for a really special night. (Someone out there is asking how fried chicken can be a special night? Simple, it’s his favorite and we don’t get to do that often). With his schedule, we only get about 2 hours a night together. So, some time alone, just the two of us, enjoying those two hours the best we can is magical. So, if I can sell the panda and/or the afghan I’ll be able to give Phillip a really special Valentine’s Day.

The Madam’s afghan is nearly done. I’m already at 4.5 feet squared with another foot and a half to go (still wanna add more purple and green at the end to tie the wild colors together). If you’d like to have it, click here. And the little panda can be had by clicking here.

I hope you all have a wonderful valentine’s day, and if you’re not celebrating with anyone, grab some fried chicken, slap yourself in front of the TV, watch something silly and spend the evening with us in spirit!

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Up All Night with the Madam

So, I’ve been working on both the prequel and sequel to “TENANTS” lately. The rough draft, the bones of the prequel is just about done. But, while going back and doing rewrites I had to stay firm that the two characters in the book, the Madam and Mr. Brown, are deeply rich characters. In order to spend time with the characters, I pick up their chosen therapeutic trades. Mr. Brown knits socks. The Madam crochets EVERYTHING.

So, last night I picked up the Madam’s “Incredibly LOUD granny square afghan” and got to work. Now, in the process of going round and round, I get to watch my imagination flourish. How would she sit? Would she hum while she crochets? What does SHE think about while she’s working on her craft? It’s all quite a bit of literary fun, when you think about it. I’ve been doing the same with Mr. Brown, while I’m knitting socks. Can you imagine what it’s like to get into the mind of a character by working through their own therapies? Wild, I tell you. Gives you real insight into what makes them….real.

I thought I’d start offering their things as I crochet and knit them. The Madam’s wild crochet of all KINDS of things, and Mr. Brown’s socks. Even though this piece isn’t finished, I’ll be spending the rest of the day on it. Finished piece will be 5.5 X 5.5 feet, like the rest of the granny squares I’ve done. But, this one, complete with pinks and blues and contrasting purples and greens, will be a beautifully GARISH thing to look at, fun to wrap up in and read my book. Oh, yes. The afghan will be shipped with an autographed copy of “TENANTS.” I think I’m going to trim this little beauty with more purples and greens, then finished with some nice brightness around the edge. If you’d like to have it, click here. 

Once I’m done with this afghan, I’ll probably head back to Mr. Brown’s socks. Those will have to be custom made, to fit YOUR foot, and also shipped with a signed copy of my book, “TENANTS.” I think doing projects like this really helps to bring the book to life, brings the story more into the real world, which I adore. So, if you’d like for me to knit you some of Mr. Brown’s socks, just click here.

And I still have this one little tiger left to go from all of that wonderful orange I had, so if you’d like to adopt him, click here. He really needs a home.

I gather that’s about it for this morning. I’m ready to get back to the Madam’s afghan, make a cup of coffee, fire up some soft music and spend some time with the crazy old bird 🙂

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The Promise of a New Day

Just shy of 7am. If you’ve followed this blog for some time, you know that this is my very favorite time of day. Dawn dismisses darkness, sunlight cleanses all that happened prior and the jeweled tones of dew drip slowly from bright hibiscus, washing away all that happened before. So, I love writing at this time of day, love experiencing this time of day, love remembering in gradual rise of the golden disc of light that this is a new day.

I’m so glad that my latest blog post “I’ve Got Your Back” inspired so many of you. But here, this moment, today, this can be a critical and important part of someone dealing with depression, anxiety, or agoraphobia. Dawn can be an inspiration when you hold and remember that every day can be viewed with its own blessings, every new day can be a reminder that you can begin again, and whatever it is in the past that pains you CAN BE LEFT IN YESTERDAY. There is something so beautifully symbolic about sitting in the dark and watching the light slowly creep in and flood life.

So, I sit with my coffee, I quiet the mind, listen to the subtleties around me, let the sun rise, let its warmth comfort me and remind myself that I get another day to battle my own demons. I get another day to move forward, I get another day to take just a few more steps further and further away from this apartment, from this prison that I have exiled myself in. So, I love this time of day. It inspires me. You should try it sometime. Sit before the dawn and remind yourself that you get another day to make small changes to conquer your own particular darkness.

I’ve been pushing myself beautifully the last couple of days. (I had my back teeth removed, finally!) but, I’ll write about that some other day. For now, I’ve been pushing myself to get the life I want firmly within my grasp. I’ve been writing like crazy, hoping those book sales will equate to some very nice royalty checks from Amazon in a few months. Until then, when I’m cash poor, I fall back on the blessings of my knitting needles. With bills looming like charging bulls, I pull out my yarn and snap back into knitting.

I had just enough pink left to make another one of my adorable “Audrey Hepburn’s Pink Boutique Pandas,” and I have a ton of orange left over so I whipped up another tiger. I haven’t done a tiger in a while. And if you’re a Calvin and Hobbes fan, you’ll love having this little guy around. So, be sure to check out my shop and grab yourself a tiger or a panda. Hoping to get them sold today. Click here to adopt either one of them.

The sun is pushing itself further towards the heavens just now. Going to grab my coffee, go sit outside and just listen….

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I’ve Got Your Back

You know, when I started this blog nearly 10 years ago now, my very first post was something of a call in the wilderness. I was alone, felt unloved, was living in the woods, miles from the nearest town. And that sort of isolation reverberated my own soul’s pain and loneliness.

Life has changed so much since then. My life has been enriched by total strangers, my confidence in my artistry, in my words, in my writing, was strengthened. I often pushed myself to the limits, but other times I wilted with fear. Man, these last ten years have been quite the ride.

But, it dawned on me, that the growth, exploration, and truth I found in all of the ups and downs would not have been possible had none of you encouraged me to keep going, despite whatever hardships, despite what pain I was in, despite spite itself. You told  me to just keep my head up and do this! Because you insisted that I was not alone.

Had I not published that first blog post, I would have never found you. NEVER! Because sometimes a beacon isn’t just a light shining the way to safety, but can also be a distress signal. There isn’t a thing wrong with being in total darkness and shining a light up to the heavens to simply say, “Is there anybody out there? I’m over here!”

You have to express yourself, you have to let others know that you’re not well and that you need help. Pains of the heart can grow so big and bold that they take over your soul. And you don’t ever want that to happen. Believe it or not, the heart is easier to heal than the soul is. The soul takes much more damage than the heart does.

I fell into knitting like a mad man, to sustain myself, and to escape from the darkness. But, sometimes our knitting needles and crochet hooks aren’t enough.

Sometimes I light my prayer candles for others, sometimes for myself….and sometimes just for that comforting glow and that small flame’s radiance, reminding the darkness that it won’t win. Show your light, let anyone know that you’re in pain. You’ll be very surprised that more people love you than you realize. Total strangers, even. People whom you’ve never had the great fortune of HUGGING in real life are holding you in their thoughts and prayers. Trust me. I know this from experience. And I’m not kidding, that feeling is extremely powerful over depression. To know that you’re loved by somebody who has never actually met you face to face, that cares for you simply because you are? Who hears you? There is no other definition for bliss.

There is nothing wrong with you, nothing at all. We all experience dark moments in our lives. But, when you do, it is so vital to express it, share it, tell it to someone before it darkens you to the point of no return.

And I don’t want to see or hear of any one of you that have dealt with depression tell me you haven’t anyone to talk to, or share with. Because if you’re reading this blog, then you have ME. I’m always here. Always ready to listen. You can tell anyone, but if you feel you haven’t a soul in the world to hear your cries, then tell ME.  Depression can clinch you, strangle and suffocate you if you don’t talk about it and share it. Find a way to share if you feel that no one cares. Because you’ll find out that you’re wrong. I care. And many MANY others out there do, too. Light your candle. They’ll find you.

Don’t worry. I’ve got your back.

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Get Out Your Frocks and Socks, It’s Time for a Contest

You may think, without having read “TENANTS,” that it might be a severely serious little book. All that talk about agoraphobia sounds sooooo morose. But, it’s not. No, the book does have serious moments, where reality is strained to the point of pain, but overall, the book is a delightful amount of fun, full of delicious dialogue and weirdly funny moments. (YOU try destashing your yarn through a tiny hole in the wall).

So, to truly appreciate how much fun the Madam and Mr. Brown are (in their own charmingly weird ways), I thought we’d do a contest. A really fun contest. Best photo of you dressed as Mr. Brown or the Madam wins a signed hardcover copy of the book, a 30 minute skype with me, and a pair of Mr. Brown’s custom knit socks just for you. That, THAT is intense right there. BIG time intense. To begin with, you won’t be able to find a hardcover with my name anywhere ANYWHERE else but through this contest. Secondly, I’m an agoraphobic, so it would be nice to talk to me face to face (errrr, digitally, you know, but still!) The winner and runner ups will all get a signed hardcover, but the grandprize winner will also get the skype and the socks. Phillip said, “Why don’t you just offer them a free pair of your knit socks, custom made for them?”

Because I want it to be BIG! HUGE! I want people to really get creative and fun, get strange and hilarious. I want you to make me laugh! So, MEN are not excluded from portraying themselves as the Madam, and women are not encouraged to portray Mr. Brown! (Check photo. Ahem…I guess the Madam was always in my head in some form or another. HA!)

Now, we’ll be looking for CLASSIC nuances of both characters that you won’t know about unless you read the book (which you can do by getting it on Amazon by clicking here). Now, all photos must be submitted by February 13th, 2019 and we’ll reveal the winner on Valentine’s Day. (After all, it is a love story, a twisted love story, but nonetheless, a love story!)

And this is an easy contest when you think about it. All I need is a picture of you depicting either Mr. Brown or the Madam (and hell, if you’re a couple, that’s even awesome, too!) Just be creative, know who the characters are and reveal tiny little eccentricities about them in your picture.

Email me the picture to my email address (madmanknitting@gmail.com) and we’ll show that one photo, plus two runners up here on my blog and my facebook page on February 14th. So, make sure it’s a picture you’re ok having the WORLD to see. And why not? You EARNED it, baby. So, get out your frocks and socks and let’s go. And if you haven’t read the book, you can do so by clicking here. Not a long book at all, and all reviewers agree that you can’t stop reading and will have it finished in one beautifully heart touching sitting.

Category is: “The Madam and Mr. Brown REALNESS!”

So, let’s GO! Can’t wait to see what ya’ll deliver!

 

 

Barney Fife with a Baton

You know my mood about this apartment the last couple of weeks has already been sour. Phillip comes home. I’m busy knitting up some socks (yes, Mr. BROWN’S socks). We do our usual, “How was your day?” And we start chit chatting about this and that, the “whats” and whos” and all that sort of thing that you do. Now, Phillip works with a much younger crowd. Phillip is about 20 years older than the average cook he works with. He’s always coming home with weird stories about irresponsibility and “those damned kids.” Seems the generation behind mine has no sense of reason, there is no weighing of actions, no repercussions for doing anything bad. Why would they? They were all given trophies, they were all told they were special, doted on, never disciplined with a quick smack upside the head and called “dumbass” (thank you Red Forman!)  for doing something wrong. No, they’ve coasted for two decades, never being held accountable for anything they’ve done.

(Yes, I know we sound like two old men). HOWEVER!

Right then, just as we’re talking, out the living room window we see some young, dumb 20 something walk into our back yard with a skateboard, pull out his whizzer and take a piss! In our back yard! WHAT??? WHAT???

I’m dressed in my pajamas, flanneled up because it’s cold, haven’t shaved (cuz I have no photo shoots at the moment), my glasses atop my head. I wasn’t going to tolerate this. Not for anything. I’m already MAD at this apartment, what now? So, it sprung to mine. I have this bitchin’ baton I keep by the bed for protection. You know, in case an intruder comes in the middle of the night and Phillip won’t wake up. I dashed for the bedroom, grabbed that damned thing, walked out the front door holding it high above my head, and in the sternest voice I could muster said, “Don’t ever come back here again. Do you understand me?” I was trying a jedi kinda voice, you know what I mean?

Man, oh, man. My attempt at being forceful and aggressive just came across as…..well, Barney Fife with a baton. I wasn’t fooling anyone. I looked like a tiny little old man, waving a big stick, and my alleged stern voice (I will admit) sounded like a grumbly, croaky “get off my lawn.” I didn’t sound like Clint Eastwood in “Gran Torino,” I sounded like Kermit the Frog going, “ARRRGHHH!” while waving his tiny little puppet arms.

The skateboard guy (not a kid!) was in no way intimidated. He just walked by me nonchalantly and said kinda flatly, “….whatever,” and kept going.

I crept back inside and looked at Phillip and said, “YOU! WALL OF A MAN! YOU should have gone out there and given him a piece of your mind!”

He said, “Baby, you’re small, but your quick. You were way ahead of me before I knew what you were doing.”

What in the world has happened to people these days, young people especially? I’ll just walk up and piss in someone’s back yard….no big deal….I don’t care….ain’t my lawn. Oh, look….skinny old man is mad at me….whatever.

No respect for other people’s things, lives. No courtesy. No manners. No respect. And most certainly no idea of accountability.

Now, this sort of behavior can happen in the real world, out there, where I don’t care. Do what you will. Let your chips fall where they may. But, in my back yard? With your whizzer??? No. Won’t accept it.

Our lease is up in August. I want out. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. And if “TENANTS” is a bestseller then I’m free and clear. And dammit, I can do it. I know I can. It really is one helluva little book. Has great potential. BEAUTIFUL potential. And I’ve got marketing ideas that are off and unusual, but rolling them out little by little. (I don’t have the mass fortunes that other’s have for marketing. I have to do this guerrilla style).

Now, I had thought an awful lot (and asked all of you) whether there should be a prequel or a sequel to “TENANTS.” And the answer was clear. BOTH. The prequel will come first. I’ve already started work on it. It’s called “DUPLEX.” And the sequel will come after. I already have the last scene clear in my head. I’m calling that book “EVICTION.” (oh, I can’t wait for you to read that last scene….You are gonna CRY YOUR EYES OUT).

But, I need “TENANTS” to go big first. REALLY big. This little book could just save Barney Fife’s skinny little butt.

You can read “TENANTS” in paperback, on Kindle, or hear it on Audible by clicking here.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go ask Phillip if he can open this jar of pickles for me….

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps! We couldn’t do it without your support!

 

 

 

Really Kinda Cool, When You Think About It

So, with everything going on recently, I was hard pressed to take a day and not move very much. Just unwind, and let myself relax for a day. No knitting, no binge watching. Turn everything off, close down the sounds, unplug, detach and read. I love to read, but haven’t had much of a chance with my constantly pressing myself to be on the go all the time.

I picked a nice spot, that big, fat comfy second hand chair I just got, picked the perfect day (a nice quiet morning), and while the coffee was brewing, I went to my book case to look for something to read. And it didn’t really matter if I had read it before or not. I’ve read many books more than once. As my eyes scanned the titles, I kept seeing my own name roll through the spines. Right there, next to “Memoirs of a Geisha,” and just there beside, “The Fountainhead,” “The Count of Monte Cristo,” and one of my personal favorites, “Dishwasher.”

I cracked a little smile. You know, since I was a young twenty-something writer I always wanted to be on “that list.” Do you know the one that I mean? That list of greats that you hold dear. You hope one day you’ll be mentioned on that list. But, who needs a list when you have your own books staring at you from your own bookcase? Funny! There I was crouched on the floor pulling my own books off the shelf, flipping through the pages, reading different passages, smiling and thinking, “Wow. I wrote that. That’s pretty good stuff. Oh, I love this line. That is a really good line. Shit, this could have used a comma….Oh, well. This really is kinda cool, when you think about it.”

I was scanning the pages of my own books, tucked right there intermittently between all of my favorites. It gave me a sense of some interesting accomplishment that you rarely get to enjoy, seeing your own work alive, in print, ready to read. You get so worked up with the writing of it, the cover art, the packaging, the marketing, that sometimes you forget that this is now for someone else to see and enjoy and love….and put on a book shelf with the rest of their favorites.

I started thinking of “TENANTS” and how that little book could do so many big things for me. Such a beautiful story, such a happy cry. And now that it’s available in paperback and kindle, if I generate enough interest in it, maybe it will be optioned to be a film, a nice simple art house film with just one set and two beautifully flawed people. (I still see Patrick Stewart and Judy Dench).

This little book could be my ticket. Oh, God, how wonderful that would be. Everything we’ve been through, everything we’ve hoped for all resting on the pages of a simple story about two people in desperate need of each other….sitting there on my bookshelf.

Look at me, getting wishful and dreamy about what this little book might do for me. But, all you have to do is dream…..

To get “TENTANTS” on Amazon, click here.

And by all means, enjoy those two characters and keep them close in your hearts.

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps! We couldn’t do it without your support!