My World (and You’re Welcome To It!)

The roots of wisdom

No one can accuse me of being behind the times.

Well, okay, they can, and they’d probably be right, but after so many decades I think I’ve earned the right to a little slack, so sue me.  (No, wait…)

Blogging has been around since cave men did things with cave women in caves, but I’ve always kind of thought it was a bit of a narcissistic endeavor, and besides, I’ve had way too many important things on my bucket list.  But as we age beyond the point of moldiness, we inevitably feel the urge to share our wisdom and experience with those who are less well endowed (and usually wish either they were deaf or we were mute).  I’ve also long thought of myself as a creative person, regardless of my medium.  It’s mostly come out in the computer games I’ve created for over 30 years (yes, I am that ancient, but please try to overlook it, okay?)  But I’ve enjoyed writing almost since I learned to read Dick and Jane. “See Dick.  See Dick run.  See Jane.  See Dick see Jane.  See Dick fall down.”  I can remember reading (and loving it) in the fourth grade (“The Boxcar Children”), the fifth grade (“Hardy Boys”), the sixth grade (“Tom Swift Jr”), but it was in the seventh grade when I started reading more adult level books, the Doc Savage books were being reprinted, Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan and John Carter of Mars books, and my first out-and-out science fiction novel, Daniel F. Galouye’s Simulacron Three about a man who realizes that he’s not real, that his world isn’t real, that it’s all a simulation running in a computer, and he manages to “upload” himself into the ‘real’ world, only to realize that it’s also a simulation, a story that still sticks in my mind 46 years later (it was a much cooler idea in the 1960s, when computers were large, remote, mysterious things).  I quickly moved on to the giants of science fiction, all the well-known writers (Heinlein, Asimov, Sturgeon, Tolkien, Lieber, Bradley, McCaffrey, Zelazney, etc).  It’s only been in the last decade that I’ve branched out much into other areas besides science fiction and fantasy, now that we’re actually living in the (sort of) future that we all dreamed about back then. But science fiction is still where my heart lives, even though the field has shrunk drastically and been almost completely subsumed by fantasy and by science fiction TV and movies, most of which is little better than the pulp science fiction stories written in the 1930s.  Why is it so difficult for screenwriters, directors and producers to achieve the quality of content that was reached in print 60-70 years ago?  Of course, I suppose the same could be asked of film and television in general, hmm?

But I drift.  I’ve probably read in excess of 4000-5000 books, and still own many of them.  They loom over me each day as I sit and work, two walls of six-foot tall bookcases crammed full, stacked on top, with seven-foot stacks of books piled up in front of them.  Old friends, difficult to part with.  And like so many avid readers, I always thought, “I could do this.  I could write stories like this.  How hard could it be?  You just dream all this great stuff and then write it down!”  But life rarely takes the freeway, straight and wide.  It likes to travel the back roads, the byways, the unexpected detours and dead-ends.  Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.  I’ve written many computer games (I currently have 31 of them available at, and will continue to write more.  As long as we suck air in and push it out, we have to suck food in and … uh, push it out, too.  More and more often, I find my fingers and mind itching to type something other than for(i=0; i<MAX_LIMIT; i++), something with a little more ‘heft’ to it.

So, logically, a blog is a good beginning, a place to get into the rhythm of putting words together and then releasing them into the wild.  Soon, I intend to start work on a non-fiction book for my extended family, about the murder of my father’s oldest brother in 1955, and I may share some of that on this blog, we’ll see.  Mostly, I expect the entries here to be an eclectic collection of thoughts, opinions, compositions, diatribes and diuretic discourse.

I hope that you’ll join me from time to time and perhaps even discuss things once in a while.  That way I won’t have to do all the heavy lifting.  (And no, that’s not me in the picture above, I’m not that cute.  That’s our newest grandchild, Kinley.  Think of all the open possibilities that lie before her.  As life passes, our available choices seem to narrow down, from wide-open to tightly-constraining.  But, ’tis not entirely so.  At every point, our lives are ours to choose.  In every moment, choose wisely!  Whenever possible, choose consciously!

Blogically yours,

June 29, 2012


9 thoughts on “My World (and You’re Welcome To It!)

  1. Enjoyable blog – actually the first I have ever read! I was intrigued at your SF author list; I would have had James Blish in there without doubt, as a thoughtful and thought-provoking writer.

    I have been a keen EK games-player ever since Sherlock days. How he manages to continue to invent such a variety and yet avoid any hint of violence (beyond some smooth poisoning) is admirable.

    I did visit you years ago, but I do not recall the looming collection of books; are you still in the same house?

    Your latest grand-daughter looks really beautiful and thoughtful. How many do you have now? We have six, ages from 22 to 11. It is wonderful to observe (and occasionally influence) their development.

    I have enjoyed my first 20 minutes with Willa (a very American name to me). Am I very old-fashioned in wanting to have her on disc rather than just in the ether?

  2. Thanks, Amy, I’ll try not to let you down.

    Wow, John, I’m your first! 🙂 James Blish was one of the MANY authors who were compressed into the ‘etc.’ I really enjoyed his “Flying Cities” series (although I really only remember the final ending, lo, these many years later), and LOVED his Jack of Eagles. I may have to re-read it one of these days to see how it feels to my “older and more experienced” self. I could have gone on for pages listing the authors I read and loved back in high school and college, but that wasn’t really the point of the post, so I tried to control myself… always a dubious proposal! Yes, still in the same house. I probably never showed you my office/den for fear of losing one of my customers in a bookslide. We have three grandchildren so far, all quite young. And, yes, you are very old-fashioned in wanting the game on disc, but that’s okay, you’re in good old-fashioned company. 🙂

  3. Interesting – I wonder if there is a connection between logic games and science fiction?
    It sounds like you already have “enough books” – if such a thing exists, but I wonder if you might enjoy reading some Kage Baker. If so, I would suggest you start with the first in a series of (can’t remember how many books are in the series), anyway “The Garden Of Iden” is the first of the series. And then there’s Jasper Fforde whose writing is indefinable and refuses to be catagorized. Here I would suggest “The Eyre Affair”.
    OK I’m done – and thanks for all the wonderful logic games – love them!

    • Thanks, Susan! Yes, I’ve read Kage Baker’s series. I really liked the first 4 or 5 books, but then the ‘tone’ of the books changed and (in my ever so humble opinion 🙂 ) went down hill to the end. That seems to be a not uncommon occurrence in series books (especially in science fiction and fantasy, where the underlying premise is what makes the beginning of the story explode with such promise). Often the characters and the story start off with a “big bang” and then just wander away with fading echoes of that beginning, like a page too-many-times photocopied. If the characters don’t stay fresh, the plot and ‘ideas’ can’t carry it. That’s one reason why I so much continue to enjoy Bujold’s Vorkosigan series: she never loses her focus on the CHARACTERS, even after 16 (soon to be 17) books in the series.

      I’ve never read anything from Jasper Fforde, in fact, his name is completely unfamiliar to me. I’d have to look him up.

      • Everett, if you’ve never read any Jasper Fforde, you are in for a real treat. His books are favorites for everyone in our family, despite their otherwise varied reading tastes.

  4. Everett,
    I am not surprised you read SF. My first book from the library (3rd grade) was ‘The Red Planet’ by Heinlein. I was hooked. I think the mayor of NY, NY was/is one of the great characters in SF.

    Disc Golf, I haven’t played on a real course yet but I am looking forward to trying it, probably at the Grand Lodge in Forest Grove the next time I’m down there from Kingston, WA.

    On your games, I enjoy them very much but being colour blind I have to make modifications where you use colour as the only identifier. Typically I add an Arabic or Roman numeral, a small thing for such great games.

    Keep up the great games and your blog,

    • Leland: Disc golf is GREAT fun (at least, if you have any ability to throw a disc/frisbee 🙂 ). If you ever get as far south as Albany, give me a call and (if possible) I’ll take you out to our best local course. Albany’s only about an hour south of Forest Grove. According to the course ‘directory’ on the web site, there are 18-hole courses nearby where you live:

      Fredericksen Wilderness DGC Poulsbo 6.33 miles
      Terrace Creek Mountlake Terrace 10.38 miles
      North Park (Mineral Springs) Seattle 11.06 miles
      The Bud Pell @ Ross Farm Silverdale 12.26 miles
      Kitsap County Fairgrounds Bremerton 13.88 miles
      NAD Park Bremerton 17.54 miles

      and several more 20-30 miles away. They have a page for each course that describes how to get there, comments on the course, etc.

      I’ll try to keep the “color blind” problem in mind for future games. I know you’re not alone with that problem.

  5. Well, I guess it will be a little while before I read Jasper Fforde, which is too bad, as they sound like very good books.

    But come on, $12.99 for the e-book? I’m not a cheapskate by any means, but I absolutely refuse to reward the publishers (Penguin in this case) for highway robbery. I can buy the HARDCOVER new for $11.50, and the PAPERBACK new for $5.00. I’m perfectly happy to reward authors for their hard work, and even (reasonably) reward the publishers for their work. But charging a $1.50 MORE for an electronically delivered file than for a HARDCOVER copy and MORE THAN TWICE the cost of the paperback?

    Paint me obstinate, but I wasn’t born yesterday!

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