Sunday, September 23, 2007

Writers League invades Dallas

A good time Saturday as the Writers League of Texas had a meet and greet at the Stoneleigh P in Dallas. Met some interesting people, sold a few copies of my novel EVACUATION PLAN and got to hang out with some old friends.

This is part of an effort o make the Writers League more true to its name and a real statewide group.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

An eye on Nicholas

Nicholas went to the eye doctor on Monday to check in on his droopy pirate eyelid. The condition is called ptosis, and we got the word he'll probably have to have surgery to correct it, but not until he's two or three years old. The good news is it's not affecting his vision so far.

He was miserable having his eyes dialated, but seemed to forgive us after a while.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Da-Da goes to Waco

It was a sweaty, fun night in Waco. I met up with Paul and his pal who drove in from Dallas. Some nice Baylor fan gave us two free tickets as we were about to go buy some. We wandered to the Bobcat section to cheer on the school that shall forever be known as Southwest Texas State. The game was forever close, as you can see from the 21-14 score in this photo as Boko the Bobcat mascot gets a ride through the stands after a Bobcat TD. It seemed the night was ripe for an upset, but Baylor passed at will and foiled an onside kick with little time remaining to take the game 28-20. As one Baylor fan said as we walked back from George's where we got a beer at halftime: "We suck." It's the second time in recent years (the other two years ago against Texas A&M) that the Bobcats seemed poised to upset a Big 12 team.

I came home to discover that Nicholas has learned to say (repeatedly) "Da-Da." Fortunately he repeated it for me this morning.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Midwest Book Review

A new review from "Midwest Book Review":

Evacuation Plan
Joe M. O'Connell
Dalton Publishing
P.O. Box 242, Austin, TX 78767
9780974070384, $13.95

This is a fictional account of life's last journey. A screenwriter named Matt decides to volunteer at a hospice for inspiration and help with his writing. The hospice is a last haven for the living and it's chock full of stories for those who listen. Matt takes the people he meets and changes them into colorful characters with lives of his choosing.

We go back and forth between Matt's time in the hospice and his imaginary tales. The book is compassionate and like life, often absurd, sometimes funny, sad, or bittersweet, but never boring. We're human and we've all screwed up more times than any of us can count. It's about forgiveness of oneself and others and a new way of looking at death.

We're all on the fast track to death and each moment is precious. Mr. O'Connell's wise words will help us remember that. Life is too short to forget.

Victoria Kennedy

Eat it up, yum!

Nicholas hasn't actually started eating solid food--we're holding out until he's six months old, which is just around the corner--but he has started practicing with his rubbery spoon. He loves it almost as much as imitating the way I chew my food.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Football, poetry and me

A view from the podium.

Larry Thomas reads.

It's been an interesting week. Monday I went to my first Mack Brown press conference as The Austin Chronicle continued in its quest to turn me into a sports writer, specifically on the University of Texas Longhorn football beat. It resulted in two pieces that you can see here.

Friday, poet Joe Hoppe, prose writer Maxine Beach, who is also the new head of the Austin Community College Creative Writing Department, and I got up early to drive to Granbury. After biscuits and gravy at a local diner, we read at Langdon Weekend, an event sponsored by Tarleton State University. In the photo above you can see my view out on the audience with a copy of my novel Evacuation Plan in the foreground.

Later we listened to a reading by Texas' new poet laureate Larry Thomas at a private residence overlooking the local lake.

On the way back we stopped in Dublin for some of that real-sugar Dr Pepper minus the period.