Oil change, morning TV, and late-October musings…

cropped-countryroad1.jpgLate October—very late! Halloween rolling in tomorrow. Weather changing. Patio and deck furniture hauled to the garage. Solar lights pulled from their places of importance around the yard and brought in for cleaning, battery removal, and storage.

One of the last mowings, trimming, and edging for the year before mower gets traded for snow thrower that’s been hiding out in son’s shed down the road a ways.

Car in for oil change this morning. Large TV blaring in waiting room in Service area. Screaming fans in the street and gushing hosts and hostesses on program annoying and headache inducing! I hate TV in the morning, especially GMA, but I can’t very well get up and turn it off. It’s not mine, after all! So I sit and wait. Try to read my Jeff Shaara book about the siege of Vicksburg, but Taylor Swift is rattling my concentration with her birdlike warbling.

Commercial break. Two to three minutes of political spots that paint opponents as the most evil and vile persons walking this planet! These do nothing but add to my distaste for having the damned TV turned on in the first place!

A lady beside me is bending the ear of an older gentleman two seats away—something about the tree that fell next to her house and the giant sinkhole that scared the bejabbers out of her neighborhood. He shakes his head as if to say that he is spellbound at all that she is telling him.

Some employee from the front comes in, apparently on some mission of importance, and re-stocks the styrofoam cups for the coffee machine, that is now woefully near empty!

Fortunately, oil change and tire rotation is done within forty-five minutes, so I’m free to escape and regain my equilibrium in the peace and quiet of my Equinox. Best part: maintenance service still under warranty and no charge, and everything checks out A-OK. Still like new!

On the way home, I pass many farms and fields. Harvest in full swing, and farmers working hard to beat the impending rain and big weather change that’s heading our way here in northern Illinois by tomorrow.

Nearby orchards and farm stands have closed for the season. Out of apples, pumpkins, and other autumn delights. Signs proclaim that another season has come and gone and “Thanks for your patronage…see you next spring!” Owners preparing to head south for the winter, I would think. Basking in the sun while we’ll be basking in the driving snow as it flies at us from our snow throwers on a regular basis.

The busy “writing season” is creeping in now. Important to take care of outside chores so when the frigid winds howl and the snow begins to fly and the furnace reports for duty once more, work on next novel and short stories can move along without so many interruptions. No NaNoWriMo for me this November. Have enough work to do on current WIPs. Maybe again next year.

Now, time to move along to next items on “To Do” list. Happy late-October, all…CortlandWriter 🙂No Sun Up in the Sky...

My “Civil War” Summer

Being back at the cottage after my brief hiatus to the air-conditioned comfort of my home in Illinois last weekend, I actually got back to work today on the sequel to my first book. I must plead guilty to being a bit sketchy this summer in the “disciplined writer” department. Trouble is, the cottage bookshelf above the microwave is full of wonderful books that have—and will—take up my valuable writing time.

This being my “Civil War Summer” I simply cannot get enough of the historical fiction of Jeff Shaara and of his late father, Michael. Killer Angels, The Last Full Measure, and Gods and Generals are outstanding pieces of writing about the battles and the Generals and other officers who were involved. Also, Jeff Shaara’s Civil War Battlefields: Discovering America’s Hallowed Ground rests there, waiting patiently for me to pick it up (and not be able to put down, I fear!).

Then there’s Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals still waiting for me to finish this time ‘round. I began reading it a couple of years ago but got sidetracked and seemed to have lost interest, for whatever reason, so I’ve put it on my “To Read” list once again. In that same Lincoln vein, I have Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson. Published in 2006, it’s certainly not a new book by any means, but I couldn’t resist purchasing it on a recent visit to the Lincoln Museum in Springfield. Besides, I can never get enough of the John Wilkes Booth stuff, which I revisited this past year in Bill O’Reilly’s excellent Killing Lincoln.

Finally, I’ll round out my reading during this “Civil War Summer” with an interesting-looking tome that I picked up on a day trip a couple of weeks ago out to Galena, home of U.S. Grant after the Civil War. The book is titled Grant and Twain: The Story of An American Friendship. I had always heard that Twain got himself out of bankruptcy by publishing General Grant’s memoirs. Grant, who was dying of throat cancer at the time, became a good friend of Twain, and I’m anxious to read the story behind it.

Now, I know I still should work in more “writing time” each day, and I’ll try…I really will! In short there’s lots to do in the days ahead. Also, there’s the latest John Sandford Prey series novel titled Stolen Prey, starring Lucas Davenport and his associates. But that just might have to wait until fall, once my “Civil War Summer” has run its course! Such problems here in the cottage by the lake in Michigan…CortlandWriter