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A Facetious Mental Turmoil

There's not a lot new this week on the writing front...still chugging along with a new novella in The Roseland Chronicles universe (titled Pick a Card) but it's not quite ready. I'm really happy with the way it's going though and while I'm eager to get back to Joseph Beck's story line, this is a welcome distraction that had to be addressed first.

In other news, I had my first horrific Christmas experience yesterday. In fact, there were a couple of events that caused me some mental anguish.

The first occurred while shopping for a few groceries at the local HEB. I'd been there ten minutes or so already and found myself at the back of the store next to the dairy section when it happened.

But! Before I tell you what happened, I need to preface this with a little background. While at one time I used to like Christmas music, as I grew older, I also grew tired of the the point where if I don't ever hear another Christmas song it wouldn't hurt my feelings. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Grinch or Scrooge, I'm just over the Christmas music.

And there's one song in particular...

Now, I return you to my current situation while checking eggs for cracks. As most stores do at this time of the year, HEB was playing their fare share of Christmas music throughout the store. I'd just selected a nice looking pack of a dozen eggs, placed them in my basket, when it happened. And I swear to you, if the song that came on would have started ten seconds sooner, there would have been a need for a mop and bucket right there at the dairy counter.

When the music to this particular song started, I stumbled about, seeking and endcap or another fellow shopper to lean against but alas, I was on my own in my torment. I checked my ears first, touching them gingerly, expecting to see Christmas crimson leaking from them but much to my surprise, there was no blood oozing my those orifice. Next, I gulped in a breath of air, only just remembering that my body required oxygen and I had not been breathing...for how long, I'm not sure. All I know is that I was still upright and conscious and thankfully, I had the push buggy in front of me and it hadn't slipped away.

Have you ever fainted? I have. It's not a pleasant experience coming too and wondering why you are facedown on the floor. I was expecting such a reaction from my body. Could I have, after all these years, developed a phobia to this song? If anything, I would have expected to become immune to its powers, but again, alas, it was not to be.

Thankfully, the eggs were the last thing on my list and I hurried to the self-checkout stands at the front of the store before the headache could take root and cause me to black out.

Now, before I tell you the name of the song and the artist (which, by now, if you haven't figured it out, then you've been hiding under a rock for several decades and I envy you), I have to say one more thing about the past. For years now, it's become a game to not hear this particular song all the way through. I don't go out of my way to listen to it, that's for sure, but much like this situation, there are times when it comes on over a public audio dispensary mechanism and there's no escaping it. However, I have been successful for many years now to avoid hearing the song from start to finish.

My streak ended yesterday for the song started and ended before I could make my exit from grocery shopping. Finally, we're there, to the point where I reveal the dreaded Christmas song: Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas is You.

So Chris! What was the other thing that caused you such mental turmoil this week?

I'm so glad you asked and honestly, I'm not sure which is worse? Mariah Carey's Christmas song or...

...folding laundry!

Tha-tha-that's all folks!

Until next time,



Another Book Review...

Several weeks ago I shared how much I enjoyed the book Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I recently finished the second book in the series, Dragonfly in Amber. While it was a good read, some of the magic from the first book was lost on me and I think I know what it was: the politics of the 18th century. While I have enjoyed political thrillers in the past, for me, it just didn't work in this book. I think it's due to the length of the book. Gabaldon could have cut about two-hundred pages of the political chess match and had an even more compelling novel that matched the first.

Don't get me wrong, I still loved the prose and her descriptive flair, it just didn't have the pace of the first as some of the political interactions slowed it down. Another aspect that hinders my rating this as high as book one was the payoff. A lot happens at the beginning that isn't resolved until the end. I know, I know...that's how it's supposed to happen. But when you have a book that's tickling 1000 pages, those payoffs need to be momentous.

Let me explain (and from here on, expect some minor plot consider yourself warned): One of the minor plotlines is Clair and Mary Hawkins being attacked by men while in France. I won't reveal the details, but just know that this is an ongoing mystery throughout the book. Once the resolution comes quickly. In fact, that resolution encompasses just a few sentences when the main attacker meets justice in an empty stairwell.

Now, let me transition from the book to the television series. Much of what I mentioned above translated exceptionally well to the small screen. In fact (and I don't say this often) the small screen translation of this book far exceeded the book. What took chapters to unfold politically in the book, was done in a matter of minutes in the series and it was all the better for it. And the plot-point concerning Clair and Mary's attacker...much more satisfying of a resolution on the television version.

With all that said, if I gave Outlander 5 stars, Dragonfly in Amber would still receive a good 3.5 or 4 stars and is worth the read if you can slog through the political mud. I'm now 300 pages into book three, Voyager, and I will tell you this: Gabaldon has (up to this point) succeeded in recapturing the magic of the first book...I can't put this one down!

More to come...

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