Monday, March 21, 2016

Happy Families, and a Boring Puppy

Tolstoy once wrote that "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

This, of course, is just bullcrap.

Don't believe me? Go to a meeting of the children of alcoholics sometime. Sit and listen to the stories. But, more importantly, look at the other members as they nod in agreement. They're all checking off the boxes on the list. Because it's the same exact crap, with minor variations, on a race to the bottom.

For the law enforcement people who come across this, could you please tell me if the following sounds familiar: A domestic violence complaint comes in to 911. A patrol car pulls up to the incident, and two officers engage. No matter who is being beaten, or who is doing the beating, it's a crapshoot whether or not the victims will turn on the responding officers or not.

It's depressingly easy to call that one.

On the other hand, my family is awesome. We watch TV shows on playback, with the pause button ready, because we're all -- all of us -- ready to rewrite the episode, or call where the episode is going. Sometimes, we prefer our endings to the episode than what we get.

The family films have always been Die Hard for Christmas, Blown Away for St. Patrick's Day.  1776 and Yankee Doodle Dandy and Independence Day for July 4th.  Mother's day is The Manchurian Candidate, and father's day is The Empire Strikes Back.

We spend family time talking about philosophy, Ronald Knox, GK Chesterton, and the faith, because it's a living thing that we understand and enjoy and apply to our lives, without having to worry about having holier-than-thou rollers in our midst.

Sometimes we talk current events, because the family motto is that we exercise our freedom from the press.

I never really had a rebel phase. Because teenagers are morons, and I didn't want to go near them. I'm the nutbar who waits for marriage, so dating was interesting (read: nonexistent).

Now, riddle me this -- how alike is my family to yours? Granted, if your family is miserable, I can't help you, you don't necessarily have a basis for comparison.

Granted, on the other hand, the more and more I socialize with my fellow Puppy supporters, the more I realize I'm really boring in comparison.

I am a Catholic, born and raised.  For me, I'm not sure I have faith. I know there is a God, and, frankly, the tenants of the Catholic church just make sense. So does natural law. I don't think I've ever had a crisis of faith, because all of the arguments I've heard from anti-Theists are stupid, self-centered and arrogant. All the arguments I've heard from simple atheists are .... "I don't believe. Who cares?" And we go on our merry way.

I grew up as the standard fat nerd. When I was in sixth grade, I read The Once and Future King and Mary Stewart's books on Merlin (yes, even The Wicked Day). I read them both for fun.

When I was 16, I wrote 400,000 words of a space opera in my free time. (Yes, I have to rewrite some of it. Also, I have to find the time when I'm not getting requests for Sean Ryan novels and vampire sequels.)

And my father is truly awesome.

The week after my 18th birthday, I unleashed a song parody of "I have a little list" from The Mikado. I had modified it for my high school, and it had gotten out into the wild.  If you've heard the song before, you can understand why that's a problem. If you haven't, go check out a copy on YouTube.

If you've heard the song, and can't figure out what's the matter, I will give you a little bit of context. I was born in March of 1982. So I became 18 in March of 2000.

For those of my readers who might be too young, I'll spell it out. This happened the month before the first anniversary of a school shooting at a place called Columbine.

So ... yeah, you can imagine how well that went over. Though I do have relatives in the legal professional, so that ended as well as could be expected. This is sadly the most interesting thing in my personal life that might be of interest.

When I was in college, I had heard of Krav Maga, and tried teaching myself. And dang, it's fun. Then I took classes, and kept ending up with something going wrong just before my level 2 test. Yup. Murphy's law.

And the majority of the past ten  years has been dedicated towards my books. Thankfully, at current rate of speed, I'm starting to catch up for a book a year (right now, call it seven).

So, depending on your point of view, I'm very well adjusted, and I'm a little boring. I've never had any major trauma, and I've been fairly restrained. Then again, that's mostly because I don't want to end up in jail.

But my acquaintances have multiple personalities, and panic attacks and ADHD, and that's just one person. The others are even more colorful.

But, considering how much I've gotten done in the past year alone, it's been an interesting little ride. I have the potential for a shot at a Hugo -- for Sad Puppies Bite Back, if nothing else. Not bad for someone who's only had this blog for 6 years. With luck, my current publisher (Damnation was bought out) wants to get all of their backlogged books published by July. Which kinda means that I'm going to have three books published this year from the publisher, and a third published via self-publishing. And all I have to do is figure out which I want to read at LibertyCon.

Also, maybe a forth. I think I've rubbed the serial numbers off of Sad Puppies Bite Back that, if I should get a Hugo, I'll probably publish it for $.99. We'll see how things turn out by the end of the year.

But not bad, huh?  It's a start.

What started off this little reflection on my life? I'll give you a hint....


  1. I hate to be a pedant- I actually do, as opposed to the people who correct others with a sense of smugness, but I think, or maybe hope, you mean "Tenets" And I just tried typing that on my phone and it changed it to "Tenants" so I assume it's an overlooked autocluster. And this is a good story. Thanks for sharing it. And happy birthday!

    1. Ah, autocorrect. The one thing that we and the Puppy Kickers all hate.

  2. Happy birthday. I am so enjoying your blog.


Please, by all means, leave a message below. I welcome any and all comments. However, language that could not make it to network television will result in your comment being deleted. I don';t like saying it, but prior events have shown me that I need to. Thanks.