Writing About Writing

A handful of words will get a foot-hold in my mind, something someone said or something I saw.  It might be a deep memory coming up for air, a thought that becomes the birth of an idea.  Once it begins to form, I’ll pour it out in bulk and then re-write – edit – re-write – edit, back space like a machine gun, highlight and drag to move.  And the punctuation!  Will a comma do for the perfect hesitation, a colon; or should I go all out with……. repeating periods?  And then, does anyone even notice words in italics?  Maybe I should break that mile long freight train into two or three sentences.  Blatant repetition?  Open the thesaurus!  I love writing the construction zone phase (if the idea survives it).  Yeah, BOLD!  BOLD CAPS – OUTSTANDING!!  And what about those curved bracket parentheses (probably overused)?

And then there’s the circle, that elusive, sweet – satisfying, return.  I’m sure real writers have a term for it.  If the words I’m brewing are great enough in number, and if later on, I can circle back to a key element highlighted early on, that can create an especially delightful circle within the story.  I love it when that happens!

Better phrases will knock on my mind’s door when it’s trying to sleep (thinking they’re all that important).  The exact right words will push their way through to the front of the line while I’m driving.  I’m not creating a “Master Piece,” here, but still, I’d better write them down.  I’ll torture myself because I forgot that gem before getting home.  What’s amazing to me is that I can delicately, meticulously replace one little word with another I think conveys better, and impress myself amateurish self with what a critical, but subtle difference that word made.  I will read and re-read again until I can get all the way through without making any (many) changes; sleep on it and read it again.  If I can get to the end without revising, it might be finished.  So now what?  I wrote it for my own therapeutic entertainment, and/or for my personal library.  If I think someone else might enjoy reading it, I’ll probably make it available.  If you read it, you will never know how many words I discreetly pruned or plucked.  You’ll have no idea how many times I read what you’ll read just once.  The funny – “human nature” thing is……  If I’m successful at practicing the magic of written expression, you might come away with something resembling the idea I began with at the top of this page.





Slipping Away

Summer is slipping away, but it has been wonderful.


Kellen driving my old RC-10T and keeping it mostly on the track

Both of our sons with their families visited us this summer.  We made good memories and I took pictures.  This is the second year my grandson, Kellen, has been driving radio control cars.  At age three, he’s improved quite a bit.  My two year old granddaughter, Sauvie, began her RC driving lessons during her visit this summer.

Click here to see Lincoln City with Robin & family (check out the sunsets).

At Brandon’s request, I sold both of his old Chevrolet’s this summer.  His ’62 Corvair was here for about 10 years, and his ’63 Nova for 15.

Shop Doors small

The previous line up of collector cars in our shop


1962 Corvair-38b

He’s never cranked a car window?

The Corvair sold first, a father and son team bought it.  The son is 14, and hopes to be driving it when he gets his license.  He tried on the driver seat and steering wheel as he scanned the dashboard and interior.  Spotting the window crank on the open driver’s door, he pointed at it and asked, “What’s that?”

That sale created an empty space in the shop, but like digging a hole in wet sand; it began filling in right away.  The Nova sold about a month later, and with two empty bays, it may actually take a few weeks for the shop’s gravitational pull to fill those spaces.

2017 09 08_9884bMy brother, Loren, rode his new Street Glide to Newberg for our Dressel Family Reunion.  I put red lights on the garage floor – not so much as a guide to the landing/parking area, but as a Welcome.

He brought his new electric RC Truck.  We were running two lap races on my back yard dirt track Sunday morning before church; I had the home field advantage, but – he beat me five races in a row!

2017-09-09_9826bWe also got to run our cars on the indoor AstroTurf track in Salem, RC Plus.  That was fun, and while there I drove for the first time, my new Losi 3.0 buggy (thanks, Jason).  I have two bodies for it, and the one I like best features my granddaughter’s likeness.  When I told her dad how quick that car can get around the track, he indicated that was fitting – quick like Sauvie.  He asked if it also jumps a lot.  Actually the car does jump a lot, how did he know that?

I may have taken some of my best pictures this summer.  The years of pictures I have taken of my kids and the pictures I am taking of my grandkids will always be my most treasured.  Other than family, my favorite photo opportunity is an event called “I Dragged The Gut (in downtown McMinnville),” or sometimes called “Dragging The Gut Festival.”  I love taking pictures there, and I have developed a style I call Dream Shots (that’s easier to say than low light exposure with slow shutter blurring that makes a still picture indicate motion).  Click here to see more.

2017-IDTG_9249bAlso from this year, possibly my best car show pictures, and I was very happy with these fireworks pictures (some in this album taken earlier).

I saw the heart doctor to follow up on the EKG and stress test.  He found nothing serious, and suggested I improve my diet, lose weight, get into better shape, and come back later for another look.


Boot & Brace

I saw the foot doctor.  I don’t know why it hurt, but I waited weeks for the tendon above my heel to get better, but it got worse, so – doctor – foot doctor – x-rays – MRI – Achilles Tendinitis – special boot and physical therapy.  It’s getting better.

I saw the belly doctor.  My sticking out belly button was getting worse.  It seemed I was constantly holding or pushing it back in, and sometimes it didn’t want to go back in, and one time after a reluctant push-in, there appeared red spots near it.  So – doctor – belly doctor – Ultrasound – bowel in the button – surgery (scheduled for October)!

The air boot helps if you don’t mind clunking around wearing one extra large ski boot, and the Lumbar lower back brace support belt frees up the hand that would be pressing the hernia.

I saw the Oncologist, three terrific months had passed since my last visit, so – visit friends with needles (who draw blood) – tests – and my favorite test results: no change.  I can live with that.  I remain daily thankful to God.

The color of my car is GM Torch Red

When I ran out of gas driving the ’57 Chevy to see my brother in Brookings, my fuel gauge said I still had 1/8 tank. The first thing I did was pull the fuel filter off to see if it was plugged. If the car hasn’t been driven in a day, I have to crank the starter quite a while before it fires up. I wonder if it’s getting fuel. Because of times like these, I wanted a fuel filter I could see through. I got one. It was on the wall with many others in the fuel filter section of the auto parts store. It was plastic, and maybe that’s why it came off. When I installed it, it was on solid with the same screw down hose clamps that held the previous filter.

I was backing out of a parking space at the hospital. The car began acting like it wasn’t getting fuel. I pumped the gas peddle a couple times and I heard a pop sound, like when the propane in a barbeque ignites. I thought, “Great, I’ve backed over something or a part fell off,” but suddenly a path of liquid flames was streaming away on the pavement in front of my car, and the Torch Red paint in the center of the hood was literally dancing. Instantly smoke and flames were pouring out of every escape from the doors forward.

I quickly turned the key off, got out, opened the trunk, grabbed the fire extinguisher (that had been waiting for this moment for 10 years), opened the hood and sprayed the fire out. It was an adrenalin powered moment. Without that extinguisher I would have been able to do nothing but stand and watch it burn. A couple guys rushed over to see if they could help, someone called the fire department but the flames were out long before they arrived.

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The smoke cleared and the dust settled. Things were burnt and things were melted, but after removing what was left of the air filter and reconnecting the fuel line, I was able to start it up and drive it home.

It was a stark reminder that this car is a thing and not a loved one. It’s a thing I enjoy very much, but a thing just the same. And as I was reminded, things can unexpectedly be gone in an instant, but things can be repaired and things can be replaced.

Loved ones can be gone in an instant. People can not be replaced. I am so thankful for treasured moments and precious memories with friends and loved ones in my life. These are gifts from God, and are infinite blessings to me.