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dispatches: January 2007

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25 JANUARY 2007

Venus comb murex
No such thing as bad publicity: The shell picture is irrelevant. I just keep taking new pictures of shells. They're pretty, darn it. But as I was about to say ... there's a great article in Media Bistro about a publicist's strategies for promoting stinker movies that have been repackaged to DVD, including sending gratis copies to needy "critics" on rural routes with official-sounding Web sites who can provide blurbs. She also advocates taking a few words from a legitimate publication out of context. That happened to me once in Baltimore when I gave a poor-to-lukewarm assessment of a film that shall not be named. I complained, and the quote was removed from the ads - at least the local ones. So one way to get buzz, if not good reviews, is to hire someone like the author of the article. One way to kill your buzz, or at least to sneeze on it, is to write vehement e-mails to a journalist, then belittle him or her (and get the "her" wrong) as you post said journalist's replies to an Internet newsgroup. (I found the incident more amusing than insulting, and not a little educational.) It just shows that everything you commit to electronic words can be duplicated anywhere or everywhere. Maybe this is why I don't write a diary anymore - you know, the kind of diary where you say things you wouldn't post in a blog. Or should I say, that I wouldn't post in a blog. Some people really do pull their pants down in public, as the saying goes. I guess that will wait for my novels, and then I can claim it's someone else's pants.

17 JANUARY 2007
Time is the enemy: What the heck have I been doing with my time?

Perfect (downward?) spiral
The year is already almost five percent over. That's right. Look at your watch. Holy crap. Well, I've been working a lot. That's not new. I took some photos of shells for an article; an outtake is above. Few things are more beautiful, but I don't go to the lengths that serious collectors do. I don't take live critters, and I don't dive. Basically, I comb the beach on occasion, and once in a while I get lucky. Sounds like life, actually. There haven't been any shells on my beach for the past couple of weeks - just bad news. One of the little things was that somehow our cute little dog injured herself while we were out. She's always jumping on and off things (despite our previous acquisition of a ramp for the bed), so that's probably how she did it. There's no sadder sound than a whimpering dog. She's making a slow recovery but is banned from walks for three weeks. I miss the walks at least as much as she does.

1 JANUARY 2007

Trying not to quack up in 2007
Irresolute: Everyone knows resolutions are crap, but we all look forward to a chance to pretend that we're starting fresh. We ring in the new year, we mark a birthday, we move. We bury someone, we have babies, we break up, we get married. That's the stuff of life, if we're lucky enough not to live in the middle of a war. Then it's the stuff of death, and every day is just about staying alive. I can't teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. It's determined to scream, off-pitch, because screaming and throwing tantrums and throwing bombs makes some people feel better about the other people who are screaming and throwing tantrums and throwing bombs. Sometimes governments make things worse on our behalf, and one voice doesn't make much difference. Tiny self-improvement campaigns smack of the ridiculous. So do I make resolutions? No. Do I have vague yet hopeful goals for the year? Sure. I hate to waste a whole year. I can't teach the world harmony, but I'll be singing in the shower, hoping the true notes carry through the pipes.