A Foggy Day

I’ve always loved foggy afternoons – the way everything in the distance seems to not matter anymore, the feeling of seclusion in open spaces. Everything looks like one of those Gothic British novels that everybody knows but no one has read.

Once, in my college days, I was hanging out with friends on such an afternoon and got obsessed with finding the perfect place to enjoy the fog. I ended up at a local park that wasn’t very big but had low rolling hills that held the mist like it was posing for a painting. Only one of my friends went on the walk with me and we stopped on a bridge, wishing we’d thought to bring a camera.


I have no idea what I was wearing but the guy walking with me had on a classic London Fog trench coat, the kind with the huge lapels and the cloth belt. He was telling a story and paused for dramatic effect to flip up his lapels and light a cigarette.

In one hand he flicked the Zippo lighter while his right hand shook the pack to whip a cig straight into his mouth and light it all in one smooth move.

At least, I think that was the plan.

The wind kicked up at that exact moment and several things went wrong in quick succession. One of his lapels flapped over his face, causing him to panic. Instead of one cigarette sliding smoothly out, half the pack pelted him, ricocheting off of his nose and cheeks. He raised his hands on instinct to bat them away before realizing the Zippo was still afire. A few of them got singed, but luckily nothing caught flame. Still, he was left panting and patting himself down to make sure his clothes were unscathed.

I was trying so hard not to burst out laughing that I gave myself the hiccups.

I’m sure I would have forgotten the incident altogether, though, if not for his reaction. Red-faced, not wanting to meet my eye, he muttered, “I was trying to impress you by being all Humphrey Bogart and instead I turned into Inspector Clouseau.”



Why I Blog

I’ve always thought of myself as a writer. Unfortunately, that means people expect you to write.

It isn’t that I don’t enjoy the process of writing, but it’s hard to stay motivated enough to keep at the same novel for months and years at a time.

Every published novelist I know gives the same advice: you have to stay on a regular schedule. It’s best if you write every single day.

Great. So, while I’m sure there are people out there who can juggle a full-time job, raising a family, other interests, and, you know, life, and still keep to a daily writing schedule, I can assure you I am not one of them. I simply can’t stick to routines.

If I manage to chisel out an hour at a time for writing, three days a week, I feel like a champion. Just like trying to stick to an exercise program, it’s far too easy to put off my writing, then pile on other excuses, and pretty soon I’ve gone a month without producing anything.

Hence this blog.

My rationale is that if I sit down once a week to write an article, it will keep me on track with the other writing projects I’ve imposed upon myself. Amazingly, it’s worked as intended. Something about this free-form, no-rules forum takes away all the apprehension about getting the words right.

As an added bonus, I get to talk about all the things I’ve been researching.Whenever I learn something new, I want so badly to share it with people, but you probably wouldn’t be surprised at how hard it is to work Tycho Brahe’s midget butler into conversation.

The one thing I never expected, though, is that … people are actually reading this! You, you wonderful, dear person, are actually reading my blog. Family, friends, co-workers, college buddies … and more and more people are picking me up through Google from other countries.

The first time someone in my life mentioned to me that she’d followed some advice I gave in one of my posts, I was floored. My first thought was, “Wow, that’s so awesome!” – followed quickly by, “I’d better not say anything stupid.

So thank you, dear reader, for indulging my wandering brain. I cannot promise not to say anything stupid, but I do hope you find it entertaining.