Friday, September 2, 2016

Summer's Almost Gone

Summer's almost done! How did you spend your summer vacation? Or did you even take one?

by Paul D. Marks

What I’d like to do here is quote from Casablanca, where Rick (Bogart) is talking to his former girlfriend, Yvonne (Madeleine Lebeau):

Yvonne: Where were you last night?Rick: That's so long ago, I don't remember.
Yvonne: Will I see you tonight?
Rick: I never make plans that far ahead.

And even though summer’s not really over, whatever happened already seems so long ago that I barely remember it. And what I do remember, well, I hope this won’t be too much of a downer:

A few weeks ago we almost got evacuated—again (this was our 3rd close call, and we’ve actually had to leave twice) because of one of So Cal’s ubiquitous fires. Luckily it didn’t come to that this time. I think we were just on the border of the mandatory evac area. That didn’t stop it from being a very tense few days. I work at home and Amy stayed home from work in case we did have to get out. Watching a traffic jam of horse trailers removing horses from our area really brought home how close it was.

No sooner did that situation settle down than my dad fell and ended up in the ER. While there they discovered that he had a heart valve that needed replacing. After 17 days in the hospital he’s back home recuperating slowly in a sort of two-steps-forward-one-step back routine. Though lately it seems more like five steps back.

On the good news front, Amy got to go home to see her family. But I stayed here to tend to business and take care of the critters. So, I didn’t go anywhere this summer, which is fine with me. Mostly, I got to hang with the dogs and Amy (not putting them all in the same category ;) ). And get some writing done (not enough—it’s never enough!).

From Amy's vacation

And there were some good things on the writing front. I sold my first story to Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and got the news that Ghosts of Bunker Hill will be in the December issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, the last issue of Ellery Queen’s 75th year anniversary celebration. And both of those are reason for celebration in our house!

But summers aren’t like the summers when I was a kid when all you had to do was head down the California Incline to the beach. No worries. No bills to pay. No appointments to keep or places to be. Not much Responsibility with a capital R. Just Sun, Sea, Sand and Surfer Girls. In fact, I met my first real girlfriend at the beach on one of those lazy summer days. A California Girl on a California Beach. Like the Beach Boys sang in Surfer Girl:

We could ride the surf together
While our love would grow
In my Woody I would take you everywhere I go*

California Incline

All I needed was a Woody, which I never managed to get – and when I met her I wasn’t quite old enough to drive yet. Though at one point I did have a Ford station wagon with fake wood on the side. Does that count?

And now that summer’s almost gone, a few lines about that from the Doors:

Summer's almost gone 
Summer's almost gone 
Almost gone 
Yeah, it's almost gone 
Where will we be 
When the summer's gone?**

Where will we be when summer’s gone? Well, we were supposed to be at Bouchercon in New Orleans. Unfortunately due to the usual circumstances beyond our control it looks like we’re going to have to bow out of that, which is a major bummer!

So maybe next summer will be better but for now I’m looking forward to autumn and winter, such as it is in SoCal. And maybe we’ll get enough rain to fill the creek again. Now that would be something!


Check out my story Deserted Cities of the Heart in the recently released St. Louis Noir.

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₸ Written by: Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch, Murray Burnett, Joan Alison, Casey Robinson

* “Surfer Girl,” written by Brian Wilson. Performed by the Beach Boys.

** “Summer’s Almost Gone,” written by Jim Morrison. Performed by the Doors.


Art Taylor said...

Hey, Paul --
A busy summer, clearly, and not an easy one--and so sorry that you won't be making it to Bouchercon this year. Sending good wishes to your dad as well--and to you and Amy too, clearly.

You're right about summers not being like what they were when we were kids, though I look at Dash and wonder how summers look for him, will look for him. I try to keep that perspective in mind, that sense of joy (even amidst the crush of deadlines and responsibilities).

Again, gonna miss you in New Orleans, but look forward to staying in touch here and elsewhere at least.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Art. And I’m sure Dash will have great memories of many summers. And if anyone’s reading this check out Art’s post today over at SleuthSayers . org. A very poignant post about an encounter his son Dash had recently.

And thanks for the good wishes for my dad, Amy and me. It’s a major bummer about having to cancel out of Bouchercon and we put it off and put it off, hoping things would change. But sometimes we just don’t have the control of our lives we’d like. But we’ll definitely be in touch, as always

GBPool said...

No matter what we plan, life gets in the way. What would a good story be without these detours? I got a story out of the fires that burn ever so close to us up here in the Foothills. Some of your experiences will probably end up in a story so think of them as research.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Gayle. And you're probably right -- everything is fodder for a story. Good luck with yours!

Alice Zogg said...

Have a great fall and winter, Paul, with lots of rain. Avoid getting flooded, but keep the creative juices flowing.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the honest and sobering post, and set to music too! A lot of ups and downs for you this year. I hope the rains come soon and your dad keeps well. Congratulations for publishing in two highly respected magazines :)

Terell said...

Like Gayle I added two chapters to my book about a fire in the foothills. I am grateful wr didn't have to evacuate. Congratulations on selling the stories. So glad to hear short stories still have a market - everyone tries to discourage me from doing them.

Lisa Ciarfella said...

Sweet post Paul!

Congrats on both Hitchcock and Ellery Wueen! So great! And I hope your dad gets better soon.
Oh, and really glad you and the critters are all okay!

Lisa Ciarfella said...

Sweet post Paul!

Congrats on both Hitchcock and Ellery Wueen! So great! And I hope your dad gets better soon.
Oh, and really glad you and the critters are all okay!

Meredith Cole said...

So sorry to hear you will have to sit out Bouchercon this year. Hope your dad continues to feel better, the rain knocks out those fires, and the words continue to flow for you. Congrats again on all your great publishing news!

Susan C Shea said...

The Beach Boy lyrics along with that vintage postcard - oh boy, what an effect. Good news about the short story and sad news about the threats of fire, a new California rite of passage, I fear. A friend lost her house (people and pets fine) in the Big Sur area fire....Here in Marin County, north of SF, we're looking at tinder-dry, dead trees on Mt. Tam and holding our collective breath. We'll miss you at BCon but see you at the next crime writers' watering hole!

Paul D. Marks said...

Thank you, Alice. I hope it will be a wet winter, but we were supposed to have that last year and it was a bust, at least in Southern California. I hope you have a great fall and winter too.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, RM. To be honest, mostly it was just a normal summer but there were a couple of “big” things, like the fire and my dad. Fingers crossed on the rain.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Terell. There are still markets for short stories. Probably more than there has been in a long time, both on the net and in print. Some pay better than others though, but it’s still good to get your name out there. So why not give it a shot?

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Lisa. It is exciting about Hitchcock and EQ. Always good to get good news! And we’re all okay, just a tense few days.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thank you, Meredith. Yeah, I’m bummed about Bouchercon, especially in New Orleans. We put off pulling the plug for a long time but finally had no choice. And my dad sort of goes up and down, but I suppose that’s to be expected.

Paul D. Marks said...

Susan, glad you enjoyed the Beach Boys and the postcard. Both are pretty nostalgic, aren’t they?

I’m really sorry to hear about your friend’s house. That’s really awful. I hope she’s okay! And I thought you had more rain up there than we did so I’m also sorry to hear that things are still tinder-dry.

And have fun at Bouchercon. And hopefully I’ll see you at the next event!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the two stories, Paul! I hope your dad is recovering somewhat quicker (or at least doing better). I'm sad you and Amy won't be at B'Con this year! You'll definitely be missed. Great nostalgic post, Paul.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Sarah. And my dad has okay days and not so good days, but hopefully things will start to improve. I'm sorry we won't be there and we'll miss seeing you and everyone, but hopefully we'll see each other at something here in LA soon.

Dianne Emley said...

Congrats on the short story sales! And hope your dad is feeling better. Aging parent issues are tough. We were nearly evacuated from a fire as well. Scary stuff. I also fondly remember the long summers of my youth and try to recapture a bit of them each year. Yes, life is so much more complicated now.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Dianne, about both the stories and my dad. And I'm glad you didn't have to evacuate. I saw the pix you posted on FB and I'm sure you guys had a tense few days. And yes, those long, carefree summers of youth. I'd be curious to know how you try to recapture them. I could use some of that magic dust myself :)

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