Bob’s: All the News That’s Fit to Fake

Bob Blog » Bob Jonas, Author & Vagabond Librarian

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For the Record, the Speech:

Seriously folks, I never thought it would go this far. But it has, and well, I have a lot to say, so buckle up. No teleprompters, this is so far off topic that I didn’t want anyone to catch the drift ahead of time. It started out as a lark, this whole election thing. You know me by now, anything for a little, or a lot of publicity. I stand for nothing except making money. But the thought of it was so darn fun. Who in their right mind would ever have believed so many things would conspire to put me where I am today.

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Death Brew Cover Collaboration

Bob Blog » Bob Jonas, Author & Vagabond Librarian

slide1 slide2 slide3 slide4 slide5 slide6

Pearl Harbor Tribute

Bob Blog » Bob Jonas, Author & Vagabond Librarian

pearl-harbor-tributeIn thinking about Pearl Harbor today, I once again held the flag I was given in my Dad’s honor. Not until he died, when the mortuary noticed that he had been a vet, was I given a folded flag to honor his service. I placed it in a cupboard at home and when we moved, I loaded it in the trunk of my car, and there it stayed for way too long. Not until a friend, whose son is in the Air Force reminded me of the importance of the flag, and how leaving it in my trunk could easily be considered a sign of disrespect, did I remove it, ashamed. Since that time it has remained safe, where ever I have lived.

Today I embarrassed myself, almost forgetting it was December 7. I now have the flag next to me, to honor my dad, and his service. With the computer in front of me, and information so easy to come by, I looked up the symbolic meaning of the way the flag is folded. I never knew. Many of the symbolic folds represent who he was, many do not.

Symbols for the Folds of the Flag
1. The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life. 
[Yes, he could buy that. He would say that there are many more, though.]

2. The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life. 
[Not my dad. Once gone, that was all she wrote.]

3. The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks, and who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.

4. The fourth fold represents our weaker nature; as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace, as well as in times of war, for His divine guidance.
[Not at all applicable to my dad.]

5. The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong.”
[Tribute to our country, okay. But the rest, he had no use for such hyperbole.]

6. The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
[Not exactly. He did love this country, but when it came time to ask tough questions of what was right or wrong, he didn’t hesitate to hold our country to a very high standard.]

7. The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
[He’d buy that.]

8. The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.
[He honored his mother every day.]

9. The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.

10. The 10th fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first born.
[He honored his father every day.]

11. The 11th fold, in the eyes of Hebrew citizens, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
[He might have a hard time with this, card-carrying atheist that he was.]

12. The 12th fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.
[He might have a hard time with this as well.]

13. When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.”
[He might have said, in human beings I trust. If there was a god, why would he let this fucking war happen in the first place?]

With all these points addressed, I take comfort on this day, in the service he and thousands of others gave to their country, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Rest in peace, Dad. You are always in my heart.

Good Bye Stuff

Bob Blog » Bob Jonas, Author & Vagabond Librarian

good-bye-stuff-1It begins, finally. After so many years of collecting, the time has come to simplify. We spent just an hour in our downstairs bedroom, AKA the dump for everything that does not have a place, and started sorting. Chrismas stuff was sorted from many boxes to three, stuff was set aside for grandchildren, for the high school drama department. for Grannies–our local recycle center–and stuff for the dump. Oh how the tears did flow. With each other's support, we were able to look at something that had no meaning left in our lives, or had not been worn for a decade, and so, made its way to the appropriate box. 

Gone were things from Chile, China, Saudi, Germany, Disneyland, and Hong Kong. And who knows where so many of these things entered our lives from the 67 countires where we had traveled, and why at the time they were deemed must have purchases. We couldn't believe all the things that somehow survived from the time we lived in the States. This time old clothing didn't even need to be tried on–to spare ourselves a good laugh.

After an hour we were exhausted. There is no certainty that we will be in this house next year, so this is the perfect time to start lightening our load. I wish we could have had some kind of garage sale/party, but our location is extremely limiting, and I just don't have the patience to sell online. The year long sale we staged before we left was fun and a sale of our strange stuff this time would have been fun as well, but the time was now and for some reason, we were both in the mood. If I had had to watch a stranger handling my most precisous Balinese virilty doll, I don't what I would have done.

No books yet–saving the most difficult task for last.



Death Brew Lives

Bob Blog » Bob Jonas, Author & Vagabond Librarian

death-brew-cover-5-copy-2IT IS DONE!!!!!! First draft of Death Brew, sequel to Imposter, is a wrap. Started on January 3, 2015, first draft completed June 6, 2016, at 85,313 words, it needs to slim down by at least 15,000 words. How I love the next part, the revision, more fun than the writing. Working cover is the result of many great suggestions from kids at The FIS, so tons of thanks to them and to their teacher, Mr. Denick. The book will now cool off for about two weeks. I will not look at it again until the end of July. 

In the meantime, I will finally buy a new computer to replace my trusty, ten year old MacBook. I love this old machine but it just can't be upgraded any more and if I see that spinning beach ball of death one more day, I might throw the machine out the window. Plus, Susan is so sick of me saying, I'm sick of…or I'm going to buy a new one…or I still think it has legs…Promise honey, I'm really getting a new one. but I'm keeping the 1990 Dodge Dynasty. It still works fine.

The Day the Darlings Died

Bob Blog » Bob Jonas, Author & Vagabond Librarian

Once again, I sit looking out over Colvos Passage, tears dripping onto my keyboard, blood dripping off the knife.  Once again, I killed them, the darlings in my new book. Just like in all previous books, they had to go. I think William Falkner is given credit for the term, "kill your darlings," advising writers to "get rid of your most precious, self indulgent passages, for the good of your literary work." There are others who take credit; Ginsberg, Welty, Oscar Wilde. It matters not. Anyone who writes knows the agony.

In my first published book, ChinAlive, there were two chapters I especially agonized over. These were the two that were revised and revised, and polished, and loved, and in the long run, did not move the story along. You're wrong if you think I noticed. Two very astute readers, people who didn't care if I ever spoke to them again, made the call. I didn't have to kill the chapters, but I did. I knew the heartless editors were right. And so, in every book it happens. Sometimes you just can't tell until the completed book is outlined and read thoroughly, and dispassionately. The blade then comes out, ready to sink into the authors heart. 

The good news is that this time around, I wielded the knife. This time I took it out and did the deed. Bye bye darlings. There is a silver lining; with every death I become a better writer–I hope–then the dead darlings are safely tucked away in a file, to be seen someday in a writing seminar where students are taught to develop a thick skin. The earlier they learn, the better.

It’s a Miracle

Bob Blog » Bob Jonas, Author & Vagabond Librarian

bob maskI had such fears, none of them justified. Susan said my snoring blew the tiles off the ceiling. I said, meh. She said I stopped breathing off and on all night long. I said. I’m still here. She dealt with my lackadaisical   attitude by buying a noise machine that masked my snoring and other wretched sounds she swore I made. Susan can be very dramatic, but most of the time, right-damn.

It wasn’t until many months ago when my cardiologist  diagnosed an irregular heart beat. No big deal, I take meds, I’m good to go for a few decades more. As he was questioning me about my health, he asked if I had sleep apnea. I laughed. I said please, do not talk to my wife. He didn’t think that was funny. He asked me a bunch o questions. I must have answered them all wrong because the first thing I know, he says that I need to go to a sleep specialist. Of course Susan was elated but kind enough to smirk out of sight.

I never knew. Not only is sleep apnea a condition that leads to snoring, but a bagillion other things-like heart problems, sleep problems, energy problems, etc. etc.

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Kissing My Mac Good Bye

Bob Blog » Bob Jonas, Author & Vagabond Librarian

Photo on 2016-06-10 at 09.44Shouldn't this guy look happier? Please, having a moment. Saying good-bye to my trusty ten year old Macbook. Another moment, please. Okay, better.

When I ordered it over the phone from my local Mac store in Seattle, the woman dutifully asked many qualifying questions.

“No, just the MacBook Pro, the 1099.00 one, please."

"Sir, you can got much more memory, and stuff like the retina do hicky, and. . .”

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Mr. Suckee

Bob Blog » Bob Jonas, Author & Vagabond Librarian

Sub bobYesterday was my last day of one-day-a-week subbing on the island this school year. Grade six, six periods, hot outside, no air conditioning, blue sky, only two weeks left. Thought I had skills, but with not much control of expectations or consequences, sometimes skills don’t count for jack.

Sixth and final period, fingernails digging deeper into the chalkboard whiteboard, clock moving slower and slower. At the end of last period, behind my back, a kid erased part of my name on the board to read, Mr. Jonas Suckeee.

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Bob Blog » Bob Jonas, Author & Vagabond Librarian

Cricket LetterLike all authors I have received more than my fair share of rejection letters. I’m not sure if others who have been rejected multiple times–being illustrators, musicians, or anyone who creates and starts out tender but develops a tough skin–have kept their rejection notices as faithfully as I have. Only now has my librarian/pack rat filing gene been rewarded. At least in the writing biz, all of us now know that you do not even get a rejection notice anymore. No more, "Dear Author" heartfelt, thanks but no thanks. Now they just tell you that if you have not heard back in six to eight weeks, too bad, move on. My message to kids: be persistent, believe in your self, and do not let anyone side track your dreams.

This message is now part of my presentation where I project copies of rejection letters that were sent to people like Stephen King, John Grishom, JK Rowling, etc. etc. A blessing on Goggle that with simple search terms like <rejection letters> you can find hundreds of saved letters from people who have persisted and persevered. As I said, I share many of these letters with kids, but the one that gets their attention and makes them sit up with a great degree of sympathy, was the one I received from a major editor at Cricket Publishing a number of years ago, and one I could never throw away, as hurtful as it was–thank goodness.

In its entirety, I project this letter onto the screen, but then dissolve to the paragraph, in a large, expanded type font, so the kids can easily follow along as I read. I wanted to write to this editor but was sure she would not read my response, being another irate writer with hurt feelings or she would have shared it with her staff for a good read at a local bar, over drinks for a good laugh. Instead, I wrote an open letter to her, and sent it to SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, an organization of which I am a member) as an article for their monthly magazine, where it went nowhere, as she was a very big, important editor and I’m sure they did not want to step on any toes.

In no way could I have dreamed up with a better way to illustrate the importance of persistence and believing in your self and your abilities. Thanks again to that editor. Your unkindness and lack of civility paid off in ways you will never know.

Cricket Letter

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