Fishing for Life in Sacramento

I’m going to turn off my computer for the next forty-eight hours and take myself on a fishing trip. Not to fish for fish, of course — such a hobby is only peaceful for the one fishing; the poor fish are scared, hurt, and fighting for their life — but to fish for life. See what happens when I am disconnected from my usual online pursuits. (The last time I took time away from blogging, I was spending all my time with computer tech guy trying to fix a program that hogged my CPUs, so it wasn’t much of a disconnection from my computer.)

I’m planning on selling my books at a conference in Sacramento with an author friend. I’ve known her so long, it’s strange to think I’ve only visited with her once before. (We met online through our mutual publisher.)  Should be fun, just taking off for a couple of days. Seeing what I can see. Feeling what I can feel.

If you want to contact me, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you in a couple of days. Or whenever.

fishes

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Look What I Caught!

Did you miss me? I was gone from the internet for 24 hours. Went fishing for life. And look what I caught!

Some friends and I went on an excursion to see Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, an all male dance troupe that parodies classical ballet. The men, of course, played the women’s parts, too, and it was amusing seeing hairy chests rising above the costumes. The Trocks stumbled at inopportune times, tried to upstage one another, and played up every romantic ballet cliché. Adding to the fun, the performers sported evocative names such as Innokenti Smoktumuchsky, Maya Thickenthighya, and Jacques d’Aniels.

As funny as the performance was, the real treat came in seeing how athletic, graceful, and truly accomplished these men are. The simplest thing they did is beyond most of us. You try standing on tiptoe on one foot, the other foot poised delicately behind with the toe barely skimming the ground, and arms rounded above your head. And do this for many seconds at a time without wobbling. Yeah, right.

A special joy for me was sitting between two accomplished dancers who pointed out any feats or bits of humor that a neophyte such as I might have missed.

More than anything, though, I enjoyed the company of the people I went with. During lunch, they suggested I write a book centered around a dance studio. They all volunteered to be characters in the book, and one lovely woman offered herself up as a victim, though why anyone would want to off her is beyond my imaginings. Interestingly, the would-be-victim’s husband is a criminologist, and she also offered his expertise if I needed help keeping the investigation accurate, which is tempting indeed.

Who knows, I might even follow through on the book someday.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Gone Fishing

I’m going to turn off my computer for the next twenty-four hours and take myself on a fishing trip. Not to fish for fish, of course — such a hobby is only peaceful for the one fishing; the poor fish are scared, hurt, and fighting for their life — but to fish for life. See what happens when I am disconnected from my usual online pursuits. Just take off for a day. See what I can see. Feel what I can feel.

If you want to contact me, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you tomorrow. Or whenever.

fishes

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Gone Fishing

I’m going to turn off my computer for the next twenty-four hours and take myself on a fishing trip. Not to fish for fish, of course — such a hobby is only peaceful for the one fishing; the poor fish are scared, hurt, and fighting for their life — but to fish for life. See what happens when I am disconnected from my usual online pursuits. Just take off for a day. See what I can see. Feel what I can feel.

If you want to contact me, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you tomorrow. Or whenever.

fishes

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Gone Fishing

I’m going to turn off my computer for the next twenty-four hours and take myself on a fishing trip. Not to fish for fish, of course — such a hobby is only peaceful for the one fishing; the poor fish are scared, hurt, and fighting for their life — but to fish for life. See what happens when I am disconnected from my usual online pursuits. Just take off for a day. See what I can see. Feel what I can feel.

If you want to contact me, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you tomorrow. Or whenever.

fishes

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Unplugged!

I did it! Yesterday, I turned off the computer. Stayed unplugged for twenty-four hours. That was the best part of the day — being unplugged. I’ve lost much of the joy I used to get from the internet — it now seems to be mostly a chore. Even the computer games I’ve been playing are more tic than entertainment. So it was great being offline.

I wish I could say that my fishing for life expedition was as successful as being unplugged, but it was hellish. I’d agreed to drive a family member halfway to Santa Barbara. I decided that since I was halfway there, I should go all the way. Spend a quiet evening at the ocean. Take a walk by myself on the beach. Have a leisurely meal alone. Just wing it. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men (and women) . . . well, my plans couldn’t have gone more awry.

What should have been an enjoyable trip was ruined by my companion’s ceaseless vitriol toward the people he believes have wronged him. And a quick trip ended up taking eight hours because we went the scenic route. Got to Santa Barbara after dark. Drove around looking for a place he could camp or people he knew, but everything had changed in the past twenty years, so he decided to return with me. By that time, I had no thread of enjoyment (or patience) left, so I came right back instead of spending the night. Got here at 3:30 in the morning (listening to his harangues all the way).

When you fish, you never quite know what you get. Well, despite everything, I did catch some life. I saw lovely views if just through the windshield — mountains by sunlight, ocean by moonlight. I learned how easily homicidal tendencies can rise in even a generally passive person. (I mean really, fourteen ceaseless hours? I might even have gotten off scott-free.) I learned that no matter how badly you feel for someone and would like to help, sometimes there is nothing you can do.  And I discovered I’m nowhere near as nice or as kind as I think I am.

As you can see, today, I’m plugged in again, and let me tell you — the best thing about it is that it is QUIET! (I have the sound turned off so I never hear any of the typical computer noises.)

Ah. Silence.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Gone Fishing

I’m going to turn off my computer for the next twenty-four hours and take myself on a fishing trip. Not to fish for fish, of course — such a hobby is only peaceful for the one fishing; the poor fish are scared, hurt, and fighting for their life — but fishing for life. See what happens when I am disconnected from my usual online pursuits. Just take off for a day. Go wherever. See what I can see. Feel what I can feel.

If you want to contact me, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you tomorrow. Or whenever.

fishes

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Fishing For Life

Today is the 3 and 1/6-year anniversary of my life mate/soul mate’s death, and I’m still sad, still missing the spark to get my life going again. For thirty-four years, he was my spark — everything was so much more vibrant when he was in my life — and without something to spark my interest again, my life will continue to feel sad and flat.

A few days ago, in Dreaming My Life into Being, I wrote about my plans to go fishing for life. Well, today, I went. (The second part of that plan was to turn off my computer for a day, and as you can see, I didn’t do that, but following through on half a plan is better than doing nothing, right?)

Today’s fishing trip wasn’t a major journey by any means, just a long hike through the desert on a quest to find the trail to the top of Bell Mountain. I’d climbed halfway one day, but gave up when the trail petered out to 60-degree angle. There is no way I could have climbed that sort of slope with only my tennis shoe-clad feet and bare hands — who am I trying to kid;  there is no way I could ever have climbed that slope — so I turned around and came back. (Slid down halfway, I’m sure, though I don’t remember. It was in the midst of the worst of my grief, and there are blank spots of pain in my memory.)

Bell Mountain

Bell Mountain

I’d recently read online that there is a trail to the top, though it’s on the other side of the mountain, so my quest today was to make my way to the other side and find the trail. Again, I had to turn back. I’d walked for two hours, and perhaps another two hours would have taken me around to the trailhead, but then, I’d have been too exhausted to make my way back. So once again, the mountain defeated me.

The way back.

The way back.

Just because one goes on a fishing trip doesn’t mean you’ll get what you went for, but still, it was a lovely day in the sun with just enough wind to keep me from dying of the heat. So I did catch something — a bit of life.

I also caught a thought. We talk about life being a journey, but it’s always a forward motion or maybe even sideways. No matter how far we go, we continue on from there. Unlike other physical journeys, such as a hike, we don’t have to return to home base. So we can give it all we have without needing to keep anything in reserve for the return trip.

I hope I remember that when next I feel as if I can’t continue my life’s journey.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Dreaming My Life into Being

JJ Dare, friend, fellow author and sister in sorrow, wrote a blog post today about Floating in the Sea of Dreams that got me thinking . . . again. . . . about how I am dreaming my life into being. The Sea of Dreams is like a primordial ooze where ideas and hopes rise up and evolve and then sink back into the deep only to ascend once more in a different guise. And every permutation of these dreams changes us, makes us grow, helps us reach our destiny.

A few months ago when my 96-year-old father (my current responsibility) seemed near death, the idea of living on the go appealed to me. I worry about settling down and stagnating somewhere, and moving from place to place would vanquish that worry, though of course, other worries would take its place. Weather, for example. It’s one thing to think of such a life in the puget soundstillness of a warm desert spring day, and another thing to consider the possibilities of snow and tornadoes, hurricanes and ice storms.

My father is doing well, so much so that it’s possible he could outlast me, and the thought of living on the road was subsumed into the Sea of Dreams. I’m back to taking life one day at a time, not thinking about the future, not making any long-term plans.

The other phase of my original idea of living on the go was to do an extended bookstore tour in an effort to introduce my books and my publisher to the offline literary word. That idea, as I have discovered, seems to be another overly rosy daydream. Since I couldn’t go on the road, I’ve been doing my bookstore tour via mail. Sending out letters, gift certificates, offers to interview booksellers.

There’s been little interest in my mailing, and unfortunately, it makes sense. Bookstores are in the business of making money, and since I am not a big name in the literary world (hard though it may be for you to believe), they have no incentive to stock my books. Of course, if/when I do become a big name, they will be interested in my books, but by then, I won’t need them. (If you are a bookstore owner and reading this, and you are interested in my books, let me know and I’ll send you a gift certificate. Or if you are interested in my interviewing you, you can find the interview questions here: Bookseller Questionnaire.)

So this dream of becoming an offline author, like many others I’ve had, is slowly sinking back into the depths, but already, some dreams are beginning to arise. I’m getting inklings of a desire to finish my works in progress. And the idea of being on the go is slowly evolving into something I can do now. I’m considering shutting off the internet one day a week (gasp!!) and taking myself on a fishing trip. (Not to fish for fish, of course, since such a hobby is only peaceful for the one fishing. The poor fish are scared, hurt, and fighting for their life.) My idea is to go fishing for life. Just take off for a day. Go wherever. See what I can see.

Meantime, I’ll continue floating on the Sea of Dreams, dreaming my life into being.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.