Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Big D


This here is my 500th blog post, and I can hardly hear the trumpets over the sound of my mind blowing. As many of you know, I spent over thirty years Moving The Nation's Mail, a job that allows for considerable daydreaming, especially if you're not too fussy about whose mail goes in which slot. And from time to time I found myself coming up with a clever way of saying something, and I'd polish it up like a little word-agate. Based on the small shiny collection of clever things I had rolling around in my pocket after thirty years, I concluded I should be a writer. I also made plans to be closer to six feet tall.

A lot of times these things never really get in gear. They stay in neutral and make little putt-putt noises and sometimes there's a little toot of blue smoke but mostly you spend the rest of your life idling in the driveway. People get notions for their bucket lists and knock off one or two of the ones that only involve buying airfare, and the bucket stays pretty full, and after a while there's nothing left to do but kick it. The sorts of things that make me very happy are pretty low-key: take a nice walk, look at the occasional cool bug, tip a really good beer. I'm tickled enough with life as it is that I hadn't even really gotten a start on making a bucket list. But if I had, writing an actual book would have filled up most of it.

I needed a bigger bucket. As soon as I retired I put my nose to the ground like a burrowing mole and rumpled up a whole collection of postal stories. I started and finished a novel. I started and finished a second novel. Now I'm about halfway through a new book, creative non-fiction this time. And most of the reason I was able to actually do what I always thought I should do is that I got in the habit of writing Murrmurrs, and that's why I keep writing it.

Yes, I have a dog poop stamp. You don't?
Which is why the occasion of my 500th blog post reminds me so much of pulling a sausage casing out of a dog's butt. Right about the time it occurred to me that cats make nice pets, I saw a friend bend down next to her straining mutt and grab hold of something netherly and start tugging. Poor dog was all bound up, but there was a little tag hanging out that turned out to be a sausage casing. That accounted for a few inches of the blockage; then other stuff started coming out, including not only what was designed to come out, but bits of string, and plant material, and part of a raincoat, and I don't know what-all. Some of that might have been in there for months. This blog, as you may have guessed, is my canine gastrointestinal tract. And you, my dear readers, are pulling on the sausage casing.

And boy howdy, but there turned out to be a lot of crap in there. It keeps coming out because there are people out there interested in it, and they keep giving it a little tug.

Reason I started this venture was to develop what is called a platform. You can write the best stuff on the planet but nobody will publish you if you don't have a platform. It was understood: if you hoped to be a published writer, you need a blog. No real explanation how that works. And people don't just
flock to your blog because it's so grand. You have to go out there and whack your way through a shrubbery of blogs and leave calling cards. There are billions of them. There are photos of people's dogs and photos of people's dinner. You can spend hours at this. Then you're supposed to tweet. Everyone tweets. It's getting loud out there. After a while you don't have time to look at cool bugs.

And not to cast nasturtiums on anyone's dog or dinner, but after a while you begin to spend less time in the shrubbery. And that trajectory of visitor numbers that had looked so promising begins to level off and then dip and dive. You loyal readers are a lot more intimate group now, but I hope you'll stick around and keep tugging on the sausage casing.  And I'll keep posting here because this place is the cod liver oil to my creativity.

Only twice a week, though. We want "crap" to remain a metaphor.


75 comments:

  1. Congratulations on 500 posts, and lots of laughs from my end. Maybe I shouldn't have said "end" too loud. I didn't know Pootie was a musician! :-)

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    1. It is a rare talent indeed to be able to laugh from your end. I salute you, ma'am!

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  2. 500th post -- "The Big D" -- I see what you did there :-)

    Never thought of dogs as walking enclosed junkyards that keep the trash neatly packed away until the sausage casing is pulled. Your blog is definitely not where I would apply that metaphor, though. It's less than five years since the Koch brothers and their ilk pulled a tea-bag from the nether regions of the right wing, and the deluge we've been subjected to ever since has been worthy of the bowels of Cthulhu.

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    1. Sir, you have one hell of a way with words. I like to climb the little ladder to the top of your paragraphs and slide all the way down.

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  3. Well, I made my way through this one...not exactly what I expected for a celebration of 500 posts. BUT you never cease to surprise.

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    1. Aha! You "made your way through!" Just what we're looking for.

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  4. This means somewhere around 2018 we'll raise a good beer to 1,000, and celebrate a couple more books in the meantime. Not bad for emptying the bucket.

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    1. Now if I can only get the dang books published. Please send me an agent or publisher, people.

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  5. Congrats. Murmur On! Those sausage casings are gourmet....
    XO
    WWW

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  6. I wrote my 500th blog post recently too, but I didn't mark the occasion using such an - uh - UNIQUE metaphor as you have done. (In fact, I didn't actually acknowledge it at all.) But I do really enjoy your writing and especially your sense of humour. As WWW said above, congratulations and Murrmurr on!

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    1. You're acknowledging it now. Congratulations! How does it happen?

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  7. HA! Congrats on #500 and I intend to be around for celebrations of whatever #s follow. Murrmurrs is my vitamins.

    Part of a raincoat? Really? The time our Dalmation, Freckles, drank a fishbowl full of pollywogs caused her no distress at all. Freaked out my little brothers no end. They kept expecting her to either poop or bark frogs.

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    1. I read "Dalmation" as you Damnation. You listening, Diane Henders? Wonderful, wonderful image. Bark frogs.

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    2. Agreed. The phrase "either **poop** or get off the pot" now has a splendid alternate version... (even if that wasn't exactly the intent)

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    3. I'm staying on the pot just in case.

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  8. The 500th!!?? Yikes, I didn't discover you in time. I'll have to read backwards. And don't worry---we'll keep pulling (metaphorically, that is).
    Congratulations and Thank you for all the thoughty fun!

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  9. Congrats on #500 - I came relatively late to your blog, but I've been loving it ever since. Hey, where else I can read about pulling sausage casings out of a dog's butt? Not to mention savouring lines like "the bucket stays pretty full, and after a while there's nothing left to do but kick it".

    I'm glad you intend to keep things 'moving' here - looking forward to lots more!

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    1. I swear, every week or so I think "that's it--I can't think of anything to write about," and then it happens. Boom boom.

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  10. There has to be a lot of input for there to be a lot of output and maybe you are what you eat. Can I have some, too?

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    1. I eat whatever is closest and easiest. I think this blog reflects that.

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  11. Congratulations - 500 posts plus books - yes, I'd say you had more than a few bits and pieces stored inside, and how lucky that was for the rest of us, Murr.

    And I am embarrassed to say I only today figured out how Pootie got his name (I'm assuming) - must have been all the talk about elimination!

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    1. You know, Pootie moved in during Christmas of 1989, and we didn't know what his name was, but we kept guessing, and one day "pootie" came out for no particular reason, and he nodded.

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  12. See, if you had started all this when you were 40 it would have amortized out to only 2 per month instead of 2 per week. You must be one of those people who works better under pressure! There must be a poop metaphor in there somewhere...

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    1. Oh, there is, Tim, there is. I'm not under too much pressure. I have over a dozen ready to go at any time, but if it starts creeping lower, I get nervous.

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  13. Oh wow, Murr!! Congrats on your 500th blog post! That's awesome!!

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    1. I just don't know how it happened. I really don't.

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  14. The Big D. Presumably, there have been many crumpled draft Cs along the way?
    Congratulations! I'll continue to hack (see what I did there?) my way through the shrubbery.

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    1. No crumpled drafts! I just about never abandon something I start writing. Some of them take a little more discipline than others. Like, whip discipline.

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  15. Congratulations. And don't give up. You need to be regular - we need you to be regular...

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  16. I always knew the dog ate my homework. Now it seems the dog ate my raincoat as well. I'd better keep a close eye on my umbrella.

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    1. Might have to start calling it a Bumpershoot.

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  17. Congratulations on 500 - quite a milestone and accomplishment. I enjoy reading your blog, even though I rarely comment. Keep up the enjoyable, humorous, great work!

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    1. It almost slipped my notice. #400 and #300 did, for sure.

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  18. Have ever noticed, cat people rarely eat Almond Roca?

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  19. It is our good fortune that you were there to observe what happens when you pull a sausage casing. Is there anything ELSE we can do to encourage you to KEEP WRITING! ?

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  20. Feels so good to take that really big D, don't it? Keep 'em coming, Murr!

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  21. Man, that dog was full of it.

    But not you. Not you!

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    1. I might have exaggemerated. It was a Chihuahua.

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  22. You're working on book #3 already?? wow. I haven't written any, so already you're 300% ahead. Well done. I probably couldn't write one anyway. my brain would fry with the trying.
    I'm often amazed at the things dogs will eat, they're like goats.

    Pootie is adorable with the little saxophone.

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    1. Really it's book #5, but I'm only trying to get a couple of them published. (Not trying hard enough.)

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  23. After reading this 500th post and the imagery contained herein, I can't wait for you to try your hand at poetry!

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    1. Oh, but Murr has written wonderful poetry for a long time! Her "first" book is The Gronk Chronicles, which she illustrated herself, and is full of dinosaur poemetry. It is delicious, and I trust it will be eventually published as well.

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    2. I was going to briefly mention that, but you did it so much better. I do like that book. Maybe I should self-publish that? (Color illustrations=$$$$$)

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    3. Maybe this is just the sort of thing Kick starter is for. A lot of us would kick in, ya know.

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  24. Evolution. It's highly under-rated. I started blogging and went to a bloggers convention with one of the best, Old Horsetail Snake (that man could write some seriously great scat but he was before your time and then chose to exit, living in the same right (left) thinking vicinity as yourself.) I reached about 600 blog posts, wrote a couple of forced short novels in that damned November project and then trailed off as I found myself writing more and more about cancerous skin lesions. I wandered over to FB, left comments on other's blogs and then, one day, read a comment on my daughter's comment on her FB page (the real reason I signed up in the first place was to stalk my children). She wrote, "When did the internet become so boring?" Now she is spear fishing her way to a PhD on 'small scale fisheries in a global economy" and I catch her on skype about once every ten days and my heart soars. I've pretty much stopped commenting and taken up with sheep. Still, this is the one place I always stop. Around here, we love your writing plus we are big fans of both bears and saxophones. I will never tug on your sausage casing but congrats and keep on, whether it's to a #1 best seller or a collection of small shiny things rolling around in your pocket. It IS a great life, full of simple pleasures and you are one of mine.

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    1. Verklempt.

      Thank you. I still like sticking around this place, and I'm a little less active on Facebook (but that's a social life, not "work"-related), but I'm afraid I've abandoned Twitter altogether, and it didn't take me long to do it.

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  25. Congratulations and keep pumping 'em out.

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  26. You've got me for life, Murr - if you keep writing (oh please do!), I'll keep reading (or tugging). Constant delight that I never know what you'll say next or how you'll say it. Big congrats on 500th.

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  27. Poor dog couldn't even fart past the sausage casing. Glad you've been able to fart out 500 glorious, snort-worthy gems of the English language. Looking forward to the next 500.

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    1. Thank you for playing a big part in encouraging me early. Really.

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  28. Oh, my. Congrats on creating 500 of these hilarious and often thought-provoking posts. Frankly, I hope NOT to think too much about this one. But as a cat person who loved Almond Roca until today, I may never get past that comment! And that's cool, too--you have some funny followers!

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  29. Congratulations, Murr. I'm glad that in this billions-of-blogs Universe, I came across yours. That you can pull a sausage casing out of your ass and serve it up twice a week is a talent all on its own. That they are always so damn entertaining and original makes me just want to stick hot pokers in my eyes with envy. Love ya, girlfriend.

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    1. You've got nothing to be envious of. Leave them pretty eyes alone!

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  30. Congratulations on no. 500! Sausage casing, raincoat, whatever; we'll keep tugging. Seriously (is it okeh to be serious on this blog?) you are one entertaining lady.

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    1. I'll take "entertaining" with a smile, but I'm not much of a lady.

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  31. Hey Murr! I like it here. Especially the rubber gloves and tweezers. I've stopped bringing the magnifying glass, mind. Happy birthday =) Indigo

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    1. You Brits are so hygienic. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm so glad you like it here.

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  32. Life used to be so simple. It used to be, "Pull my finger". Now, it's "Pull my Sausage Casing".

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    1. Around this house, it's still "pull my finger." I can't wait to introduce my grand-nephew to that one.

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    2. Congratulations! Keep on writing and we'll keep on tugging. Platforms, platforms, seems everyone is talking about platforms which I just recently learned that I must have. Queen Latifah even helped me with that. But here I am dropping names...

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    3. Sweet pea, there are worse names you can drop. Go, Mr. Huffington Post, go!

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  33. I keep reading. I kinda like your blog. :)

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