Dark Days

By Bob Howard

It’s dark when I get up in the morning to go to work, and it’s dark forty minutes after I get home in the evening. It’s not tearing me up too badly yet, but we’ve got a month and a half of shortening days before the winter solstice, when everything turns around and starts heading the other direction. I’m considering buying one of those light bulbs that recreates the full spectrum of sun – or maybe pick up a used tanning bed. How funny would that be to go running around Los Molinos with a full on, all-body, Los Angeles style sun-tan? Or I could go the politician’s or Donald Trump’s route and glop on way too much fake orange tan cream. Who decided that was a good look?

Fire! Fire! Fire!

My preferred method for dealing with the shorter days and cooler weather is regular doses of fire – the bigger the better. We had a good one this past weekend. A huge cottonwood on the back half of the property dropped some large limbs. I threw those on top of a pile of willow I’d hacked out of the creek the winter before. Everything was nice and dry and it went up like a torch. Unfortunately, the pile was in direct view of the main artery feeding from Los Molinos to Tehama and Gerber, and it turns out we were slightly beyond the permitted burning hours. As a result we got a friendly visit from our neighborhood firefighters. They were cool though. Initially they told me I had to extinguish the fire – which honestly, I don’t know how I would have gone about doing at that point. I told them I’d get my rake. But after speaking with them briefly, and basically being friendly instead of acting like a dickhead, they told me that so long as I added no new material to the fire and let it burn down, they wouldn’t worry about it. No problem, that was my plan anyway. What really made me laugh was the younger of the two firefighters who showed up. He seemed to be more bummed out than I was about them coming out. He must have said five times “we’re just doing our jobs,” and “we don’t make the rules.” I wasn’t even arguing with them. I almost wanted to tell him “it’s okay man, we’ll be okay.” He looked so dejected – clearly he did not relish the part of the job that required him to go around and tell people to put out their bonfires.

November Novel Progress

My November Novel has turned from a flow of creativity into a bitter, caustic slog. As of this writing I am ever so slightly behind schedule, but I am afraid it isn’t going to get any easier. The story itself is probably two-thirds done, but the goal of the month is 50,000 words, and I’m hovering around 20,000 right now. I’m thinking the second half of the month will be going back and filling in scenes. They need to be filled in, but it’s going to be a challenge to eke out the 1,667 words a day needed to hit the 50,000-word goal.

More Songwriting Competition!

The Maltese on Park Avenue is holding a December songwriting contest. It starts on December 1st and then they whittle down the crowd until there are only two left – a head to head songwriting duel. I love it! Hope to see you there.

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Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.