Saturday, January 11, 2020

A Funny Thing Happened to Me on the Way to the Alt(a/e)r


I’m almost back to normal. Well, normal for me. 

The last few weeks have been hectic, what with my impending (is that the right word for something good?) wedding, a tree falling directly above me as I napped by the windows, my almost seven-year-old granddaughter losing her two front teeth (cue the song), and my Texas granddaughter and grandson dazzling me with their thespian talents. 

Hmm, perhaps I should rethink that last paragraph. No, not because my grousing must come across as pitifully self-absorbed in comparison to the horrors so many of our Australian friends and colleagues are enduring—our thoughts and prayers are with you all—but because now I’m married.

And my wife—there, I said it—may not take kindly to my grouping our wedding week in the same sentence with references to a near-death experience, the loss of body parts, and make believe.

Nah, she understands my ways. I’m sure she won’t even take notice.

Then again, she is an artist, and who knows what sort of subtle revenge she might take on her darling husband should she object.  After all, wasn’t it Michelangelo who incorporated the faces of his enemies in the most unflattering of ways into his work? 
This Vatican official’s face made it unflatteringly into Michelangelo’s Last Judgment for calling the work “unfit for sacred walls.”

I can only imagine (with trepidation) the sort of masterpiece a Barbara taking umbrage might be driven to create and label her “Jeffrey.”

"Jeffrey." Not!
So, on to more pleasant thoughts—not to be perceived as groveling, mind you.

In all honesty, I never thought getting married would change the way I felt.  After all, this is not exactly my first rodeo (I know, a highly questionable metaphor). Yet, over these past two weeks I’ve experienced a more measured calm and intensified sense of commitment to another soul than ever before in my life.  I most certainly held those feelings for Barbara before we wed, but it’s as if an existential spiritual presence has come aboard to captain the course of our life together.

Then again, it all might just be those traditional cultural norms of my family that I flouted for so much of my life finally getting their mitts on my subconscious. 

More likely it’s just the basic nature of Barbara in full flower. Whatever it is, I’m happy. Make that very happy.
Okay, enough of this saccharine romantic stuff. It’s time for me to get back to writing about murder and mayhem.  And for Barbara to get back to working on her “Jeffrey.” 

Perhaps now it’s safe to leave in that second paragraph.  We shall see….

"Wife's Revenge"--BCZ :) [Ed. Note: Sketched in 15 minutes]

Jeff's 2020 Speaking Engagements and Signings (in formation):

Thursday, March 12-Sunday, March 15, 2020 
San Diego, CA
LEFT COAST CRIME—San Diego Marriott Mission Valley
Panels yet to be announced

Monday, March 16, 2020, 11AM-2PM
Saddlebrooke, Arizona 85739
30th Anniversary Authors Luncheon
SaddleBrooke Clubhouse
40010 S. Ridgeview Blvd.
Author Speaking and Signing

Thursday, June 4--Sunday, June 7, 2020
CRIMEFEST—Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel

Panels yet to be announced 


  1. No matter how often someone says"It's just a piece of paper", it's not. Welcome back into the water!
    Although it was just over 36 years ago for us, Joe was nervous until we got the marriage license, and then he was calm.However, that's when I got nervous!
    As you can see, I got over it.
    I expect to see as many happy years for the two of you as God allows you to be on Earth.

    1. As a free-diver I'm used to holding my breath in the water, Tonette. Hopefully, I'll need not do it for this experience. :) Thank you for the good wishes, and for sharing that I am not alone in the experience. Here's to 36 more for you and Joe.

  2. This makes me so happy. She's too good for you, but who knows, maybe you'll change. As an old friend, in that I am a friend and I'm old, I'm delighted for both of you. My only question is, what took you so long?

    1. As usual, Tim, all of your observations are spot-on! The only question is what suddenly possessed Barbara to make a new man of me? Perhaps it was the Kool-aid.

  3. Barbara's talents excel, as always, Jeff. But you know what they say:
    'What does it mean if you wake up during the night, gasping for breath and calling your wife's name? It means she didn't hold the pillow down for long enough...'
    (Well, I'm a crime writer, what did you expect?)
    My love to you both. Long may you be happy in each other's company.

    1. My only hope, Zoë, is that if that fateful day ever comes, Barbara uses a feather pillow, giving me at least a chance at sneezing my way out of it. :) Our love back at at 'ya. xo

  4. My only question (well, the only one I'm willing to publicize) after reading your post is: in Barbara's drawing of you, why is there a pillow on your lap? Was she trying to hide something? Wouldn't a marshmallow have sufficed? And a laptop, too? Sheesh. Makes me think of those scenes in TV series when an actress has become pregnant, but they don't want to write it into the script. And stop resting your chin on your hand. Remember what happened a couple of years ago. We don't want a repeat of that. But, at least, it seems you have a comfortable place to sit. So, there's that.

    1. She caught me composing. A very different writing exercise, dear EvKa, from your mastery at literary composting. Let us say this, a pillow on the lap elevates the computer -- if not the prose -- and helps avoid carpal tunnel syndrome. As for avoiding stimulating your obsessions with my lap, marshmallows, pregnancy and my Rodin pose, I have not a clue at how to achieve that miracle. :) Nevertheless, I gratefully accept and appreciate your kind thoughts and good wishes buried in there some where. :)

    2. I must commend Barbara for her excellent sketch, by the way, captured you perfectly in just a few strokes. (No, no innuendo intended.) And I love the HEART on the computer in place of an APPLE or some other detestable company logo.

  5. Zut - what took you so long ? :) But you've taken the plunge and so thrilled and happy for you both. Sorry not to see you at CrimeFest this year and watch out for those English trees.

    1. Thanks, Cara, we're thrilled we did to. Sorry we'll miss you at CrimeFest, and I'll keep your warning in mind, be the trees falling oak or flying shoe. :)

  6. I quote Wallace stevens here: “Death is the mother of beauty. Only the perishable can be beautiful, which is why we are unmoved by artificial flowers.” Your description of being in "full flower" speaks so clearly and fully. As a 68 y o woman with a few marriages behind me, I too am feeling the glow for the first time really. To be in our "silver" years and yet to feel so alive with feeling makes every day a gift.

  7. "May the glow light our way for eternity."

    Sorry, Tottie, I just felt a Wallace Stevens wannabe moment come over me there. :)