spotted in the wild

Posted May 24, 2023 by Paul Lamb
Categories: Fathers and Sons


Here’s One-Match Fire on the new releases shelf at the community library near by cabin. I stopped in there on Monday (on my way to the cabin) to see if it was on the shelf. When I had donated it, they said it was likely that they would add it to their circulating collection, but I couldn’t find it in their online catalog. (I was using it wrong.) When I walked in, they knew who I was (not sure how) and walked me right to it. They said that it was just back from having been borrowed by a patron.

bits and pieces

Posted May 18, 2023 by Paul Lamb
Categories: Fathers and Sons, Ramblings Off Topic

I visited my cabin on Tuesday, We had nearly four inches of rain there in the last week, and I worried that the lake filled and then poured over the spillway, washing it out (because that’s what seems to happen ever couple of years). I needn’t have worried. Though the lake was up about a foot (great!), it was still down about three feet from full pool. My guess is that the ground was so dry that much of that rain soaked in rather than ran off to fill the lake. That’s a good thing too, so I wasn’t disappointed (much).


The image above is of the phoebe nest on the side of my cabin, just by the door. These fellows were very still when I approached them, but each time I returned, they had rearranged themselves. This was the best photo I took since it showed all five of them (count the beaks if you’re having trouble seeing them).

I’ve said before that phoebes have been building their mud nests here for more than ten years. My coming and going through the cabin door no doubt stresses them, but I’m only around for a few hours a couple times a month, and the nest seems to be thriving, so I don’t let myself feel too bad about it.

I also learned that someone’s cattle have been grazing on my dam. The luxuriant grass normally there is trimmed close to the ground, and other evidence of cattle presence was here and there. I didn’t see any obvious path of destruction (as I have in the past) showing me where they made their incursion, and I didn’t feel like hiking a mile of fence in the rain to find the breach, but I suppose I will have to next visit (and then do something about repairing it). Good Neighbor Craig says a property owner to the south of us has complained (repeatedly) of cattle getting on her land and destroying some prairie restoration work she’s been trying to do.


Did I tell you about grand #9? Agnes Ann Johnson was born on May 1. She goes by Aggie, and she seems to be loved by her sister and two brothers. Agnes was my grandmother’s name and the middle name of her father’s grandmother. I haven’t met her yet though my wife was in NYC for the birth (well, handling the older kids when mom and dad did the birth experience). If all goes to plan, she will be coming here in July, at which time Small Paul’s little brother may have also arrived!


The life of an author, I have learned, is one of hustle. I have been recording a few podcast interviews in recent weeks. Several are scheduled in the days and weeks before Father’s Day since that holiday aligns nicely with the theme of the novel. I’ll post links here and on social media when they go live. I am constantly looking for other opportunities to get One-Match Fire out there. (And when I’m not, I’m writing the two sequels to it!)


I learned earlier this week that One-Match Fire is now in the circulating collection of the county library near my cabin. I had donated a copy toward that possibility. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find it in their online search function. Not remotely, anyway. They assure me it’s on the shelf and in the system, and I can be happy with that.

my interview is now up at Blogging with My Fountain Pen

Posted May 15, 2023 by Paul Lamb
Categories: Fathers and Sons, Humble efforts

Tags: ,

I was recently interviewed by Annalisa Crawford of the Blogging with My Fountain Pen site. It was a pleasant experience, and Annalisa has given it a wonderful presentation. You can read the interview here. You’re also free to leave a comment there.

Annalisa is a writer herself, and there are links on her blog to her novels and short stories.

“2AG” has found a home

Posted May 11, 2023 by Paul Lamb
Categories: Humble efforts, Running, short stories

Tags: ,

I don’t seem to have been posting much here because there doesn’t seem to be much writerly stuff going on in my life (except the marathon of writing I’m doing on a sequel to One-Match Fire, which, like a real marathon, is not very glamorous until you cross the finish line).

But this morning I do have some writing news. My humorous short story “2AG” has been accepted by OpenDoor Magazine for publication this summer. I had submitted for their Envy theme, which my story does seem to fit pretty well. (According to Duotrope, where I record my submissions, “2AG” had been in consideration there for 292 days, which is long though not unheard of. The publication had sent an email last fall saying it was changing its frequency — going from a monthly to a quarterly — so I was fine with letting my story remain under consideration for however long it took.)

“2AG” is an acronym (can you call it an acronym if one of the characters is numeric?) for “Second in Age Group,” which is an award category for running races. (Believe it or not, I have won a 2AG twice in my running career!) I had talked my wife into doing a 5K with me long ago, and she had a miserable time. But then one of us won a 2AG for the event. You’ll have to read the story when it comes out to learn who that was.

Curiously, OpenDoor Magazine published my story “A System Reboot” last summer. That was also a fictionalized account of a very interesting day my wife experienced.

I’ll post a link when “2AG” appears online. Should be the end of May.

update on phoebe’s nest

Posted April 17, 2023 by Paul Lamb
Categories: Roundrock


Last week I noted that a phoebe had built a new nest on the side of my cabin where there had been one for many years. On my visit over the weekend I found four eggs in the nest. (Sorry about the blurry photo.)

One year we recorded three successful clutches and a fourth with an outcome we never learned.

Also on that trip we saw a kettle of turkey vultures over the south ridge. We often see two or three there, but there were more than a half dozen this time.

Update 11MAY23 – When I was at the cabin just over a week ago, I peeked into the nest and saw at least four and maybe five hatchlings. They’re all fuzzy right now, so it was hard to distinguish them from each other. Also, my phone camera won’t focus well under those conditions.

Sunday Sentence

Posted April 16, 2023 by Paul Lamb
Categories: Ramblings Off Topic

This is one of my occasional participations in David Abram’s Sunday Sentence project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.”

“You wake up again and it’s Spain again.”

Source: Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry

bits and pieces – where have I been edition

Posted April 12, 2023 by Paul Lamb
Categories: Ramblings Off Topic

Yes, I’m still around. Not sure why it’s been a few weeks since I last posted. Perhaps just the tedium of my life with little to report. I can report that the phoebe has returned to build her mud nest on the side of my cabin. We’d had a nest in this same spot (as shown above) for years, but last summer no one returned to it, and we found it fallen on one of our visits.

Then last weekend when we went, there was a new nest. And the phoebe was flitting about the trees in front of the cabin, not happy about our coming and going in her space. There were no eggs in the nest then, but I would not be surprised if there were by our next visit.

I first noted a phoebe nest on the side of our cabin in 2012. No individual phoebe lives that long, so this must be a generational phenomenon. Some offspring seems to have returned to the same spot to build a new nest. I like to think that anyway.


I’m still getting accustomed to the life of hustle an author must have. Getting publicity for One-Match Fire can be a full-time job of its own if I let it. I’ve had some success, but I think there is always opportunity for more (if the spirit is willing, that is). I’ve had the novel reviewed on a couple of websites, and I’ve recorded interviews with four podcasts so far with three more scheduled. Only one, episode 305 of This Podcast Will Change Your Life, is available, but as the others come online, I’ll post links for them.

I’m also having some success getting my novel placed in libraries, but that requires just as much hustle. I don’t think I’ll ever understand the arcane logic that governs how selections are made for a library’s collection.


Someday I will see One-Match Fire in the wild. Someone in the seat next to me on a plane or at a coffee shop will be reading it. I’ll see it on someone’s bookshelf. In a library I didn’t pester.

I did look for it on ABE Books, the online used bookstore, and found thirteen copies for sale, nearly all of them for a price greater than the list price. I suppose I should be flattered by this.


I’m not sure if I updated you on this, but 2023 will see the arrival of THREE new grandchildren. I was in New York a couple of weeks ago to be the third adult in the room should my daughter and her husband have to dash to the hospital a few weeks early for the delivery of a daughter. Fortunately for all, that did not happen on my watch, but if it had, I would have gotten the siblings to school and more or less fed and to bed and such. My wife will be going up there next week, and we all hope that’s when the baby will come.

At the end of June, my grandson Small Paul in St. Louis is expecting a new brother. Once again, my wife will have grandmother duties there.

And finally, in late August my two granddaughters in Seattle will see the arrival of a little sister.

In total, I will have eleven grandchildren, which is big but not as big as the cohort I am in. I am one of fifty grandchildren my paternal grandmother had.

#Sunday Sentence

Posted March 19, 2023 by Paul Lamb
Categories: Ramblings Off Topic

Tags: , ,

This is one of my occasional participations in David Abram’s Sunday Sentence project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.”

“Of course all altruism was in some way selfish.”

Source: The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

#Sunday Sentence

Posted March 5, 2023 by Paul Lamb
Categories: Ramblings Off Topic

Tags: , ,

This is one of my occasional participations in David Abrams’ Sunday Sentence project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.”

“All my life, I have taken satisfaction in finishing things in order that I may experience a sense of achievement, regardless of whether the thing was really worth achieving.”

Source: Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

under the pines

Posted March 2, 2023 by Paul Lamb
Categories: Ramblings Off Topic, Roundrock


Most of our trips to Roundrock are for fun and games and foolishness, but sometimes we have grimmer tasks.

On Monday my wife and I buried her dog, Queequeg, under the pines in our forest. Queequeg was nearly 15 years old, which put him in his golden years but wasn’t exceedingly old for a small dog. Queequeg was a Pomeranian. He’d been getting slower and would breathe heavily after he climbed the stairs and such, but he didn’t show any overt signs of infirmity. On the night he died, he had been chasing his ball and accepting treats and wagging his tail only an hour before. And then he laid down and went to sleep and didn’t wake. It seemed to be a painless death.

I’ve buried two other dogs (and a rabbit) out in my forest. The dirt under the pines is good, with no rocks, so that’s where we put Queequeg. I stopped at the hardware store in town and got a Beware of Dog sign that I placed over his head after I put him in the hole I dug. I can’t throw dirt on my dogs’ faces. We also put his two favorite toys and a dog biscuit with him. After that I partially filled the hole and then placed a large stone in it. My hope is that this will thwart any scavengers. Then I finished filling the hole and placed a flat sandstone rock atop it. I intend to return to etch his initial in the stone. My wife dug up some daffodils from our dog Max’s grave and planted them beside the new one.

Queequeg was named not for the tattooed harpooner in Moby-Dick but another Pomeranian that appeared in an episode of The X Files years ago. Although Flike is four times his size, Queequeg was always the alpha between them.

In the early mornings we had a routine. I would go downstairs to fetch my tea, and Queequeg would greet me. I would let him outside, and when he came in, he got a treat. He tried to modify this by skipping the going outside part, and sometimes he got his way. It’s odd going downstairs now in the early morning and not seeing him asleep by the door.