Phil Cobb, Author

Fun, Follies and Loss of Innocence in Novel Land

Driving Mr. Dad

Dad teaching teen how to drive

Maybe I could jiggle the steering wheel and he wouldn’t notice

One of the rites of passage is learning to drive.

When I made it through the driver training course at high school, my dad thought it was safe for him to get in a car with me in the driver’s seat.

Unfortunately, the car he chose was his Porsche.

Talk about being puffed-up over a possession.

He had special driving gloves and a slouchy English-style driving hat.

(For a German car, shouldn’t he have had one of those cuckoo clock hats with feathers sticking up?)

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Turkey Trouble

Shocked Young Woman Looking At Smoke Coming Out Of Oven In Kitchen

‘Tis better to open the oven door or not to open the oven door? We found out

When the weather turns cool and fall rolls around, it’s time for turkey.

I’ve been to and hosted quite a few Thanksgivings, but one was my most memorable.

That happened some years ago when the wife and I put a huge, big-butted turkey in a baking pan with very low sides.

Let’s face it, that pan was barely deeper than a cookie sheet.

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How I write in the shower

Note pad in shower

Yes, I know, the handwriting in the photo isn’t the best, but that’s because I wrote these notes for my book while standing up in the shower.

Why would I do that?

Well, haven’t you ever had a great thought strike you when you’re all wet?

And then you’ve forgotten that brilliant idea by the time you got out?

Me, too.

In fact, I’ve had too many ideas for my writing go down the drain, so this is the solution I found — waterproof paper.

It absolutely works!

What’s that, you ask?

Nope, the pencil lead does not smear at all.

P.S. My handwriting has gotten better.

Now I can read it.

Let’s kill all adverbs . . . or not

Zombie-like people chasing man

Adverb happily played his part in sentences until we turned on him

Once upon a time, there was a happy place called WordLand, where the various parts of speech would leave their village to frolic in Keyboard Meadow, joyously helping fiction authors tell their stories.

That is, they were happy until Great King Stephen rode up on his mighty steed — On Scribbling — and thrust his lance at the throng, pointing in turn at Verb, Noun, Adjective, Pronoun, Preposition, Conjunction and Interjection.

“What is wrong with you? Why do you form yourselves into sentences with that despicable wretch, the abomination of good StoryTelling?”

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Me and Billy the Kid

Writer with a retro typewriter

Yippee ki-yay! I was going to run down this Wild West story and ride it to the big time

As mentioned in I Become a Crawling Thing, for a while I used to be what’s called a freelancer.

Basically, you’re a journalistic tumbleweed. You roll around trying to find an editor to hire you for an assignment at whatever pitiful pay you can get.

Scrounging for dollars back in the day, I rolled into a chamber of commerce office with a big tip for the magazine editor. One of my relatives had other relatives who claimed that one of their kinfolk actually knew Billy the Kid, the legendary western gunslinger.

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I try to help a bully

1959 elementary classroom

This wasn’t my classroom, but it takes me back to that day

 Do you ever wonder about somebody from back in your school days . . .  and how they turned out?

I do.

Probably the one I’ve wondered about the most is Bub. A bully.

Why?

Because of what somebody said about him.

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A spy gets me in from the cold

Boss yelling at an employee

The copy desk chief was really excited about my ability to edit news stories

If you remember from I’m Tagged as a Misfit, I needed money but I was striking out in finding a job.

In my interviews, I showed up overdressed, got pegged as a troublemaker, and channeled the Cheshire Cat.

Afterward, I sat at home lamenting the year I spent writing The Not-So-Great American Novel only to follow it with Western schlock that got whipped out of town by a New York City publisher.

Great. No book. No job. No money.

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I’m tagged as a misfit

Unnerved man at desk

When my year of novel writing flopped, I forced myself to enter the work force

If you tuned in to my prior post — A Flying Saucer Lands on Me — you know that my lifetime goal was to stay in my cheap apartment writing in my underwear.

To continue that wonderful lifestyle, I was counting on a quickie Western book to lasso me out of a deepening financial hole.

But when I tossed my manuscript over the transom of a New York publishing company, they heaved it back like a sack of mealy flour.

There was no more pretending to be a starving writer when the fiction might come true.

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