Hi Everyone -
Sorry for the long silence since my last "postcard." And that for seven months the only updates to this page have been plugs for merchandise.
I wish I could 'fess up to laziness, greed and/or simply being too consumed by research /debauchery. I wish I didn't have a "better" excuse.
A doctor's excuse.
IN 25 WORDS OR LESS
It's probably not cancerous. Probably it won't kill me anytime soon. But it seems I'm paying a price for all the secondhand smoke I inhaled during the course of my research. My doctor has suggested that it may not be too early to start thinking about the possibility of a lung transplant.
DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB
If you actually counted the words in the above paragraph, chances are you're someone who reads books.
The one aspect of my life as a "self-employed" writer/editor (/independent scholar, sometimes photographer...) that friends always seem most envious of is the hours.
The one aspect in the life of anybody with a regular job that I envy most is the benefits. No matter how miserly. More than anything else, right now I envy anyone with health insurance.
BLOOD AND FIRE
. . . is the motto on the door of the Salvation Army, my neighbors across the street.
Four years ago when I moved from Seattle to Bremerton I told friends that I was prepared for "a lot more smoke and more blood in my life." I was speaking as a non-smoker and vegetarian. I didn't foresee that the blood would be my own.
In June I started coughing. The medical bills became a problem after September, which is when I started coughing up blood.
Last week I finally saw a Seattle pulmonary specialist, who diagnosed my lungs as irreversibly damaged and resembling those of a lifelong hardcore smoker. He recommends resectioning (i.e., removing part of my lung).
NOT A LOBOTOMY, A LOBECTOMY
I haven't yet attempted to place a dollar amount on this "very expensive" thoracic surgery. For now, it's enough to know that it would cost more than my total gross income for the last two years combined. For now, it's challenge enough trying to figure out how I'm going to pay the pulmonologist. The radiologists. And certain other medical bills I haven't even opened yet--
AND keep on writing books (which - a sad fact not widely known - almost always costs an author more out-of-pocket expense than is covered by a publisher's advance).
The fact that I can still work disqualifies me from receiving any federal assistance. But even if I were in a coma, I still would not qualify for State assistance as long as I continue receiving even $.01 in royalties.
One thing is clear: this year, stretching my royalty checks to keep my Sacred Birman (" like loyal dog captured in cat body ") Chester in IAMS would take a miracle of loaves-and-fishes proportions.
THE US OF eBAY
After months of resistance, at the persistent urging of friends ("But Steve, your situation is, er, well, DESPERATE...") I am adding a PayPal donation box to this page.
I'm told I'm not the first author to ever beg for patronage.
And that coughing up blood is about as literary as illness gets.
Also, that were I born of noble stock I would feel no shame whatsoever about pleading for assistance. But as a third-generation Dutch-American from suburban Grand Rapids, MI whose father and grandfather were shopkeepers, I have an easier time asking for money in exchange for goods.
At this writing, all I have listed on eBay are signed copies of THE MASCULINE MARINE and MILITARY TRADE ("ENHANCED"). And doubly autographed copies of A NIGHT IN THE BARRACKS. But I do have more to sell. . . .
- For discerning collectors, I am creating a "MEMORABILIA" page. Offered for sale will be unusual, one-of-a-kind items (some prohibited for sale on eBay).
- An excellent new book I've contributed a chapter to will be out sometime this summer (see below). If you purchase this or any of my books, please consider ordering them directly from me -- or through my links to amazon.com (the small commission I receive from amazon.com sales is actually slightly higher than my royalty for each book sold).
- In the coming months I will also be offering for direct sale limited edition CD-R's: a photo CD containing several hundred never-before-seen "best of seadog" original images of sailors.
And as many as four audio CDs.
So, "all is not gloom and doom," I was just about to type. But that's not strictly true. Globally, nationally, locally, as well as personally, I have to say I've never before known quite this level of gloom and doom.
Then again, I have a pretty strong record of . . . thriving on adversity?
I've returned to work on the second edition of my very first book. Looking back, it might never have been published at all were it not for the gloomiest event of my life up until then: the Gulf War.
WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU BLOOD, MAKE BLUTWURST
It's funny how . . . things connect?
Last week I reconnected telephonically with Scott, the first soldier I interviewed for BARRACK BUDDIES. When the book was published, I promised that Scott and I were collaborating on a short story about his sexual adventures in the Gulf War. It took us years to accomplish it, but the result ("Semen in a Bullet") was eventually included in Alex Buchman's A NIGHT IN THE BARRACKS.
And it was nominated for inclusion in Susie Bright's BEST AMERICAN EROTICA 2003, which is now off-press.
Meanwhile, Alex Buchman's second non-fiction military erotica collection -- BARRACKS BAD BOYS: AUTHENTIC ACCOUNTS OF SEX IN THE ARMED FORCES -- is in production, and should be out around September. My contribution is a story about how I started taking pictures of sailors in smoke-filled bars. The title: "Trouble Loves Me."
More soon (this time I mean it),
PS For those who would prefer to mail a donation, my address is PO Box 1237, Bremerton, WA 98337 USA. (Everyone who helps -- or who already has -- will receive a signed, numbered copy of the limited edition Seadog Photo CD upon its release this summer.) Thanks.