To start, let me rant for a bit.
Upon seeing my ratings for the preceding page, I observed an interesting phenomenon that I thought warranted a bit of commentary.
One reader thought my writing warranted a perfect rating of five stars. Another one so very considerately gave me only one star and then did not bother to inform me why. This person apparently could use some lessons in etiquette, but that is beside the point.
The point is that something is very wrong here. It's understandable that two different people could read the same thing and come away with differing opinions, but I would only expect a difference of one or two stars. When one of them considers something to be "perfect" and the other one thinks that the exact same text is "awful," that is another matter entirely. There are, of course, a multitude of different scenarios that could account for the discrepancy.
Scenario A: My writing was, indeed, perfect, and the person who considered it to be awful was having a terrible day.
Scenario B: My writing was, in fact, awful, and the person who gave me five stars is easily amused.
Scenario C: My writing was, at best (and at worst), mediocre, and both parties overreacted a bit.
While there are more possibilities, Scenario C (or something similar) seems most likely to me. I do not think that page was perfect, nor do I think that it was awful, although I am, of course, biased. If you want to see awful, check out half of the papers I wrote for English last year.
* * *
When outsiders think about the Pacific Northwest, where I live, they generally fail to consider that a fair portion of it is actually desert.
I'm sure some of you can relate.
"Oh," they say. "You're from Oregon/Washington? Doesn't it rain all the time there?"
Sometimes it does, in some places, but certainly not 'all the time.' Where I live, we usually have droughts and the occasional wildfire. I once watched the car thermometer crawl up to 114 degrees (F).
To dispel some other stereotypes, no, I do not live in a cabin in the woods, nor is my father a lumberjack.
* * *
In our house, we have a clock that, on the change of every hour, chirps the song of a different bird. It is very amusing to watch guests jump and start looking around for a parakeet.
My late dog, Casper, in a nearly Pavlovian turn of events, learned to associate the five-o'-clock bird with his dinnertime. The moment it began to twitter, he would take out his favorite tennis ball or squeaky toy and start kicking it around the kitchen.
* * *
I am, as you have probably gathered from my leaping from topic to topic, not a particularly consistent individual. I'm not even consistent in my inconsistency. Some people find this disturbing and probably think that I have some sort of mental disorder. For the record, insofar as I know, I do not. None diagnosed, at least, by myself or anyone else.
Not that I didn't try.
Since I couldn't find any disease that adequately fit my own psyche, I started assigning them to my characters. Thus, over the years, I have written about several different alcoholics, a few people with some form of PTSD, two individuals with bipolar disorder, one with schizophrenia, one with autism, and many more with problems of my own invention. Most of the time, I imply that the character has the disorder without revealing it directly. That way, if I haven't quite portrayed something accurately, no one has to know.