Bushido, Beasts and the Big-Ass Bus Adventure

The Big-Ass Bus Adventure

After much delay due to one mysterious bus thing or another (including an incident where the bus driver waded into the bus waving a card, asking us if we saw anything), we finally took off in earnest. Then, a red-headed woman got on board, screaming at the top of her lungs at the driver. She stomped down the aisle and sat across from me, huffing and puffing and blowing down everyone’s houses. “Get your leg away from me!” she screamed, shoving the poor guy next to her, then kicking him with her foot. “JUST GET AWAY. DON’T TOUCH ME.”

The bus doors closed and we took off. Trapping us.

Risking the attention of Crazypants McGee, I made a dash for the back of the bus as she continued to jostle and yell. I safely secured a seat well away as she transferred her ferocity to a cell phone, threatening everyone’s job at Metro Transit Customer Service. Finally, a strapping young man barked, “Hey! Settle down already! You’re on the bus!”

This seemed to cow her. She eventually pulled out an iPad and focused on something touchy-slidy on the screen.

The Beasts

I could then focus on my Kindle again as I read ‘s Beasts of New York, which I’m enjoying immensely. Think Watership Down dipped in a vile, viscous fluid, tarry and terrifying. It’s about a squirrel named Patch whose tribe is embroiled in an all-out war in the Central Kingdom — that is, Central Park in New York City. His wandering spirit reminded me much of himself, who is now newly married. I don’t know if that’s Patch’s destiny at the end of the book — finding a mate — but the similarity warmed my heart nonetheless.

I’m also alternately reading The Complete Sherlock Holmes. In fact, I just finished A Study in Scarlet, which made me fall in love again with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I just started reading Holmes last year for the first time and I’m a complete fan.


I’ve also just started Kaiso Obata’s brand new book, Modern Bushido. There are many books on the market that bring the samurai teachings to the modern age. I’ve not read a word of them. But this one is very well-written — in part because Kaiso enlisted the editorial help of his best student, who also happens to have a Ph.D. in English lit. This makes a huge difference. Plus, Kaiso is from a samurai family line. These personal teachings come from his upbringing, which fascinates me.

It also makes me want to hit my katana-slinging class. (But I can’t because I’m on the bus.)

Last night, I sent out another volley of agent queries. I worry that the very thing that makes me highly marketable for my day job — my writing versatility — makes me unmarketable to agents, who prefer that you write one kind of thing. Many an elegant article has been written about writing the book you want to read. But, like a lot of readers, I like a variety of things. Hence, I write a variety of things. My imagination is equally ignited by urban fantasy, historical fiction, thrillers, mysteries, comedy and, most of all, social satire. Oh, and non-fiction: true crime, memoir, humor books (I have multiple proposals), etc. My family history often invokes people’s riveted attention when I talk about it. I want to write the equivalent of On Golden Mountain but for my Scottish and Native American family history, complete with white slavery, insanity and chilling felonies.

I also want to write about a 1984 triple homicide in my home town that included a girl I knew in high school. The D.A. eventually shot himself and the witnesses recanted, claiming the murders were part of a Satanic, baby-noshing ritual.

Awesome does not begin to describe this.

Maybe Kaiso has something to say about my problems. I need some bushido in my books.

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