Saturday, July 30, 2016

Looking at things differently

Or trying to . . .

I don't think of myself as an overly fearful person, but I've come to realize that I do have a fear of things going terribly wrong in the future.  This is probably one of the reasons my life motto is "Things could be worse, and they probably will be."

I've worried about the people I love dying and coping with financial difficulties and enduring poor health.  Sometimes I feel like disaster is lurking around every corner, and I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Who knew I was this person?

And so I've decided to look at problems as opportunities, which sounds like a bunch of New Age-y B.S., but whatever.  An opportunity seems like a more hopeful thing than a disaster.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016


I've been missing my friend Sharon Kamerath lately.  I mean, I always miss Sharon, who passed away a few years ago.  But the last few days I've really, really, REALLY missed her.

Sharon had been ill for a long time and knew she was dying, which meant that she had time to arrange a few things--Sharon was a natural born arranger--and one of the things she did was to tell her family and friends that if they ever found a stray button, they'd know she'd been visiting.

Anyway.  I've found myself looking for buttons.  On the street.  In my car.  Around town.  I haven't found any.  Until I looked up just now and saw that vase full of button flowers my daughter-in-law Julie made for me.  It's just sitting there.  On my window sill.


Oh, Sharon.  Thanks for reminding me that sometimes the thing we're looking for is right in front of us.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Last night at the bookstore

The author Kent Haruf's wife, Cathy, joined us for a discussion about her late husband and his work.

Let it be said that Cathy Haruf is splendid--intelligent, funny, warm, and strikingly good-lucking.  With her white hair and enormous brown eyes, she stands out.  And her husband, of course, was a gifted storyteller.  So it was interesting to hear her talk about his process which involved going out to a tool shed, putting on a cap and pulling it down over his eyes so he couldn't see what he was typing, and going to work on a typewriter.  He used the hat, Cathy said, to keep from being distracted.

When he finished his work, he would give it to Cathy, who would go through his (apparently) stream-of-consciousness, single-spaced draft, clean it up and input it into the computer.

As a writer myself, I have to say this is huge.  HUGE.  She was, and I'm sure he acknowledged this, a writing partner.

And this got me to thinking about my own writing life and how I didn't have a wife to run interference for me in all the ways that women will run interference for the men they love--especially if they feel like those men are geniuses.  They feed them, they shield them from unnecessary interruptions, they encourage, they edit, they listen, they protect his time and his space.

As it turns out, I would not have been a writer if it weren't for Ken Cannon.  He truly encouraged and encourages me to write.  He sent off my first manuscript--the one that eventually became Cal Cameron by Day, Spider-Many by Night--after I had lost confidence in it and myself.  He has always made it possible for me to leave when I needed time to focus.  And, of course, his paycheck has supported us--something I would have not been capable of doing on my writing income alone.  So I appreciate him more than words can say.

But I do have to say last night caused me to reflect about the differences in our lives when it comes to gender.  Men can write through life.  Women have to write around it.

Thursday, July 21, 2016


So, true confession time:  my family and I never really got into the Harry Potter books the way everybody else did.  But I seriously LOVED that people did.

For my next Trib books piece I want to write about people's favorite reading-Harry-Potter memories. If you have something you'd like to contribute, I'd love it.  E-mail me at

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Emails from readers

Most of the time my column in the Salt Lake Tribune is genial.  And most of time I avoid mentioning a) religion and b) politics because plenty of others are happy to mention away on those topics.  But every now and then I let loose and do a little flame-throwing, which makes me feel like my old friend Robert Kirby for a day.  Of course there's pushback when I do that, so going through my email can get . . . interesting.

Anyway, today's column was an open letter to D-Trump, scolding him for his (I believe) cynical exploitation of Islamophobia.  Predictably there were e-mails waiting for me.  Oh, yes.  There were e-mails.  This was my favorite:

The Sudoku puzzle on today's puzzle website is the same puzzle from yesterday. I've noticed this happening lately. Maybe I just haven't been that observant until lately. It would be nice to have a new puzzle each day. Any chance of that?

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Question of the Day

I just turned on the Marlins v. Braves game.

Not that I care about either one of those teams but it's summer and baseball must be on at all times here at Chez Cannon.

Anyway.  The organist (you know how some franchises still have an old school organ player?) just busted out a version of Greensleaves.  Which leads me to my question.

Does Greensleaves scream baseball to you?