What does he want?

I was speaking with J.W. Manus about my WIP and she asked me this question regarding my main character–

“What does he want?”

I gave her an answer, but she asked,

“What does he really want?”

I gave her another answer and she asked,

“But what does he really really want?”

And then she had to leave our chat to take care of her mini-minion.

But she left me with that hanging question, kind of like a hanging glacier or a dangling participle. It nagged at me.

What does he want?

Last night as I worked on the book I realized there is no single answer to the question. What my protagonist wants changes as the situation changes. He finds himself stuck in circumstances beyond his control. When others change the rules of the game, so to speak, what he wants changes accordingly.

It’s like football. I’m a big fan of the Read-Option. Colin Kaepernik of the San Francisco 49ers and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks (Superbowl champs) play the Read-Option. R.G. III of the Washington Redskins ain’t so bad either.

So the question becomes– What does the quarterback want? To avoid the sack. To connect with his receiver. To hand off successfully. To run the ball. To beat the defense. Using every option available to him, knowing some really big nasty adrenaline-fueled guys are on the line of scrimmage waiting for an opportunity to crush him. So I guess the answer is what the quarterback wants is to slip out of their grasp, remain elusive. He wants to keep them guessing, but he knows they might crush him anyway.

Colin Kaepernik

Colin Kaepernik

But in the end he wants to win.

I have a general outline. I know where this story is going, how it will end. But the middle is interesting. My characters are making adjustments after every single play. My protagonist and his sidekick, for lack of a better word, must play the Read-Option if they are to have any chance of beating the bigger guys on the other side of the line. If they want to survive, what they want will change from day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute.

If I ever realize one single answer to Jaye’s question, I’ll let you know.




Well, I don’t know about you…

but I’m exhausted. Big football Sunday, house guests just departed…

There’s only one thing left to say after the ‘Niners demise in Seattle– Go Broncos!

A video that makes me smile. I’m a sucker for sports-ish commercials.

And this:

Lakewood High School Lip Dub 2013 – Roar from Lakewood High School on Vimeo.

Trying not to jynx it!

Gettin’ ready for the big game – the ‘Niners vs the Seahawks. It’s gonna get ugly, my friends.

Regardless, if one is a football fan, one is obligated to put out a football spread. Football food is an essential part of fandom. My contribution will be tuna cream cheese chili dip with veggies, pine nut humus with pita chips, artichoke dip with jalapenos, salsa and chips. And beer. Lots of beer.

Go ‘Niners!


The Tao of Football.

The Tao is a Chinese concept or philosophy known as the way.  Laozi (or Lao Tsu) says in the foundational text of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching, the Tao is the underlying natural order of the universe which, as opposed to material manifestations, cannot be named.

The Tao

Thus, football.  Therein lies its essence– an underlying natural order of sport which cannot be named.

It’s that time of year again, ladies and germs… Football Season in the great old US of A!  College ball has already started.  The pros play for reals next weekend.

Here’s the deal.  I fell in love with football as a child sitting on my daddy’s knee.  It wasn’t just Joe Namath’s tousled locks and bad boy good looks that sucked me in…

Joe Namath

It was the zen of a perfect throw and catch, the leap of faith that allows a runner to run a pattern, blind to his quarterback, yet turn and expect the ball.  The leap of faith that allows a quarterback to release a ball from his fingertips, a ball which sails in a beautiful spiral to the exact spot where a runner will be when the ball at last spends its kinetic energy and returns to earth in an arc linking the two men like a perfect umbilical cord.

Oh joy!  Rapture!

When the stars are in alignment, no moment in time has greater mystical significance than that particular throw and that particular catch. But the experience is larger than that.  It is, if you will, a moment out of time.

And therein lies the appeal of football, it is filled with such moments which cannot be named. Takes my breath away.

Over the years I’ve had my up close and personal moments– a former boyfriend, T. Z., a tight end with the nicest, ahem, tight end.  I will always remember his 80 yard touch down run– our quarterback, M.K., threw a twenty yard pass from our own goal line.  T.Z. ran down the left sideline, glanced over his right shoulder just as the ball arrived.  He pulled it into his chest, tucked it under his left arm and ran for an 80 yard touch down.  The Tao.

But here are a few of the greats and my favorites:

R.I.P. Sweetness.  Walter Payton.

R.I.P. Sweetness. Walter Payton.

Jim McMahon - suffers from  post concussive syndrome.  But he was a beautiful quarterback.

Jim McMahon – suffers from post concussive syndrome. He was an amazing physical quarterback.

Franco Harris - gotta love those Steelers!

Franco Harris – gotta love those Steelers!

Now, for all you die-hard sports fans, a guest commentary on the nature of today’s quarterbacks by none other than ‘Oscar’, my own in-house sports expert:

We seem to be at an inflexion point in football. The classic drop back QB is no longer the only way to go. Last season 4 young QBs burst on the NFL scene and led their teams to the playoffs. They seem to be the heirs apparent to Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.

The new QBs are Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin (RG3) and Colin Kaepernick. There are other talented young QBs (Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford) but these are the guys who have shown the ability to win consistently.

The QB in college football is changing too. Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy as a 6’1″ running freshman QB and after week 1 of the college season several freshman have already broken records including Cal’s Jared Goff who at 18 years old and 4 months removed from his high school prom threw for 455 yards in his college debut (more than Aaron Rodgers (former Cal QB) ever did and the second most in Cal history.

It is hard to project QB excellence as players advance from one level to the next. Case in point, the freshman QB for Texas Tech, Baker Mayfield. He was a walk on (meaning nobody recruited him and he didn’t have a scholarship). So how did his first game go? Not bad, 413 yards, 4 TDs passing and another rushing and no interceptions in a win.

So much for 5-star recruits. Luck and Griffin were the #1 and #2 picks in their draft but neither Kaepernick nor Wilson were first round choices. Manziel was not one of the top 20 QB prospects coming out of high school.

Forecasting QB success is not easy, but it’s always interesting.







Football Food!

I was ordered to produce Football Food for this glorious playoff weekend.  So here is my attenuated version…

(Oh, and he says, “There better be beer and some guac!”)

Guacamole, salsa and chips.

Guacamole, salsa and chips.

Hot artichoke jalapeno dip.

Hot artichoke jalapeno dip.

Spicy turkey meatballs.

Spicy turkey meatballs.

Yeah yeah yeah.  I got plenty of beer.  Go ‘Niners!

You know the secret Zen of football?  Because, indeed there is one.  If testosterone-laden members of the male gender played football instead of fighting wars our world would be a much better place.