realman_pb_cover_FINAL_PRWhy They’re Called Passports

Partial transcript of a telephone conversation I had with a representative of the U.S. Department of State ¹ [after having my passport renewal application rejected and returned in the mail]:

ME: I don’t understand what the problem is. You have my fee, you have my correctly filled-out application, and you have a letter from a surgeon saying that I had sexual reassignment surgery and have lived as a man for several years.

Not long ago, Burrow Press released a daring collection titled 15 Views of Orlando, a flash novella written, edited, and published by a team of local Orlandoans. Hardly a cluttered mash of contributions, this compilation consists of intertwined vignettes, which vary in perspective and flair. More than just a writing prompt, editor Nathan Holic challenged the status quo of literary form and function by requiring fifteen writers to submit a story set in Orlando, keep it under 1000 words, and turn it over for review in a single week.

 (The Merry-Go-Round is Beginning to Taunt Me[1])

 

1. Author As [not circus] Dog Trainer (Cris)

You can’t lie to a dog. Or you can’t lie badly. While training dogs, you need to be “telling” them, with both body-language and voice, that they are the center of the universe to you, and that what they do for you—and what you’re doing together—makes you happier, and means more to you, than anything else in the world. They can tell if you’re lying. If you’re unconsciously communicating to them that you’re disappointed or upset because you’re thinking about something else, something offstage—whether your life’s true dilemma or your most current disappointment—they take it on as stress. To dogs, it’s all about them. So the trainer has to be able to convince the dog of that, whether it’s true in the trainer’s larger life or not. Problem is, the dog can usually tell. A good trainer doesn’t have “a larger life.” It’s never “just a dog” and therefore easy to lie to.

“You’re going to sell books, in this economic climate?”  In This Economic Climate.  In This Economic Climate.  In This Economic Climate. Really, it’s often like a Seinfeld skit.