The Brits say “up sticks and moved house.” I like the way it makes moving sound—active and positive. For several months now that’s what I’ve been to stay active and positive.
I am moving away from Pine Mountain Club after
17 years, a village in the central California mountains, where I’ve
been very happy. But the mountains—probably the mountains anywhere—are
cold and the arthritis is getting me down. It’s hard to type with cold,
crabbed, blue fingers.
I know I could be happy somewhere else, preferably somewhere warmer.
Many places beckon, Ecuador, Florida, Ontario, San Diego. I know I can’t
go back to Santa Monica where I was happy for a generation and was the
inspiration of my five Dave Mason mysteries.
Ventura beckons. It’s commuting distance from Pine Mountain Club, coastal California, and warm enough in the winter. I can keep a hand in with all the arty events that I love so much in Pine Mountain.
Many times lately I’ve had the image of picking up this house
and decanting all my belongings into cardboard boxes and
driving off the mountains down the hill
to Ventura on the coast. But anyone who has ever moved, and
that’s all of us, knows the reality is quite different.
The prep work starts with shelves high up in closets going through
old boxes of papers and photographs, each of which contains an emotional
bomb. A copy of the review of my first novel No Dice.
Old play programs, ticket stubs, clippings? Keep or throw out?
Fondling a broken figurine given to me by someone whom I loved dearly?
How could I throw that out? I made terrible decisions and reduced many
boxes into a few.
I’ve devoted little bandwidth to
worshiping my Domestic Goddess. And it showed. However, people will
clean for you, if you pay them? Great, huh?
The downstairs of this
house is so chilly, and heating so expensive, I’ve spent little time
downstairs. The upstairs where I live was a little better.
I try to change a light bulb and the neighborhood blacks out. But you
can hire fix it guys too and I found a great one. Better even, his wife is a
set designer, and loved the challenge of rearranging my house. I
obviously have no taste and less imagination because what she created
And Mel Weinstein,
a photographer of renown, did a photo shoot that made every room appear
lofty, cavernous, and vast. Well, it is a big house, but it is not
The rest is up to me. I have to keep this house uncluttered and
clean--not my natural bent. Buyers can visit any time, any day.
The cat boxes must be attended, my old dog’s pee pads disposed of
instantly. I must nourish and maintain the flowers I’ve planted.
In these last few months my ambition to finish my sixth mystery has dimmed. I'm deciding on a title between Pounce and The Most Dangerous of Species. Ventura may fire up the ambition once again.
Writing gritty police procedurals will be the most important thing in my life. I hope. I've missed it.