This website has an FAQ page, but there's a question I'm frequently asked that you won't see on it: "What the heck should I write about today?" It comes up approximately once a month — and I'm the one asking it. It's what I'm wondering every time I sit down to update this website. (I don't call this a blog anymore because blogs are updated more than once a month and I don't want to be accused of false advertising.)
Today the answer to my question was a resounding "I dunno." I mean, it was obvious what I should do: Pimp my latest book. But I'd already done that here, here and here. Oh, and here. Here, too. And here. Not to mention here. I was plumb pimped out.
So I started looking for inspiration (a.k.a. procrastinating) on social media. And then it hit me. I've got hundreds of lovely, smart friends on Facebook and Twitter. (How could they not be lovely and smart? They like me. Circulus in probando.) I should ask them what they want to know.
So I did.
Is there going to be another Amlingmeyer brothers book?
—Steve W., Windsor, Georgia
Absolutely! Look for it on sale sometime between October of 2016 and December of 2022! (I have a few scheduling issues to iron out.)
Is it true you stopped writing about the Amlingmeyers because someone outdrew them?
—Frederic E., Salem, Virginia
In a sense you're right, Frederic. Big Red and Old Red were dry-gulched by that most deadly of desperadoes, The Indifferent Publisher Kid. That is one hombre with a lot of notches on his Peacemaker! So many promising mystery series gunned down in the prime of life....
Who do you most frequently get mistaken for?
—Linda M. J., somewhere in New Jersey
My wife. My 12-year-old daughter has the disconcerting habit of accidentally calling me "Mom." Maybe I need to let my beard get a little bushier so it's more obvious which parent she's talking to.
Can you ride a horse?
—Sylvia V., somewhere in North America
I have spent a grand total of 90 minutes, six seconds in the saddle. That's spread out over three rides. Two, on tired old nags, lasted 45 minutes each. One, on a feisty young filly, lasted six seconds before I found myself airborne. So, yes — I can ride a horse. Whether I can ride one well is another question entirely (and one we probably have the answer to).
How many pairs of argyle socks do you have?
—Rita G.H., Spartanburg, South Carolina
2.5. Why I'm still hanging on to that one mismatched sock I don't know. How long are you supposed to keep a widowed sock before you give up hope that its mate will return from the Dryer Vortex (or wherever it is socks go when they disappear)?
How many Words with Friends games do you usually have going?
—Jorge R., Alhambra, California
A dozen. But there's always time for more. Challenge me, guys! I'm MrKateMojo.
If you lived in the 1800s, would you have been a writer, a newspaper man, a cowboy, a city slicker, a shop owner, a con or something else?
—Airieanne A., Earth
If my family history is any indication, I would have been either an unhappy farmer or an incompetent carpenter. Not that my ancestors were unhappy farmers or incompetent carpenters. They were just farmers and carpenters. I'm the one who would have been unhappy and/or incompetent. Viva la 21st century!
If you were in a pie fight, what kind of pie would you throw if you had to eat that same kind of pie every day for the rest of your life?
—Allan E., Vancouver, B.C.
This question posits the existence of the strangest alternate reality I've ever heard of: Earth-P, where pie fights (and draconian laws about them) are commonplace. I guess if I were trapped on such a world I'd throw a pizza pie. But then I'd start looking for a cosmic treadmill. (That's a deep-cut DC Comics reference, gang.)
If the English language were on fire and you could only save five words, which would they be?
—Daisy B., Alameda, California
I hope I'd have the presence of mind to go for "someone," "call," "the," "fire" and "department."
What question have you always wanted to be asked because you have a really spiffy answer, but no one has ever asked?
—Mike F., Earth-P
"I have a million bucks I don't need — you want it?" It's very disappointing that no one's asked me that yet. Three guesses what my spiffy answer would be.
Why are you unable to embrace "Driving in My Car" by Madness?
—Ron A., Everett, Washington
The long answer: Around the time Madness went into the studio to record their fourth album, The Rise & Fall, the band began experimenting with a song style that was deliberately discordant and rhythmically herky-jerky. It might have been an outgrowth of the success of "House of Fun," their most successful single up to that point. The band pushed the punchy, borderline cacophonous feel of "House of Fun" until it became something more dissonant and unmelodious. Examples on the The Rise & Fall include "Mr. Speaker (Gets the Word)" and "New Delhi." A single, released a few months before the album but not included on it, embodied this style: "Driving in My Car." Despite my deep and abiding love for Madness (a love demonstrated by the length of this answer), it's not a style I find satisfying. I don't think it's a coincidence that when Geffen Records put together the compilation album that would break Madness in the U.S. a year later — a compilation that was more or less The Rise & Fall with half the tracks replaced by older Madness hits — "Driving in My Car," "Mr. Speaker (Gets the Word)" and "New Delhi" were all left off.
The short answer: "Driving in My Car" is naff.
And you guys thought I only got geeky about DC Comics!
Is that all there is?
—Kymberlie C. I., the Dryer Vortex
You actually want more after that last response? Or are we speaking cosmically/philosophically? In which case the answer brings us right back to the thought that inspired this whole post.