User discount-gucci-boots-793184 asks:

Ahaa, its fastidious dialogue concerning this piece of writing here at this weblog, I have read all that, so now me also commenting here?

Grak:

Well, thank you, dear reader. While I can’t say I fully understand your question, I think I get where you’re coming from, Ms. Boots. You see, I too “have read all that,” and much like you, I can find no other place with such fastidious dialogue as in Things Grak Hates. And I think this is why I felt such a deep connection to your question. For average folks like you and me, it can be difficult to find good weblogs that meet such a high standard. But when we do, the joys they release in our hearts leave us speechless, and all we can utter is a mere “ahaa.” If I can let you in on a little secret, I like to think the extra “a” at the end of “ahaa” is for the extra amazement one feels in reading about my life.

So, in summary, yes, you are commenting here. And yes, you did the right thing.

“The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.”

—– Mark Twain

“Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say.”

—– Sharon O’Brien

There’s big news on the lips of all the who’s who of my desk: Things Grak Hates will launch in the next few months. But you already knew that, didn’t you? Of course you did, you sly fox. But that’s not why I’m writing this post. No, my purpose here is to inform all of my faithful readers of the launch plans. See the difference? It’s subtle, but it’s there.

So, first of all, every post or notable quote from now until the release will be focused on one of three topics: Grak, writing, or exploring some aspect relating to the story of Things Grak Hates. This could change, of course, depending on my whims, but that should be fairly reliable information. Now, I’m sure most of you aren’t interested in that news, but some do enjoy my posts on faith and religion, so I wanted to let those ones down easily. I’ll pick those issues back up once Things Grak Hates is released, but for now I need to focus on the launch.

Now on to the interesting part of this post. Fans Grak Loves will be excited to find out about a special series of posts we’ll be running until the launch. This series will be called Ask Grak (please be careful about repeating this title around sensitive ears).

Throughout this series I’ll be giving Grak an opportunity to answer questions from you, the fans. Some questions will be gleaned from previous comments on this blog (even when the comment is from a completely unrelated post). Other questions will be taken from around the web so Grak can impart his personal brand of wisdom to these needy topics. Some questions will even come from me, as there are a number of details I have yet to learn about the fellow. But most importantly, Grak will be taking questions from you, the fans.

Every question will be considered, though I can’t promise all will be used, as we’re expecting a flood of them to come in. You can even ask me a question about Grak, and I’ll try to answer it under this Ask Grak series. So stay tuned, and I hope you enjoy plumbing the depths of Grak’s mind.

“The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.”

—– Norbett Platt

Grak has never disliked Olive, though now he’s beginning to feel something new for her. He glances to his left–at the woman seated next to him. In this sunlight, approaching dusk, the green of her eyes sparkles just so. It’s a curious feeling he gets when looking at her, though he’s not quite sure what to call it.

Admiration? Maybe. Respect? I could see that. Hmm, something else though.

She catches him in the corner of her eye and turns her head. He abruptly looks away, suddenly entranced by the clouds off to the right.

That was close. Can’t let on. Don’t want her to get nervous or anything.

Grak casually looks to his left again, pretending to suddenly notice her, “Oh, hello.”

Olive smiles and rolls her eyes, “You don’t need to pretend, Grak.”

He puts on his confused face, “Oh? Pretend what?” his voice cracked at the end there, betraying his nervousness.

Olive shakes her head and smiles wider, “What do you have so far?” she looks down at the clay tablet on Grak’s lap.

While he’s thankful for the change of topic, he’s left wondering what that whole “pretend” comment might imply. He makes a note to ponder it further in private.

Grak clears his throat and puts on a thoughtful voice, “Well, I’m stuck on the beginning.”

Olive leans back in her seat, “Read it to me.”

He’s nervous at that prospect, but finds it difficult to deny her anything, “Sure. I mean, it’s short. It’s not much. Just says, ‘I hated olives.’”

She raises an eyebrow, “Not bad. Not bad. Though you will make it clear that you differentiate between the fruit and the people, right?”

Grak nods, “Oh yes. Of course. Of course,” he shrugs, “Though it’s not quite right. It doesn’t sound so great,” he holds the stylus to his chin for a moment, “Maybe if I write it as though in the present. And from someone else’s perspective. Would look more prestigious that way. Like someone else is recording my history for me. The reader might even assume I’ve never read it.”

Olive scratches her chin, “So how would that sound?”

Grak shrugs, “Well, it would just say, ‘Grak hates olives.’”

She nods, “I see. Interesting. Has a nice ring to it. Though maybe it needs something more.”

Grak ponders it for a moment, “‘Truly.’ I kind of like that. ‘Grak hates olives. Truly.’ Makes it more definite. Makes it clear where I stood on the issue.”

Olive gives a very approving nod, “Yes. I like it. Why don’t you go with that?”

Grak smiles. He quickly scribbles the words down. Once finished, he leans back in thought.

Grak scratches his chin with the stylus, “I think that’s enough for today. I’m getting hungry. Hard to think clearly when I’m hungry.”

Olive sounds truly concerned, “Should we head down, then? Get some food?”

He shrugs, “Might as well.”

As they stand and stretch, Grak takes in the scene before them. Down the hill and between the river fork, people in their village are bustling about. There tends to be a bit of activity at this time of day, just before dusk. Even more so in this part of the “year” as these people call it. “The harvest,” they say, is a very busy time. Although, from what Grak’s noticed so far, it’s a little too hectic. Disorganized, even.

They could use some tips, really. On organization. Just a few. To show them how to make things run more smoothly. Before you know it, they won’t be such an uncivilized people.

Olive begins to leave, so he makes a note to ponder those thoughts further in private. He starts to follow her, then pauses abruptly. Grak turns and considers their seats.

He looks down to the village, then back again, estimating the distance, “Olive. Should we take these with us?”

She checks the sky, “Well, it doesn’t look like rain. I think they’ll be fine for the night. They’re too big to carry every time we want to come out here.”

Grak’s slightly offended at that, “Are you saying that you agree with the others? That they’re a monstrosity? Because you know how I feel about that.”

Olive smiles, “No, Grak. I’m simply stating the truth. They’re too heavy. If we don’t have to carry them, let’s not bother with it.”

He’s still offended, “Because you, of all people, know that I put a lot of work into them. And the extra supports were simply for necessity. And I don’t think all the extra wood makes them ugly. Not at all. I think it even adds some character.”

Olive touches his cheek with a gentle smile and looks deep into his eyes, “I like our chairs, Grak. Well, now that the splinters are all gone. And now that we’ve taken care of the nails that were poking through. I just don’t want to carry them. That’s all. And what does anyone else know?”

Grak melts. She has a way of stopping him before he gets too crazy.

He smiles and nods, “Alright. Let’s go get some food.”

As they head down the hill, Grak looks back one last time. He’s quite proud of his handiwork. Definitely his best ever. Very solid. Very sturdy. Had to make them rather large, though. With lots of wood. But no matter. He likes them. And so does Olive. And that’s all that matters.

Olive catches him looking back and smiles, “Still thinking about your chairs?”

Grak shakes his head, “No. And you know, I wish you would stop calling them that. They’re better than normal chairs.”

She rolls her eyes in return, “Right. Sorry, I forgot. What was it you wanted me to call them?”

“My thrones,” Grak says with a gleam in his eye.

Grak looks down to the village, then back again, estimating the distance, “Olive. Should we take these with us?”

She checks the sky, “Well, it doesn’t look like rain. I think they’ll be fine for the night. They’re too big to carry every time we want to come out here.”

Grak’s slightly offended at that, “Are you saying that you agree with the others? That they’re a monstrosity? Because you know how I feel about that.”

Olive smiles, “No, Grak. I’m simply stating the truth. They’re too heavy. If we don’t have to carry them, let’s not bother with it.”

He’s still offended, “Because you, of all people, know that I put a lot of work into them. And the extra supports were simply for necessity. And I don’t think all the extra wood makes them ugly. Not at all. I think it even adds some character.”

Olive touches his cheek with a gentle smile and looks deep into his eyes, “I like our chairs, Grak. Well, now that the splinters are all gone. And now that we’ve taken care of the nails that were poking through. I just don’t want to carry them. That’s all. And what does anyone else know?”

Grak melts. She has a way of stopping him before he gets too crazy.

He smiles and nods, “Alright. Let’s go get some food.”

As they head down the hill, Grak looks back one last time. He’s quite proud of his handiwork. Definitely his best ever. Very solid. Very sturdy. Had to make them rather large, though. With lots of wood. But no matter. He likes them. And so does Olive. And that’s all that matters.

Olive catches him looking back and smiles, “Still thinking about your chairs?”

Grak shakes his head, “No. And you know, I wish you would stop calling them that. They’re better than normal chairs.”

She rolls her eyes in return, “Right. Sorry, I forgot. What was it you wanted me to call them?”

“My thrones,” Grak says with a gleam in his eye.

“All men alike stand condemned, not by alien codes of ethics, but by their own, and all men therefore are conscious of guilt.”

—– C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

First, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who volunteered to beta read Things Grak Hates. It’s a huge help, and I really appreciate all of you. And I’m being completely honest when I say that I don’t think this would be such a quality novel if it weren’t for you folks.

Now, on to the announcement:

Due to some delays in editing and production, it looks like the release date of Things Grak Hates will be postponed by a few weeks or so. Grak and I hope you’ll see this as an opportunity to revel in the extra anticipation you gain by getting to wait. If not, then I apologize. Though Grak doesn’t. No, he had choice words for those of you he deemed “impatient.” I apologize for him too.

“Reason is our soul’s left hand, Faith her right.”

—– John Donne