Going Downhill



This does not look good.

The phrase “going downhill” carries with it a mainly negative connotation. We use it to denote failing health:

How’s Pops?
He’s going downhill fast. I don’t know if he’ll last the night.

Just in case you were wondering, that’s a direct quote from my own children, spoken on an almost daily basis.

The truth of the matter is that I will probably make it through the night, and at least a handful more nights after that. Moral: don’t listen to my kids.

We use the term to speak of the economy, the state of race relations, the quality of entertainment, and the state of the world at large. We have a number of equally depressing synonyms that can be used interchangeably.  Perhaps some pigeons wearing hats, and in one case glasses and a bread necklace, can illuminate this point:

Cheery, don’t you think?

Occasionally we use it to describe the motion of skiers, making it slightly less depressing, as they are supposed to go downhill.

For me, however, going downhill is a wonderful thing.

I use it to reference that point in my writing when everything is coming together and is moving toward a positive conclusion. It’s the point in the process where the book begins to proceed under its own momentum. The writing becomes easier. The story picks up momentum and begins to roll to a tidy ending.


This is an actual picture of me, being shocked by a twist in my own story.

It doesn’t mean there’s no room left for surprises. I have often said that I am the sort of writer who has a basic idea of the direction I want the story to go, and then allow myself to be pleasantly blown completely off that course by a new idea which grows organically out of the story. The twist, if you will. I’m reminded of a joke I recently read:

Q: How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Two, one to screw it most of the way in and another to give it a surprise twist at the end!

That’s funny right there.

Even funnier is the fact that a single writer can do the same thing, i.e. supply his own twist.

That happened to me at just past the midway point of The Beauty of Bucharest, and it brought me to the top of the downhill run. I feel like from here on things should begin to develop quickly, and that we’re on pace for my projected April release date.

Other News

I’ve started a Facebook Group, which I hope will achieve the things my Facebook Author page never did. I came to realize as time went by that pages like the Author page are basically money-making enterprises… for Facebook. They throttle back the number of people who see the posts, and in order to reach the kind of numbers one looks for from a page supposedly promoting your work, you have to pay them to “boost” the post.

Forget that.

The group does not place those kinds of restrictions on me and allows me to interact with readers directly and rapidly. It allows me to conduct polls, run contests, and just have more fun with my readers in general. The group is “closed,” but that just means that if you want to join you click on the button that says “Join,” (oddly enough), and I’m notified that someone is knocking, wherein I promptly open the door and welcome you aboard.

So if you interested in a more intimate connection, pop over to the S.J. Varengo – Readers Group and rap on the door!

And if you’d like a little added incentive to join the group, I’ve announced that once membership hits 200 I’ll do a random drawing of all members, with the winner receiving a signed copy of my short fiction book, Welcome Home. This delightful volume is an excellent addition to any recycling bin and can be yours for the low-low price of nothing at all if you take the plunge and join the group, (and then are randomly selected by an internet-based random selector.)

Do it! You’ll be so happy, and somewhere an angel will get his decoder ring!


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