Thomas T. Thomas Tom Thomas

Tom Thomas is a writer with a career spanning forty years in publishing, technical writing, public relations, and popular fiction writing.
“My business now is to weave circumstance, happenstance, intention, and mischance into stories.”

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Featured Work:
Three Sisters

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Three Sisters Cover

Featured Work: The three daughters of David Orsini are nothing alike. Juliana, who styles herself “Contessa delle Fate” after an old family myth, is a free spirit who loves to travel. Caterina, who is crippled with mysterious pains in her back and legs, pursues a career as a financial analyst climbing the corporate ladder. And Gisella, who mostly stays at home, has big dreams and stares out the window at the city lights. When separate choices by Juliana and Caterina bring them all together in the same apartment, they begin to discover clues and follow reasoning that leads to the entire family structure coming apart.

Available as an ebook on Amazon.com for $2.99, and in paperback for $14.95.

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The Human Condition:

Obsessions and Whims – June 2, 2024

Butterfly

The human brain and the mind that it embodies are always active, always thinking, feeling, reacting … forever humming along. The quality of a person’s life then, depends on what that mind does, what it feeds on, and what it produces.

And here, I’m thinking about idleness, ease, lack of activity, concern, and motivation. Lack of engagement with actual life. The reason for this meditation is that, now that I am retired and between books—for which I haven’t had an otherwise imposed deadline in years, but work at my own pace to my own thoughts—and not actively engaged with more than volunteer work and my own pleasures, I find my mind is … wandering. Spinning its wheels. Humming along to no purpose.

This is not a good thing. To someone who has been under the gun with deadlines, responsibilities, things to do in a certain way and a certain time frame for all of his working life, this might seem like a reprieve. And indeed, a few days with “nothing to do,” nowhere to go, no one to meet or satisfy, is a luxury. At least for a few days. But then, the mind keeps humming along.

Without a definite purpose, a life-involving goal or ambition—or conversely, a daily struggle for mortal survival—the mind ends up spinning upon itself. It takes up obsessions that have no purpose or direction. Or it flutters about on the wings of whim and whimsy, alighting nowhere.

Dandelion

I find myself in this state right now. For example, all my life I have been mindful of my keys. I started wearing them on a chain in high school. That way, I never had to worry about leaving them stuck in a door or lying on a table somewhere, put down for just a moment and then slipping my mind completely. If I let go of them, they banged against my leg until I remembered to feed them and the chain back into my pocket.

And then, when I started riding motorcycles, a few years after college, I valued having my keys on a chain. When you sit with your knees high against the gas tank, it puts a slant on the pockets in a man’s slacks. Keys and loose coins can work their way down to the opening and fall out. Now, this never happened to me. I never lost so much as a dime. But you think about this, if your key ring is loose in your pocket. And you don’t happen to think that, if your keychain is longer than about twelve inches, the keyring and chain will fall into the rear wheel, tangle in the spokes, rip up your pants or disrupt the bike itself. You’re more worried about losing your keys in the first place.

So, over the years, it has been my semi-serious hobby—or obsession, take your pick—to find just the right key ring and chain combination. Light chains that are not the pre-made silver things you can buy at a jewelry store are difficult to come by. I’ve used dog choke chains with the end rings cut off, various grades of stainless-steel necklace chains and bracelets, and the light chains used in furniture for drop-leaf desk fronts. Different weights, metals (even a couple in titanium), and finishes (chrome plated or not). To complete the ends, I have generally settled on French marine hardware for the hooks that attach to my belt loops and the shackles that connect to the final link, top and bottom. For the keyring itself, I use a small carabiner or tie down, usually in marine-grade stainless steel rather than the traditional split ring—which always seems to lose its tightness and show a gap with use.

I now have a collection of different chains, different lengths, metals, and finishes, and different keyrings to match with them.

The point of this lengthy disquisition is that, when my mind is not properly occupied with more weighty matters, I tend to obsess about how I wear my keys. The last time I went out, did I fumble a bit with a chain that was too long? Maybe the shorter chain would be more convenient. Or, I’m not really riding a motorcycle—or not right now—so maybe I could drop the chain and just put the keyring naked in my pocket. But then, the last time I handled just the ring, it took my fingers too long to work it around to the key I wanted; maybe I should put on a fob for easy handling. (Oh, yes, I have a collection of fobs, some decorative and some—like those little cannisters that hold my caffeine pills or maybe a couple of aspirin, or a small Crescent wrench—more useful.)

Some days, when I am not fighting for my life on the motorcycle or deep in the settling of plot mechanics, I change my keyring, the chain, or the fob two of three times, depending on whim and the vagaries of what feels right at any particular moment. And each time, it’s like, this is perfect for now and forever. Until the next change of mind.

The idle mind is not the devil’s playground, it’s a loose nut rattling around in its shell. I should take up a dangerous hobby, like skydiving or motorcycle riding, to put me in fear of my life and make me concentrate on the essentials.

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This is the official home page of Thomas T. Thomas, the fiction writer. Member of The Authors Guild and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. As there are a number of other Thomas T. Thomases alive and active in the world, please see the Biography sidebar “What’s the Middle ‘T’ Stand For?” to make sure you have found the right one.