Blank Slate ~ Outside the Margins with Dorien Grey

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Blank Slate

Just as, when I sit down to write, I start off with a totally white screen across which various letters march dutifully in response to my fingers hitting the keys on the keyboard below, so it is when I realize that have an imminent deadline and need a topic for a blog NOW! Too often, my mind is as blank as the screen.

Remember the now famous Miss America’s (or Miss Whatever) response to the question “Why can’t so many American children locate America on the map?” The fact that she was blonde had nothing to do with the fact that you could almost hear her mind slamming shut. However, though her mind was frozen shut, her mouth stepped in and took over. “Many American children don’t have maps” she began, thus taking the first tentative step onto the slippery slope into total chaos. I felt truly sorry for the poor thing, but oh, my, how I could identify with her.

I constantly (and to my constant embarrassment) allow my mouth to run off with my mind. But just as one cannot un-ring a bell, once a word trips over the tongue and out through the lips, there’s not a thing in the world that can bring it back in again. That is perhaps the largest single side benefit to writing. You can always change something you’ve written…provided you have the time to do it.

My personal problem, which I have had for as long as I can remember…is that I am astoundingly lazy. I cannot remember things from one minute to the next, not because I’m incapable of remembering, but simply because I’m too lazy to pay attention to what I’m doing. I continually unlock my apartment door, walk in and go directly to my desk…a distance of twelve feet, maximum. By the time I sit down, I have somehow managed to lose my keys. I suppose I could take some sort of pride in it, but I don’t. My glasses and my glass case are never in the same place, much as I am absolutely positive they are. It is astonishing the number of places I can manage to lose things in a 400-square-foot apartment.

One day last winter, returning to my apartment after being outside in the cold, I took off my coat and started to put my hat, scarf, and gloves into one sleeve of the coat as I always do. Though I had them on less than three minutes before, I did not have my gloves. From the door to the closet where I hang my coat is a distance of eight feet, max. I later found the gloves between the front seats of my car. I don’t remember having been in my car on the day the gloves disappeared.

I once lost a cell phone on a trip to Mayo Clinic. I scoured that car from front to back, including opening the hood and kicking the tires. Lost. Gone forever. I bought a new phone. Six weeks later, while driving, I glanced to my right and there, between the seats, was my phone. It is to weep.

Yesterday, having stripped my bed to do the laundry, I decided to put on my spare set of sheets (I have two). It was gone. In fact, both sets were gone. Now, when I say my apartment is 400 square feet, I am not exaggerating. There simply is no place to misplace sets of sheets. I finally determined that, a week a so ago in a totally uncharacteristic fit of neatness, I did a mass washing of things I’d not worn for some time. Apparently, somewhere along the line, I either did not take a load out of the washer and put it in the drier, or put it in the drier and just left it there. In any event, I am now without two sets of sheets and God knows what all else. I won’t know exactly what else I lost until the time comes when I set out to look for it.

Not too long ago, I lost my keys yet again. Now, since I have to have the keys to get into my apartment, logic dictates they had to have been lost inside the apartment. Where inside the apartment is another matter entirely. I finally found them in the pocket of my bathrobe. Not a clue as to how they got there…I don’t go out of the apartment with my bathrobe on. Anyway, that is where they were.

And I must bring this to a halt. I just wanted to demonstrate yet again, dear friend, what happens when I sit down to the computer without an idea of what I am going to write. You have just read the result.


~Dorien Grey


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About Dorien Grey

If it is possible to have a split personality without being schizophrenic, Dorien Grey qualifies. When long-time book and magazine editor Roger Margason chose the pseudonym “Dorien Grey” for his first book, it set off a chain of circumstances which has led to the comfortable division of labor and responsibility. Roger has charge of day-to-day existence, freeing Dorien—with the help of Roger’s fingers—to write. It has reached the point where Roger merely sits back and reads the stories Dorien brings forth on the computer screen.

It’s not as though Roger has not had an uninteresting life of his own. Two years into college, he left to join the Naval Aviation Cadet program. Washing out after a year, he spent the rest of his brief military career on an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean at the height of the cold war. The journal he kept of his time in the military, in the form of letters home, honed his writing skills and provided him with a wealth of experiences to draw from in his future writing. These letters will be appearing in book form shortly.

Returning to Northern Illinois University after service, he graduated with a B.A. in English, and embarked on a series of jobs which worked him into the editing field. While working for a Los Angeles publishing house, he was instrumental in establishing a division exclusively for the publication of gay paperbacks and magazines, of which he became editor. He moved on to edit a leading L.A. based international gay men’s magazine.

Tiring of earthquakes, brush fires, mud slides, and riots, he returned to the Midwest, where Dorien emerged, full-blown, like Venus from the sea. They’ve been inseparable (and interchangeable) ever since.

He . . . and Dorien of course…moved back to Chicago in 2006, where they now devote full time to writing. Author of the popular Dick Hardesty Mystery series, the Elliott Smith (paranormal) Mystery, the stand-alone western/romance/adventure novel, Calico, plus the non fiction A World Ago: A Navy Man’s Letters Home, 1954-1956; Short Circuits: A Life in Blogs, and a book of poems (Dreams of a Calico Mouse), Dorien is in the process of having all his books done as audiobooks.

But for a greater insight into the “”real person”” behind Dorien Grey, the curious are invited to check out his website (, which includes the first chapter of any or all of his books for free, and his various blogs: Dorien Grey and Me ( and A Life in Photos                 ( among them.

There is nothing Dorien loves more than hearing from a reader…or potential reader. If you’d like to contact him, just drop him a note at

Facebook (several “”pages”” there):


Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews.  The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.

One thought on “Blank Slate ~ Outside the Margins with Dorien Grey

  1. M-hm, the losing things thing. Have you ever considered the presence of small people in your apartment/ car/ wherever? Whether you call them imps, elder folk or Wichtelmannchen, detecting them is really easy. Just listen very hard next time you turn everything topsy turvy looking for something. The snickering is rather distinctive.

    Peace 😉

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