Thursday, February 26, 2009


Florida was great! The beach was lovely, the water cold but fun to swim in regardless, and there's a decent amount to see and do. After all the greasy spoons I ate at, I feel like I could render paper transparent just by looking at it.

Mike and I did have a chance to go over the stories, and without revealing too much, he's playfully intrigued. This means I'm not catastrophically screwing up, and that if I finish that's another person that would like to read it. I can only hope this is the first of what will be an army.

I also learned just what 12 hours of straight driving will do to a body. It's not great.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Travelling and Tribulations

If all goes well, I'll be driving to Florida within a couple of hours. This is my first time venturing into the deep South, and while I'm not expecting much in the way of culture shock, I'm sure I'll see a lot of curious stuff. This is also the biggest road trip I've attempted solo, and while I'm not worried per se, some of my family and co-workers are voicing concerns/ fears/ zany schemes that will be rendered useless should I become an impressionist art piece in the medium of fiery twisted metal, and I'm catching a bit of bleed off.

This trip started as going to a European folk music concert, when I was no big fan of European music, and my good friend Mike lives down there and didn't want to see it alone. The concert got canceled. Since I'd already started planning and setting aside dates, it seemed rude to let it all go to waste. Besides, I enjoy seeing places I haven't before, and Mike hasn't moved in the intervening weeks, so why not.

Something I just realized yesterday, and I feel ashamed and penitent in confessing this to you interwebs, is that I haven't done any substantial writing in almost two weeks. Birthdays, family events, work rushes, none of these things by themselves are enough to really distract me, but they haven't hit all at once like this for a long long time. It's depressing.

I'm not sure exactly when it happened, or maybe I was always this way and didn't know about it until adulthood, but I do get noticeably depressed when I haven't written for long periods. We all have something, I suppose, that we do to keep the glooms away, and as odd as it sounds I think we tend to build our lives around those things. Considering how much we each have to go through in our lives, when we find something that gets us to the next day it's worth that bit of effort to make sure we keep access to it.

Anyhoo, I'm hoping that I can at least go over some of my work with Mike, himself not unfamiliar with the intricacies of the writing arts, and get a new perspective. Those are refreshing, much like oceans, which I shall insist on visiting while I'm down there. If I were a kinder blog entity, I might open a twitter account just so I could provide continuous updates to all my concerned readers and regale them with my adventures and escapades. But I'm not.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Adequately Laid Plans

So one of the purposes of this blog was to keep me honest about a writing schedule. I figured if hypothetical people were keeping track of how much I hypothetically wrote, it would motivate me to write more, hypothetically speaking. This is requiring, of course, that I update the blog on a regular basis.


The past couple of weeks have been pretty dramatic, both at work and at home, and only some of that drama was useful for the short story I'm writing right now. Pacifying drama is a very necessary skill for a writer to have, but difficult to cultivate.

In real life, you want to calm things down first off, identify the source of the problem, and find a way to correct it that leaves all parties walking away sated, if not happy. In writing, especially fiction, this is exactly the opposite of what you want to do. Action movies would have muscle-bound guys speeding towards grocery stores before the last Cadbury egg was bought, political and medical dramas would be a bunch of smiling people agreeing with each other, and the soap opera genre would be dead. Dead. Without emotionally driven people devoid of empathy to take things out of proportion and mess things up for the maximum number of people involved or not, most fiction would read like a stereo insturction manual. I don't care if it's written in iambic pentameter from the perspective of God-King Xerses and penned in the blood of a dragon, an instruction manual is not the aspiration to shoot for.

It should not be surprising when you read about a writer or any artistically-thinking person acting like a moron and throwing away what appears to be a wonderful career. Odds are it's because of some clusterfuck of a personal situation that probably never would have happened if someone had said, "Well, I can maybe see you point..." six months prior. Drama sells. Drama has a wide audience. People love to see drama if for no other reason that to identify what they have successfully avoided in their lives. And if an artist is able to understand and present drama well enough to sell, the risks that they won't be able to handle real life drama responsibly go higher than Amy Winehouse locked in a hospital pharmacy. (Okay, that was a cheap shot well out of date, but you get the idea, right?)

This is not a confession to some grand error in judgment on my part that is leading me away from writing and to hermitage in Montana, though I understand that's a good place to go for such things. It's as much a reminder to myself as a warning to any hypothetical readers: there's a distinct difference between fiction drama and nonfiction drama, and handling both right is crucial to prosperity and very likely posteriors.

By the way, I'm 4,139 words into the story, and I could easily have enough written by the end of the day to start showing my test people. Occassionally I manage to do what I say.