Sunday, November 11, 2012


I was just reading my last entry and finding it more prophetic than I'd ever intended. In time I will expand on that, but for now I have other things to share.

Just came back from watching Skyfall, and one of the odd things it made me think of is how much history my generation has already been part of. Five decades of cinema ago, a bunch of people made a cheesy movie and started a global franchise, all leading up to the film of today, where very little cheese is to be found. That's not to say it's pretentious - it's very aware and respective of its roots - it's just that it's not bound to them, it's willing to try something different, and there's respect in that. More if it succeeds, and in my opinion it truly does succeed, but even if it hadn't, at least it tried.

My writer's block isn't gone yet, but there are cracks forming. I'll have dry spells, and then a day when I crack 1,000 words. they lack the polish that only comes from regular practice, but they get the job done. My professional blogging work is also going well; I'm continuously trying new devices and formats and while some work better than others, it's a wonderful lab to test things.

I should probably find out what those dogs are barking at. See you soon!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Insider Trading

Ugh, really? It was May the last time I posted on here? Yikes. I've got some extra personal stuff in this update to make up for lost time, if that helps at all.

I just finished reading this fascinating article by a novelist who is in the middle of an artistic identity crisis. In many ways, he’s very successful: he has a house, a wife, two daughters, a dog, and a job that keeps him intellectually stimulated and provides a valuable service. He’s focused, driven, concerned that he isn’t giving enough to those he loves, but gives enough to keep them all healthy and sometimes happy. But he wonders if he should have written more.

It’s hard to write that last sentence for me, as the author is complaining that he’s only had five novels published, and none of them was what he felt they could have been. There’s a part of me that really feels for the guy. Any work of creativity is a torturous exercise, and if it’s going to be shared, it really should be as amazing as possible. To look back and recognize that more could have been done must be rough. Another part of me says “Boo fucking hoo. Complaining that your five published novels could have been better or sold more is like complaining that the latest Bentley model doesn’t really go well with your other cars.”

An axiom I hold close to me, one I don’t think I created but don’t remember hearing anywhere else, is that We can’t solve every problem, but we can trade them. That is, part of the human condition is that we’re not perfect, and the people we think are perfect really have their own full set of problems. The quality of problems or issues may change, but the number of problems doesn’t. This axiom doesn’t necessarily make me feel better, but it helps me make sense of the world sometimes. And it works here.

This guy tried the whole bohemian artist life: work a couple hours a day, live on crumbs, and spend the rest of his time devoted to his craft. He jumped from job to job, trying to increase the pay and/ or quality of work for the same number of hours, and before he knew it, he’d gone full-time civil servant suburbanite. He has problems, about the same number of ones he had in his old life, but they’re very different from the problems he faced in his old life. He didn’t necessarily solve those old problems, he just traded them in for different ones, perhaps ones easier to live with.

He looks back on his works, ye mighty, but does not despair. He can see the roads he might have taken, one leading to Paris back alleys filled with drink and debauchery, and can almost see the writing he would’ve done as a result. But right in front of him is the wife that loves and supports him, the children that depend on him and adore him, and the dog that just looks so cute when it messes up the house. The idea that these things wouldn’t exist if he’d taken another path disgusts him. Maybe his first five novels weren’t great, but the sixth one could surprise us all.

I’m going through a massive case of writer’s block. I’d like to say I know what’s causing it, but there are so many potential reasons right now that it couldn’t possibly be one thing. I’m preparing to move, and while I’m excited to move into another phase of my life, the place isn’t finished yet and the next few weeks for me are mostly question marks. My full-time job is getting more and more busy, yet for all that it’s woefully under-stimulating at times, and thanks to the writer’s block I can’t fill that void. I’ve had to go back on medication for a recurring condition that is making me feel better, but I have to wonder if it’s playing a role in my block (it hasn’t in the past, but the body can be a fickle thing).

It’s not all bad. I have been getting out a bit more and getting to know new people, and otherwise making time to have fun. My brother recently got engaged and is moving to the West Coast, and I’m excited for him about that.

There’s a lot going on in my life, and some if that makes me reflect on what I’ve done. The choices we make determine where we are in life, more than the choices made for us. We can learn a lot by looking back and figuring out how things happened, but that behavior is meaningless if we don’t make more choices and move forward, leaving the past even further back.

I'm at a point where I’m doing a lot of problem trading. I’m trading a set of worries with my old place for a new set of worries at my (hopefully) new place. My family is growing, but is relocating further away at the same time. I have more work to do, and it’s going to take more work for me to find reward in it. All this takes a lot of mental energy, so perhaps I shouldn’t be concerned that I don’t have as much to put into stories. Yet here I am.

Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I have to go and get my house back in order…

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Being Fruitful and Multiplying

Again, I have to admit that it seems like I've been neglecting this blog. Please believe me, this is not as it seems.

Behold, my proof: a new blog!

I've expanded my role at the Comic Carnival, and will now be writing a weekly review of a small sampling from the new releases. I'm going for humorously informative - I want to tell people what's behind the cover and give them a sense of whether they'd like it without spoiling anything, and make them laugh at the same time.

Am I succeeding? You tell me! But for my money, I'm having a great time, reading (mostly) good books, and am getting published. I WIN!

As to my more personal projects? Right now I'm writing a scene I've had in my head for close to a year, but it was always just low enough on my list that I never bothered. The time spent percolating must've done something, because now that I'm typing it out, it's coming fast. It's nice to have an "easy" scene for once.

I got an itch to adapt an old school property for modern audiences a couple weeks back. Nothing major, some world-building and a few notes on how to structure the first couple of plotlines. I won't say which, I don't need attention from anyone's legal department and it was just for fun, and fun I had.

Oh, and I fixed the line break problem from last entry. Go me!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


No, dear Blog, I have not forgotten about you. I've been a bit distracted is all.//* I was struck yesterday with the oddity of the creative process. Like the great casseroles of our time, it often comes down to throwing in whatever one can find, stirring it up right, and just letting it bake until something better than the sum of its parts comes out.// I'm reading up on the city of Jericho for my novel project, and just finished a section on its geography and tectonic location. It's close to the Arabian-African tectonic plates, which are moving away from each other about 120 miles every ten million years, or as the geologist put it, the blink of an eye (from a planetary perspective). Yes, I find this stuff interesting, bear with me.// This resonated with an idea I had about a school of monks who create a fighting style by watching trees and mountains interact over the course of generations. Without giving too much away, in this case trees and mountains have a big grudge to settle, and the cosmos has ring-side seats during this slugfest.// During my nightly expulsion of brain material, I came across some notes I made years ago about a completely different group of people that abandoned all speech in order to better listen to and understand the world. This seemed like the ideal group to sit around for centuries in order to learn how to throw a punch from an angry pine, or execute a sweep from a river. Playing around with these three separate concepts yielded some exciting results. They may not make it into the first book, but they're excellent material for future stories.// As a proud citizen of the United States, I know I'm supposed to be addicted to instant gratification. If I can't have it now, it's not worth having, all of that. But then something like this happens, where something I started years ago matures into something more than I imagined, it makes me appreciate the virtue of patience. It's kind of a shame we are such mortal creatures, and we have so little time to use.// *Blogger is not letting me use paragraphs for some reason. Until I figure out why and can fix it, I'm settle for // to denote paragraph breaks. Sorry for the ugliness.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What Is This... "Positive"... Lifestyle?

I recently attended a health screening. Blood was drawn, I was weighed and measured, and I explained that my med tech might want to discuss things with my optometrist re: self-examining for testicular cancer.* The overall results are interesting in that I wasn't sure how they happened.

I lost over ten pounds, my blood sugar is down, and my good cholesterol's creeping up. Blood pressure and bad cholesterol are both pretty much the same in that they're both below average. Somehow, I'm healthier.

I'm pretty good at being a cynic, and can self-deprecate with the best of them (not that they'll acknowledge who they are, the overachievers), so it took me aback to see that my health improved despite a lack of training montages in my life. Naturally, I assumed either my Highlander gene was expressing itself or I had acquired Benjamin Button's disease, but when I was told these were unlikely. Note that the people screening me were of appreciable humor.

So I left the office delightfully confused as to how I was improving. It wasn't until several hours later over lunch that I realized what I was doing. More and more I've been leaving the office during lunch so I can just not be there - it's healthier for everyone if we separate. Me, not always willing to sit and read with foot traffic everywhere, I've been spending more time at the HRC (Butler's health club, pretty much) just walking around the track. It doesn't feel like much, but 30+ minutes of walking adds up fast.

Consider this testimony, internet: walking off some office tension (or whatever case may be) can make you healthier and more likely to outlive your enemies! Seriously, tiny lifestyle changes in a constructive direction DO benefit in many, unexpected ways. The more life you have, the more you can do with it.

In other news, Firefox has suddenly stopped loading half my page content on a lot of sites. Thus, this is the first blog post ever written via Google Chrome. I'm not used to it and it shows, but I could grow to like it.

Writing's been slow, lately. Not stopped, just slow. Part of it is thinking of new ways to throw work out there. I recognize that the promotion and distribution of creative product is a vital process, that it can strengthen one's own concept of their work and themselves. I just don't like doing it.

*No sexual harassment lawsuits were filed in the assembly of this post

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Obligatory Super Bowl Post

I was born and raised in Indianapolis. I currently live in Indianapolis. There are circumstances in which I would be comfortable dying in Indianapolis, but none that will apply any time soon.

So, on the eve of Super Bowl Weekend in which my home city will host modern day gladiatorial fights in the shape of professional sport (Go Giants!!), I will be going to Chicago. Partly as a favor to my brother, partly as a vacation, and partly to reach minimum safe distance in the event the inferior team wins (Patriots SUCK!).

It's my hope against hope that I can get caught up on a lot of things that are good for my soul. A lot of words and local pizza will be involved. Catching up with a friend or two, making making new inroads, and playing with cats will likely happen. There may even be some gym activities. And, when time permits, a few MST3K episodes await my perusal.

There's been a lot of prep work going into this little venture. A small fraction of it was even planned. Repairs to my car were not, but then neither was the need to have it repaired. Still, that and a couple minor cuts aside, I'm ready as I'll ever be. Really looking forward to it!

I've also gotten some news from the medical community that, while nothing superhuman has come up, it's actually looking like I'm going to inhabit this mortal plane for quite a bit longer, so maybe I should arrange for extra positive experiences.

While one may need to suffer to write, if you suffer too long you lose the memory of happiness that you would compare the suffering to in order to make it stand out that much more. Drama = Happy + Sad, and Drama sells, kids.