Archive for March, 2008

Blogging Issues

Where I talk about inconsistencies, timing, and a little bit of hypocrisy…

When I grow up, I want to be a writer. Really and truly, a full fledged, profitable writer. It’s something that I started kicking around (actively) back in middle school… but I think I had some interest before then. I have, however, been a bad student of the trade. I have not actively pursued writing (stories, poems, etc.), despite getting a degree concentration in Creative Writing.

Which is where this tangent comes in. I am frustrated. Partially with myself, and partly with “the system”. Maybe it’s because I am spoiled by some of my “daily routines.” But the point is this: A writer writes. Damn near every day, even if it’s something brief. And if they don’t (or can’t), they make a comment about it.

So, I am frustrated. First off, with myself – sort of. When I resurrected this blog in late 2006 (more like “actually started using it”, but I digress) I tried to make sure I at least posted something on it, during the work week at least. I knew I wouldn’t get a lot of things put up on the weekend, so I wrote it off. And that is still the case. But the discipline to at least put that something down…. that it’s almost there…. I think about it all of the time but get sidetracked when it comes time to act… that’s where I am frustrated.

The other points of frustration, which has more to do with the fact that I know some of the people that I am now going to describe. I have some friends that are writerly types. A couple that have actually written a lot (but no mainstream publishing credits), and a couple more that want to write, but don’t arrange the time to. We all work, we all have a ton of other things that we would rather be doing, or that seem more fulfilling, or that just plain have to be done. But to be a writer is to write… something…

So the frustration point here is: blogs that are stagnant. Back in the days of personal webpages (I’m thinking 10 years ago, or so), having to write the information and then code the same information, I can understand random updates. Today, with “mobile blogging” features, and so many different places that people have sites hosted, there really is no excuse.

I used to be someone wholiked the idea of writing, but I never really focused on it. Over the last couple of years, though, it has slowly started working at me… a slow torment, or tease – like an excited lover constantly calling at me from the bed. I’m constantly seeing things – not real things, but opportunities for stories to be written. And I am reading outside my “type”. Growing up, I was pretty much just a SF/Fantasy reader, but now I am a lot more broad (in case my “reading list” isn’t obvious of that).

While I am guilty of the “sporadic updates”, I do try to write. As I complete this, which actually started as a thought about three weeks ago, I know there is a bit of hypocrisy to my words. I used to be a “muse” writer – having brief flashes, when “inspired by the muse”. After years of hearing/reading it from others, I have reached my own conclusion: That style is bullshit. Writing is work. The muse is a high-class whore, walking the streets, waiting for someone willing to pay the price for her services. The “inspirations” are just that – a kiss, a glance, a wisp of perfume that makes a man excited. But she’s only interested someone that is willing to be tantric, to keep the relationship slow and passionate, eventually leading to multiple payoffs before needing a rest.

Find time to write. Don’t wait for inspiration – it will never come. The more you write, the better the payoff, and the easier it is to lure the muse your way.

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Bugs Suck

I started this thread back in early March (the 10th), after actually having to leave work one day, and eventually having to miss another day, thanks to being sick.

Personally, my genetics have been very good through my life (for which I am thankful) – I rarely get much more than allergies, or sinus issues (usually thanks to weather changes). As it was, on these two fateful days, I really had to think back to the last time I actually missed work due to being sick. Really sick. And I had to think back a long time.

And being sick sucks. Beyond that, I don’t really recall where I was going with this when I started it… but I started it, and now it is finished.

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In Brief…

Unless one prefers boxers… but that’s another discussion, best not served here!

I still have six or seven “draft” posts, of things I’ve wanted to comment on, but have not fleshed out, waiting to be updated. Las Vegas notes, as well as other items… They will be coming, but first I need to get through the next week. Until then, here are a couple of items for today.

1) I have learned that Spring Break is relatively useless. I planned only a few things for the recent academic break, and really only accomplished one of them. I still need to log many (many) pages for my script. I have only managed about a page since going to Vegas, which helps to validate another writing point: Write a little bit, every day.
Once involved in a project, it’s easier to trudge along until there is a draft completed, than to restart after a lull.

2) I am “unofficially” blowing off the rereading of A Clockwork Orange (for now). Key here is rereading. I have read it before, so I am not overly concerned with trying to reread it before class next Monday… Too many other things going on over the next five days to try and go through the book.

3) On a sad note, while going through my “daily routine”, I discovered that Arthur C. Clarke has died. For those NOT familiar with him, you may be aware of (at least, peripherally) of one of his creations: 2001: A Space Odyssey. Personally, I have only read (to date) Childhood’s End, but I have friends that have read most of his works. As far as SF goes, Clarke ranks as one of the authors at the front of the early development of the genre – right there with Asimov and Heinlein. At least, in my views of SF. Others may argue the finer points, but he was a pioneer.

Back to work, now… I have a chunk of 10 pages that I have written (a month ago), but I want to flesh it out to around 20-30 pages before I submit it… and I want (nay, need) to submit it by this weekend… Soooooo…..

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Guest Blogging…

I have been asked, recently, to write a couple of “guest posts” over a EBeth’s Pillars. When I get then composed, I will be double posting them here (or, at least a link to the same post, at her site).

I am in the process of converting to Catholicism, and she asked me to comment about the process, and my personal journey, since we are fully in the Lenten season, and Easter is only a little over a week away.

So, keep your eyes peeled… it will be a slight series of posts, maybe two or three (if I can abridge that much)… A sort of “before and after” idea.

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Funny or Die…

Died.

MC and I got tickets to the “Will Farrel’s Funny or Die tour, sponsored by Semi-Pro”, when it was coming to the UNC-Chapel Hill stop, back in February. We were kinda excited to go, but I think we were also a bit nervous, not quite sure how the presentation was going to be. Was it going to be straight stand-up, skits, a combination?

We tried to take off right out of work, but were delayed. We stopped on the way out to Chapel Hill (in Zebulon) for a quick bite, and ended up getting to the Dean SMith Center at almost 8:30… amazingly, the show had not started yet.

Of the four personalities listed on the bill, I only recognized two names (and that was only after looking them up).

Zach Galafianakis and Demetri Martin were both “ok”, but here it is a month later the only things I can clearly remember are these: Interesting use of music in the routine, but it’s mostly one-liners.

Will Farrell, actually only did a couple of skit related pieces, as filler between the other performers. He opened the evening wearing a Duke sweatshirt, and let the crowd “boo” for a few moments before peeling it off in favor of a UNC shirt he was wearing underneath. Mildly amusing. He did a “jazzie” bit (motorized wheelchair) that started off ok, but ended up running too long. To me, the best bit he did was when he came out as Ron Burgundy, and interviewed UNC Basketball coach Roy Williams.

The best sequence, honestly, the only stand-up segment that felt like a fully coherent, well written piece, came from Nick Swardson – placed in between the other two stand-ups in the evening. MC and I still giggle a little about a couple of items from his routine.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad evening, but we both felt as if we got a whole lot more out of the Wayne Brady show when we were in Vegas….

What’s that? A Vegas reference…? Honest, yes, I have the posts started, and I am working to try and catch up… they ARE coming… soon, I hope… but they are coming…

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Anniversaries…

Generally, anniversaries are supposed to be happy events. Days of celebration, or marking the clearing another hurdle on the way towards retirement. Today, though, is another type of anniversary for me.

One year ago, today, I was a married man. Right now, as I write this. One year ago.

One year ago tonight, by ten o’clock, I was a widow. One year ago…

And I am conflicted… between being happy about where I am now, and the outlook of things, now, and a regret over the loss.

But that’s going to happen… at any time… Maybe it’s my “brooding” Scorpio nature…. maybe it’s just “me”… But I still think about friends that I had years ago – some I haven’t seen in as much as twenty years – and have the “what if…” thoughts…

So, today is an anniversary, of sorts. Not really a “happy” one, but an anniversary nonetheless…
Woo. Woo hoo.

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In Which I Submit an Email…

MC & I have talked about moving, and one of the places we have talked about it England. Why? Because it would be different, and a chance for some grand adventuring. As an Undergrad, I had thought about / looked into trying to do a Study Abroad (studying in another country for a semester). Unfortunately, either due to other commitments (ROTC), or my own stupidity (too much debt to be able to survive without having some form of income besides financial aid), I eventually had to give up on the idea.

However, in talking with MC, some of those old interests came flooding back, and I decided to start looking into things again. Since anything I had previously looked at was as a student and no longer would apply, really (student visas, and waivers to get work as a student, etc.), I decided to start poking around the internet.

Also, while I did feel a bit sheepish some twenty to thirty minutes after sending an email to someone famous, who has done something similar (moving to the US from England), it was too late to retract it.

While I honestly did not really expect an answer (at least, not a personal one by any means), I still figured it would be worth a shot. Low and behold, I was tickled when I checked the blog for said famous person, and saw the contents of my email in one of his posts. And, for anyone that may be interested, you can read it here (you just need to scroll down on the post to find it).

It’s a point in the right direction, which is all I was asking, and I do think that was one of the sites I may have looked at in the afternoon searches, just after sending the message. But, hurrah! It was just cool to see the response in his blog… (Can you tell I’m still a little tickled?)

Well… back to the grindstone…

Oh, and in case you haven’t quite read the post labels (below), or followed to read the response, the famous person that I asked about moving was Mr. Neil Gaiman himself…

I actually had read nothing of his until discovering the blog a little over a year ago, but had name recognition of Sandman from years ago. But I am working my way to (and through) some of the fiction (I have Neverwhere and Smoke and Mirrors), but the more of the blog I read, as a means of picking up a familiarity with some of his style – word flow, at least – I have the other books on my list to get. I also recently picked up The Eternals graphic novel, as I have started rekindling some of my youth (comics), and have thought about comics or graphic novels as another venue I want to try writing for.

[Edit: I originally wrote this post on 4 March, with the intention of catching up on some OTHER posts before making ut live. Um, yeah. That didn’t work, so here is the post, now.]

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