Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NaNoWriMo - Day Eleven

Well, I'm officially WAY behind on this year's novel.  If I were on track, I'd be at around 18K words, and I have just about half of that.

But, I'm not willing to concede defeat just yet.  Work stuff, cat stuff, health stuff not withstanding, there is still time to catch up.

This year's work is not likely to ever see publication, at least not in its present form.  The novel this year is a mishmash of incomplete ideas and sudden, whiplash inducing changes in direction.  I guess it's a distillation of some of the weird shit I've been reading in the last few months, mixed up with the frustration that comes with seeing most every idea I've had blow up in my face.

It's part smut, part philosophy, and nearly all unedited stream of consciousness.  It's the kind of thing I'd write all the time if I could find a way to permanently ignore or disable the inhibitions that always seem to crop up when I try to do something creative.

You could call it perfectionism, or lack of talent, or even laziness, and all of those descriptions are accurate, but none of them are complete.  But it's much simpler, and much more complicated than any of them.  It's plain old, garden variety, paralysis-inducing Fear.

And it's the devious little demon that runs my life.  It thinks it's protecting me, I suspect.  But that little bastard Fear has done me dirty for a long, long time.

This is the part of the piece where I should claim that I'm taking my life back from Fear, but I don't like to lie.  The best I can do right now is fight it to a draw, and try to regroup for the next battle.

How's that for a painfully stretched analogy?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

NaNoWriMo - Day Six

Second and last day of the equipment install at the EDJ.  Gonna get a real night's sleep and be ready to face my word deficit Friday night and over the weekend.  It's no harder than waiting until the last minute to work on a report for school.  I'll be back on track by Sunday, no sweat.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

NaNoWriMo - Day Five

Today's a wash.  I knew it would be.  EDJ (that's Evil Day Job, if you didn't know) ran me ragged with new equipment installs today, so I'm taking a non-NaNo evening.  I'll have plenty of time this weekend to catch up.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

NaNoWriMo - Day Four

Only about a thousand words today - but considering the miserable day I've had, I'm happy just to make a little progress.

I don't like to get super personal on such a public platform, so all I'll say is that if any of you have ever lost a pet unexpectedly, you understand why today has been so difficult.  Maybe I'll talk about it later, maybe not.

Real life is going to get in the way of writing tomorrow, so I'm not expecting to get back on schedule just yet, but I'm sure I can make up the deficit over the weekend if I have to.

Monday, November 3, 2014

NaNoWriMo - Day Three

Hit the first milestone today - 5000 words down, 45000 to go.  I usually get a lot more done on the weekends, so as long as I can get my minimum -1667 - on the weekdays, I don't see any trouble finishing on time.

One of my favorite memories of the one novel I finished was the part when I felt like the characters began to take on lives of their own.  For a wonderful few days, I didn't feel like I was writing the story, I was just transcribing it as it played out.  I haven't gotten to that point yet with this novel, but I'm looking forward to it.  I haven't plotted the story at all, but I'm starting to get flashes of interesting places that it could go. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

NaNoWriMo - Day Two

Day two has started out better.  Not completely over the sinus thing, but I feel a little more human today.

Got three ebooks updated yesterday, and I'm up to about 2200 words on NaNo.  I'll have to chalk up another thousand today to get back on schedule, but I don't think that will be a problem.

NaNo is a nice change from ebooks at the moment.  The whole point of NaNo is to just get the words down, without regards to quality or editing- that can all come later.  My ebooks are meant for nearly immediate publication, so there is a little more pressure, even it's self-imposed.

-- UPDATE --

Back on track.  Turned off the TV, fired up the laptop, and finished up at a little over 3700 words for the day, which puts me back on schedule.  So far, the story is a little rough, but that's fine.  Better than fine, that's wonderful.  It's like back in my video production days - you just shoot and shoot and shoot, and you worry about making something out of it when you get to editing.  Writing is the same way - but you can't edit if you don't have something to work with first.  Write and write and write - there's always time to massage it into a real story later.

NaNoWriMo - Day One

Day One of this year's challenge was a non starter.  Spend the day updating covers and descriptions on a few of my Amazon ebooks.  The plan was to work on NaNo in the evening.  But around sunset, I had a sudden, unwelcome relapse of the cold/sinus/upper respiratory crap I've been fighting for the last two weeks.

After a hot shower, I was in bed by 8pm and got exactly nothing done on the novel.  One day down and already running behind.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

And we're back....

There's no better decision than an ill advised and poorly thought out decision.  So here's mine....

For the first time in nearly ten years, I'll be participating in National Novel Writing Month.  50,000 words in 30 days - a shortish novel, but a novel nonetheless.  I completed my first novel in 2006, if I remember correctly.  It languished on an external hard drive for years before I gave it a bit of a makeover and a spiffy cover.  It's now for sale on Amazon as an ebook under my erotica pen name, and it's my best selling title.

Don't be too impressed by that - it makes about enough money per month for one nice dinner out, or a couple of mediocre ones, but it's mine and people continue to buy it.  If any of my writer friends are reading this, I challenge you to try it, too.

Just like my Universal Life Church ordination means that I can call myself Reverend, thanks to NaNoWriMo, I can also lay claim to being a published novelist.

And so can you!

Since I haven't played with my cameras much this year, and the last thing I need to do is obsess about food, I guess, for the next thirty days, at least, that this will be a writing blog.  I'll track my progress to 50K, and I hope some of you will take a crack at it, too.

Oh, and if you want to add me as a writing buddy, my username on NaNo is Poisonpen.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Still here...

I guess it's been awhile since I've given this little blog any attention.   It's not for lack of thinking about it, but sometimes life just gets in the way.

I have lots to write about, not the least of which is the approaching anniversary of the surgery that no doubt saved my life.  Nothing like a brush with death to give a man a little perspective.

It's late and I'm tracking the flight that's taking my daughter and her new husband home, so I won't keep you long, but I have a lot more to say and it's coming soon.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Rights and Responsibilites

We live in an interesting culture, we Americans.  From the very beginning, our government and our society have been wrapped up in the twin virtues of rights and responsibilities.  If you did a word association experiment, if you said either of those words, you'd get the other a good portion of the time.

But somewhere along the line, our culture seems to have forgotten about one of them.  Any American who's been exposed to any other American for more than ten minutes knows which one it is.

Yes, we're all wound up about our rights, the real ones and the perceived ones.  But nobody wants to acknowledge the pesky twin, the burdensome responsibility that goes along with each and every right, real or imagined.

I'm not going to get into the politics of it, although I have my suspicions about how things got to this point.  There are plenty of blogs that cover that stuff, and I don't have the energy to argue about it.

In the interest of providing an example, though, what about a public figure who goes on TV or Twitter and says something offensive, stupid, or provably false?  When someone calls him on it, the first response is always something like:

I though this was still America.  Don't I have a right to free speech!  I'm being oppressed!  They're trying to silence me!

Well, of course, you have right to free speech.  You just exercised it.  Nobody came and threw you in the Gulag or made you disappear.  But your words don't exist in a vacuum and you are now responsible for the effect they have.  You also have the right to be stupid and wrong, and every last one of us has the right to tell you so.

I just checked my copy of the Constitution, and I don't see a right to not be offended, or a right to lie and expect not to be called to task for it.

Americans, though, hate the thought of ever being questioned or proven wrong.  I used to argue with a former co-worker that sure, we can have our own opinions, but we don't get our own facts.  If I can prove you are wrong, I'm not going to agree to disagree.  You're just wrong.

There's no shame it being wrong.  One of the most amazing things we can do as humans is to change our minds once we are exposed to new information.  So few of us are willing to do that, though.

Why?  Again, I have my suspicions, but I'll leave that to you to consider.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Just let it go

Sometimes you hear the song you need to hear at just the right time.  I'm not a country fan as a rule, but these guys go beyond those kind of labels.  I discovered them a while back on Radio Margaritaville, and I haven't heard a single tune they've done that I don't like.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Try a little positivity

It's really easy to complain.  Believe me, I'm a master at it.

But sometimes, it's good to take a minute to be conscious of the good things.  Take this weekend, for example.

Saw a good movie - the Captain America sequel.  I can't tell you how many times I've left a movie feeling disappointed.  But this one was pretty good.

The weather could not have been better.  Sunny, mid 70s, just perfect.

I got some writing done, and got a five star review on an ebook I wrote months ago.

And I spent this afternoon making a truly killer gumbo.

Really, life is good.  Take a few minutes and look for the good stuff.

Monday, April 7, 2014


It seems that in writing, as well as in life, momentum is the key.

In a flash of the very, very obvious, I've discovered that the more you write, the more you write.  And, of course, the opposite is just as true, and just as obvious.

I started writing for money way back in 2006, getting a story published in a men's magazine - on a dare.  A few weeks later, with my contributor copy and a check for $100 in hand, it occurred to me that maybe there was more money to be made - easy money.

The money turned out to be not all that easy, but most definitely there.  Over the course of the next few months, I sold probably two dozen short stories of the 'Dear Penthouse' variety at $25 a pop.  Fiction, though, was not my first literary love, so I moved on to writing reviews of dirty movies for two different websites.  Do you see a theme developing?

The review work dried up as one site insisted that a byline (under a pen name) was just as good as getting paid. I disagreed.  My reviews for the other site, still under a pseudonym, did earn a bit of cash, but their budget for paid reviewers disappeared as they discovered that, while I wasn't one of them, plenty of writers were happy to write for free.

Eventually, I stopped writing altogether, other than occasional entries in the journal I've kept sporadically since high school.

Each time that I took a break from writing, it got harder to fire up the machinery again.  The whole process repeated late last year, when I took a break from writing and selling ebooks on Amazon.  The smut I wrote will never pass for fine literature, but even after months of not publishing any new material, they still sell a couple dozen copies a month

The lure of semi-easy money has drawn me in again, and finally - finally! - the words are coming again.  So to speak.

The point of all this - if there is a point - is that if you are a writer, or an artist of any kind, keep at it, even if you aren't trying to make bank.  The older I get, the harder it is to get the engine started after it's been idle for even a short time.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A New Look...

Guess it's been a while, huh?

The lack of new posts is an indicator that I've run out of steam with this incarnation of the blog.

I'm not sure what the new direction is going to be yet, and this may not be the blog's final form.  But to speak the plain truth, I got bored writing about food and cameras.


It's on to something else.

Take a look at that 'About Me' over there on the right.  Does that resume look like it belongs to somebody who can commit to a single interest?

For now, then, and maybe for a long time, I'm going back to basics, back to one of the things that I always return to: writing.

No expensive tools, no technology that needs constant maintenance or upgrading, just making up stories and writing them down.

Maybe there will be book reviews here.  Could be some flash fiction, too.  Most likely, though, it'll just be writing about writing.

Hope you like the new look.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Beer Snob in Training

Well!  Some winter, huh?

I sure didn't intend to wait a month before posting again, but who plans for Arctic weather in the Midwest?

Anyway, the snow and the cold make it tough to do much besides cook and eat and think.  I'm not hardy enough to brave this kind of weather just to take pictures.  I'm a wuss that way.

As a result of the cooking and the thinking and my ongoing contemplation of middle age, I've come to a couple of decisions.  The first involves a career change. I'll get to that.

The other, more immediate, decision is to expand my food and drink horizons.  I grew up in Central Indiana.  Despite commercials you may have heard, there really isn't much more than corn in Indiana.  Corn and beef.  My culinary experience, I'm quickly learning, is limited.  Stunted, even.

Last year, my resolution was to lose weight.  Sixty pounds gone, the last ten thanks to an unexpected emergency surgery, but gone just the same.

This year, I'm trying food and drink that is way outside of my experience.  For....reasons, my first step was to turn on to Southern cooking.  I discovered that if I put enough sugar in it, I can learn to like tea.  Sweet tea was born in the South, and I found that even though I've never been a tea drinker, with enough sugar and lemon, it's not bad at all.  Same goes for coffee, another taste I've never quite acquired.  Cinnamon roll flavored coffee, though?  I'm all over that.

Beans and rice?  Jambalaya?

Made 'em both and love 'em!  Made a pecan pie for my wife and did ok for a first attempt.  This weekend I'm making my first gumbo, and I'll have pictures and commentary in this very space, so watch for that.  Crawfish and shrimp?  Never had either, and have gone out of my way to avoid most seafood up to this point.  Blame it on my Midwest upbringing.  The most exotic fish I've ever had was catfish.  My old man made it - breaded and fried - and it was pretty damned good.  But lobster or crab or any sea critter that wasn't shredded and shaped into a frozen, fried stick?  Nope - never had it.  I'm starting to think that maybe I'm missing out on something.

Getting back to the title of this post, I've decided that as a part of my gastronomic development, I'm gonna learn to appreciate beer.  My experience with beer is, predictably, limited.  My departed Grandmother only drank Pabst Blue Ribbon, and the sips I would sneak while she pretended not to notice were....unpleasant.  Despite the time I spent tending bar, I learned very little beer as an adult.  But the guy with the awesome voice and even more awesome beard on Beer Geeks has me convinced that I can give it another go.

I have friends who are beer fans and amateur brewers, and I delight in telling them that all beer, from the cheapest swill to the priciest craft brews, tastes exactly the same to me.  My palate just isn't developed enough to pick out the flavors that they insist are there.

In addition to the periodic camera test drives, then, I'm going to try whatever beers I can find and report my impressions back to you.  One of our local grocery stores has a large selection of single bottles that you can mix and match into a custom six-pack.  So you'll either get to watch my growth as a beer connoisseur, or you'll have a laugh at my expense as I completely misunderstand the culture and the craft.  Either way, should be a good time.

Getting back to that first, life changing, possibly ill-advised decision - here it is:  once my life becomes a little more stable, I'm going back to school to learn to cook professionally.  Again, watch this space to either follow my incredible rise or my spectacular failure.

Either way, enjoy the ride.  I promise it won't take me another month to post again.