Monthly Archives: October 2012

Going On The Account: Blogtober!

So it’s that time of the year again:  The realization hits that the candy for the trick-or-treaters should have been bought last week, preparations are made for the reservations-for-Thanksgiving-versus-missing-the-Lions-and-Cowboys debate to come soon, and of course, the questions about my NaNoWriMo plans keep coming up.

 

I get less and less of them over the years, thanks to something I wrote back in 2009, but they haven’t entirely stopped.  Like belabored references to zombies and reminders that the GOP went overboard with their ‘Southern Strategy’, they still haunt me like Ben Cortman calling out Robert Neville, asking me why I don’t try and spew 50,000 words on a single plot over the course of the month.  Some say they get a good book out of it, and admittedly, I read one that came through that exercise that was actually worth it.  Not that I don’t have faith in me, but c’mon,  two books ain’t good enough for ya already…?

 

And then, there was this blogpost by Speaker 7 (who if nothing else deserves a pension for summarizing the 50 Shades series so that none of the rest of us need suffer) noting how she was following the example set by Jen and Tonic, to write one blog post a day during the month  Rather than push for something a little unwieldy and resulting in something potentially toxic (yes, I am hard on myself), this sounded like something more readily managed, and a great encouragement to work some writing muscles without straining and tearing something.

 

And when I actually mentioned it in passing to both of them, they encouraged me to go along with the madness.  And who am I to say no to them…?

 

So, starting November 1st, it’s going to be Blogtober!  Every day that month, I will get online and have something to post.  You can expect-
(Hang on a sec:  Thirty days has September, April, June, and ohthankGod…)

 

You can expect thirty pieces in a row, minimum.  If I burn out, I have chapter announcements that could cover it, but I’ll try not to weasel my way out that way.   I understand my inspirations may try and coast with a few images for their contributions; as I now have photographic equipment that’s been used on the blog before (mainly here and here), I may be able to claim some small virtue if me aim be good and there be a prize afore me…

 

So yeah, thirty posts, maybe some with pictures, maybe some stuff about writing…  And more than likely, pirates.  Yes, we have our core values, after all.  Heck, at least one piece will be how what happens November 6th is going to impact the Modern Age of Piracy, and there’s a few things mentioned before on the blogroll in passing that could get expanded.

Hang on to your tricorner hats; it’s going to be an interesting Blogtober…

[SFX: Maniacal diabolical chortles]

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Going On The Account: Going Out A Youngster…?

I can’t recommend enough going to hosted literary readings.

There’re plenty of reasons to do so, good obvious reasons.  Like hearing the works of people you may know and would love to see done live by the writer.  Or being introduced to new writers in the most direct way possible.

And if you yourself are crazed enough to want to go through the torture of putting words to paper that aren’t your “to do” list, it’s a great way to run into other folk who are doing maybe some of the same stupid things you are because you have a craft to work.

And sometimes, it may take a turn you’d never expect…

Last Tuesday, I attended the monthly New York Review of Science Fiction Readings.   It’d been a while since I’d gone to an event, and I really wanted to be with other writers.  Amazingly, for what’s at its heart a solitary pursuit, there’s a need among writers to reach out to others in the order now and again, for as many reasons as there are items on the list of distractions to grouse about when they pop up and keep your word count down.

One of the things they had there was a table of free works, items the organizers shared with attendees.  And I, wanting to share my own work, had a few ad cards to leave on the table…

That pile of crud all over the streets? Here’s part of the problem…

Oh don’t look at me like that!  The sad truth is, one of the requirements of being a writer is being willing to draw attention to yourself and your work.  If you can’t bite down just hard enough to avoid grinding your teeth (and needing a dentist that your insurance can’t afford) and steel yourself to the task, expect your works to be undiscovered during your lifetime.  And while it sorta-kinda worked out fine for Phillip K. Dick, that’s not what I’d call a career aspiration…

Any event, cards in the table, literally, right.  And things got off to a good start with Aaron Rosenberg reading from his novel TOO SMALL FOR TALL, followed up with a Q and A about his work.  It was turning into a pleasant evening, going as planned.

Until the second writer scheduled called and cancelled at the last minute due to car trouble.

And suddenly, with a big hole in the program and because of a few ad cards out front, I was Peggy Sawyer before Julian Marsh…

So, one WiFi password later, I gave a reading of the first eight chapters of RED JENNY AND THE PIRATES OF BUFFALO.  Really, I had seconds before I knew I was going on, and thankfully I did not screw up that badly.

So what’s the big takeaway from this?  Not the obvious ones, like being willing to put up when you need to, especially if you’re going to share some cheap advertising…

Rather, it’s that you really should try and go to hear authors read their work.  It can be a fulfilling experience, a chance to get to know the person behind the page a lot better.

And you never know what you may get.  Literally…

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

My thanks to Jim Freund, host of the New York Review of Science Fiction Readings, for being willing to take a risk with me

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Going On The Account: RED JENNY Eighty Five

Part Eighty Five of RED JENNY AND THE PIRATES OF BUFFALO in now up, and may be read here.

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Going On The Account: Someone Didn’t Get The Message

So the other day, I wrote about how I feel about spiders.

 

And then someone in my neighborhood went and did this…

Maybe this person didn’t read what I had said earlier.  Or maybe this person did, and wants to drive me over the edge…

 

Considering that the edge is walkable, a few blocks tops, at best maybe two stops on the bus, it’s not much of a trip…

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Going On The Account: RED JENNY Eighty Four

Part Eighty Four of RED JENNY AND THE PIRATES OF BUFFALO in now up, and may be read here.

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Going On The Account: RED JENNY Eighty Three

Part Eighty Three of RED JENNY AND THE PIRATES OF BUFFALO in now up, and may be read here.

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Going On The Account: I Don’t Like Spiders And…

Forgive my being at sea a bit; the last few weeks were like being in a conversation with an extreme egoist, in that I’d have something to say, but the other party (my life) would not shut up for one damned minute to let me say anything.  Imagine I was Teller and every time I turned around, Penn Jillette was going on with some inane thing; that was my life for a bit.

And now that that’s over, I can try and say something with hopefully half the eloquence Teller shows when he has a chance…

Mind you, about the biggest thing I didn’t get to note that happened in that time was the AP declaring Somali piracy dead.  Which we’ve wondered about over here for months on its own, though the problem with pieces like this is that they may be premature.  Much like serial killers that have their own film franchises, popular film monsters, and disco, these things we think are gone for good can sometimes return…

Which brings up something that weighs on me, a topic I’ve shared in conversation a few times with people I’ve been social with.  (And as I understand it, I can be quite social, so do look me up if you ever get a chance…)  And as Susan Rocan at mywithershins has been prompting others do discuss things that scare them, or at the least things that creep us out and make us uncomfortable to be around, I felt this is the time to share.

To be frank, there are two things I cannot watch on film, as they just freak me out:

Spiders and writers.

Depressing Orb Spider; Franklin Co., NY, August 2012

I don’t know what it is about spiders.  Maybe it’s the fact that of all the land-based predators on the face of the planet, they are best adapted at doing what they do.  Their speed, their awareness, their use of fangs and venom are all formidable enough doing the cold calculus we needed as primitives when we first encounter them.  And when we consider their trapping abilities with their webs or their stalking abilities over the ground they cover with quick agility atop eight legs, their fearful majesty becomes overwhelming.  Is it any wonder that many of the Five Hundred Nations  have myths tied to spiders as major forces of creation, tied to the deeper mysteries of the Universe?

As I watch them, I feel a sense of dread observing such perfect killers, creatures practicing their craft honed since before the days of the dinosaurs.  Part of me imagines what the victims feel, ensnared more often than not, biting fangs that were probably the deep memory we all draw on when we consider vampires, the prey being consumed from within as the innards are liquefied and sucked out by the victorious anthropoid nightmare.

As a result, I cringe when The Fly comes to its conclusion.  I squirm uncontrollably as we visit Aragog in Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets.  I feel uncomfortable if there’s even a chance of my catching a scene from Arachnophobia.  And don’t get me started on Eight Legged Freaks, please…

Depressed Writer; New York Co., NY, October 2012

I don’t know what it is about watching writers at their craft, or to be more precise, not at their craft.  Maybe it’s the fact that we’re trying to watch people who normally are working alone trying to do something but being kept from it by what they are trying to write about , or why they are writing in the first place.  The frustration, the effort to process what’s going on around them, trying to get to the right point where they can focus on the event without the narrative eating them alive; the quest for balance between the writer and the event in order to craft reality into narrative, an ongoing struggle from the days when humans realized they had memory and imagination.  Is it any wonder that the Five Hundred Nations have such respect for the story tellers of their culture, the beings all writers descend from, who try to explore the deeper mysteries of the Universe?

As I watch them, I feel a sense of dread as I see in their frustrations bad moments I myself have gone through.  Part of me remembers those bad periods when the rejections pile up, when everyone around you tries to talk you out of pursuing your craft, sucking that gift out from inside you and asking you to be normal, which you can’t help but feel is condemnation to walking around as an empty husk.

As a result, I cringe when Capote comes to its conclusion.  I squirm uncontrollably as we watch John Turturro in Barton FinkI feel uncomfortable if there’s even a chance of my catching a scene from Stranger Than Fiction.  And don’t get me started on Adaptation, please…

I am truly screwed in these realms, because if there’s two things movie makers love to film, it is spiders threatening to succeed in their hunt and writers threatening to fail in their craft.  And between you and me, the spider tends to get what it wants more often in Hollywood than the writer.

(Please, hold off on the obvious movie production jokes that last sentence encourages…)

My big fear is, someday a script will go into production that will have spiders the size of Clydesdales surrounding a program that’s a thinly disguised take-off on the Clarion Writer’s Workshop, filled with scenes of these spiders leaving the husks of aspiring writers in the trees around the compound.

My bigger fear is, once they make this film, they drag me to see it, keeping me focused on the action the way Little Alex was programmed in A Clockwork Orange, unable to turn away as another fledgling writer dies at the hands of a big-ass spider.

Whimpering the whole time as I watch, “Kill.  Me.  Now…”

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