Thursday, April 30, 2009

departing knowledge

Day 245 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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I know the title today should have been “imparting knowledge”, but I feel like I’ve forgotten more about the art and business of writing than I’ve retained.

Going into a high school English classroom today to talk about being a writer should be an interesting experience for me. I hope I don’t disappoint.

Thinking back on my own high school days, I don’t know how much attention I was spending on the actual teachers - I was busy wondering if my zits were showing, looking at girls I liked, and wondering when the class would end so I could go play tennis, or ski, or snowmobile, or do just about anything else.

It is important, I think, to try and make some impression on those starting out. I would like to think that I could be a little bit inspirational, if only to let them know that there are so many paths in life that you don’t have to be lead down any particular one - especially forced down them by others.

But, I will likely come off as some ancient (not-with-it) dotard that wasted their time, and they will be looking at the clock, or potential boyfriend/girlfriends and wondering when they can get out of there.

So the drill, from what I understand, will be to introduce myself, then read my short story (The Treatment) and let them ask questions afterwards.

And the terror of all presenters trapped in a room? - what if there are no questions and I'm left standing there looking like and acient dotard . . .?

Well, tomorrow you will get an account, good or bad, or somewhere in between of what went down.

And this opportunity (gee, ya think I timed it like this?) comes on my very last official day as a corporate cube squatting slave - a true transition into that of full time writer.

As to bringing an apple - I’m allergic to them . . . go figure.

Until tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

four phones and a tv

Day 244 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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That’s what is in our house. Yes, there are only three of us so four phones sounds like overkill, especially with today’s portable units.

We have one in our family room, one upstairs in the bedroom, one downstairs in my lair and one in the music room. Oh, and a small 24 inch TV in the family room.

The reason for the many phones all over the house is due to the fact that my wife needs the phone answered at any time for work. Missing a call (even though she has a cell phone too) could mean lost income.

Not a good thing at the present time.

And so the phones have bred in our house like rabbits.

The one TV is mostly mine as I use it to watch DVDs with. And I did finish Angel. I liked the ending - no compromise.

They just don’t make too many TV shows like that anymore. And I have not seen Dollhouse, so I don’t know how it is.

Well, I have a full morning of writing and some prep to do for the English classes tomorrow, so I best get to it.

I will give you a rundown of what happened in English class on Friday.

Until tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

teaching Thursday

Day 243 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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How surreal is this?

I’m going to be in a high school English class this week talking about short stories and maybe even reading them one of mine.

If this sounds as bizarre to you as it does to me, well that’s because it is - isn’t it?

I think the gist of my visit will be to show this class that not all people squat in cubes wiling away the time at computer terminals for others -some make alternate life choices with writing being one of them.

It can be done and I will be a living example of such.

Anyway, it sounds like fun. But I am so not teenage cool anymore (was I ever?) I will be looked upon as an old fogey for sure.

Maybe I should wear my Guinness T-shirt?

Well, more come when I know the day and I promise a report afterwards.

Humiliation, wherefor art thou humiliation?

Until tomorrow . . .

Monday, April 27, 2009

not bored now

Day 242 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Three weeks have passed since my last day of the living torture I referred to as cube-squatting.

Everybody - and I mean everybody - keeps asking me if I’m bored being at home all day.

In the words of Warren Zevon, “You are never alone with a schizophrenic”.

Honestly people, being home, not commuting, writing, reading, cooking and tending to the home fires is absolutely what I’m all about.

So, no more “am I bored?” questions please.

You see, I have lots of DVD sets to watch, hundreds of books to read, tons of jobs that need doing and meals that need cooking every day. And the writing takes up pretty much my entire morning.

How could I possibly get bored?

But maybe, in true human fashion, the real question is not that question at all but rather, “how can you stand it?” or “aren’t you lonely?” or “why did you do it?”.

All I can say is that each person looks from their own perspective and puts themselves in my shoes and are really asking themselves the question, “wouldn’t I be bored doing that and go crazy?” This life is not for everybody, and some would go bonkers in short order, but, I am not you, and you are not me, and that is what makes this world an interesting place after all.

Now, I’ve got to get re-writing chapter 6 because I really want to shop this novel around by the fall.

Then I think, after lunch, I’ll finish watching season 5 of Angel.

Until tomorrow . . .

Sunday, April 26, 2009

thar she blows

Day 241 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Well, I don’t know what the weather was like around your neck of the woods yesterday, but around here we had a brief and violent tantrum from Mother Nature.

Yesterday, around supper time, a thunder storm blew in - and when I say blew in, I mean BLEW in.

We must of had wind gusts up to 80 miles per hour. Part of my fence blew down (well maybe not blew down exactly, but it was leaning at an unnatural angle, for a fence) and several huge pine trees came down in our town. And by huge, I’m talking 40 foot plus pine trees not the tiny Christmas variety.

This storm blew in with such intensity, lasted like two minutes, then was replaced by a gentle rain like nothing happened afterwards. Very odd.

And we didn’t lose power which was even odder. We can lose power just by having our power grid think a storm is coming, it's like the stock market that way.

Anyhow, I had to go out in the rain and pull my fence back up and tie it off to my neighbours; a much more intelligent metal chain link style.

Mine is a six foot solid wood one I built a couple years back. While good for keeping out stray pets and people, it is not good when the high winds come and blow on it. I need to do some structural enhancing this spring.

The party for the girls yesterday afternoon (before the storm) went very well and I’m happy to report they all had a good time bowling and playing at the arcade. My daughter now has 4 more stuffies (Webkins) to add to her ever growing collection. I’m glad I don’t need to feed them.

Best I get back to my writing this morning. Chapter 6 of 13 is now in process of re-writes. It’s slow work but the overall story is getting fleshed out better and the terrible grammar is starting to be just bad.

After re-write 3, 4, 5 and 6, I should have something to be proud of - and maybe paid for.

At least that is the plan.

Until tomorrow . . .

Saturday, April 25, 2009

the chosen one

Day 240 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Well, it is going to happen.

A story of mine will be used to torme . . . um, educate?, kids in a high school.

I’m going to choose ‘The Treatment’ for three reasons.

1) It’s got some humour.

2) It’s got a twist ending.

3) It’s been published.

4) It’s short . . .

. . . who said I could count.

I haven’t been asked specifically to come into the class and read it or show up at all and talk about writing as a career choice - but I can suggest it.

Not sure about it though.

Think I should?

It might be good for me to learn humility from high school teens - god knows I would likely have the sum total of zero in common with them.

Could be an experience - or a living nightmare.

So, I best look ‘The Treatment’ over one more time before I shoot it off to the teacher. Oh, and you can read it right here - on the sidebar under ‘My Short Stories’ if you like.

Kind of excited and horrified at the same time.

Until tomorrow . . .

Friday, April 24, 2009

book learn'n

Day 239 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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I’ve been spending some time watching well plotted shows and reading books about how to plot. Well, not specifically books about how to plot, but ones that deal with it in more than just a footnote kind of way.

The show I’ve been watching is season 5 of Angel (for the first time) and I’m trying to keep a close eye on how it’s crafted.

The books I’ve been reading are “The Screenwriter’s Bible” and “The Art of Dramatic Writing” and “Hero with a Thousand Faces.

And the a fiction book I’m reading right now is “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and I must say, Rowling is a veritable master of plot and foreshadowing.

What I mean by this is every scene in “Goblet” has significance to forwarding the story (mine don’t always, so me bad, but I’m working on it). She is able to set up great foreshadowing that really pays off for those following along (like in Angel) and besides all of that, she is a very good writer.

I’ve always been of the opinion that if a book is masterfully plotted it can suffer in the writing and still be a great book. If the book is masterfully written but the plot is full of holes and just plain sucks, then the book (in my opinion) is not a great book. If a writer can pull off a master plot coupled with excellent writing - Bingo! And hence the fame (well deserved) of the Rowlings of this world.

So, putting it all together, I’m trying my best on my novel re-write to make sure every scene has some kind of plot significance or foreshadowing, or at the least, a thematic resonance and go from there. It’s going to be a rather short novel (like mayber 200 pages or less), like novels used to be back in the 60s and 70s.

Oh, and in case you want to argue about other types of books (I know, I know there are many) I’m going on about plot type books because those are the ones which appeal to me the most and those I have a desire to write.

Then some day, in the mists of time, maybe what I come up with will be discussed in a blog somewhere - and I hope the person, or persons, writing it with have thought my plots were well done . . .

Until tomorrow . . .

Thursday, April 23, 2009

community band night

Day 238 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Last night our family went to see a local community band - my wife plays flute in it.

I won’t tell any lies. They were better than a high school band, but not as good as a professional orchestra.

Bruce Rogers was the MC. No kidding. He is looking pretty old and (again with the no lies) the only thing I can remember him from is the “Drive nights” years ago on TVO when they were looking to get money from viewers.

Still it was pretty neat to see and hear the guy up close. He does have a great voice for this kind of thing.

So the concert consisted of a small orchestra, a jazz band and a quintet of bell ringers.

And I quite liked it. The only problem was dragging along the offspring who was recovering from a nasty cold. Today she is coughing a spluttering again and will spend the day with me getting over it - for the second time.

Highlights were my wife and a flute player doing a couple of duets - very cool and nicely done. Also, one young guy (like 15?) Played a Mozart piano piece (very difficult) and did it extremely well. We were told it was a level 9 test piece so you know it wasn’t easy.

And lastly, the quintet of bell players were pretty neat. They muffed up a few times but the sound of only bells ringing to tunes you know is sort of interesting.

Well, on to my writing and administering to the sick child.

Until tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

net provider

Day 237 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Wow, I just have to say that at 237 days in a row I have not had one day so far where I couldn’t get through to the internet to make my post.

My perception of our provider was much worse before I began this marathon. The reality is - they are pretty darn reliable.

And yes, it is dial-up.

Why do I not get high speed? Because I don’t want wireless and we don’t have high speed light through our phone lines here - no fibre optics installed in our area yet.

I slept in today, but as you know, that doesn’t matter much anymore.

And since I’ve switched careers, I have not missed writing even one day. Yah, me as robot again.

Yesterday I finished re-writing chapter four of my novel. Nine more to go and I’ll have a complete second draft.

Then I will likely print it out and go through the entire edit process all over again. Not sure how many times I need to do this to get it right. Likely four at least. Crichton used to re-write all of his novels seven times.

I’ll see how it goes after four.

Well, since I’m behind today I best start getting caught up.

Until tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

cello dad

Day 236 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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You’ve all heard of soccer moms - but how many of you have heard of cello dads?

Well, you are about to.

Truth be told, I’m only a part-time cello dad since my daughter’s in home lessons are conducted by my wife. And no, I do not drive a mini-van. Cello dads prefer two door sports car type transport, thank you.

This morning I’m off to my daughter’s cello lesson solo . . . with my daughter - which technically is not solo - but my wife is off to work, so, it’s solo for me to be assistant . . . if you get me.

I take notes during her lesson so she knows what to work on during the week. Now, this may sound easy, but unless you know what trills, drops and shifts and a plethora of terms and classical cello pieces are and mean, then you would be as lost as I am. All that technical jargon is challenging to learn. Now if it were phase converters or quantum singularity drives, well, I would have less trouble . . .

Anyway, I scribble down the terms down and I am making an effort to learn and catch up, but my daughter and wife have been at it for years and for me - I’ve never played a cello in my life. Oh, I’ve tried it once - and incase you were wondering it is one dang hard instrument to play.

So, I need to feed the offspring and pack the car and head out in less than half an hour.

I even needed to wake up this morning to an alarm clock. Can you believe that!

Oh, I do not miss mandatory rising at all.

Until tomorrow . . .

Monday, April 20, 2009

taxing

Day 235 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Know what I hate about doing income tax?

It’s totally unnecessary.

You know all the tax office does when they get your submission is take your forms and just plug them in to their computer program. If the numbers match, good for you. If the numbers don’t then they issue you corrections based on their program and, good try for you.

So, what is the damn point of going through the agony of filling in all the crap in the first place. Why not just mail in your T slips and let them plug it in.

I know, too damn easy.

And how about just saying if you make X amount you pay Y amount as percent. One calculation taking about ten seconds.

Again, too damn easy.

Oh, can you guess what I’m doing today after I finish my writing?

Until tomorrow . . .

Sunday, April 19, 2009

my fiction in high school

Day 234 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Literally!

I have the opportunity to have some of my work used in a high school English program.

This, to me, is damn funny, odd and surreal at the same time.

You see, I was a straight D student in English during my high school career (with the exception of Grade 13 where I got a C, remember that grade?) and now some of my short stories could be taught to high school students.

I actually hated English in high school, and it was, by far, my worst subject.

The irony of this situation is almost too much for me to take.

I may also have the opportunity to read some of my works for the class, and then answer questions afterwards.

I can picture it now . . .

Q: When did you start writing?

A: First year of my Engineering degree at University, during the dark ages.

Q: How much money do you make at it?

A: So far, over my 21 years of writing, I’ve made 84 dollars.

Q: Where do you get your ideas.

A: My Twisted Mind just spits them out. I catch them and transfer then into the written word.

Q: Is it a good job.

A: For lifestyle - absolutely. For Income - absolutely NOT.

I think I would like to take this strange opportunity and see where it leads.

The life of a writer is rarely exciting so this is pretty neat.

Until tomorrow . . .

Saturday, April 18, 2009

good behaviour

Day 233 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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I’ve been having some issues trying to get all my writing in during holidays and weekends, so I’m going to alter my plan slightly.

On weekends and holidays I am only required to do ½ of the hours I’ve slotted to write - that’s the new rule. You see, the issue is this. My family, daughter in particular, wants my attentions even if it means just sitting quietly together and reading on weekends and holidays.

So, as my family is pretty much the most important aspect of my life and they are my first priority, it is only fitting that I spend as much time with them as possible. And one day, fairly soon, my daughter will get older, move away and I will have missed all those opportunities to spend more time with her if I don’t take them now.

It shouldn’t be too much of a hit on my writing as weekdays will still see me churning away for hours.

And oh, look at that, it’s the weekend already . . .

Until tomorrow . . .

Friday, April 17, 2009

teeth and tennis

Day 232 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Well, tennis is starting up here, in our quaint little town, in just under two weeks. I played some this winter in the bubble, until my hand got bad enough and I had to stop it and let it heal the rest of the season.

It feels good to be going back on the courts again soon and wielding the racket. During sign-up, while I was trying to say hello to fellow members, my daughter was raiding the donuts. I managed to stop her at three, but she is growing (again) and will pretty much eat the bark off trees right now if I don’t watch.

And today is dentist day - gotta get it done while I still have coverage. But that is going to run out by end of May, then my teeth will be 100% my responsibility, financially speaking. So, going to stop chewing on rocks starting today. It was a bad habit anyhow.

Well, I’m up pretty early so I can get cracking on my novel rewrites. It’s funny, but I’m doing much more writing, about double, as I did during NaNoWriMo 2007 - and I’m feeling less tired, cranky and each day I feel a little less like caning kids that cross my lawn . . .

Maybe this life at home writing really does suit me.

Until tomorrow . . .

cantankerous

Thursday, April 16, 2009

settling in

Day 231 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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I was asked today if I was getting bored at home . . .

Excuse me while I laugh, giggle or otherwise guffaw.

I am a creature of the home in every single way.

I hate commuting - check.

I’m not a real people person - check.

I love to wear comfortable clothes - check.

I shave only when I feel like it - check.

I work for myself - check.

I have no money . . . let me check . . .

Actually I’m doing very well at home looking after things. Let’s take yesterday as an example since I was in charge the entire day.

Got up around 6:00 AM, just because I did, not because I had to. Threw on my leisure wear and made a coffee and ate some cereal. Made my daughter’s lunch and wrote my blog. Gave my daughter her cello practice. Took my daughter to school (walked - not commuted). Came home and did my 2 hours of writing. Had a big salad for lunch. Made a double batch of oatmeal cookies. Did some grocery shopping (another walk). Read a book. Watched an Angel episode and did a load of laundry. Picked my daughter up from school (walked again). Made a loaf of bread with supper.

Now, this may sound like the kiss of death for many readers out there, but for me this is the life. I can do my creative writing (when I get a chance to fit it in during the day) and get many of the other things around the house done as well.

The only drawback I can see is the eventual running out of funds to continue this way of life. Should be good for a year or two though, and by that time I hope to have a writing career that can pay for, well at least, the electricity bill to keep my computer on.

Until tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

would the real mr mom please stand up

Day 230 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Oh, I guess that would be me.

Today my wife is gone long (working all day - I remember that - for like 20+ years) before my daughter even gets up.

So, I’m on making lunch duty, also making breakfast as well as the taking to school and making sure she has everything ready and is dressed appropriately for the weather.

And that last run on sentence would give an editor a heart attack but was written that way to give a small indication what it is like to do all that stuff in under one hour.

Still, it is not a bad go, and I’m really enjoying the working from home aspects of writing. And yesterday I already completed the 2nd draft of Chapter 1 of my novel. It is only 13 chapters long - so moving along nicely I think.

Every day I move along at my writing like the turtle - the finish line may be far, but I will doggedly get there.

Well, I should be getting at my new duties.

Until tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

the most hectic day of my week

Day 229 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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happens to be today, Tuesday.

I need to rise at 6:00 AM so I can take my daughter to her cello lesson by 7:30 AM.

And no, I’m not complaining as I have the rest of the day (once she is dropped off for school) to do my writing and whatever else needs doing around the homestead.

It still hasn’t quite sunk in yet that I am “totally” gone from my old job (seems like vacation), but I have been diving right in to the writing career every day without a break - even for the Easter bunny.

The package I took was appropriately called “Career Transition” - and I am making it so.

Well, gotta run and get the car packed.

Until tomorrow . . .

Monday, April 13, 2009

go Easter young man

Day 228 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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So, it’s Easter Monday and the rabbit was a hare trickier than last year - even though hares and rabbits are not technically the same thing.

I don’t think it will be to many more years before the bunny just plain doesn’t come anymore. Sad, but true. Little girls do grow up.

Anyhow, the eggs are boiling in preparation of the egg colouring session soon to be taking place.

I’m afraid today’s post will be quite short as there is a bunch of found chocolate to eat, and chocolate on my keyboard does not make for comfortable writing.

I am still going to do my writing later though (I am the machine when it comes to daily goals like that), and I’m actually starting the re-write stage of my novel. This is the stage I am declaring as the most painful and agonizing of the bunch.

The bunch being: first draft, editing, re-writes.

I best get at it.

Until tomorrow . . .

Sunday, April 12, 2009

a brief history of my time

Day 227 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Today’s post is going to be short, for several reasons.

It’s Sunday, Easter Sunday for one. This means that the bunny has been up to his old tricks so there are clues to follow to discover where he could have hidden those treats.

Then there is the Turkey dinner we are going to enjoy at friends. This means an afternoon of cooking, socializing and generally having fun.

Also, I need to cram in my 2 hours of writing, pretty much right after I post this, so I don’t fall behind - holidays or no, this is not an option.

I will be moving on to my novel now, a switch from the short story I just completed. The short story will be revised and sent out after I finish the edits on my novel.

So, wilh all that said, my time is short today, and I must away.

Have a Happy Easter Sunday!

Until Tomorrow . . .

Saturday, April 11, 2009

reading nights

Day 226 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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It’s been around 15 years now (perhaps longer) that I have been attending, what our group calls, reading nights. Our group totals 11 people, not including guest writers, which we have on occasion.

Reading night is a monthly gathering of friends who share a love, well at least a strong like, of writing. During these monthly gatherings we share new works (as in read out loud) that we have created in the time between - or re-read things from ages past. Whatever, it doesn’t really matter.

What matters is the getting together and enjoying each others works and company.

I had the pleasure of reading the three short stories I eventually had published to this group before they hit published status. There is something wonderful in having a live audience reacting to your written words - no matter what the reaction is. It helps the finished product in the end.

You may find this hard to believe, but despite these monthly gatherings, I’m not all that social - at least not to people I haven’t know for . . . say a decade or so. Just about everybody in our reading night group has been in it that long, or longer and so I have level of comfort I can easily take.

I also need to point out that our group is loaded with very intelligent individuals (excluding myself, of course - I’m just nuts) and everybody has read works worthy of publishing - and some have gone on to do just that besides myself.

I call our group “the Second Saturday Psychos” - perhaps the others don’t like it. Still, I was the one that compiled our first PDF short story collection, so I got to choose the name.

And why that name? Well, it’s because we meet every second Saturday of every month. And okay, I may be the only true psycho - but there you have it.

Tonight (being a second Saturday) is one such night, and I will be reading my new short story (well I read it last time, but it is substantially altered and revised and only two other people heard it)

It’s great fun reading your works to others and, if you are a writer, you should seek such company to do so.

Well, I'm off to get my daily writing hours in . . .

Until tomorrow . . .

Friday, April 10, 2009

hours two

Day 225 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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That’s how many hours I’m working on writing each day, every day, all this month - without fail.

I’m sort of machine-like that way (ask anyone that followed me during NaNoWriMo 2007). Once I set a specific goal, nothing much stops me from achieving it.

2 hours may not sound like much, but my brain cells tend to heat up to dangerous levels if I exceed that length of time. I will be working up to 4 hours per day come August - with the installation of more efficient heat sinks - but for now I’m limiting myself to 2 hours to avoid burnout.

And I am getting a lot done. My short story is really shaping up. I think by next week it will be sent out in the hopes of seeing print.

Then I’m on to finishing the editing of my Post Apocalyptic novel, with the a re-write to be completed by July 1st which was my original goal - and I’m sticking to it.

So, what have I been doing with all my other hours this week?

Some cleaning, some cooking, some walking, some shopping, some reading and some DVD watching - and NO commuting!

Well, being a long weekend starting today, I will need to cut this short so I can get in my 2 hours of writing and then spend the rest of the day doing fun family stuff.

Until tomorrow . . .

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I am losing

Day 224 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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But it’s not what you might think.

I have been walking my daughter to school and back for the past three days, a journey which adds up to around 6 kilometers all told.

As Maxwell would say . . . “And . . . Loving it!”

I’ve also managed to keep to my writing regiment equally as well.

I know this is early days yet, but I am taking this whole "working-from-home" thing very, very seriously. It is, after all, my new full time job.

The short story I’m currently massaging should be ready for consumption in a few days, and then it’s off to the publishers for a look, and hopefully, a buy.

Oh, but back to the “losing” part.

The losing I speak of is not confidence or self-esteem or money at the race track - no the losing I speak of is weight, and not just from worry, but from all the walking coupled with proper eating. I’ve had more time to make healthful lunches and suppers for the family, and the good nutrition is paying off in body and brain fuel.

Did I mention the “loving it” part yet?

I am a bit discouraged by my wrist though. It is taking longer to heal than I would like. It’s going to be another week, maybe two, before I can put enough weight on it to do a proper push up.

I am so looking forward to getting back to my exercise routine involving weights, push ups, sit ups and of course, the mini trampoline . . .

I may be getting to the age where young kids look at me and say, “you’re really old”, but I don’t have to physically deteriorate to satisfy them that they are right.

Well, writing needs to happen so I best be getting at it.

Until tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

no time for fooling

Day 223 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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This new career is going to absorb a lot of my time I know, and my schedule is nothing short of chaotic.

It’s a bit odd to have all day to fit your job in whenever you get a chance. To help me along I have laid out a very precise set of goals (time wise) for each day, up to and including all of June.

And I’ll be damned if I’m not going to meet or exceed them.

My immediate short term goal is to get a short story published as soon as I can. Bolster the old ego, if you will.

I know I can do it as I’ve done it three times before, but getting one sold now seems to take on more significance.

Does writing as a job vs writing as a hobby take away from the pleasure of creating?

Well, it’s a bit premature to speculate I think. Once I’m under some contractual deadline it may seem crazy and more “job” like. However, right now I’m putting in the quality time with my muse that I need to hone my craft.

And, to totally switch gears, you may have noticed an increase in blog length lately here at The Twisted Mind Emporium. It is completely attributable to the fact that I am no longer have on that damnable wrist cast.

I went in on Monday to have my wrist checked, and after consulting the rays, the bone doctor said it may not even be cracked at all. His advice - don’t play contact sports for a few weeks.

I can see why he gets paid the big bucks.

And contrary to my belief that the entire procedure would eat up about three hours of time, the entire event (from check in to check out) took only fifteen minutes.

Lucky for me I had a book for company as I was dropped off to be picked up again four hours later. I read about 200 pages. I am thinking my “month in review” of April is going to be a good one.

Well, much writing to do today and yes, the fear of failure looms large - but the sweet taste of success is just around the corner . . .

. . . or is that benzoic sulfinide? . . .

Until tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

first day on the new job

Day 222 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Well this is sure strange.

No silly work clothes, no commute, no set hours whatsoever.

A guy could get to like this - and a guy could also go insane.

Lucky for me I’m already insane, so I can just skip right over that step.

So, you ask, what is my plan?

Oh, the plan? - let me show it to you.

I am now the primary care giver for my offspring so that will take first priority on my time. What I’m left with after those duties is about 6 hours in the day with another 2 or 3 in the evening to work at my craft - no, not basket weaving, but writing.

I am going to do my writing in ½ hour chunks with rewards at the end of each session. Yah, I can bribe myself if I want.

I hope to get in a good 2-8 hours of writing a day depending on what else is needing to be taken care of. But, I need to pace myself and build up gradually so as not to burn out completely so for the first month or so I'm thinking more along the 1-4 hour range.

And what do I have to work on?

I have a short story that needs a polish, a finished novel that needs a rewrite, another entire plotted science fiction novel that needs a first draft, and a fantasy trilogy that needs a first draft as well.

So, it becomes obvious I will not lack for writing projects in the near term.

Of course the goal of all this is to make some money - a far trickier part of my cunning plan. As soon as my products are in saleable shape I will be peddling them - and fast!

Well, much work lies ahead of me and there is no time like the “right F'n now” to get at them.

Until tomorrow . . .

Monday, April 06, 2009

point of no return

Day 221 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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This is it - the day of no return.

As of 8:30 this morning there will be no turning back.

Scares the crap out of me a wee bit, but it’s this very kind of future impending doom which spurred Rowling to great heights . . .

. . . and for every Rowling there were likely 100,000 others not as persistent or scared - I know, I know.

But I am going to make it!

I can now channel all my energies toward my own goals.

The chute will open before I hit the ground . . .

And what more fitting a day for this final transaction with my former employer than a snowstorm - in April?

A fitting end, indeed.

So here is to tomorrow, when my new career shifts into frenzied high gear borne of sheer panic . . .

Until tomorrow . . .

Sunday, April 05, 2009

cleaning out the desk

Day 220 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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I’ve decided that today is a good day to go into the office and clean out my stuff.

I was going to wait until tomorrow, but I only want to go in then to sign my papers and say goodbye to those left behind. I would rather not be lugging out my stuff at the same time.

Cleaning out my desk will be a cleansing experience. It will be good for my soul - a purging if you will, a positive start to a new beginning.

Actually, the reality of my situation hasn’t quite registered yet. It seems like any old weekend right now. I suppose after a few weeks, when I have settled into my new routines, it will become the reality.

I’m very excited about having the opportunity to write full time, something I’ve always been toying with but never really embraced because of the fatigue and lack of time - and yah, fear.

Well, now I have the time. Lots and lots of time. Fear can take a hike.

It’s going to be equal parts scary and exciting, but I only have one life to live after all. And believe me, it’s never to late to start living the life you were meant to.

I’m off now to go find an appropriate box, hop in the car, and gather those fading memories of a previous life . . .

Until tomorrow . . .

Saturday, April 04, 2009

cast away

Day 219 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, reptiles and marsupials - what follows is a special 3 word Twisted Mind announcement . . .

I

AM

FREE!

Friday April 3rd was officially my last day of cube-squatting!

What does it all mean?

Poverty, soup kitchens and cardboard boxes I should think . . .

. . . but not for a year or two anyhow.

It means I can turn my twisted mind’s energies toward personal, meaningful goals (not other’s goals) and fulfil my destiny - you know, less the severed hand or falling in love with a sister I never knew I had . . . or something . . .

But I would be lying to you if I didn’t tell you I’m feeling a bit of horror right alongside the immense joy.

I’ve always said the fear of poverty would boost my writing output to new levels - and by gosh I think it will, because the alternative is just not thinkable.

So, this year you will see a frenzied writing output increase borne of desperation and impending doom. I see it as a challenge - not unlike jumping the Snake River Canyon with a rocket-powered motorcycle . . ., er, bad example. How about the 70s Elvis comeback maybe?

Things will be pretty chaotic for a bit as I reorganize my time and life . . .

-My Time and Life-

Man that sounds good!

I think I can best sum up whats going through my twisted brain by siting 2, Star Trek: The Search for Spock, movie moments.

The first has me squatting in the cube taking in the news and current environment. Think of me as a Klingon raider, searching the bridge of the Enterprise - and just what the hell is the Enterprise’s computer voice saying in the background anyhow? I patch it through to my superior officer - Immediately, over my communicator comes Krag’s voice, and he yells, “Get out of there! Get out of there now!”

The second moment would be Kirk standing on the Genesis planet beside Bones, looking up at the sky to see the Enterprise breaking up, a falling, fiery ball of destruction heading for total annihilation. Kirk says, “my god, what have I done?” Skip Bone’s lines though, they kind of sucked . . .

Until tomorrow . . .

Friday, April 03, 2009

hurry up and wait

Day 218 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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I finally got an appointment to have my wrist looked at and get my temporary cast off - 2 1/2 weeks after it happened.

I'm hoping I won't need a permanent cast at all. At least I'm going to lobby for that option.

And I'm still waiting on the work front. Things really move at blinding speed, don't you know?

It seems I've forgotten to do a month-in-review for last month, so I'll skip it and do one next month when I have more time.

More time - what a concept!

Live the dream, unless, it's like a nightmare - then it's best to avoid it altogether.

Until tomorrow . . .

Thursday, April 02, 2009

timing is everything

Day 217 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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There are three possible outcomes.

1) Yippee!

2) Oh SHIT!

3) More cube squatting.

If I can beat the clock (I did like that game as a kid) things will be okay.

If I try, but fail to beat the clock, then I am prett much farked.

If I don't try, and squat, them I am farked - it will just take a little longer.

Timing is everything.

Until tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

in the broken wings

Day 216 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .

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Yes, more waiting.

The deal is on the table, but their are a few complications - always complications.

Like any good negotiation I hope these complications will get resolved quickly, and to my liking.

If not, well I don't want to think about it.

Have I mentioned typing with a cast on my wrist SUCKS!

Oh, maybe I have mentioned it in passing.

Until tomorrow . . .