Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Empire Strikes: Another Nerd’s Thoughts on Disney’s Lucasfilm

Here is yet another nerd’s thoughts on the recent news of Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm. Feel free to skip. Main body will be beyond the jump (to lightspeed). Read the rest of this entry

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Waking Up On the Other Side of Armaggedon

It’s 9:28 AM as I write this. Tuesday, October 30th, 2012. I’m on my couch right now, writing this on my iPad. No real reason. Sandy hit New Jersey and New York yesterday, and because she was a mean, huge bitch, hit Southeastern Massachusetts. Luckily, where I live, we’re fine. We lost power for about 30 seconds yesterday. That was it. For us. Right here. Others in my area I know weren’t as lucky.

I’ve seen some news this morning. Sandy killed 16 people yesterday in the US, 85 all together. Locally, we didn’t seem to get hit as hard as had been feared, but we still got hit. There was damage and power went out for people. The local newspaper says that some are still without power locally.

Being a teacher by day, I have my second day off, which I don’t mind. It allows me to work on the book, be with my wife, who has just begun her maternity leave, and just relax a bit. Tomorrow will be back to business until the baby decides to arrive.

Today I will also think about those hurt and killed south of us, and those still being effected by Sandy today. I will think about those locally who have sustained damage and still have no power.

Some of us got through this easily enough, but not everyone did.

Sandy, the Aurora Is Rising Behind Us

There’s a dark cloud rising from the desert floor
I packed my bags and I’m heading straight into the storm
Gonna be a twister to blow everything down
That ain’t got the faith to stand its ground
Blow away the dreams that tear you apart
Blow away the dreams that break your heart
Blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and brokenhearted

Bruce Springsteen, “The Promised Land”

So it’s Sunday afternoon, 4:55 as I write these words. There’s a hurricane heading toward New Jersey. Its name is Sandy, like in the old Springsteen song “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)”. Al Roker was in Asbury Park this morning. Apparently, the storm’s hitting there.

I’m further north, on the Southcoast of Massachusetts. I’m not on the water, more inland. The school I teach at has already called it. No school tomorrow. I was originally going to write about fall and how it seems like the perfect time of year for writers and artists. Maybe I will before fall disappears. Right now, though, the storm is on my mind.

I’m not worried about the storm. That’s the problem living where I do. We’re often told a big storm is coming but by the time it reaches us it’s usually wimpy. The reports say that’s not happening with Sandy. She’s supposed to come and kick some ass. I guess time will tell. I am worried that this is when my wife will go into labor. I mean, it’s a clichéd happening, isn’t it? Of all possible times to give birth, in the middle of a hurricane is when the water breaks. There’ll be a mad dash to the hospital. Maybe the car will be swerving around branches and felled trees. But I don’t think that’ll happen.

I’ll be plugging in my e-reading devices so I can continue what with what I’m reading (The Twelve by Justin Cronin) but even that’s not a big concern, I have plenty of books that don’t need to be charged or updated. I can write, at least for a little while, even if we lose power, with the computer or iPad. I can go old school with paper and pen, too. Shit, I can grab one of my manual typewriters.

And, of course, there’s just spending time with my wife, which is always great.

So we’ll be hunkering down. If you’re on the East Coast, be safe. Find a good book and enjoy it. One of my favorite memories is reading Stephen King’s The Stand by candlelight during Hurricane Bob in 1990. Enjoy yourself and be safe.

 

Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful…or Honest

In Stephen King’s masterpiece On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Mr. King talks about how important it is for writers to read and how the excuse, “I don’t have time to read,” is bullshit. He says:

Reading at meals is considered rude in polite society, but if you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered anyway.

This post isn’t about reading, it’s really just an observation that I’m making. I’ve been writing since I was 13 and publishing since I was 21. One of the things I’ve known from the beginning is that you must tell the truth, especially in fiction. Well, this blog and my Facebook/Twitter page(s) aren’t fiction. These are slices of thoughts, beliefs, ruminations, and jackanapery that are meant to entertain, enlighten, and edify. But mostly to entertain. They are sometimes meant to be taken seriously, but usually at your own risk. Whether it’s a 140-character masterpiece, a silly status update or meme, or a longer, more involved blog post, these little jaunts into the muck of my mind are all meant in good fun. But the one thing I promise to try to be is honest. Or as honest as I can be, in this forum, at this time.

Some of you like my posts so much you have chosen to follow my blog. I appreciate and thank you for that. Some of you might not like my blog or my posts, to which I bid you adieu. No harm, no foul. I’m not for everyone.

Still, it sort of smarts when I’m thinking, Jeesh. I haven’t seen a status update from _______ in a while. Let me see if Facebook is fuckin’ around again, to find that the Real Life Friend is no longer a friend on Facebook, etc. Did I say something wrong? Did I perhaps repost an offending meme? If we’re friends in real life, what’s this mean now?

The bottom line is, I only marginally care. The way I see it, if you don’t like what I have to say, so be it. But keep in mind, kids, it’s only the internet. My job here is to entertain and to tell the truth. Lighten up. And if it means I’m now a pariah in real life, well, what’s so good about polite society, anyway?

Changes of Seasons, Changes of Times

I feel accomplished because I just finished an hourlong writing session. I edited and revised a section of my neverending novel. The one I seem to write about a lot. The sense of accomplishment is overshadowed by the fact that—with the exception of a few short bursts of editing over the last couple of weeks—I’ve hardly worked on the book since late August, when my day job (I’m a teacher) started up again.

I find that happens to me whenever there’s a change that occurs, which is problematic if one is to be a professional anything. Knowing this is an issue should make it easier for me to take care of it. As such I’m stating publicly, so I can be embarrassed if I fail, that I’m going to start doing a minimum of a half-hour of writing work every day. I got the timeframe from my writing colleague and buddy Lee Thompson who wrote about writing for a half hour every day.

I’ve been trying to get myself to work for two hours a day since the new school year began but I always find a reason (some may say excuse and I wouldn’t fault you for it, and may even agree with you deep down) not to sit down and do the work. I’m too tired is a biggy. My day is a long one with nearly an hour added to it since my daughter has become a student at my school. I leave the house at 6:35 to pick her up at my ex-wife’s (at 6:50). We arrive at school anytime between 7:00 and 7:20, depending on when she comes out. My day ends at 3, and if I have to wait for her for something, later. Then I bring her home and I’m not usually home until 3:45ish. At this point, two hours of more work feels like two days. By the time my wife gets home (6:20ish) and we have dinner, we’re at 7:30 and I have to iron clothes. After that, I’m too beat to do much more than read and/or watch TV until bed (between 9 and 10).

Now, the time between 4 and 6 is ample writing time. I know that. But teaching isn’t a relaxing job. I spend a lot of my day running around. Think Robin Williams. When I get home, I’m tired. And then I feel guilty. Because I love writing. This blog can help keep me sane in that way. Silly projects sometimes do, as well. Things that I don’t take seriously, just enjoy writing. But the novel…that’s work. Editing and revising is work for me. Fun work, once I get started, but work.

So Lee’s revelation that he works a half hour a day on his writing (I bet his daily schedule is even more crazed than mine) is an epiphany for me. The dude’s published something like a million books—novels, novellas, and stories—in the past year! I’m reading his first novel now and am enjoying it, and have begun saying to myself, “Thirty minutes a day.”

Today’s hour felt wonderful. With the baby coming (due in less than a month now!?), I know my time will be stretched even more, but I can commit to half an hour a day. Even if it means going someplace else for half an hour with my iPad and the Bluetooth keyboard to work.
_________

Speaking of the iPad and Bluetooth keyboard, this is the first time I’ve used to it to write something long. Writing on the iPad is weird. I may blog about this another time. Let me know if you think I should.

Facebook & Twitter, Or Welcome to the 21st Century! Now What Do I Do?!

If you go over to the right of my website, you’ll see my Facebook and Twitter links. Please, friend or follow me if you’d like. I can’t say that I post all the time, nor can I say that what I post is particularly interesting, but I try my best to use the New Social Media to my advantage.

How important is it, though? I seem to have several (really cool) people who follow my blog, which I’m not sure I’m doing right anyway. I know that I enjoy the blogging. I can tell stories, ask questions, and even offend people! Much fun had by all. Yee haw! But Facebook and Twitter?

Facebook is set up for my writing career but I find it most useful to stay in touch with my friends and family. Oh, and to post silly memes that usually originate with George Takei. I find I often get annoyed with Facebook because of political, religious, or inane content, yet will post memes and such with my own political, religious, and inane content. This makes me a hypocrite, probably, but it’s Facebook, not the real world. I’ve been able to “meet” pretty cool people through Faccebook like Lee Thompson (whom I actually met in the flesh, there’s photographic proof) and RJ Sevin, my brother in all things Freddy. And there are others, too, but I’m not sure I’m using it “right.” For instance, I just posted the following:

CAUTION: VENTING: I am so angry right now I’m shaking. It’s a good thing I’m home or I would end up saying what I REALLY feel right now, which would not end pretty. Hopefully, the anger will subside by tomorrow. Punish someone for their mistake, but do NOT punish them for the person who’s supposed to be responsible’s mistake.

Now, I’m upset that I posted that because I prefer to post things that are more entertaining, insightful, or silly. Now shit just got real and you don’t care, and neither do my FB friends. Nor should they. That status update reads as exactly what it is: a frustrated person having a tantrum. But for every “real” status update I put up, there seems to be three bullshit ones like this.

I try harder on Twitter. In many ways, I like Twitter better. 90% of my Twitter use is following links from other people’s Tweets. I try to Tweet interesting, funny, and entertaining stuff (that also goes to my Facebook feed) but tend to delete most of my Tweets before I send them. I don’t know.

Is it a necessity to have these things as a writer? How do you use them? I don’t have time to wish everyone on Facebook happy birthday if I don’t know them (and I don’t know how to find the birthdays on my FB app). Nor do I often know what to write to people I consider my betters. Same with Twitter. How often can I reply or mention someone who has more than 120 followers without feeling like a fanboy sycophant even though I’m just responding to something I agree with or have something to say about? Is it just my paranoia?

Who knows? Who cares? I enjoy Facebook, and I love Twitter. I’m just not sure how to use them effectively. And I just don’t want to be one more voice contributing to white noise.

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