New Year, New U(niverse)

Same bad puns. Honestly, it sounded better in my head than it reads in the header, but I also originally planned to write it as “You(niverse)”…until that looked dumb, also. So here we are.

Happy New Year to you all, since it is now late enough that everyone has crossed the arbitrary boundary between 2017 and the three weeks of incorrectly writing 2017 on things. I’m sure I will be among those people. I hope you all had a lovely night and didn’t wake up with hangovers today, or if you did wake up feeling hungover I hope it didn’t linger too long. Like many, many, many other people, I am using the new year as a means of setting goals for myself in an effort to talk less and do more. I still refuse to call them New Year’s Resolutions, as the moment that label touches something it transforms into an impossible goal for most people. Continue reading

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T’is the Season

NaNoWriMo is now well behind me, and I successfully won another year (it only cost me quite a few days of sleep-deprivation at work, but I’m honestly pleased with the bulk of the draft it yielded). Christmas is less than a week away, which would be concerning if I hadn’t managed to successfully behave like an adult and get shopping out of the way ahead of time for a change. As the end of the year rapidly approaches, whether I’m ready for it or not (and, honestly, despite how good 2017 has been on a personal level I am all about those sweet, sweet 2018 mid-term elections and several other, exciting things I’ll get to later).

This post is a sort-of recap of my year since the last posts I made, a loudly-stated-because-it’s-on-the-intenet commitment to getting off of my ass so as to work harder towards getting more things published (self-published as well), and a return to WordPress…because I renewed my damn domain name, so I may as well make use of it. (Fun story: I had to open a new tab and verify this, because I honestly could not remember if I did or not.) Onward!

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The Trouble with Big Dogs

The Trouble with Big Dogs – In Memory of Franco

The trouble with big dogs is that they are big. Large. Huge, enormous, and perhaps even gigantic. They take up a great deal of space wherever they are, naturally; whether that be lounging in the middle of the floor, dominating a couch–their couch, of course–in the most spread-out way imaginable, or nosing their way to the door to greet a visitor who probably should have been let in already (where are your manners, slowpoke?).

Big dogs have big appetites, and often find their big noses on the table sniffing out food they certainly shouldn’t be eating. This, of course, does not prevent some of that food from occasionally finding its way to the appropriate dog dishes.

Big dogs have a capacity for big naps, often accompanied by big snores and big dreams. The biggest, most-accommodating couch or bed will invariably be taken up by such a large dog, leaving little space for much else. This is the new order of things, and should be accepted as an unwritten contract. Whatever recliner, sofa, or small segment of bed is left should be more than luxurious for any humans. Continue reading

Dear Franco

Today, far sooner than we’d have liked, my family had to say goodbye to our dog Franco. This is one of two posts I’m making on the subject. They’re largely selfish, as a way to cope and get this out of my system. In a small way, this is me working to say goodbye.

Dear Franco,

You weren’t always our dog, at least from the start, but you always felt like part of the family. Words fail me as I sit here, the dull hum of the ceiling fans we made sure to keep on for you the only company I have at the time, trying to fully process this morning. Bluntly: it sucks.

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All things considered, you could have been a very mean, temperamental, and unpleasant dog. The word ‘table’ was brandished at you like a weapon. Furniture was off-limits, of course. You still greeted people, tail wagging, with a lasting warmth.

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When we brought you home, there was a little apprehension. The adjustment period, where Mackenzie and Missy taught you that this was most certainly their house that you were moving into, had some interesting moments, but went smoothly. You seamlessly became another member of the family. The living room couch, covered with the dolphins-with-sunglasses blanket, quickly became shared property between you, Missy, and Mackenzie. 280779_669407042466_1444293402_o

There was a lot to love about you, Franco. The way you would only let some people pet you over the fence. How you greeted everyone at the door, often barking along the way as you readied to charge. The look you gave if someone happened to wake you up, and the grunt that would almost always follow.

In retrospect, your time with us feels both like it was gone in a flash but also like it lasted forever. Still, selfishly, I wish there were just a little more time. I will always wish there were just a little more time. Thank you for the years of howling along with sirens, going outside just to come back in for a treat, kisses, times you were waiting by the door when we got home, and so much more. My only hope now is that you are at peace, in a place where steak is regularly left unattended and well within your reach.

 

The idea that got away

I recently did something I have, on a fairly regular basis, told myself not to do. No, I’m not talking about eating spicy food and then rubbing my eyes (because I still do that more often than I care to admit).

So there was this story idea, right? A basic framework of an idea, with tangible if not fully-realized characters, right there in front of me. It could have had big, neon signs saying “Write me, Philip, you lazy, well-intentioned bastard.” It practically did.

Tonight has been spent being cranky because that idea has gone, having very fragmented thoughts that I’m fairly sure are just the flotsam and jetsam of me rereading Dreams and Shadows trying to manifest as something more, and eating ice cream. Halo Top is really hit or miss, I’ve decided, but there are a few flavors I’ll need to stock up on.

My question is this: what next? Should I revisit a novel project I already started on but abandoned? Should I really put my nose to the proverbial grindstone and get to the serious proofreading and editing for Dissonance in Harmony? Should I force myself to stop being so damn serious and just try writing stuff? Thoughts?

Eating Halo Top Vanilla Bean feels like the adult equivalent of eating paste

Sure, that’s a long-ass title, but it’s catchier than my usual go-to of indicating I’m not dead, that I’ve not forgotten I have a WordPress, or some pop culture reference. Related: how the Hell do I have 18 drafts? I need to do some belated spring cleaning.

The Halo Top, for the record, isn’t half bad, but it has a weird consistency – just to set the record straight.

“What’s new in the land of Phil’s Misadventures in Fiction (and life)?” asks no one in particular.  Continue reading

Make, and support, art

My post-work goal for the night was to get a little writing done (likely in the form of adding to Dissonance in Harmony, of course) before playing some Pokemon Moon and going to bed at a moderately reasonable hour. I love some quality video game wind-down time, but after seeing more news regarding President (using the term loosely here) Trump’s intention to move forward with defunding PBS…Pokemon will have to wait.

It would be easy to throw names at the Man-Child-in-Chief. Too easy.

What I want to do is, instead, charge you fellow artists to create. Keep creating, keep spreading art and encouraging (and supporting) others to do the same, and keep spreading wonder and joy and love that is otherwise being snuffed out in the name of further crushing critical, independent thinking in favor of lockstepping along to the wrong side of history.

Make art that is wonderful, and make art that is unsettling. Challenge the ever-loving shit out of people who dare question the value of art. Know that if Mr. Rogers were still around in this time of taking away PBS, a source of learning and magic for many children and the stuff of fond memories for how many, there would be Hell to pay.

Above all else, continue. Whether these next four years are great or bad material for art (with the former seeming more likely), it’s imperative that art continue, that easy access to educational programming be fought for, and that simple-minded, would-be dictators be challenged at every turn.