A carefully considered replacement post

Happy Tuesday (said no one ever). I’m still in the middle of a day long headache-a-thon, which is really fun because it’s fulfilling my life-long dream of feeling like someone is playing the drums on the inside of my skull. That’s the power of positivity, people (says the guy who tried to cure a monstrous headache with a two-hour nap that failed miserably).

On the plus side, there’s a new episode of Face Off tonight, and I’m already quite emotionally invested in this season. It’s also Taco Tuesday, a statement which translates to me going to Taco Bell and buying a big order of spicy regret (it’s a guilty pleasure I just can’t quit, people, and also I love Baja Blast too much). Lastly, I worked up the nerve to write my first fan letter! I put words to paper in what I hope is the least crazy way possible to thank Amy Poehler for writing Yes Please, which isn’t a book so much as a reasonably-priced treasure chest filled with wonderful things. Also, since I’m taking forever to write this: there was an episode of Gravity Falls waiting on the DVR, which made tonight even better.

This post was supposed to be about something else, actually, but then I decided that idea would better serve me as a short story…which means I had to switch gears. The fan-letter thing got me thinking, too. Here’s a fun story about fan-mail.

Once upon a time, I binge-read a bunch of books by Kurt Vonnegut. Breakfast of Champions was the gateway to Cat’s CradleSirens of Titan, and A Man Without a Country (I’ve not finished that one yet). I feel like I’ve read more by Vonnegut, but I also confess that his prose, while delightful and entertaining, had the ability to put me into a particularly dark and gloomy mindset. Probably because there was more than a measure of uncomfortable truth to everything he wrote.

One night, in a moment of bravery, I decided I would write Kurt Vonnegut a fan-letter to tell him how much I loved his writing and how I hoped to one day be as wonderful and beloved a writer as he is. The anxiety was very real; I could feel my heart yo-yoing between my chest and my throat. The cursor in Microsoft Word remained lonely, a blank page staring back at me in mockery of the fool’s errand I had embarked on. Instead, perhaps, I thought I would look up the address I would need to send this hopeless letter off to. A quick Google search later gave me multiple options, all viable, and some suggestions and criticisms about fan letters.

There also happened to be a shitload of articles about the life of Kurt Vonnegut, citing how he had passed away earlier that very day. I stared at the screen, a mix of heartbroken and shocked. In hindsight, my knee-jerk reaction was probably entirely appropriate. “Are you fucking kidding me?” I asked my computer, fully expecting a response.

I have since interacted with two of my favorite authors on Twitter (on multiple occasions, actually), and that’s been fun. There’s something about interacting with the people who inspire me that is probably far more thrilling than it should be.

Who do you folks idolize so much that you’ve sent them fan-mail/tweets/whatever? Any luck with responses? Was it terrifying, thrilling, or both?

There should have been more to this post, but I have the most vicious goddamned headache I’ve experienced in a while so I’m going to throw in the towel for the night. Apologies there.

 

My pledge to no longer be bored

I think it’s safe to say that one of the most commonly heard phrases, especially in people around my age group and younger folks (You dern whipper-snappers and your selfie-sticks), is “I’m bored”. Earlier today, after having completed my tasks for the day and then-some, I found myself thinking exactly that. I’m bored.

Somewhere between stopping at the liquor store to purchase the other ingredients required to make a Blood & Sand–a decision I entirely support, especially after making one and enjoying it quite thoroughly–and contemplating dinner, it occurred to me just how awful saying “I’m bored” is given just how much I could be doing with my time. I’m not talking about endless writing or spending hours promoting things on social media, interspersed with the conversations I’ve grown famous/infamous/unknown for having. Louis C.K. said it better than I ever could, in fact, and so I found a convenient image on the internet with his words placed on it to share to make my point here.

louis-ck-im-bored-useless-world-endless

There’s a lot of fantastic truth in this quote, and it got me thinking even further. There is, at no point, really a good reason to be bored. I’m not going to preach about the miracle of consciousness. I think it’s more about finding the things that matter most in this sea of constant information and distractions.  Continue reading

Writing hangovers, and other tragedies

I spent much of today with a strong understanding as to why some animals hibernate. I mean, sleep is pretty fantastic, even though there are plenty of things I could be doing instead of sleeping (like tweeting, obviously). What I’m trying to say is that I’m still very tired from my marathon-writing event to complete Cordelia’s, and so this post is going to be a bit of a mixed bag. There’s also some frustration regarding the lack of new ideas now that one of the short stories is written. Time and patience will hopefully fix that much, even if my patience is a bit iffy at best.

Writing Hangovers

It’s been a while since I’ve really felt a full-on writing hangover. Probably not since I finished working on Joshua Harkin and the Novel-Length Title around this time last year (it was actually in March, but close enough). My brain is semi-willing and eager to make writing happen, but it also wants about a month worth of naps. That being said, I’m still getting a lot of very kind, positive, and helpful feedback for A Princess, A Lich, and Some Murders that has me feeling very motivated. Friday is already set aside as an Authonomy and writing catch-up day, so hopefully that goes as planned.

Jon Stewart leaving The Daily Show

God damn it. This, coupled with the end of The Colbert Report, effectively prevents me from ever achieving my dream of being interviewed by Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert (I have delusions of grandeur, but even my delusions are smart enough to know I’ll never be interviewed by Stephen Colbert at his new show…whatever that thing’s called). More importantly, this marks the end of an era in fake-but-not-fake TV news. Jon Stewart helped bring something better to television, and though I’ve not always been the most dedicated viewer I will still miss his wit and wisdom on Comedy Central. That said, I am willing to keep it 100 on The Nightly Show, even if my opinions on major issues are only slightly less worthless than all of Fox News on its best days.

Book Addictions

It’s not exactly a secret that I buy books faster than I can read them. Christmas did me no favors there, as I received quite a few books as gifts. Naturally, my moratorium on buying new books ended almost as soon as it began (I have, however, been very good about not buying new video games; so sorry, Majora’s Mask remake). Today’s purchase is Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I considered getting Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman, but I’m sad to say I’ve never been as disinterested in a book by one of my favorite authors as I found myself with this particular title. Apologies to In Some Other World, Maybe, which is still a read-in-progress that I owe a proper review.

Red Velvet Oreos

I’m sorry, but these things are just awful. Bring back the non-trademarked crispy treat Oreos, please, and my inner (and outer) fat kid will forgive this failure.

Time Management

I am terrible at managing my time well. I’m prone to naps, distractions, more naps, more distractions, and so on. My workplace obligations extend well past when I leave the office for the day, so there are surprises here and there of the work-related variety (Worth mentioning: I welcome those surprises as challenges, and am happy enough to have a job that it’s not really an issue except in regards to eating time). Some days I spend too much time focused on writing and not enough on editing. Or too much time on social media and not enough on writing. The combinations of frustration seem to be endless.

What tragedies, minor or major, do you folks find yourself facing this week?

Losing track of time in the name of progress

Or “I could have slept last night, but I failed to realize I would end up staying awake until 5:30 in the morning to finish a short story”. That certainly makes the chosen title for this post look a lot more concise, doesn’t it?

Last night, having recovered from feeling moderately sick for most of the earlier portions of the day, I decided I needed to accomplish something in terms of my writing goals. Having decided to take a short break from working on A Princess, A Lich, and Some Murders (a break I am failing at, as I’m still sort of working on it though I said I would step back for a bit), I focused on giving attention to one of the short story ideas I had recently. I had already started working on Cordelia’s, which was based around the idea of a restaurant that had no menus and served exactly what its guests needed without having to question them, and so that seemed like the right route to follow.

I haven’t pulled an all-nighter in quite some time. I dare say such events haven’t happened since college, but I’m almost too certain I’m wrong in that statement. It’s a mystery. What I do know is that I started by deleting everything I wrote, which is the opposite of making actual progress, and I began anew. Two false starts and a lot of deleted words later, I was well into page four. There was a brief diversion involving last night’s blog post and some live-tweeting of The Bachelor (I detest that show, but it has so much value as a terrible comedy of sorts), and suddenly it was nearly midnight. Conveniently, I had today off and so I figured I would continue to plug away until I got tired.

And then I didn’t get tired until shortly after I finished writing, which was around 5:30 this morning. My internal clock doesn’t typically allow me to sleep later than 9:30 on my best days of sleeping in, so…I can’t exactly say I got my whole eight hours of rest.

Despite having a meeting I need to be at in about an hour, I’m still convinced this is the polar opposite of a bad thing. As it is now, I feel like Cordelia’s turned out to be a tremendous success, far better than I had hoped. I’ll have to wait to see what my wonderful, kind, typically-benevolent proofreading friends will have to say on the subject. Most importantly, it was some of the most fun I’ve had writing since the completion of Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King. It’s also one of the first short stories I’ve completed since summer of last year, which is a bit more embarrassing than it is a positive thing. Oh well.

My questions to other writers and creative types out there: when was your last all-nighter? Was it worth it, or did you end up feeling like you’d have better served yourself by getting more shut-eye? What inspiration struck to lead to such a creative spree?

Self-induced madness

It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time to celebrate and damn the progress I’ve made! This week feels like it has been an eternity, which is unfortunate. Has that prevented me from getting writing done? Nope. Am I particularly excited about how much I did get done? Also nope.

In Progress

A Princess, A Lich, and Some Murders (working title) – It’s also waiting to be approved for posting on Authonomy. I’m also still actively adding to the page count, enjoying suggestions and edits as beta-readers provide them.

Cordelia’s (short story) – Still screwing around with plot details so this doesn’t turn into pointless rambling

Woman Seeks Vampire for Dinner and a Movie (short story) – The title exists, and the basic plot is sort of there

One Hundred Days of Blogging 2.0 – because that should be mentioned since it is taking up fair bits of time

Authonomy stuff – Presently this only consists of A Princess, A Lich, and Some Murders (working title), but has the potential to turn into a means of getting more attention for other works as well, such as things that will be mentioned in the next section. This is what happened to my HarperCollins goal, by the way, as it’s the most likely way I’ll ever get published by them (even if the odds aren’t exactly in my favor)

Backburner Projects

A picture is worth a thousand of my terrible jokes.

A picture is worth a thousand of my terrible jokes.

Warpt Factor (the novel) – At some point, this means I will have to remove the existing material and use it for source bits. Sorry! However, a certain aunt has requested/demanded this happen, and since I’ve lost the original notebook full of information from Warpt Factor (the series) and I wasn’t about to just let this die, I figured “Why the Hell not?”. Keeping in mind, of course, that this isn’t going to be happening too soon. Probably. We’ll see how thin I can stretch myself before I go completely crazy.

The Lodgers (novel) – Yes, this still exists. Yes, it’s going to happen eventually. No, I’m not going to scrap it. However, even if I were to choose to work on two novels at a time (something I’m on the fence about)…this wouldn’t be one of them. It’s not really in the forefront of my thoughts, even if it is a fun bit of fiction to write. It’s also far more of a shift towards purely adult reading, what with the characters and their tendencies toward expletive-heavy speech.

The Devil Sort of Made Me Do It (or whatever the Hell I titled this) – I haven’t forgotten this one either. A good friend of mine has made forgetting it impossible, in fact. Hah.

Submitting more short stories for publication – Most certainly needs to happen. Strongly considering Cordelia’s as a possible submission for The Literary Hatchet.

These posts are actually very therapeutic, as they help put things into perspective for me. Especially on days like today, when I feel like I’m accomplishing so little. One book published, and onward towards getting a book published by HarperCollins. To that last end, if any of you have an Authonomy account and would be so kind as to read, critique, and support my novel (if you like it, of course) once it’s available, I would be immensely grateful and most assuredly return the favor.

Ninety days remaining.

It’s a good week for some Metric

It’s already Monday again, which means I’ll be suffering through another goddamn episode of The Bachelor soon. Also: Music Mondays! One of the rare rays of sunshine on this otherwise gloomy, disappointment-filled day.

Let’s talk Metric. I feel a little guilty approaching this with a headache that sounds like a thousand horses galloping through my skull cavity, but the post must go on.

Fun fact: I actually really didn’t like Metric at first. I only knew their music existed because I had heard “Help, I’m Alive” on the radio a few times (and thought it was the most repetitive, awful song ever) and because the song “Black Sheep”, which was featured in Scott Pilgrim, is also one of theirs. And then I didn’t think anything of Metric again for a couple years.

While living alone, during my last year or so at Edinboro, things got a bit lonely. I know, bit of a drama-bomb to drop on this post. It’s relevant, though. I swear. My chosen method of dealing with being cooped up in my apartment a lot was checking out different music on iTunes. During this time, I found a lot of music that would help me get through what ended up being some particularly rough, unhappy days (even if I don’t listen to all of it anymore).

I couldn’t say exactly which song I found that got me interested in Metric. It certainly wasn’t “Help, I’m Alive”. Sorry. The short version: I listened to one CD worth of Metric songs. I Googled them, then listened to a few more on YouTube.

And then I bought their entire discography, plus everything else Emily Haines that is available on iTunes. I’m not even kidding. If I had to condense just how good Emily Haines’ vocals are into a single sentence, it would be “One CD with her vocals was enough to sell me on all of her work ever”.

I feel lazy about how I’m half-assing this, but I’m sorry to say my focus is elsewhere and Metric will have to receive more love tomorrow. Two-parter. Sure.

I am a giant monster of laziness and self-imposed guilt.

Progress to the tune of small nervous breakdowns

Short version of an update from yesterday: I saw a cover band named Velveeta last night, indulged in a fair bit of alcohol consumption, and didn’t go to bed until an ungodly hour. Let’s not talk of this again.

My new novel-project is coming along nicely, which is good. I can’t turn that into a negative. Believe me, I’ve tried. It’s getting positive feedback so far from my beta-reader(s). There could be some level of bias there, but I also accept that these are people who I can trust because they would cautiously and kindly let me know if my writing is turning into garbage.

There may have also been mention at some point from someone–someone who happens to be me–about eventually wanting to send something to HarperCollins for publication consideration. I would have to research it, find out what all goes into such a challenge, and then make it happen. The goal wasn’t publication, but an attempt. Even a rejection would be fantastic, as it would indicate I’ve met a goal. I can also say, completely devoid of any doubts, that if I did get accepted (that if is so big that there are now billboards along major highways advertising it as a tourist attraction) I would probably have a multi-week meltdown as I processed the greatest success of my adult life. Let’s also not dwell on that.

Short version: HarperCollins does not accept any unsolicited anythings. Ever. That much I guessed even going into this, but I figured I would look into it anyway because sometimes my delusions of grandeur take on a life of their own and go crazy. This was one such time. They do, however, also have a link to a web site called Authonomy. Curiosity got the better of me, as it should in this situation, and I clicked the link. Continue reading