From the Ashes, Things Rise

Sure, sometimes those things are severely-charred zombies from the beginnings of some sci-fi Apocalypse, but just work with me on this one. It’s been a hectic day, and spending two hours in my car on the way home. The slightly snowy Pittsburgh roads weren’t the issues so much as the other drivers, but that’s another topic for another time. Continue reading

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

Back to work, and reflections

Sometimes I change my mind in the middle of typing a title, panic, and try to backspace and change the words before WordPress automatically generates the Permalink for the post. It doesn’t always work out, and depending on the level of laziness I’m experiencing at the time. Tonight was one of those times when I barely managed to backspace the words and correct the title before that happened, so I’ll chalk that up as a victory. After the day I’ve had, it counts. Trust me.

Things worthy of noting before I dive into the reflections part of tonight’s post:

  • I bought a fountain pen yesterday, and I love it. My handwriting isn’t exactly the most legible at all times, but it’s tremendous fun to write with, so that counts for something probably. Also, I feel a need to use it to write letters, so I’ll probably end up doing that at some point.
  • I’m back to maintaining my journal on a relatively nightly basis, because why not?
  • Alternatively, I’m still feeling pretty burnt out on writing otherwise. Fiction is a slow and painful crawl, and I may actually resort to writing personal essays if that keeps up. However, next month’s Facebook, Twitter, and blogging hiatus (I’m going off of made-up math here, as I’m pretty sure the end of this month will be past the Hundred Days of Blogging 2.0 mark) is sure to help things out. Or drive me mad from addiction withdrawal. Time will tell.

Right. Today kicked my ass something fierce, as I returned to work to face several issues that gathered in a way that resulted in me working a nearly eleven hour day. I realize this is something a good few people do on a regular basis, and it’s nothing really new to me either. It’s more that I just returned from a magnificent week of vacation, and even though I built up to going back to work by cleaning up around the house over the days prior to this return I still was not ready for quite this much…well, work. I’m a weird mix of exhausted, hungry, and grumpy (that last one is from a headache, which I can confirm is thanks to a mix of sinus problems and my unfortunate habit of clenching my jaw when people irritate me).

However, as a counter to such things, I’ve taken to making a point to find magic in little things and writing down thoughts on as much in a notebook. It’s for my eyes only, which removes any pressure I might otherwise feel about it needing to be reader-worthy or publisher-worthy. The kind of freedom this notebook allows me is all sorts of great, and I think it will prove an effective means of staying positive despite my tendency towards cynicism. (What? Me, cynical? No ****ing way, right?)

The idea seemed even more appropriate because I’m writing this stuff down in my Mickey Mouse Moleskine notebook, which is probably a bit magic itself. I’m also using my shiny new fountain pen. I should probably be embarrassed that I spent $20 on a pen, on a whim, but it was easily the highlight of my day yesterday. In other words, it was totally worth it.

A Celebration of Characters: Villains Week

It’s week one of that idea I mentioned yesterday! Surprise, it’s all about villains. Fret not, lovers of do-gooders and champions of justice, as the Heroes Week will follow with just as much attention and love as this one. I’m aware that’s shocking stuff, so don’t let that cause too much stress.

However, enough about heroes. This week is all about villains, and I’ve picked specific villainous types for each day from Monday through Saturday. I could explain it, but I took a picture of my notes earlier as a teaser and, really, that’s the easiest way to handle this. If we’ve not yet established my capacity for being supremely lazy, this is a great time to do so.

It's official because I wrote in a notebook.

It’s official because I wrote in a notebook.

The plan for each day is to define each type of villain mentioned above, giving specific examples in popular culture, and then discussing the pros and cons of their use. I’ll also be focusing on how they can, in their own way, be the heroes of their own narratives (even when they are causing chaos and destruction all around them). There are some exceptions to that last bit, as Friday and Saturday’s options don’t really leave a whole lot of room for arguing that they’re just misguided and trying to do what’s best. Old Gods and Liches are usually just forces of pure, ancient evil, after all, and so they’re typically convinced the best possible plan of action is laying waste to everything.

I’m especially excited for the Lich entry, but I’ve saved the best for last.

Brace yourselves, folks. This week’s about to get awfully evil.

Delightfully decorated notebooks

I’ve got a delightful, fun plan for the next two weeks worth of blog posts. I’m really quite excited about my idea, and to celebrate that I figured I would start tonight’s post by teasing a bit. Sorry. No hints nor clues nor spoilers to be found. You’ll all just have to wait.

This is something of a good news, bad news sort of post. I started the day with a set of goals that I only sort of completed. Some of them happened, some of them didn’t, and some of them happened in ways not intended.

The goal I’m referencing with that last bit is this: I have a green Moleskine notebook. The one I posted about recently, asking what I should do with it. Well, I thought I would try to figure out what to do with it on my own, too, and see how that goes. I ended up fancying up a couple of my Moleskines with Duck Tape brand duct tape instead, which turned out to be far more therapeutic and enjoyable than I could have possibly imagined. Read as “Phil has a new, expensive-ish hobby and that’s probably not the best thing in the world but whatever”.  Continue reading

A notebook in need

Today was a remarkably good day off. I accomplished everything I planned on accomplishing, got a bit of rest and relaxation in, and had a generally fantastic day. Not even the smallest level of stress registered in my brain, which is a rarity anymore. A new episode of Elementary starts in twenty minutes, and I’ve got some cooking to do for people who are blackmailing me (nothing actually serious, so don’t rush to alert the authorities), so it looks like my evening will end pretty nicely as well. The only thing that wasn’t entirely perfect is this weird fascination I’ve developed with the creepy, cheesy nonsense that is Five Nights At Freddy’s and its sequels.

Damn you, Springtrap. Stop haunting my every waking moment.  Continue reading

A return to journal writing

Last night was riddled with technical difficulties from my laptop and a noteworthy absence of motivation to write anything at all. Let the record show that lack of motivation continues to linger tonight, which is frustrating but something I’m also pushing past. Go me (and the impressive, unstoppable power of my stubbornness). I’m presently looking forward to tomorrow, which will be partially spent getting a much-needed (and deserved) haircut and wandering around Barnes & Noble. Any suggestions for graphic novels, or novels in general, are always appreciated. One can never have too many books.

Right. So last night I found myself tremendously frustrated. Writing wasn’t happening in any way, shape, or form. I tried different approaches to A Princess, A Lich, and Some Murders, hoping desperately to add to the current word count but only failing to do so. Eventually, accepting the night as a defeat, I closed Microsoft Word. It occurred to me that I’d not checked on when The Literary Hatchet‘s next deadline was, and since I planned on submitting “Cordelia’s” I figured I should check…only to discover I’d missed said deadline. While I generally try to shy from this word, my reaction was a rather loud and appropriate utterance of “Oh, fuck”.

At some point or another, right before heading to bed, I decided it would be beneficial for me to return to journal writing. Not necessarily as a nightly thing, necessarily. I also happened to have my awesome Discworld/Starry Night crossover cover notebook, which had not seen use since it’s purchase. This, in case it needs repeating, is a crime I am regularly guilty of with notebooks. Making matters worse, I plan on stopping by Barnes & Noble tomorrow. That means I could very well come home with another Moleskine notebook. The journal in question, complete with its Squishable guardian, can be seen below.

Squishthulu guards my deep, dark secrets.

Squishthulu guards my deep, dark secrets.

Not only have I forgotten how helpful keeping a journal is for venting frustrations, but I managed to forget its terrific applications as a means to remind myself of all of the positive things I have going on. Not everything in its pages has to be doom-and-gloom, cloudy-with-a-chance-of-bitching sorts of frustrations (that was a horrible joke and I’m not sorry). It’s a reminder that I’m working on more than just one project presently, and that there will be some nights when my brain simply doesn’t wish to cooperate with me in working on one project or another. Those nights are not the end of the world, nor do they render me any less of a writer.

Suffice it to say, I’m already happy with this decision after only one entry. I can only imagine how therapeutic this will prove in the long run.

How many of you write in journals? Is it on a regular basis, or more sporadic, and is there a particular topic in mind or is it more just whatever’s on your mind at the time?