Monthly Archives: September 2011

This Is Why I Write

I don’t write for a living, although I’d love to. I do it mostly for myself, since there are stories that I’d like to tell, or I need to get some pure hatred tapped out of my veins, or I feel like talking and there isn’t anyone around. So it comes down to the main reason I write: for fun.

Sometimes, though, man. Writing can be a real bitch.

Writing is like trying to build a house with a pile of wood, some nails, a hammer, and your own skill and talent. There are days I feel confident and relaxed, and I can nail some boards together to form a relatively straight wall. Other days, you find your hammer has been replaced with one of those novelty squeaky hammers, and every nail is the size of a harpoon, and the wood turns out to be made of goddamn concrete. You pound and pound and pound and you end up going absolutely nowhere.

Then there are the other days. On those days you are just going along, and the next thing you know, you’ve got the Hammer of the fucking Gods in your hands.

Those are the days I live for. Those are the days that make all the days of shit and frustration and anger seem worthwhile. It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world. There is absolutely nothing like it.

Today, man, I found myself holding the Hammer of Thor. I didn’t ask questions. I just smashed the ever-loving shit out of everything in front of me. It was awesome. Maybe no one on earth is gonna like it, and that’s OK by me. I loved it. I still do. I had tears of fucking joy in my eyes today while I wrote something. That – that was a pretty good fucking feeling.

The Storm of Northreach, at this point, is one awful-looking house. It’s ramshackle, meandering, ugly, mismatched, and patchworked all to hell. But there are parts of it that work. There are a couple of rooms were the walls meet the ceiling, and the angles are pure Euclidean. Those are the rooms I’ll keep through edits. The rest… well, there’ll be a little remodeling, some serious spackle, and maybe a few plants to cover a few bad spots. I can live with that. I’m getting really close to having a finished house. That makes it all worthwhile.

15k in 15 Day: The Final Sprint

It all comes down to this. By midnight tonight, I need to have 85,000 words done on The Storm of Northreach, or else I need to dress like an idiot and go to a Twilight movie. The word count this morning is 80,030. I have just shy of 5,000 words to write today. Can he do it? Will he be able to pull it off? WHOSE CUISINE REIGNS SUPREME?

We’ll find out. I’ll update my progress throughout the day. I wish me luck.

UPDATE: Boo-yah. 85,034. Rock the house.

NFL Week 3: Goddamn I Hate the F*****g Cowboys

I am fully aware that sports fandom is a wholly irrational pastime. There is nothing inherently logical about identifying oneself with a group of strangers who wear a particular uniform. “Cheering for laundry” and all that. I get it. But just because my logical brain recognizes and acknowledges this doesn’t mean that the lizard brain way in the back doesn’t get its way. I go nearly insane about my chosen type of laundry. There is something else, though, beyond my deep-seated rooting for the Washington Redskins. That is my hatred for the Dallas Cowboys.

I fucking hate the Dallas Fucking Cowboys.

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We Can Only Tell the Stories We Know

A lot of people loved the first Matrix movie. I did as well. Unlike me, an awful lot of people who watched the next two movies didn’t like them at all. The story didn’t seem to go the way they wanted, or seemed pointless, or didn’t have enough of what made the first movie great. It’s understandable, in a way. The first movie was the traditional Coming of Age story people know and love: the Hero learns of his destiny, gradually accumulates understanding of his power and role, and ends the movie committed to his cause and in the fullness of his power. Yay! It’s very traditional, the ending is happy and all go-get-‘em-feel-good-pow that audiences love. It’s a character arc that can do nothing but rise.

So when the Wachowski brothers continued the story, with the understandable desire to finish the saga of Neo and the Matrix and all that stuff, it wasn’t received as well. The character arc dipped and meandered, things happened that people didn’t expect or particularly care for, and vilification ensued. It wasn’t what the audience wanted.

Well, you know what, audience? Tough titty.

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4th & 3: Week 2 NFL Stuff

Last week, I said the winner of the Redskins – Cardinals game could be decided by a coin flip. That’s essentially what happened. The entire game I had no idea who was going to win. The Redskins won and are 2-0 for the first time in a while. They also have sole possession of first place in the NFC East since relatively forever. Will that last? It’s not likely, but fuck it, I’m going to enjoy it as long as I can. Having the Redskins 2-0 along with the Bills and Lions makes me think that it’s 1991 all over again or something. That’s the last time I can remember that those 3 teams were worth a shit at the same time. Not to say that they’re worth a shit now, but, well, they’re 2-0.

Herewith are my NFL thoughts regarding Week 2 of the 2011 season, a week where Michael Vick was puking and spitting up blood on the sidelines. I can use more of that in my life.

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15k in 15 Day: The Humiliation is Chosen

Thanks to everyone who made a suggestion. It’s really nice when people come out to lend a hand, suggesting awful things for another person to perform for their amusement as they bask in the glow of another’s failure. I appreciate it, and that’s not even being said sarcastically.

I’ve decided on the Humiliation that will happen if I fail. To quote the author of Blood Skies and its sequel Black Scars, Steven Montano:

If you fail, you’ll have to attend the opening of the new TWILIGHT movie.

You have to go dressed up as Edward…wearing an Edward tee-shirt…and with Edward glitter on your face.

I believe the film opens in November, so you’ll get a full month-and-a-half to look forward to the experience. =D

I’ll even go one better. If I fail my goal of 15,000 words by October 1st, then I will attend the opening of the new Twilight movie wearing my wife’s Team Edward t-shirt (she’s a lot smaller than me, so I think it’ll end up as a belly shirt [shudder]), black skin-tight pleather pants, knee-high boots, body glitter, vampire teeth, and eye makeup. The event will be filmed (although probably not by my wife, who I imagine will be holding her hands over her eyes for 4 straight hours as she shakes her head at me). The film will be posted on YouTube. I will want to eat glass until I die. I may get arrested as a suspected pedo.

The good news for me is that I can prevent it by finishing those 15k words. The good news for you is that I am currently behind on the pace I need to do it.

And for suggesting the “winning” Humiliation, Steven will get a free copy of The Storm of Northreach when it’s done. Of course, he was already getting a free copy of it, so it’s kind’ve anticlimactic, but I will also send him a SIGNED COPY in paperback. So, you know, there’s that.

15k in 15 Day: Help Me Humiliate Myself

So today I was doing my normal lunchtime workout. I spend this time exercising, but I also spend a lot of it thinking about writing and other stuff. Today, sometime halfway through my whey protein shake, an idea struck me. See, I’ve been working on the sequel to The Curse of Troius for a really long fucking time. Too long. WAYYYYY too long. It’s turned into this 1800-pound cackling imp that rides around on my back waiting for people to ask me how my writing’s going so it can grab my earlobes and thrash around wailing and howling with maniacal laughter only I can hear while I try to come up with an articulate answer besides IT’S GOING REALLY REALLY SHITTY RIGHT NOW AND IF YOU’LL EXCUSE ME I’M GOING TO POP OFF AND EAT A GALLON OF DISHWASHING LIQUID.

So anyway, an idea came to me today, as I said. I used the idea once before, last year when I wanted to be able to do 100 pushups in a row. I put it out to my friends that if I couldn’t do those 100 pushups by a certain date, I would do something painful (well, mentally painful; I’m not actually masochistic). With that incentive in mind, I was able to accomplish my goal. So, in the spirit of that successful venture, I am today announcing my new plan:

15k in 15 Day.

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Sexy Rexy for President: Week 1 NFL Stuff

I haven’t talked much football at all since last season. The lockout drained any potential excitement I had for the upcoming season and I didn’t want to talk about it. Happily, the issue got resolved, preseason games happened, and the NFL I know and love is on as if nothing ever happened. So without further ado (although I tend to add a lot of ado as I go; really, I often throw in so much ado that sentences become incomprehensible and parenthetical asides becoming paragraphical asides, but hey, I like having a lot of ado around.), here are my thoughts after 1 week of NFL action.

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Great, Here Comes That Bird Flu Overhype Again

My wife and I saw the preview for Contagion a few weeks back when we saw Captain America: Other Words Go Here in the theater (which I LOVED by the way, loved loved loved loved loved. The look was right, it was mostly true to the comics, I didn’t even think about the Red Skull saying “Mr. Anderson”, it just rocked. Anyway.). After the preview was over I sighed and said to my wife, “Great. Now that bird flu bullshit is about to start all over again.”

And today, there is a series on Slate.com about Contagion and bird flu. The Atlantic has articles about Contagion and bird flu. I hear actors – fucking actors, of course, those budding fucking pathologists – telling us that it’s not a matter of IF but WHEN. I want to grab the throat of every single talking head asswipe that says that sentence and slowly squeeze until their tracheas crumple like thin aluminum cans.

Sorry about that. Bird flu gets me a little worked up.

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My Thoughts About A Dance With Dragons

I finished George R. R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons last night. Part of me never wanted to start it at all. I had enjoyed the previous books, but my enjoyment of them had begun to steadily decrease with each passing novel. Not that the writing was bad or anything; on the contrary, I think for the most part he’s a very gripping writer. It just seemed that with every book the story got bigger and bigger to the point that it was difficult to imagine everything coming together in a nice cohesive package.

Admittedly, the HBO series didn’t help my enthusiasm, nor did the interminable wait for a book that 5 years ago he claimed was nearly done. My problems with the TV series I’ve mentioned before, and it left a bad enough taste in my mouth that I never even watched the last 3 episodes. The ridiculous price tag on the hardcover also made me want to wait for a while – seriously, 35 bucks for a book? It’s thick, sure, but it’s not a freaking college textbook. I actually picked it up at a bookstore once and nearly bought it, but the price tag made me gag and I put it back.

But when I saw it at BJs for twenty bucks, I picked it up. I sighed when I did it, but I bought it. It sat waiting for a couple weeks while I finished Stonewielder by Ian C. Esslemont –  a fantasy story that’s good, but one that helps convince me that yes, I can actually write as well as published authors – and I finally started into it.

And now it’s official: I’ve been Jordaned.

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