A Bit Of An Aside

As scary as it is, it’s been (almost) two years for this blog.  This all started as pure whim; as a place to write and think…and to work on my short-form skills.  I had no idea, two years ago, just what actually was involved with regular blogging, let alone how to go about doing it right.

IMG_0162Originally, this whole experiment was intended primarily to “live blog” the process of writing a novel.  I never really did that…mostly because it just wasn’t all that interesting.  Not to me, and not to you.  That “vision” was too confining, and too boring, to actually work.  Instead, I’ve done a few “pure” writing posts in between a whole LOT of random squirrel moments.

And, honestly, it’s been waaay more fun that way.

Some of my posts have resonated with y’all, and some have been abject failures.  Some I cringe at having written, while others have been satisfying and fulfilling in deeply personal ways.

None of that is likely to change, but…

As I’ve said before, there’s always a but.

will.write_.4.food300.jpgBut, I have to make a living, too…and I much prefer to do so writing.  I would much rather be a poorly paid writer than go back to the world of office cubes and staff meetings…

To that end, I am going to (slowly) start linking this blog with freelance writing, as well as other projects I have going, or am planning.  Oh, the novels are still in the mix — the “ghosts” of Connor & Oz most definitely see to that — but they aren’t the only things on the table.  For very, very few writers are novels the only thing on the table.*

*By the way — if you’re interested, John Scalzi did a blog post several years ago in which he “opened his books” to show just how long, and how many bestsellers, it took to make writing novels his main/only source of income.  Very interesting, and (pardon the pun) valuable, reading for new writers…

It’s important to note that I’m not going to try and turn this blog itself into a “money-making opportunity.”  Quite simply, that would put too many restrictions on what and how I could write.  No, I like the honesty of just writing whatever-the-hell-I-feel-like three times a week too much to change that part of things.

I also like the honesty of my connection with you who read these posts.  If I start scrambling for ads and pimping my SEO rankings, that honesty and that connection goes away.  Would I love to see a hundred thousand views a month?  Sure…but it ain’t gonna happen.  And I’m okay with that.

With that said, I do want (and need) to drive some more traffic this way, especially if I am going to link the blog with other projects.  Your shares and recommendations help –they help a great deal, in fact — but I have to do my part as well.  That means getting off my social media “high horse” and actually, well, using Facebook and LinkedIn and Goodreads and the like.

That also means, in the end, actually marketing myself…and this blog.  Any changes and additions I make to that effect will be slow — probably over the next six months or so — as I work to find the right balance.

As a last thought: I appreciate more than you know your visits, and the time you take to read these posts.  I’ve said a couple of times that I write this blog for others, but a better way to say that is that I write this blog for you.

Thank you, all.

A Little Lullaby; or, Why Won’t This Work?!

[Note – I’ve been trying to get some pictures posted since Saturday night…no luck. God, I hate cell phones right now. I have 2-3 posts worth of pictures built up, so expect a deluge as soon as I can get the damned upload to work right. Until then, I’ll have to dust off an old, old post that’s been sitting in my Drafts section since about Christmas!  So, in the interests of getting something to post (albeit a day late), here you go…]

I’ve never mentioned just why I gave this blog the name I did. Believe it or not, there are reasons. And, as ever, those reasons have lines from various song to help bring them to life…one specific song, in fact, in this particular case.

The lines in question, for the blog itself, are:

“That’s when I know that I have to get out
Because I have been there before
So I gave up my seat at the bar
And I headed for the door”

Now, this song has a lot more going for more it. Which is probably appropriate, given that it’s eight minutes long. There are other lines/thoughts in the song that also have impact and influence. Some have come into play with Connor and Oz, while others are more specific to myself.

Perhaps the most important line of the song, at least to me as a person and a writer who is far more a dreamer than someone practical and grounded, is:

“If you’ve never stared off into the distance
Then your life is a shame”

Believe it or not, this song did not actually make into the playlist I was listening to when I created Connor & Oz. That does not mean, however, that it had no influence on them. It is, after all, a favorite of mine:

“The price of a memory
Is the memory of the sorrow it brings”

“If dreams are like movies
Then memories are films about ghosts”

“You can see a million miles tonight
But you can’t get very far”

By the way, points given for recognizing the song from the title of this post. Serious, serious bonus points given if you recognize it from the lyrics themselves. And, yes, recognizing the song makes you just as damned old as I am!

The song in question is, of course, “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” by Counting Crows.



Flash Fiction: Unfucking A Life

Okay – bit of an odd post here: I just noticed that Wednesday’s post was (officially) my 100th post since I started this blog.  It is also, based on the renewal notice I just got, the one year mark for this blog.

So, in honor of those milestones, I am doing an extra post this week!  I am, of course, far too lazy to write a full, real post.  Instead, I am going to put in an entry I just submitted for a flash fiction contest.  Enjoy (I hope)!

The rules were simple – tell a story in a 100 words:

We’re all broken.

I don’t know much, but that I understand.

Some of us just hide better how we’re fucked up.

For years, I did.

Then the booze and pills took over again.  They took over as much as they had in the first place.

My memory burned: a face, and the quiet whisper of a voice I couldn’t quite hear.  But the eyes…those eyes always remained.

Emotion and memory, words and reality.  That face said more than any book I’d ever read.

Just how do you get it all back?

The trigger was the loudest sound I’d ever heard.

As a note of explanation: I very intentionally want the reader to read into this.  I do not want to say if it is murder, suicide or something else…  I love the concept of the literary Rohrschach Test, and this is very much intended to be one of those.

What Are We Drinking Today?

Okay, so…food and booze.

Some day I want to write a story where those two are the main focus…

I am – to put it bluntly – a complete nerd (and whore) for good food and good booze. The good news is that I’m also a pretty good cook. The bad is that I couldn’t ferment, brew or distill if you held a gun to my head.

I have also travelled extensively, and know a decent bit about quite a few cultures/societies. In my world – and I am not alone in this – every society/culture is expressed best through its food and booze. A close second, I will add, is through a culture’s music.

I have had unforgettable meals with foods and peoples I never even imagined as a kid. In fact, I remember and know far more about those cultures where I ate and drank with regular folks than about those cultures I formally “studied” in college.

The good thing is that we have available almost anything you can imagine here in the US. The bad thing is that, unless you are in the right area, most of what we have is a pale imitation of the real thing.

Go buy yakisoba here in the US…if you are not in certain neighborhoods in LA or San Francisco, that dish will bear zero relationship to the yakisoba you get in Japan. God forbid we start talking about bibimbap or pho or even a real street taco.

Shit…this is why I love travel! And, yes, like pretty much everything else in my life, when I travel I turn the knob to eleven. There is no such thing as over-doing it, nor as going “too deep” into a culture…

Food and booze actually figure more heavily into my stories than the words themselves let on. Those two things are important factors in communicating the mood and temperament of my characters and the situations they face.

Beyond that, however, they also communicate a bit about me – communicate, even, what I am craving as I write. Connor once noted the smell of a yakisoba place as he walked through the crowded alleys of his res-hold. Yep, you guessed right – the writer was hungry as shit at that point.

Now, while the food might represent me to a degree, the booze is a bit more symbolic. Is it shitty shochu? Or decent beer? Or high-end scotch? Each of those carries a different connotation and meaning that communicates something about the character (and their circumstances) as they order/drink.

On a side-note: there is a standing inside-joke involving beer. I work into every single story I write the brewery my friends own (and, yes, the place where I do a lot of my writing). Every single story. It ain’t always easy to find, but it is always there.

That being said, my own personal prejudices also come into play. You could not, for instance, pay me to drink rum, so none of my characters do. You will know, in fact, if ever a character of mine does drink rum, that I hate and want to kill that particular person!

With the characters I care about, on the other hand, you see stuff closer to what I personally like. There’s a good reason why Oz is a whiskey drinker…

With all that in mind, I am going to make some changes to this blog over the next couple of weeks. This topic will gain a certain amount of space on the page: in addition to a small section for an “album/song of the week”, I am going to add a section for a “drink of the week”.

I did think about doing a “brewery of the week” as well (yes, I love beer!), but that would cut just a bit too close to a different sort of writing I do. So, while I will talk about individual beers, I nixed the idea of doing so for breweries themselves as I don’t want to cross the streams on this particular (pseudo-anonymous) blog.