More Bloggin’ About Bloggin’…Plus A Random, Drive-By Snippeting

As a blogger, you read blogs. A lot of blogs. You subscribe to ‘em, you navigate to ‘em, you get sent to ‘em…but no matter how you get there, you read ‘em. Now, that’s no bad thing — there are a lot of good writers out there, and a lot of unique and interesting viewpoints.

There is, to be honest, a lot of great stuff out there that’s well worth reading.

But there are, also, only so many hours in the day. And there’s even fewer hours if you want to, you know, make a living, too…

Since I subscribe to a whole bunch of blogs, however, I get a whole bunch of e-mail updates when new posts go up. Which…umm…more than “occasionally” leads to pretty significant blog-envy. While I struggle to put together three posts a week, all I have to do is check my email to see folks who do as many posts in a day as I can (just) manage in a week.

I do want to say that I respect the hell out of the dedication and effort it takes for folks to post with that kind of regular frequency. I respect it almost as much as I dread the headache that inevitably comes when I think about considering trying to evaluate the possibility of posting more frequently!

D4ECBE11-B017-432F-9F83-57FCA8777361AAARRRGGGHHH!!

And that’s when the blog-envy sets in…

It could be worse, I tell myself…I could still be writing listicles for cheesy websites or — to come up with the only writing job I can think of worse than that — I could dive into writing scripts for porn movies.

So, hey, let’s give that one a try!

JOE
Oh, yeah, baby! Just like that!

SANDRA
**orgasm sounds**

Ahem…never mind. I think I’ll pass, thanks…

Ummm….

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m kinda struggling for a topic today. I’ve talked about DockRat enough lately, and my other “big” fiction project isn’t even ready enough to begin my normal prep and planning work.

Shit, maybe I should just go back to my old fallback of posting snippets when I’m struggling to come up with a post…

Connor pressed himself as deeply into the corner as he could. The shadows around him, the bottle in his hand, the worries and fears that he wouldn’t live to see the sun come up again…it was like being back Dockside. He could all but hear Oz asking him just how fucked up did he plant to get?

“What the hell are you doing out here, Connor?” a voice asked.

He knew that voice. He knew it, but it didn’t fit. Not with Dockside, not with the memories.

He looked up, met Matt’s eyes. Innocent, earnest Matt. Poor foolish, naive Matt. The one who still believed in…anything.

A move of his hand and he offered the half-empty bottle. “Sit down and have a drink. I could use the company.”

Hesitation as Matt looked at the cold, wet ground before sinking down with a small shrug. He took the bottle and sipped cautiously. “Holy…what the hell are you drinking? This could strip paint from the walls.”

Connor laughed, then, with more than a hint of pain and bitterness. “Good ol’ fashioned homemade shochu. Makes me feel young again. Y’all don’t get this kuso around here, so you don’t know what you’re missing.” Connor knew he should be careful about his speech, about letting Dockside slip back onto his tongue, but he just couldn’t muster the energy. Or the care.

The bottle came back to him and he took a long, long drink.

It really was kuso, but he needed the particular burn that only cheap, harsh liquor could provide. The burn of memory. The burn of forgetting…for a time.

“It’s, what, ten degrees out here? Are you insane? Why the hell are you sitting in the darkest, coldest corner in this whole city?” Matt asked, his voice full of care…and of all the emotions and tells that Connor could so easily manipulate.

No. Not this time.

Matt wasn’t a kamo, wasn’t someone to read and scam. He was a friend. That was all, just a friend.

Connor hadn’t realized just how much he had needed a simple friend until he met Matt. Hopefully he wouldn’t kill this one.

Stop it, Connor, Oz snapped. You didn’t kill me. You did what you had to, and the price was paid. That’s how it works. Shit, I thought I taught you better than this.

The silence said Matt expected some kind of answer, so Connor obliged. He could laugh, and did, but he couldn’t stop the bitterness, not tonight. “It’s an old habit. If you’re in the corner, you only have to watch in front of you. Safest place to be. Of course, that means it’s also the place everyone wants. I’ve seen kids knifed for their little spots in the corner.”

A look over and he could read the shock and dismay on Matt’s face, even in the dark.

Fuck it, Connor decided. In booze lay honesty, they said…or something like that.

Another pull at the bottle. “I saw my first murder when I was eight. But that wasn’t the worst. Not by a long shot. Shit, I watched some poor fucking makeinu get his tongue cut out, but not even that was the worst.”

“What… Who… Connor, what’s going on?” Matt stuttered, his voice stricken.

“I watched the only person in the universe who mattered die, did I ever tell you that? My dad, my friends…none of them could hold a candle to Oz. This…this carnival you call civilization, it’s just a sideshow. I know the truth behind it all. I know the pain, and the blood, it’s built on. My pain, and my brother’s blood.”

“What the…” Matt struggled, completely staggered, completely at a loss. He very obviously did not know what to make of Connor’s little speech, so he focused instead on the smallest of details. “Brother? I thought you said you were an only child…?”

Connor thought about that for a moment. “Some families you’re born into, but some you choose. Oz meant more — means more — to me than any random aho who just happens to share my genes.”

Bloggin’ About Not-Bloggin’

C7BEDFC4-2A44-4AB5-B615-27A84C9D92C8Okay, so I cheated on Monday. I mean really, really cheated.  I didn’t just glance at my neighbor’s paper to copy some answers, I did the full-on steal-the-test, copy-every-answer kind of cheat.

It pretty much sucked. I felt guilty as hell.

I know, I’m most certainly not the first blogger to just recycle an old post, but I didn’t even do a good job of it.

*sigh*

Often, I will keep a few of these posts queued up and waiting so I don’t have to scramble to write one at the last minute (like I am now). That means, of course, that I also tend to use that “backlog” of posts as an excuse to, err, get stinking lazy. It’s not all that hard to convince myself that, since I have a bunch of posts ready, I don’t need to work on the blog today.

You know, it’s kind of making me flash back to college, flash back to a professor trying to explain to a bunch of freshmen that scrambling to recover from NOT doing the work is just going to take longer than actually DOING the work. I spent more time thinking about the post I needed/wanted to write today — the post about NOT writing a post on Monday — than I would have if I just written a 300-word humor piece on beer-can art on Monday.

The good news — not excuse, or even reason, just good news — is that I am, finally, back to doing fairly serious fiction writing & work. That doesn’t really help, however…at least not to me. It may sound weird, but this blog is an outlet, and a type of writing, I don’t have in fiction writing. It’s an outlet, I should add, that I have found very valuable over the two years I’ve been writing Seat at the Bar.

I started this place as a way to work on short-form writing, as a way to try to condense my normal wordiness into something (hopefully) more efficient and effective. It was also a venue to share aspects of my writing, both in terms of the process and the real-world experiences.

The blog became more than that, however. It became a place to share bits and pieces of myself, bits and pieces I never did — never could — share anywhere other than through the written word. I told you folks things I never told even my family: from my battles with depression to my shameful love of Downton Abbey to the suicides and tragedies that have defined my world. There has been as much personal honesty here as random squirreling, ranting and drunk-bloggin’.

Writing is a hell of journey. If you get it right — if you have the talent and the drive and, yes, the luck — it can be a journey both wonderful and rewarding. It also can be the most frustrating, difficult, disappointing and exasperating journey imaginable. To share that journey with you — even if such sharing does mean the occasional foray away from writing and into music or beer or the wonders of Young Frankenstein — is something I have, much to my surprise, come to look forward to three times a week…look forward to far too much to cheat myself, to cheat this blog, and to cheat you.

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.