Why Do I Always Have to Work Holidays?!

St Patrick’s Day…

Ahh, St Patrick’s Day…

Okay, yeah, it’s American “invention” to (ostensibly) honor a minor Irish holiday. An invention, I might add, created mostly as an excuse to drink and party.

So what? It’s a fun time, even if it is “cultural appropriation”!

What else are you gonna do on St Patrick’s Day, by the way, except celebrate it at German brewery? Of course you are…I mean, c’mon, that’s multiculturalism at its finest!

Quite simply, you haven’t lived until you’ve celebrated St Patty’s day with a few games of hammerschlagen! And screw the corned beef, I want sausage! And rye bread!

Technically, I suppose, I’m working today…which means I have my iPad open in front of me at the moment. Well, that and I’ll help out at the brewery when it gets truly busy. And there is, of course, also the pending Irish Olympics to think about.


9D5A524E-9ABA-41F3-B500-559D88BB46A1Work, work, work…another day slaving in the mines…

Now, if only there was actual, you know, money in spending your “work” life writing and in a brewery.

Fun? Oh, yeah, there’s tons of that…but money? Not so much…

Crap, a thought occurs…I hate it when that happens, but what are you gonna do?

On the same theme from my post last Friday: I learned everything I need to know about this stuff from my (fairly extensive) travels across Europe & the Americas. Tragically, I didn’t do that travel as part of an official gap year. Nope, I was far too deprived and challenged to do that.

Oy vey! How much farther ahead would I be if I had started this insanity at eighteen?!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the keg curling competition is getting ready to start…



You sit out at the end of the jetty, several hundred feet from shore. A drink in one hand, perhaps, and a cigar in the other. The ocean stretches in front of you; not just as far as the eye can see, but as far as the mind can wander.

The sun dips, touches the horizon. Fire in the sky, and in the clouds. The ocean turns from blue-grey, briefly, to molten metal. You can’t break yourself away; you continue to stare blankly, to watch and absorb the closest thing this world has to infinity. There is nothing in front of you but water. Intellectually, you know that a few thousand miles away you will find islands and peoples, but there is no room for “intellectually” when you’re staring out over the edge of the world.

No, when you’re looking out into that infinity, there is nothing in your universe but sunset and water and thought. Memories and dreams…a certain emotional distance from the world itself…and the “knowledge” not that you are at the end of the world, but that you have everything in front of you.

Erm, I may have done that once or twice.

The ocean, the “knowledge” of living at the edge of the world, and the endless sunsets that wash over the water, are about the only things I truly miss about Southern California. The peace, and the rather unique trains of thought, that come with sitting out at the end of that jetty…or on the deck of a ship at sea…or just on the beach, with a building bonfire behind you and the sunset in front… For all of those things, that feeling of possibility is the same, that feeling of the infinite.

I’ve lived in the east, as well. I’ve sat on Cadillac Rock and watched the sun rise, felt the first rays of anyone in the US. It’s not the same thing. While sunrises have that feeling and connotation of hope, and the promise of the day (and times) to come…it’s just not the same. Not to me. It doesn’t have the same feeling of being on the edge, of staring out over…well…everything.

I have, you may have guessed, a thing for “infinities”. They are powerfully attractive…and, just as much, they are terrifying. They remind you just how small you really are, and just how insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Oh, my times watching the sun set were not terrifying — those times kept the infinite at arm’s length. But those times are not all…

Swimming in the water, laughing and half-drunk. Three of us, as playful and immature as only (relatively) care-free guys in their mid-twenties can be. Almost a hundred miles away waited the harbor, and the restaurant where we would meet others to recount the successes and failures of a weekend spent deep-sea fishing.

Two others waited on the idling boat, a safety-net that half-drunk twenty-somethings don’t usually worry about. A joke, then, in their eyes: the idling engine engaged, the prop allowed to spin slowly and edge the boat away.

It took a few minutes. A few minutes of play and stupidity above the huge kelp-banks at the edge of the continental shelf. A few minutes, then I was stone cold sober. A few minutes, then I was more terrified than I ever have been. It couldn’t have been more than a quarter-mile or so, but the boat looked like it was halfway to Hawaii. The knowledge hit me — the very real, very close knowledge — that I really was hanging over infinity…that infinity wasn’t at arm’s length, but was right under my unsupported feet.

If you don’t know the Pacific Ocean, just past the continental shelf you go from a depth of a few hundred feet to twenty thousand

And I could feel every single one of those feet under me.

That was infinity closer than arm’s length. That was infinity’s ability to terrify.

Both ends of that spectrum are important: the warmth and the terror. Both ends come in to play in writing; have to come in to play in writing. As writers, we talk a great deal about “agency” — about our protagonists’ (necessary) ability to make their own choices, and to impact their own surroundings & situation.  But, even with all of the careful plotting and characterization, even with all of the agency and planning, you have to leave room in your writing for the infinities. You have to leave room for your character to sit at the edge of the world and wonder…and, just as much, you have to leave room to hang helplessly above the edge of the world and fear…

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.

Some Village Out There Is Really Missing Me Right Now…

Not a writing post today.  Not a politics post, either, nor a space post, nor any other kind of useful thing.  Sorry, but I just don’t have it in me.

I don’t have it in me because…well…umm…pain really ain’t all that conducive to writing.  Not emotional pain — that’s great(ish) for writing — but pure, annoying physical pain.

idiotI managed to break a couple of toes the other day, and it sucks.  I’d love to come up with some great story about wrestling a bear, or jumping off a bridge to save a drowning kangaroo, or even just tripping down a flight of stairs, but the simple fact of the matter is…well…I’m an idiot.

I did it at hockey.  Okay, that sounds good, that’s a good start.  Err, well, the problem, you see, is…well…I wasn’t actually playing hockey.  That would’ve been just far too easy….and far less embarrassing.  Hell, I’ve broken a fairly significant number of things playing hockey, and pretty much all of those stories are entertaining as hell. There was the time my hand got stepped on by a skate…

But, nosiree, not this time.  There’s no hiding from the shame this time.

Nope, this time I was out on the ice early, just screwing around with a bunch of the high school kids after their practice.

I wasn’t wearing gear.  More importantly, I wasn’t wearing skates.

“Hey, the puck’s coming,” I thought, “I know, I’ll block it with my foot!  Wait, hang on, maybe I should rethink this…OOOOOWWWWW*!!!!”working-with-idiots1

Like I said: idiot.

*Err, there just might have been some four-letter words in there as well, but I’ll leave that to your imagination.

One of the guys I play with is a doctor.  When he got done laughing at me (definitely not with me), he tossed me a roll of tape and a couple of Advil.  “Have fun,” was the extent of his medical advice.

I got a text this morning from another of the guys about playing in a tournament.  Apparently my nickname has now become “Toes.”

I hate the entire universe right now.