Just a Little Something

Smile!  It Snowed

So, January has been off to a roaring start. 30 short stories in two months or three and a third stories a week need to be written. As of this past weekend I have managed to complete eight of the beasts. Unfortunately, I have hit a problem. I have four stories that I have started and I can’t think of how to complete each one.

Trouble is that story number seven was ripped screaming from my soul. I doubt I will be sharing that one in public. Too painful on too many levels. Had to be done though since it was almost physically blocking everything else mentally. Since then I had to struggle to complete the eighth one and now I can’t complete stories.

I talked to the girlfriend this weekend. Two epic duration phone calls. Yes, we are back in communication again as she got the new phone and we are both happy about that resolution of communication breakdown. During the calls I went over some of the stories that I am working on and used her as a sounding board. Great starts she thinks (“It was raining whisky again….”), and is rooting for me to get this done. I was moaning that I get so far and don’t know where to go after. She asked if I had been doing any reading lately and I haven’t. So, she told me to take a break.

Step away from the word processor for a day or so, and try not to think on anything. Just relax and do what else that needs doing and that’s it. Makes sense really, There’s a small blockage from the muse to the keyboard and until it’s wiggled out of the way there’s no need to stress or fight what’s not happening.

So my plans for the day are just laundry, cleaning, and reading. The Squire will be home this afternoon after spending time with his mom. So there’s that to look forward too. Maybe a nap if I can squeeze things in. I will have to check my Kindle for books that I haven’t read that aren’t research. Think I have some, if not I have a gift card I can tap into for a book or two. Things are going to be quiet.Have fun, it's winter

The Agony

Things have been busy here at home. Taking care of the Squire and pushing my limits. Took on a two month thirty short stories challenge. Working out so far and I am punching them out left right and center. That’s not what this is about though.

I share each days word count with my girl friend. It’s a long distance relationship so we have been relying on text messages and phone calls to keep connected. So, Monday, disaster strikes. Her phone died in the middle of a conversation before work. Now I didn’t think much of it when it happened since I knew she was heading to work shortly. So five minutes before her shift starts, I get a phone call from an unrecognized number.

One the other end of the line is my girl friend giving me the horrible news. Her phone is dead and she doesn’t know what to do. As well she doesn’t have internet at home, long story, it’s infuriating. I leap into action and ask a few questions knowing what her needs are and offer up a few options. She picks one and I do the ordering for her and have the new device shipped her way. Trouble is that it’s going to be days before she gets it. Days.

So yesterday was tough. Got a phone call at the end of her shift and that was it. Today, was…difficult… No “good morning” text, no random text messages through out the day when she gets breaks, nothing. I have been feeling a little lost. I don’t have that line to someone that understands what I am going through.

I did get a brief call today when she was done work. I took the opportunity to give her a quick update on the shipment and the day (story six done, thinking about seven, Squire is being a toddler). Tomorrow she has an off day and no access to a phone she can use for long distance. I’m jonesing here. I need to text my lady love and there’s nothing we can do!

Might have to recruit someone to help me out. I have other friends in the area. Wonder if they would be willing to go over to her place and let us borrow their phone. Will keep that idea in mind if things get desperate. I mean really desperate.

Gotta go. Mind is starting to wander again, and I have to catch it.

Serendipity

It’s amazing what information one will find that one doesn’t realize they need until they stumble across it. One of my many works in progress is a post apocalyptic scenario. Nothing out of the ordinary in most aspects, just a little thought experiment I am working on through fiction. Mainly, how to maintain and survive a truly doomsday situation given a little advanced warning. I know it’s been done before by many other writers, doesn’t mean I can’t dip my toes into the genre.

So, I have been researching. Searching for so much information. Specifically what’s available in print and easily found. Making guns and gunpowder is something most people research for such situations I think. Formula is pretty simple and the method to make it just as simple. Trouble is that most modern rifles use a different powder that requires different techniques and chemicals. Then there’s the concept of primers and reloading. Too technical, and probably beyond the means of most groups of people that for all intents and purposes have been thrown back to pre-industrial civilization.

So to the point. I was doing some research on crossbows and bow making. I was inspired a bit by a couple bits and pieces that used to live in the family home basement that my late uncle had started working on and never finished. It was a crossbow using a vehicle leaf spring as the bow. Believe it or not there were plans published in the 1950’s in Popular Mechanics on how to make crossbow with a leaf spring. Only thing missing really was how to make the string. So I started researching and looking.

I found a series of books that were printed called the “Traditional Bowyer’s Bible”. Four volumes and dead tree editions were horribly expensive on Amazon if you weren’t careful. I have since found another source and will be adding them to my “Honey can I?” shopping list. For the moment though they are available on Amazon for the Kindle. So this Christmas I received a gift card (thanks mom) and decided to get the book I needed to read badly (volume 2 for string making chapter 8).

I was just expecting a simple chapter on how to twist strands of string into a bowstring. Nope, nothing simple about it. It goes on for the first third of the chapter on how to make cordage BY HAND. That’s right how to twist fibers to make a simple cord and what goes into it and why it works. Dense? Incredibly dense and for me intriguing. Now here’s where the title of the post comes in. Post apocalypse, no industry, everything is going to be needing to be done by hand. What does the chapter talk about after cordage? HOW TO SPIN! How to make a simple drop spindle (with pictures) and how to spin vegetable fibers (cotton, flax, milkweed) into thread. Then it talks about how to make several types of spinning wheels. I mean this is important stuff.

With thread you can weave, with weaving you make cloth, with cloth, well you get the picture. So by researching how to make a bowstring I have stumbled upon a how to for the start of fabric. Something I am going to have to go back and rewrite the implications of to some of the characters. As well, I believe it solves a couple of minor plotting issues I was having or not. Depends on how nasty I want to be to the characters.

So that’s part of what I have been doing lately. Now back to my reading and I think I have to do some more researching.

Looking Back

I decided to see how many words I had written this past year. Just a random thought that ran through my head. So I tracked down all my saved documents, works completed, works in progress, and works that have been temporarily abandoned. I was a little surprised really. I started hammering out “new words” back at the end of March. Whipped off a short story that struck me and burrowed deep. One week it took to write from start to finish with some personal business in between.

After that I carried on and continued to write. One story has been put aside for the meantime. Seemed too big an idea and I needed more practice to do it justice. Same for another story that started off short and morphed to needing more detail and work.

Then there was the novella that’s currently morphing into a novel. I have gone back and restarted that piece numerous times now it seems and I am getting closer to what it needs to be. Just not there yet and it’s been put aside awaiting more research and reading.

And the short stories. John and Mason, the last witness, some unknown lawyer that’s caught in a spell, and essays. Going to be more that needs to be added to that list in the new year.

Then there was my first manuscript that reached novel length, and is in the process of being edited, polished, and holes papered over. Unfortunately it’s spawning two sequels. Talk about a pain in the butt.

So that’s what I have been working on over the past nine months. So what’s the running word count? I was a little shocked when I totaled it up. Almost if not more than, two hundred thousand words. Good words? Some I guess. All in all they are just practice for the final result. New Year is now and things are starting to happen now.

They say you need to write a million words to get good at the skill. I have written at least what I have written this year in my past so I am almost halfway there.

Stay tuned.

I Hate Winter

God I hate winter these days. Didn’t used to be the case. A few years ago it just rose to a mild case of “loathe”. Now though it’s risen, or fallen, to the level of downright rage inducing hatred. Oh the winters aren’t worse then before. Weather is still the same. It gets cold, snow falls, temperatures rise, temperatures fall. More snow, maybe some freezing drizzle, the usual. So what has changed?

It’s not because I have gotten older, although sometimes the cold just bites deeper then when I was younger. I can deal with that. What has changed is that I am now dealing with winter and a toddler. Yes parenting is a whole other animal when dealing with little ones. It’s not because the toddler is being abnormal it’s just an entire production just to go out for groceries. Heaven help you if you have run out of the most favorite must have snack. So the production begins.

First you have to track down the socks, then the foot wear. Check the weather forecast to find out the temperature. Grab the snow pants. What the hell did I do with his hat and mitts again? Next stage is chasing down the little running terror and trying to get them to cooperate while you put on said snow pants. Done, next the boots. Come on, work with me here kid, left foot goes in the left boot. No not the right foot the left foot. Okay, boots on. Next if you haven’t done so you have to get yourself prepared for the outdoors.

Most times that proposition is a little easier. Then you have to track down your green re-usable grocery bags. Keys, did I remember my keys? Oh right, already in the pocket. *Smack* Palm to forehead. WALLET! Need the wallet to pay for groceries. Right dressed and ready and stroller good to go. Chase down the little escape artist and try to get him to put on his jacket. Here’s where I wish I had mastered the lariat and hog tie technique in my youth. Finally, got the coat on him. Next hat. Hat on, no not off, on. It’s cold outside little one. Trust me you will thank me when we get there. Now into the stroller and out the door. Checking for the umpteenth time that you have keys and wallet. Get to the apartment foyer and pause to put the mittens on the little pain in the neck. If you are lucky he still has his hat on. If not, reapply. Now out into the snowy blowing wilderness to fetch items from the grocery store.

Great it’s snowed outside. Amazing how an inch of snow feels like six feet snow drifts when you are pushing a stroller down the sidewalk. Seriously, the amount of effort to get any forward momentum is akin to Sisyphus and his boulder. Bright side to this, unlike Sisyphus’s boulder the stroller doesn’t roll back when you let go. So that whole trek to the grocery store. You know the one? Yeah the one that’s ONLY a block away that you can march to and back in less then five minutes. Now? Fifteen minutes just one way. Then there’s the dodging of the crowds (i.e. more than five people, give me a break. I am not a people person anymore), grabbing the items and of course since you are here, more than you needed originally. Because god help you, you are not going back out into this horrible blizzard that sprung up on your walk to the store (Blizzard: modern definition, light fluffy flakes falling gently onto the road and sidewalk which would have been at one time a wonderful time for a lovely walk).

So you make it back and you are holding on to your sanity with one trembling hand. Why one hand? Because you need the other hand to deal with the groceries, stroller, and hyperactive toddler (It was just one candy! How can one small piece of chocolate cause so much destruction? **insert tears here**). You maneauver up the walk way to the foyer, fish keys out of your pocket, man handle the door open and make the way through the building sweating like it’s the middle of summer out. Yes it’s a lot of effort and Yes it’s a light winter coat (down filled of course, purchased on sale years ago and it’s still holding up thank god.)

Now comes the dance once again. In the door, leaving the stroller in the hallway for the slush to melt off the wheels before putting it away. Proceed to undress the little hell spawn that you swear to yourself that can’t be the charming little toddler that woke up that very morning. Finally coat off, boots off, snow pants off, and there he goes..rummaging through the grocery bags. You can’t stop him because if you don’t get your winter gear off you are going to be puddle on the floor. And you can’t do a damned thing if you are just a small little puddle right?

Finally! Clothes away, groceries rescued from curious little hands and that hungry, hungry maw, (Seriously! Where does he put that food?) Groceries away and time to check the weather again to see what you just survived.

Current temperature? Minus two degrees Celsius wind from the WNW at ten kilometers per hour. Light snow fall.

God I hate winter. And this is just the middle of December. There’s a whole four more months of the worst yet to come. I need a drink, or a straight jacket. Maybe I will flip a coin.

That Damned Muse

 

I was struck by a muse I guess last March. A story seemed to come to me out of the blue and screamed in my ear (figuratively speaking) to be written. So, I sat down and spent a week writing it when I got the free time to do it. I may attempt to get it published one of these days. Thinking about it seriously.

Anyway, that was the start. That muse has been riding my back now for quite a few months. I have a few orphaned projects currently, I will attempt to get back to them in the new year. Once the muse stops riding me about my current works in progress (WIP for short). It’s weird really, I will be sitting there minding my own business and then I get a mental prod about “What if,” or “How about this,” and even “Won’t this be fun?” Then off I go down a rabbit hole of furiously typing words on the page or looking up information or, asking friends odd and strange questions, or… Well you get the idea.

I have a lovely first reader that’s not really judging my output which is nice. I think I will keep her. She has aided and abetted my muse by throwing random thoughts my way or encouraging me to keep going. So there’s my muse in the background chortling away and prodding me from time to time.

Unfortunately there are times when she does go on vacation. Can’t blame her for that as I do miss having a proper vacation. When she does get back to me, it’s back to that merry sleigh ride. Of course when she isn’t helping me I am trying to get things down still. Just because I don’t have the inspiration doesn’t mean I can’t keep practicing.

So there we go, a random musing for the morning before I go and try to hammer out words between the necessary chores today.

It Begins

I figured that I needed a space to share random things. I have been spending the past year or less working on my writings. Most of those works are still in progress. Some are just waiting for me to pull the trigger and send them out. Others need a touch more polishing.

Essentially, what I want to use this for is something to just through stuff out randomly. Essays, snippets, or who knows what else. I will try to keep things fairly straight forward and maybe even stray into politics or sciences when the mood strikes me. Mostly though, this will be where I write stuff that isn’t fiction. Sometimes.