Waiting For The Miracle _ A Blast From The Past From February 2014

Waiting For The Miracle _ A Blast From The Past From February 2014

*Yes, I do have guest posts. No, I haven’t even read them yet, much less contacted people to know what name they want them under. It will come.
When we got back there was a lot of “house stuff” and “gardening stuff” to catch up on, and we’re still in the middle of the great office move and reflooring.  BUT I’m making time to look at submitted guest posts this week.  Writing first, is all, which is part of this post below. As I reorient, I’m making fiction a priority which it’s never REALLY been.  Because frankly I probably don’t have an excess of time. (Now if the stupid subconscious doesn’t lock me due to living in insane times.)
However today none of this applies.  We just slept really late, and I just finished breakfast.  Nno, neither of us knows why, except perhaps after-shocks of the trip.  This getting old stuff SUCKS. — SAH*

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As you guys know, this last weekend I was attending a seminar here in town.  One of the presentations (which I’d got to audit last year and already knew was great) was James Owen’s Drawing Out the Dragons – go look, for the book and/or CD which I understand is a close approximation to being there in person.

I think it’s great and inspirational and I wish I’d got it thirty years ago, when we didn’t have dependents (other than the cats) and when – frankly – we were afraid of our own breath which is why I’d write novels and spend years not sending them out.  (Okay, we also didn’t have money for postage, but we could have sold something.  (Not one of the cats, though.  No one would buy them.))  If you’re relatively young (younger than I) you definitely want to buy the book/CD and go through it.  It might be the kick in the pants you need.

Keep in mind, though, that you’re not him.  Take a sane and rational assessment of your drive, your qualifications and your need to do whatever you really want to do (writing, cooking, painting or playing piano) instead of what you’re doing.

I am aware of my own limitations and my own internal issues.  Just listening to this doesn’t turn me into J. K. Rowling – by which I don’t mean the writing itself (yes, she is a good writer, but she also hit at the right time, in the right place, and I might be as good as she was and as lucky as she was at some point.)  I mean that if I were a single mother, on public assistance, even if I weren’t so poor that I couldn’t afford heating, the paranoid side of my brain would lock the writing down absolutely tight, and I’d be getting a minimum wage job, just to bring in some money and set my foot on a ladder.  I know I have the crazy paranoid person inside my head who spends most of her time locking my writing down tight.

Okay – let me backtrack – James Owen’s presentation is about having the courage to let go of your stupid, go-nowhere “safe career” to do what you really want to do.  He says, right at the beginning “If you want to do something, no one can stop you from it.  If you don’t want to do it, no one can help you.”

You should listen to it, and consider his point, but you should also consider who you are.  For instance, I wish I’d listened to this 20 years ago, so I’d have had the focus to work without the near death experience, and even more importantly, to have more focus for the last twenty or thirty years.

Near death experience?

We were talking about this session – my husband and I – and we went back to the fact that part of the effect of the presentation was achieved for me when I was 33 and I found myself on my back, in an hospital bed, with pneumonia, and thinking I was going to die.  Or rather the doctors thought so.

I had a kid who was 5 and one who was a year and a half, and I thought I was going to die.  There was the usual issue when you have children that age.  I worried about my husband and my children, of course; I worried about who would look after my kids when Dan was working.

But what surprised me – shocked me to the core – is that I was guilty and worried about the books I’d never written.

Now, yes, I’ll probably die with books unwritten, but all of my worlds were dying with me.  One of the worlds was one I had had since I was fourteen – and when I died all of those characters would also die. (Part of the conversation this morning is that this world will have to be written.  And those of you who know exactly what I’m talking about, yes, what I mean is that world, and yes, it will be a pen name.  Closed.  But wouldn’t it be hilarious if that is the series that takes off.  It will be written, as time permits.  It will have to be published indie.  This is for my own conscience.  The rest is not important.)

When I actually recovered (and that’s a story in itself and not here) and went home, even before the year of recovery passed and I was fully recovered, changes were made.  That illness is part of the reason my children went to kindergarten and later to public school – so mommy had writing time.  They were still getting taught at home after school.  And yes, if I had the time again, I’d homeschool and write while the kids were working.  When forced I found out later on that I could do that.  But that’s besides the point.

I’d been writing before I almost died.  In fact, I had been part of a writing group, and I thought I was serious about my writing.  But in fact, I only sent a short story out a year or so, and though I was working on my writing everything else took priority.

After I came out of the hospital, even in my lowest-fiction-writing year (aka 2013), I’ve never written fewer than two novels and several short stories a year, and I sent them out, and I started seriously applying my time and effort to getting things published.

Because if I went back to the hospital, I didn’t want to be lying there and knowing there were worlds that lived only in my head and were dying with me.  I didn’t want that guilt.

That alone was enough to seriously focus me, though I had distractions – still do – and last year I got sucked into a whirlpool called non-fiction writing and consecutive illnesses, and finally had to step back, take a hard look and realize I couldn’t go on with that and is it what I really wanted to do?  (Yes, I’ll still be writing for PJM, but we’ve arranged things differently, and I’ll be writing less and have only one deadline for four posts a month.)

That is what a near fatal illness will cause you to do.  And I think it’s possible that Drawing Out Dragons will perhaps give you the same drive, the same focus (or close enough) without a near fatal illness.  (I get no portion of these sales, so if you can sit down and do this calculation yourself, do it.)

But think about it.  If you find yourself in bed, dying tomorrow, what would weigh on your conscience?

If you find yourself regretting that you spent so much time writing and so little playing with your kids or holding hands with your spouse, for the love of G-d, stop writing now and go do that stuff.

No.  Wait let me explain.  You’ll always feel a certain regret on those things.  When I get to take a walk with my husband, and spend the whole afternoon just the two of us, I treasure those days – or weekends.  Yes, the canoodling ones – and would like to do a lot more it.  And the other day I found myself crying into a box of pictures of the kids when they were little, because you can never hug them or play with them enough.  (They’re wonderful kids now, but they’re really not kids anymore, since both are legal adults and the older is the age I got married at. I miss my littles.  And no, I didn’t hug them enough.)  But this is the stuff you never do “enough.”

The question is do you regret that MORE than you regret not having published those worlds that have haunted you since the age of six?  If so, just go and play with your kids now, and devote ten years being a mom/dad or wife/husband.  Later, when the kids move out, revisit this question.

On the other hand, if, as with me, you feel bad about the times not taken to cuddle the kids, but what you REALLY mind is all those worlds – find a way to be serious about writing.

No, seriously.  Find a way.  Remember who you are.  Quitting your job might only make you neurotic and lock down your writing.  So you might want to keep a job, keep a safety net, whatever.  And yeah, you might still want to take time to spend with the kids and the husband – but put in two hours a day (say) hard and fast so you can write.  Or whatever it is you really want to do.

Because few of us (ah!) come back from their death beds.  And you might not have a second chance.  And waiting for the miracle when everything is perfect for your great work, just means it will never get done.

133 thoughts on “Waiting For The Miracle _ A Blast From The Past From February 2014

  1. We just slept really late, and I just finished breakfast.

    Sleeping late after first returning home s common with any trip, much less a stressful one. And eating a good breakfast is a very important part of a healthy diet regime. It is the portion of the day’s eating most likely to be fully processed by the wakened body, with little of it lingering in the gut, idle, overnight.

  2. This getting old stuff SUCKS

    Chuckle Chuckle

    You’re Not Old! You’re younger than me! 😆

    Oh, one of Alma’s characters whines that he knows he’s eighteen but his body doesn’t agree. (Late 20’s body with injures.) 😉

        1. I realized that at about 14.

          Found some of my notebooks from back then– yeah, the usual cringe.
          But.
          The “I was born too old for this” stuff?

          She had a point…..

        2. There is that.
          There’s some tune on a store’s Muzak that is some guy going on about a relaxed afternoon or such and at one point says something about eating something ‘under there’ and claiming “I just made you say ‘underwear’.” which reminds of the FIRST time someone tried that gag on me, and I *not* heard of previously. And it went something like this…

          “What are you eating under there?”
          “I’m not eating.”
          “If you were, what are you eating under there?”
          “Under what?”
          “You’re supposed to say ‘under where’ so it sound like like you’re eating underwear.”

          And I was perhaps no older than 7 year at the time, and might well have been younger.

          Thus my nigh-automatic reply to that bit of ‘lyrics’, just before he says the claiming line is, “No, you didn’t.”

      1. I have had more than one medical professional act surprised when I say with pride, “I outlast kids half my age in a mosh pit”.

        Why would you not in your 50s? I’m more curious at all the kids who tap out while the old fart who was in when they got in is still in. Aren’t they embarassed?

          1. Two or three weeks ago, I worked on a script all through the night to get it up and running by a certain deadline. I surprised myself in that I managed to do it without *too* many hallucinations. I still don’t think I recovered from that one binge, though.

            Also, it doesn’t help that I had some devastating family news that’s been on my mind throughout all this, as well….

        1. A couple of years ago when I was doing geology field trips with the rest of my college class, I was always trudging along way behind the rest, huffing and puffing, EXCEPT that there were always two or three college students behind me. And not just the guy with the fused knee.

          The prof in his 70’s was hiking even the athletes into the ground.

          1. Athletes, unless they’re marathoners, train for bursts of strength or speed rather than endurance. (With maybe a few other exceptions, such as soccer players, who have to jog for 90 minutes with a single 15-minute break. They also train for endurance.) So I’m not surprised that your geology prof, who’s been hiking over varied terrain all his career, would have trained for endurance far more than most athletes.

            1. the prof knows how to walk on a hike so you can go all day.


              Seasonally when I worked for the USFS on pre-sale crew, I could keep up with the men by semi-running my shorter legs, but couldn’t keep it up all day. Or I could go all day, and fall behind, but not take breaks. That was getting to some job sites. Doing the work … well that was stop & go anyway.

    1. “This getting old stuff SUCKS”

      Although as George Burns famously said to Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show when he was asked what it was like to be his age, “It’s better than the alternative”.

      1. “Getting old isn’t for sissy’s.”

        “At least we’re still looking at the grass from the top …”

      2. It should be noted that we don’t actually know the alternative, although there are conflicting reports.

  3. Ah, yes. As the waterline inches closer and closer to the deck, and more and more daily time gets eaten with maintenance chores, and more and more of the day gets eaten with obligatory naps and rest, there isn’t enough time left for all the wonderful things I was dreaming of when I was twenty.

  4. Quitting your job might only make you neurotic and lock down your writing.

    Or getting laid off. I got let go back in April thanks to COVIDpocalypse. I figured that a fringe benefit of the situation would be that I’d finally be able to get some serious writing done. And while my muse went absolutely CRAZY about a month ago (serously, Muse? Romance? I HATE Romance!!!!), I’ve only written maybe a half-dozen pages total across at least four aborted stories.

    1. I hate Romance too. But if that’s what’s bubbling up, write it down.

      Writing anything is better than not writing.

      1. I’ve tried. But the moment I stop doing research and sit down to actually start writing, my brain goes into lockup and I can’t even manage to force the words out.

        1. I hesitate to suggest alcohol. 😀

          I’m working on a romance thing now, too. And I realize this is going to come across as dismissive to romance and I don’t mean it that way because I LOVE romance and admire the skill of romance authors, but it’s also my fun project and maybe the one I’m not as invested in, and also has a fanfic beginning. Finding a way to tell myself “it’s okay if this is bad” seems to take a lot of the pressure off. (It also seems to be helping a lot to repeatedly remind myself that I’m only holding myself to TV-show levels of accuracy and realism.)

          1. Won’t matter: my stomach doesn’t like alcohol. Freakin’ reflux.

            And it’s not so much that I’m afraid it’s gonna be bad as much that I come up with an idea and plot it out and do a metric buttload of research…. only to have my brain go into full-on vaperlock the instant I try to start writing down the story proper.

            1. This is probably bananas and I just thought of it, but do you know how master painters learn by copying other painters until they become masters themselves? If the words won’t go, read the first page or two of something you like a whole lot and then *copy* it except with your own characters and events.

              If it’s recognizable you’d have to change it later, but for now just take someone who writes really well and try just two pages with your own characters as nearly as you can to that other author. It’s just an exercise, right? For practice.

              Try it.

        2. You might also want to check out Dean Wesley Smith’s Killing Critical Voice workshop. He’s designed it to help writers stop worrying about what readers will think and concentrate on writing a great story. (Unfortunately I can’t comment on how well it works, because right now it’s Not In My Budget).

          1. I’ve managed to avoid reading those Ringo books. Thank God, because I’m honestly not sure which ones they are. They’re not Last Centurion, Black Tide Rising, or the MHI Memoirs books, but other than that, I’ve no clue.

            1. It is the Ghost series you want to eschew. It originated in a Baen Bar post by John of a work in progress his muse had downloaded on him, a work John referred to as “That wanker book.”

              It developed into a 6-book series, The Paladin of Shadows, comprised of:
              Ghost
              Kildar
              Choosers of the Slain
              Unto the Breach
              A Deeper Blue
              Tiger by the Tail

              These books, along with the usual John Ringo battleporn, feature strong elements of what is euphemistically termed “Adult Content” although it might more accurately be called Adolescent Content as actual adults have generally outgrown the fascination with such activities.

            2. They are Ghost, Kildar, and four more books (so far). Aside from the S&M they’re really good. We could use the Keldara in our world.
              ———————————
              “And here we have shovels.”

              1. They are referenced, somewhat, in the Black Tide Rising series, although you would have to have read them to catch the reference. I think it is only in The Valley of Shadows (and possibly River of Night), as Eastern European beer-makers who also deal in zombie spinal cords.

                1. One thing that bothered me about those books — after a year and more there wouldn’t be any live virus left in the zombies to make vaccine out of. A zombie should only be a viable source of virus for a couple of weeks after turning; after that either their immune systems would kill off the virus or they would die when it broke down their central nervous systems.

                  There was also no mention of letting the zombies captured by the BERT teams ‘season’ for a few days to grow more virus, and get more vaccine from each zombie.

                  As for the ‘Adult Content’ — I saw a few episodes of a show called ‘Tripping The Rift’ which started with ‘Warning: This Show Is Intended For Mature Audiences’. I always had to correct it: ‘No, this show is intended for profoundly IMMATURE audiences. Now get on with the profound immaturity!’

                2. There’s also a reference to them in “Queen of Wands” where there’s a reference to a “demon-haunted former SEAL” in the Caucasus.

            3. I meant it more along the line of ‘write it so your brain stops yelling at you’, reminded of the story of how the Ghost / Keldar series came about. (summary, iirc being: he couldn’t write what he wanted because his brain kept pushing this other story at him, and wrote it to get it put of the way.)

          2. I used to follow that guy on Livejournal. I’ve tried reading his twitter lately and… well, maybe I should stop.

            1. Uh, the “OH JOHN RINGO NO” guy (at least I think he originate the phrase), not John Ringo himself.

              1. Hradzka, who IIRC (but I could be wrong) originated the “OH JOHN RINGO NO” line in his LJ semi-liveblogging of the series.

                1. I read that a long time ago. I laughed at the reactions. I felt for John Ringo; I’ve had a few nights where something won’t leave my brain and give me peace. I can’t imagine what it’s like that it’s so bad it’ll get in the way of work.

  5. I mean that if I were a single mother, on public assistance, even if I weren’t so poor that I couldn’t afford heating …

    Eh. You din’t grow up in a society which taught you deserved sustenance simply for breathing. So of course your hind brain commands you earn your living. It takes a heap o’ indoctrination to achieve the levels of entitlement that lead healthy folk to suckle ff the gummint teat.

    What is remarkable about Rowling is her dedication to cranking out her YA fantasy in circumstances where 99.9% of people would happily piss away their lives on cheap beer and the telly. JKR is far from an example of the merits of the Dole, that it enables such artistic freedom.

    1. She’s more like the exception that proves the rule.

      If the Dole is so good at enabling such artistic freedom, why is she such a singular example of that effect.

      Also, she is being unpresoned for thinking only women menstruate, so there is that.

      1. When the gal who wrote a fun wizard twist to old boarding school stories is having to instruct the world on basic biology, and being beat up for it, they’re nuts.

  6. those of you who know exactly what I’m talking about, yes, what I mean is that world, and yes, it will be a pen name. Closed.

    Is this still cloaked or have you naught left to lose in the publishing world?

    1. I’ve naught left to lose. It’s not written, but it is outlined, and friends have convinced me it will just have to come out. And under my name.
      It’s weird, but eh so am I.

      1. I’m convinced that if you look into the face of terror and let your weird go free, that it may be the break-out novel/universe you never expected. Or not. 😉 But chances better than before. Safe is…safe. But I get safe, I really do. Trust me on that. Multitudes easier to counsel others on bravery, eh? Next time we’re together in the same room somewhere you can fling carp at me.

  7. And completely unrelated, “protesters” (actually ANTIFA if the pictures are anything to go by) have barricaded off a roughly six-square-block area of Capital Hill, Seattle, around an abandoned police precinct and declared it an “autonomous zone,” “encouraged” local businesses and residents to “dissociate themselves” from Seattle proper, and are calling for “armed volunteers” to man the barricades.

    1. I never got why the Paris commune was considered so damned romantic. And that is despite reading a couple of stories I have really enjoyed set during it.

    2. Sounds like these idiot protestors have been listening to Les Mis WAY too much. As Herbn said I have no idea why that utter failure keeps showing up as an exemplar in literature.

      1. It’s a fascinating story about love and redemption, that has interesting insights in what it really means to be poor, and how it can be an accident or a result of your poor choices (criminal or otherwise). Of course, the Revolutionary part is apparently what sticks out in most people’s minds (as for myself, I really like the rescue through the sewers of the aftermath of the attempt at revolution)….

        It’s a pity that everyone seems to focus on that one little bit, because Les Miserables is a really complex and fascinating book!

        1. Victor Hugo’s novel is quite good. I read it back in high school and then ended up translating several pages of it for 3rd year french. The musical is tolerable with some beautiful songs though massively over played and overhyped. Can you hear the people Sing and the section around it is so over used (both for good and bad) that is has become a caricature.

          1. dang wrong slash so the italics didn’t close. That’s what I get for trying to be clever. I won’t even blame word press for my incompetence 🙂 .

            1. Tangent time. Your mentioning of “wrong slash” has reminded me of something I encounter a lot in doing tech support: people who get confused which one is called “slash” and which one is called “backslash”. (The slash is used in Web addresses, and the backslash is used in Windows filenames, but sometimes I hear people reading a Web address as “aitch tee tee pee ess colon backslash backslash …” when it should be “… colon slash slash …”). The mnemonic I usually use is this: write down one-half as a fraction, but use a slash in the fraction instead of a horizontal line. Like this: ½. See? Your fingers know what a slash is: the one that goes from upper right to lower left. The other direction, that goes from upper left to lower right, is therefore called a backslash because it’s the opposite of a slash.

          2. Can you hear the people Sing and the section around it is so over used … that i[t] has become a caricature.

            In fairness, those most inclined to employ the number are often themselves caricatures. I would wish they were exhibiting satanic irony in adopting the theme but it seems far more likely they’re idiots.

    3. Commies like to grab territory and start collecting revolutionary taxes.

      Issue is, they have relatively less information control than back in the day.

    4. Heinlein’s “Coventry” comes to mind, either that or a large scale version of Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado”. [Whistles innocently.]

      OTOH, let’s not have Janet Reno run the process. Let the noncombatants out first!

    5. And Antifa folks are actually saying that when people enter they are “leaving the USA” and declaring that they are part of “the revolution” This is not peaceably assembling to petition the government. This is not peaceful protest. It is outright rebellion and insurrection and must be treated as such.

      Seattle and Washington State governments of course will do nothing to put a stop to this and will likely support it.

      Their actions entitle the Federal Government under the 1807 Insurrection Act to use force to remove them.

      1. Seattle and Washington State governments of course will do nothing to put a stop to this and will likely support it.
        Which would make them complicit, and therefore part of the insurrection. That’s certainly what I would mention to them if I were the military leader who showed up to put this down.

      2. If the feds bring in a team to get noncombatants out (FBI Hostage Rescue Team? Yikes!), I can see some idiot in antifa opening fire. At which point the rules of engagement no longer are Seattle’s or Washington State’s. Oof.

        The news articles say it’s a densely populated neighborhood. I can see several outcomes, with various levels of awfulness.

        I keep thinking of the last bit of The Last Centurion

    6. Fine. Have the Department Of Homeland Security subject everybody entering and leaving to customs/immigration. Require passports. They want to be a foreign country, by Ghu treat ’em like a foreign country!

  8. But in fact, I only sent a short story out a year or so …

    Here is where the story of Heinlein’s start as a writer is pernicious — most people will not sell their first effort. Most people are not born with the gift of story-telling and may of those who are never learn the craft. Much less do people learn how towrite a story without guidance and effort.

    Niven’s experience as a beginning commercial writer is far more instructive and prepares aspiring authors for the true challenge the profession entails.

    1. I don’t know Niven’s, but I suspect it is like King’s. In “On Writing” he talks about just sticking rejection slips on a nail, going through many before he got his first comment, and his first comment was “don’t staple manuscripts”.

      If that obnoxious progtard can get through that to become the millionaire he is, I can do what it takes to just replace my day job as an indie author.

      1. Niven is a progtard? Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know. It’ll spoil Ringworld.

        This is why I -never- look up the web sites/Farcebooks of authors I like. Chances are I’ll find out something I don’t want to know. Unless they are obviously on my side of things, like Sarah. Go Sarah go! ~:D

      2. My memory may be flawed, but I believe I’ve read that Niven gave himself a year to learn to write marketable SF well enough to make a living. That year was spent cranking out a lot of material that was most notable for accumulating rejection slips.

        Even if I am wrong about Niven there’s many another author with comparable experience.

        Such as King, as you noted.

        1. Yeah, although King took longer. He was submitting when he was in HS.

          I would recommend the biography part of “On Writing” to people not into writing as a prime example of setting out and working to something. For all his recent progtard public face, I have a good deal of respect for the work ethic and the unwillingness to give up he displays.

          I honestly wish that old short story apprenticeship system was still around. Even with indie as the main path for novels, I think it would provide better material. However, that requires institutions willing to invest in upcoming people in the field which is pretty much dead, and not just in fiction publishing.

    2. Most likely For Us, The Living was written before Life-Line. Not salable at the time, of course (both for its radicalism for the time and that nobody was going to risk serializing an unknown).

  9. Because few of us (ah!) come back from their death beds.

    Looking back on my life I see that it was largely what I wanted it to be … or rather, that what happened was largely a result of choices I made, consciously or unconsciously, and emphases I put and efforts I made. It has been said of star athletes that “Everybody wants to win, but few want to put in the effort required to train to win.”

    Just so do many people desire to be a famous author or a rock and roll star — but few are willing to invest their energies in mastering craft. It is easier to say, “I coulda been big if I’d had the breaks [insert celebrity here] did, but life just didn’t treat me fair.” Piffle – if you’d had the breaks you’d have blown them because while you may have wanted the results of success you didn’t want to pay the price of achieving success.

    Sure, some folk “win life’s lottery” — but far more folk learn to run the race and finish ahead, it’s simply that it takes work many prefer to not do.

      1. But if the goal isn’t to get famous enough to have one’s drugged up arrest on the front page of the National Enquirer what is even the point?

          1. There’s a certain charm to doing things that people use every day, but have no idea that they are relying on something that you did (and that something might have even been done years ago….)

            And considering that all the engineering, software, construction, and, well, pretty much everything around us is like this, this is actually the rule rather than the exception….and people even get rich while working behind the scenes like this, with no one being the wiser about it….

    1. For someone trying to get into music, acting, or writing, I can see the “I coulda been big if I had the breaks” if the person has been working their tails off — because these fields are known to be high-supply fields with the occasional rock star.

      However, I strongly suspect that most people who claim “I coulda been big” aren’t the ones working their tails off! 😉

      As for myself, I wish I had the time and energy to prove theorems, write things, and compose music — even if my work never comes to much — but I usually don’t have that kind of energy after I’m done with the day working (or even just looking for work) to provide for my family. So, for me, I’ll just say “I coulda been big if I had sat down and actually wrote enough to get lots of rejection slips and been able to refine my craft and then sell lots of works once they started to become popular!”

        1. I haven’t yet requested a DNA test, but it’s not entirely possible that I may be a clone …

          (Barring the possibility of time travel, though, I’d have to be a clone of him, due to the age difference.)

  10. “This getting old stuff SUCKS. — SAH*”

    Yes it certainly does. But I consider the alternative, and I decide to put up with the suckage. ~:D

    I’m in the same place today: got up late, no energy to do anything, dragging around the place like a zombie. Oh well, just another day in Corona-ville. I have my scheduled pick-up at Wallymart in a little while, so that will finally jazz some life into me.

    One positive thing about the Corona-lockdown, it made me realize how much of my life revolved around “going out and getting stuff”. Grocery shopping, hardware store, all that involves about an hour of driving plus the browsing through the place. Now that I don’t do that anymore, I have a lot of extra writing time.

    1. $SPOUSE hates wearing a mask more than I do, so since I recovered from not-a-flu (*cough* Wuhan-virus *cough*), I’ve been doing the weekly shopping trips. Barring highway construction (20 minute delays, many hard to work around) it takes 90 minutes round trip. If the errands are simple and not too many, I can get home for lunch. Otherwise, I’ll get home around 2:30 and the rest of the day is shot. My body just doesn’t want to keep going without a break. Ah, the Medicare years…

      I started a garden shed, but so far it’s just footings. I need good enough weather to warrant getting the materials. OTOH, we got the garden in and necessary areas cleaned up. My hands (mostly tendinitis with a smidgeon of arthritis) complain mightily afterward. Most of the shed will be solo construction, but with as much power equipment as I can use to help.

      1. Suggest use of screwgun and nail gun to save the arthritic hand joints. I can still pound in a spike with one or two shots, but the hands really feel it the next day if I do too many. Also suggest use of young relative to nail on the low stuff, kneeling is a bad thing lately.

  11. This morning on my way into work I was thinking about how I probably ought to follow up on the psych eval for ADD because that “spend two hours doing what you really want to do” part doesn’t happen. Clearly, whatever I’m doing is what I REALLY want to do, right? No. It doesn’t work that way. If I were avoiding stuff I dislike, that would be understandable. Housework? Making excuses would make sense. But I don’t do things that I’ve been looking forward to doing because I get distracted and do something else which, if I thought of them both and made a choice, wouldn’t have been what I did.

    So there’s this, too.

  12. Thank you especially for “Do you want to waste it fretting? What will you regret leaving undone” from the Facebook post. I think I needed to be bopped over the head a little with that.

    …Spent enough time looking for it here to check the wording that I was starting to wonder if I had somehow hallucinated a summary.

  13. From the conversation here i take it a lot of you guys write? Either professionally like SAH or intend to?
    This is interesting. Don’t mean to barge, but how does one get into the published writing guild? I’m pretty good with secret handshakes and i am well known to keep secrets…

    1. Write every day (100 words to keep the pilot light lit, 1000+ when you have time to be serious), get friends and family to give you their thoughts on how it could suck less, ask our revered hostess for advice once you decide which of the aforementioned thoughts you want to heed, then put it up on Amazon for $2.99 if a novel, or $0.99 for a short story.

      I’m trying to get my first series finished so that I can put them out one every 3-4 weeks, so I’m only partway through those steps. It’s been a learning experience.

      -Albert

    2. I’m one of the writers around here (no worries, I wash my hands afterwards, really). You might wander over to MadGeniusClub.com. Sarah and others have a huge number of articles about writing, covers, publishing, and things writerly. That’s one of three places where I started getting advice.

      Disclaimer: I have posts over at MGC as well.

    3. I’m pretty good with secret handshakes and i am well known to keep secrets…

      I think you’ve just proven the opposite.

      I, on the other hand, have never been known to have a secret to keep.

      1. Keeping a secret doesn’t mean that nobody knows you have one– just that they never know what it is.

        Being known for having a secret can be one of the best ways to keep a secret, so long as what people “know” the secret is, defends the actual secret.

        Like hiding a drug dealer inside of a pr0n shop; nobody finds it odd that you’ve got a complicated supply chain, people coming at odd hours, a high cash-only flow of business and people work hard to make sure they’re not seen.

  14. I’m still not convinced that Rowling was a good author. The Dursleys were a small-minded caricature, Harry was handling his shit way too well for someone from a childhood of gaslighting, semi-starvation, and other abuse, Hermione was only ‘intelligent’ in the sense that she was Rowling’s self-insert and therefore declared right whenever possible, I called the eventual romance with Ginny in the chapter she was introduced . . .

    And leaving aside that a children’s book of whimsical fantasy isn’t the place for rigorous examination of fantastic economies or politics, in Book 1 it was a major plot point that everyone used brooms to get around, but by Book 5 there were four known methods of teleportation.

    -Albert

    1. I kind of agree on the whole Rowling thing. Aside from the first book, which i thought was pretty good, the series kept getting darker as the books rolled on, but she touched on a lot of topics that simply were like a group of folks at a bus stop when you are on the bus… You see them, maybe recognize some as you whiz by and then they are gone and it’s off to the next plot point! The topics such as racism, Government incompetence and indifference, and most of all, the Dementors made cameo appearances but were never fleshed out in my never to be humble Opinion. It does seem she had the right story at the right moment, and had this compelling back story that made her the Apple Annie of the literary world. I envy her every single dollar she has made. (J/K)

  15. (Places shameless capitalist hat on head) $2.99. Eh? How much of that do you get to keep? and mores the point, How do you market a self- publish so that the only sales aren’t your wife, girlfriend, and Bro’s? (I’m sure Mom is good for at least ten copies)

    1. At Amazon, if your ebook price is between $2.99 and $9.99, you keep 70% of that. If your price is $2.98 or below, or $10.00 or above, then you keep 35% of it.

      If that has changed, I’m sure one of the many people here who sells on Amazon will correct me, but that’s how it used to be and I’m pretty sure that’s still how it is.

      1. Yes.

        Do publish something, and Sarah probably has some of the official writer’s certificates floating around still… I have mine!

        Even at a lifetime income (to date) of $3.86. Remember that nobody – even these wonderful people here and at MGC – can tell you how to become a rich and famous author. Not even a rich and famous author can, even if they claim the ability. What they can tell you, and this post is an example, is how to not become a rich and famous author. You become a not rich and famous author by not writing – or by not publishing – or by not marketing. (I am proving to be very, very good at all three of these. Sigh… Working on it; that damn stupid dog has been hanging around way too much this year.)

          1. Unless you need a guinea pig for testing the “live” program. Or have a remote rear end stimulator sitting next to the carpapult.

            It’s more the “vapor locked brain” that someone else described – plus some of the black dog. Neither of which should be preventing the sitting down and getting to it. The family is all healthy (for our specific ages). Financially, we are in a better position than this time last year, despite three major appliances and a much less used car. Nearly all of the characters, places, plots, scenes, etc. that aren’t yet written are running around in the head screaming to get out.

            Gah. But I MUCH appreciate the offer. Especially in the middle of reflooring. (Why is it always floors with you guys?)

            I WILL break this. Stubborn is my middle name, one passed down through multiple generations on both sides. WHEN I do, I’m going to be hitting up people for covers, so keep that in mind if you are of a mind to.

              1. Didn’t know you had gone to complete replacement. Yechh. (Done it once, not for cats though. More to do, yet, there is still carpet in this place that needs to go.)

                1. To be fair to the cats, in this house, when we bought 4 years ago, we knew the carpet had maybe a year of life in it.
                  BUT last house, the great refinishing? Cats.
                  Oh, also cat sitter who didn’t do the boxes for 5 days because he “forgot” (that cats pooped?) and started that cycle.

        1. It is worth considering that Franz Kafka never published a thing during his life, yet his works have sold pretty well since.

    2. I’m still working on the marketing, but one option at least is the book promos that Sarah runs here on Sundays. Email her the Amazon link, and she’ll tell us all about it at least.

    1. Sleep is like free time. It’s what the Great Editor gives you after you die . . . if you’ve been good. (Paraphrasing one of the best lines from Tamora Pierce, _Song of the Lioness_ book 1. )

    1. If they thought it meaningless they’d not insult it.

      Their regard for that bit of fabric reveals these miscreants as spoiled children, of the type defined in the Seder service:

      A second child is called the Wicked Son (Hebrew – rasha). This son is so described because he frames his question in a negative manner: “What is the meaning of this to you?” He seems to doubt that the Seder ceremony relates to him in a personal way but only relates to others.

      In essence, the Wicked Son separates himself from the reality of the redemption story and excludes himself from the group. This is like the person that we may meet who says they are “happy for you” concerning your faith but doesn’t see it relating to themselves.

      The Haggadah has a direct answer for such a person: “It is what God did for me when I came out of Egypt.” At the first Passover, each person was required to personally taste of the Passover Lamb. If not, then the Angel of Death would bring judgment. As with the Wicked Son of the Haggadah, there are still people who exclude themselves from God’s way of redemption which comes through the work of Yeshua as the Passover Lamb.

      https://www.jewishvoice.org/read/article/four-sons-seder

      1. I didn’t say it was meaningless to *them*.

        In fact it means two things to them: it is the symbol of all that is evil. And it is a symbol that their enemies value.

        This would be the root of an argument that one should not have symbols, as to have a symbol is to give your enemy a gold plated handle with which to manipulate you. But it seems that this doesn’t work in the real world.

        1. I’ve never been a big fan of Korzybski – but “the map is not the territory” is one concept that has stuck with me (since being introduced to it by van Vogt).

          The flag is a symbol of my beliefs, not the beliefs themselves. Desecrate the symbol, you have not affected my beliefs in the least. All that you have done is identified yourself as an enemy.

          1. The flag is a symbol of my beliefs, not the beliefs themselves.

            Correct.

            Sadly I’ve seen enough people who can’t seem figure this out that it seems a more pressing problem. Worse are the people who will happily destroy what is symbolized in favor of the symbol itself.

  16. Noteworthy …lots of embedded links at the post:

    The Media Urge to Explain away ‘Defund the Police’
    [SNIP]
    In part, of course, all this explaining is a reflection of what a radical and politically explosive idea “defund the police” is in an election year, and how it divides the Democrats along ideological and generational lines. Leading Democratic politicians are running headlong away from the slogan while trying to embrace the people chanting it. Joe Biden, who for years proudly touted his role in the 1994 “put 100,000 more cops on the street” crime bill, visibly wants no part of the slogan. But unlike the party’s leadership, many of whom were born in the early 1940s, influential younger lawmakers such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are pushing the idea. These are the folks who may run the party when the age-77-and-up crowd moves on.

    Defunding police is also wildly impractical. The Minneapolis City Council grabbed headlines by voting to defund and disband the city’s police department, but they don’t actually have the legal authority to do that; defunding would require a revision to the city charter, which the voters would have to approve. Until then, the cops report to the city’s mayor, not the city council. Camden, New Jersey actually went forward with disbanding its police department — in theory. In practice, what Camden did is just old-fashioned union-busting: disband the department to get rid of the union, then hire the same cops back at lower salaries and benefits.
    44

    What makes the media’s Voxsplaining of “Defund the Police” all so astonishingly brazen is when you compare it with how they routinely treat popular slogans, protests, and broad-brush assertions by politicians on the right. When Tea Party protesters and Republican politicians called for repealing Obamacare, for example, they were roundly mocked in these same quarters for not having a single, comprehensive, CBO-scored plan on which the entire party agreed, notwithstanding the presence of plenty of think-tank proposals and general agreement on a lot of individual pieces. A whole cottage industry exists to lampoon protestors on the right for not fully grasping the nuances of their own slogans. When Tom Cotton wrote an op-ed that the New York Times titled, “Send in the Troops,” it was widely treated as a call to sic troops on peaceful protestors even though Cotton explicitly said otherwise in the op-ed. Conservative politicians and pundits are assumed to be responsible for the literal content of “abolish the IRS,” or “close the border,” or “build the wall.” Liberal media commentators spent years mocking Salena Zito’s description of Trump supporters who “take him seriously, but not literally” — which is precisely what these same voices are now trying to do with “defund the police.”

    As always with these sorts of double standards: They think we can’t see what they are doing.

    1. I have seen one of the “explain away” people online. Amazing how insulting you can get when confronted with undeniable evidence that the thing you deny is real.

      1. Listening to the radio yesterday. Guy has a regular law enforcement expert he has come in, she’s talkign about how nobody really means that, he points out where they’re quite literally demanding exactly that…..

  17. This getting old stuff SUCKS. — SAH*

    On that note, anyone have any tips for typing while lying on your side? My SI joint has been out of whack since my 20s, and decided to flare on me about a week ago. So now I’m under strict instructions to rest in one of the most awkward poses for writing i can think of.

      1. Assuming I can still read my own writing, and that I can keep the pen away from the toddler. 😅 It’s been the transcription part holding me back on that, mostly.

    1. Any possibility of using a dictation program? Joystick? Trackball?

      Computers are MEANT for making things possible.

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