Current Works in Progress

Monday, May 7, 2012

An update

I thought it might be high time to update the old blog with recent events, but before I do that...

Hello to all my new subscribers!

It seems a bit odd to me that the number of people who subscribe to my blog should quadruple in the three weeks I don't post anything, but it is what it is. I hope you enjoy what you find here and that you make your presence felt in the comments.

Now, on to the news which consists mostly of;

  • I finally finished the short story I've been working on. Again.
  • I'm modifying my vision for the blog slightly. Again.
  • We (the Baby, the Wife, and I) are off to Canada in 10 days for a visit. For the first time. 

The Short Story

First, the short story. I wrote a short story almost a month ago. I was very pleased with it, especially with the second half of it which I wrote in an hours-long cathartic burst of creative YARGH! Two or three days later I copied the document from my tablet to my desktop so I could start editing. I write on both machines, so when it popped up saying there was already a file by that name I thought nothing of it. "Copy over that one," I said.

So I lost the last half of my short story. The part where the language flowed like burgundy and dripped like liquid gold. The part where the characters came right off the page and burrowed into your brain and built a nest there. The part where the awesome happened. I'd forgotten that I'd written the last part of the story on the desktop, not on the tablet. I actually wept.

This is in large part why I haven't been very active with the blog for a few weeks. I haven't actually been writing anything - nothing creative anyway. I've been active on twitter (active for me, anyway). I've been very active on Google+ (you should sign up, if you haven't). I've even been active on Facebook. What I haven't been doing, however, is writing. I couldn't.

The loss of those few pages of writing crippled me a little. I was intimidated by myself, I guess. The section of writing I lost was good. Really good. The thought of trying to recreate it made me feel nauseous. So I didn't try.

Finally, yesterday, I looked myself right in the brain and said, "So are you a f**king writer, or aren't you?" It turns out the answer is yes. I didn't recreate the section I'd lost, but I did write it again. It isn't as good now as I remember the first version being, but at least now it exists in some form. More importantly, I feel as though I've passed a hurdle. The burden I felt slide from me as I hit save is indescribable (and I'm reasonably proficient at describing stuff).

So I'm back to writing again. Onward and Upward.

The Blog

This one is pretty simple, really. I realized that while I'm interested in technology, I'm not interested enough to write about it regularly. So I won't.

Likewise, I don't listen to enough new music to write about music regularly. So I won't.

I watch the same two or three TV shows and usually not until several days after they air. If I were to write about TV it would be quite repetitive and not at all timely. So I won't.

I will continue to write about China. I enjoy that, and I've gotten the impression that my readers do as well.

I will also write about writing, at least writing from my point of view. As I travel along this road of becoming a professional storyteller, I'll share the bumps and snags and pitfalls I encounter and the ways I find to cope with them. For example, yesterday I learned that swearing at your own brain helps you stop refreshing social networking sites and makes you finish a story.

I will also post some things about music and technology from time to time, but only when I feel like it. I am also getting back into photography again these days, so I may share some of what I'm learning in that arena as well. It tends to tie in with my China posts because, after all, I'm mostly taking pictures of things in China.

As I continue to change and evolve, so too will my blog. This plan is only in effect until the next plan takes over. :)

The Trip

So. We leave in 10 days. It's a 24 hour journey - 16 hours on a plane, 3 hours in an airport, another couple of hours on a smaller plane and voila! We're there. Doing this with an 18 month wiggleworm is going to be... interesting. I have plans for that (they involve Teletubbies and Shaun the Sheep on my tablet, mostly) so we'll see how that works.

This trip is the other reason I haven't been present around here much of late. We will be gone for two and a half weeks, and we don't have enough time between when we get back and the end of the term to make up all the classes we'll have missed while we're gone, so we've been working overtime to make up the classes before we go.

I've only been back to Canada once in the past 8 years, and this will be the first time my wife or son have been there at all, so to say we're excited doesn't really cover it. Current plans include a weekend in the Canadian Rockies, a number of BBQs, a fishing trip to northern Saskatchewan, a weekend in Calgary with a couple of the best people in the world (and probably a trip to the zoo), and a bunch of relaxing with my family. Heck, I checked out of here mentally two weeks ago.

Umm, yeah.

So, that's what's been up with me. What about you?

For my new subscribers in particular, but also for anyone who happens to be reading this, tell us a bit about yourself in the comments. Who are you and what do you like to do? Do you have a blog? A website? A google+ profile? Can we add you on twitter? Do you raise purebred dalmatians for fire houses? Inquiring minds want to know, and blogger only tells me how many of you there are, not who you are. Unless you say something down below I have no way of getting to know you.




  1. Hi Mike! I was beginning to wonder if you were as (in)active as I am!

    Firstly, I know how you feel about losing your work, it's happened to me once - 12K words with my heart and soul in it vanished into virtual oblivion. I didn't sleep that night, instead sat up staring onto a blank page trying to will myself to do something. Anything. But, it came to me in a dream a few nights later and I jumped up and wrote it. Not typed it!
    It's not the same and it doesn't surprise me but I'll edit until it touches me like the first version had.
    Good luck with that!

    Well, the name's Afsaneh.

    And let's see, I've been working on my own novel(and five others)and had a creative breakthrough! I'm writing and rewriting but my vision's a little clearer. I know what to do to streamline my chapters now which I've always found difficult.
    It's on my blog - 90% done, or thereabouts, not that I gauge progress by word count.

    I don't have twitter, do you suggest it? I have facebook though, which is cool.

    And, for the sake of getting to know each other, I'll say that I don't have any dalmations, or any other pets. Although there's a cat in my garden whose existence depends on my feeding her. . . compassionate thing that I am!

    1. Well hello there!

      I tend towards the multiple projects method of not getting anything done as well. At the moment I've got two stand alone novels, a sextology (double trilogy, whatever), a themed collection of 60 short stories and a few stand alone shorts in various stages of planning. I've decided to divide and conquer and I'll be working on one novel and one set of shorts until they are both finished at which point I'll move on to something else. It's about time I actually finished some of these things.

      I'm only just starting to use twitter more, so I can't say one way or the other how useful it is. It seems to be good at what it does, but I find that what it does is thus far somewhat limited. Facebook doesn't seem useful at all to me so far - mostly romance writers marketing themselves ceaselessly to other writers from what I've seen. Google plus has afforded me the chance to actually connect in a meaningful way with a large number of both readers and writers - easily my favorite social networking site.

  2. Your tale of woe reminds me of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He told his servant not to disturb him in his study while he was working on a poem called Kubla Khan. He fell asleep after smoking a bowl of opium and woke in a writing frenzy, penning the first half of what is arguably one of the greatest poems in the English language. But before he could finish, his servant disobeyed him and knocked on the study door, waking Coleridge and breaking the spell. It took weeks for Coleridge to finish the poem, and the second half is clearly inferior to the first. So at least you're in great company.

    I once lost an entire novel and I was pretty upset until my son found it in an old computer in our garage, so I know how you feel. These days I print out hard copies of everything I write. I've posted a hundred and sixty stories here at Chubby Chatterbox, but they're all stored away on a CD and printed in a stack on the corner of my desk, waiting to be transformed into an e-book: The Best of Chubby Chatterbox.

    I hope you and your family have a great trip home to your native Canada.

    1. Stephen, you really need to get something up on Amazon or B&N. I looked to see if you'd published the Kaleidoscope book - nothing! Did a search for "chatterbox" - nothing!

      You know how much I love reading your blog posts, but I want to overdose on anecdotes and you're parsimonious with them on the blog.

      Get editing, my friend.


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