workload

It’s an irony that the only thing I want to do is getting somewhat squashed by the thing I have to do.

I set my writing targets intentionally low, because I know, until I’m actually supporting myself full-time with the whole storytelling thing, I have a job to do. Family to support, all that stuff.

If you see me not hitting my target each day, know that there’s actually a bigger target, an overall target, that I’m exceeding.

For example, this year, if you were to count up the number of words I set as target each day, it’s not quite eleven thousand words. That sounds like a lot, but come on? Over a month and a half?

It’s nothing.

In reality, I’ve actually written closer to thirty-five thousand words, which while still kind of low, is more respectable over that period. Some established authors only do five hundred words a day; I’m averaging somewhere between seven and eight hundred.

Of course, some of those five hundred a day-ers are agonizing over each sentence, spending an hour on a paragraph, an afternoon on a page, and they’re coming out brilliant.

Me? I’ll fix it in post. A first draft is nothing more than an overwrought outline, as far as I’m concerned; an extended method of finding out how the characters want the story to go, and where your plot holes make themselves known (although some sneakier plot holes will slither their way into your second, third or even sixth drafts, crafty buggers).

Some plot holes you’ll never see.

I certainly didn’t.

Target: 400 words
Written: 215 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Sex Rx, Lauren Streicher
Comics: Hunter Killer 4-7
Music: The Joshua Tree, U2 (yeah, Bono might be a self-important shit, but this is still one hell of a fucking album - next to Kick and Out Of Time, one of my earliest exposures to truly great alternatives to the garbage on the radio).

spent

It’s 7:34AM and I feel like I’m already spent.

Granted, my day starts typically at 4:50AM, so I’ve been up almost three hours.

I’ve written a bit, did some yoga and some meditation, thought about the state of world, wondered why the hell so many of these insane right wingers continue to get away with shit that is clearly illegal and no one appears to be even considering charges, wondered if I’m capable of writing humanity changing works, but it won’t matter because climate change and divisive, authoritarian politics will kill us all before it can make an impact, wondered if aliens would find these pages years later and not be able to understand a damn word, showered, maybe thought about sex a little (because I do so roughly every three minutes) and then peed, ate breakfast, made coffee, fed the dogs, let the dogs, gave the dogs their joint medication, fed the cats, unloaded/loaded the dishwasher, played Wordle and Worldle, a game of Go on a 9×9 board with a 8 stone handicap (because I need it, apparently), then sat down and went over my to-do list, what’s left of it.

And I’ve a whole workday ahead of me.

Shit.

Target: 300 words
Written: 227 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Sex Rx, Lauren Streicher
Comics: Sex Criminals 17-20
Music: Jimmy Buffett Essentials, Jimmy Buffett (fuck you, Jimmy rocks)

post scene one

I was really hoping, thirty-seven days into this new year, that the first draft of the first novel (well, novella) I wrote in the canon of me would be a real banger.

Instead, it’s a steaming pile of dog feces.

I suppose we must walk before we run, crawl before we walk, and lay around screaming incoherently before that.

Weirdly, we end that way as well, most of us. We come in screaming, and go out spent, withered husks.

Hump day positivity, folks.

Target: 300 words
Written: 193 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Face It, Debbie Harry
Comics: Sex Criminals 13-16
Music: Jesus Of Suburbia, Green Day (like 3 separate singles)

draftin’

It’s one of the funnest parts of being a writer – the first draft.

Just freeform flow, letting your mind go wild as you pour out whatever it is you’re trying to get across onto the page.

It’s the act of creation, in one of its purest forms.

It also produces utter shit. Sure, there will be a few gems in there, but ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the first draft is little more than a really, really detailed outline, which then is ripped apart and reconfigured to get rid of all its inconsistencies and mistakes.

It’s a flabby slob getting liposuction and a makeover.

It’s the raw body before the nose job and the tummy tuck. The trick is adjusting only just enough to enhance one’s appearance and not turn it into one of those plastic surgery freakshows that show up on the television far past their prime, more Elephant Man than aging beauty.

Natural beauty has its place, and natural solutions to look better are always better than going under the knife or injecting chemicals into your face.

That’s how you lose the capacity for emotion, after all.

I think I’ve lost the plot, and this metaphor, first draft that it is, has gone into the toxic waste pile, with the rest of the fat.

Target: 300 words
Written: 524 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Face It, Debbie Harry
Comics: Sex Criminals 9-12
Music: The Jerky Boys, L7 (what can I say?  I've been busy.)

in training

Back into it. I guess I must be doing okay at work, since they’re offering me extra work most people don’t get (or want, perhaps).

It’s not the greatest job, but as I learn more about who does what in the government and our division, I’m beginning to see that there may be other options.

I mean, as long as this writing thing isn’t paying the bills, which it’s not.

I’ve made exactly zero dollars thus far.

Of course, I don’t expect to make anything off poetry and short stories. Maybe comics. Maybe the hip little ditties if I compile them into a larger volume.

A book of short stories or poetry might work, but I’m a long way from that, and let’s face it – it’s not going to land me on the moon.

That’s the novel prerogative, and even then, it’s dicey. You gotta be good to be great and great to make any cash, which is bullshit.

We massively undervalue art in this world, always have. The absolute cream can make a living; the rest of us are scraping by.

And I don’t believe in the starving artist. I do believe that too much wealth corrupts.

But making a living?

That shouldn’t be something we have to fight for.

Target: 300 words
Written: 176 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Face It, Debbie Harry
Comics: Sex Criminals 5-8
Music: Jeremy - EP, Pearl Jam (have we deciphered the actual words to Yellow Ledbetter yet?)

fun fun fun

Until the daddy puts the T-Bird away, I think. Or, in this case, the granddaughter.

Man, that kid is something else. Total ham, smart as a whip. Freakin’ adorable.

Starting to go through that “big feelings” stage, where she’s trying to learn how to deal with things beyond the absolute basics.

Really didn’t like the idea of being a “pre-schooler” soon. I hope one day I’ll be successful enough as an author, so she can say, “My Bop-Bop wrote THIS” and then be ashamed by all its darkness.

Wait. Was this a good plan?

Target: 300 words
Written: 689 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Face It, Debbie Harry
Comics: The Necromancer 5-6, The Necromancer: Pilot Season 1
Music: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, Jefferson Airplane

sideways

Sometimes, days just get away from you. Technical difficulties, focus problems, the urge to take a nap in the middle of the day for no apparent reason.

Such is life, but it is frustrating. The sooner I’m a full-time, self-sustaining writer and don’t have to work the extra eight hours a day, the better.

This work thing is really cutting into my shit.

Target: 300 words
Written: 1237 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way, Robert Maurer
Comics: Fight Club 3 2-5
Music: The Jam At The BBC, The Jam (duh)

old schooling it

Listen, I get it. This is a 2006 blog in a 2024 world.

People don’t want to hear about your whining, or your ideas on hope and achievement.

I’ve some interest in that stuff, but once you’ve read the basics of things intended to inspire you, and you’ve moved beyond it, because you realize it actually sets unrealistic, non-real world expectations (requiring riches and bitches, as I like to say), that for most of us, it makes you feel bad.

Unworthy.

So, it becomes about finding the softer voice, the one that speaks to you without imposing its own views of success. Success isn’t a requirement of happiness. Neither is money or love or great sex with girthy members or gravity-defying breasts, or whatever you’re into.

(Both? Simultaneously? On the same person?)

These are nice to haves.

Right now, I’m writing about the crushing weight of the world, or the way trauma knocks us off our axis and fucks up our magnetic fields, so we’re forever pushed away from the thing we want most.

And it sucks. That sucks.

(Not the writing part – the crushing weight/trauma part).

It sucks that people, like us, like me, like many of you, have to go through this. And sometimes, it doesn’t get better.

I’m not sure what hope I could offer. There will be some good times, but it might not go away. It doesn’t, for a lot of people. Some eighty-year olds still bitch about how their parents messed them up.

A lifetime has passed to get over it. Why are these things still dictating behaviour?

But they do. They still do.

They fuck you up, your mom and dad.

Not my mom and dad – I fucked myself up. I’ll take credit for that.

Target: 300 words
Written: 1143 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Yours, Cruelly, Elvira (way better than you'd expect, given, but then, I've always been fond of Elvira - even as a child, she gave me tingles in parts that maybe shouldn't tingle at that age, but then, I was always girl crazy - see above note about gravity and defiance - her humour was equally sexy though - like a dad joke with boobs.  Anyway, it turns out, she's pretty cool, and she's lived a hell of a life.)
Comics: Fight Club 2 8-10, Fight Club 3 1
Music: You've Come A Long Way, Baby, Fatboy Slim, A Jackknife To A Swan, Mighty Mighty Bosstones

meta-for

Maybe it’s because I’m reading Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club 2 or because I’m turning a twin sister into half a yin-yang symbol, but I’m thinking about metaphors.

They are useful, for certain, but sometimes, isn’t it better to go the direct route? Like, all the metaphors in a book may make for a good study group or dissertation for your literature class, but is it flagrant enough for the masses?

Does it steal all the momentum, all the discovery, to just say it outright?

I think, to be done in the best manner possible, it has to be metaphor to a point, and when it’s done, when its usefulness has run out, it’s time to rip away the mask, and say, here, see, this is the frightening thing that lies beneath.

The unknown creates tension. The known can either relieve it, or make it a thousand times worse (a la Seven, finding the head in the box).

Sometimes, it’s better not to know.

Target: 300 words
Written: 847 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Yours, Cruelly, Elvira
Comics: Fight Club 2 4-7
Music: Your New Favourite Band, The Hives (most appropriately named album title ever, possibly)

a real boy

I’m kind of excited. I mean, I’m writing about ruining a kid’s life, but also!

Published! In a real book of poetry. It’s a physical copy. You can touch and feel it. It can’t be deleted in a moment when the website goes out of business.

That’s pretty cool.

But anyway, back to destroying a young boy’s entire family, so he can be eaten and/or consumed by a monster.

You know, same old, same old.

Target: 300 words
Written: 1439 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Yours, Cruelly, Elvira
Comics: Fight Club 2 0-3
Music: Your Genius Hands, Everclear