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Posts Tagged ‘novel’

A Study in the Effect of Lou Reed on the Removal of Limbs From Trees

April 23, 2008 1 comment

This afternoon, I ventured out into our yard and, armed with nothing but a rusted hand saw, attempted to cut down a tree. I would call this a medium sized tree, nowhere near as large as will probably come to mind when one reads “I tried to cut down a tree with a small hand saw”, but still a bit too large to properly saw down by hand.

So I decided I was better off removing the branches I could reach. They were still quite thick and gave me a fair amount of trouble. I was frustrated, to say the least, at the prospect of being bested by a tree. In retreating to the house, I had a glass of water, and decided I needed musical accompaniment.

Once I returned outside, the sun warming my back, Lou Reed crooning Coney Island Baby in my ear, I resumed my efforts against my wooden enemy.

Suddenly, it seemed so much easier. The saw seemed to slide with very little difficulty and I was able to remove every limb within my reach after what seemed to be a much shorter bit of time. Which leads me to the following astonishing conclusion:

Lou Reed’s dulcet tones weaken a tree’s defenses against a rusty hand saw.

Go forth and tell the masses.

My hands are blistered, my arms are sore and I feel manly, in a very silly man-against-nature sort of way.

Although there is still much work to be done out there and reportedly a few thunder storms on the way.

Speaking of Lou Reed, here is an mp3 of him reading Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven.

Enjoy.

I’ve recently discovered, over at the Barnes & Noble website, an audio interview series entitled “Meet The Writers”.

Here are some of the more interesting interviews:

Terry Pratchett

Neil Gaiman

Christopher Moore

Terry Brooks

Eoin Colfer

R. A. Salvatore

There’s quite a few other very interesting ones from many different genres (those I’ve linked above are authors in the SF game). Click around and give a listen.

The second prologue bit is slowly, yet steadily, moving forward. The word document is open in a background window as I type this. Contemplating how much to show and to whom I wish to show it.

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Perpetually Sunday and A List of Excuses

April 23, 2008 Leave a comment

I went to sleep Sunday night and awoke Monday morning to find it was still Sunday. At least, it felt that way to me.

When I awoke Tuesday morning, it still felt like Sunday, until I’d realized I’d had to work. It’s now 4:23am on Wednesday morning and as I kissed the wife and wished her a safe trip to work, I thought ahead to an afternoon full of yard work and dishes and the sort of thing one associates with Sunday afternoons.

I’m beginning to think I’ve fallen into some sort of mental time loop, in which I will forever feel as though it’s Sunday, even though it’s Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday.

I’m not sure it’s such a curse at all, actually.

With Monday being our anniversary, and Tuesday turning out to be the sort of day in which one spends the better part of an afternoon organizing the cooler of a convenience store, I’ve gotten very little writing done over the past two days. Thus, I find myself befallen to one of the single worst trappings a writer can find him or herself in; excuses.

I’m too tired.

I’ve no time.

I don’t feel well.

These are all common things to be said by a writer who has begun a novel. Granted, the only thing I thought of on Monday was the wife, and Tuesday found me to be both exhausted and sore, but I still should have made some time to write.

And I am ashamed.

Even though today’s schedule will be one full of cleaning house, yard work and important phonecalls, I will make time to write. A thousand words a day has proven to be a bit more difficult, given my schedule, than I had originally anticipated, but I will make every attempt I can.

No more excuses.

Prologues and Dismissed Cases

April 19, 2008 1 comment

First thing, I suppose, is first. I know there will be a quite a few people reading this blog who may not know who Gordon Lee is. They may not even know what The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is.

For those currently reading:

Here is a Wikipedia entry on the CBLDF.

And here is a Wikipedia entry on Gordon Lee.

Give them a browse and get caught up.

For those unwilling to click the above links, Gordon Lee is the owner of a comic book store in Rome, Georgia, who has been previously charged and convicted with selling pornographic materials. In his own store. To adults. Who had asked him for the materials.

This current case, however, involves the alleged incident in which a comic book containing a scene in which Picasso is painting, though in the nude, was given to a nine year old child on Halloween.

If such a thing had happened to my nine year old, I would have been upset as well. But I would have approached the store owner and let me feelings known to him/her. In this instance, however, the law became involved, and Lee was charged with two felonies and five misdemeanors.

This was in 2004. In the four years since, Mr. Lee has experienced the legal equivalent of a roller coaster, involving mistrials, postponements and several other delays.

Well, it’s been announced that Gordon Lee’s case has been dismissed. The link leads to a very interesting, albeit short, Newsarama interview with the Executive Director of the CBLDF, Charles Brownstein.

Granted, the dismissal of the case is not the same as an obvious win, but- Well, Brownstein says it best below:

NRAMA: From the view of the CBLDF, how does a complete dismissal compare to a courtroom victory?

CB: A clean win is a clean win. And this is a very clean win.

It should have never gone this far to begin with.

Four years and over $100,000 of donated money later and the “attempted miscarriage of justice” (as Neil Gaiman called it) that was the Gordon Lee case is finally over. Gordon Lee can return to his daily life unafraid of the authorities watching over him.

It’s just a sad state of affairs. In what is supposed to be a free country, this sort of thing still happens. And the Gordon Lee debacle is but one of many cases that the CBLDF is on a mission to help. Here’s just a few of them in recent years.

If you have the time and the money and want to donate to a worthy cause, please give pause and consider the CBLDF.

Here is a YouTube video of Neil Gaiman making the announcement at last night’s New York Comic Con:

I’ve finished what will be the first of two prologues for the novel this morning. Really, it’s one prologue, in two parts, seperated by a quote page. I would hope to finish a chapter a day from this point on, but I can easily tell the chapters will get longer and longer as I press on. So I can only hope to finish most of a chapter a day from this point on.

I’m really enjoying myself so far.

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Happy Doctor Who Day

April 18, 2008 Leave a comment

A quick one, sorry.

Tonight will be Doctor Who and we will rejoice. The level of Doctor Who love in this household lately is amazing, as is the level of anticipation for this new season. It seems far longer than it has been since the last season.

On a brief adventure to Casey’s last night for carbonated syrup-laced beverages, I noticed a list of outside chores Boss Lady had left for me for today. I get the joy of showing up in jeans and a t-shirt and working out in the sun all day.

Few things can compare to working outside. Such a simple pleasure. Fresh air, sunshine, the smell of freshly mowed lawns. I’m actually looking forward to it.

Early this morning, after the wife had left for work, I re-read the five thousand or so words I had completed of what will be my first novel. I was suddenly struck with a far better way to start it, however.

So I did. I opened a fresh word document and began to type, using the previously written words, in a seperate window, as a base on which to build. I was able to write a solid opening before retiring to bed. I then wrote a few more solid paragraphs when I woke up until just now, when I realized I should really get dressed and go to work.

I’m excited. I think I know how to continue now.

Onward I go. Wish me luck.

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P.P.S. I want a pony.

April 14, 2008 1 comment

When I returned home from work today, I found a note on the front door.

It read:

Dear Whoever Reads This,


I went to child friend’s name omitted‘s house to see if he could play.


Love,


Ben


P.S. I’m taking money out to buy mints.


P.P.S. I want a pony.

I fear the poor boy is inheriting my sense of humor.

After reaching a minor block in the story I plucked from my “Unfinished Fiction” folder a few days ago, I took it to the wife. I explained what the story was, where I was going, where I was blocked and what the basic idea behind it was. She added her own flair to it, by way of a few ideas she presented to me, and now I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be doing. So, I’ll be making notes of the wife’s ideas and putting it away for a short while to germinate.

We’ll see.

Today, however, while going through a website containing many of my older short stories (many of which I cringed at while reading), I discovered a few other things I’d like to dust off and make whole. One such thing, a novella entitled Tales From The End Of The World, has already had a chapter and a half added to it as of this morning. More on the way, very soon.

I put my writing on hold when I moved here to Minnesota. The list of priorities that come before writing include: paying bills, providing food and clothing for a child, being a good husband, etc.

The wife continues to push me in the direction of writing, saying I need to get my first novel published so we can live off the riches that would follow (I haven’t the heart to tell her novelists are vastly underpaid), but I found it very difficult to focus with things like our livelihood looming overhead. We’re beginning the slow and steady crawl out of debt and, while bills are still thrown at us at a rate much faster than we can catch them, the stress has been somewhat relieved. So, now I’m writing again and it feels great.

Maybe I’ll finish my novel.