Saturday, January 07, 2017

Making Time

Yesterday was hellacious.

There was a half day of work that was stacked and packed because two coworkers were out. My wife had oral surgery. We had dinner at a Vietnamese place with family.

All in all, I did not make the time to push words or make a picture.

I still want to participate in the challenge. I still want to bring what I can to the world. I know that I have worthy things to offer. The tough part is the dedication to the time it takes to reinforce the habit.

I’m not going to rake myself over the coals here. There are going to be times where I am not going to be physically, mentally, or emotionally available for the words. I may not have time to bring elements together for a picture. I may have just enough time to do what is needed to do before I collapse into slumber.

I did take some time to decompress though. I ran through some bits on HearthStone. I got my January card back with a timid little hunter. It took me a few hours to figure out that I was not going to succeed with the typical warrior who’s primary function seems to be in the talent of building up armor and smashing things. It wasn’t going to be with the mage either.

My card pool is a bit small to compete with many folks. I took a couple of years off from the game and I’ve got to grind pretty hard to get what I do as I’m not really willing to spend money on the game. There are other things that I’d rather invest in.

My son has been into the game for quite some time and is a minor celebrity along with his partners. Together, they host the 1600 Dust podcast.

They just released their 100th episode in regards to the game.

They push to make consistent art every month.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Here I Am, Doing

There are days that there seems to be a significant lack of coffee. Or sleep. Or rest. Or Gods-knows-what-else. Still, here we are. I’m feeling nostalgic for a time when I could leave the gravity of my current life on the back burner. But that gets us nowhere rather than now here.

I’ve worked hard to build my life. There are things that I’m not satisfied with, to be sure, but these are projects that are constantly in progress. What I’m talking about it is the creation of words, putting them on the page, the management of my Diabetes, and the seemingly ever-present need to be upwardly mobile.

These are, of course, first-world problems. I do not have to remind myself that so many others would be blissfully happy with everything I’ve built over the years. I do not need to remind myself that I’m astoundingly blessed with good friends (although I wish they weren’t scattered all over the globe) and a loving family (ditto).

Mistakes have been made along the way, but I believe that’s natural. There is no guide when we begin. We have to learn what do to on the way. We have to keep those lessons, but not dwell on them. And here’s what this piece of prose/monologue/soliloquy is all about.

I have a longing in my heart and soul to keep and create words for everyone. I would wish the quote I hear about the world needing less successful men and more artists were even somewhat true to life. I dream that I could work on my projects full time without consequence of negative financial impact.

Again, the dichotomy. Many others would give their eye-teeth to have what little I have been blessed to receive. These are the folks who are working and working and working to have less than the average. These are the ones who are being taken advantage of just to get to that carrot that is dangling just out of reach. It is always out of reach.

I see us all in various stages of that horse and cart scenario. Some of us horses have been locked up and walking the same route, we don’t know any better. Some of us have been elevated to more than a tool. Some of us have even been given a roomy place to sleep and eat. Some of us don’t have to pull the cart anymore.

The reality is that I may never, in my mind, earn a place amongst the various word heroes that are in a different stage than myself. I may never see myself as a ‘successful writer,’ whatever that means.

The fact that I string letters together into sentences and sentences into paragraphs, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, means that I am a successful writer. The fact that I have earned monetary payment for some of these collections of words means that I am a paid successful writer.

Am I happy with it? Not so much.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m absolutely thrilled that my words were used. I’m glad that others were able to enjoy them. What I’m not satisfied with is my lack of making the time, yes it is on me, to create more.

It seems so simple. It seems too simple.

If I want to create more, I need to simply create more. If I want to make more stunning art, I need to art harder. If I want whatever it is that fills my eyes at the moment, I have to figure out a way to get it.

As I said, mistakes are a natural part of learning. Stretching boundaries and finding out what attracts readers is hit and miss. Readers are a fickle lot. Influential readers are doubly so. Writers are even more fickle than the influential readers.

We battle with our words and skills in order to produce. We have a constant nagging voice in the back of our minds asking if we are worthy enough and promoting doubt. Do we hit the publish button or not? Do we use this word or that one? Do we scrap the avant-garde story line with the deep and meaningful allegories to life or push it out even if no one would understand it?

I can only find out by putting the pieces out there. I can only succeed by doing, and failing, and seeing that everyone out there has made the same kind of mistakes. Everyone wears the blinders and pulls the cart. Everyone sees the other one as successful. Everyone has seen a success and thought, “I want that.”

The only solution is to do and keep doing.

So, here I am, doing.

And I need more coffee.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Snapshot 01-04-17

For those of you who are interested in this kind of thing:

Mood: It’s early yet, I could easily skip the day and sleep in.
Fasting Blood Glucose: Above 300.
Game Last Played: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Currently Reading: Star Wars: Aftermath
Movie/TV Show Last Viewed: Dr. Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio
Latest Artistic Project: Still working on a WIP for #manw2017 (pic below), several micro-poems/vss on Twitter.


MANW2017, Week 1

Wednesday, Week 1:

So far, so good. At this point, I think it’s more about repetition and building habits rather than the quality of the work.

I feel as if the words are not worthy, but I’m reminded that all first drafts are crap. So many of us feel the same, I’m sure.

For the week, I’m showing a total of 3,281 words. Certainly not my best effort, but they are written. I’m certain as I am more familiar with the characters and plot points, my efforts will be greater.

Feel free to let me know how you’re doing. Touch base and show me how you’re making your art.

Here's the updated calendar:

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Make Art, Not War

Here’s the deal. It is obvious that I have a modicum of talent when it comes to storytelling. I’ve seen it and felt it. The problem is that I have not put enough effort into the craft that I’ve been trying to enhance for the last 40 or so years. Here’s where I put in the hand-to-God effort to push beyond the boundary I’ve been sitting.

I’m tired of playing with that envelope that seems to encompass my energies.

Monica Valentinelli has put forth a challenge that she is going to follow. You can read about it here.

“Born out of both my personal experiences and the knowledge that oppression tends to crush the artistic spirit on a cellular level, I have created a Make Art Not War 2017 Challenge for those who need it. This challenge, which came together from inspiration to draft guidelines, is designed to be flexible to work with your talents and lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to customize the specifics to fit your needs. Your art? Your rules.

Why take the Make Art Not War 2017 Challenge? When times are tough, the feeling that artists are not necessary tends to permeate because art is viewed as a luxury item in some cultures since we don’t produce food, clothing, or housing. The exact opposite is true, because art is a documentation and representation of our humanity and all our struggles. People turn to stories to find hope, to be inspired, to reach inside themselves and discover their own courage. This challenge is about making art to tap into your voice and tell your story. After all, one story can change the world. The problem is, we have no idea which story that will be, when it will be told, or in what medium. It’s up to us to find it–by making art!”


This manifesto touched me. It hit me in the core. It made me want to reach into whatever is inside of me and pluck it out like a still-beating heart about to be sacrificed to an ancient cult idol.


My pledge:
  • I will spend at least 1 hour every day working on my art. Be it a digital picture or words.
  • If I don’t fulfill this task, I will write about it for fifteen minutes or 3 pages (whichever comes first). This will include the reasons why I wanted to do this challenge as well as the reasons I see are blocking me. I will be brutally honest with myself in this listing. My internal editor will be turned off.
  • I am mark down on a calendar whenever I complete the day’s efforts.
  • I will join the community and talk about ‘Make Art Not War 2017’ by using the hashtags #makeartnotwar2017 and #manw2017.
My Accountability:
  • I will use a public calendar to mark my progress.
  • I will also use a physical calendar to track my progress.
  • I will check in on Wednesdays over at booksofm.com and review with the others that are performing this challenge.
My Reality:
  • I am going to need help. I am in need of a few friends to assist in keeping me talking about my efforts. I know myself and I know that it is easy to just work on things and stick them in proverbial drawers to never see the light of day.
So, yeah.

That’s it in a nutshell.

See you on the other side.