We Can Rebuild Him

Let’s see if I remember how to do this…

Over the last year or so I’ve been slowly drifting further and further away from where I want to be and it’s only recently that I’ve made some very deliberate strides back to where I want to be.

I started small.

I’ve been going through this blog and restructuring it. I’m not done with the great revamping, but it’s getting there. It’s just about setting the house in order. Putting entries in their proper places, sweeping other entries under the rug where people can’t see them and, in general, reminding myself why I kept a blog in the first place.

But it’s all tedious and uninteresting and I doubt you’re here to read about my newest categorization structure.

Once I started to set the blog to rights, I also started writing some fiction again. Small things; words strung together into sentences and then sentences strung together into paragraphs until a plot started to form up. I’ve returned to building worlds again and it feels good, although strange. I feel like I’m coming back to a place I’ve abandoned and I see all these toys and tools lying in the dust and I’m realizing that I left them there to rust and to fall apart.

I’m taking it slow though. Moving with care. I feel like if I charge forward with that insane gusto (promising a blog entry a day for a whole month, a month of horror fiction, NANOWRIMO) I’ll just burn myself out and this will be the last you see of me.

So, here’s another small step forward.

The first blog entry of the new year.

I hope to see you around.


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Deadlines and Other Things

Unfortunately, I was too busy blacksmithing to write today. That’s right, I heated up metal and hit it with a hammer and now I am like the great god Thor. Except I don’t think he ever made anything with his hammer. Maybe more like Hephaestus. 


No blog entry tonight, but stay tuned for more tomorrow. 


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The American Hero

Superman is an interesting character.

I know; that’s not a popular idea. Superman, for me and a lot of people, is The Superhero. He has every power that he could possibly have: flight, super strength, freeze breath, laser eyes, great hair. He holds all life sacred. He does not use his powers to alter humanity’s way of life, no matter how much he may or may not disagree with it. He stands for Truth and Justice and he…does…not…bend from those morals.

This does not make for a compelling character. The reader or viewer or listener (just in case you’re a huge fan of Superman audiobooks, I guess), wants a hero with flaws. They want someone who doubts and second guesses and makes mistakes. This is true in all fiction. If the central character if flawless and is an indestructible being of unimaginable power, the reader is bored at Page One.

However, whether or not you think a writer can tell a good story with Superman isn’t the point today. The point is what Superman says about us. Superman is as American as cowboys, jazz and baseball. Like America, he is the biggest, most powerful guy on the block. His strength is uncontested and his reach is unlimited.

The difference between Superman and America is as clear as the difference between the Ideal and the Real. The wonderful thing about this character is that he has the power to split the world in two. He could rule this planet with an iron (Steel) fist. There is nothing on this planet that could stop him. Instead, against all odds, he helps old people and saves cats from trees. He is an uncorruptible, unstoppable force. He is goodness personified.

America, once it took up the mantle of a global superpower, does not have the same track record. Our country has interfered in the affairs of other nations; not to their benefit, not to correct some wrongdoing or to right some terrible wrong. It has been about money or unfounded paranoia or because of some stupid, political morass that our country has involved itself.

We have wrecked countries over communism, a political system that was so flawed it annihilated itself. We have decimated populations to protect oil fields, which lead to enraged populations that struck back in vicious, terrible ways that caused us to reciprocate in like-mind.

Superman is how we wish America was. He is the ideal for the nation. He is how our country, our government, should be. When people ask for help, Superman responds. If a building was on fire, Superman would save everyone inside. And then he would probably rebuild the building for good measure. He would not make sure that his contractor friends got the job to rebuild and allow them to use shoddy and questionable materials to save a buck and turn a quick profit.

He would not charge into a situation where he was not wanted. He does not impose his will and then leave the situation worse than how he found it. He does only what he can be reasonably expected to do and what he does do, he does because he can and because it is righteous that he uses his might and influence to make things better.

Superman is interesting, he is fascinating, because he represents how everyone in a position of power or authority should be and rarely is. He has ultimate power and he would just as soon use it to talk a young woman out of killing herself as he would fight the Villain of the Week. He is what we should all aspire to be and, while that does not always make for interesting reading, it is sometimes important to be reminded of what we can be.



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Aversion Training

I absolute can’t stand what I’m writing for NaNoWriMo. I know this is almost a complete reversal after my last post, but I honestly can’t stand it. Writing has become a painful exercise in word extraction. I sit there and I can’t force myself to type because the idea of spending any more time or thought on this piece of overly contrived, pointlessly poisonous, needlessly verbose, viciously vile and extravagant exercise in excessive excrement is like the making you read the sentence you just read: painful.

But, and this was a side effect I would not have expected in a thousand years, I want to write again. But I want to write anything else. Save me from my novel, let me do anything, even writing an original short story for the first time in a year, if only it means I don’t have to work on the NaNoWriMoPoS. This desperation has reinvigorated my creativity and given me new strength; as though it were my Anti-Kryptonite.

The idea is shocking and I know this might completely floor some of you, but…I think I’m going to get back to writing again. And I was inspired by maybe the worst thing I have ever written.


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NaNoWriMo Update

I’m doing terribly this year. Let’s not dress up this situation in fantasy and lies: I’m behind. I’m so far behind. And I hate what I’m writing. And I’m angry about it most of the time. I want to punch the world. The WHOLE world, not even just the bad parts. I drink too much. I’m eating increasingly worse and worse food. I am the perfect portrait of the self-loathing writer.

But that’s fine. While I was working on the abomination (my affectionate and loving new nickname for my second novel), I pulled up one of my older stories and gussied it up real nice and I sent it out into the world to dance for some strangers. I haven’t thought about writing fiction in so long, but because of this damn exercise, I suddenly got a hankering to submit my story, something I haven’t done in longer than I want to admit.

NaNoWriMo (God, I’m going to hate typing that by the end of this month) is about writing, specifically writing a novel. It’s not about writing a good novel. It’s just about putting the words down on the page and then looking up when you’re done and realizing you created something. Most likely, it’ll be something that you won’t want to share the neighbors, but, what the hell, there’s a lot of things we do that we don’t want to share with the neighbors.

I did this last year, successfully I will add, and when I finished I felt like I came out on the winning side of a war. People died, borders were redrawn and I was a shell of my former self, but goddamn, something happened. And then I threw the damn thing in a trunk and locked the trunk and then threw the trunk in the basement, next to the bag of clothes we’re donating to Goodwill and the skeleton with the silvery hair and the perpetual grin.

It’s about that success. It’s telling people at work (with a smug grin on your face and a drink in your hand) “You know, I once wrote a novel, but the world wasn’t ready for it” and then you take a sip of your drink (it’s a martini and there’s a toothpick sans olive floating in the glass) and you smile at the new lady/guy in the typing pool and you wink and they file away the incident for a report for HR.

Digression is key during NaNoWriMo. You need to write those words, useless words, pointless words, endless words that spill out onto the page in a damning tide of stupid plot revelations, unconvincing dialogue and utterly incomprehensible character development. You do not use contractions and you use ten words when you should just use the single word.

This will be my only blog entry for the week. It will be the only time all year that I have broken resolution to write twice a week, but to hell with that. I’m not fit and I haven’t made a bouillabaisse yet either, so what’s one more resolution? I’ve paid my wordly dues and just because you didn’t see it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

So enjoy this entry, you my singularly re-occurring reader, because it will be the last before the next week starts and before I have sunk another 10,000 words in my utterly terrible, completely unreadable and entirely my own novel.


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I have started this year’s NANOWRIMO the way I normally do: three days late and with no idea with what I’m really going to be doing for this month. I spent most of today catching up and throwing out five thousand fairly questionable words. For whatever reason, I save my worst words and story ideas for NANOWRIMO, which i why, once again, I won’t be telling you a single damn thing about what I’m working on.

I will use this space, however, to wish the rest of the participants good luck. And that’s it. I just wrote five thousand words of terrible fiction. I’m wrote out.

Good luck.

Have fun.




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Happy Halloween

It’s Halloween, the beginning of the best part of the year. There used to be a time, in my younger, more morbid days, that I considered Halloween to be my favorite holiday. I’d watch horror movies while coated in liquid latex wounds, quietly humming the theme to Friday the 13th.

But now, I see Halloween in a more subdued role; it’s the gateway to the season. It’s a season that starts October 1st and ends January 1st. It’s a season that celebrates family, giving, gratitude and staying warm as we turn a corner into dark winter. It’s our charge into the cold, our defiance of the how truly miserable February is no matter where you live.

First we start by conquering our fears. We dress up like heroes and monsters and run  laughing into the night eating way too much candy. We banish our fears, become our own worst monsters and say to Hell with the things that go bump in the night.

Have a safe and happy Halloween.

The season is just getting started.



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