Coincidentally, I watched an episode of Firefly last night that explored several different ideas about what it means to be a man. Yes, Universe, I am listening.
Monday, August 26, 2013
I’m halfway through my selection of books on the subject of animal husbandry. The good news is I’m pretty sure I haven’t made any egregious mistakes in my writing when it comes to cows and horses. The bad news? I’m still me—published author but otherwise unemployed, single, and really, really dull. How does a person go about becoming “interesting” without the aid of money or a passel of friends? You need to “do” something, right? Of course, jet-setting is no guarantee of being interesting, unique, or even likeable. Money doesn’t make you less vapid—you need to have something between your ears.
Friday, August 23, 2013
I feel a bit lazy these days. Scratch that—very lazy. I have been sending out more and more book queries, but aside from reading I haven’t been performing much in the way of important tasks. Of course, reading is designed to keep the mind sharp, and some of this comes under the heading of research—in this case, animal husbandry. It’s kind of interesting that it took me writing ten novels—some of them remain unpublished—to throw myself headlong into this kind of research. Yes, I’ve fact-checked my novels before, prior to writing certain passages, but there’s also a great deal of leeway that comes with fiction. You need to know what you’re talking about, but you don’t have to be an expert. Then again, being an expert in a subject is never a bad thing, nor is expanding your knowledge base.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
I started writing this blog as I went through the editing process of my first novel—and while I worked on the second one—but it has always been easier for me to inhabit that fictional world than this very real one, where I project feelings and emotions onto the computer screen for all to see. If I can write a 70,000 word novel in four weeks, surely I can craft a decent blog every few days? Right?! Easier said than done—this poor blog gets abused and even neglected as I pursue other creative endeavors. Pinterest is somehow easier to deal with most days. Even when this blog drifts far away from its original goals and purposes, please know that I am still fumbling my way through this thing. If life is a constant struggle for self-improvement, then we should always strive to better our work, no matter what it is.
I have submitted my latest manuscript for publishing, but I am not currently working on another novel. Time will tell whether or not this is a good strategy.
Friday, August 16, 2013
This has been a tough week. I haven’t necessarily had one, overarching crises, but sometimes the little things add up and become one big thing. Even as I write this, I feel a headache coming on. I wonder if I will ever stop being plagued by self-doubt? Having one novel published (aside from the other six I self-published) helps, but I still have flaws and failings, be they real or imagined. And sometimes the people with whom you need to communicate the most are the most dismissive. I am also very tired as I write this. I haven’t slept well in a very long time. If you are able to sleep for eight interrupted hours, enjoy it. Some of us would like to feel rested and therefore better able to tackle the problems that plague us while we are awake. I hate that I feel this way—draggy, lethargic, as though the wind has been taken from my sails and all of the air let out of my tires. I’m too young to always feel so weary and exhausted.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Applying for jobs has to be one of the stranger processes we encounter in life. Applications, résumés, and cover letters head out into cyberspace, or the mail, and we have little knowledge of how they are received, or if they are ever given anything more than a cursory glance before being tossed into the slush pile. Regular followers of this blog will recall that finding a job in the years since I completed my master’s degree has been impossible. The longer it takes, the more I grow to accept that I am simply never going to be employed in a library. There are too many new graduates being turned out every semester, people with better connections or a deeper base of knowledge or a fresher understanding of the latest technologies. From the beginning I was diverse in my applications, submitting my information to a variety of institutions, including but not limited to factories, hospitals, schools, and colleges. It is interesting to note that my abilities to compute have never been put into use; I was even passed-over for data entry jobs. It was in this jobless environment that I first put pen to paper and decided to write a novel. I enjoy writing—creating alternate universes and in essence creating friends and family for myself provides a lot of happiness. However, unless I sell a book to a screenwriter, I am not sure that it will be a quick ticket to riches. I still have bills to pay, which is something that employers overlook during the interview process—a person may need the job more than they want it. Life isn’t always about having fun; I was raised with the belief that adults had to work hard to earn a living. I remain in arrested development—I cannot financially support myself, though I will admit to understanding the value of a dollar. Frequent solitude has turned me from an introvert into a super-introvert. I am less than forthcoming when people ask me questions, if for no reason other than I have been forced into an even deeper level of social awkwardness. I recall an incident in graduate school in which I was supposed to be recognized at a ceremony, only to be forgotten and ignored. This led me to further paranoia when it comes to sending emails—if I don’t receive a confirming correspondence, I figure my message was lost in cyberspace. I ultimately received the recognition I had been promised albeit not at that ceremony. I also have difficulty with long-term friendships. As time passes, most friends fall away and forget about me. The few strong ones I have cultivated live no closer to me than one hundred miles. And if you do live closer, please let me know. I’d like to see you. I know I shouldn’t throw people under the bus, but I find myself in the company of people who are supposed to be friends but use me as an object of derision, the “point and laugh” person. I’m not fond of that. I crave genuine friendship and human connection. Sharing jokes is one thing, but I don’t want to be the joke. Once again, I have gotten off course. I recently applied for a job that two years ago I never would have considered. Not too many years ago I sat in on interviews, then later on performed the interviews and did the hiring myself. I’m not sure how many people actually know that about me. It was an interesting process, but I am unknowledgeable about how other companies and organizations do it. I think, however, that it is time to start over and forget about my dream of working in a library, just the same as I tossed aside my dreams of being an architect, psychologist, and schoolteacher. Some dreams are attainable. Some are not.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
In the course of editing, revising, and prepping Heart Trouble for publication, I completed two additional novels. I’m either an overachiever or a masochist, but any regular follower of mine knows that I have a lot of spare time on my hands. My latest novel, at 70,000 words, is the longest thing I’ve written since I completed TheArt of Love. Now the fun begins, sarcasm included at no additional cost. Editing is always a fascinating process—some passages you read over and think, “That’s pretty good—I wrote that!” while other times you review a paragraph and scornfully question, “Was I lucid when I typed that?” Typos are a fact of life, but I always find myself worried about the inevitable continuity errors. I’ve been lucky in that regard, considering I write on-the-fly with the outline existing only in my head. Little wonder I don’t sleep well, huh? It’s hard to turn that neon sign of thought and creativity off. This recent novel also branched into a genre I’d never touched on before, adding an element of danger and suspense to the proceedings. I’d actually envisioned Kentucky Summer as a suspense thriller before the characters led me in a completely opposite direction. I’m still not sure I did the genre justice, but it was nice to have my characters thrown together against their better judgment and working toward a common goal. And now I work toward my next goal—getting published again.