Tax Day Special

I wonder if I can claim my bookie as a dependent?

Ok, now that I have the mouse problem under control I can fill you in on why I’ve been AWOL for so long.

Uh, hmmm, uh…I guess I was so wrapped up in finishing A Bronze Wall, The Prophet of War, that all blog-related activities got squeezed out. Hey, my cranial capacity is quite small so I only have room for 2 things at a time. Everyone has limitations, ya know.

Anyhoo, it’s done! And it’s for sale! Check out the link on the sidebar. Also, work is already underway on my third book. Check Unlikelyarts.com In The Works page for more info.

And just to sweeten the deal, if you had to write a check to the U.S. Treasury this year, I want to help. I’m running a Tax Day Special from Friday April 15th to Monday April 18th where you can buy my book at a significant discount (If you got a refund this year, why not invest it back in the economy?).

But here’s the catch: This is a limited time, rolling discount offer. Just like taxes, it pays to start early. Friday the 15th, you can buy A Bronze Wall, The Prophet of War for only $0.99! But hurry, because each day it goes up $1.00 until it returns to regular price.

So shop early and often!

The taxman and my bookie thank you!

Mice! Mice Everywhere!

Ooops! You're home early! Bye!
Ooops! You’re home early! Bye!

Eeek! A mouse! Where did you come from?

Um, outside?

How’d you get in?

Seriously? I’m a mouse. I’m small.

Are you alone?

Well, let’s just say I know a lot of mice. Somebody’s bound to talk.

So there’s more of you inside my house?

Boy, you catch on quick! I can see why you’re the top of the evolutionary ladder.

Ya little smart-as…

Look, I just noticed that this place was empty, it looked cozy and warm so I moved in. Can you blame me?

I suppose not. But did you have to use my new manuscript for nesting material?

What? You weren’t using it. What’s the problem?

Never mind.

 

Sometimes a Smartphone Won’t Do

Lewis Carroll's notebook
One of Lewis Carroll’s notebooks

I have a friend who, when beginning some new project, keeps meticulous notebooks full of ideas, drawings, articles, samples, or anything else that may come in handy later. The notebook is referred to over and over throughout the process to guide and solve problems.

Finally, when the project is completed, it’s used to compare the finished product to the original concept.

This is a very good idea.

I also keep a notebook—well, several notebooks actually—to aid me in writing. I don’t know what neurological mechanism is at work, but the physical act of putting pen to paper helps clarify thoughts and ideas better than clacking on a keyboard or tapping a screen ever could.

As a means of recording and fleshing out ideas, writing in a notebook is inexpensive, silent, free of distractions, analog…primal.

Here are some neat artifacts belonging to like-minded people.

The Thin Place – Part II

pierce_ramshacklehouseWhat am I supposed to do with this place?

Oh, I could try to sell it. List it with a realtor, but I suspect I could go years without so much as a low-ball offer.

I give up. Let it rot!

I hate every warped, weathered board. Let it topple in on itself and sink into the earth where it stands. Let it turn to dust among the rubble of its foundation stones, never more to blot the view of the world beyond with its desperate neediness.

My god, it stinks! Mildew, rust, fungus, and rotting leaves turned black with their dissolution adding to the foul perfume of death!

[Well now, that was a pretty shade of purple prose now wasn’t it? My editor would roll her eyes clean out of her head over that sentence. Well, I get like that when I’m emotional.]

Continue reading “The Thin Place – Part II”

The Thin Place – Part I

pierce_ramshacklehouseHeaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in the thin places, the distance is even smaller.

~Old Celtic saying.

Time leaves its mark. Grey hair, lines in the face, muscles that were once lithe and supple, begin to sag and atrophy. The same thing happens to a soul. Heartache, disappointments, anger, endless waiting; they all leave a wrinkle, a furrow, a scar.

Buildings too, bereft of proper care end up derelict and despondent in a material sort of way. Eaves sag, stone crumbles. A roof which once laughed at the rain, and sighed under heavy blankets of snow, now lies tattered, sagging, and full of holes. The whole structure no longer dares the elements, but sulks in shabby shame, apathetic, no longer seeking to shelter but to be sheltered. So it was that I first saw Forty Oaks Farm. A mostly overgrown, ramshackle place on the edge of a hardwood forest.

It belonged to my wife’s family for generations. She grew up there with her older brother and two sisters. When her father died, her mother stayed on bravely—or foolishly depending on who you ask—until she too, passed on. The property fell to my wife as the only heir who wanted anything to do with the place, her siblings wisely having no use for Forty Oaks and the money pit it had become.

I’ll never forget when she told me that the old farm was now ours. “Great,” I remember saying halfheartedly, mostly to humor her. I had never seen the place myself, apart from pictures, but in my mind, I envisioned endless lost weekends and bushels of money tossed away just to make the place habitable again. You know, sometimes a gift isn’t really much of a gift after all. But she was so damned excited about it! She’d go on and on about all the plans she had for it; how we would make it our own. For her sake I played along.

Then came her illness.

Continue reading “The Thin Place – Part I”

Showing Up

overcome-writers-blockI’ve been here for hours.
My head feels stuffed like the arms of my chair.
Puffy and tightly bound.

Nothing’s getting in. Nothing’s getting out.
Thinking is an effort.
Hell, everything’s an effort.

Even writing.

I don’t mean building stories out of connected ideas.
Carefully constructing sentences with proper syntax, grammar and spelling,
Or selecting words that best express and enfold layers of meaning.

No, I mean the physical act of writing.

Making the pen form letters,
By moving my hand with some semblance of coordination.
Scribbling something legible, rather than lopsided, blue blobs.

My cat sits at my feet, watching with a puzzled expression.
Does she sense my frustration?
Cats don’t get frustrated so how could she sense it in me?

She meows loudly.
“C’mon!” she cries, “You’re not doing anything productive! Feed me!”

I ignore her, trying to concentrate.
Her meows become increasingly strident,
But I must carry on. I must make the effort.

Who is it that said that eighty percent of life is just showing up?
Well “showing up” is making my head hurt.
It’s hard to breathe.

Owww!

To add injury to her many insults, she just bit me.
All right. Fine. I’ll feed you.
Then at least one of us will be happy.

Never mind writing, showing up is hard!

Same time tomorrow, then?

A Writer Does What?

onceuponatimeListening to a talk by the director of the Iowa Young Writer’s Studio, and author of Irreplaceable, Steven Lovely, entitiled “Marathon Training for the Fiction Writer: Conditioning Your Body and Mind to Go the Distance,” I was struck by his definition of a writer:

You are a writer if you write with seriousness and intention.

Continue reading “A Writer Does What?”