Afraid of the Truth

It’s always a pleasure to stumble across a good poet, and during my flash fiction contest this week I had the pleasure of discovering Matt Seeley. “Afraid of the Truth” is about the lies we gladly accept in order to spare us the pain of true insight.

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Rhyme in Time

Most of the poets I follow write in free verse, so a poem with rhymed couplets, such as today’s offering from Paul F. Lenzi, is an infrequent treat. The image he provides of a conscience struggling to suppress yet preserve its imaginative energy is memorable.

A Word Every Sixth of a Second

Joynell Schultz is in the midst of a project I would never advise any writer — cranking out a novel of forty thousand words (some figures just need to be expressed in letters rather than numbers) in four days. She reached her first day’s goal after five hours of writing, and is eager to continue her effort tomorrow.

Ten thousand words in five hours. A couple grand each hour. That’s over 33 words a minute.

While in graduate school a few decades ago, I earned some decent wages (for a starving student, that is) working for temporary staffing agencies. My strongest proficiency was in typing — I could bang out 80 words a minute, with good accuracy. But that was typing, my friends; I was just reading hand-written copy and making my fingers follow the lead of my eyes. Joynell isn’t typing, she’s writing, composing instead of transcribing, creating rather than copying.

When I’m in the midst of a NaNoWriMo challenge, I produce 300 words an hour on average, maybe five or six hundred if everything’s going right. Two thousand an hour… for five consecutive hours? Not a chance. My creative energy simply cannot sustain that pace.

Joynell, however, has accomplished that task today, so who am I to doubt her ability. I wish her continued success on her journey, as well as a long bath and a bottle of wine when she’s finished.

Looking Ahead to 2018

Today marks the end of a long vacation, far from the frigid eastern half of the United States to which I will be shortly returning. I’m not one for resolutions on New Years Day, but I do work better when I operate under some form of plan. And now seems like a good time to reflect on the past year, and look ahead to the next.

Back in February, I decided it was time to stop blogging on a daily basis, as I realized my streak of daily posting was impressing nobody except myself. Unfortunately, in the months after that decision, I’ve struggled to come up with a consistent blogging practice in its place. Too many times, I’ve gone weeks without posting. Not what I had intended, at all.

My current thought is that I need to commit to writing three or four posts a week, each on a different recurring topic. Book reviews, which I’ve enjoyed writing over the past week, is one such topic; maybe not a book, but a movie, or online magazine. Other topics I’ve thought of have been flash fiction contests, and reblogs from bloggers I admire.

So there you have it. For each of the coming weeks in 2018, I want to write a post on each of the following topics:

  • Reviewing
  • Flash fiction
  • Reblogging

Mixed in with these posts will be the occasional multi-post short story, political commentary, and of course some awful poetry.

That should keep my busy for the coming year.

Learning to Climb

As I contemplate plan for a major career change for 2018, I’m finding both inspiration and admonition in personal stories of those who have climbed the hill that’s in my sights. Michael Ruiz made some mistakes early in his freelancing career, but used his experiences to create a personal definition of success. I may not ascend Hurricane Ridge next year, but I think I’ll enjoy the view when I reach my destination.

On Being Angry

Andra Watkins writes today about the hazardous temptation of online invective:

Long verboten topics of face-to-face conversation have somehow morphed into ‘must shout about online,’ because a screen somehow emboldens us to type things we’d never say to another person’s face. Protracted fury takes a toll on the soul.

Yet the temptation to withdraw is equally as dangerous. To feel justified outrage, but remain silent, is to cede authority to the unworthy. Fortunately, Andra’s not in any mood to give such ground. His issue (tax policy) may not be intrinsically exciting, but he delivers a powerful argument for why it shouldn’t be ignored. He’s aware that angry voices may rise in response, but he doesn’t care about those consequences:

I’m done placating people for the sake of keeping the peace. I’m through fearing people I haven’t seen in over 30 years. I’m finished being afraid another person won’t ever buy my books, because they probably won’t regardless. 

Friday Fictioneers: Who Woulda

“Now THAT,” Mina’s voice rising in surprise, “is not something I expected to see.”

Wendy looked at the object at the end of her aunt’s extended finger, and blinked. Mina jabbed her finger at the car’s fender. “I mean, who woulda thought! A VW, here, in Israel!”

“Oh.” Wendy looked up at her aunt, a look of satisfied comprehension on her face. “Do they call it Tet Shin here?”

Every week, Rochelle Wisof-Fields hosts Friday Fictinoneers, where the objective is to write a complete story in 100 words or less in response to a photograph. I encourage you to learn more about Friday Fictioneers.


What Works

I’m not blogging regularly, and I want to change that fact.

There are reasons for my blogging inactivity, good ones for sure. Been actively revising some the stories I’ve drafted on this blog, such as The Land Without Mosquitos, with an eye towards getting those works edited and published. Also taken a more active role in my wife’s home business; she’s a cake decorator, and I’ve started doing a good portion of the cake baking, which to my surprise has been a wonderfully satisfying experience (I’ll have to expand on that last thought at some point). There have been several big events in my personal life as well — graduations, managing my brother’s finances, college applications, the bittersweet journey of selling my late parents’ house, and planning for a major career change. So yeah, I’ve kept myself busy, and while I’ve kept writing and have enjoyed living my life, I’ve never been able to ignore the niggling regret over not blogging, an activity that brings me great pleasure.

To restart my blogging, I’m going to revisit techniques that have proven effective in the past — reblogging, prompt responses, the occasional movie review and political commentary, and yes, more bad poetry. But let’s start with some good verse, from puttingthedogtosleep, an imaginative rumination about serving breakfast to Death.