Category Archives: writing forums

Edison Nuthouse


Sunday dawned bright and early. I know, because I was awake. I fell awake at about 4:30…watched tv for a bit–preseason football. Miami and Jacksonville. The Dolphins won going away, though Jacksonville’s run game looked impressive at times. They could move between the twenties but they couldn’t get the rock into the end zone.

The Bears rebroadcast was scheduled at 7. I set the dvr to record the thing, made a pot of coffee for my wife, took my morning meds and waited for the percocet to knock me out for a bit. Figured I could get a little rest that way.

It would have worked, except that the child woke up and decided to have a chat with the rabbits.

I’m a notoriously light sleeper, and that did the trick. I got up and started the pot running, got myself something to eat (wholegrain toast and a cup of yogurt), and made ready to deal with the teeny drama queen, our eight-year-old grandchild.

She would want to watch cartoons, I knew, and that wasn’t going to happen, because the Bears game supercedes cartoons. Televised sports are the reason why we have a tv. So if the Cubs, Bears, or BlackHawks are on, they are a priority item. The child knows this. But that won’t stop her from wanting cartoons, or netflix.

Because the electronic babysitter is what she knows.

And Triscuits is what she wanted for breakfast. I told her that she should have some yogurt with those, to make it a better meal. She had just the yogurt, not enough food…later she complained that she had a little stomach ache, and was sent up to bed to rest, since she was getting cranky about it.

The smell of frying bacon brought her back down an hour or so later. I made some pancakes to wrap around the bacon strips, and one of those fixed the tummyache. She was just hungry.

Still cranky though. The child has this weird habit of clamming up when asked almost any question. She makes the pouty face, goes all glassy-eyed and just stands there with her face hanging out.

You’d think it autism or something, but it’s deliberate. She controls when she does this. And we’re trying to fix it.

Not easy. I’ve ordered her a special surprise, something to make her trips to and from school easier. She knows she has a surprise coming, but not what it is.

That’s our lever. She’s been told that she has to behave properly, not be a smartass or have a sassy mouth, answer direct questions, do her schoolwork and chores. Nothing extraordinary. She’s eight. You can only expect so much.

Her impulse control is so weak that she’s really in danger of me sending the thing back. Instead we’re going to have a black mark/gold star thing. Every time she is disobedient or otherwise misbehaves, a black mark appears on the whiteboard, and she is sent to the corner for a while. Every time she does her chores or homework without being asked, a gold star appears and she gets positive attention.

Because it’s the attention she wants. She thinks that she should be the center of attention at all times. I mean she really thinks that. For no reason other than simple selfishness and narcissism. She’s said so.

My wife told her that two-year-olds think like that, and that it wasn’t a reasonable expectation.

That’s when the baby-show ban started. No more cartoons for the preschooler. She loves Dora and Max and Ruby.

On the other hand, she also loves those ridiculous Disney tween situation comedies. The problem with that is that the characters are all sophisticated and sassy, and she mimics the smartass comments and sarcastic attitudes.

So we’ve instituted a ban on those too.

Hell, I’d ban tv altogether if I thought it would help. This kid has spent so much time nodding mindlessly at the boob tube that she’s incapable of thinking things out.

She needs to be reading and reading and reading, and she hates reading. It’s too hard, we’re told. Same circus as usual.

It feels like we’re getting closer to cooperation, but there’s still a long way to go.

Unnecessary stress. I have this giant pain in my shoulder that no meds can dent, and my neck muscles are like rocks.

So I’m not stressing over it. The kid gets the message, or doesn’t. She doesn’t, she spends the rest of her life in the corner. There are rules everywhere. Nobody is going to give her 24/7 attention.

That’s it.

I left the writing forum. Left a kinda nasty flounce post, which was taken down within ten minutes of its posting, talking about some of the things detailed in the previous blogpost. I don’t need that kind of stress anymore either. One of my friends there remarked “…most of these people have spent maybe one or two years writing, and they haven’t even finished one story.” And they expect parades for the first paragraph. And they won’t listen to advice. They know everything.

Screw those people. I don’t have anything to say to them. I don’t need them to critique my writing, I don’t want to read theirs, I don’t care what song they’re listening to now or how they prepare to write their one ungrammatical paragraph a day.  I’m too busy writing my own things.

Even this thousand words or so a day of stream-of-conscious semirant is preferable.

I did work for a while on the Letters from Outside stuff. It’s almost done. I’ll unveil the archive in due time. And the new short story is in polishing now. Tomorrow I’ll finish the hospital portion of “abed”, and put it up somewhere on the website so folks can read it. Then I’ll edit the whole thing into readable shape…hopefully by the end of the week, so I can move into a new project as I begin moving my things from this office into the bedroom, clearing the way for the kid to have her own room. Maybe that’ll help. Couldn’t do it before because of the hernia surgery.

Yay.  I get to squeeze all of my stuff into a corner of the bedroom. I think my friend Scott is right–I’ll need to get vertical with it. At least as much as I can. Isn’t really possible to stack guitars.

The Bears lost, though the first string looked okay. Cubs lost but took the series against the Cardinals 3-1. The Disney Three Musketeers wasn’t as bad as I had feared, and I think I even chuckled once or twice. I was going to let the child watch Free Willy 2 after that, but she got mouthy and presumptuous and canceled that bit of goodwill. If her plan was to avoid reading by being an asshole, she succeeded admirably. Louis CK is right, you know.

More tomorrow. Gotta catch up on my correspondence. Related article

Dorkday


NSFW

Today was one of those days too…but a different kind of one of those days. We actually seem to be making some progress with the kid. While she’s still often defiant, she spends time thinking about what she should do before she does it (at least most of the time), and that’s one of the primary lessons we’re trying to get across.

That’s a plus-even though the process is maddening.

On the other hand, I was surrounded by stupid and by obstinate on the internet. I interrupted that parade of nincompoops to watch and excellent Cubs game, but the poop is still there.

Most of us on the net belong to a hobby forum of some kind at one time or another. Involvement is cyclical and depends on time and desire. I’m not much of a joiner. I’ve belonged to seven forums in the nearly 20 years I’ve been online. Most of them I drifted away from.

One forum I’ve been a member of for nine years, first as ______________, a username I shan’t disclose, and then under my usual title moderan. It’s ostensibly a forum for writers. Most of the time it’s tolerable, and I have some good friends there. Once in a while it’s fun, and someone shows real wit and makes time pass easily.

Other times…well, it sucks. Currently it’s going through such massive suck that I’m contemplating a hiatus. Hell, I’m thinking about leaving completely, and flouncing just to make it official, before something actually blows up.

The culture of this site is such that all of these tyro writers expect candy and awards all of the time, and advice from people who have “been there”, and “done that” fall into the same category as “wannabes” with no discernible publication history or expertise.

Anything contradictory is seen as negative, as “no fun.” It’s much like kindergarten. I’ve spent the better part of three days having an argument via personal message with a moderator who cannot admit that he was wrong, and instead indulges in armchair psychoanalysis. “Skodt” is this worthy’s appellation.

The impetus for this whole thing was a poster that asked how to describe the smell and taste of pot.

Mr. Skodt chimed in, saying that he had no personal experience, but that burning weed smelled like skunk or like garbage. You know, that kinda cliched bullshit.

I basically told him he had his head up his ass, adding that I have had extensive personal experience which said that he was wrong.

He stood his ground. Still is standing the same ground, despite repeated proof. His ego cannot even conceive that he’s been schooled, and without effort.

His English usage is so bad that I could not reasonably call him a competent writer. He has no business teaching other people to do what he does.

I copied off all of the pm exchanges and sent the file to the administrators. Since I have been a longtime member, have been staff at this place, and have otherwise given my time and talent generously, I feel entitled to better treatment than writing messages to a sneering buffoon.

And not the only one. There’s a whole list of moderators and other staff who are just useless, who have no expertise in writing, publishing, or anything else, who feel free to give advice to similarly struggling people, most of them young.

From my “advanced perspective” (I’ve sold at last count one hundred and ten stories, thirty-two poems or lyrics, about two hundred news articles, and one book back in the 80s), this is maddening. It’s just clamor, and it has no direction.

I’m also tired of asking my friends on staff to mediate disputes that arise because people get their egos in an uproar when they’re hip-checked.

Another poster has a book coming out. She’s publishing through one of those pay-by-the-book schlock outfits, something that I ferreted out yesterday. She’s not good enough to publish traditionally, and apparently too stupid to do the research that would have resulted in a self or indie-pubbed volume. She refuses all help anyway. She knows what she is doing, in her own head.

Another cannot write coherently, edit, proof, or do anything resembling story, but claims that he will have a book out, has an editor and proofreader, and aspires to be an editor. I offered him a green visor I bought on eBay some time ago. Among other things.

These people need to be told the truth. I think it’s better that I do it than some editor or publisher do it when it counts. What happened to realistic self-assessment?

“Well, it has three 4-star reviews and two three-star reviews. I want to fire back at the 3-star reviewer because he only looked at the flaws and I only want smoke blown in my direction if not actually up my ass.”

I swear on a stack of Necronomicons that this is really the person’s attitude. It’s only slightly paraphrased.

I got a copy of the ebook from the publisher. Sad trash it is, about as literate and creative as Disney’s Mulan, a candidate for worst movie ever made in my not so humble opinion. Approximately as many grammarical/spelling errors per page as a Stephenie Meyer tome, and about as entertaining.

That’s the only review that will appear from this source. This party’s attitude has from the very start been so bad that I’m almost not sorry she’s being taken for a ride. And of course Moderator A refuses to do anything to help;it’s not his job.

The site almost slipped away before. I think it’s going this time. There’s no there, there, anymore. I haven’t had anything approaching an intelligent conversation since before my hernia surgery.

Sad. I know, your hearts bleed for me. I’ve pretty much decided not to go back, even if it means abandoning a couple of decent projects I have going. My former favorite part of the site, the monthly Literary Maneuvers, has been broken down by these dimbulbs and their demands also. My last entry, a first draft that I didn’t bother to edit, took the red ribbon.

It stopped being fun.

I don’t have time anymore, during those few precious hours when I can do what I want to do, to argue with people about anything. I sure as hell don’t want to be disrespected by some yutz forum mod with an ego problem.

So, in the spirit of Soundgarden’s Whitey Ford, here’s my take on the matter.

Hey, you. Yeah, you. Go fuck yourself. Do it in the road.

Hey, you, tyro writer with the gossamer skin. Fuck you too. Fuck you on wheels, with fire.

Hey, you writingforums litfic pencil dicks. Yeah, you. Fuck you with a rhino horn. When you turn to profile, I can see the sun through your ears.

This has been a recording.

 

 

names: Skodt, Lewdog, Shadowalker, Jamie. If you go there, you are forewarned of their assholishness. There Are more, but that’s a good start.

Chicken and Waffle


Yep. So here it is again, nanotime, when incipient novelization is supposed to be translated into actuality at 1667 words per day. This will be my fourth attempt. I’ve successfully navigated the nanowaters before thrice, but have never had the particular set of challenges I face this time-namely, embarking on a novel without any preliminaries.
I was originally going to work on a delayed project, Vermilion Dawn, set many years after Martian colonization. That novel needs some seed from a previous novel to work properly, though, and much rumination led to deciding upon a “rewrite” of a novel I’ve started several times but haven’t finished, in an attempt to exorcise that ghost once and for all.
So, after much waffling, hemming, and hawing,  I withdrew Vermilion Dawn in favor of Fallen Earring, dragged out my ten thousand docs and links and books and whatnot about Hendrix, and furiously began scribbling, in longhand on notebook paper, my proposed outline. That was the day before Hallowe’en.
The floor in my office became decorated with paper balls not long after that. I spent part of a mostly sleepless night shooting them through a Nerfoop I have hanging next to the door and ruminating about how to make the thing work.
Fallen Earring is a genrehopper, a rule-breaker. An altworld themed-story collection that masquerades as a novel and takes place mostly via flashback. I’ve been working on it on and off for a few years now-the themes and settings of the thing are burned into my brain (like some of my other unwritten or unpublished “works”), and I cannot let them go. The problem is that I hadn’t arrived at the proper method of telling the story.
Still not sure that I have. I’ve gone from third person limited to third omniscient, from present tense to past, to first person, to having different characters tell the story. I’ve tried having Jimi as a character, which doesn’t work at all, having him as the narrator, which really doesn’t work on an extended basis, adding metafictional frameworks, turning the events of the narrative this way and that, trying semi-desperately to find a way, the right way, to GET THE DAMN STORY TOLD.

I think I have it. Now I just need to finish up several other projects so I can get at the thing. And hope against hope that I don’t change my friggin mind again.
My ancient colored-pencil and smeared-marker pic has been pressed into service as the cover. I added some lettering I developed a couple of years ago, did a little photoshop sharpening, and that was that.
Now I just need to do the writing. I’m actually shooting for @75k, as that’s the projected wordcount of the whole thing, and I’m still waffling over whether or not to edit what I do each day and put it up here. Very possible-I’m going to take a look at what I actually have and make that decision.
On other fronts-I’m still waiting for GoDaddy to finish the transfer of my domain to my new webhost so I can get after rebuilding my website. I was hoping that could be done before NaNoWriMo so as not to complicate things any more than they already are, but no go. That’s going to be a cause for more waffling as I try to decide whether to go with a more conventionall website or to make everything wordpress. Very likely that it’ll be some combination of the two like I’ve had before, but I just don’t know. I’m pretty sore about the short shrift I got from GoDaddy and really don’t want to do a whole bunch of coding. That’s all up in the air for now.
I almost chickened out of Nano, but when I was established as the community leader from Writing Forums, I had to buck up and run with the ball. WF recently promoted me to global moderator from my previous position as forum mod. Have to set a good example.