Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Long Wednesday

      It's been a long day. Work was particularly grueling, almost no breaks. I've been battling an IBD flare, and that always brings me down. What with worrying about ER (His mother's funeral was today), work's miseries, the flare and a missing cast person at practice, I came home and wanted to just go to bed and sleep. Which is what I'm going to do in a few minutes as soon as I feed my fish and finish this post. I'm looking forward to the weekend, that's for sure, even though I have a lot of things on my list to do.
      Rehearsals are going well for the most part. I think the play will have some wonderful moments in it. I hope to increase the number of those moments as the rehearsals continue. A lot depends on the actors' committment. If they don't learn their lines and don't practice enough, then there is little I can do. But so far, most of them seem determined to grow into their parts. I feel fairly good about it.
      I'm going to call it a night now. Have a great day tomorrow. Good night.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

To the sea

      It's a winter day here. The sun is shining, but a cool wind is sweeping through town. The season wanes, but still has teeth. Spring approaches. I find myself thinking about time.
      The odds are good that I have lived more of my life than I have left in front of me. I feel pressured by that. I still have so many things I want to accomplish. Books to write, places to see, people to meet.
      We lose people along the way. Loved ones fall to accidents or disease, and while we believe in life beyond, we miss them here. Eventually our past sorrows travel with us, a dark companion to remind us that everything ends.
      People live longer these days. We take vitamins and supplements, exercise and eat healthy. We try to stay active and live longer. In the back of our minds, we think that maybe scientists will offer a better drug next month or next year and we'll be as we once were -- young.
      Everything falls. Even the pyramids lose a bit of their substance each year. Wind and sun and rain will eventually reduce all that we've built. Every mountain peak will become a prairie given enough time. Our greatest fame will be forgotten or the subject of dusty books. Even infamy fades. Hitler's name was spoken in a hush sixty years ago. Now he's a joke on sitcoms. Time makes footnotes of everything.
      So while the sun is shining, meet me for lunch. Let's laugh and enjoy this fleeting moment. And when the night falls as it will no matter what, hold my hand tightly and gaze out over the horizon to the endless sea.

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Prayer request

      Erudite Redneck has suffered a terrible loss. Please remember him and his family in your prayers tonight and in the days ahead. And go by his blog and let him know that you're thinking of him.

Should have

      I should have posted yesterday. I was busy, but not so busy that I couldn't have posted, but there's only so many times I can write that I did my laundry, chores, filed and wrote. I thought I'd be able to post an excerpt from Darkness, Oklahoma, but the scene (the Blyman sisters visit a house in Darkness that no one visits) turned out longer that I expected and harder to write well. I have to watch the side trips. Darkness is filled with interesting places, but only some of those locations can figure in this book. I have to keep the plot moving.
      Hey, this is exciting news! finally has the third Spacejock book on sale! Naturally I bought it. I won't be able to read it until after the play is over -- and it arrives, of course -- but I'm looking forward to it. Now I just need to get the second one. Edited to add: I just checked: the second one is available, too. I bought it. This means I will have all three, including a signed copy of the first one. I promise that I won't lord it over you lesser mortals who do not yet have any of the adventures of Hal Spacejock ... much.
      Prayer request: ER's mom is doing poorly. Please remember her and his entire family in your prayers. I know he will appreciate it.
      A reader noticed that I removed a couple of blogs from my Blogs of Interest list. Both had removed me from their links so I removed them. No words exchanged and no fuss, just lack of interest I think on both sides.
      Have you been noticing the other changes in the links? I added several great financial blogs under the Financial heading. I also have a new section: Topics. You can click on the links under Topics, and be taken to a page of posts with those labels. I haven't labeled everything -- after all, I have over 1,500 posts to make my way through -- but slowly you should find everything that lends itself to re-reading in one place.
      Today I'm going to finish my laundry, take a nap, write some more, get outside and enjoy the sunshine even though it's a bit chilly. I hope you're having a good day. Talk to you later.

Friday, February 23, 2007

First night of rehearsals

      We ran through the play for the first time last night. I wanted to give the cast an overall feel for the production. It went fairly well. I noted some rough places and some people who are going to need my attention, but all show promise. I had one person who withdrew from the production -- she didn't actually show up and sent word that she needed to be replaced -- but luckily I had a person who I didn't get to cast on the first round of auditions who stepped into the part. I hope we don't have any other drop-outs, but I'll deal with that if I have to.
      It was exciting to be down there again, I have to admit. I know that later in the month I will be exhausted at the nightly grind, but right now, I enjoyed it. As I was telling Crystal, it's a lot of fun to be able to tell a large group of people what to do and they do it! Must be the mad dictator in me.
      Down below is a photo of most of the cast. (One woman was late and missed this photo.) They're a good looking and enthusiatic group. I only hope I can help them put on a good play. A great play. THE GREATEST PLAY EVER!!! Okay, I'm a little excited about it. But it is a good show, they're a good cast, I have high hopes for this production.
      I'll be back down at the theater tonight. (That's where I've been, Amber. Sorry to have missed your call.) The whole cast won't be there as I'll be working with various handfuls of people over the next three weeks before we all gather again.
      That's pretty much all I have to report other than I finished the February family newsletter! I'm actually caught up. Over the weekend, I'll start working on the March issue. It's going to be a busy weekend. I need to do housework, write on Darkness, Oklahoma (Thought I had forgotten that, didn't ya?), update the theater's webpage to reflect the current production, get caught up on filing and paperwork, etc. It's going to be busy, but I'm feeling better and don't feel so exhausted. Maybe I've got this cold beat. I hope so.
      Y'all have a good day. Talk to you later!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Do you know the way to Notre Dame?

      It was the first night of auditions for a play I was directing. I was talking to a bunch of strangers and needed to make a good impression. So naturally I developed the plague. My eyes itched and watered making me blink constantly, my nose ran with gallons of lovely green snot, my coughing and wheezing would have frightened a consumption patient. My back still not healed, I lurched around the stage like a creature that would be right at home in the tower of a Gothic church shouting, "The bells! The bells!" I'm surprised any of the actors stayed.
      It's always been that way. Whenever I need to look good, I don't. I remember when I had my senior picture taken. The night before, my face was clear and smooth. The next morning pimples had erupted like Mount St. Helens. The photographer, after gasping in horror, had assured me that he could "touch-up" my photo. Back then, before computers allowed us to put Hillary Clinton’s head on a monkey and Dick Chaney's on a donkey, photographers had to use "dodging" and "burning" to touch up photos. (Or actually take a knife or watercolor pencil to the negative.) Dodging was using a small spatula-like device to block the light from an area of a photo when developing. Burning was allowing the light to hit certain areas more than usual. Dodging decreases details while burning increases details.
      Obviously, the photographer thought my photo needed to be dodged. When I received my senior picture proof, there I was, Casper the Friendly Ghost. I complained. He took a watercolor brush to the photo and gave me the skin tones of a lush southern belle. A little more blush and I would have been the splitting image of Shirley Temple minus the curls. I complained again. He suggested a caricature artist. But eventually, after re-shooting (I shot at him several times, but missed) and more darkroom work, I received a photo that looked exactly like ... Richard Nixon’s younger brother.
      Of course, I usually have a certain rumpled look. But not that just-out-of-bed look that, according to People Magazine, women find so attractive in Brad Pitt. No, it's more of a vagrant look, the look of a man who has lived on the streets since his heart was broken by a heartless woman who decided to leave him just because he accidentally lost her cat when it fell into one of his rockets. Like that doesn't happen every day, and the cat did come back. Eventually. And it even had most of its parts. Some women are so unreasonable.
      It takes directing a play to really reduce me to a shambles. I'm always so overwhelmed with all the details that the fact I remember to shower daily is an amazing thing. Once at a intermission, I remember a good friend pulling me aside and actually combing my hair as we discussed the first act. She even spit on my head in a vain attempt to get my hair to stay down or at least pointed in the same direction. At least, I'm assuming that was the reason.
      I do have some good pictures of me. I was walking through Wal-Mart after attending a wedding. I was in my suit and tie. Everything matched for once, and my hair was behaving. Suddenly I saw a photographer had set up in the store and was taking photo sessions. I rushed over to him, got some pictures made and was back to my car just before I was afflicted by full-blown leprosy.
      Anyhow, do you know the way to Notre Dame de Paris? That gypsy girl is waiting for me to pick her up a latte.

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

First night of auditions

      We had the first night of auditions last night. It went well. I still lack the people to fill six parts, two women and four men, but I got 10 parts cast. I'm hoping that more people show up tonight. So far, I'm mostly pleased. I'm going to have some that will nail the part; some are going to require some work, but all show potential to grow. I hope I can give them the help they need to do so.
      Otherwise, I did nothing yesterday except blow my nose, take my meds, cough, etc. I slept for 30 minutes before the auditionS and then came home and went to bed. I did check my email and saw that Amber had sent some photos of her orchids. I'll try to get them posted soon so that you can see them.
      I was going to start rehearsals tomorrow night, but I think I will start them Thursday night. That gives me a night to recover more and to get ready for this.
      How are things in your world? Anything new? Anything exciting? Anything at all? Share!

Monday, February 19, 2007

If you're wondering where I've been

       If you're wondering why I haven't been posting much lately, it's because I haven't been doing much. If you're wondering why I haven't been doing much lately, it's because I have a miserable cold. If you wondering why I have a cold, can't you find something else to do?
       It started last Wednesday. I fought it with tons of Vitamin C and hot tea, but Saturday it finally got the upper hand, and Sunday it left me huddled in bed beneath the blankets. All in all, it was a miserable weekend.
       To make my sore throat feel better and to warm me up, I drank hot tea flavored with two tablespoons of honey and a teaspoon of lemon juice. I also dropped an orange-flavored Vitamin C in it to dissolve. It was very comforting. I wish I had some now.
       I dread work today, but I have to go in. And tonight I have the first auditions for The Vigil. Yikes. I can't cancel because it's already been in the paper and on the local cable channel. It's also been announced on the local radio stations. So I'm going to drag my weary carcass down there and attempt to be interested and enthusiastic about play -- which is a good play -- even though what I really want is to be huddled in my bed again. Sigh.
       People continue to comment on the heaven post of a few days ago. The discussion remains interesting, but I'm surprised a fairly simple post on what I believe about heaven and faith has generated this many comments. I guess you just never know.
       Do you have any special drink or food that you like when you have a cold? Any miracle cures? Share!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Bouquet of carnations

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

Friday, February 16, 2007

More of the usual

      I cannot tell you how much I've been looking forward to today. (To today? Does that make sense?) This has been a grinding week, all things considered. Work's been tough, I've been feeling achy and out of sorts all week, the weather has been cold, wet and dreary, the writing has been going slow, etc. I'm off this afternoon because I have a couple of appointments. After just four hours of work, my life is mine for the weekend.
      And what grand plans do I have for this weekend? Housework, writing, working on the February issue of the family newsletter, naps, the usual in other words. The only unusual activity is that I will be preparing to direct The Vigil. I do that by reading it five or six times and making lots of notes. I highlight scenes I want to emphasize, ideas on blocking, needed items and effects, and so on. I've already read the play several times now, but now I get to the nitty-gritty.
      It's going to be a different play for me. It has almost no lighting and sound effects, simple costumes and simple set. While there are moments of humor in it, the emphasis is on drama. I haven't directed a pure drama since I left college. I'm both looking forward to it and a bit intimidated by it. I've always found humor easier to direct. My mind just works that way.
      I hope I have enough people try out. The play calls for eight men and eight women with two additional non-speaking parts. I can and will cut the non-speaking parts, and I can have one woman and one man come in as different characters, so I could do it with 12 men and women if I had to, but I'm hoping to fully cast it. We'll see how it goes and who shows up Monday and Tuesday night.
      I struggled with the writing on Darkness, Oklahoma this week. I had to rearrange several scenes to fix a timeline problem, then I had to write new scenes for a minor character who turns out to be not-so-minor after all. It's like constructing a puzzle, and I'm having to go carefully to make sure all the pieces fit. The book builds -- or I hope it does -- and it has to have to a good foundation. These new scenes and the reorganization are strengthening the foundation and enriching the story. It has to be done to maintain a book of 100,000 words and I'm learning a lot from doing it, but it's slo-o-o-o-w. I'm not getting as many words as I hoped, but every day a few more join the total. Eventually it will speed up again.
      I'd better get ready for work. Have a great day. I'll talk to you later.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

White carnation

White carnation. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day 2007

Purple-tinged carnations. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Another busy Saturday

      Thursday's post on heaven generated and continues to generate interesting comments. Feel free to continue to comment there even though there are new posts. (I just commented there myself.) I'm not trying to shut down the discussion. I appreciate the courage and openess of all those who commented. It seems that people are often relucant to discuss spiritual matters these days. I'm not sure why. Perhaps we're just all trying to avoid arguments and unpleasantness. Religious discussions often devolve into senseless brawls so I understand anyone's reluctance. Who needs that kind of grief?
      But the comments so far have been pleasant even though forceful. That's a delicate skill that too few people have these days, and I appreciate it.
      Today, I mostly did housework and ran errands. I worked on the January Gazette and hope to finish it tomorrow. Or at least begin printing portions of it. There are two aunts that I need to talk to, and I suspect I won't reach them until Monday night, but if I can get all the other pages printed by then, I should be able to mail it Tuesday or Wednesday. Then I will start work on the February issue. I had hoped to finish it before rehearsals on The Vigil started, but that's probably not going to happen. Still, I should be able to finish it before the end of the month.
      I'm going to try to continue to write on Darkness, Oklahoma even during the weeks of rehearsal. I don't want to leave the story. I find it difficult to hold a whole world in my head anyway and to start and stop constantly only makes it more difficult. Besides, I don't want to stop writing on it. Darkness is an interesting place. I keep finding more wonders in it. It has enough stories in it to keep me busy for years. I hope I get the chance to tell them.
      Oh, this is exciting! I get to see Mikey tomorrow. He and his mom are going to visit for the afternoon. I'll try to take some photos of the little guy. Man, he's growing up, but he's still my "bestest buddy." Edited Sunday morning to add: I just found out that they won't be coming up. Mikey's mom isn't feeling well. What a complete bummer. I was really looking forward to seeing him.
      It's late so I'll close now. Talk to you tomorrow. Good night.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Talking about heaven

      I'm straying into ER territory here. He usually focuses on religion and other hot topics on his blog, but I thought I'd share a bit over here for once. A friend of mine is going through a crisis of sorts concerning the concept of heaven so I wrote an email to be shared with him. I thought I'd post it here and get your thoughts and comments on it. It's not meant to be an exhaustive examination of heaven and faith, just me musing around.

The question of heaven has perplexed scholars for centuries. Here's what some of them say and what I believe about it.

When writing about heaven, the writers of the Bible were using language to describe something wonderful, something so wonderful that it is beyond language's ability to describe. So they spoke about heaven in metaphors. Streets of gold, gates of pearl, etc. That is not to say that heaven doesn't have those things. It might, and if that is your idea of heaven, then it's just as valid as the next person's. The point of talking about heaven in the Bible was that it was a wonderful place beyond what we can understand here. It's a matter of faith in God. The rock bottom truth is that we can't reason about things that are infinite. We are finite creatures. God is infinite. Despite our vain attempts to impose our reason and logic on Him, God remains beyond our ability to understand. We are limited by our physicality. And no one on this earth -- except for Jesus -- ever has understood heaven or God. We simply can't.

Does that mean God wants us to dumbly follow him? To stifle our reason? To be unquestioning? Of course not! He gave us the gifts of intellect and curiosity. He wants us to strive to be better, to grow in our understanding. He is a proud parent and He rejoices in our accomplishments. But we have to understand that we will always be children in His sight. For all our understanding and knowledge, we will never really begin to grasp His infinite glory and majesty.

Until we reach heaven. Then hidden things will become clear to us. Our minds will open up and we will finally understand the universe and all the questions that perplex us will be answered. God's plan for the universe will be revealed. The Bible says we will sing at that point. We will rejoice. We will shout with gladness. God's plan is joyous beyond measure, and we will finally understand.

The point of all this is that we cannot reason our way to God. There is no logical path to God. He is beyond human logic. It comes down to this: Faith is all we have. If we do not have that rock bottom certainty that God exists and loves us, then all the words and discussions and talks and emotions won't get us to him. So how does one get that rock bottom certainty?

First, we cannot get it from our parents, our family, our friends, our minister, our books or any earthly thing. We cannot reach God by having someone else carry us. All those people can help us grow, but learning to have faith, that rests on our shoulders alone. We will stand before God and give account of our lives. It won't matter what our excuses are or who we want to blame for our transgressions; we will have to give an accounting for our lives. So we must accept the responsibility for our relationship with God.

Second, we must pray daily. This is hard to do. In our busy lives, who has time? But 15 minutes of prayer a day will do wonders for any one's faith. But how can we pray if we doubt God's existence? Easy. Simply tell God that we doubt He exists. Express our concerns. Talk to Him. The simple fact is that God's existence is not conditional on our belief. Men like to think that it does. We've made up so many gods over the years -- Odin, Zeus, Abana, Baal, Set, Osiris, Gaia -- why should this God be any different? Except ... this God does exist. Think of it this way: Say for whatever reason we decide the moon doesn't exist. We don't believe in the moon. It's stupid and illogical to believe in the moon. We write books saying the moon doesn't exist. Yet, when we step outside, the moon continues to orbit the earth. Our belief didn't change the universe. The moon exists whether we choose to believe in it or not. So God can handle whatever we throw at Him. It's not like He hasn't heard it before.

Third, we must read the Bible daily. And turn off our critical editor. For one thing, unless we can read the Bible in Hebrew and Greek, we have to understand that we're reading a translation that for most part was written several centuries ago by people foreign enough to our times to be aliens. There are going to be things in there that we won't understand at first because the culture was different. We need to read it for the point. We need to not become clogged down in the non-essentials as small-minded and vain people do and focus on what's important. When we do that, the central truths of the Bible become clear: God loves us, He sent His Son to die for our sins, we need to accept Jesus as our personal savior to be with God again, there is evil in the world and we are to stand against it, we're supposed to be wise and forgiving, we're supposed to be honest and happy, we need to feed the poor and help the sick, we need to make the world a better place, we're God's children and He expects us to behave in a manner that He can be proud of us, death is not the end of our relationship with God because He loves us so much that He has provided a way so that we can be with Him forever, etc.

Doubtless I've left something out, but prayerful study of the Bible and other learned texts can enrich any one's understanding of heaven and God's plan for our lives.

      Anyway, that's what I think about heaven and faith. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A bit of distance

      It's always dangerous to learn too much about an author. Case in point: Recently I came across a new book from an author I read quite a bit of in the early 90's. He wrote good, solid science fiction. I can't say I ever liked him enough to buy him in hardcover, but I certainly watched for his paperbacks. But he stopped producing books for about five years until this new one. I bought it and soon wished I hadn't.
      He used to write good stories. You knew where the characters stood and they behaved accordingly. Sometimes they behaved badly, but it made sense when they did. He played fair with the story, never pulling a twist out that didn't make perfect sense after the fact. It was craftsmanship. The new book, however, is simply a mess. Characters wander in and out aimlessly. The plot, what little there is, makes no sense. He devotes twenty pages to two talking heads who discuss their world's situation with pointed references to our current war in Iraq. To say that I thought it was a bad book is an understatement. What had happened to this promising young writer?
      He explained all -- too much -- on his website, the address of which was thoughtfully provided on the book's cover. It turns out that all his earlier books are simply ashes now. He wrote those books, year after year, making a good living, but it was hollow, I tell you, hollow. Finally his muse -- yes, he actually used that word -- abandoned him. He suffered a "crisis of confidence" and worried that his books weren't relevant to today's world. He broke two book contracts with his former publisher and spent some time discussing how they didn't understand the true creative spirit. He was also angry at them when he found out that they weren't interested in publishing his new book. Stupid publisher to not jump an opportunity like that.
      Then he launched into a long, rambling discourse about how his muse had returned and wanted him to write stories that -- and I quote because I certainly couldn't paraphrase -- "delve into our muttered subconscious and release our inner howl while not flinching at societal pressures." Of course, he realizes that his current book won't make his former readers happy, but as it turns out, he never really liked them anyway because they were -- and I quote again -- "too interested in a good story." No, I don't what he meant.
      What a pompous whiner. This is the reason I try to avoid learning anything about writers whose work I admire. Sometimes I'm lucky. Holly Lisle turned out to be a wonderful human being as did Carolyn Hart. Simon Haynes is funny and personable. (Not that I've actually met any of these people. Just emails, their websites, their replies on message boards, etc. Maybe in non-virtual life, Holly, Carolyn and Simon sacrifice cute cats and happy dogs to the Dark Gods of Writing, but at least I don't know about it.) But I've come across other authors who are alive only because it's illegal to kill them and/or there's not a convenient way to dispose of their bodies.
      I remember quite well a "Christian" author who came by my site after I had reviewed his book and wanted me to read his current book. Happily I did so and then reviewed it, stupidly thinking that my honesty was desired. My review was favorable overall, but he took exception with a couple of things I said I disliked in the book. He shot me a vicious email that said I was jealous of his success and that God would punish me for my envy. I wish he had been kidding, but he wasn't. I deleted the review, removed his website from my list of authors' sites and took too much pleasure in throwing his book in the trash. Naturally I've never heard from him again, but I see that he still has best-selling books on the Christian lists so he's doing fine. I know I will never read his books again or recommend them.
      I think, as readers, we make a mistake to believe that because an author writes a wonderful book that we relate to, then that author is also a wonderful human being who is our long-lost soulmate. We love the books so we want to love the authors, too. Most authors probably are wonderful, delightful people, but there will always be a handful who are jerks. A bit of distance is the best thing for both the fans and the authors, and I'm okay with that.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Manilow music

       Today I received several Barry Manilow CDs. Yes, I said Barry Manilow. I'll wait until you finish snickering. Done yet? Sigh. Okay, now let's discuss unknown Manilow songs. Not unknown to his fans, of course, but his albums contained gems that did not become hits and so you might be unfamiliar with them. Such as "Sweetwater Jones," "Sandra," "A Linda Song," "Starting Again," "All The Time," "Losing Touch," "Early Morning Strangers," "The Two Of Us," and so on.
       I suspect those songs and others like them weren't hits because they were, for the most part, songs about sorrow and alienation. "Sandra," for instance, tells the story of the perfect housewife who one day "... was doing the dishes when a glass fell and broke on the tile and she cut her wrists quite by mistake. It was real touch and go for a while." Or "The Two Of Us," which tells about a couple who made a life together because they were afraid of being alone, and now they have nothing to fear "except the rest of their lives together." These aren't feel good songs, and you sure couldn't dance to them.
       Many of his non-hit songs are complicated, expressing adult emotions of regret and abiding sadness. For some reason, those were songs that resounded with me when I was teenager growing up in a small Eastern Oklahoma town. Weirdly enough, although the songs may seem depressing, they helped me weather those years. It was like I had found someone who knew exactly what I felt at times. I wasn't alone.
       Manilow fans have taken some hits over the years. His songs have been ridiculed for being too maudlin, too depressing, too uncool. And age has certainly taken its toll on his voice. But he continues to perform to sell-out audiences in Las Vegas, and his Songs of the Fifties entered the Billboard chart at #1. Not bad. Not bad at all. Not bad. Not bad at all.
       For me, I will always be a fan, if only for the fact that those songs recall my teenage years when I was young and naive enough to believe in everlasting love and moonlight and a thousand other things that didn't survive my transition to adulthood. So I think I will put on a Manilow CD and get lost in the songs. Talk to you later.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Editing Darkness, Oklahoma

      Still not in the mood to write so I spent a lot of the day putting in the numerous corrections and additions that I've made so far in Darkness, Oklahoma. I realize that "not in the mood" isn't a reason to not write -- and I have put a few words on paper -- so I need to work on that. Full-time writers can't afford to be unproductive when their total income depends on their words. Since being a full-time writer is one of my goals, I need to work on my discipline. But not today. Today I put in about half of the corrections. I hope to put in the rest tomorrow. Then I'll print a new copy so that it can get marked up.
      How I write: I usually write the scene quickly. Then I edit it. Set it aside for a while. Then edit it again. I make corrections, recast sentences, try to make my sentences tighter and make the dialogue more natural. I also look for plot holes as I edit. I write down questions that I haven't answered somewhere in the book. I track characters and make sure their physical descriptions match all the way through the book. Or at least I attempt to do all that.
      I don't know any authors who don't revise and edit. But maybe there are amazing people who type perfect prose the first time. You can find them with Bigfoot and Elvis playing cards with those green guys from Roswell.
      This week I will -- I hope -- publish the January issue of the family newsletter. Next week, I will publish the February issue. The week after that, I have auditions for The Vigil, then we start rehearsals. The play will be performed March 28-31 and April 1. After the play concludes, I will throw myself back into Darkness, Okahoma, and plan to visit it by the end of May or the end of June. Then it goes to my first readers -- Crystal, Frenzied Feline, Michelle and Randall. While they're reading it, I'll be working on Dragons Gather or Figments or Queen of the Summerset Club. Then when they return their corrections and questions, I'll be working on it in July. I hope to have the final edit finished by my birthday at the end of July. A cool birthday present to myself. In all of this, I still need to finish the final edit of Murder at the Witch's Cottage and get it off to some publishers. I also plan to self-publish Floozy & Other Stories, a collection of my various humor columns.
      So that's my writing year so far. We'll see what happens as the year continues. And I think I will call it a night now. Y'all have a great day tomorrow and a great week. Good night!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Stop it!

      Who exactly responds to spam? I mean, it has to work because the spammers keep sending it out. Someone pays them to send it out, and they wouldn't pay the spammers unless it worked.
      So the reason I keep receiving spam in my inbox -- even though I have never responded to any of it and will never respond to any of it and will actually work against any company that uses spam to send out their advertising message -- is because someone is responding to it. If you're that person, STOP IT! Just stop it. And no one will get hurt.

What was I doing last night?

      I did no writing last night. I did no housework. I didn't work on the family newsletters. I didn't watch TV. I wasn't online. I wasn't sleeping. No, what I was doing was cleaning my keyboard after I spilled a full glass of cranberry-mixed-berry-green tea on it.
      It was a terrible mess. I cleaned up the keyboard the first time and thought it would be okay. Then keys started do all sorts of things. I pressed shift and the computer tried to log me off. I pressed the left enter key and the media player started. I took the back off of the keyboard and found more liquid. I cleaned that up and tried again. Then keys started to stick. So I did in the last place what I should have done in the first place: I took the keyboard completely apart, washed all the non-electronic parts, cleaned the electronic parts, put it back together, and after a few more adjustments this morning, it's working. I do understand why people say that if you spill sticky stuff on your keyboard, you should just buy a new keyboard because it took three or four hours to get it completely cleaned. However, as always, I'm broke, so I was willing to spend the evening fixing it.
      It was quite an involved production. I used distilled water, cotton swabs, toothpicks, alcohol, facial tissue, paper towels, lint-free wipes, compressed air and a blow dryer to clean it. It was interesting, though, to poke into its innards. I've always enjoyed taking things apart. Sometimes I actually get them put back together. And wonder of wonders, they work. Go figure.
      Today I've not done much other than mess with the keyboard and do some laundry. I need to be writing and will as soon as I post this. In fact, I think I will do that a bit and come back later. Talk to you then.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A long day nearly over

      It's been a loooooooong day. I was productive at work, but not so much at home. I couldn't get my words on Darkness, Oklahoma tonight. The scene was wandering, not accomplishing what it needed to do to move the story along. It was only words. I backed up and came at it from another direction, but that led away from the plot. I have nothing against an interesting side trip or two, but that was definitely filler. Finally I gave up. I have other scenes that I could write, but I didn't feel like tackling them. I'll have to catch up tomorrow or over the weekend. Some days I get all typed out.
      Is there any reason that the movies on the Sci-Fi Channel are so consistently bad? Lack of money or lack of professionalism? They specialize in cheap creature movies and stupid gory horror movies. They're getting worse, too. NBC is not doing a good job with the channel. If it finally vanishes as many smaller cable channels have, you can't say that it didn't deserve it. It seems such a waste.
      I'm listening to "I Will Find You" by Clannad. I like Clannad, but the song is a bit creepy. "No matter where you will go, I will find you if it takes a thousand years ..." That's a bit obsessive, don't you think? May the person in the song doesn't want to be found. Maybe they have a protective order. Maybe they're very happy now that their seeker is no longer in their life. Still, the tune is cool.
      More cold winter weather heading our way. I guess I'll stop complaining about it, but I hate it! HATE IT!
      Even though it's only about ten o'clock, I think I will call it a night. You have a great tomorrow. And someday we will rise to greet a golden tomorrow.