Sundry Thoughts and Reflections

This is another one of those stream of consciousness posts… There may be something that interests you, but I wouldn’t count on it. Read some stories instead!

Once more into the breach…

Another week gone, another weekend to find myself a variety of distractions. My main distraction is what most would consider quite valid: our only automobile is clinging to life with an ever loosening grip. Like the universe, the van’s heat death seems inevitable… but unlike the universe, this is because the poor thing cannot seem to hold onto coolant to save its life. Our only recourse at the moment is to give it a gallon of water each time we drive it anywhere. If we do not go far, that keeps the temperature down to a reasonable-ish level.

Today, Heidi and I had an appointment with an agent at some used car dealership. This dealership’s building is smothered in signage indicating that those with low credit can have a chance here, smattered with loosely worded testimonials beside blurry pictures of the people they have supposedly helped. Despite the aforementioned appointment, we waited for around an hour before other demands on our time forced us to leave. A salesperson finally gave us some attention when it looked like we might get away, but it was too little, too late. We may patronize their establishment at a later date, not out of desire to deal with those that defied our appointment to work with those who walked in without an appointment, but because our options are limited. It is not that our credit is bad, for we have been slowly and steadily building that up. The only thing we are missing is, y’know, cash.

It was not an entire wash, however. While sitting their being actively ignored by salespeople, I broke out my Kindle and read the first chapter of John Scalzi’s OLD MAN’S WAR. This is a book I have been meaning to read for some time now and am only just getting around to reading. From the first chapter, I am interested, if not entirely hooked. It has a clean style that I appreciate, showing character with the narration without choking me to death in it. Scalzi is one of those authors for whom I am developing some real respect. The best kind, I think, is respect that builds up slowly over time (and survives the passage of time, as well). Every book of his I have read has proven to be well written, well thought out, enjoyable, with believable characters. And entertaining, which is good because I do not, as a rule, read for un-enjoyment.

I heard that two of Mr. Scalzi’s worlds are being considered for television adaptations. The first one I heard about, LOCK IN, rather excites me because the world he set up is intriguing and believable, and I think there are many stories that could be told. I also would like to see how they handle the acting with largely expressionless robots carrying around the consciousness of those locked in. Plus, major disabilities do not get a lot of play in the media, so this could be refreshing and informative. The more recently announced potential adaption is of OLD MAN’S WAR? Naturally, I am reserving my judgement on that one until I get a little further into the book slash seriea.

On the recommendation of one W.E. Mitchell, I recently purchased a nice little book. THE HAUNTED COVE by Elizabeth Baldwin Hazelton came out in 1971. The copy I purchased is from that year, labeled as a Weekly Reader Children’s Club book. Part of the reason for selecting this edition is its lovely artwork by Ned Butterfield. I have not yet read it, but did flip through and look at some of the pictures. I will read it in the next week or so. Part of the point of getting the book was to examine the art style, for I might need to slash want to emulate it in an art project or two that may be upcoming.

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Because of the aforementioned car trouble, I am exploring the possibility of rearranging my creative priorities. Certain avenues I could explore are more likely to lead to monetary compensation a lot sooner than others. For this purpose, Heidi printed out some 40 or so pages with information on various short story contests. Though the process of going through such a list is at times tedious and at other times soul sucking, it should give a bit more direction to my efforts. Breaking into the short story market is a confusing thing. I had hoped some of the panelists at Gen Con would give a bit more insight to the process, but by and large it seemed like they were mostly asked by editors to submit stories for specific publications. That leaves me with the brute force approach: take as many shots as possible until I reach that point. This spray and pray method may seem a bit callous, but…

At this juncture I feel I must try and force a transition toward the mercenary mindset. I cannot afford to keep writing without any return. There is no doubt that these years of writing without selling anything have beeb valuable, for I am (so I am told) a much better writer now than then. Hopefully this will make the mercenary transition smoother and more successful. I think I can do this without defying my ‘artistic integrity’ (whatever that is), while still actually getting something done.

One of the projects I am considering involves a web comic, written, drawn, and colored by yours truly. Now, I should mention, I have no real experience in any of this. Writing for comics is a world apart from writing novel length works (and I am still an amateur at that, though moving closer to being a pro). I also have no exceptional artistic talent. Fortunately foe me, this is less of an impediment in comic style drawing, for I need only be able to communicate my idea in whatever rudimentary scrawlings I can. Basically, good enough is good enough.

My thinking here, though, is that I have also tossed around the idea of doing a podcast. Because, hey, everyone should have a podcast (or so I have heard) and I think it could be fun. What if I did a podcast about learning to do a web comic from the ground up, developing drawing techniques, and generally everything that goes into such a venture?

It’s an idea. I may be no good at doing a podcast, and if that turns out to be the case, then I can probably abandon ship without too many people noticing.

All these ideas bouncing around my head… tough to know which to grab and which to let go.

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