500 and 1 Words At A Time: Drifiting

Prior to college…

I had a regular schedule for writing and working. I wrote everyday roughly two thousand words. Not saying they were good words, but I wrote them. Around writing was house work and work work. Mostly house work. I liked my schedule, there was time for me to do what I wanted to do and what I needed to do. Prior to college, I was able to find work as a writer.

College…

I also had a regular schedule of classes and the writing was all around the classes. Again, not saying the writing was good, but again I wrote them. Around college writing was more college writing and wedged between all of the college writing was something for me, usually this blog or around 500 words. There was very little time to do what I wanted to do writing wise and what time there was never went the way I wanted it to…way to many project started and abandoned because yet another semester was starting.

Post college…

I do not have a schedule. I am wandering and drifting. Oh sure, I have a schedule of sorts, but despite waiting five years for this time to arrive I have not gotten back into the Prior College schedule of writing. In fact, I do not do nearly as much writing as I would like to or at least think I would like to. However, I am happier with the writing I am doing now versus the writing during Prior College phase. The quality, in my opinion, has gone up noticeably. This makes me happy.

But…there is always a but, even though I am happier with my writing and the quantity is slowing going up there is another casualty of the post college no schedule phase I am in, this blog. During college, this blog along with all of my other blogs had a schedule. The schedule was determined in part by my school schedule and the schedule of a school year. Regular readers knew roughly when my “first of the year” post would be and when “holiday plans” would be and so on.

Of late, there hasn’t been much of a schedule. I hadn’t noticed, but when a good friend pointed it out I took a look…sure enough, I have been writing a lot more “this is how I feel today” posts than posts with a point or about something. The recent fiction posts are helping give the blog a new shape I want, but I have not been regular with them. I’m hoping with today’s post that changes.

I wrote out and then printed out a weekly topic schedule for me to start following until it becomes a natural state or organically changes into something else that has a schedule. I am also going to work harder to post at a regular time, something I was really good at a few months ago and stress to everyone I teach blogging too. I had no idea, how much post college phase would affect my writing, but there it is…I have been drifting. I am to stop that. No way for me to find regular work as a writer if I cannot get myself under control.

Starting next week…

here is what you can expect:

Monday: Fiction

Tuesday: Life

Wednesday: Food or Games

Thursday: Fiction

Friday: 500 and 1 Words At A Time

Saturday: Food or Games

Sunday: Life

500 and 1 Words At A Time is the follow up to 500 Words At A Time and will be about my struggles, experiences, etc. all on being and becoming a writer post college…I hope it is not a horror story. 🙂

Pulling Everything Together

If there is one skill from college that I am putting to use it is transference of notes from one media to another. Now that I have identified the notes I want to work with I am taking them from the various, over a dozen, notebooks and one very full vanilla folder, to a file on the computer.

Another skill being put to use is creating an organized document. I could have typed in notes without any organization or thought to the future, but thank you classes, I have been creating headers and pages, and so on; essentially creating a publishable/printable/searchable document on the fly. Very nice.

I have to say I am surprised by some of the things I am finding, there are extensive notes on each of the species, such as herg or cymean. I knew these things, as a concept, but I forgot how much I wrote and drew. There are pages of notes on culture, language, religion, iconography, and even a few notes on entertainment. A long time ago when I was actively working to write my own role-playing game these notes would have been what set my system or at least setting aside a different from other who still use bare bones descriptions.

Today, the notes are being put to use towards fleshing out characters, work on the setting book, and giving me a lot of ideas of other stories and characters I can create. Speaking of characters, I am not a good character namer…yeah, I wrote that…I found tons of unused names, character descriptions, illustrations (doodles but I wanted to sound fancy), and plots. Strange how much effort I put into something.

Going over the notes I can see where one idea lead to another and where separate spin-off ideas came from; always interesting to see how my mind works (or in this case worked). I can see a lot of ideas were one-shot ideas with a definitive start and end point. These have been fun to read over. There are ideas that never seemed to get beyond the page they were on and ideas that were just that ideas for…something.

Pulling it together is nice. Pulling it together with a greater understanding of writing, publishing, selling, organization, and other skills learned over the past five years, great.

Here is a sample from my notes

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General Notes

  1. Information is easy to access, search, and obtain. Privacy and security are two different concepts for people, privacy is something many assume they have as they post information constantly. Security is something corporations and the government strive to have complete control over.
  2. Stroud is always in motion, there is no “down time,” at a minimum electronic and holo ads run non-stop all over the city, especially around businesses and hot spots.
  3. Cyberware or mechanical augmentation is common enough to go unnoticed. Nano-augmentation is latest tech and not in hands of any other than corps and military for testing.
  4. Information access is in every device and easy to use. This does not mean people have access to all information, but the trending/popular/quick searches are what most people get and use as information/knowledge. Deep searches still take time.
  5. Vehicles are “smart” self-drive, collision avoidance, accident survival systems, ground-hover-flight capable (most are one or two modes at most).
  6. Magic does exist…to what extent is to be determined

 

That’s A Lot Of Notes

Prior to college, I wrote a lot. I spent a vast amount of my writing time creating a world and a city, Stroud, for a game system that has yet to be created by myself. Not that I haven’t given creating a system a try…cough fifteen systems…I find writing setting information more fun and useful. Witness, setting information can be used for gaming or for writing stories. A game system is only useful if there is someone, other than me, using it.

During college, I did not write much at all, that was not an assignment. Too much time spent on college and the things that go with college. Free time and an office have presented me with the opportunity to write once again. You may have read some, see here if you have not. You may also recall a recent post where I talked about all of the notebooks I found. Today was a reckoning of sorts for many of those notebooks.

Working on Puddles and Whiskers, alongside other stories, got me pulling out notes about Stroud and the world where Stroud exists. The more notes I pulled, the more I realized how much information I have on Stroud and the world. Unfortunately, that information is in dozens of notebooks. This will not do.

And that is why I spent my day culling notes from notebooks to create a Stroud Guide. Definitely not a fast project, but a useful one as I have stumbled across notes for location, scenes, characters, and story arcs I had forgotten about. There have been other surprises as well, such as the page of quotes from professors and this…

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this was a…if I read my notes right, a game idea…and a bunch of fun doodles. I think the game idea was for character generation where players had a choice of parts to put together. At least that is what it looks like. Based on the pages, I worked this idea for a couple of days, going so far to create a base layout for pieces and some sample card locations. Then again, the card locations may have been for another game. Who knows, I surely don’t. Some of the notes are from college, most are from pre-college.

Now I have a stack of papers with post it note flags of many colors on them for me to turn into useful information. I also have a larger stack of papers with nothing but garbage on them, notes from classes, notes for grocery lists, random numbers and such.

Other than revisiting the past to make a new future, I took some photos of the great day while waiting on the kids to get out of school. Enjoy.

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This Satisfies My Tummy

HomeIt has been a long time since I have felt like I was being a good parent. Say what you want, but I, in the capacity of parent, have not felt like I am doing my job. Which job, you might be asking? Providing a home for my children where they can do the things that kids do without having to unnecessarily worry about their safety. Our campus home was not safe for children to play.

No one will ever be able to convince me otherwise. Too many years of watching cars race in and out of the court. Too many years of watching parents let their children wander around the court unwatched and watching children get in trouble and injured with no parents around. Too many years of watching the drug dealer operate and grounds destroy what little bit of nature existed around us. Too many years…

Home 2Two days here and I feel better. The children want to go outside. My initial response is NO. That was the only answer on campus housing. Now my answer is YES, with the caveats that they avoid the fire pit and screaming too loudly. They run around as only kids can having fun. It is in a word, amazing to watch. And watch I do, not because I am worried some college fucktard will race across our yard, but because standing outside, something else that was rare before, is fun and feels great.

While the kids play, we continue work on making a home. The kitchen, as I spoke about yesterday, is at a place where I can cook and reorganize at the same time. Today we started work on the laundry room, office/library, and our bedroom began. Barb and our girl installed the washer and dyer, after overcoming the problem of getting three legs of the right size and one way too long. Our boy, ever eager to demonstrate that his is a master builder, has been building ever shelving unit we have. I have to admit, I am impressed. He works fast, asks for assistance when he needs it, and follows the instructions well. All of those years of Legos have paid off.

All in all, pretty good so far. Sure there is a lot of work to do around here, both ours and the relators, but everyone is pulling their weight and then some to make this place a home.

Home 3On our way home with a load of supplies we saw a family restaurant. Best decision of the day to stop in at Sharon’s Country Restaurant. Right down the road from us, from both old and new house, Sharon’s does not standout from the road. If you have a desire for home cooked food, good prices, excellent service, and good portions stop in they are open until 10pm. French Dip made with actual pieces of roast beef, cheese and mushroom omelet huge, and so on. Each meal was delicious. The owner took our order and she is great with kids and parents, showing the kids similar meals to what they wanted that gave them more and cost us less.

This is definitely satisfying our tummies in more way than one. 🙂

Plans, Puke…What Else Begins With P?

Plans.

I like to make plans.

I am one of those type-something people.

What is the type-something who likes to make plans and watch them get blown out of the water and then scramble to make new plans? Whatever type-something that is, I am that one. Just don’t label me. 🙂

When you know that you will have multiple days in a row to do stuff, say your wife has three days off, what do you do? I know what we did, we made plans to do stuff. Nothing major, just some local fun stuff (local as defined by the pre-established fact that most things are an hour away in any direction). Stupid stuff to brighten our moods after yet another week of “please be patient with the process” while the university and rightly so has been “please get out soon.”

So we planned last night. Yesterday was supposed to be day one, but that quickly got blown out of the water as we had to reassure the university that we are going to leave and please don’t kick us out, deal with the bank…suffice to say that conversation went no where because “it’s a process”…take back bottles (normally our summer money, this time a pain in the ass because who wants to move $40 in cans, not us) and finally deal with some packing around here. On that end, PROGRESS multiple bags and boxes from the kids. WOOT WOOT…did I just write that? Maybe I am not dealing with the stress…crap.

Did I mention the university turned off the internet? Not our internet, but all internet to fix it. Awesome good for them and that was the other reason we wanted to get out and have some fun. Back to the plan: go to bed early, get up early, get ready, and go. How hard could it be?

Another stress induced nightmare has me up at 6 am. There is get up early and then there is that. I haven’t gotten up from a stress induced nightmare that early since college…fine around 60 days ago, but my point being I got up too early. However, since the internet was working at that time I did some internet stuff. And finally, I feel asleep on the couch…

…to be woken up by early wake up; i.e. 9:30am when everyone was supposed to wake up, but I was not awake. I did that already and was not ready for this second wake up. Showers start. I start to wake up. Then trouble begins. It was a subtle trouble, at first I thought the feeling in the air was my foul mood due to double early wake up, but it wasn’t.

Our girl came down from her shower first, but she took hers second…huh? Where was the boy? Call up to him, “Almost” “Be done in a second” “Blah blah” and so on until I Dad Voiced Him to come downstairs so we could get going (at this point the interwebs had been turned off). He shows up in the living room, turns paper white, and bolts for the bathroom where he pukes up everything.

Shit.

Being a good dad and not wanting to waste the plans, I volunteer to stay home with the puking child, not something even remotely new to me, and everyone else go out. Some assurances that I don’t mind, I don’t other than the stank of puke (turned up the air fresheners) and everyone took off for what I hope has been a day of fun. Me, while the interwebs were out and between pukes, I wrote and slept.

 

 

Post, Chip, Dent, and Bush, A Memorium

This is a post about a post. A wooden bicycle post to be exact. Post stood his post guarding our porch and allowing the rare bike to rest against him for five years. Post was the one thing we knew we could count on to do its job every year no matter what the conditions. Post did his job well. We thought we would be saying our farewells to Post when we finally moved. One last pat on the top of Post’s post…

Post 1Alas, not to be. Yesterday, in the prime of his life as a post, Post was mercilessly cut down. The only warning, a buzzing sound followed by a plaintive hollow wood sound as Post hit the ground. Post was the one thing in this court that did his job without fail. Cement ashtray did not, cigarette butts still outnumber leaves on the ground. Weirdly placed bench did not either, nobody has ever sat on Weirdly Placed Bench.

Post did.

Each winter when the grounds crew inexplicably put students in the driver’s seat of snow plows Post was there to protect our porch as best he could. Post’s post kept the worst of the plowing from ending up on our porch and prevented the snow plow drivers from ramming into the side of our porch displacing it into the front yard.

Post 3This is Chip. Chip used to be a corner of second step of porch. Our first winter here, the snow plow racing down the court pushing a giant pile of snow crashed into second step, birthing Chip. As you can see Chip is quite large, he used to be much smaller, but each year another crash and another growth spurt for Chip.

Post 2This is Dent. Dent is not as old as Chip, three years old if I remember right. Dent was born when a snow plow hit second step, poor second step. Not convinced that the plow stopped for a reason the driver backed up and hit second step not once, not twice, but thrice birthing Dent. Dent has had a hard knock life, growing much faster than Chip.

Post 4This is Bush. I know Bush looks like a tree, but Bush…there used to be a bush where Bush is. Our first winter, a snow plow pushed bush from there over to there (I know you cannot see, but it is a far distance away). The grounds crew seeing the empty spot and trail of dirt decided to plant Bush. Except they did not tell anyone not to hit Bush. Very next day, snow plow hits Bush giving him his characteristic lean. Bush is a good egg (tree) as he has snow piled on top of him every year and he weathers the piling without complaint, just a little more lean the following year.

Post is gone. Shortly after I snapped the photo Post was taken away. I have no idea where, but I said my goodbyes and when we leave I will wish the porch well because without Post there for protection who knows where porch will end up.

Whispers of College, A Special Horror Story

“Isn’t there homework you should be doing.”

That sentence or variation of that sentence bounces around my skull at least once a day since graduation. With each passing day the voice gets quieter. In those quiet moments I have now I can still hear the voice reminding me or was it pressuring me that something was due or about to be due or shouldn’t I be doing something? I don’t know. I know I have no homework.

Yet..

“Isn’t there an assignment due?”

Two nights ago I woke up in a cold sweat worried that I missed an assignment. I have no assigned work anymore. I won’t until after the move. I have things I want to do and the fact of having so much to do keeping me from doing all of them in a day is another post or three for a later date. My point, there is no school work seems to be lost on my brain.

“Did you study for that exam?”

What exam? Nobody is testing me for anything or about anything. People take my word now. I am a graduate. That means something. I spent the last five years obtaining a degree is what that means. Still people take my word and it feels nice not to get that raised eyebrow or “really?” after I say something. I’m not sure I could study for anything right now. I am done for a bit.

“There might be an important email. Check your college email?”

What the hell? Seriously voices in my head, shut up! I am done as an undergraduate. There is no important class or graduation related emails anymore. What if I was wrong? What if there is an important email waiting for me and I haven’t read it. And I find myself checking my college email. Are coupons to Buffalo Wild Wings important? Possibly.

“Who are those people moving in?”

Five years of watching move outs and more importantly move ins and I cannot break the habit. I used to be looking for the trouble makers, a life time of being a trouble maker has given me a keen eye for identifying them and I was not wrong once over the last five years. But I’m done. We are done. We are waiting to find a place. Waiting is the wrong word, but what else do you call that period between one place and another? I never found the right word, thus waiting. I don’t care who is moving in, even when some of them are carrying most of a hydroponic set-up for growing weed in a basement. Nope, I don’t care. I’m not supposed to be here. Yet, here I am and I can’t stop being here in more ways than one.

“Did you read that chapter?”

What chapter? What book? I tried to read a book for fun yesterday, but stopped when I pulled out a highlighter, pen, and pad of paper to take notes. Mission Earth does not have an exam at the end nor a lecture I need to refer to in order to get the most out of it. What the hell is going on? Have I been indoctrinated into a lifestyle or cult that I cannot yet escape?

“Due date…”