As I sit here at my desk on this last day of 2013, I find myself reflecting on a positive year as a creative artist. I’ve published a collection of flash fiction. I wrote three Enchanted Forest stories, including a draft of the first novel in that series. I’ve made progress in other stories in the Hopper, and I’ve let go of some poisoned fruit without taking a bite. Oh, and my writers’ group has published its second collection, in which resides my creepy-crawly horror story.
I’ve also upgraded my writing space with a second monitor so I can see my drafts and my notes at the same time, and I’ve cleaned up my desk so I can have more space for its top purpose. It also keeps my son’s paper-shredding hands from creating an unintentional disaster; speaking of the little boy, I also consider it an achievement that I’ve not only maintained a (mostly) consistent writing schedule while being an involved dad with a full-time day job, but I seem to be creatively thriving. Perhaps it’s a matter of inspiration.
In keeping with this upswing, I spent a little time in December crafting my professional resolutions for the coming year. They’re not so much changes as they are enhancements and extensions of what I’m already working on. I offer them up here in the hopes that my artistic audience might see something intriguing which they can adapt to their own creative processes.
- Keep your desk organized. Little ones have curious hands, first of all. Second, as a multifaceted writer I need to keep myself organized. Third, the desk is for writing and related business, and shouldn’t be used for storage, staging, etc. Lastly, I’m more comfortable when I’m not all cramped up in a fraction of the big desk love so much.
- Stay off the internet. Mornings are for writing, not errands, shopping, hockey scores, and so on. I can wake up and warm up with my journal and a pen, which keeps my mind as loose as my hand (heh-heh…)
- Send it out. Make time in the evenings/days off/weekends to get my work out there, or I’ll never make a living off writing. That would be a shame.
- Write every day. I will be accountable to myself in terms of page count/writing time. That means getting up on-time every day, regardless of outside factors. If that doesn’t happen, I will make the time later the same day for writing.
- Promote myself. Use Buffer daily to maintain a consistent and time-independent presence online. Create and update a list of blog topics, which I will make time to post once per week minimum.
Here’s hoping your 2014 is looking as bright and shiny as mine! Happy New Year!
My dear friends, if you’re free on a Sunday night a couple weeks hence, I’m happy to report I’m on the bill for the monthly Waterline Writers literary event I volunteer at. I’ll be reading “The Turkey Incident” from my recent collection Thong Sized Stories, which is perfect because it’s a Thanksgiving story…a weird one, but still thematically fitting.
I’m hoping to give away a copy of the book at the event, and I’ll also have some for sale, so be sure to get there at by 7pm. Admission is free. There’s also gourmet snacks and wine, also for free.
Yep, you read that right: free booze! Hope to see you in Batavia at Water Street Studios.
Hannibal by Thomas Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is one of those books which I’m sure came with very high expectations, sort of like the second Matrix movie. It winds up being very different from its famous predecessor [b:The Silence of the Lambs|23807|The Silence of the Lambs (Hannibal Lecter, #2)|Thomas Harris|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327895517s/23807.jpg|22533], but y’know, that’s not a bad thing. Just unexpected, perhaps to a jarring degree.
This is a horror story, not a thriller. It’s about making choices, manipulation of weaker people, and an exploration of the psyche of a very inhuman killer. It’s slower than Silence, and the procedural part of Harris’s writing takes a bit of a backseat to darker recesses of politics and obsession. In short, I don’t know that there’s a “good guy” in this novel, which I suppose puts it on a level with Game of Thrones/Song of Ice & Fire.
I found myself rooting for Dr Lecter as an anti-hero. If there’s anybody besides Clarice Starling we get involved with, it’s him, and dammit, he’s fascinating in the gory way of a bad train-on-bus crash. By the time I turned the final pages, I didn’t know how I wanted things to end. That’s a good thing, a solid, challenging thing in popular literature, and it forgives some passages of jerky-jerky narration when Harris assumes his readers are as versed in the intricacies of madness as he obviously is. Sometimes it pulled me out of the magic of the story, making me re-read or infer where I should’ve been led via context through the technical schtuff. I guessed at motives behind actions, and I also found some of the dialogue, especially between the supporting cast, to be full of conversations with just a tad too much left unsaid, and so meaning is lost.
Bottom line, 4/5. If you haven’t read or seen Silence, make sure you do before reading this. I was creeped out, I had fun, and I’m ultimately left feeling like Harris reached toward greatness with this one and found his arm was just an inch or two short.
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