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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me and A General Checkpoint

Today is my 50th birthday. Or rather, the fiftieth anniversary of my birth. A lot of significance is attached to the years with zeroes...I don't know why, but I do feel that this one is significant, if only because I almost didn't have this one.
It's been a sucky year overall-the good points are far outweighed by the bad, but we'll come out of it all smelling pretty good. My long illness and recuperation will be the means by which I can switch horses and start on a new career path (or paths), and I'm all about getting creative with that.
It's been difficult to get myself into a productive schedule-my insomnia has kicked in again, and the constant state of enervation keeps my energy level pretty low.. I can lie in bed and close my eyes to my heart's content, but morpheus never overtakes me. My mind just keeps running and running, fueled apparently by some odd combination of cabin fever and artistic inspiration. I spend the endless waking moments planning, making to-do lists and plot skeletons or partial skeletons, knitting the threads that will relate those bones to other bones, playing in my mental ipod the pithy lead guitar and melody lines that will break my songs free of their formulae, and haunting the forums.
Yesterday it was made public that myself and another forum moderator were elevated to the role of global mod. A nice lady was told that she is now moderator of the Lounge and Debate sections. While I wouldn't wish that role on anyone, I'll be happy to help steer those conversations in the directions dictated by the site's bylaws. There have been a couple of mentor appointments made recently, and all of them seem to be working out.
I have a couple of projects running there, some goals to shoot for. I've developed more patience this year, probably (okay, almost certainly) the result of my hospitalization. When you can't move and have to depend on other (and rather busy) people to obtain food, water, and basic creature comforts like a urinal or bedpan, you learn to wait.
I've also developed a desire to finish things. I'm a killer starter of projects-I understand perfectly my dear lady's knitter project list. I love most of my things so much that I don't want to end them and keep starting new ones so that I don't have to.
This can lead to aberrations like the 627,448 words of Carcosa (my 2009 NaNoNovel) that I typed up between November '09 and January '11, most of which are completely useless for anything other than cannibalization but were fun to do anyway. That monstrosity grew from the 1999 short story I of the Storm, which had the unique twist of the narrator undergoing transdimensional personality transplant and liking it immensely. I still like the general idea and did a buttload of worldbuilding for it, so I may try it again. That might be a good place for one of my patented themed-short-story groups.
The collection Blue Easter is going along quite well. I'm rewriting all of the principal pieces-"Green", and "Parchment", the original "Blue Easter" novella recast and repurposed, all of those fragments and linkpieces and thinkpieces, and am including the never-public rewrite of "Ghoul Picnic" entitled "The Whispering Trees", and a couple more shorts that I'll sandbag for now.
The webcomic/graphic novel Fear and Loathing in Innsmouth, which runs concurrent with that collection (it was originally intended to be part of it but has developed into a companion piece in terms of chronology), is underway at long last. I've done some of the character sketching and will be debuting that either around Xmas or just after the first of the year.
Those are virtual locks for completion in the next six months, and are on the front burners, along with the blognovel Fallen Earring. That's going to be appearing on my website proper after nanowrimo. I've decided to do a complete rewrite, from scratch, and am doing it as my nanonovel. As soon as I can apply a decent edit, I'm going to put it up in sections. "It" being the version I'm happier with afterward. I'd like to put that novel to bed and get on with the next one in the series, Vermilion Dawn, which I've decided not to do for Nano this year.
I think four finished novels is a good goal to shoot for. It'd be great to post a year from now and say that I had achieved that goal, plus the musical projects. Hell, it'd be a great year.
Aforementioned musical projects: Suite Indigo, Warm Worlds and Otherwise, Cyberpunk Honkytonk are the titles of the three cds I'm planning to issue. Each will have material remastered for inclusion, new tracks/new instrumental parts, and probably new cover art. I'll probably distribute them through reverbnation unless something striking catches my eye. They'll all be available after the first of the year-might stagger the releases from month to month.
I'm finishing up another promotional video project. This time I'm doing voiceover as well as backtrack. Good practice for when I put my own videos together, something I've been mulling over for quite some time.
Here are a couple of the projects I've been associated with:

One of these days I'm going to try scoring my own pieces. I still have in mind to do the narrative of "Ghost Tracks" as a podcast, spoken over the music that inspired the story. I'd just have to figure out exactly how much time it takes to read the story put loud and go from there. That could easily make the front burner for a minute since it would be quickly accomplished.
That's all for now. Lotta stuff since I haven't been posting much lately. Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Watch the Birdie

 This is a flash fiction that was submitted to the Literary Maneuvers contest at Writing Forums. It has been edited since that appearance and is slightly altered.

There's a golf game playing on the television. The others are either dozing or harmonizing with Mr. Bird. Bird wants to know if the outside nest has an outside nest. It's known that there are boundaries, because Herbie and Junior have both been out, and everyone saw them fall and heard the sound of them hitting the wall.

"The wall, the wall," the chorus croons, "it's the end of the world, and it's near."

Herbie sings-"I can plainly see. It is clear to me."

The chorus peeps-"He can plainly see what is yet to be..."

Junior warbles-"Look to the right at the source of the light. For you've been granted sight to assist your flight."

The chorus tweets-"Look to the right to the light."

It is clear that the light comes in through a pane,as the mirror pane that shows you yourself when you stand before it, but without anything behind it.

You mention this-"When you look to the right there's a nest outside. The light comes in through a mirror that's clearer."

The chorus chirps-"A mirror that's clearer is clearly superior.."

Preening is.

The bigger featherless has been making something that looks like a new nest. That it was a nest had been the subject of the last improversation. Everyone is hoping that the two nests will become one.

He's moving it closer. Now it's right in front of the twin nests.

The hand comes in and begins to quest, everyone dodging and tweeting location. The young ones go first. Your brother Herbie, who had been in the middle nest, is clutched, and you see him in the new nest. Then the hand comes in and chases you around until you're caught!

Your beak digs into flesh and your talons clutch and your wings desperately try to open. You bite down hard, hoping to make the big featherless let go, and it WORKS and your wings really do open and flap and you're in the AIR OUTSIDE THE NEST and you see another clearer mirror and you head for it hoping that there's a hole in it somewhere and you can just keep on flying until you're away and you flap and you flap and you flap and on the television, a golfer is on the fairway near the right-hand bunker and is attempting to reach the green with a 5-iron. He winds up and the head of his golf club hits the ball with a thwack! as you flap one more time and bounce. Your beak and claws clink! on the glass.

"He's by the window," says the smaller featherless as the bigger makes haste and recovers you. He takes you to the new nest.

You rush to sit beside your brother and begin to compose while the rest of the flock are brought to the nest. Your father Huey is preening, proud, and Lady Bird your mother sits erect beside him. Huey is percussion, rhythm, and he brings a little extra swing to his beats.

"If you hit the wall, then you're bound to fall," you begin.

Mr. Bird ripostes-"This much we do know, but what about the window? Where does the window go?"

And you answer-"Where the window goes, we still don't know, but the resulting fall is the same as the wall. There's just no hole in the window so there's nowhere to go. If you hit the glass then you'll hit your ass fast."

Preening is. 

Together is joy.

"I wonder what they say when they're all singing like that," says the smaller featherless, looking at you, the flock.

"Impossible to know," answers the larger featherless, watching the golfer sink the third shot of a par four, a 25-foot putt. The golfer preens too.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Open Season

Greetings. I'm moderan.
Ok, so you're moderan. Whoop-de-doo, you say, and rightly so. Who is this guy? Why would I read his stuff? What else is there to do here?
Well, by way of maybe answering-I write horror and science fiction and sometimes unholy combinations of the two. Quite a few of my things have been commercially published. Some of them even have my name on them.
I've been writing short stories since I was seven or eight years old. Before that, I had done a couple of comics. I was an early Marvel zombie, and had a bad fan-reaction to an issue of Daredevil that had the Stilt-Man as a villain.
Dr. Strange got me onto Lovecraft. The Fantastic Four got me into science fiction. I still love the cosmic stuff best.
In school, I wrote a lot. I performed monster stories, copping the idea from Ellison. I write songs and hummed them on the way to school. I took electronic organ and accordion lessons. Neither instrument really took, though I can still play either one if I have to. School wasn't for me. I was bored and disruptive and spent most of my time in the hall with my nose shoved into a book or in the library searching out new books. And scribbling in my notebook.
Anthologies with Lovecraft in them led me down strange paths in the dark. I painted eyes on fences, wore saffron robes, endured the attentions of Enoch. Dangerous Visions and Again, to which I was directed to by the Avengers, set me on a course for known and unknown space, where I met Gully Foyle and Paul Atreides and Valentine Michael Smith.
I wrote. I read. In sixth grade, I took a speed-reading course. Aces. I can read a novel in the time it takes most people to watch the movie. School became completely unnecessary in my eyes. Once I had read the textbook, I knew where the lessons were going. The rest was just waiting.
I suck at waiting.
The guitar finally captured my attention at twelve or so. It took a couple more years before I was to have my own, but I always had access to one by then. I liked to play the bass (still do).
It was to be many years before I was any good at six-string. I kept at it, though. My first good guitar was an Epiphone Coronet, red with a white pick guard, and a matching amp. That gear would be worth a couple of K right now. I kept the amp for a long time. I had to give the guitar to an acquaintance because I broke his, falling over it while trying to get my drunken ass into the bed in the dark.
Got hold of a fantastic bass from a friend's brother, a Guild M-85.

That bass was my friend for many years. I preferred it to both of the Rickenbackers and all three of the Fenders I've had over the years.
Mostly, I just screwed around. I recorded some rudimentary stuff at times, and there were times when I wanted to do more, but it just didn't work out that way for a long while.
At some point, I found myself a member of a cover band, doing the bass pulses of popular hard-rock hits and slipping in the occasional original. That band was together for a very long time, playing on weekends and practicing on Tuesdays. We were tight enough to have Zappa-like style-change hand signals and to have developed a series of comedy routines and tv show cover versions to keep the audience engaged while someone was tuning up, or throwing up, or something.
To shorten that story, I learned how to play the damn thing, and made serious inroads into keyboards, drums, and best of all, production. I had gotten to do the dial-twiddling.
Just as that was getting good, and starting to pay off rather handsomely, it all ended, and in tears. Other areas of my life changed as well. I stopped being a programmer and went back into the transporation business. I wrote a couple of novels in there.
I started driving cars for a living. Limos, cabs. Cabs are better cuz you don't have to wear a monkeysuit. The hours are shorter too.
When I couldn't drive any more, or needed a change, I did other stuff. I managed a telemarketing office, sold and installed windows, cooked in a great variety of restaurants, washed cars. I got by, but didn't do a great deal creatively until I got the internet.
That restored my interest in writing. I did an interactive novel (it's since been lost). Multiple endings, with characters you could write emails to and get incorporated into the story. A couple more novels followed, made in the classic sense, by lashing several related short stories together.
About nine or ten years ago, I wrote a bunch of Cthulhu Mythos stories and edited/webmastered an ezine called Letters from Outside.
After that, I spent some years making music, mostly. I wrote some rpg stuff at panhistoria, heading up a few novels there until I blew town when the site went down for a while. RPG wasn't as fun as I would have liked it to be. I did come up with some good recurring characters for my cast, though.
The music is archived at AcidPlanet.
I've thrice successfully completed NaNoWriMo. Two of those novels are possibly salvageable and parts of them may well appear in this space. I'm planning to do it again this year.
I play guitar and compose (and record the results). You can hear some of that at ReverbNation (or in the sidebar). I'll be adding more soon. My music is mostly hard rock with progressive tendencies and a generous infusion of electronic space-rock. Some jazz too. The stuff is almost all instrumental at this point.
I'm just starting work on a webcomic, based on a novella I wrote ten years ago.It'll probably have a soundtrack.
Earlier this year, I went through a near-fatal bout with pneumonia and complications. I'm recuperating, and can't work a real job for a bit. I'll need to entertain myself. I may as well entertain you as well.

My better half has a blog here at Blogger-Knitting Kitties. She has a lot of information there about when and why I was sick, in among the knitting stuff and pictures of cute pets. We have a lot of animals.