Monthly Archives: July 2012

Hiatus

I am going to take a break from the Internets for a while.  Starting tomorrow, I will be A.W.O.L. and seek me as you will, I shall not be found for a few weeks. When I return, posts will continue and I will reply to comments as usual.

What shall I be doing with my time, you ask?

1. Prayer and meditation. There is always the next step, and for a while there have been some things I need to work through before I know which step is next.

2. Writing. Seriously.

3. Silly things like financial planning, scheduling a termite inspection for my home and finding a dentist that doesn’t scare me… much.

4. Masks. I have six in the works and they plead to be finished.

5. Organizing things around my house. All those photographs and papers. I hate papers!

6. Reading. I have several borrowed books that need finishing… or starting.

7. Canada! I will post about that when I get back.

8. Canoeing or kayaking. Jubilare needs water travel. Manni, my dog, has lost his kayaking privileges. Not that I think he minds.

9. Yard work. My poor, poor yard.

10. Making fire-starters. Because, in my family, they are a necessity.

If any of you are in danger of being bored (which seems unlikely), I suggest checking out my links to the right, there.  Eyemaze is dangerous and addictive. TV Tropes can be useful for those of us who write, and amusing for everyone. Lackadaisy is… Lackadaisy.

Also, Hark a Vagrant! has amusing comics, some of which have to do with history and literature. Serious nerd-fodder. For those who like to know, the comic has some “mature content,” just as history and literature do.
This comic introduced me to people such as Emperor Norton! Seriously, look him up!

Au revior!


To the rain on my soul

Redbud with Drops
Photo by Jubilare

The drought that was June has been broken by rain. My home is greening, the trees can drink, and there are beads, brighter than silver, on the leaves.

I am grateful.

Waterpearl
photo by Jubilare

The day before yesterday, without visible reason or explanation, a drought in my soul was quenched as well.  I was doing a job for which I have no fondness and listening to music that I have heard many times before. As I wiped coal-dust from the 1800’s off fragile pages, I realized that my soul was singing and I did not know why. It certainly had nothing to do with the bitter estate-dispute I was cleaning.

I have been praying. For a while, my mind being what it is, I had found it difficult to pray, but in the past few weeks I have pushed on and forced myself to do it. In order to focus, which is difficult for me, I write most of my prayers out. I look at them now, and most are short little nothings, like touching base with a family-member in passing. A complaint here, a thank-you there, a rant or a statement of love. There are many requests for rain, both literal and metaphorical. They are the bare minimum.

Apparently God is willing to answer even small and pathetic attempts to seek Him. For that I am grateful. It is easy to take up the false assumption that only truly great and faithful people are answered by God. Jesus, of course, shows us differently by his behavior, but the false assumption still crops up like a weed to strangle and discourage us from making any effort. “What is the point of doing anything,” I ask myself, “if I can’t do anything worth doing?” “Why pray if I have nothing to say? Why try if I expect to fail?”

But He has placed the answer in my soul, and my soul sings it to me without words. I am unfaithful, and yet He does not abandon me. He seems to value even my attempts at fidelity.

“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love! Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it…”  There are many lines in that hymn that speak to me at this time, but that one is the loudest.

My mother recently said, quite rightly in my experience, that spiritual things come in waves. Others have described mountains and valleys. It is clear, though, that walking with God is anything but monotonous.

I will continue to strive for my soul’s desire.  I know that I will stumble, wander off, get lost and get hurt, though I will try not to fail. I know, also, that I will never be abandoned.  As always, I feel that words fail to do justice to what I mean, but at least language allows me to release some of this fullness in praise.

“Here I raise my ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.”

Water Chain
Photo by Jubilare


The Bots of Insanity!

This photo belongs to the user Khaki on stockvault.net

After a dry spell, I have been targeted by three very interesting bots at once.

Successful Bot: I definitely wanted to construct a small comment in order to express gratitude to you for all of the amazing at this website.

Apart from the 5 subsequent advertizing links which follow your comment, you have indeed constructed a small comment! I think I may have to incorporate “the amazing” into my repertoire of appreciation.

Random Bot: I like what you guys are up also. Such intelligent work and reporting! Carry on the superb works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my web site :). “Royalty has always been an unconscious but all-consuming goal of the European immigrant.” by Vine Deloria, Jr..

You have successfully convinced me that you are a legitimate commenter because your random quote has so much to do with the beautiful photograph of Grotto Falls on which you commented… as if your vagueness and your insistence that I am more than one person are not enough to inspire complete confidence.

Obvious Bot: ZM52x7 Once adsl over isdn blocked initial monarc buterfly fase barbarian world bupropion bells restraints diet syrup disappeared sweating reglan withdrawal agitation slumped ill choosing.

Set down the mangled thesaurus and step away with your hands up!


I’ll try not to do this often

I try to avoid re-blogging, but this was posted over at Wanderlust . As a writer, I find that this contains some good food for thought, and I thought I might as well post Pixar’s Emma Coats 22 guidelines for storytelling, which she apparently posted on Twitter.

Pixar’s 22 Guidelines:

01. You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

02. You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.

03. Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

04. Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

05. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

06. What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

07. Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

08. Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

09. When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

10. Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.

11. Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.

12. Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

13. Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.

14. Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.

15. If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

16. What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

17. No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.

18. You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

19. Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

20. Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?

21. You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?

22. What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

I work in the opposite direction to some of these,  but most of the principles seem to apply anyway, especially those that pertain to the physical act of writing. It’s hard to remember, sometimes, that the doing is far more important than the thinking. Just because thought is an integral part of the process, does not mean that it is the most important part.


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