Thursday, January 31, 2008

My god! It's time for an update...

In my defense, there have been several factors keeping me from posting:

1. It snowed two weeks ago. This would normally not be a blog deterrent, but one of the lovely old trees in our backyard had evidently been strangled to death by the creeping ivy wending its way up the tree's gnarly trunk and was simply waiting for an opportune time to topple over and destroy as much as it could with its rotting corpse. Unfortunately, brought down by the weight of wet Southern snow and thick ice, it fell directly on our house (without passing Go or collecting $200, not that a tree would really need that much money, ever) and killed the internet connection, not to mention the gutters and part of the roof. Charter, being entrenched in the infinite wisdom of complete and total idiocy, says they won't fix the internet until the roof is fixed. So, the only place I have to access the internet (and subsequently update my blog) is at work. Which you all know is one of those places that is truly supportive of recreational internet usage while you're supposed to be businessifying your day. NOT.

2. I contracted some strain of what I believe to be the bubonic plague (or something of the like) and spent nearly a week and a half coughing up chunks of lung, staring blankly at the TV, taking my temperature roughly five thousand times to make SURE I really did have a fever of 102.8 and basically wishing for death. Death is a great sleep aid, or so I've heard, and the fever and chills and coughing and hacking and snorting and all the other disgustingly glamorous things that happen when you get whatever I got quite efficiently kept me from sleeping. I missed four days of work (unheard of), went to the doctor TWICE, took ten billion milligrams of antibiotic, drank a tanker truck's worth of cranberry-apple juice, and searched in vain for cartoons in the horrifying land of daytime TV talk shows. (Oprah... please do me the very great honor of kissing my ass.) On a side note, during the third day of wishing for death I found the old Disney cartoon movie of Robin Hood, which I'd loved as a kid (Foxy Robin was so dashing! I wanted to be just like him when I was a kid). After about fifteen minutes of listening to the silly songs and watching Prince John suck his thumb I was out like a light and slept like a baby for at least three hours.

3. I'm daunted by this blog sometimes because I feel like it's really a I-had-cereal-for-breakfast kind of blog, and when I look back over some of the posts, I feel like it's boring, and what's the point of writing boring shit? However, this is a way of me keeping in touch with friends and so on, so I wanted to update and let y'all know I'm not dead. I've also decided I'm going to start posting more informational and opinionated entries, so expect the coming weeks and months to be a little different from the norm (hopefully, anyway).

So that's it, kids. Oh, and because of the illness and lack of internet the 50 submissions goal is kind of at a standstill, but I haven't put it aside. I'm still trying for it, dammit. AND, one bright spot in the universe is that I'm writing some again. I finally cornered my muse and forced her to speak to me. The result is a rather violent piece that's still currently under construction, and it involves a psycho who has an old calvary sword from his great-grandfather who was in the Civil War (that's the War of Northern Agression for all you Rebs out there), and has decided to carve up some people with it. Yay, yippee!! I missed writing about crazy people.

Take care, all. I'll post again as soon as I can.

Monday, January 14, 2008

New goal

I've started a new endeavor for 2008. Not a New Year's resolution, per se... more of a goal for the year.

I've harbored the desire to be a professional writer for most of my life. I've taken writing classes, gone to arts school, entered in contests and won. In college, I was granted a scholarship for my writing. But even though I'm now in my thirties I still haven't been published. I'm still working some Corporate America office job, marking off the hours in the day, watching my life disappear minute by minute. I hate it here. I hate the mundane inanity of it, the way it sucks the life out of you, one spreadsheet at a time.

But I believe I have the ability to eventually shake free of these bonds. I've decided that there's absolutely no reason why I should continue on down the same path I've been laying for so long, career-wise. So, I've made an initiative for myself to get published in 2008.

Now, I don't mean publish a book (not yet, anyway). The writing business is much like any other - you have to get your publishing creds, prove to agents and editors that you have the chops for the industry, before you can really consider getting published in a serious, money-making way. The more creds you have, the more likely you are to get a paying gig. So the best way to break into the business is send out pieces of writing and do your best to get them published. The more you send out, the more likely it is that you'll get published. It's a statistical inevitability.

So, my goal for this year is to send out 50 submissions to publications around the country. That may seem overly optimistic, but if you break it down it comes to one submission a week. And it's not fifty pieces we're talking about here - as soon as one piece is rejected by a publication, I'll put it right back into rotation and send it to another - just 50 subs. I've already sent out my first sub, cast the first stone into the water. Let's hope that the ripples from that throw ultimately change the course of my life for the better.

The writers' group I meet with on a weekly basis has agreed to march right along with me this year and do their individual bests to meet this goal as well. I hope we can all stick to it.

I'll post occasionally on the progress of my goal, but I don't plan to write much about it here. If you'd like to see how things are going, I've set up a blog that the other members of the group post to as well. So far, there are only four posts, but after all, it IS only the third week of January. The blog address is Check it out if you like.

Wish me luck, guys.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Better late than never... Happy 2008!

I'm baaaaaaack...

It's been forever, so I forced myself to make time this morning to update the blog on what's been going on. We had a great holiday, though it seemed to fly by. Christmas was OK for the most part. The day after Christmas, though, Erin's dad fell in our house and the poor man broke his ankle literally in half. He also tore all of the ligaments in his upper thigh. He's currently hanging out in the Greenville Memorial rehabilitation center and making the nurses crazy. They expect to release him soon, though.

The high point of the holidays was the New Year's party we had. My GOD! What a great party. There were 15 people, which doesn't sound like a lot, but our house is very small, so it seemed like the place was pretty crowded. It was chilly (around 38 degrees), so we borrowed a big industrial space heater from one of Erin's aunts and put it on the back porch for the smokers (and to increase our space). The back deck was lined in white Christmas lights, so that plus the heater made everything out there really beautiful. Inside we didn't decorate much, but we did have a great spread of food - brownie cheesecake bars, cranberry brie bites, cheese balls, ham dip, chex mix, chicken empanadas, the works. We made everything ourselves, too. And we had souvenirs for our guests to take home - we found champagne flutes imprinted with stars and a gold "2008", and we put silver, gold and black beads in the flutes along with a sparkly noisemaker and some silver and gold star confetti. We passed them out to everyone at 11:45 or so, and then we provided a champagne toast at midnight (everything else was BYOB). We bought five bottles of champagne for the party, and once the inital toast was given, I gave one of our friends the title of "champagne fairy" and asked her to keep the glasses filled until the champagne was gone. There was music, silliness, dancing, and a whole lot of laughter. It may go down in my personal history as one of the greatest parties ever.

In other news, I've decided to make an initiative this year towards finally getting my fiction published. I've planned out a fairly agressive campaign that, hopefully, will end with me having sent out 50 submissions by the year's end. That's one sub a week, so it shouldn't be impossible. I figure that statistical probability is on my side - if I send out 50 subs, at least ONE person is going to like my work, right? So, here's hoping. I'll update on that periodically.

Everything else is the same old, same old. But on New Year's Eve I toasted with several people that this was "OUR year", so maybe soon, things will change and I'll have more exciting or interesting things to post about. Well, here's hoping.

Happy belated New Year, all!