October 23, 2009

I've been somewhat remiss on working in journals lately. Autumn and Spring do that to me, I guess. I'm too busy getting things done to sit down and write about it. I haven't written in my personal, handwritten journal since this summer. I've learned, over many years of keeping journals, that I'm just not the sort to record every single thing that happens to me every single day. My dad was. He wrote something every day, even if it was just a quick weather and health report. I've found that I'm much more successful if I just write whenever I have the urge.

I have been busy, however. This week I finished "Father Patrice Hears Confession", my Louisiana werewolf story, polished it up a bit, and sent it out into the wild. Hopefully I'll get a sale on it before Christmas. We'll see.

Some news to report as well. I've decided to move this blog over to WordPress. I've been thinking about it for a while now, researching a bit and reading what other people who use it have to say, and I think it will be a nice fit for where I'd like to go with this blog. I imagine I'll keep this one live, as an archive, if nothing else. Of course I'll link back, and send out an announcement when I've made the change.

In the meantime, Autumn marches on, even down here in the semi-tropics. It's a bittersweet time for me - on the one hand I love the relief from the oppressive heat of August and September, but it's the start of the time when I'm cold (literally, my hands and feet are freezing) all the time. I can never seem to warm up in winter, no matter how many layers I pile on. It's a constant battle to keep my blood circulating to all my extremities properly. So, while I love the season, I hate the cold.

We do, I'd like to point out, get some beautiful fall color down here in Louisiana, despite what many think. We just get it much, much later than our neighbors to the north. Whereas their leaves begin to turn in September, we usually have to wait until November before things begin to get colorful around here. In the meantime I've been perusing garden blogs from more northern climes, hearing about early snowfalls and enjoying their beautiful foliage pictures. When our leaves begin to turn, I'll post some pictures of my own.

In the meantime, here are a few pictures of interesting mushrooms I snapped at the Renovation Project last weekend. We've had an unusually wet October around here - it's normally our driest month - and as a result, lots of interesting fungi have been sprouting up.

23 October 2009

in time of daffodils

in time of daffodils

in time of daffodils(who know

the goal of living is to grow)

forgetting why. remember how

in time of lilacs who proclaim

the aim of waking is to dream,

remember so(forgetting seem)

in time of roses(who amaze

our now and here with paradise)

forgetting if, remember yes

in time of all sweet things beyond

whatever mind may comprehend,

remember seeks(forgetting find)

and in a mystery to be

(when time from time shall set us free)

forgetting me, remember me

- e.e. cummings (1894-1962), American poet

Thanks to Helen Yoest of Gardening With Confidence.

09 October 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

Goodbye, Necrography.

Got an email today informing me of the demise of yet another small print 'zine. I'd submitted to them in the past, but ended up pulling my story because the lag time was far, far too long...

I'm not sure what the formula for a successful start-up is, 'cause I've obviously got no experience in that area, but I will say that as a writer I was kind of offended when they announced their last-ditch survival effort a few weeks ago:

Because of this, we're implementing a new submission policy. It's very simple. If you buy a copy of Necrography, then submit your work, we guarantee it will be read and reviewed with the utmost attention and you'll get a quick and personal response in a very timely manner. If, however, you submit to Necrography without buying a copy, we can't guarantee we'll respond to your submission or even read it in the first place. This submission policy will be in place when (and if) we re-open submissions again.
Now, I can appreciate a lack of money as much as the next starving artist, and I surely can imagine the pain of submissions that far outstrip advertising or subscription dollars, but this just didn't seem like a great idea to me. Sure enough, it pissed people off:

The move we made nearly a month ago, in regards to our tiered submissions triage, served only to anger a few of our writers and friends.
In any case, there has to be a better way. I find it sad that small print 'zines have such a low survival rate, but the fact is, the world is changing. Short fiction is becoming an online format, pure and simple. People don't buy magazines for stories much anymore - if they buy stories in print at all, they buy them in anthology format. That's just reality.

However, I think it is true that as writers and readers, we should support the 'zines we expect to stay alive long enough to publish us. Small press magazines have a long history of teaching wanna be's how to write professionally, and I think that's especially true for genre writers. So, maybe we do have an obligation to subscribe as well as submit.

Brandon Bell has an interesting post on the subject, and his idea is to subscribe to three 'zines, to lend his support to venues that support his career as a writer. I can get behind that, I think. Updates to follow.

05 October 2009

Goodbye and Good Riddance

The hulking mass of rusting metal and tornado fodder that's been the bane of my existence all summer is finally gone. I'm extremely happy, because instead of the solution we expected, having to pay to get the thing towed away for scrap, someone actually took it - a man who plans to renovate it and give it to his sister who currently has nowhere to live. So, not only did we get rid of it, we recycled!

In celebration, we spent the day Saturday cleaning up the aftermath. The movers left the porch and its roof (second photo). The LOML dismantled the porch, but we're still up in the air about the roof section. The tin is still usable, so we put the whole thing off to the side, hoping some brilliant idea will come to us about how to use it. In the meantime, this area of the property looks sooooo much better.

September was the six month anniversary of the start of The Renovation Project, and so far I'm more than pleased with the results. We've reclaimed huge sections of the lawn and flower gardens, started on the wooded areas, and even done a little of the demo work on the house. For a project done on odd weekends and days off, I think we've made lots of good progress.

The novel is coming along nicely as well. Out of my literal mountain of notes and scene snippets, I have cobbled together three good chapters so far in draft one, and the words have come steadily every day. My goal is to finish a draft by the end of the year, but ideally I'd love to be done long before that. I'm thinking hard about doing NaNoWriMo again (yes, I love torture), so to be done at the end of this month would be great. We'll see, though. I'm not going to beat myself up over it - I've missed too many self-imposed deadlines to think that might work.

Rain, rain, rain since we got back home Saturday night, and I'm not complaining. Rain is good for contemplation. It cleanses the mind. And if there's one thing about me that's dirty, well...

'Til next time.

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