Insomnia – June 27, 2020

No post yesterday.  What I had to say was less than trivial. Perhaps a few moments researching “trivial” would be a good investment.  When work on this apology is completed, that might occupy a few minutes.  Put it another way, what I had to say yesterday was such poor quality, it didn’t even interest me.

It comes down to a decision.  Which is more important?  Regularity, dependability with a weekday blog entry, or respecting my readers’ time; not expecting them to waste their time on material that doesn’t even interest me?

What’s that?  Snickering?  It’s not terribly embarrassing. My “readership” is miniscule.  Not convinced what I’ll offer is important, there’s not much “following.” Until the value of what I offer is determined – to my satisfaction – growing a following is not high on my priority list.  Not even there just yet at all, really. On the list, I mean.

“Egonarcissism” has popped-up several times recently.  It’s a real thing.  It’s certainly very real among writers.  That is my opinion.  Supporting that opinion, examination of the writing community has taken much of my time recently.  I’ve gone about that examination seriously and honestly.  My belief in my assessment is unshakeable.  My own affliction is also confirmed.

I try for, tried yesterday for humor.  That rapidly decomposed into bile.  Not for a blog.  That’s for the “rant” pages. 

Humor is good.  In these times it is difficult to maintain a sense of humor.  Trying to do so frequently exposes one (me) to denigration.  It’s probably a poor analogy, probably needs more work, but humor is breathing.  If you don’t breathe, empirical evidence suggests death follows.

Join me in sucking-in a lungful of Saharan dust.  A lungful of partisan politics.  A lungful of hatred on countless issues, crossing social boundaries. A lungful of insanity, mixed with ignorance, scented with intolerance all the while maintaining, espousing, equal treatment and respect for all.  Join me.

At least I’ll die laughing. If the egonarcissism doesn’t put me down first.

Delivering on Promises – June 25, 2020

Made good on my promise to add egonarcissism to “Poetry and Lyrics.”  My own suffering with the malady has me thinking I’m cleverly manufacturing new words on a daily basis.  Thought I’d best start writing them down so I can get credit when whoever does dictionary stuff now starts handing out credits for enriching our language.  Enriching or cluttering: jury’s out. 

Words like dictophhobia.  You want to know all the scoop, go inside to “Poetry and Lyrics,” sub-tab “Wordsmithery.”  Better get’m while they’re hot.  Might start charging for them in the near future. I’ll add as new genius presents.  Or not.  You know how crazy-hot ideas fizzle all too quickly.

Also, for Joe, added the first “Rant.”  Wanted to do two rants, but with the press of time, wouldn’t do either justice if I overworked brain cells and fingertips.  If I can keep my bile level up for a day or two, this next “rant” should be a pip.  Spoiler, I will rant and try to apologize for my generation. Spoiler number two, women are going to be “righteously” miffed.  Be good for sales. 

Still not in a “routine.”  I might be expecting too much, but it would be nice.  I’m behind schedule with “Imogene” now.  That “Imogene” has pushed-back “Midas County” is a disappointment.  That will be four YA pieces in less than two weeks.  The genre is ok, quite fun actually, but sure does cramp my language.

“Midas” has hit a bit of a plot snag.  Well, no, the plot is unchanged, it’s the unwinding that’s a little off.  I need to get some Agatha Christie pills. That’s (contrary to what I suggested in “Wordsmithery”) therapeutic for egonarcissism sufferers.  Look at what real writers do.  Then it’s easy to see where you stand in comparison. Better than a shot of penicillin.

For this evening, that’s it. “Imogene” waits but even she is going to be delayed while I see if a Flash piece on word misuse featuring Archie and Walter flies.

Read good stuff, folks.

Lunacy and other good things – June 24, 2020

The old codger has been bouncing between two sites the last few days, sorting things out, trying to get a real feel for where he can settle comfortably while servicing a bit of a ‘following.’

For background, the ‘other’ site purports to be a writer’s social blog with overriding ulterior motives of educating writers in their craft and elevating the art.  So much for ulterior motives. ‘Social’ won out.

Did I tell you of the new word (I believe) I’ve coined?  Egonarcissism.  Pretty much what you might think.  I’ll add it to Poetry and Lyrics (no other place to put it) in a day or two.  Suffice to say, writers are one demographic terribly afflicted.  Including me.  It is, really, a debilitating malady.  Engenders tangential infections of paranoia, depression, sardonicism, anxiety, and nosebleeds.  Fortunately, I personally see lesser, not greater instances of those problems, except nosebleeds.  That’s been a problem for me ever since – well that’s another story.

Anyway.  I need to focus this site on humor and short story, capitalizing on vignette and conversational forms. Still, an occasional piece of bad poetry, a rant, and observational essay may creep in, but it’s obvious Shakespearean and Hemingway-esque pieces aren’t in the offing.  Like to be able to promise something of the caliber of Kaminsky or (Robert B.) Parker but that’s not likely either.  One should have heroes.

Which of course, means you can dependably expect a fair amount of adult language, ribald innuendo, and liberal doses of sarcasm.  As I used to say on the “other” site, “Buckle in, kids…” but no one ever caught on.  Humor is not a strong point with many writers.  Or writers who take themselves too seriously.  And most do.  Hence: egonarcissism. Which come to think of it does suggest a certain logic…

Time and Ideas – June 23, 2020

I’ve not yet started and panic rears its ugly head.   Not for this issue of insanity, but for the long run. Will I run out of ideas or time first?  Will there be too many ideas unrealized for lack of time? Or will I run out of ideas to fill time? Shortage of either will doom what I envision for this endeavor.

My bet is on running out of time.  That’s a short-run assessment.  Already I feel the pinch of routine snipping away at the time reserved to put down a decent daily visit, to say nothing of reworking old material and forging new iron.  Maybe when the routine of normal  life – brushing teeth, mowing lawn, sleeping, eating, and other mundane but necessary chores requires less planning, the process of “setting-up” demands less time, and I develop a rhythm, there will be more time to do things “writing.”

Assuming, happily, that, then, the worry for running out of material looms. Right now, the likelihood of that is difficult to assess.   I can sustain a rant-blog.  No problem there.  All I have to do is observe life around me, given that I’m an angry hard-nosed (some say “black-and-white” whatever the hell that means) old coot (gave up on tolerance and forgiveness a while back) and I’m off to the races.  As much fun as that is, it wears thin even for me and it has limited marketability – which, as my generation, um, ah, suffers attrition, will quickly be miniscule. 

Youth wants vampires, werewolves, and/or Gothic romance.  Can’t do either. Sorry, Joe.  Sci-Fi would be fun, but my idea of sci-fi is rooted in Asimov, ignores superheroes, and my ability to imagine what an alien man or woman would look like or think seems woefully out-of-step with currently popular ideas.  I’d like to do sci-fi, because less is required in the way of research, but I know, or strongly suspect that’s not where I need to go. 

That leaves me with anecdotal stories, conversations, vignettes, observations, and shorts, all seasoned with (for some) too much “adult” and (for many) difficult to follow multi-level meaning.  Sorry, I have a fairly poor opinion of the bulk of modern readers.  Maybe my audience is sixty-plus, beer-drinking males just off the ZTR, themselves torqued over a run-in with a twenty-something airhead (male or female, they both exist, you know) who is in a position to screw-up his life. Right now, unless I live to be one hundred and four, I’m good.

One last thing on parting this evening.  Monetization.  Ugly word.  Means at some point I might look to subsidize my meager earnings, by asking folk who want to read my drivel to pay for it.  If you think that disturbs you, take heart in that it really rattles my cage.  But ‘free’ violates’ a principle I’ve held essential from day one.  Relax.  We’ll see.  But if you’re like me, cheap, get it while the (free) getting is good.

Introspection time – June 22, 2020

Another “writers’ site occupies some of my energies.  When I signed-up there, I thought what the site stood for would push-pull me into settling into the work of writing, minimizing social encumbrances.  Writers there would do, well, writing.  More experienced writers would criticize, guide and direct.  Younger writers would have interesting interpretations and the sharper young ones also guide and direct.  I was/am prepared to respond in kind.  Hmmm.  Writers must be people too.  I expected too much.

Upshot: my expectations were and remain unfulfilled.

It is a “social” site.  Five weeks in, I see it is more “social” than a place to study craft.  Debilitatingly so.  “Aha,” some sage persons among you say to me, “you harvest from the field according to the sweat you leave there.”  Or some such.  I can’t agree more.  Here’s the deal:

(Six paragraphs here trashed. Anybody want to guess why?)

There are a disproportionate number of young, even early teen “writers” on the site.  Screen names and bio pictures rarely clue gender or age.  “What does that matter?” you ask.  When you read a “dark, woe is me” effort, it is impossible to know if you are dealing with an alter ego or the current state of mind of the author; what age, what gender?  Constructive critique must be couched in pseudo-praise.  Often, I am so unsure of the author’s mental makeup, I refuse to comment, period.

On the flip side, “constructive” comments on my efforts run the gamut from “love this” to “Oh, wow!” which is not tremendously helpful.  Asking for reviewers to be honest, even brutal, gets zip.  I suspect fearful of retribution.

No one learns, no one grows.

If you’ve read any of my work, you know I am not “dark” but certainly caustic, cynical, and speak “adult” more often than “oh that’s so pretty.” My humor is couched in real life.  That means I’m going to be realistic.  I’m sorry, we don’t all speak Sunday School Monday through Saturday.  Most of us.  Older works I want reviewed I cannot, with easy conscience, put in front of children.  I realize (and have seen) the kids there could hold class on modern scatology. Nonetheless I feel, as an adult, a responsibility.

Finally, I realize the latest trend, so as not to interfere with facepages, clutter, IM, and instachat time, is preference for literature in one thousand words or less.  I can allow that, and vampires, werewolves, time travel, and Gothic romance, but not always in the space of five-hundred words and not to the exclusion of good dialogue, character, locale, and plot development.  Genius can put a full, meaningful plot, setting, start and conclusion in five hundred words.  Hemingway could.  I challenge anyone to put more than three characters and forty years, birth, life, and death down succinctly in five hundred or a thousand words.  Not even Hemingway, I think.

Egos come into play more than I would expect.  For the personalities I’ve witnessed, I’ve coined a new word: egonarcissism. Means exactly what you’d expect.  All writers are afflicted. Including me.  But it is epidemic in some places.  Add that to the list of things I need to work on.

S P Wilcenski 6-22-2020

June 21, 2020 – Not so random thoughts or as the title suggests: Ramblings

Seriously rainy afternoons suggest two adventures. Most immediately appealing is to grab a good read, retire to a comfortable chair or an imminently sleepable couch, and pretend to read until the shush of falling rain lullabyes your eyes closed.  Which is just fine, because you did intend to read, not to waste-away the afternoon. A good nap is an investment.

Only initially less appealing is to grab your latest writing assignment, park your sitter behind the keyboard, scribble a few lines of nonsense dancing fingertips across the qwerty’s.  Then, when reality finds you in your hiding place, look to see what of the garbage you just punched down is salvageable, inadvertently distills some beautiful philosophy, or makes you wet your britches. Off you go; there will be no stopping you then.

There are days you’ll go after the keyboard with the best intentions.  What you manage in the first few minutes is so atrocious, the couch becomes the better alternative.  Not a problem.  Before your eyes slam shut, your mind, whether you like it or not, will revisit, rework, and save the fluff you just “do not saved.” When you return to it, you will find it charming, if not pure genius, or be reassured your initial judgement is reaffirmed.

This is a rainy afternoon. But I am starting with an agenda. There will be no scattering sentences to sift through later looking for nuggets.

Looking at what I’ve set myself to with this endeavor, there are a few things I’d like to have you know.

Blogging will be a weekday thing.  Weekends, I’ll be off to chores I successfully neglected all week long.  Blog regularity, mentor after mentor suggests, is the key to building readership, a following.  I find that mildly amusing because I know most “followers” will be as regular as strikes on your favorite wet fly’s first cast into the stream.  I seriously doubt followers wake up at 5:53 every morning and rush to the computer to see what their blog-buddies have posted.  They may come daily, but it’s not that they count on an entry as dependable as the Daily Dispatch on their driveway, or in their rosebushes.

It’s a target to get a decent entry posted weekdays before midnight.  If I miss a day, or post at 1 AM, we will both get over it.  Sometimes the mood doesn’t strike and can’t be cajoled for love nor money. Just the facts there. 

New “creative” posts will arrive at a steadily decreasing pace.  I will mature.  Fluff will be easier to identify. A lot more of my additions will be newer.  They’ll have to “age” some before I post or shred.  Older work too, will take longer to edit.  Because some I’m discovering and wondering what was in my oatmeal when I wrote that?  Editing takes time.  It probably should take more time than it does, but that’s another rude reality.

We’ll see how it goes.

June 19, 2020 – After the flutter, a pause

Still haven’t managed to get the hang of this software. Added some “readables” today. Don’t look for much new this weekend. Or the first of next week for that matter. I’ve a writing obligation and I really, really need to get Midas County settled for serious editing.

Besides, I’m slap worn out from importing finished works. For all its “slick” and “flexibility” the page editor is unforgiving, makes assumptions for me I’d rather it didn’t, and I can hear it laughing at me when it boogers text I worked hard to present a certain way.

I hear the newgen folk pooh-poohing me that this is web-stuff, not columns and paragraphs, indentations, and offsets of the olden days – “it’s the new way – embrace it!” Um, nope. Not yet. There are six of us still drawing breath who prefer something just two steps above stone tablets. Don’t worry kids, we’ll die-off soon enough. Then it will be your turn to look over your shoulder and wonder if you really have to format everything for the reader-chip jammed between your iris and cornea, leaving every font character decision to IA-controlled Central Human Publishing.

June 18, 2020 Flexibility

This is a powerful piece of software. Slowly, I am determining it nonetheless may not do all I need it to. Much more time is required to learn the software and assemble the site than I want to invest. That means less time actually writing and editing. Dedicating more time to writing and reviewing past noodles, the site will take longer to come to the point it supports my efforts and goals.

Believing I have a lot of material worth recovering and knowing I add five or six new starts daily, time is a real concern. Even if nothing is ever ‘published’ it would be nice to have the bulk of it available in usable form before time runs out.

Then there’s the issue of ‘monetization.’ For years, I’ve maintained many ‘writers’ put their energies into something, then give it away. This whoring as a writer bothers me. I’d feel better about going about it that way, if it were common practice for medicos to work for free, for mechanics to mend my ailing car gratis, and for the grocery to make occasional weekly restocking trips gifts. Don’t see that. Save friends and family, I’m inclined to keep better, bigger pieces, those that involved considerable sweat, from general access. Jury’s out.

I’ll invest more time (only less than before) in watching how-to vids, reading the tips, pointers , and suggestion, and adding content when time presents. Right now and especially for the next several days, my focus will be on actually writing. Gee.

June 17, 2020

Still a lot of work to get this organized. As more of what I intend to include fleshes out the ‘menu’s tree, you may get an idea of potential. It bothers some that so much time is invested in site work, keeping me from sitting and back going through frustrations of pulling together planned pieces. Have to get it done. More than suggesting what is to come, a more complete site, though a lot of posts will be delayed, will push me to get things done.

Once again, I ask your patience.

June 16, 2020

This will take some time. “Retired” now, I have surprisingly less time than when I commuted 250 miles Sundays and Fridays to a more-than-fulltime job. Hopefully, the site will expand beyond a blog, presenting otherwise unpublished creative writing.

What to expect? Mostly short stories cataloged under titles like “Conversations,” “Milestones,” “Shorts and Flash,” and “Rants and Raves.” Others, perhaps. One completed near-epic novel, Metaphor, and several still unhappily incomplete novellas. Different formats, different genres, seldom predictable.

I’ve said on many occasions that I write as I speak and speak as I think. Some will not easily follow what I write, and after a while will chose not to follow this site. Perfectly understandable. Intrepid souls who can get past my flaws, may at last pick and chose what they want to read of my work. No ego involved here but folks profess wanting to understand what makes me tick. Not much to expose, less to understand.

A few words of caution for you to consider. From time to time, I slip into adult language. For some pieces, adult situations or graphic scenes may unfold. On occasion, announcement of NSFW might be overlooked in prologue to a piece. Forewarned, if you don’t care for any of that, don’t visit.

Thank you for your patience as I work to get this set up and running.

SPW 6-16-2020