A Route to the Truth

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I almost didn’t write a chapter today, then I just started writing. I haven’t found an ending, but a path to the ending. That is satisfying.

I can’t get no …

I’m up near 137,000 words now. Can I finish under 140,000? Probably not. Maybe 145,000. Too many things left to resolve.

I’m nearly done with my current freelance job. I’m in the home stretch, then I have two more. Something else happened in the past couple of days, which I can’t discuss. It’s good, professionally. It doesn’t have anything to do with writing. It’s a wide-open opportunity. Let the negotiations begin.

What else is there? A decent run today, after a day off yesterday. My speed is picking up, not by any means fast, but I’ve dropped over 7 minutes since I started running regularly again. I want to drop 2 more minutes before I increase my distance.

I need to do some paid work now. Have a nice weekend.

A minor break-through

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No, I haven’t figured out the ending to ‘Round Midnight, but I have found the man who will change Cassie’s life in a profound way. It has already begun. It is subtle, but profound. It’s probably too subtle, and maybe not the big epiphany that you were all hoping for.

It is revealed discreetly for now, but it will be developed later. I’ve already written tomorrow’s episode. Life is about to get much busier soon. I need to finish my paid freelance job as soon as possible, because another is coming next week, and that is still not the big one that is coming eventually. I still have my own work to do, and prepare to teach online in the Fall.

Tomorrow’s chapter puts me over 130,000 words, and I am considering binge-writing the ending. I think I just need to go hell-for-leather to get it done, or I will keep spinning it out and rethink everything a hundred times.

I was out and about today, and noticed how few people were wearing masks and being safe. I passed a group of around 10 men without masks and not socially distancing, while our university is sending us endless emails about not being on campus without a mask, etc.

Thank you gentlemen for putting me at risk.

What possessed me?

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Yesterday. All my troubles seemed so far away.

And yesterday’s missive was supposed to be about nipples. I bet you didn’t see that coming. I noticed in the picture (err, yesterday’s pic) that she is actually pulling her top down, so that her nipples show through it.

Maybe that wasn’t the intention, but it was certainly the result. To be honest, that sentiment reared its head in A Bump in the Night over on EJO. Even there, it is so veiled that you probably didn’t catch it. It’s a subject that seems so taboo that I often can’t type the word.

Nipple, nipple, nipple, nipple, nipple, nipple, nipple, nipple, nipple.

I bet you can’t guess how many mistakes I made while typing that. I used to type 60 WPM on a typewriter (with 3 errors or less) – you know, one of those ancient things. Do they even bother to measure typing speed when you apply for an admin job now? Inching over the 60 WPM mark meant significantly higher hourly pay.

Anyway, it is so taboo that if a nipple is too proud on television they blur it out, at least in the US. Those liberal Europeans seem to be able to resist perversion when they see them. (Well, not if you talk to a conservative here. You are so depraved!)

I just finished Monday’s ‘Round Midnight chapter – I’ve switched to calling them chapters, since I’m now over 110,000 words. I ran into a little bit of a continuity problem this week. I misunderstood when The Late Show is recorded. I thought that Thursday and Friday were live and the others were taped as live. Well, I was wrong. All of them are taped as live in the early evening, and Thursday and Friday’s shows are both taped on Thursday. Well, at least before the CIVOD-19 thing began. As you may have noticed, the story is in an alternate universe where it doesn’t happen. It meant a significant rewrite before it went live.

I miss all that because I watch it the next day on YouTube.

I also had an continuity issue with Planet Ezzie, when I said that Ezzie/Gaia never learned the name of her daughter. She actually named her Kyra in the chapter she was born, and discussed her again in the next chapter. I decided that I preferred Phoebe, since the Phoebe is one of the daughters of the Greek goddess Gaia. I went back and altered those sections. I’ve also gone back and put together the 3 Ezzie stories in a single volume. I think that’s around 96,000 words. It would need some serious revision if I ever decide to publish it. I’m not sure it qualifies as a blogovella anymore. It’s a … blovel.

No, that doesn’t really work. A Nog? Hmm. I guess I can count that in my canon of unpublished novels now.

Maybe I’ll just sit down and read a magazine now.

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Of course, now that we don’t leave the safety of our own homes, there is no need to get dressed anymore. Just a bath sheet, a hand towel, a cuppa, and a magazine. No need for furniture or a carpet. Looks comfy. Erm.

That’s life.

(That’s what people say.)

 

Overcast

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It is sunny today, and there are people out walking and running. I had my last meeting of the semester, so now I’m free, free as a bird, free as a bird in a tree. I’ll stop there. You get the picture.

I’m not free. Few of us are. We are stuck at home. They have supposedly opened up businesses in my state, but we are still supposed to remain at home. I was reading a poem today, Philip Wardlow’s Skin Hunger, and that really hit home. I’m cut off from my friends, my family, my home-away-from-home, almost everyone.

It was sunny, now suddenly it is overcast.

Has my mood clouded it over? One sits at home thinking about all the things one can do, but there is so much choice, one doesn’t know where to begin, or why to bother anyway. I could finish any number of projects, like my fantasy novel, painting the bedroom, weeding the garden, practicing, running …

No, I’ve haven’t dared go out yet.

I still have the finishing touches to put on yesterday’s project, and I’ll do that once I finish with this. I’ve already written Thursday’s ‘Round Midnight, and I might write another later, if I feel moved. It seems to move so slowly, but the plot is less important than the writing itself. I don’t want to lose that scatterbrained effect, and I know it isn’t as present as it was at the beginning, but the story has gotten darker, and I need to reflect that. For those keeping score, I’m now up to 106,000 words.

Instead, I’m here, participating in a pastime that won’t earn me anything, checking up on the bleakness that is my KDP sales report, and still awaiting the arrival of my hard copy. It would be nice to see at least one download. It’s interesting, at the current pricing I make the same amount for a download as I do for the hard copy at 4 times the price.

To be honest, I don’t own a Kindle. I still like the touch and weight of a real book. Like the touch of a real friend, and the caress of real skin.

 

Twenties, schmenties

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I’m back onto ‘Round Midnight, and I’m up to 103,300 words.

Why am I obsessing about the word count?

Ignoring the fact that I’m a little OCD to begin with, I have for years wandered the writing forums online and even one real literary conference with real people, where I met an agent who really liked my work, but nothing ever came of it. He wasn’t really the right genre for me. I also had a one-on-one with a successful science fiction writer, who also liked what I was doing. I came very close to finding an agent (a different one) at that time, but it didn’t work out.

What does that have to do with my word count?

Through all this wandering everyone talked about 100,000 words as being the sweet spot, and for that I assumed they meant for a first novel, since a number of novels that I have read are well over 1000 pages, which is about 250,000-300,000 words.

I’m not sure I have that much staying power, and I’m not sure the architecture of my writing style can withstand that length.

I started an EJO piece today, but abandoned it after a few words. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind.

I read (and didn’t comment on, to my eternal shame) someone else’s blog this morning. One of its premises was that our twenties is when we humans generally experiment, be that creatively or recreationally (as in drugs). Did I? Probably not. If anything I’ve become more experimental as I’ve aged. I didn’t even start writing until I hit 40. Well, the poems I wrote at 20 were awful. Let’s ignore those. They weren’t experimental. I was doing other things in my twenties that I thought at the time were experimental, but looking back, no they weren’t. I experimented sexually a little bit, but only really within accepted norms.

When I started writing, I wrote to prove a point. I had written some bad magical realism, science fiction, and a little bit of “eh” poetry, but it wasn’t until I joined the WritersCafe.org in 2005 that I decided on a purpose. There were some serious writers there at the time (before their crash) and I wanted to be one of them, the rarefied few. I made some friends and had a small following, but I wanted more than that. I needed to find a niche. There were a lot of people writing what they called erotica, and what I called porn. My mission was to transform the place, to turn that porn into literature. Then the crash happened and all the good writers left, to be replaced by juvenile EMO and more porn. The erotica writers stayed, and many became friends. My evangelism began with my reviews, trying to turn them away from describing the sexual act itself to describing the sensory perceptions, often rewriting poorly written passages for them into beautiful, sensual prose.

They didn’t appreciate that.

There were a few that got it and respected me for what I was doing, but I soon found that my 500+ word reviews weren’t appreciated by all. Also, I was a short story writer who also wrote some poetry. They loved my poetry and ignored my prose. No overt sexual acts, one of them said. Personally, I’ve found that the most sensual writers don’t have sexual acts. They might refer to them, but the acts take place off the page. Sometimes I got crude, but only for effect. That’s when the Hot Tub series began. Oddly, some found bathing in a jacuzzi filled with cum beyond propriety, the same people who wrote intimate sex acts in great detail. (10. In Come if you are interested.) I have since reposted them all in EJO.

Part of that series was devoted to stream of consciousness writing. Some was downright manic. My favorite was the first one (1. Sex and Beckett), which puzzled many of my devoted readers, but brought a few more into the fold. “I don’t read erotica, but I love this!” I persevered. I got through about 25 of them, some not as manic, some more planned. I gave up on them for a while, and gave up on the WC, since it seemed like a ghost town, unless you were writing vampire stories. (That was when Twilight hit it big.)

That’s around the time I started my own Cult of Anne, my own forum, but hardly anyone joined and I was shouting in an empty room. I had posted some chapters of The Cult of Hahn on WC and I thought the pun was cool. I started the first Ezzie series there.  I kept moving to successive bulletin board formats, and they all kept closing down their free services. I also joined SF Chronicles (Chrons) and wrote original fantasy stuff there. While I got on, I never really fit in. Oddly, I was too experimental and “adult”. Coincidentally, that successful writer that I met was a member, but didn’t contribute much. I still visit from time to time, but I’m not into orcs and elves.

During this time I started Haiku Planet on WordPress. I wrote a lot of haiku there, and then longer poetry. I couldn’t justify calling it that anymore, so I closed down my other forums and renamed it The Cult of Anne, now its permanent home. While writing Ezzie, she wrote about writing a novella, and that is when I started EJO, that novella. I was writing two at once.

It seemed that the more chances I took in my writing, the more interested people were. I finished the first Ezzie series, and her novella and my sites languished for a while.

I thought that maybe I had said all that I had to say.

Then I went back to my WP roots: a haiku a day, back where it all started. Occasionally, I needed to write other things, and that broke up the flow. Some of it went to EJO, and I started a plain old blog here at Annema. I could write anything I wanted, occasionally riffing into poetry, but usually talking about my life and what I was doing.

I started a new Ezzie series on TCoA, and finished after only 30 episodes. The format had stopped working for me, but I persisted and posted a few chapters of incomplete novels, as well as some more poetry. I was forcing it, though. Around that time, I was lucky in that I was able to publish a few stories, some as Anne Martin some under another name, a couple of poems, some fantasy, some sci-fi.

Where is this going, and what does it have to do with experimentation?

That’s also around the time I started writing Hot Tub episodes again. Rather than sticking to rigid rules, anything was allowed. It spawned another Ezzie series (Planet Ezzie), which I must admit, went way out there. But I was comfortable with it, and I moved the Hot Tub episodes to EJO, and for a while I was writing an Ezzie, a haiku, a Hot Tub, and a blog every day. Eventually, I started really weird poetry, even some gibberish to the mix. The crazier it got, them more people liked it.

The more I liked it.

Ezzie, however, had outlived her usefulness, and I had to kill her off, permanently. I languished again without her as a crutch. Then I started ‘Round Midnight. It was supposed to be a little zany, a little stream of consciousness, slip in some poetry, lyrics quotes, quotes from plays (mostly Shakespeare). It wasn’t supposed to last long. Then it inherited a little of the Ezzie universe, and now I’m up to 115 episodes and there is no real end in sight. It seems to be writing itself. It gets wacky at times and experimental.

In my fifties, I’m finding myself at the most experimental and most creative point in my writing career. It’s unsuccessful professionally, but how do you measure success? By the number of publications, likes, followers, or the satisfaction of having written probably well over a million words of fiction, and a huge volume of poetry? And at least a handful of people read me almost every day.

Twenties, schmenties.

The Veil of Sheera

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I did it. I sent off the anthology (The Veil of Sheera and Other Tales) to my publishing friend. He’s a music publisher, but he agreed to do this as a favor for me. (I work for him sometimes.) It will be available on Amazon/Kindle soon (nominally under his imprint), however Amazon assumes I’m going by my first name, not my middle name. Erg. He caught it on the cover of the paperback, but the Kindle version (and Amazon) says Rebecca Martin, and it is past the point of changing it. (Wrist-slapping time.)

When I started writing seriously (around 2006), I decided to use my middle name. There was a time in my life when I preferred it. There was another horn player at our school a year ahead of me named Becky (Ann) Martin and calling myself Anne the was the simplest solution. We aren’t related and didn’t get along very well. I grew up at a time when nobody used full names. It stuck, so there are people that know me as Anne, others as Becky, some as Rebecca, even fewer as Becca. I’ll post a link to it when it is live. The Kindle version was live briefly, until we found some formatting issues and re-uploaded it.

I decided I was done with it. I couldn’t do anymore. I think I pieced together the stories in 2015, some are as early as 2008. I’d edited them numerous times before then, and then I’ve gone through it as a collection at least 4 times, only adding the poetry the last time through. I’m not sure the dates on the poetry are all correct, but frankly, at this point, I just don’t care anymore.

I had hit my limit. I have moved on.

So, yesterday, I spent no time at all on ‘Round Midnight. I already had a couple episodes queued up, so today’s went out as scheduled, and tomorrow’s is scheduled, too. I have some things to do today, and then I’ll write another one.

With that off my desk, I will try to devote myself to more recent projects, although finishing The Cult of Hahn is still on my list. I think I started it in 2007 and have worked on it off and on. I’ve rewritten a couple of parts of it twice and decided to make a quotation from another unwritten book (in verse form) announce each chapter. I haven’t attempted to piece the fragments of it together, which you can find them in TCoA. Hora Slumbers is my favorite, as it begins the last section of The Book of Cyrus, the Bible of that alternative universe, which writes itself in Hora’s present.

For MY present, I’m still pretty exhausted, so I may take it a little easy for a few days.

 

 

Overflown, overgrown

This morning’s big news was that we were going to have the Blue Angels fly over the city as a tribute to our brave health workers.

Roooooaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrr!

That was it. Hardly enough time for me to go look out the window. I couldn’t see them out the window that was four feet away from me, so I ran to one on the other side of the house. They circled around. I could still hear them, so I went out the front door in my bare feet.

Gone. If you weren’t looking, and if you didn’t know where to look, you missed them.

I forgot to put the garbage out, too. Hence, another barefoot trek outside. Normally, they pick it up by 9 am, or so, but it’s approaching noon, and it is still out there.

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At least I have shoes on now.

But I haven’t showered, and I still have quarantine hair. It looks likely to stay that way for a while. Lately, I haven’t felt the need to dress in the morning. Eventually, I do, but it seems to be getting later.

I’m still rough around the edges today. Nothing specific to get out of bed for. I should do some work. What work? I don’t know. Something.

Why don’t you finish your novel, Anne?

Which one? I’m spoiled for choice. Paralyzed. I could put the finishing touches on my anthology. That shouldn’t take long. I could finish it today.

Yawn. I think I may need to have another look over it.

Well, I’ve had another look over it, and inserted some poems. Do I do another edit on it? I’ve gotten to the point I’m sick of it. Some of the stories are a decade old now, and I’m in another place. I might have my publisher upload it onto KDP, and see what it looks like, if he’ll do that for me, and if he is still on board.

Can you tell I’m not very motivated today?

 

‘Like’ envy, like envy, like ordinary

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Sometimes I wonder if I should look at others’ WP sites.

I see sites that look sort of ordinary, full of ordinary articles, full of ordinary nothing. Some have ordinary writing or poetry. Generally, I don’t follow them. I don’t follow that many people altogether.

Frankly, I don’t know how many people I follow, but if I follow you, your writing speaks to me at some level.

There are so many out there that ‘like’ or “follow’ just to get my attention. They like one of my ‘RM chapters or an EJO rant, and they ‘like’ me. That’s awesome, and by liking my writing they tell me I’m awesome, at least that’s what the email says when I get it. Then I look at their page, and I do look at them, and it’s … well, I can usually tell from their name … IRateHikingBoots … or something like that (I made that up), and they are just a site that sells hiking boots trying to get my attention.

I do not buy boots from a random WordPress site.

Then I look and see that they have 15,327 followers. Where am I? I have three sites, and the highest is a shade over 250. I suspect that whenever I post one of these posts, I lose a few. If they aren’t legitimate followers, I don’t mind. I just wonder how some of these people do it. They post rubbish and have thousands of followers.

Of course, I am trying to post what might be termed as serious literature, or experimental poetry, or like here, just a journal of wherever my mind wanders to. I understand that people don’t want to read 1300 word chapters, although that is my most popular site. That maybe due to the 200 haiku that live there, too. I am never more popular than when I’m writing in bite-sized chunks.

Should I start interrupting my story with haiku commercials?

Doesn’t that destroy the flow? Wouldn’t that make those who read them almost every day more prone to missing an episode? Nobody comments on them anyway.

I was reading a blog from one of my followers today, someone with a lot of followers herself. It was talking about when she first started writing. She wrote and showed it to family. They loved it and encouraged her. My family doesn’t understand my ‘official’ creative outlet, so they are surely not going to understand what I do here. I don’t even tell the ones closest to me that my blogs exist, and it explains why I have always written under a pseudonym. It gives me a freedom to write whatever I want to.

But it means that I don’t get that positive reinforcement that only a family can give. In fact, only a handful of people that know me personally know about this site. This is all about a dialog with people, and if that isn’t happening, why do I do this? Don’t get me wrong, I love the two people who do respond and engage. I would rather have two people to engage with occasionally, than 1000 that write “Great Post!” or just tap the “like” button. I have more regular dialogues on the WritersCafe.org, but I hate that Norton keeps flagging it as a malicious site. It makes me a little nervous. It is full of spammers and idiots, but there are a few devoted friends there. A couple of them frequent this space, too, but they tend to leave the dialogue for that place.

What am I saying here?

Do I want to leave? No. I need somewhere to let this … whatever it is … out. I would just like to make a few more friends, hang out, branch out from this lonely home office, from which I watch life run and walk by my window all day.

Call me in the morning

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Take two aspirin …

I’ve been sleeping on my side with one arm (the lower one) over my head a lot lately. It makes my body ache, or more specifically, my shoulder.

Long ago at music camp, I used to play a lot of softball. I was very good. A switch hitter, even. I had a habit of popping up when I batted right-handed, so I tried switching sides, less power, but more accuracy. It fooled them, since I still hit like a right-handed pull hitter. I hit more home runs on that side through placement than I did on the other through power.

One day, the last game of the summer, I felt something pull, perhaps tear, in my shoulder, batting left-handed, hitting a homer. Next time up, I switched to my natural side and ripped something in that shoulder hitting a triple. It was a music camp in the middle of nowhere, so I didn’t have them looked at. I wrecked both my shoulders in one game. Playing my horn was difficult for the next week, but I survived.

The result of it, though, was that over the past 30 or so years my shoulders have been susceptible to the slightest tweak, and have been an ongoing source of aches and pains. My sinuses dictate that I sleep on my side, so I have been a very restless sleeper. (I snore like a train, sleeping on my back.)

Hence, today my shoulders ache, and that has progressed to a headache, and the afore-said two aspirin, or Tylenol, actually.

I’m at the end of my rough patch, just 4 final projects to grade. I don’t really need to look at them. I know they are all A’s, but I need to give them comments. Then there is another student that is missing, presumed quarantined.

I have some admin work to catch up on, and a little freelance job, and then I can spend the summer doing my own work, and preparing for a possible Fall of online teaching. That is, unless the big freelance job is back on.

‘RM is up over 96K words, still leaving me with the mechanics of an ending to figure out. I don’t want to kill her off. That’s taking the easy way out. I’m about to work on Wednesday’s episode, so maybe things will start progressing. I’ve also taken a brief look at my Annethology. I just need to insert some poetry between stories. I was using longer poems, but I’m starting to think that I should use some haiku. We’ll see how that goes. I need to write some new poetry, too.

I also need to get some long-needed rest.

Expanding

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With all this sitting around, I probably am expanding, but I’ve actually lost 4 pounds this week. I generally keep an eye on my weight, especially when I’m not running, which I’m not at the moment. I will probably start up again, after I finish my teaching this week. I’ll probably record the last lectures on Wednesday.

I think I have found a direction for ‘Round Midnight. There are some hints in the episode I just posted. (93. Flight) The episodes, themselves, have been expanding. I’m now closing on 82,000 words. Each episode is dropping at between 1300 and 2000 words now, whereas the average is short of 900. That means I’ll hit novel length around episode 110.

That’s roughly a 400 page book, and I’m well into the 300’s.

Sledgehammer

That’s what I’m listening to now. I’ve weaned myself off Arvo Pärt, finally, and I’m back on Peter Gabriel. I’ve been listening a lot to his live concert videos. I’m going to have to abandon him soon, too. That’s what my Recently Played list looks like right now. Just the two of them, but that doesn’t count the jazz I’ve listened to in You Tube. Lots of Miles Davis and his disciples there.

Where’s that hardcore modern music?

I’m working on that. Maybe next week. I’ve been saying that for a while. It requires too much attention, and I have little of that to spare.