It is a quarter after one in the afternoon right now, and the house is finally quiet.
Well, the dryer’s running, I can hear the heat pumping through the vents, and the whirring of electronic devices is pretty much incessant. But what I mean is that Netflix is off and Asher is in bed. Sleeping. Wait, scratch that; I just heard him mumble a little to himself. I guess what I mean is that he’s down for a nap and I can finally relax.
I don’t know how women did this back in the eras in which it was socially unacceptable for them to have careers. It is exhausting. And the biggest thing that makes it, in my opinion, even more exhausting than an office job is that no real progress is ever made. You can clean the house all day and do every possible load of laundry, but you’ll soon have it all to do again. It is a mentally stressful job, being a housespouse.
So here’s the news: I was going to write a review of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, but some things have changed in my life this week and so I thought I’d rather write about that. Basically, through a series of overly optimistic decisions that we made, it has come about that we aren’t really financially stable enough to have a babysitter. So from now on I’m just a stay-at-home dad – there aren’t any more days for me to leave Asher at home and go write for eight hours. It just didn’t work. On one hand that’s a bummer (because it means I can’t go out and just focus on writing for long periods of time), but on the other hand it’s pretty cool (because it means I get to spend a lot of quality time with my son before his little brother arrives). From here on out, the plan is that I’ll try to slip in some writing time while Asher takes his naps, maybe go to Starbucks for a few hours on the weekends. I’m still really hoping to have the first draft and a few edits and re-writes done by the time we move (if, that is, I get into grad school this fall). This goal is becoming increasingly difficult – and not just because I can’t go out and write anymore. I’m also going to need to get a job this summer so that we can afford to move if I do get into grad school. Which will significantly cut into my writing time. One of the problems I’ve had in the past with writing on a consistent basis while working a full-time job is that by the time I’ve finished working, I’m usually too tired to really immerse myself in the story and write well. So what comes out is drivel. Granted, most authors tell me that drivel is necessary on a first draft, but that’s a difficult pill for me to swallow. I tend not to write because I am a perfectionist and I know that my first draft is going to suck – especially if I write it while trying to work a full time job and thereby being in a perpetual state of tiredness. But this is something I have to just get over. This book is getting published this year.
So there it is. I’m currently a stay-at-home dad. Trying to write on the side. Whenever I get the chance. Which is rare. So I should probably go now, while Asher is asleep, so I can write some more in the novel. If I’m being totally honest, it’s coming along quite nicely, what with today being only February 21st and all.
So, internet, Mike is back in the writing game. Yes, I know you all missed me dearly and now here I am, ready to start once again doing regular blog updates. Rejoice, world.
Here’s the skinny: my wonderful wife Megan recently graduated with her Master’s degree. Since her degree is in Speech Language Pathology, this basically meant that she was on the job market for all of like five minutes before the openings and interviews started rolling in. Long story short, she now has a job in the school system of a local town. What this means for my family is that I was able to quit my job cashiering at the hospital and focus on writing. So here’s my schedule: three days a week, we have a babysitter come over to watch Asher and I go out to various locations (usually either Starbucks or my parents’ house – or both) and write. The other two days I stay home and play househusband. I say “play” because I lack the mystical quality of housekeeping that so many housewives I know inherently have. I mostly try to keep up with Asher and do laundry, and even that proves too much at times. But oh well. The point is that I am now able to write and get stuff done. So let me tell you about that.
I have made the unretractable vow that my first novel will be published this year on the Kindle store. This first one is going to be a science fiction novel. Current as of this blogpost, I have written about 22,000 words. This is roughly a third of my estimate for how long the finished novel will be (though I could be off on that estimate…). So things are getting done. Furthermore, I have mapped out an extensive plot outline and timeline as well as having short dossiers on my main characters. Guys and gals, I am super-excited about this story. It’s making tons of sense to me and is interesting. Hopefully it will be interesting to others as well. But if not, that’s cool. I’ll learn from the experience and approach the next project with new knowledge. By the way, that dwarf story I was tweeting about a lot last year is on the boards to be the next project after this one is published. It’s still looking like the dwarf story will be a trilogy of shorter novellas, but there is a chance I could combine them into one larger novel. It all depends on the scope of the story and whether or not I think the proposed trilogic segments will have the necessary climaxes/resolutions. Also, it depends on how the market goes for these shorter novellas. I know that recently there has been a spike in novella sales, but I’m not totally convinced that people are going to keep preferring them to novel-length stories. My plan is that after those two projects, and if people are buying my stuff and/or Megan is making enough money for it, I have a few more sci-fi/young adult projects that I’d like to finish. My plan is also to release at least one or two poetry collections or short story collections within like the next five years. Maybe. Perhaps, after all of that, I will feel comfortable enough to start really trying to work on another project of mine – that environmental terrorism novel that I’ve mentioned before on this blog. That thing is like my baby (disregarding, of course, my actual physical children), and so I’ve been really reticent to start digging in and writing it until I feel my skills as an author are better. But, I also recently had the revelation that writers, y’know, write. You have to start walking if you ever hope to reach your destination. Or whatever trite aphorism applies here.
Something else that has changed recently: I just applied to graduate school. If I am accepted, I will be starting this fall with the goal of obtaining my Master’s Degree in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Composition. I think that this will do two things: firstly, it will allow me to better my understanding of the English language and thus hopefully will improve my writing; and secondly, it will give me the option of teaching at, say, a community college – and therefore will give me a way to actually make some money should it arise that my writing career doesn’t earn me millions. In any case, it will certainly be a good thing to do in this economy and in this job climate.
Okay, so those are the major changes in my life at this moment. Did I mention that here in about eleven weeks Megan, Asher, and I will be welcoming a fourth member of our family into the world? Because that’s happening (good lord, eleven weeks!). So life is really good right now and yet also really busy. Funds are tight, since Megan only gets paid once a month and so we’re kind of in no-man’s-land since I already quit my job. But it’s okay. For the first time in a while, I am actually happy with the direction my life is taking, profession-wise. I feel like I am working on a project that is worthwhile, that I am pursuing a goal that is both attainable and meaningful, and quite frankly that I’m doing something that is fun. Which is a new experience for me. I mean, I haven’t hated every job I’ve had, but I sure haven’t been doing anything that fulfilled me.
For you guys and gals out there (all ten of you who might read this blog occasionally), this also means that I am going to try to update this here blog at least once a week. I feel like it’s an important thing to do – that it offers an outlet for any future fans of mine to connect directly with the author of books they read. So I have to start providing that now, I think. Expect a review of Neal Stephenson’s novel Snow Crash sometime in the following week.
Ooh, I almost forgot. At the same time that all of this is going on, a close friend of mine and I are co-writing a screenplay. It’s an adaptation of a short story that a more distant friend of ours wrote some years ago. Actually, it’s really more like my friend is writing and I’m just sort of helping out with the story, providing another brain for him to bounce ideas off of. I can’t reveal any more information at this time, but it’s pretty cool. I think the movie is going to be rad.
And… that’s it. Other than all that, though, life is simple. I guess. Thanks for reading, and get ready for my first published novel to be released!
First things first: full disclosure here: I love David Foster Wallace. He is, hands-down, my favorite author. This may change over time (it most likely will) but know that because of this fact I tend to judge his books with a mixture of higher and lower standards. For example, I don’t necessarily expect everything of his to “read well.” That is, I don’t expect everything of his to be entertaining and accessible. I tend to give him the philosophical and artistic benefit of the doubt more than I do for any other author. Put this another way: I tend to assume that everything in the DFW book I am reading at the moment is ruthlessly structured and purposeful, even if the end result is something overladen with information and ultimately non-entertaining. I assume it’s supposed to be that way, that its non-entertainment is there as a philosophical point. However, as I have developed as a writer, personally, I have become more in tune with the sort of artsy “meanings” and “purposes” behind what Mr. Wallace did with his writing. So now I have an odd admixture of giving the benefit of the doubt and yet also judging him by previous works of his that I have read, seeing if he has accomplished his goals as an author. (This is difficult, since often his skill is such that just telling where he’s trying to go is an endeavor in itself. I am undecided as to whether this is a fault of his or if the fault is simply that he orbited in an intellectual stratum much higher than the one I inhabit).
With all that said, and stealing a little bit from a (negative) review I read on Goodreads, I will now try to evaluate the skill and technique and overall quality of the writing of an author who is admittedly on far higher a plane than I.
One of the few negative reviews of Brief Interviews with Hideous Men relied heavily on a comparison of Wallace to James Joyce, that iconic Irish author whose innovations and general tossing out of the literary rulebook are world-renowned. The comparison is understandable, as both authors were (to quote the review) “encyclopaedic.” However, while Joyce’s encyclopedism often seems to stem from an inherent aggression toward the reader – a type of “I’m going to use all these words and do all these crazy things with my language and writing style and I don’t care if anyone understands it. In fact, I don’t really want anyone to understand it” attitude – Wallace seems (at least, to me) to want to connect with the reader. Much, if not all, of his body of work deals with (among many other things) the desire and yet inability to establish some sort of meaningful human connection. In my opinion, giving Wallace the benefit of the doubt here, much of the struggling that goes along with understanding his writing is calculated. He wants you to feel that struggle. He wants you to find it hard to access the “meanings” or “direction” of his work. But this is not, as it often seems to be with Joyce, out of hostility toward the reader. Rather, it is a sort of plea – a desperate cry for connection from a man who apparently found it desperately hard to connect and who wants to say to you “Look! All of us are struggling to connect; all of us find it hard to have genuine, honest, good, loving, understanding relationships.” The tension between author and reader in the works of DFW is a weighted and measured tension.
On to the actual book: Brief Interviews is a collection of stories of varying lengths. The title comes from four stories that contain, well, brief imagined interviews with men on the subject of their serial (mis)treatments of women. But there are other stories in here as well, loosely connected by thematic and stylistic elements. There is a duo of stories called “The Devil is a Busy Man;” a trio of stories called “Yet Another Example of the Porousness of Certain Borders;” and numerous one-off stories. I’d call it a “short story collection” but the term seems partially inadequate, given the connected nature of many of the stories. Thematically, they all deal with relationships – specifically relationships between the sexes and how those relationships can be navigated. Also, a huge theme is the inward-focused laserbeam of criticism that is typical of a Wallace work. He makes you feel, as a reader, that he is revealing a huge part of his soul in every character he writes, and that it is an astounding fact of the universe that in doing so he exposes also a part of your own soul. The man shied away from nothing in his writing. He gives you the ugly details about how we treat sex, how we treat the opposite sex (no matter which sex we ourselves are categorized into), how we treat each other as humans, and how we survive in a world full of both unbounded love and unsearchable darkness. In this, I believe, Brief Interviews succeeds mightily.
I will now tell you the negatives. Not everything in this book can be said to fully “work.” What Wallace does in “Octet” is, in my opinion, take meta-fiction to levels previously unexplored – and he does so with literary gusto and (to use a word he seems found of) cajones. However, his prose in “The Depressed Person” goes from being a well-done mimicry of clinical detachment and a tonal mirror of the inner workings of a depressed mind to being unintentionally dull and boring. He drags it on too long, undercuts his prose with (and this is a rare critique for me to make of him) too many footnotes, and runs off on tangents too much to really “work.” Instead, the reader does not empathize with the depressed person and actually becomes almost a mimicry of the depressed person’s friends in the story – wanting, after a while of enduring the literary gymnastics employed by Wallace, to just go ahead and give it up and move on to the next story. There is also, in the book, a story that is a reimagined telling of an epic poem in modern hi-speed internet terms. It was fun to read as a writer trying to gain a few tricks to put in my literary arsenal, but as a story it is SUPER difficult to get through. And the story “Church Not Made With Hands” was on an artistic plane too high for me to grasp, and ultimately, I think, too highfalutin for most of us to grasp.
But when he’s on it, he’s on it. Take this example from “Forever Overhead,” a story about a young man’s thirteenth birthday, in which Wallace describes a diving board:
But at the end of the white board, the edge, where you’ll come down with your weight to make it send you off, there are two areas of darkness. Two flat shadows in the broad light. Two vague black ovals. The end of the board has two dirty spots.
They are from all the people who’ve gone before you. Your feet as you stand here are tender and dented, hurt by the rough wet surface, and you see that the two dark spots are from people’s skin. They are skin abraded from feet by the violence of the disappearance of people with real weight. More people than you could count without losing track. The weight and abrasion of their disappearance leaves little bits of soft tender feet behind, bits and shards and curls of skin that dirty and darken and tan as they lie tiny and smeared in the sun at the end of the board. They pile up and smear and get mixed together. They darken in two circles.
Shivers, man. Chills. This guy could freaking write. And so even though I rate Brief Interviews somewhere on the DFW spectrum as decidedly better than The Broom of the System yet decidedly worse than Infinite Jest, I have to point out that the fact that it was even penned by DFW makes it far better than 99% of things you will ever read, ever, in your life. I would recommend it to anyone, with the caveat that the author was quite probably a literal genius and can sometimes do and say things that are so far above your head that even looking at them can give you a nosebleed. Still, read it. It is worth bleeding for.
OVERALL SCORE: 8.5/10
First thing: some caveats:
1. I have never written a review for a band before, so I imagine this is going to be clunky. Don’t be surprised if you find some flowery language in here, since most reviews are like that I’m using some professional people as models.
2. I don’t know much about music. I mean, I played percussion in middle school, high school, and college, but that consisted mainly on beating things with other things. So you won’t find lots of music theory and explanation in here. It’s just me hocking a friend’s album.
3. That’s right – I have known Justin Lacy since we were Boy Scouts together, so I just want everyone to know that going into this thing. I think I have enough distance to be unbiased, though. Here we go.
According to their website, Justin Lacy and the Swimming Machine started when Mr. Lacy and a group of friends played together at one of those “anything goes” open mics, performing some songs that Lacy had written. They did strange things: substituting a tap dancer for snare, using muted trumpets in tandem with synths and electric guitar, and even employing upright bass and whistling into their songs. The group enjoyed playing together, and so continued. However, this band is not your conventional band. Its main members (numbering around 8ish), are joined by various “moving parts,” making the total number of instrumentalists and vocalists connected with the band a cool 18. It is very much a machine, and as a person interested in words and their usages I find it remarkable that the band’s name manages to capture both its unusual nature and musical vibe. You feel, listening to them, that you are moving through a form of audial water: lively and cool and sort of casual, but at the same time rife with musical rip currents, little twists and inversions of the expected sounds that keep the songs tirelessly interesting. But that’s enough about the band itself. I’ve already started to get into the music. For more information on the Swimming Machine’s formation and history, click on this picture I have conveniently placed below.
THE SOUND OF THE MUSIC
Justin Lacy and the Swimming Machine sound as strange and amazing as their backstory would suggest. Lacy’s vocals are rough and husky, and remind me of Johnny Cash in a lot of ways. Hold on, I know that’s high praise, but I think he sort of pulls back on the beat as he sings, creating a Cash-like slowness that blends nicely with the upbeat music behind him. His lyrics help create a connection with the mainstream folk and bluegrass music that is taking people by storm right now (especially in songs like Bottom Feeder that showcase a man dealing with raw emotion). And let me just spend a few seconds here talking about the ladies in this group. Led by core member Sophie Amelkin and including vocalists Christa Faison, Whitney Lanier, and Heather Bobeck, the female members of the group are, in my opinion, a huge part in giving the songs their edginess. The backup vocals provided by these ladies remind me of (and I hope they take this as a compliment, because it is) my favorite soundtrack of all time: the soundtrack to the Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater video game. They give the group a fifties-esque backup singer Motown vibe at certain times, further adding to the musical dynamism and eclecticism of the Swimming Machine. Take a listen to In Chiaroscuro or Bottom Feeder and you’ll know immediately what I’m talking about. You’ll fall in love with these voices.
Okay, now for the instruments. Like I said in the band bio section, the group has a lot of strange instrumentation going on. But for me, this odd assortment of sounds and melodies rarely detracts from the overall feel of the song. I don’t think I was ever distracted by the choice of instruments. Rather, new sounds would emerge and felt strangely right, like I should have known somehow that they were coming round the bend. The muted trumpet, the mandolin, the synths and whistling. It all melds together into an apt feeling that you’ve stumbled upon, well, a swimming machine moving deliberately and wetly through the ocean. I felt at points a definite steampunkiness. All metal and rubber and perpetual motion. You get me? No? Then perhaps you should check the band out.
CHECKING THE BAND OUT
Any of this sound interesting to you? Good. Perhaps you’d like to saunter over to the band’s website and purchase their debut album, Overgrown. It’s available in three ways: a name-your-own-price digital copy, a $9 CD, and a $15 Limited Edition 12-inch Vinyl. Oh, and did I mention that these guys are mostly UNC-Wilmington graduates from the school’s music program? And that the album art is by a Wilmington artist named Kate Winchell (which, by the way, the album art is absolutely perfect)? So go out and support a local, NC-based band making great music and art and giving back to the community. Do it.
So as many of you may know, my family just moved back to the coast so that Megan can do an internship at a hospital there, and thus complete her Master’s degree and start being my Sugar Mama. These little writings I do – brilliant as they may be – do not pay very well. For the past couple weeks, I have been on the hunt for employment with little success. However, I’m pleased to announce that this week I have been told of a position that just opened up at Bally Refrigeration (and for which I am first on the list to interview… though I haven’t yet received the call) and have been confirmed for an interview on Friday at the same hospital at which Megan will be working. So things are moving along.
In other news, I am submitting a story of mine to the Georgia Review tomorrow. Though I probably will not be accepted, this is a big step for me. Normally I am too uptight about “succeeding” with my writing that I don’t submit stuff, so this is a good step in learning the whole process and (inevitably) how to cope with rejection. These are things that, if statistics are to be believed, I will need to figure out if I am going to remain sane and still seek publication.
Other than that, I am reading some wonderful literature (Umberto Eco’s Foucault‘s Pendulum and Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles) and am planning on writing a poem on the similar themes and repeated phrases in them. There are more than one might think. So much so that I was creeped out at first. Also, we are still trying to get funds and paperwork sorted out for The Sead Magazine, but rest assured that I have not forgotten about it.
And I’ve saved the best for last: I am roughly 1/4 of the way through the Dwarf Story (which still doesn’t have an acceptable title). I’ve written 10.6 thousand words so far out of what I estimate to be a final total of between 35 and 40 thousand. As far as the plot goes, I only have a handful of major events that have to happen in this first installment (it’s the first of a trilogy) but I plan on spending a lot of time with those handful of developments. Hopefully that time will be spent worldbuilding and making stuff more sensible to the reader.
Oh yeah, Asher has stood up by himself a few times! Which means walking is probably just around the corner. He’s long had the physical ability to do this, but he gets too psyched out to not be holding onto our legs or the table, etc. Anyway, those are the developments around the Candelario world.
(p.s.: I put out a call for more questions from the audience on Twitter. I have received some good ones, but if you have any feel free to leave them in the comment section, tweet back to me, or ask them on Facebook.)
Welcome to the first-ever Audience Feedback post on this here blog! Okay, that’s basically just a way of saying that for the past week I haven’t had a clue what to write for this week’s post, so I have used my vast network of Twitter followers and Facebook friends (read: my “audience”) to suggest some topics. After receiving a whopping two (read it: 2!) suggestions, I have decided to just go ahead and answer both of them. Actually, the first can probably be broken down into two separate questions, so I guess there’re three questions to answer. Prepare yourselves for some deep thoughts.
Question 1: Why do you write?
The easy, somewhat pretentious way of answering this question would be to say that I write because I have to. And that’s true in a lot of ways. I think there really is an internal drive in most writers to jot down their stories. Even when I’m not writing a story, I’m jotting down ideas for stories; or I’m jotting down poems; or I’m jotting down titles of stuff, character names, etc. etc. I like to write. I can’t not do it. But that’s not the only answer, and it probably isn’t the most satisfying one for anyone out there who actually cares about my reasons.
A better reason might be that I have always been an avid reader. Stories allow me to transport myself from this singular life I’m living into an endless amount of other lives and worlds. I get to experience things like space travel, growing up gay, living in Asia. The list is almost infinite, and each story makes it possible for me to get a completely different perspective on life. And so one of my goals is to give back to that community, to “join the conversation” about life and – yes, I’m about to say it – the human condition. I cringe when I write that, but it’s a true thing. I want to put my own thoughts out there in order to allow people to experience things they would otherwise not experience. Hence the fantasy and science fiction stories I currently have in the works. Writing also allows me to deal with life issues in a way that is liberating and helpful. I can organize my thoughts on a certain subject (for instance, environmentalism in the novel I also have in the works) and really explore how that subject might have differing effects on characters. So there is an intellectual aspect to why I write as well.
There is also a significant theological aspect to writing, for me. As a Christian, I believe that creativity stems from God, and that it is part of the “image of God” that humanity possesses. So writing is not only a celebration of the human imagination, but it is also a celebration of the divine. By creating stories I am mirroring the Creator, whose great story is history itself. That might sound like drivel to some of my audience, but it is a part of why I write and it is something I take rather seriously.
2. Why do you blog?
This one’s much easier. My blog allows me to be constantly writing stuff that is going to be read by people (not that many people, but the idea is there). Which means that I have a real incentive to write reasonably well, and thus I get a lot of valuable exercise of my “writing muscles.” That’s a lame metaphor, so let’s move on.
Practically, the main reason for having a blog is to generate an audience. That’s right – you all are the reason I blog! The idea is that the blog will provide a place for people to see samples of my writing and to receive updates on books of mine whenever I get them published. The blog is also a place for prospective employers to see my writing and judge whether or not they would like to hire me for any type of writing-related job. So there it is: the blog is basically a marketing exercise.
Question 3: Tell us about your recent move to the coast.
Yes, I live near the beach now. It’s been a decent enough move. There are still mounds of boxes scattered around our new duplex. And I am no longer used to the humidity and heat here. A few years living in the mountains will do that to you. And here’s another thing: they have so many ANTS here. I mowed the lawn the other day and my left ankle is now decked out with some vicious fire-ant bites. The ants must have gotten into my shoes while I mowed. Also, I’m kind of languishing in unemployment right now. I had two jobs lined up and they both have sort of flaked out on me. But I’m looking into some other opportunities, so I’m not yet freaking out.
Okay, enough about all the bad stuff. After all, the move was a good one. The duplex is bigger than our previous one, and there is a ton of cabinet space in the kitchen (this is something that Megan insisted upon). We also now have a dishwasher, a fenced-in backyard, weekly trash pickup, and we live in a kid-friendly neighborhood. It’s great. Not to mention the fact that we’re five minutes away from my parents and Megan’s dad. And only about forty-five minutes from Megan’s mom’s place. So the family gets to visit Asher more often (let’s be honest, he’s the main reason they visit, the little stinker) and Megan and I can get some much needed assistance with childcare. On top of that, even the unemployment thing has some benefits. I’ve been able to write on a more consistent basis, make a lot of headway into the Dwarf Story, and even watch a few Olympic soccer matches (Thursday is the Women’s Gold Medal Final between the USA and Japan!). So far moving to the coast has been a good experience.
So there you have it, folks. I have answered your questions. Thanks for helping me come up with something to put on here (thanks especially to Jeff Holder and Mary Fonvielle, who supplied the questions). See you next week!
- Dances With Dragons – George R.R. Martin
- Dune – Frank Herbert
- Dune Messiah – Frank Herbert
- Children of Dune (partly) – Frank Herbert
- Republocrat – ????
- The Eye of the World (partly) – Robert Jordan
- Reamde – Neal Stephenson
- Batman: Court of Owls – Scott Snyder (9 issues in total… there are more, but I don’t have them)
- Freak Angels – Warren Ellis
- Gotham Central – Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka (40 issues in total)
- Maus – Art Spiegelman
- Planetary – Warren Ellis (32 issues in total)
- Preacher – Garth Ennis
- Sin City – Frank Miller
- Star Wars Legacy (still reading) – Jon Ostrander
- Grant Morrison’s Batman stuff, including:
- Batman and Son
- The Black Glove
- Batman RIP
- Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?
- Batman Reborn
- Time and the Batman
- The Return of Bruce Wayne
- Batman Incorporated
TV SHOWS WATCHED:
- Luther (2nd Season)
- Sherlock (2nd Season)
- Game of Thrones (1st Season, some of 2nd season)
- Various episodes from multiple shows
- Darius Wakes (~18,000 words so far)
- Dwarf Story (untitled as of now; ~5000 words so far)
- ~6 mi.
- 40 per week (I’m too lazy to total this up…)
- Rare visits to the movie theater (I think only for The Dark Knight Rises)
- Infrequent Magic: the Gathering games
- Infrequent sessions of 2 different Dungeons and Dragons games
- A multitude of diapers changed
- 1 6-hour moving day
- 3 weddings attended
- 1 bottle of Bacardi 8 purchased (liquor of any sort is a rarity for me)
In summary, it’s been one hell of a nerdyfun summer. But alas, it’s time to get serious about this dwarf story that I’m writing. And it’s time to get serious about The SĒ(a)D Magazine. So while it’s been great, and while my obsessiveness will not let me stop reading the comics I have on my computer, and while I still have such shows as Breaking Bad and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Community on my list to watch, I think the coming months will need to see my energy expended in writing and figuring out the small business stuff. I will try to continue the once-a-week updates to the blog from now on, and I have been seriously thinking about starting to review comics as well as just traditional books. Lord knows I have enough fodder for that. I might even write something about my thoughts on the determinism vs. free will debate (and its religious and moral implications) if I have the time to study up on it again – after all, I’ve been out of philosophy classes for a number of months now. Anyway, I’ll see you guys next week! Toodles.*
*this is my way of showing that I didn’t know how to wrap this thing up.
Hello, blog readers.
You may have noticed that I have not been posting reviews in a while. I know, I know. How could I? Well, I’m sorry. And I don’t have one for you this week, either. However, I plan on finishing Children of Dune by next Wednesday, so perhaps next week I will have one up. In the meantime, I have been working on my next story project – a fantasy story starring a dwarf (no, it’s not Game of Thrones). I hope to have it out on the Kindle Store by the end of this year.
I have another excuse: I’ve also been trying to get my plans together for my family’s big move back to the coast. So, time has been short recently.
I’ve also been trying to organize all the necessary monies and paperwork for my upcoming online arts magazine project, The Sead Magazine. My co-founders and I are still pooling together our money and setting everything up. My hope (though it’s kind of a long shot, given how off my timetable guesses have been in the past) is to have the website up and running in mid-September, and perhaps to have the first issue out in October (or September if we get enough submissions).
Other than those things, I’ve been writing more poetry for a poetry collection I’d like to publish soon. And I’ve been coming up with working titles for everything I’m writing, so I don’t have to talk about “my dwarf story” or “my environmentalism-slash-ecoterrorism novel,” etc.
And finally, if you have any spare dollars and cents lying around, think about donating to my friend Andrew’s campaign to publish his novel “To Breathe Free.” A good use for any spare money is to fund some art. If you so desire, the link to donate is here.
That’s all for now, folks! Be safe, or something.
My first novella is roughly 10,000 words in! I’ve sent what I have so far to my primary proofreader, and will be getting feedback in a little while. Until then, my goal is to write another 10,000 words and then begin cutting it down to size. I’d prefer a novella between 15,000 and 18,000 words – at least for this first one in the series. I am setting the pretty do-able release date of December 31st of this year. If it is finished before then, I’ll let you know.
In other news, the Sead Magazine project is still being sorted out. Hopefully these next few months will see us file the official paperwork, buy domain names, set up the website, and begin accepting submissions!
Also, next Wednesday’s book review will be on the Hunger Games trilogy (an all-in-one book review? Yes, indeed).
And finally, another one of my projects is going to be writing poetry on a more consistent basis. Tell your friends and fellow poetry lovers!
Man, today is unbelievable. In one week and two days, Asher will be one year old! I now understand what my own parents used to say about time going by so quickly. On one hand, it does feel like a year has gone by – since there has been so much change and we’ve been so busy. But on the other, it seems like he was just born. Also, I will be 23 in a few months. I’m getting old. Not sure how to feel about it.
In other news, I currently have a few projects that I’m working on. An online arts magazine, the first in a series of fantasy/YA novellas, and that tricky novel I posted about a while back. Also, I will be posting a book review up here on this blog at least once a week! Hopefully these projects will be able to progress a lot in the next few months. I’ll keep you posted.
I was young and we climbed trees,
pretending the blades of grass
were a rainforest. For a moment
almost gracefully fluttering
like another leaf spent of energy,
flung outward from the tree.
We did not have cherry blossoms
where I grew up:
only the dried up carcasses
of leaves, brownish and
miscolored, the rain
ironically mixing them into slush
like the burly forearms of
a butterchurning marm;
a sluice of greenless mud.
It was mid-autumn.
Her fall looked fatal to me,
a descension from near-infinite
height, until the childish pretension
faded: the fall would not kill
– only hurt.
Her chin kissed the top of
a protruding root (it was a French
kiss, the root plunging its
tongue with sensual desire
into the red-brown orifice
where chin-meat used to be),
and she was unmaidened,
perforated in that instant.
Our mothers’ wails outdrowned
her own as they escorted
her to: the restroom.
The last glimpse of her
I had was of a
, birthed out through the undercarriage
of her jaw, the brown
carcass of a stillborn
Okay. I just wanted to take the time to announce that I have (finally) officially started writing what I hope will end up as my first novel. The working title is “The Someday Monuments.” It is about, among other things, environmentalism and anti-anthropocentrism. This has curtailed my ability to write new poems, so there are not any new/good ones to post here. But excitement still abounds in the Candelario household. Cheers!
So I’ve been busy with work and having a newborn and whatnot (side note: Asher is now over a month old!) and have thus been a little out of touch with this here blog. But I thought I’d keep you all abreast of what I’m up to. I’ve got two projects in the mixer right now. The first, which will likely take me years to finish, is going to be a novel about the environmental movement and what I perceive to be its dangers. It is going to be a philosophical-type novel, I think, but with a plotline including a cult, an activist group, a journalist, and an ancient society that never actually existed. Oh, and there will be apocalyptic overtones. The second one is currently one novel/story, but will most likely be the “fun” series that I return to whenever I have time. It’s going to be a fantasy novel/series that combines ancient mythological characters with Biblical theology, so it should be interesting.
Okay, that’s about all I’ve been up to. No new poems or anything (sorry Dan!).
Hey everyone (all five of you who actually read this blog),
This post is here to announce a number of things. First and foremost, I have become a father! Asher Luis Candelario was born on 4/22/11 at 22:11 hrs. He weighed 7 lbs. 13 oz., and was 20.5 inches long. He is awesome. He is also prone to bouts of anger, but they tell me that’s normal.
The second announcement is that I will begin posting something new EVERY day. I will just go ahead and reveal here that this is basically for the purpose of generating more site traffic. However, for the few of you who are diligent readers of the occasional post that I put on here (…Dan), I think this will also spread out my postings a little better instead of having no posts for a few months and then a slew of posts in the same day. Anyway, that’s the plan.
I guess that’s all. Not really a “number of announcements.” Just two. But two’s a number though, right? Anyway, you can probably tell I’ve just become a dad because I am tired and I ramble. The end.
I like to think Nam made him
the way he was. He was a cook then,
as he would be til he died.
Making food for people with expiration dates.
It must be how Death-Row cooks feel
when the time comes for that Last Meal.
That’s what he did, really.
On a mass scale.
It’d mess anyone up,
turn em into brooding,
angry, callous men.
Men with blisters on their souls
and fire in their eyes.
Men in pain.
Which is what he was, while I knew him –
a man in pain.
A man who’d long since lost sight of Grace.
Do you hear me?
Do you understand what I am saying?
A man who believed in a god
more like a lawman than a father.
A god who’d take your prayers in good faith
and then drop you at the first sign of weakness.
Like we were meant to move mountains on our own.
I like to think that Nam made him
the way he was. I like to think
it was all in his circumstances.
Cuz then it’s not in the blood.
Then it’s not genetic, and I can escape the machinery.
Do you hear me?
I feel a pull, and it frightens me
because I’m becoming more and more
like the parts of you
I didn’t like
and less and less like the ones I did.
Over the past few weeks, when I should have been studying or doing other important-type things, I have been writing some poems and rethinking ideas for short stories and novels. I find that poems are faster to write (obviously) and thus easier to fit into my schedule. Anyway, I have posted many of my recent poems. Some are relatively finished. Others need some more work. Hope you enjoy!
I haven’t been writing on here in a while, and I know. Laziness, I guess. Anyway, I wanted to keep any readers out there up to date on some current projects and ideas that I have in the mix. First, my wife and I are moving next week, so I probably won’t be posting much (if anything at all ) on here until after that move. But we have decided that once things are up and running at the new place, we’ll start doing a series of posts. The way this will work is my wife will give me three words – they could be objects, people, places, or ideas – and then I will write a story based around those three words. This story will be posted on the site. This won’t be every day, but maybe every two or three days so that a steady stream of posts will be flowing onto the site. Also, I have a project I’m currently working on and contemplating that will be a mystery/thriller/detective story. I haven’t written anything solid yet, but I have been sketching some key plot points and ideas in my notebook. Maybe in a month or so that story will be on here for some critiquing. Anyway, that’s all that ‘s going on right now. Thanks for reading!