July Writing

  • Longest Chain in July: 21 days
  • Total July days: 28 days
  • Pieces submitted in July: 2
  • Total 2021 Writing days: 148

Looks like I was unequivocally back on my bullshit in July. Not bad for how overwhelmed I was feeling for a spell. And not just with returning to the office, but with a bunch of ideas for stories and projects that kept coming at me faster than I could write them down. Of course, in my heart of hearts I know a lot of it is no good, but you never know until you get it all down.

But I pulled it together. Finished and submitted a short story, and put out another piece for a reprint anthology. (Fingers crossed!) That was probably my key breakthrough for the month: getting back into the joy and the pain of the submissions process…

#Weeknotes S03 E26

I hate it when these posts start sounding all samey–yes, another week of work and another week of writing. But at least it was a good writing week, despite the (non-)help the furry children had to offer…

WRITING

  • This week’s writing chain: 7 days
  • Total writing days this week: 7 days
  • Pieces out on submission: 2

That’s right, two pieces out on submission. So while I stress on those, it was back to writing. I’m editing another piece right now which wasn’t quite as close to done as I thought it was. That’s okay, though.

It’s funny, I thought I was just going to replicate the same sort of process I used with the story I finished and submitted last week. Nope, just doesn’t fit the piece I’m working on. So yes, turns out there are things I need to do every time just to get that first draft out. After that, it’s anything goes in the editing stage.

Work has kicked my ass, though. It’s why I only went 5 writing days last week. This week I pushed through Friday and yesterday even though a break would’ve probably been a better idea. Maybe I could’ve lived with not getting another “7 and 7” week, but I was so close to finishing out the month on a streak that I didn’t want to break it. Which is the point of The Chain, but still…

READING
Halfway through M. Rickert’s THE SHIPBUILDER OF BELLFAIRIE, which definitely makes the workday commute bearable.

I randomly chanced upon this story in my feeds, “Barong” by E.P. Tuazon on THE RUMPUS. I mean, how was I not going read a story titled “Barong”? It’s a great piece! (Even though it wasn’t about the type of barong I would prefer to read about).

IDIOT BOXING
Huh. Did I watch anything this past week…? I don’t think so. Too busy, I guess.

IN THE WILD
Went here to restock on vital supplies (i.e. a 25 lb. bag of rice). Will keep coming here if they keep this up…

#Weeknotes S03 E25

First official week back in the office and man, did it kick my ass. The extra hour earlier I have to get up just to get to work on time really adds up. At least the actual travel time is still my own (I take a bus to work). But by Friday, I had nothing left.

WRITING
Because of all that, this wasn’t a “7 and 7” week. I’m not even mad though.

  • This week’s writing chain: 5 days
  • Total writing days this week: 5 days
  • Pieces out on submission: 1

Ooh look, a new stat! I sent a reprint out while I wait for the last story I’ve finished to cool before I send that out this week. And, I’m about halfway through revising another story. So all in all, this has been a productive July for writing.

READING
Well if I’m not writing, then I’ve got time to read, right? Especially since my preorder of the latest novel from my favorite writer in the universe THE SHIPBUILDER OF BELLFAIRIE by M. Rickert has come in! Slightly ahead of the pub date I might add, so I feel compelled to take advantage of that fact!

IDIOT BOXING
I liked the first five episodes of MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION. Seriously, the only way I would’ve enjoyed it more was if they used the old school animation, but that’s just me.

If this story line’s not your bag, that’s fine. And you should express that if you feel you need to. But getting worked up in a way that makes Kevin Smith, of all people, tell you to “Grow the fuck up,” you are truly lost!

IN THE WILD
Walked into my local really wanting a Snapple lemonade after work one day. But they didn’t have Snapple. I’m not dunking on the company (I mean look at they work they put into that label) but let me just say… it wasn’t Snapple.

#Weeknotes S03 E24

Busy week but somehow I managed to stay locked in to a writing groove. A lot of my writing sessions were like this, and I didn’t even mind…

WRITING
It’s what helped me pull off another “7 and 7” week!

  • This week’s writing chain: 7 days
  • Total writing days this week: 7 days

I finished–like, finished, finished my first short story in I don’t know how long. Did a final pass and sent it out to a beta reader yesterday. I don’t know if anything will ever come of it, but I do know that it’s as good as I can make it. So I’m going to sit on it for a few days before submitting it and moving onto the next thing.

READING
I don’t necessarily like how my writing time seems like it’s eating up my reading time, but I can sure live with it.

While my book TBR list expands, I do manage to catch things online here and there. Like this article on “Why You Should @readappalachia”. (h/t to Belt Publishing!) And when I saw one of @readappalachia’s recommendations, it reminded me that my feelings of anger around flip-flopping intellectuals who try to cosplay rubes aren’t totally unreasonable.

“The book, What You’re Getting Wrong About Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte, is the gospel tract that I give to people from the region to get them to understand the region, and that “Hillbilly Elegy” is problematic at best.” The New York Times bestseller is widely known as a portrait of the region, and one reason why those who are local to Appalachia want more people to read work by Appalachians instead of outsiders….

By the way, I’ve also read and can heartily recommend WHAT YOU’RE GETTING WRONG ABOUT APPALACHIA.

IDIOT BOXING
Finished up LOKI the other day. I don’t know if they needed to stretch it out for 6 weeks; I feel like I would’ve enjoyed it more if I’d binged it all at once. But I like where they’re going with it!

IN THE WILD
This was my last WFH week. Back in the office on Monday, which means no more rolling out of bed 15 minutes before work and walking right over to the desk. Which means it’s back to a daily commute for me. And so it’s nice to know that the more things change on the regional public transit system, even during a pandemic, the more some things stay the same.

#Weeknotes S03 E23

Last week was just really, really busy. Part of it was catching up on the previous shortened work week. It’s always fun when you’re caught up in a repetitive cycle of “hurry up and wait.” But hey, it keeps the bills paid and let’s me keep writing. Speaking of which, maybe work wasn’t the only reason last week was really full.

WRITING
We got a “7 and 7”. July’s off to a great start!

  • This week’s writing chain: 7 days!
  • Total writing days this week: 7 days!

A change in mindset definitely helped.

I can’t remember the last time I had 10 complete pages that I wouldn’t be ashamed to show to an editor. Now, if I can just the last 10 pages right, I’d have something. Well, let’s see what happens in the next few days.

READING
Not much time for book reading this week, but I added Jeffrey Ford’s latest story collection BIG DARK HOLE to the TBR list. Ford is one of those writers along with Howard Waldrop and M. Rickert who, if I see their name on a book cover with something in it that isn’t a reprint, it’s an automatic buy!

I did come across this Esquire article on Lou Diamond Phillips. It wasn’t until years after LA BAMBA (1987) that I found out Phillips has some Filipino blood. But it wasn’t until the other day when I found out that he could count the number of Filipino roles he’s played on one hand. I’m not an actor at all, but boy was this relatable content.

IDIOT BOXING
I don’t know this for a fact, but I bet if you dug deep into the old JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY comics you’d find all the poses that Richard E. Grant did dressed in the Classic Loki costume in the episode of LOKI called–well, I’m sure you can guess.

IN THE WILD
Nature is healing in the 607.

#Weeknotes S03 E22

It’s not Saturday, I’m not in a park, but it is the 4th of July! So this’ll be quick.

Makes me wanna pick up the horn again. But I’m having a hard enough time keeping up with the writing as it is. One art at a time, Don! And besides, it was a pretty heavy work week. I physically went into work a couple of days to move offices. Just about everyone’s moving offices. That, on top of all the other stuff I need to stay on top of made for a busy week.

WRITING
Not a bad writing week, even though I flaked on a day. You’d think it would’ve been on my birthday, but no. Either way, it’s still momentum and I’m gonna ride it out this week!

  • This week’s writing chain: 4 days
  • Total writing days this week: 6 days

READING
I just didn’t have enough mental spoons to make much headway into Donald Barthelme’s COLLECTED STORIES. But my reading addiction needed to be fed, so when I found a reference to Jason Hackworth’s MANUFACTURING DECLINE: HOW RACISM AND THE CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT CRUSH THE AMERICAN RUST BELT, the next thing I know it’s in my e-reader!

IDIOT BOXING
I’m all caught up on the LOKIs. I like where they’re going with it.

IN THE WILD
Saw this when I went in to grab a to-go coffee (yes, it’s also a bar). One day, I’ll feel comfortable sitting and writing inside a third space again.

June Writing

  • Longest Chain in June: 5 days (twice!)
  • Total June writing days: 22
  • Total 2021 writing days: 120

Okay, better. Better than the past few months, anyway. And as far as a six-month writing run goes, it’s the best I’ve had in, I dunno, ever.

120 days. Call it four months out of the past six. In other words (::back of the envelope, counts fingers, carry the one…::)–that’s like 4 and a half-ish days a week, right? Not a bad start toward rebuilding my process to be something more sustainable.

#Weeknotes S03 E21

It didn’t originally make sense how exhausted I felt yesterday. But after a quick review of my calendar and completed items to-do lists (which are never complete enough, but still), it all clicked. I mean, last weekend wasn’t exactly a break with volunteer duty for virtual 4th Street Fantasy, fun as it was. So I’m going to keep it short this week.

WRITING
Couple days on, couple days off. Still trying to peck away at a couple of short stories and developing some ideas. Nothing big. Just trying to keep the momentum going.

  • This week’s writing chain: 2 days
  • Total writing days this week: 5 days

READING
I didn’t know this was a thing and when I discovered it, I had no choice but to impulse-buy the Library of America’s collection of Donald Barthelme’s COLLECTED STORIES. No choice, I tell you!

IDIOT BOXING
I actually cheered when I saw the first trailer for THE CHOE SHOW a few weeks ago. I dunno, I was in the mood to watch a train wreck of the usual David Choe antics. I have to say, the show wasn’t a train wreck and I was reminded of just what a good artist he is, separate from whatever one might think of him as a human being. You can check out all 4 episodes for the next 60 days on the website, or on Hulu.

I also caught the first couple episodes of LOKI. Yeah, I’m seriously behind on the Disney+ MCU content. Nope, haven’t seen WandaVision or The Falcon and the Snowma–the Winter Soldier.

IN THE WILD
This week, I made it out to my first in-person gathering to celebrate a coworker moving on to their next gig. I figured if I was going to be safe anywhere, it was with my coworkers in college health, right? I could be getting a little cocky though; I took that picture up above at Barnes and Noble later that afternoon. Still, the rust has to come off of my COVID-legs one way or the other.

#Weeknotes S03 E20

I didn’t get a full 7 days of writing in this week, but I have a good reason.


4th Street Fantasy is where I’d be right now if everyone had gotten their Mark of the Beast like they were supposed to, like I did. But helping out with remote tech support was the next best thing to actually being there in person with people I miss. I hope remote cons don’t go away entirely in the new normal the way the world of work seems to be, especially in my field. But I’ll be in you again, MSP!

Plus, I’ve dedicated time almost daily to shake the rust of my legs, hence the recent postings of pictures that aren’t my cats. I even got on the local bus, surprised that my privileges still worked and did a brief walkabout of the downtown area. Between the thread I just linked and the pic below, I see that I still live in the land of 10 square miles surrounded by reality.


(Narrator: This place was totally a cult.)

WRITING
I can live with missing 5 days out of 20 this month, especially since I’ve pulled out a short story to polish up before sending out. I have a soft goal to send it somewhere by the end of the month. We’ll see how that goes.

  • This week’s writing chain: 5 days
  • Total writing days this week: 5 days

READING
Decided to go ahead and start COLUMBUS NOIR. It’s funny how reading books like this and THE DAYTON ANTHOLOGY make me feel like I’m catching up with old fri–well, acquaintances.

IN THE WILD

See yourself
You are the steps you take
You and you, and that’s the only way
Shake, shake yourself
You’re every move you make
So the story goes
Yes, “Owner of a Lonely Heart”