#Weeknotes S02 E07

It’s gonna be a short one this week. Last week was a struggle. I got hit with something — not 2019-nCoV but some other nasty thing going around work. I managed to get through my workweek, though. All I had to do was sleep 9-11 hours per night as soon as I got home. Hey, if nothing else I’ve banked more time off that I can theoretically to go 4th Street Fantasy maybe.

I was thinking of maybe skipping, but I realized that this weekend marks the second Boskone in a row I’ve had to miss for money/logistical reasons. As if it didn’t suck bad enough, I find this piece of nostalgia on their website this year. I miss you Boskone. I WILL RETURN! (Well, gods willing and the creek don’t rise.)

Bet you can’t find me in this picture!

Longest Writing Chain This Week: 1 day.

I’ve decided that for February at least, it’s not so much about the chain, as much as getting more links in my calendar than I did in January. If I can do that much, then I won’t feel quite as bad. Maybe. At least I can accomplish that, though.

Inspired — okay, guilted — by 12 Books from My Backlist I Swear I’ll Read in 2020, I’m going to come up with my own list this week.

I’ve taken just as much artistic advice from musicians as from writers, even in matters of writing. A lot of it is really applicable. Case in point, Chick Corea’s 16 Pieces of “Cheap But Good Advice for Playing Music in a Group” (1985)

9.Guide your choice of what to play by what you like–not by what someone else will think.

Because Dot’s always been an inspiration.

#Weeknotes S02 E06

I was in the mood to listen to the kind of music you’d hear on a lazy weekend day wandering through the type of hipper-than-thou record store that sells the “For Tobacco Use Only” paraphernalia behind the sales counter. So right now I’ve got Jefferson Starship’s BLOWS AGAINST THE EMPIRE in my ears. Mmm, I can smell the packaged incense in the air.

In other news, it looks like I have another serious shot at another potential job opportunity. More to report when there’s more to report!

Other than that, it’s been a rough week. Lot of craziness this week, what with everyone in my day job field worried about 2019-nCoV. Which didn’t leave me with much energy after the 9-to-5 to do much besides read a bit and idly kill things in DESTINY 2.

Longest Writing Chain This Week: 1 day. And that was the only day I wrote this week. I suck, I know.

I did go through some of the books on my TBR pile, but I discovered these pieces that I missed the boat on when they first came out…

I’d never heard of the surrealism of photographer Grete Stern, but I plan to look for some.

…Stern produced a photomontage that recreated some aspect of the reader’s dream. These illustrations usually depicted women struggling to free themselves from the oppressive patriarchy of Argentinian society.

I’m always curious about artistic beefs, especially in music and literature. From a NEW YORKER piece on writer Joanna Russ

Privately, to mutual friends, Russ accused Le Guin of being accommodating to men, of refusing to write as a woman. In some ways, Le Guin conceded the argument—she claimed to write under the influence of her male “animus”—but in other ways she resisted. After all, wasn’t her freedom not to write “as a woman” precisely the point?

Not that I ever could imitate George Saunders, but there are some tips in this piece in THE PARIS REVIEW

…one of the most important aspects of the Saunders aesthetic is something that might be termed “bonelessness.” A boneless story doesn’t begin with an idea for a central conflict, or with an outline, or with any other structural design. A boneless story has no skeleton. That doesn’t mean that there’s no action. To the contrary, Saunders’s stories are packed with incident. But the stories accumulate beat by beat. As a general rule, Saunders doesn’t conceive of plots in advance, but rather tries to write one funny, interesting moment, and then another funny, interesting moment, and so on. A Saunders story grows like a fungus.

On the price of being an early adopter…


If only I could….

#Weeknotes S02 E05

Unlike Anderson .Paak, I’ve never had The Best Teef in the Game. I had a minor dental emergency this week. Parts of a back molar around a filling I’ve had since I was a child started falling off. No pain or anything, but it did bring me to a dentist for the first time in, well, a long while. I’ll have to go back in a couple of weeks, but in all likelihood it’s just due to the inevitable bone loss that comes with age. No cavities! (I generally don’t get cavities, not since I had those fillings when I was a child.)

The tooth will likely have to be extracted. If it does, I’m going to ask to keep it as a shank. Maybe tie it to the end of a pole, like a spear.

Oh well, at least my back is doing better!

I’ve been tapped to be part of a task force at work that I really can’t talk about. Not “I’d tell you but I’d have to kill you” top secret, but I’d rather not be another angle someone looking for more information thinks they might be able (inappropriately) pursue. That’ll make my next week interesting.

Longest Writing Chain This Week: 2 days, but 4 days overall!

Not really a lot of a lot of progress on revisions for Short Story 01, but I’ve worked a lot developing a couple of fresh ideas. Better than being stuck, I guess.

I wanted to like the film 1917, I really did. Just wasn’t for me, though. I didn’t really glean anything that I hadn’t already seen in BLACKADDER GOES FOURTH, the DOCTOR WHO episodes “Human Nature”/”Family of Blood”, and series two of DOWNTON ABBEY.

Caught up a little bit more with THE EXPANSE. I’m 3 episodes away from Season 3. I’m still a little taken aback at the show’s plot scope and intricacy!

Kit Reed’s STORY FIRST: THE WRITER AS INSIDER is, in the first three chapters, a pretty succinct distillation of the sort of writing truths that most other writing books tend to start talking about halfway in. I’d only ever met Kit Reed in passing before she left us, but I did see her do a few convention panels. So I can actually hear her voice in my mind as I read…

I should say at the outset that if any of you are going to make it in show biz, that is, if any of you are going to write fiction that pleases anybody besides yourself and possibly your most doting relative, you are going to have to develop the habit of rewriting.

So yes, stuff I’ve seen before (i.e. rewriting) with nuggets that are new-to-me sprinkled in (i.e. writing as show biz).


(Okay, maybe having Crumb actually would open one up to demonic possession….)

Fjallraven Kanken No. 2 backpack I love it when retail therapy dovetails with actual, practical need. I decided I needed a lighter load to carry on days when I have chiropractic appointments after work. It wouldn’t be bad if I had a car, but I’m a bus/walking person, which you can be in the town I live in.

I still needed a smaller, lighter back for my Ultraportable EDC-In-Exile but slightly bigger than the STM bag I was using, that was simple enough that I don’t leave essentials behind when I need my full loadout, yet something that would still be kind to my back while I’m going to a chiropractor twice a week.

I’ve had my eye on this particular Fjällräven Kånken No. 2 bag for awhile, and decided I had nothing to lose by trying it out. It’s been a week and so far it fits the bill completely. I’m still not giving up my Filson, though!

#Weeknotes S02 E04

I spent the majority of my writing time this week engaged in some writing practice, which is to say “the practice of writing.” I’m surprised I had time at all; for a short week it sure didn’t feel like one at work. But I got myself caught up, so maybe just having a lighter psychic weight paid off. Carrying a lighter physical weight might be helping too — my back, at least. Unfortunately, I haven’t followed through on the process of letting go of old tech, but it’s on the list!

No, it’s not you. Just diddling around with the formatting a bit for this post. Might keep it. Might not.

Longest Writing Chain This Week: 1 day; but 3 writing days overall. That’s progress, right?

Revisions on Short Story 01 continue, but I’m also spending that writing time “sketching” so to speak in my notebook. You can thank Lydia Davis and some of the things I read in ESSAYS ONE.

As promised, I did a Quickie Review of KNIVES OUT. It was so good!

Much like my To Be Read pile, I decided, Fuck my To Be Watched queue and took in the first couple of episodes of something deep in the backlog, season 3 of WYNONNA EARP. And after that, I plan to catch up with THE MAGICIANS.

The next few things on the list:

  • A couple of weeks of DOCTOR WHO Series 12
  • Season 2 of THE EXPANSE
  • A couple of weeks of the HARLEY QUINN cartoon
  • The first episode of STAR TREK: PICARD

Just picked up a bunch of things in a curated Write Now! Story bundle. And I’m starting with Kit Reed’s (may she rest in peace) STORY FIRST: THE WRITER AS INSIDER. I knew it was a good choice when I came upon this passage…

You don’t have to be a hatchet murderer to write about one. At some time in your life you’ve had murderous feelings. Use them.

Also, the aforementioned ESSAYS ONE.


I remember writing an entry on an old blog that didn’t seem to make it over to this one about Jim Lehrer. The man helped build and maintain a PBS institution and still managed to get writing done. And that’s always fascinated me. A novel a year for twenty-someodd years? I haven’t read a single one, but if you assume for the sake of a thought experiment that they were all bad, just getting them done on top of everything else is quite the accomplishment!


#Weeknotes S02 E03

Not a great writing week for 2020. Catching up with the dayjob after a week of illness/self-care took a bit out of me. I wasn’t 100% this week; more like 85-90%. It was enough. My therapist would be proud of the reduction in the amount of self-criticism.

My back and neck feel progressively better. The chiropractor is covered by my insurance so at this point, I really don’t care if it’s placebo or not. So there!

Still, this week went by quick. And because tomorrow’s a holiday, next week will be a short one. Will it go by faster? I’ll let you know.

WRITING PROGRESS. It took a lot for me to get into the writing chair this week… but I did it!

Longest Writing Chain This Week: 1 day; but 2 writing days overall!

Revisions on Short Story 01 continue.

ROTTING MY BRAIN. No time for writing meant no time for THE EXPANSE or HARLEY QUINN. It’s all in queue, though. But we did make time for KNIVES OUT yesterday. I’ll do a write-up soon but in short: believe all the good things people have said about it!

FEEDING MY EARS. I finally caught the episode of WTF WITH MARC MARON with Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. It was uncomfortable for me to listen to, but only because I was projecting my own issues. The tone of the interview — filtered through my own experiences — reminded me of the insecurity I can sometimes feel when I’m hanging out with people who are way cooler than I am, who seem to enjoy my company but are really tolerating or condescend to my presence. I think this is one of those times when I can safely say, “it’s just me.”

FEEDING MY EYES. Because I recommended it to a co-worker recently, I decided it was a good time to re-read my updated edition of David Allen’s GETTING THINGS DONE: THE ART OF STRESS-FREE PRODUCTIVITY. Hey, anything to get myself back on track.

Got through a couple of sections of Lydia Davis’s ESSAYS ONE, as well.


I’m not sure at what point my reaction to these sorts of advances went from “That’s so fucking cool!” to “Fuck. Fuck. FUCK, we’re doomed!”

ULTRAPORTABLE EDC-IN-EXILE. My usual EDC bag — a Filson 258 briefcase — is basically a portable office with every basic analog and electronic tool I could possibly need to conduct my writing life and personal admin. I carry it with me almost daily when I leave the house. Yes, I’m that guy who just refuses to leave his damn bag at home. Luckily, I’m have the perfect camouflage for this behavior, living in a college town.

But on occassion, even I have to acknowledge there are rare instances where I don’t want to carry everything; that I probably don’t need to be carrying anything aside from my wallet, keys, and my phone. Still, I refuse to go completely without some tools that that would enable me, if I really had to, to get some thoughts down.

It’s for those times that I have my ultraportable “EDC-in-exile” setup, which is an old STM bag with just enough room for the tablet/keyboard combination that’s become my daily driver, AC adapter/2-port USB battery with 2 cords, a microfiber cloth, and the meds I carry around with me “just in case.” I didn’t take it out, but there are a couple of pens and a Field Notes notebook in the bag. Phone goes in my pocket and my Bluetooth earphones are on my head or hanging on my neck.

Why do I feel the need to always have something with me? Etgar Keret put my mindset into words nicely in his story “What Do We Have in Our Pockets?”

The fact is that everything I have in my pockets is carefully chosen so I’ll always be prepared. Everything is there so I can be at an advantage at the moment of truth. Actually, that’s not accurate. Everything’s there so I won’t be at a disadvantage at the moment of truth.

#Weeknotes S02E02

I didn’t slack this week. I got sick. And up until very recently, I didn’t see a practical difference between the two. The voices in my head say, (a) okay fine, “sick” is a reason but you’re still as behind as you would be if you just fucked off and (b) no one wants to hear you whinging.

Luckily, therapy has been good for me. So yes, I can acknowledge that I didn’t keep up with my daily diary (a la Barry) or drawing exercises (a la Brunetti). But I did take care of myself, and that was the important thing. Staying home from work, seeing a doctor, getting my back adjusted — all important things. Right? Right.

(And if repeating that to myself over and over really keeps the demons at bay, well that’s fine too.)

WRITING PROGRESS. So, then how’d my first week of 2020 go?

Longest Writing Chain This Week: 2 days. But I did have 3 writing days altogether.

I suck at coming up with interesting code names, so I’ll continue calling what I’m working on right now Short Story 01. Same “Short Story 01” I was working on this time last year, but I made some decent progress on its rewrite by experimenting with Oblique Strategies (I have an app) to get me through problem areas. The results are interesting, even if I decide not to keep them.

ROTTING MY BRAIN. Still working my way through THE EXPANSE but I’ve been seeing what the animated HARLEY QUINN is all about. Well, it’s now overtaken AGGRETSUKO as my favorite cartoon. HARLEY feels like it has everything I love about old Adult Swim shows but without the “Jokes for you and your stoner buds who’re up too late” vibe.


Seriously, printing and scanning over WiFi with my tablet has actually made my life better twice this week.

IN THE WILD. Trying to address just one of the various and sundry ways I’ve neglected myself lately.

I know, but it helps my back, shut up. And, no jokes about “Now, why don’t you get your attitude adjusted?” My inner voices beat you to it!

#Weeknotes S02 E01

In 2019 I put a lot of work primarily into my personal life: my mental/emotional/physical health, family, friends. That work goes on, but in 2020 it’s time to invest some of the energy I got back last year into getting more words out into the world.

I’m taking my time deciding what projects I want to continue with or whether I want to start fresh with something new. Both routes appeal to me. I’m bound to pick something in the next couple of days and will go back to tracking and posting about how well I did or didn’t generate a writing chain this week.

I also plan to get through my reading backlog with three things in mind this year:

  • If I’m ever going to conquer my reading backlog, I need to do it in a systematic manner.
  • It might help if I read with an eye toward blogging my thoughts whenever I come across something that especially strikes me. I’m told people actually like my Quickie Reviews.
  • If I find myself slogging through a book, then I just need to just give it the fuck up and move on to the next thing.

Welcome to Donfoolery in 2020!

FEEDING MY EYES. Lynda Barry never disappoints. I’ve occasionally had to stop and put down MAKING COMICS because it’s so dense and full of more good stuff to absorb into my writing practice than I can ever try in a year, I think.

That’s not going to stop me from trying, though!

I’ve also pulled out something I bought but shelved last March, Ivan Brunetti’s CARTOONING: PHILOSOPHY AND PRACTICE, a book Barry mentions all the time. I know it was March when I opened it up last because I dug up a sketchbook I bought myself at the time dated “March 2019” before abandoning it. There was a lot going on at that time. Anyway, I’m not out to be any kind of cartoonist as a goal, but I’ve looked to exercises and ideas from both these books to keep the artistic juices flowing.

ROTTING MY BRAIN. Another item on this year’s to do list is re-establishing my geek cred. I’m a little out of touch with some things, but I’m catching up!

I don’t know how my geek card didn’t get revoked having missed the boat on THE EXPANSE. I can tell it’s leaving an impression on me, because things that do tend to keep my subconscious mind on the lookout for anything even tangentially related…

Getting through Season 1, I realized I’d actually seen a couple of episodes here and there. Guess it just got lost in the shuffle. Anyway, I’m on it now and yes, it’s every bit as good as everyone says it is. The main draw for me so far is Shohreh Aghdashloo, better known to me as Lakshmi-2 of the Future War Cult. I have to say, I can’t remember the last time I saw as compelling a character on sci-fi TV as Chrisjen Avasarala.

What impresses me most of all is how smoothly all the moving parts of the narrative revolve around each other in almost perfect, overlapping orbits. I’m through the first few episodes of Season 2. I’m sure I’ll be back with more to say!


But you’re doing well
I mean, you’re not dead
So let’s celebrate while we still can

#Weeknotes: Please Stand By

I wrapped up this year’s Weeknotes last week, but I did promise a follow-up if I had news. That job I applied for? Didn’t get it. It was the theme of the year, the standard “You were very competitive, we just decided to go in another direction but if another opening comes up, you will be the first person I call.” 0 for 3 this year. Yeah, I’m down but not out. This hasn’t ruined my holidays or anything; I’ve never been much of a holiday person to begin with.

In fact, all in all, this is the most relaxed I’ve felt heading into a holiday in years. Which is good, because I’m just as exhausted. But at least there’s some hope that while things have burned down, other things are getting rebuilt simultaneously, just like this portion of my apartment complex.

What things? I’ll put a list together between now and New Year’s!

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK. It’s all in your perspective…

#Weeknotes S01 E12

I’ve managed 12 of these Weeknotes entries this year. 3 months’ worth — roughly 25% of the amount I’d planned to do. But I’ll take it!

My 2019 didn’t start the way I’d hoped; more accurately, the last part of 2018 messed me up. In the end, it was all in the name of changes I needed to make, even if I hadn’t planned on making them. Some changes even panned out over the last year! Whatever happens, I know I’m heading into 2020 in a much better state than this time a year ago.

I think I’m going to take a Weeknotes hiatus until after the New Year. But expect an occasional post or two, year end rants and raves and such. And hopefully some news about that last iron in the fire.

IRON IN THE FIRE. I should know next week, just in time to either make my holidays or put a crimp in them. I’m good no matter what happens, though.

MOOC PROGRESS. Don’t talk to me about MOOC progress…

FEEDING MY EYES. I’m taking a “one bite of the elephant at a time” approach to my backlog. I’ve upgraded my tablet to something more suited to my aging eyes: a Lenovo Tab M10… as in 10″. Man, I just didn’t appreciate how sub-optimal reading comics on my smaller tablet was.

Anyway, the titles will look familiar:

  • MAKING COMICS by Lynda Barry
  • ESSAYS ONE by Lydia Davis
  • EMBRACE YOUR WEIRD by Felicia Day
  • IMPROV FOR WRITERS by Jorjeanna Marie

One bite at a time…

ROTTING MY BRAIN. I’ve been keeping up with the newest season of the anime ONE PUNCH MAN. I haven’t related harder to a character since THE IRRESPONSIBLE CAPTAIN TYLOR. It’s taking me awhile to get into this new season though. Man, is it slow-burning. Makes a Brian Michael Bendis comic feel like a flash fiction piece.

This season definitely focuses more on the OPM world, than on Saitama himself. But somehow just as I think I could be losing interest, Caped Baldy manages to show up at just the right time and for just long enough to keep me interested. Well, now I have to know what happens in the rest of the season.

IN THE WILD. Asher watching ONE PUNCH MAN with me last night…


#Weeknotes S01 E11

Relatively short one this week, only because things have been busy at the dayjob since the holidays. It’s always a busy time of the year right as people are scrambling to get everything wrapped up between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I spent most of this weekend just taking it as easy as possible and fighting my tendency to make every second of it productive, at least this once.

But you know, just thinking about it now tickles my anxiety a little; like, “You still got time between now and Monday, get on the stick!” Especially since I’ve really let my progress slip on the MOOC I’m doing. And it doesn’t help that I learned that being a professional dungeon master is a thing. Makes me feel like I missed a calling in life.

I just need to get comfortable with just chilling the fuck out between things. I think that’s a 2020 goal.

IRON IN THE FIRE. So yesterday I had an interview for a new position at my dayjob. Things look good; then again, I’ve thought that before. But I’m one of two final candidates so my odds are 50/50 at this point. I should hear in the next couple of weeks, so I’m either going to have an awesome holiday or, well, an okay one. Y’all will know as soon as I do!

FEEDING MY EYES. Would you believe that yesterday I came across another episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE — “The Fear” — that I’ve never seen before?

FEEDING MY EARS. It only took me 30 years to figure this out…

IN THE WILD. This was the week that Asher finally ventured out of the bedroom (under his sister’s watchful eye, of course). Monday, he made it out of the hallway, and spends longer and longer out in the living room before being startled by something and scurrying back to his hidey hole. And just now, for the first time, he jumped up onto the living room furniture. He’s come a long way!!