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First of September already!  Time for me to recharge and aim high once more on my writing goals.  Ganbatte!

Doing some e-cleaning this morning during the slow moments of my Day Job...lots of email subfolders (both personal and work) that needed sorting out, deletion, or archiving.  Keeping a positive spin on it all, hitting all the daily goals as I can and minimizing the distraction.  Doing it Now instead of When I Get Around To It.  The forward motion is definitely an excellent motivator.

Listening to the new tunage that's out today but being a bit more choosy about what I download now.  (Sure, I say that now...)  A suggested we start budgeting ourselves a bit more, and I agree.  I've always held back a bit with my weekly music purchases...during the days when I'd do my weekly run to Newbury Comics, I'd make sure I didn't spend more than $70.  (More often I'd spend more like $40.)  Now that my purchases are all digital, my weekly cap hovers around $50 but is usually more like $35.  Still, I do find that I'll download albums I like the sound of, maybe listen to it for a few weeks, and then not touch it for quite some time.  Not that it's necessarily wasteful, as I'm putting money in musicians' pockets, but I have to remember that unlike my cd buying days, I can't bring mp3s to a record store for cash or credit if I no longer want them.  And besides, I'm signed up for Amazon Prime, so I have unlimited streaming going on.  If I'm on the fence on certain albums, perhaps I'll listen to them a bit more and make a choice sometime down the line.

ANYHOO.  In other news, San Francisco is getting hit with a heatwave and none of us here, especially on the normally cool and foggy side of town, are used to it.  It's ridiculously warm right now, and I may just break out my shorts for the first time in however long it's been.  It's not often that it hits close to 80F here in the Richmond. 


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Related to a few previous posts.  Been thinking more about my current adjustments in time management.

Noted, giving myself reminders has always worked well for me: keeping tabs open for the blogs and the daily words, and closing everything else unneeded or unnecessary.   Jumping in on urges to work on something rather than 'I'll get to it soon enough.'  [This last one can be tricky during Day Job hours if I have fires to put out, but it there are slow moments, I can usually at least sow a seed or two that will bear fruit when 
I fully focus on it later.]

Going through the motions of time management for necessary evils.  (In some respects, the slower, more automated moments of the Day Job, where I'm just answering emails or doing minor research.  If dedication and focus is needed, it'll be provided.  Otherwise, I'm Going Through the Motions.)  Less stress, less concern about things I don't necessarily need or want to be concerned about.

I seem to be doing the same with social media.  I no longer want to be #LIVE and #BREAKING.  Things are much calmer and more serene that way.  Just me, some tunes, my creative projects, and maybe some coffee or tea, and I'm golden.
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Sometimes I feel like I'm in a holding pattern.  A slow loop around the airport, waiting for my turn to pop into the queue so I can land.  I used to feel like that in high school, waiting for that bit of compulsory education to be finished so I could move on to the college thing.  It's like a slow waiting period I have to go through before moving closer to my goal.  I took it with patience instead of impatience...just something I had to get done.

Currently feeling the same way right now for a few differing reasons -- upcoming vacation, writing situation, long-term career outlook, that sort of thing.  A lot of personal reasons as well.

Today I was thinking about this, and realized, wait...why am I waiting, anyway?  I mean, sure, some of this wait is due to hard and fast dates (like the vacation, two weeks away) or needing to actually finish the cycle (that is, finishing the first draft of Meet the Lidwells).  I'm talking about other things.  Why am I future-dating my plans when I could start some of them now?

Sometimes this holding pattern is of my own making, and the landing strip is wide and clear.  Perhaps it's time to land.

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I've been listening to a lot of Cocteau Twins and other bands from the 80s-era 4AD label lately.  I blogged about the band over at WiS but it occurred to me afterwards that their music always evokes a certain time of day for me.  Specifically, right around 4:30-5pm during the fall semester.  I'm quite sure it's because that's about the time I'd be wrapping up most of my homework after I got home from school.  My radio would be on from the moment I got home until I went to bed that night, and it would always be stuck on WAMH.  Blue Bell Knoll, their 1988 album, was getting some serious airplay then, having been released mid-September.

I'd be wrapping up my homework - or at least finishing up part of it - and my mom would be getting dinner ready.  Dad would be coming home from work.  The sun was setting behind the treeline behind my house.  Sometimes I'd look out there, listening to the echoes of traffic of the highway about a mile south of us, everyone heading home.  It was the end of the work day and everyone was coming home. This was ages ago, when the far edge of Massachusetts seemed so far away, and the rest of the country was a vast unknown to me.  I had images, but I could only imagine. 

It was that stretch between the end of the day and the start of the evening, two separate lengths of time.  The intermission before prime time television, or in my case, the evening radio shows.  The afternoon shows were brighter, more exciting, but the evening shows were stranger, more experimental.  Those later shows were where I'd hear the industrial, the punk, the weirder side of college rock.  I'd listen to these throughout most of the evening while finishing up my homework and working on whatever story, poem or lyric I was writing at the time.

I think about this now, looking at my present daily schedule.  It's more of a blur now, given that I have music streaming from the moment I log onto my home PC, and my Day Job is a work-at-home situation.  That afternoon entr'acte sneaks up on me, where I log off the Day Job at 4pm.  Sometimes we'll head to the gym or walk around the neighborhood, sometimes we'll just sit around and watch something on Acorn or PBS until dinnertime.  Come 6:30 or 7, I'll head back into Spare Oom for an hour or so of writing.  More tunage playing, often my own collection.

I suppose that mystical reverie I once felt with the time and the music hasn't really left me, but it's certainly been muted by maturity and distraction.  There were many years between then and now when Real Life took precedence.  I've also become a bit more worldly in my years and the Earth isn't as beyond my mental grasp as it once was. 

The reverie will come back now and again in odd places and times, and most unexpectedly, and I always embrace it, each and every time.

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This past week I had the fun task of finishing up my mid-year self-review for the Day Job.  I'm sure I speak for others as well by saying we all know what these reviews are for, but none of us really knows what the hell to say in the comments section.  Do we celebrate the fact that we were able to avert a catastrophic system failure?  Do we celebrate finally making a ridiculously complex process shorter and easier?  I suppose so, but it always feels weird to talk about it, because more often I do those things because it's actually part of my job.  Celebrating it seems just a bit...weird.  I guess it's just me, though. :p

On a writing note, I think I've done pretty well in 2017 so far.  Starting Meet the Lidwells in March, I'm already at the halfway point in the story, so I'm still relatively on schedule.  I'm pretty sure I can hit the late September goal if I stick to it, but I'm okay with it being pushed to mid-October if need be.  As long as it's going in the right direction.

The Secret New Proejct is coming along quite nicely as well.  Working on two completely new and unrelated projects in tandem to this degree is a relatively new process for me.  I don't count Love Like Blood because I wrote that when I put the trilogy aside.   Same with the side projects recently, because those were more about writing new things while working on trilogy revision; those were distractions to keep me from going crazy, and to keep my creative (non-editing) mind moving.  Regardless, I know I've been able to write tandem projects like this, given that I've been juggling projects and exercises for a good few years's just that I haven't had the chance to put it in motion with two new projects.

So how does it feel?  Well, it's definitely a juggling act.  The temptation to work on the shinier one to the detriment of the less exciting one is quite high.  Especially when the less exciting one is actually a lot of fun to write, but just needs some rewriting and revision.  At the same time, the two projects are so different that it would be pretty hard to get them confused.  The trick for me has been to assign specific times for working on them, which a) keeps them separate by a few hours, and b) gives me enough time to switch from one to the other.

So what about other stuff?  What else has gone on in 2017?  It's been a slow slog in some respects...a few non-writing things I've either put aside or pushed into the future that I really should get around to.  Personal things that I really should get around to doing.  Not a failure here, just a matter of getting these things up and running is all.

Other than that, I think I've hit a Meets/Exceeds rating so far this year.  Can't complain.

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When I was in high school, particularly junior and senior year, I had an ongoing experiment with time management.  You know how it is when you're a teen -- all the boring classes go on for eons, the study halls (where you're doing homework that you should have done last night) are far too short, lunch period doesn't start until 11ish and you're hungry by 10.  That sort of thing.  I wanted to better manage all that.

More to the point, I wanted to even it all out a bit, if that makes sense.  Make my day a little more consistent.

Somehow I worked it out by always being conscious of the time.  I got pretty good at assuming I was coming close on the halfway point of a class period.  I figured out the best times to run to my locker and switch books and so on (which, as it happened, was pretty far down one hallway and not that close to some of my classes).  I got quite good at this, to the point where I stopped using a book bag; by the end of the day I only had the needed textbooks and notebooks for that night's homework.  Everything else (pens and my pocket calendar where I wrote down my assignments) was in the pocket of my green trenchcoat alongside my Walkman and tapes.

It seemed to work pretty damn well for those last two years of high school.  My time management, not to mention my grades, got a bit better near the end there.

As for college...?   Well, that's another story entirely.

Anyway...I forgot about that process for a while, mainly because my work and life schedule didn't really need it.  I revived it a bit in the early 2000s when I was working at Yankee Candle.  The reason then was because my Day Job schedule was in fact quite strict by design, to ensure the warehouse floor had unbroken coverage.  It also let me find pockets of free time during the Day Job where I could sneak in some writing prep in the form of short-term outlining.  You all know the rest of that schedule: the mid-afternoon punching-out, the Wednesday comic/cd run, the afternoon anime watching, and the two solid hours of writing work down in the Belfry.

I say all this because I've been thinking about revisiting the process once more.  Sure, I'm kinda sorta doing it already, with my whiteboard schedule, taking strict scheduled breaks at my Day Job (again, same reason -- unbroken coverage), using said breaks for writing exercises, and sneaking in some extra writing during slow moments.

I still feel like I could better manage my time, though.  It's partly the distraction of the internet, but that's easily fixed and I'm not going to dwell on that part.  I've gotten much better in the past few months, especially now that I have my new projects to work on and a solid blog schedule, but I still feel like I'm sort of passively letting time waste away, especially during the Day Job hours.  Even during busy days, I feel I haven't quite managed my time that well.  Perhaps it's time to revisit my time management process again.

Does this sound like being a bit too anal retentive?  Well, maybe, maybe not.  I only get aggravated by screwy schedules when it totally messes with something I really need to get done ASAP.  

But other than that, it's not really about adhering to a strict schedule.  It's just about being more aware of where the time goes and what I do with it.

[no label]

Jun. 21st, 2017 11:07 am
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In the music world, when you have a sneaky promotional title or an acetate or bootleg, in the old days they'd be called 'white label' releases.  Usually because these were extremely lo-fi (or illegal) productions, thrown together and pressed on blank records with white labels with maybe some track information crudely typed out, or an ersatz label logo that someone had made as a rubber stamp.  Nowadays this would be in the form of a burned cd with maybe some notes written on the top in Sharpie.  [Or even more currently, a zip file of minimally-tagged mp3s downloaded from a fileshare site.]  Some of these releases are legitimate, others less so.

I've been thinking about labels lately.  Personal labels can be a source of pride or a source of control, depending on who is using them and why.  I've never been the biggest fan of personal labels, if only because it gives myself and others a way to compartmentalize me.  I include myself here, because it's really easy to label myself with something and then use that as an excuse for my actions.  I often joke that I've got French-Canadian blood in me, so that means I talk far too much about nothing in particular, and flail my arms around while doing so.  But the last thing I want to do is let myself be a tedious chatterbox, let alone have a reason to knock over someone's expensive vase due my lively expressiveness. 

A silly example to be sure, but you get what I mean.
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Wait, it's Saturday already?  When did that happen?  It was a fast week of Day Job stuff and catching up on writing, and not much else of import, so time seemed to fly by rather quickly this week.  Not that I'm complaining.  Midweek had some crappy weather as well, but currently there's no clouds in the sky so it looks like it's going to be a really nice weekend all around.

I'm still concerned that I might not make my autumn deadline for Meet the Lidwells but I think that's mainly because I'm having a bit of trouble at the moment.  The first act is done (creation of the band up to their initial success), and now I have to shift from that to act two (the highs and lows of success and creativity), and it's a bit harder than I expected.  If all else fails, I think I'll have to just make a hard shift there for now, and smooth it out in revision.  We shall see.

Secondary Project, aka The Apartment Complex story, is slowly evolving via the 750 Words site (much like I did with Lidwells a few years ago), and this one promises to be a lot of fun to write.  I'm coming up with some really fun characters and story ideas for it.  I don't think I'll be outlining this one as strictly as I did with Lidwells, but I should at least get the characters and places down. 

Related, I think this might end up being my writing process for a while.  I like the idea of working on new ideas in a playground atmosphere to let them grow and expand (thus letting me work on them during slow points of my day), while dedicating more serious writing time to the current project (which I'll have given a deadline for finishing).  This not only gives me a quicker turnaround, but also lets me work on and self-publish more projects.

Which of course brings up the question, do I want to keep self-publishing?  Well, funny thing about that:  yesterday I got a completely unexpected email response from an agent.  It was a rejection for a submission of A Division of Souls and I couldn't find the date of my original I have no idea when I sent this.  This was before I ultimately decided to self-publish, so this must have been at least around 2015, possibly earlier.  I'll be honest, I'm amused and touched that they got back to me even after this long, even if it was a rejection!  But at the same time, it really put things into perspective: I simply don't want to spend all my time waiting for a yes/no from an agent or a publisher and not knowing either way until then.  I don't seek vindication...I just want to know if I'm Doing It Right or not, and I've come to the conclusion that I don't want to go that route.  Sure, self-publishing means a hell of a lot more work, but I've already proven to myself that I'm willing to do it all.

Anyhoo...going to have a relaxing weekend here, hope you have the same! :)

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My brain has been latching onto pithy mottos lately.  Not the poetic quotes you see in fancy italic fonts over some calm-inducing Shutterstock photo, but more like the Nike 'Just Do It' kind.  The two most recent have been 'back on the horse' and 'own it'.  I fear that my years as a banker have crept into my psyche, considering I always felt they were empty cheerleading in the past.

Anyhoo.  "Back on the horse".  That's relating to fighting my frustration at not having a productive writing day.  I get annoyed with myself for delaying and avoiding work I need to do.  Mind you, it's not as bad as it sounds; I get a few hundred words a day and let myself have days off now and again, as is normal.  It's that I know I can do better, if only I stopped fucking around on social media and YouTube.

"Own It".  Or "Just own it."  Or "Come on, just own it already."  Tying in with more personal things.  Coming back to parts of my personality that I'd held back or turned down for the sake of others.  Complaisant, as my word of the day calendar showed me (mocked at me?) just last week.  I made that my default when I was a kid, and even though it's disappeared for the most part, there are parts of me that still hold fast to it.  There's a difference between being a nice person among others and being an incomplete person to avoid any upset, and I'm speaking about the latter.  It's okay to be me for my own sake.  Owning it.

On a side note, I still have that card I picked up in the Mission some time ago:  "Somebody needs a nice hot cup of STFU."  That's just a personal reminder to shut my yap when I'm complaining about not doing stuff but doing nothing about it.

We're all a work in progress.  Whatever works to get us back on the horse, yeah?

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Let's try a few things here.

Let's bring back a few things that worked well for me.

Let's get rid of a few time-wasting things.

Let's start making some serious plans.  Less "I'd like to" and more "I'm going to".

Let's rebalance a few things to make this work.

Let's get that forward motion going.
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About halfway through last week I was hit with -- well, not exactly feeling sick, but feeling exhausted.  No energy.  Unable to focus on things for that long.  I wasn't sleepy (which means that going back to bed would have entailed me lying there and shifting around)...just...tapped.  So I called in sick on Thursday (something I rarely do) and took the day off, doing little of import.  By mid-Friday I was better, having gotten my mojo back.  I even got some writing done.  This exhaustion rarely happens, but it'll come to me now and again, especially if I've stretched myself too thin and have been stressed by either life or Day Job.

Which got me thinking about readjusting my life schedule.  Not so much getting rid of the writing schedule I have in place -- that's working just fine -- but just being a little smarter about it.  You know how I am...I like switching things up every now and again, keeping it fresh.  Try a few things, put a few older things aside.  Maybe return to a few things I'd put aside in the past.  That sort of thing.

It also got me thinking about if this is age related.  I'm 46 as of this writing, and while I still feel young and nimble enough, I know and have accepted that I'm getting older.  Both my knees are shot so I doubt I'll be doing any sprints any time soon.  I probably shouldn't give into temptation and snarf down endless packages of Zingers and bottles of Mountain Dew.  I really should follow up at the doctor about my somewhat high blood pressure (which has always been higher than average to begin with).  As fun as all that was, I probably have to move on from them.  Mind you, I'm still nimble.  I can still bounce around if need be.  Just that maybe I should finally think of my health a little more seriously than I have.

That said...maybe in the next few weeks I'll start shifting my daily habits around.  Not just for the health reasons, but just to keep things interesting.
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I dunno...maybe it's the current administration's fault. ;-)

No, seriously, the Fuckwit has angered one side and emboldened the other that I've found myself getting exhausted by the reactive moods of Twitter and Facebook over the last few months.  I won't complain that the platforms are going down the crapper, though.  Both of them are what they are, with both good and bad points to them.  They have good days and bad days. 

I'm finding myself editing my online words a lot more than I used to.  Mind you, it has nothing to do with censorship at all.  It's more about a personal debate as to whether it's worth getting in to a conversation.  It's funny; sometimes I'll be typing a response on Twitter, but if it takes me more than a minute to type it out because I'm trying to word it right, then I'll just delete it.  No online argument is worth that much of my time.  Same with Facebook -- I'll join in on an argument now and again, but most of the time it's on someone else's timeline, and I hate hijacking someone else's feed, so I'll hold back unless necessary.  [On a side note, this works to my advantage, as the immediacy then causes me to lose a few filters.  Beware when I have no fucks to give for someone's bullshit.]

In a way I've been trying to rebalance the writing platforms I use.  I'm happy to be back on a social blog platform like this one, because I can take my own time to get the words right.  There's no forced immediacy.  More personal writings stay offline.  Playground words are in the 750 Words.  And this gives me enough energy to work through the new writing projects.

Maybe the thrill and the amusement of instant social media has worn off for me a bit?  Could be, because I rarely go online to say 'hey, let's see what so-and-so is up to' as much as I used to.  A lot of friends I follow aren't superconnected as they used to be -- they've got more important things to do.  And I'm trying not to turn into an obsessive 'let's go watch a car crash' internetter.  Because *I* have more important things to do as well.

I'm trying to be more creative, more positive about these things.  It's hard sometimes, but it can be done.

Balance is always a good thing.


Apr. 27th, 2017 09:55 am
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Okay, I really need to stop dithering and get this damn novel project off the ground.  No more excuses.  [Okay, there is the fact that my in-laws are coming in to visit this afternoon and we'll be having dinner with them.  I'll let that one go.] 

In other news, still adjusting to the new glasses.  They definitely help for clarity's sake, but I'm still getting used to the slight prism correction with the new prescription.  After a few hours I barely notice the difference, which is good.

In other other news, this Saturday is Indie Bookstore Day, which means A and I will be walking to Green Apple to celebrate, have some of the free beer, and spend far too much money on books.  I expect all of you to find your local indie bookstore and let them know how awesome they are.  Hop to it! :)

[Other other other news has been redacted.]

That's all I got for now.  Hope everyone's having a spiffy week!
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No, no, I'm not moving out of Spare Oom or this lovely apartment we've had for nearly eight years. :)

I've imported all my old LJ posts to this here DW account, which means that I'll be closing the old one soon enough.  I got a good thirteen years out of it, so yeah...I definitely got my money's worth out of that Permanent account.

jon_chaisson: (Default) something I'm QUITE sure my mom would be saying to me if I was a teenager now instead of the 80s.  [As it happens, substitute 'internet' with 'radio' and then it's spot on IRL.]

I looked at my calendar today and thought two things: it's one of my sister's birthdays today, and OH CRAP APRIL IS ALMOST DONE AND I'M NOT EVEN DONE WITH THE LIDWELLS OUTLINE.

I was this bad when I was a kid in high school.  I'd have the best of intentions to finish off my homework early so I wouldn't have to worry about it, but Best Laid Plans and all that.  I'd get distracted by my obsessive radio listening, my wanting to write whatever story I was working on at the time, or I'd want to hang out with my friends instead.  It's not that I didn't want to do the homework.  It's just that it bored the hell out of me and I'd rather have been doing something more fun or creative.  I'd put it off until last minute, or it would be late, or I'd write something half-assed and be done with it, just to get it over with. 

I was the same in college, sadly.  The prerequisite classes bored me to tears (this includes the film classes...I wanted hands on, not boring theory), and my grades were usually average, just low enough to keep me from being able to sign up for internships or missing out a semester being on the radio crew.  I was craving hands-on experience, which I quickly realized is where I learn a trade the fastest and most successfully, but I couldn't get at it, not without having to jump through hoops first.  Suffice it to say I have a love-hate relationship with my alma mater for that reason.

So what does this have to do with today?  Well, I'd made a goal to have the outline for Meet the Lidwells! ready to go by the end of April, and here we are, already on the last half of the month, and I have this dreaded feeling that I haven't even made a farking dent.   That's not entirely true, to be honest, considering I 'm looking at my notecards right now and I can see I've got quite the collection already that's ready to be put in some semblance of order.

Part of me is just nervous because I'm thinking of all the time wasted futzing around on Twitter and elsewhere on the internets. All that time lost, and when I do get work done, it's rushed and sub-par.  And oddly, another part of me is just as eager to shut down the internets anyway.  That's part of what I was trying to say in my Bridgetown blog this morning...I feel the need to change my habits and get my act together.  Changing over to DW has been partly successful...posting here not only means less time spent reacting to or bloviating within the Twitterverse, but more intent and meaning is put into whatever I type.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I'm doing what I can to be organized, but I'm sure I could do a hell of a lot better.

jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
This morning I read an entry on the FB that a friend had commented on (I know, I know...that way lies madness) and let's just say it was quite a willingly ignorant and privileged rant. Short version distilled to 'Trump is our President now, deal with it' followed by deciding he's going to go on a mass blocking/defriending spree because he's sick of reading about all the whining.

It was written by someone from my podunk town (he's living in The Big City now, not that it makes a difference) who I suppose means well, but let's face it -- he's a townie who I'm sure would be hanging out with his buddies at the Gas n' Sip on a Friday night because it's a conscious choice. Someone who's full of misguided opinions disguised as TRUTH because he read something somewhere and reacted with 'YEAH! What HE said!' and left it at that.

Not sure if he's one who would call himself Deplorable like it was a badge to be proud of (I never quite got that -- why would someone willingly want to have an online presence that tells all and sundry, "Hi! I'm an Asshole!"?), but it would not surprise me if he'd at least entertained the idea.

I briefly -- very briefly -- entertained the idea of calling him out on it, but I'm sure all he would do is lol his ass off and block me. And besides, I've got more important things to do.

I used to get frustrated at people like this, but now I just feel kind of sorry for them.

There's two kinds of ignorance out there. There's simple ignorance: when one doesn't know any better, when one wasn't made aware of the larger picture. Then there's willing ignorance: when one refuses to know any better, when one sees the larger picture and decides it's not for them. A lot of people start out with the first kind but learn from experience and move on. But there are those who graduate to the second kind and stay there, because it's easier and more comforting.

I used to be the same way, back in the day. I won't ignore my podunk roots. But this has nothing to do with growing up in a small town, nor is that an excuse for deciding to continue to be willingly ignorant. I learned early on that there's a bigger world out there, and I embraced it. [Yes, I will also admit to making wrong turns along the way, but again -- I learned from it and moved on.]

Do I think I'm better than these people because I think they're wrong-headed and willingly blind? Well, no. We are who we are, and we're not a hundred percent one or the other. I feel bad for them because they're closing their eyes to something that can and often will affect them at some point.

It's a mindset that I've never quite understood, but I see it all sorts of places -- in people, in business, in politics. It's the refusal to budge and be proven wrong. Because being wrong means you're weak. And you can't have that. So you dig in, and dig in, and dig in, utterly convinced that you're right and everyone else is wrong, and you'll prove that you'll win the day.

Well, sadly, logic and Real Life usually has other plans, and it never ends well.

I especially have issues with this type of thinking when it comes to big-P Patriotism. For a number of years I never quite understood what "patriotism" meant, because I always felt it was sold as wide-eyed reverence for the flag, unquestioning idolatry of the military, and an overly simplistic view of the Constitution. It felt so...surface to me, to put a word to it. It felt like one of those 80s Rambo movies. It wasn't until these last few weeks that I finally found my own meaning for that word, witnessing the overwhelming frustration and reaction to Trump's terribly misguided executive orders. The immediate response was strong, and it was visceral. Lawyers heading to airports of their own volition to take care of foreign travelers. Millions of people marching in major cities and even small towns all over the country because they were pissed off (I am proud to say I was one of them). Circuit courts shooting down the travel ban order. Sanctuary cities stating they weren't going to play along. The ACLU jumping in on Day One -- Minute One, to be honest -- saying they had our backs...and then receiving the highest amount of donations they've ever had as a group.

THAT, I realized, was patriotism to me. Not this feel-good flagwaving crap, but the immediate action response of watching over everyone, whoever they may be, without question.

Am I Elitist for thinking this way? Go ahead and call me that if you must, I don't mind. All I'm trying to do is let you know there's a Bigger Picture out there that you're willingly ignoring for whatever reason. If that bothers you so much that you refuse to see situations from someone else's point of view, well...that's on you, dude. All I'm saying is that you're making yourself look like a shallow jackass.
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
It's been a busy couple of weeks here as I finalized the work for The Balance of Light. I took a few weeks off from blogging and doing other writing-related work so I could focus all my attention on it, and I'm glad to confirm that THIS PROJECT IS *DONE*. Well, okay, there's the reformatting for the print edition, building up advertising and promotion for the trilogy, plus creating and ordering freebie stuff like bookmarks and postcards for future use at cons, but that's all post-production. I can finally say with conviction that I can sign off on the Bridgetown Trilogy. No more pre-publishing work, no more rewriting or revising*.

Most importantly: the ebook edition of The Balance of Light drops on 10 February! You can order it here at Smashwords. :)

My feelings about this right now are kind of interesting. The sense of relief isn't all that strong, as it's overshadowed by pride that I got it done, and completely on my own. There's a stronger urge to keep my current energy and say 'OK! What's next?' This is what kept me working strong during the original writing. I'm tempering it by reminding myself that I don't need to do All the Writing at Once...I'm already working on the outline for Meet the Lidwells! but I'm also relaxing and taking time to enjoy other things. Picking up my guitars more. Working on art. Stuff like that.

I've been thinking about changing up some habits and activities, now that I have the the time and the inclination. I know I've talked about this many times before, but I think I can truly say I have time for them now, now that this major long-term project is complete. More on this at a later time.

In other personal news, I admit I stalled out on the politics on Twitter and FB. I haven't given up or become complacent, far from it...I just felt like I wasn't getting anywhere with it. In other words, adding to the noise but feeling like the only result was annoying people who read my feed. [I could be wrong about this. But I think on a personal level my words there just didn't have enough strength, or at least not at the level I was aiming for.] And on an emotional level, I was starting to exhaust myself, and that's never a good sign. I'm taking time off from that to figure out what I could do that would make a difference. More on that at a later time as well.

So now what?

Well, for this afternoon, I'm going to watch my beloved Pats beat the Falcons in the Super Bowl. And that's pretty much it. :)

*Okay, there may be some editing work done on future editions, but I'm not going to think about that right now.
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Thought I'd change things up a little bit and work out in the dining area of our apartment this afternoon. The Houston/Oakland wild card game is on, we just had grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch, and are now enjoying our Irish coffees. I don't feel like I'm ignoring A. this way (not that she really minds me going to my man cave back office to work on writing's just that Catholic guilt kicking in!). I'm thinking once I'm done with the trilogy project and onto Something New, I'll probably do this more often.

I admit I'm getting some decent work done, considering that I'm not distracting myself (much). If I can get these two chapters done and maybe a third by late this afternoon, then I'll be happy. That way this evening I can work on my Daily Words as well as some more book covers. Like this one!

[Yes, that's my first name in French and a bad bit of wordplay for my last name, considering the real thing originates (we think) in France. The original picture was taken near the Louvre in Paris during a flash rainstorm when we were there last year. I'm finding I really enjoy using the Prisma filter app to play with my pictures, as they often come out really nice and usable for fancy-looking book covers.]

This coming week we hope to actually make it to the gym, as we've been bad over the past few months. My left knee is acting up (probably from lack of use, considering that I sit on my butt for most of the day), maybe working out again will help that. This also means that I'll have to update my mp3 players, as I've completely emptied them to start fresh! I'm thinking I might do something A did for her Manila trip, and fill one up with audiobooks. I'm always hemming and hawing over what to listen to at the gym, and I think that might actually be a good time for it.

Meanwhile, it's been raining off and on the last few days, and overnight tonight we're supposed to get the RAIN OF DOOOOOOOM from about midnight to sunrise, with possible flash floods and washouts. We haven't had a rainstorm like that since we moved out here to the Richmond -- in fact, one of the last days we were at our old place, there was a bad storm that caused some water damage there and flooded the Van Ness subway stop! As our current building just had a major reno and refit, we should be just fine, though. The most we'll get is pounding rain keeping us up all night. Bleh!

So yes...first week of the year is through, and things are working out rather well, so I can't complain. Yay!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Here we are at the start of 2017, ready and rearing to go! Well, at least some of us, anyway. We stayed up last night (completely unplanned, mind you) and watched back episodes of the UK version of Time Team and reading. Today was spent doing little except putting up the new calendars, cleaning up around the house a bit, putting away the tree, and watching football. A nice relaxing weekend, all told. We have tomorrow off, so that'll be our Going Outside Day (we usually go for a neighborhood walk in the first day or so of the year), heading down to Balboa Theater to see Rogue One.

The year has started off pretty well so far, on a personal level. I did update the writing whiteboard, and my aims for this year are Consistency, Exercise and Expertise. Yeah, I know, it sounds like the BusinessSpeak I dislike so much, but at the same time, it's precisely what I'm shooting for. I want to be consistent in my output, as well as constantly working on it (exercise) so I get better at it (expertise).

I do in fact have more concrete specific goals that I'm working on, such as finishing The Balance of Light by the end of this month (and releasing it soon after), along with others that I haven't revealed publicly as of yet. The new year is going to be not only a busy one, but a step up in professionalism for me.

On a personal level? I aim to persevere, despite whatever odds are thrown my way. Yeah, that's a big vague, but it encompasses a lot of different things, and it's a goal I can achieve.

Here's to hoping everyone has an exceptional 2017!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Hi there! Hope everyone has had a lovely holiday weekend. I've been quite busy over the last month, both with the Day Job and the Writing Career, so I've been just a slight bit lax with the updatery here and elsewhere. Sorry about that! Things are going well...I'm very close to halfway done with the edit for The Balance of Light, which has been my main priority over the last few months, and I'm still on schedule for a January release of the e-book. The physical version might take slightly longer, but hopefully not too much of a wait.

Day Jobbery has been flat out busy, thanks to it being Q4, so it's a trick of keeping myself sane and healthy and not burning out. This is on top of trying to find time for some Writing Career Plans that I hope to kick off in the new year. More on that soon enough!

Going to keep this short as I'm writing this at the end of a very long and happy day. I'll try to update once more before the year is out!


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