Reading Deprivation And Other Miscellany

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Hard to believe it’s almost six o’clock on a Saturday, but here I am. Many of the pitches I sent out have borne fruit; I’m busy working on outlines and drafts at the moment and just finished a science fiction novella. There’s been a few delays on projects due to elements out of my control, but I’m happy with the progress I’ve made so far and I’m getting a really slick setup for recording audio as part of my birthday present. So, there’s that. (And that’s very exciting!)

I’m still behind on mail and filing, but I’ve cleaned up my office and managed to reduce some of the clutter so I can focus on projects. I’ve got a lot of books lying around and while I’m happy to be in such good company — surface space is crucial when painting or making jewelry. C-r-u-c-i-a-l.

Now that I’m here, a few things I’d like to mention. This week, I’m scheduled for a reading deprivation session so no Tumblr or social media. E-mail only during regular work hours. (e.g. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) This is part of a program I’m immersed in right now; one of the theories behind the deprivation is that artists are heavily influenced by environment and “junk” words/experiences. Branding, for example, is a tiny, tiny piece to that. Just watching TV, you’ll encounter thousands of brands every day.

But, back to the junk concept. Really, junk experiences lead to junk emotions and sensationalism is all about forcing you to feel something you might not normally feel for a click. What you do with that reaction fascinates me from a sociological standpoint. How much time do we waste on that crap? I’ve had good luck with social media blackouts before and I think smaller reading deprivations, like the one I’m about to dive into, are more effective than what I did for the 100 days social media blackout because I’m taking back control of what I consume. For myself, that’s essential to everything I do, especially since I need to listen in order to hear a story’s pulse or the rhythm of a song or the pattern on a canvas, etc.

For any artist, output matters so much more than input, because this is who we are. It’s not like being on an assembly line; there’s an ebb and flow. Sometimes that depends upon money but other times it doesn’t. It just depends on the person and I’m a “It’s the journey — not the destination” type. So recognizing the swinging periods, whether they be mood, weather, or related to something else is crucial for my work — for ALL my work.

Before I go, two things. First, stand up and applaud humankind. We have designed a machine that has drilled a hole in the surface of Mars. If that does not instill you with a sense of wonder? I don’t know what will.

And two, the “largest” ancient Scottish art installations have been discovered recently. The reason why I’m pointing that one out, is because there was a lot of references to the cup-shaped marks in the rocks. They don’t know why the ancients made cup-shaped marks, but in more recent times holy water and milk filled the indentations. From what cursory research I’ve done on this, there’s a theory the marks are related to a fertility rite — but I’m not buying it at all. (Besides, everything is a fertility rite if you turn your head sideways.) I’d be curious to line up the position of the stars at the time and test the reflection of the water under different conditions. Fill the marks with water, light a fire or two or wait for sunrise/sunset, and you have some potentially heavy duty lighting effects for your magical ceremony/oracle/priest right there.

Anyway, just thought I’d mention it. Another weather advisory for tomorrow. Freezing rain. I think I could use some spring now. No wonder why I bought that hot pink purse. Eesh.

    Mood: I’ll get back to you on that.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: I broke down. Having a Diet Dew.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Stairs. They sucked.
    In My Ears: AX Music Volume 15 Utopia.
    Game Last Played: Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed
    Movie Last Viewed: I don’t know the name of it, but it was a spaghetti western with crow ninjas in it.
    Latest Artistic Project: SHINIES. Still need to take pics…
    Latest Release: “The Button” We Are Dust anthology

An Anti-Climactic Resolution

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Just a quick note! I’m taking a break from fluttery butter updates on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and blogging periphery for the rest of January. This’ll give me a chance to work on a few resolutions.

Anything work-related (e.g. release announcements and the like) will still be posted, though! 🙂 More to come!

AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Mood: Determined
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: WOOOOOOOOOOO!!
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: *coughs* I was hungover.
    In My Ears: The Snowmen Doctor Who
    Game Last Played: Tetris
    Movie Last Viewed: Resident Evil: Apocalypse
    Latest Artistic Project: Holiday gifts
    Latest Release: “The Button” We Are Dust anthology

A Hearty Thanks

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Just wanted to pop in and say “Thank You!” today. I told you either late last year (or earlier this one) that my intent for this website was to focus on my publishing endeavors while highlighting some day-to-day aspects of my employment and life here in the Mad, Mad City.

My goal, while not I didn’t express this overtly, was to emphasize my work as a creator by spotlighting new publications and minimize the draw to my marketing or business-related content. I rearranged my website which allowed me to blog about life, the universe, and everything in a varied, haphazard fashion to share with you who I am as opposed to focusing on articles that educate or demand that you listen. You’ve responded to the change. Now, my publication announcements are the most-read on this site and you’ve also been following my blog more readily than you have in the past. For that? I say “THANK YOU!”

I know a few of you are disappointed that I’m not blogging about business-related activities very frequently anymore. I feel there’s enough free commentary and other ephemera here to give you a sample of what I’ve done (and the teeniest taste of what I can do). I’m always open to writing paid articles on a variety of non-fiction subject, but now that I have a repertoire of sample business-related articles/posts out in the wilds, I feel if anyone wants more hands-on consulting from me, you can always contact me and ask for my rates.

For those of you who joined me later this year, part of the reason why I used to blog about more nuts and bolts business-related topics (whether they be job-related or not) is because most writers cannot afford to live off of their works. I’m a strong believer in “pay it forward.” Remember, a lot of Creative Writing programs don’t talk about the fiscal realities of writing. I hope that what I’ve posted on the site will help you determine your own path in a sensible, pragmatic fashion (while still reaching for the stars!).

2013 is going to be a VERY exciting year in a lot of ways. I can’t wait! Yay!

    Mood: Inspired
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: If I said less than the day before, that would be a lie.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: The Gym.
    In My Ears: Winter Rhapsody by Nox Arcana
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Awakenings
    Movie Last Viewed: The Lord of the Rings trilogy
    Latest Artistic Project: In progress!
    Latest Release: “The Dig” The Lovecraft eZine Issue No. 19

The Gods Help Me, I’ve Joined Tumblr

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A few weeks ago, I joined Tumblr and also updated my LiveJournal account/migrated some over to Dreamwidth.

I’m not very happy with LiveJournal’s McSpam problems, for they make it difficult to interact with people and also know what to pay attention to. I’d like too figure out another place where you’d like to read my blog; after all, it’s not always easy remembering to visit somebody’s website or checking the RSS feed, such as it is. Facebook is becoming more challenging to use because it’s moving toward a pay-to-play environment and Twitter? Well, Twitter is great for bar conversations or passing somebody on the street. I rather enjoy blogging, you see, and I feel it’s a way to give you some content that’s not as ephemeral, provided my time constraints allow me to do that.

So, I’m trying Tumblr, which you can find at mlvwrites.tumblr.com. I’ve still got a touch of work to do on it, namely adding relevant pages and whatnot, but this will do for now. (I find the interface VERY gooey. . . HTML brain broken!) Right now, Tumblr’s the format that is winning out; I’m very new to this, so if you have a Tumblr join me in my insanity.

If there are other platforms you’re on, or would recommend, please comment below!

    Mood: Emerging from a fog.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: You mean, those exist? *red face*
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: The Airport Shuffle
    In My Ears: Around The World by Red Chili Peppers
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Origins
    Movie Last Viewed: MirrorMask
    Latest Artistic Project: In progress!
    Latest Release: “Fangs and Formaldehyde” from the New Hero anthology through Stone Skin Press

On The Need For Digital Archiving

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This courtesy message is brought you by the same person who coined the phrase “Klingons sparkle on the inside.” I’ve never conducted an autopsy to find that particular detail out, but it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be curious. And please, no need to get upset, for I am a lover of all things Star Trek for its possibility and wonderment. If I had my choice, I would set every politician down and make them watch the original, then Star Trek the Next Generation, then the movies, and circle back to the remaining spin-off series — IN ORDER and PERPETUITY. Perhaps then we could get funding for science, space programs, and the like!

End public service message and mini-rant of a teeny, tiny size.

ANYHOO, back to the point of this post, which is this: ARCHIVE YOUR DIGITAL PUBLICATIONS UNDER PENALTY OF DEATH. I have learned, over and over again, how easy it is to lose years of work with the erasure of a button or technological snafu. While the internet and your digital footprint is for-ever and ever and ever, your writing may not be. I’ve written for Sony, and recently learned that they killed their blog which, in turn, killed my links to samples I was quite proud of. I also penned a few articles for Game Politics back in the day, which morphed under the arm of the Entertainment Consumer’s Association, and the stars-only-know where the hell my original articles went. (This is my fault, to be sure.)

But it’s not just guest articles I’m referring to. FOR THE LOVE OF CYBERTRON, BACK UP YOUR WEBSITE ON A REGULAR BASIS. You never know when a server could go down, when your site could be hacked, or when lightning strikes your server. (I don’t think lightning strikes hackers, by the way. They probably have armor of indeterminate size.) You spend a *lot* of time writing things down online, when it goes? That’s a lot of words and energy and time that could disappear in less time than it takes to retweet a link.

This is also part of the reason why I advocate the need for your own domain that YOU control with your OWN content on it. You cannot, unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg, control/back up Facebook. Twitter, Reddit, forums, etc. These are the flotsam and jetsam online. This is why I seriously feel that a domain you own is in your best interests, because your time is valuable and, if you’re a creative, your content even more so.

That doesn’t mean other sites like Tumblr, Blogger, Twitter, Pinterest, and the like aren’t worth exploring or leveraging. A multi-pronged approach typically works best when providing content online, after all. All I’m saying, is that if you do put quantities and volumes of content on other domains — find a way to digitally archive it. SERIOUSLY. If you’re a writer, remember your articles “could” be used for portfolio purposes or you can republish/re-purpose elsewhere pending the terms of your digital publication contract, too.

In conclusion, you have nothing to lose when you publish online — but your words, pictures, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum. Digital archives are crucial to the survival of publishing on the internet. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

    Mood: I mini-ranted! Probably should have channeled that into my writing. Oh well. How’d I do? Dramatic enough or not enough Prospero?
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Is coffee supposed to glow? Seriously, folks. I think it’s radioactive today.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: I was good, I was good, I was good.
    In My Ears: My She-Ra power playlist
    Game Last Played: Tetris
    Movie Last Viewed: The Raven
    Latest Artistic Project: In progress!
    Latest Release: “Fangs and Formaldehyde” from the New Hero anthology through Stone Skin Press
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