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Hey, Wanna Buy an eBook?

Posted by V the K at 8:48 am - December 7, 2014.
Filed under: Writing

Last month, I published my 10th science fiction novel in eBook form, which can be purchased here. (The blog-runners have kind permitted me to promote myself.) As it is the tenth book in a series, it may also make more sense to start at the beginning.  I also have a (somewhat outdated) website that explains the concept and the background. My style might best be described as being like if The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy had been written by Robert Heinlein.

I greatly enjoy writing science fiction, although it is not nearly as lucrative as my day job. It pays for a nice dinner out every month, but that’s about it. Still, the psychic gratification that comes with those little royalty checks is a nice thing.

Alas no more than a perfunctory post on gay marriage (just yet)

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:09 pm - March 26, 2013.
Filed under: Gay Marriage,Prop 8,Random Thoughts,Writing

I had hoped today to post something about gay marriage, given the oral arguments before the Supreme Court. I had even outlined the piece I’d like to write, addressing the issue of jurisdiction, believing, as I do, that this is an issue best left to the legislatures, but recognizing some of the constitutional concerns (i.e., standing) which could lead the court to overturning Prop 8 without granting a federal “right” to state recognition of same-sex marriage.

And I wanted to distinguish the liberty issue from the state recognition issue.  If the California constitutional provision (in question) deprived individuals of the freedom to marry rather than just one of state recognition of those unions, the court should strike down the law.  But, marriage can exists (indeed, long has existed) independently of the state.  And individuals can and do live as married couples without state recognition.  Indeed, in California, many gay couples call themselves married and live freely even without the state sanctioning their unions.

All that said, this are issues which I would rather address in a more thoughtful manner.  And since I have made writing my epic my top priority, I chose to work on that before turning to the blog.  That effort today was a bit more challenging than I had anticipated.  And I had to struggle with one section.  And I have a sense that this part may require significant revision–and perhaps a few changes in story line.

The point being that writing-wise, now I feel completely drained (even more so than I have on previous days when I put in a similar effort on the book).  And now I have to start preparing for a Seder tonight, so lack the time to give this issue the attention it deserves.  Will share with you though an exchange I just had with a Facebook friend when I replied a posting he offered just as I started writing this:

HE: Marriage equality [sic] seems pretty popular. Why wasn’t Prop 8 repeal on the ballot way back in 2012?
Unlike · · 17 minutes ago ·
You like this.

ME: My point exactly, well, except for calling it “marriage equality.”

ME: Even if the Court upholds Prop 8, [California] voters will overturn it in 2014. And it won’t even be close.

In other words, the state of California will recognize same-sex marriages, either in 2013 by judicial fiat — or, in 2014 via popular initiative.

As our readers surely have guessed, I would prefer the latter.

Of Chapter Twelve & the Basque Language

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:40 pm - March 19, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging,Random Thoughts,Writing

It seems that on one day for each of the past six or seven weeks, I have become convinced that I will return to my old dissertation return and start blogging more. I’ll scribble some notes, as I did yesterday, for a few blog posts, save a few links and consider a few titles.

But, then, I’ll find as soon as I start writing, the words that come out are not those for the blog, but from the novel. I’ve been sensing for a couple months now that I’ll have to devote even more time to the book than I have since I started writing seriously in December — and realized that this weekend when I, having committed to sharing Chapter Twelve with a friend who was coming over at 3:30 Sunday afternoon, devoted nearly every minute of my free time to editing that chapter, wanting to get it right even as I knew I’d have to revise it yet again when I finish the first draft of the book.

And starting tonight, I expect to begin my studies of the Basque language, given its similarities to Old Dwarvish. In short, I am just not finding the time to blog as I had hoped I would. I am beginning to wonder if this is more draining than writing a dissertation because it involves more creative energy. And if it takes more out of me when I dip into my own memory to pull out images and ideas which have been simmering there since even before I began graduate school. I made my first stab at writing this six months before I submitted my application.

It’s not so much that I’ve forgotten about politics, but perhaps that I recognize that politics is not the be-all and the end-all. It is not the reason for living, but for creating an environment where we can live freely and in (relative) harmony with our fellows.

To the true conservative, politics is of secondary importance

I had thought that once I found my stride writing this novel, I would start blogging once again, perhaps not at the pace I did during the election, but at least more often than once every blue moon.

And yet, finding my stride (again) as a writer of fiction has changed me in ways that I had not even anticipated when I started writing.  I find that certain things, don’t bother me as once as they used to.  I take them more in stride.

Except when I feel the bite of bad government policies, I don’t feel the same rage at the arrogance of the liberal elites as I normally do, those who would dictate to us how we run our own lives.

Perhaps this is because for those of a truly conservative disposition, politics is not the primary focus of our lives.  By and large, we don’t see it as a source of meaning.  We find meanings in other endeavors.  We understand that government should serve, as Mr. Jefferson understood, to protect certain inalienable rights.

We often regret that we have to get involved in the messy business of politics to block policies which infringe upon our liberties and our ability to pursue happiness.

More on this anon.  Perhaps.

Writer’s Quarantine Coming to an End?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:00 pm - January 29, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging,Literature & Ideas,Writing

Now editing the sixth chapter of my fantasy epic, I am beginning to find the flow that should make it easier for me to write on a routine base — and have time for other pursuits.  Just last night instead of sketching out notes for the next chapter, as has been my wont while finishing one chapter up, I found myself mapping out the next four — and finally getting the main characters out of the fortress city of Nah-nathas and onto their adventure.

It has been an interesting process and I’ve been trying to take notes about it.  At first, it was kind of overwhelming to find a story that had been kicking around in my head coming together as a written narrative I can share with others and possibly publish.  And as I realize how much of a commitment I am undertaking as I begin to appreciate how much work is left to be done, even with the six chapters that are now “presentable.”

Unlike the time in the 1990s when I made the choice to write my first novel, this time I know that just following through on the inspiration, writing the story that just comes to you (and even manages to move others), is not enough to sell the book.  This time, I am aware that I could succeed at a writing a novel, but fail at earning a living from it.

Still, the story is there and continues to come to me, like old memories suddenly rediscovered when dipping a pastry into a cup of tea.  I finally understand why the dragon is not doing as the Dark Lord would have her do when he summoned her, why she threatens to frustrate his schemes to extend his domination over this imaginary world that exits within my mind — and now increasingly on my computer (and in the hands of friends).

As the novel emerges, as the characters find names and create relationships, I do find myself thinking again about politics — and expect to start blogging at a more regular pace, though perhaps not the same pace as I had before I started finding a means to share this story.

Slow blogging/Another epic edition

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:42 am - January 9, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging,Random Thoughts,Writing

As I, in returning from my family vacation, return to work on my fantasy epic, I am trying to work out a schedule similar to that I “effected” when I was writing my dissertation, spending the early part of the day and into the afternoon, “dissertating” and the late afternoon and part of the evening “blogging.”

While the dissertation seemed to require more work than does the novel, it didn’t drain me as this sometimes does.

Perhaps, I just need to get used to writing fiction again — or perhaps I find this writing draining because I am drawing from images that have been stirring in my “subconscious” (and conscious) mind for over a decade.  And in the current chapter, I am providing much background information, notions and images that have been continuously simmering for sometime.

Or that creative writing is in itself more draining.  Or that my sense of being drained is just my psyche seeking rest to allow the images to settle and then emerge. . .

Not sure what it is — but to hope again to restore the balance I enjoyed when I was writing my dissertation.

Until then, I have encouraged ILoveCapitalism to blog a little more regularly than we had initially asked him to blog.  :-)

A random thought on writing and running

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:54 pm - December 15, 2012.
Filed under: Random Thoughts,Writing

Perhaps by writing this, I will make it a bit easier to blog, but I don’t know.

When I used to run road races, particularly my favorite distance, the half-marathon, I would have this wonderful feeling of accomplishment and this oddly pleasant sensation of soreness in my legs for a day or two after the race.  And as I enjoyed those sensations, I also found it much more challenging to run.  I sometimes delighted in that irony that for a few days after running my best, I was not able to run well at all.

And so it seems, after two weeks focusing on the second chapter of my epic, I have been finding it challenging to write.  Much as I love The Hobbit–and as long as I had thought about adapting it for the screen, I did not find the words flowed as smoothly as I would have liked as I wrote my post yesterday on how I would have written the screenplay.

There remain issues to blog about — and a good number I’d like to address — and will try to do so this afternoon (Pacific Time), but right now feel like today is the day to gather my notes, setting myself up to write the third chapter, entirely different from the third chapter in the outline of the epic’s first section only last week.

It seems that now is the time to jot down notes rather than to craft a coherent narrative, but we bloggers recognize that pressing issues sometimes arise when our writing energy is sapped. Like the days after a great run, the few days after a good run of writing seem to be days when we have depleted the energy to engage in the activity which we once performed to the best of our ability.

Slow Blogging/Dan’s Epic Edition

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:18 am - December 14, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Writing

I apologize for barely blogging this week and for not putting up anything yesterday.

On Wednesday night, I returned home from a social event (a local gay mixer) and had hoped to blog on two conversations I had there (not to mention a fetching young gay Republican I saw there), but when I returned home my mind was elsewhere.  And I devoted the better part of yesterday to working on my fantasy epic — and celebrating the completion of (a presentable draft of) the second chapter.

This project has so absorbed me in recent days that when I drove down to Disneyland for that celebration, I found myself turning off my CD player and listening to the thoughts in my head, occasionally recording a few in the digital recorder I keep in my car’s map pocket.

Just as soon as I had finished the second chapter, I found myself mapping out the third, with most of this one entirely new to my conception of the novel, entirely new in the sense that the images and events in this chapter have only emerged since i started writing, indeed, since I started editing the second chapter.  The story has been kicking around in my head for some years now many of the images and events in the first two chapters have long been familiar to me.

Last night when I returned from Disneyland, instead of reading and blogging as I had hoped, I found myself trying to fill in a possible hole created in the second chapter and needing to map out a certain sequence of events that took place in the days prior to the first scene . . .

I don’t yet when, if ever, I’ll return to my regular pace of blogging.  I expect to do a post tomorrow anticipating the Hobbit movie.  Hopefully, as I get used to writing this novel, I will be better able to balance that with blogging.

So, until then, please, bear with me until then.

Obama’s remarks in Michigan & his partisan nature

The decision that President Obama, the head of the federal government, made yesterday to wade into the politics in one state seemed a defining one.

Instead of being the postpartisan political healer he claimed to be in the 2008 election, he seems to feel that he just has to interject himself into contentious political issues, not as the mediator, but as the combatant.

He seems more interested in playing partisan politics than in working with the opposing party to effect a consensus.

RELATED:  Michigan Seems Like A Dream To Me Now. (Via Instapundit.)

ALSO SORT OF RELATED: Protesters to march on Michigan capitol over “right-to-work” vote  (Note how Yahoo!’s editors put right-to-work in quotation marks.  Did they ever so reference the “Affordable Care Act”?

UPDATE: How civil:  Democrats threaten violence on Michigan House floor.  The article includes this interesting factoid, “Michigan has both the highest unionization and unemployment rates in the Midwest.”

ADDENDUM:  I had meant this to be a longer post, addressing the frustration we Republicans feel in the wake of Obama’s victory that we’ll be subject to four more years of his divisive rhetoric, but by the time I got to this post, I had little energy to write.  I have been working a great deal on my fantasy epic and have now completed (and am busy editing) the second chapter of the epic and finding myself scribbling notes for the third chapter. (more…)

Watcher of Weasels Nominations — Dan’s Epic Edition

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:27 am - November 28, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Conservative Ideas,Writing

As I searched through my recent posts this week, as I had last week, in order to pick the best as this week’s nominee for the Watcher’s Council, I realized how little original posting I had done these past two weeks.

It reminded me that I have indeed spent less time blogging than I normally do. I address some of that in the post I did decide to submit, about the creative process, having chosen that one over my George Eliot birthday post.

That chapter of my “epic” is, for me, quite a big deal. The idea has been kicking around in my head at least since 2002; I recently uncovered a dated note from 2004 with ideas for the story. And the particular date on that note, 05/10/04, preceded my first blog post by approximately five months.

This story has been part of me longer than has this blog. Only this month, however, have I succeeded in producing a written version of* the tale that I can share with others.

Council Submissions

Of slow blogging and the creative process

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:35 am - November 21, 2012.
Filed under: Writing

Just over six months ago, I anticipated taking time off from blogging to focus on, among other things, laying the groundwork for a fantasy epic that has been kicking around in my ahead for about ten years.  I had thought that then I could finally complete the first chapter of which I had only completed two paragraphs.  Unbeknownst to me, a number of obligations, some related to this blog, others to my family, would distract me from this endeavor.

Finally thought, in October, perhaps due to the encouragement of Sarah Hoyt, nearly a full six months after I had intended to begin serious work on the book, I found myself writing.  Almost six months to the day after posting the piece linked above, I finished the first draft of the first chapter.

I printed it out before my trip back to Cincinnati, reading/editing it on my return flight to Los Angeles.  It was a strange thing seeing word-images of paper that, for many years, had merely been ideas stirring in my head.  At the time, I had never expected to write a fantasy novel, then more interested in crafting screenplays.

But, the story kept coming back to me, the characters come alive in my head, oftentimes without my bidding.  At times, it seems I wasn’t creating the story, but remembering the events.  And many of the characters lacked names, with one becoming known as the Young Wizard’s brother’s wife’s mother.  The Young Wizard, one of the  story’s two primary protagonists, remains unnamed, but, on Monday, while reading Camille Paglia’s Glittering Images did chance upon a name for the hero — who had gone unnamed even as I wrote the first draft of the first chapter of the book. (more…)

Hyperventilating on Gay Marriage, Part One*

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:48 am - June 29, 2011.
Filed under: Blogging,Civil Discourse,Gay Marriage,Writing

I had not expected my last blog post to be as long as it was.  I had merely planned to conclude with the anecdote of the lesbian mother I saw at Traintown, but then, well, as I wrote about her, other thoughts came to mind.

I had intended that post to focus on the debate on gay marriage, how, as I wrote the day after the New York legislature voted to recognize same-sex marriages, “the rhetoric [was] regularly exaggerated,” with the debate lacking “the type of civil discussion of the importance and meaning of marriage that would have helped strengthen the institution“.

Echoing my point “about the lack of meaningful/useful/informative discourse in the public square over the past two weeks” our reader Richard Bell confessed, in the comments section that he’s “still reeling from the hyperbole and hate of both sides.”  I found the debate so annoying with hyperbole on each side that I simply stopped following it.

What Richard saw as “hate,” I saw as hyperventilating;  advocates of the bill assured us that opponents hated gay people and wanted to deprive them of their “rights” while opponents warned of the imminent demise of traditional marriage (if the bill passed).

Give me a break.  Marriage has survived as an institution for as long as human beings have recorded the details of our lives.  It has survived challenges throughout history, most recently the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. Despite those challenges and active efforts to undermine it, marriage remains a defining cultural institution.  Individuals who once rejected it in their youth, embrace it in early middle age and celebrate it in their golden years.

Traditional marriage will survive state recognition of same-sex marriage — and may even emerge stronger than it was when the debate over gay relationships began. (more…)

On Blogging, Writing and the (Sometimes) Unexpected Flow of Words

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:54 pm - July 16, 2010.
Filed under: Blogging,Random Thoughts,Writing

On Wednesday night when I returned from my shift at Outfest, I started writing a piece on marriage, fleshing out an idea I had earlier in the week for which I had intended my post on Elizabeth Gilbert’s book to serve as a prelude.  But, as I wrote, I found the words on the screen didn’t match the ideas in my head.  Or at least the ideas that had been in my head when I had initially conceived the post.

I also had an idea for a post on the Dodd/Frank financial regulation bill which the Senate passed this week–how it was crafted by two individuals who have spent their professional careers in government, having never worked in the entrepreneurial or financial sectors — and thus having had no real world of experience of financing an enterprise or creating jobs.  I doubted whether the bill would help the anemic economy, indeed, thought it might well prolong the credit crunch.

For some reason, yesterday, likely due to the heat, I just couldn’t write either piece yesterday.  My mind was elsewhere.  I couldn’t focus my thoughts–much as I tried.  Then, this morning, while doing cardio in anticipation of my workout, the whole marriage piece just kind of wrote itself.  Would it that I had had a tape recorder.  I did scribble some notes after working out and hope to get to the post later this afternoon, but must first take care of several requirements related to my day-to-day existence as well as my civic “responsibilities.”

Once again, there’s just something about writing.  Sometimes the words don’t flow when you’d like (need?) them to.  And then when you’re not even thinking about the issue you wish to address, there they are.  And at moment when you like the means to preserve and/or transmit them.

Athena Checks My Blogging

About two-and-one-half years ago when I submitted my “Concept Paper” outlining my dissertation, I anticipated that the second chapter would introduce the goddess Athene, starting with her Minoan-Mycenaean origins and leading up her guidance and support of the (male) hero in Greek myth.  Just over a year after that, I promised the chair of my dissertation committee that chapter on February 1, 2009.

Every time I started to write it, however, I didn’t seem ready.  Some perhaps might say it was laziness.  And perhaps it was.

Only when I saw the parallels between Sonny Corleone and Achilles, whose rage at the outset of the Iliad is about to ignite a civil war in the Achaean camp, did I realize that I couldn’t introduce the deity who restrains him until showing first the nature of his rage.  Achilles was not alone–in Greek myth or human society.  Other men have close to letting their anger getting the best of them before mastering it, while some never do.

In short, I had to show why  the owl-eyed goddess was necessary and to introduce the a problem she addresses in Greek myth (and hence culture) and so show her meaning to that society–and, by extension, to our own.  So, I added in a second chapter, an extended exegesis of the Bronze Age barroom brawl which begins the oldest of Greek epics.  A female friend dubbed it my “testosterone chapter.”  I submitted that two weeks ago.

And now, I’m about to submit the chapter I was supposed to have completed one year and 17 days ago.  It came together in a matter of days (I took four days off in the two-week period).  I had done most of the research (and all that I had used in the first week of writing) well before the initial “deadline.”  It came together not then when the research was complete, but after that new chapter was.

There is something in this, though I am, at this moment, perhaps not qualified competent to express it in a succinct catch phrase.  Perhaps, one of you can.  I struggled over something for nearly a year, only to find it falling into place in little over a week.

All that said, I’m pretty drained from all this writing and may take the whole weekend off from blogging.  I’ll see how I feel.  While Bruce blogs up at storm from CPAC on Friday, I’ll be at the Getty Library where I do my research.  And I won’t be bringing my laptop.

A thought on titling blog posts

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:30 pm - July 13, 2009.
Filed under: Blogging,Random Thoughts,Writing

Last night, ever eager to provide something for you, our loyal readers, to peruse as you begin your day, I organized an idea I’d been considering (and expounding on in conversations with friends) on why the President won’t be able to get away with Bush-bashing for much longer.  As long as he’s seen as the new guy, Americans wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt and will accept his whining as a justifiable expression of frustration at the difficulty of dealing with a new job.

We Americans, as Jennifer Rubin puts it, want our presidents “to succeed.”

Once I finished the post, I was eager to get it done so I could get to bed.  So, I came up with the best title I could, Blaming Bush (& GOP) won’t help Obama recover* lost popularity*, even if it wasn’t ideal and unlikely to attract much attention–even though I thought I might have had an interesting insight–that we cut a new President some slack up until Labor Day because by that time, we’ve come back from our summer recreation to find that the same president is there who had been there when we turned away from regular news-watching (on or about Memorial Day).

I find that like last night, many of my titles don’t perfectly fit the post to which they’re attached (and then sometimes our critics respond to the title and not the post).  Or don’t get at the essence of the idea I’m trying to express.  Other times, however, the title comes with the post idea and on occasion has preceded it.  More often than not, as last night, I’m just eager to find something that will work so I can get the post up and get on with my day (or move on to another post).

But, if I do find a clever way to “package” the idea, I increase the likelihood of links and thus attract more attention to the post.  Sometimes, it seems a good title more readily attracts notice than does a thoughtful post.  And yet the great irony is that often after putting a lot of time and thought into a post of which I’m particularly proud, I’m mentally drained and just eager to get it done so tack on a title that does the trick (as best it can).  So the title fails to attract the punch (I believe) the post does.

Maybe we’ve heard this all before, you know, when they talk about books and covers.

* (more…)

Mark Sanford: Disappointing Conservatives with his Indiscretion

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 12:02 am - June 25, 2009.
Filed under: Blogging,National Politics,Writing

Earlier today, I tried working on a post on Obama, gay bloggers and DADT.  But, for some reason, I couldn’t think to string words together to make a coherent and thoughtful sentence, so I decided to take the afternoon off from blogging.  (I do hope to get that up before I go to bed tonight, but we’ll see.)

As I’m working on two pieces (which pay) for other websites, I may not be able to devote as much attention to this blog as I’d like until later in the afternoon Thursday, early evening GayPatriot blog time.  I had intended to blog on writing and compassion–how today’s difficulty writing filled me with compassion for others.   It seems sometimes that when we do show kindness to others, it is not so much our own nobility as our own consciousness of the difficulties we face.

Those of you who have read George Eliot may suspect that I’ve been reading some of her books lately as the above idea is akin to much that she has said.   And you’d be right; as yesterday’s post suggests, I’ve been re-reading Scenes of Clerical Life.  

When, after taking my break and finding the words for that post, I was checking the web and learned about South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s latest travails, I wondered at how news breaks on days when I’m not following it.  And yes, I do have some sympathy for the Governor, understanding the pressures he’s faced in standing up for principle, against a spendthrift legislature controlled by his own party and against a tenacious White House, trying to force him to take “stimulus” cash.

All that said, he should have known better.  He was wrong to violate his marital vows.  And he should have realized that when you’re a public figure, particularly in the age of a multi-source news media, people are going to find out.

It’s particularly disappointing to see such a principled conservative suffer such a public embarrassment.  Unlike Senator Ensign, he was truly someone Republicans could turn to as a plausible presidential candidate.   (more…)

The Joy of Having a New Script Idea

Sunday and Monday were days I used to dream about (and delight in) when I aspired to make it as a screenwriter.  It had been a while since I enjoyed the delight of playing with a story idea and seeing the characters come alive in my mind.

A few years ago, when I was developing a short film with a straight friend, he offered an alternative version of our story which lent itself more to humor that the script I had written for him.  His story had the same happy ending, the girl getting the girl, only they two lady lovers didn’t meet at a funeral.

Well, yesterday, shortly after seeing a friend on stage as part of the Young Playwrights’ Festival, I suddenly realized how to tell that alternative version–and to set up what could be a very funny story where love triumphs.  Of course, I always need help writing funny, but my director friend has a good sense of visual humor, so should be able to add some laughs once I have put the story on paper.

As soon I figured out how to “crack” his story idea, the characters just emerged, each with his own strengths and with certain defining weaknesses, each of which (the weaknesses, that is) figure into the humorous and romantic denouement.  It’s such a cool thing when you start playing with a character in your head and find it it necessary to turn off the radio or CD player in the car so you can listen to them speak.  And then there are times when you welcome a red light so you can scribble your ideas onto a scrap of paper so as to preserve them. (more…)

A Random Thought on Blogging & Writing

Long before Michael Chabon was considered one of the leading writers of “literary” fiction, I discovered–and devoured–his Mysteries of Pittsburgh which I consider one of the best novels of the past quarter-century, more worthy of acclaim than his more recent stuff.  His moving conclusion is a stunningly beautiful piece of writing.

So, when I learned he’d be reading from his next novel Wonder Boys at a Washington bookstore (when I lived across the river in Arlington), I rushed to hear him speak, eager to ask him how he wrote that conclusion.  He said that once he had completed the narrative, he just wrote the ending.  He didn’t think too much about it.  That was what he had to say.  So, he said it.  He just wrote it.

Sometimes, it’s like that with writing.  The greatest things we have to say just happen.  They seem to write themselves.

Yesterday, as I was working on a piece for Pajamas about a gay bashing ABC was staging at a New Jersey sports bar, I was struggling with finding a good approach to the story.  The writing trickled out and I sought refuge (and respite) in an e-mail exchange with a critic of this blog.

Finally, I finished all but the conclusion, not quite sure how to wrap it up.  So, I printed up what I had and set off for the gym where I pounded out my frustrations on the Stairmaster.  After returning here and fixing dinner, I popped in Fanny and Alexander, then once I had cleaned up and dashed off a quick post, I sat down to edit my print-out.

Perhaps because of the difficulty I had had writing the piece, I was surprised at how happy I was with what I had written.  When I had read all that there was, I picked up my fountain pen and, in a matter of minutes, easily wrote the conclusion that had eluded me earlier in the day.

As I finished the first draft of the piece, something struck me, on how blogging has changed the way I write. (more…)

Slow Blogging, Rudy Endorsement & Writing

I apologize for not being able to blog today even though I have much on my mind. I had wanted to comment on yesterday’s Oscar nominations and what they say about Hollywood. My thoughts are not much different from those of Roger Simon who blogged about this yesterday, noting that the nominations were “met with a yawn.”

And there’s much to be said about the nastiness of Ms. Hillary and her husband and how they may well have succeeded in their attempts to bait Obama. Perhaps the left will realize that all things they ascribe to Rove are based on their assumptions that that man utilized Clintonian tactics.

Anyway, a local paper has asked me to write an endorsement of my man Rudy. I just finished the first draft and am now editing it, hoping to get it in by the deadline. It’s funny how I initially struggled with the project when first assigned. I wanted to make my piece so good that it would convince skeptical Republican to vote for the former New York City Mayor. Perhaps overwhelmed by this ambition, I failed to make any headway.

Then, when I decided to write it, it pretty much fell into place. (I will link it when they post it.)

I guess the lesson is that when we often fail to accomplish when we exaggerate our own expectations, when we fear something will not be as good as we would like it to be.

Dan’s Novel: Chapter One, “A Boy’s Best Friend”

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 9:48 pm - November 19, 2007.
Filed under: Literature & Ideas,Writing

When I learned that my friend Sean had self-published his novel, not only was I eager to buy it (review to come as I plan on reading this book over the Thanksgiving holiday), I wondered whether I should do the same with my novel that has long since lain dormant.

This weekend, after attending a writers’ conference at my graduate school, I decided to do just that. To whet your appetite for my work, for the first time since I completed my book, I will post the very first chapter on the web as I consider means to both self-publish this touching story and to promote.

Just another way I’m joining something one wise wag called “An Army of Davids.”

Without further ado:

 

 

Chapter One  

A Boy’s Best Friend

“The Child is father of the Man;”

 

 

–William Wordsworth
“My Heart Leaps Up”

“Daddy, do you have a best friend?” my four-year old son Tommy asked after I had finished reading to him and had tucked him in to bed. Generally, when Tommy asked me a question, I would answer as quickly as possible. Sometimes the question would stump me as when he asked how the telephone could transmit Grandma’s voice all the way from Arizona. But, at that moment, that question was easy compared to this one. As I write this, I can answer without hesitation, “No, not now.” But, then, now nearly a year ago, I didn’t know what to say. I hesitated and tried to think up a response. Discovering one that would work, I was about to reply, “Well, I guess, Mommy has always been my best friend,” when he began to tell me about Philip, his best friend, and how they were building a castle together out of Legos. Before I kissed Tommy good night, I had to promise my son that I wouldn’t touch the castle that he and his best friend were building in the basement of our house.

I switched off the light in Tommy’s room, then instead of returning to my room as I would normally do after tucking him in, I walked downstairs, switching on the light in the basement. In the corner of the basement, not far from where I used to build Lego castles as a child, stood a large, multi-colored, awkward-looking Lego structure. I stopped and paused, admiring my son’s handiwork, then approached in order to examine Tommy and Philip’s joint endeavor more closely. On the very edge of the base board, they had built the walls, stacking blocks of all different colors one on top of another, with no visible pattern. I was about to pick up their project, but remembering my promise, stepped back and studied it from a distance. They had used blocks of all different shapes and sizes. There were windows, not placed symmetrically, of course. On the top of one side, they had attached several Lego trees. I smiled and wondered how Tommy would respond when I asked him how the trees happened to grow out of the walls. And then as I imagined Tommy building the castle together with Philip, I remembered the hours I used to spend as a child in that basement, then my grandmother’s house, playing alone with Legos. And I wondered if, when I was his age, I had ever wanted to share that game. With that thought in mind, I switched off the light and walked upstairs.

After I had closed the door to the basement behind me, I paused. The door clicked shut and in my mind, I heard Tommy ask me again if I had a best friend. With the door knob still in my hand, I looked up through the kitchen doorway and at the door leading to the back porch. I walked towards it. I don’t remember opening that door, only know that I did because the next thing I remember is sitting on the back porch, looking out at the tops of the trees swaying in the autumn breeze. I could not see the full splendor of their fall color as I would the following morning, I could only see their black inconstant shapes against the gray of the sky. Occasionally a cloud would skirt by, as if a branch had escaped from a tree and floated on into eternity.

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