Writing As It Comes To Me

Merry Post-Christmas, everybody.

I wonderful couple of days. The entire family was here for a short while (only about 24 hours, really), but I enjoyed it nontheless. We had a good Christmas celebration, with ham and brisket and all manners of wonderful gravy.

I got a beautiful journal from Germany, which I’m almost fearful to write in because my handwriting is so terrible. I also got a digital camera, good for a great manner of things. And, perhaps most excitedly, I finally got the illustrated version of Stardust, which I’ve been waiting for for so long. The illustrations of it are beautiful. I read it in about six hours Christmas night.

I spent all of the next day reading Terry Pratchett’s Making Money, which is a delightful book about an ex-con artists who takes over the royal bank and mint of the largest city in the world. It is, in once sense, an Economics-101 meets Pratchett’s normal humor and stealth-philosophy.

It was good to be able to read so earnestly again. Gave me a little bit of perspective over how I might try and shape my writing these coming weeks.

I have a terrible habit of trying to be to foreign whenever I write. What I mean by that, I suppose, is that I try entirely to hard to be a good writer by being like other writers. Those who know me personally will probably sagely nod their heads and say, “yes, yes, DK tries to write like Pratchett all the time,” but I’m actually not talking about my emulation of Pratchett. In fact, I really don’t try to emulate Pratchett at all, it just sort of happens, and it actually seems to work out fairly well for me. It’s whenever I actively try to make my writing less humorous and more serious, I end up dissatisfied. It seems like my characters start to lack sparkle. It’s odd, but I tend to connect with characters on a much deeper level when I can laugh at them, than when they just make me feel very, very dramatic.

I’ve been doing this with Artifice.exe, trying to cut down on the humor such that the characters will be more ‘realistic and meaningful.’ I realized, yesterday, that denying the humor of my characters if denying a fair amount of their realism.

I’m going to try just a bit more today, and see if I can’t try something more.

With me luck.

~DK

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Establish Thou The Work Of Our Hands (Redux)

I woke up this morning a tad on the depressed side, which is an unfortunate thing to be on Christmas eve.

Mostly, I chock it around to sitting around the house too much. Not doing anything for a while, normally causes me to be testy. Most of the family is visiting—my oldest brother, his wife and my nephew (two years old) have visited, along with my grandparents. I love them all dearly, but I’m not a social creature, and my patience gets tried a little every once in a while, especially in the mood I’ve been in.

I’m feeling better, now, though. I went for a walk through the woods, and managed to soak my feet thoroughly in a frozen stream. Despite that, I enjoyed being outside, and the feeling of my feet actually carrying me somewhere instead of them lying useless underneath me was wonderful.

After I got home, Dad took me down to his wood shop, and I got to try my hand at turning. I made a candle stick, or at least what will hopefully be one. For those who haven’t tried it, making something physical with your hands is a fantastic experience—one I would highly recommend, especially for artists. It feels entirely different to hold the physical being of what you’ve made in your hands when you’re finished with it. There’s something satisfying there. I think every artistic person aught to have a physical hobby. It brings a nice balance to how we spend out lives.

I’m about to watch The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer with my brother, sister, and nephew. After, we’re going to have chili for dinner, and go to a candle-light carol service at church.

I doubt I’ll post anything tomorrow—it’s Christmas after all, and I have feeling I’m going to get the illustrated version of Stardust, which is beautiful beyond all rational thought and measure.

Writing is actually going fairly well, although circuitously. Every time I try to press on in Artifice, I hit a bloc. But I’ve had success with (for the moment), skipping the bits that I’ve been having trouble with, for the parts I have a better feel for. It’s a temporary solution, I know, but it’s getting words onto the page, and it’s giving me more time to figure out the bits where I don’t know what happens.

Going to continue working tonight, and I need to get some presents taken care of, wrapped, and under the tree.

Wish me luck,

~DK

Creekbed, Dug Three Feet Deep

Hey, Hey,
Meet me down by the creek, okay?
Yeah, down by the creek, where we was yesterday, too.
Follow the path—right?—down to where it cuts across the creek,
Into that little meadow that’s turned sun-touched with dandelions.
Right down there, just a little past the girls’ dorm. 

(But don’t worry, there’s no girls there now.
It’s summer, it’s summer!
They’re all at home,
And we’ve got the creek to ourselves.
But not for long, because it’s August.
They’ll be back soon, so we have to hurry.)

Meet me down by the creek, okay?
Where we was yesterday—by the big rock that’s good to sit on
with sandwiches
without crusts.
We’ll dig some more, like we did yesterday. 

It’s pretty deep now, the pool we made
In front of the dam we made.
I know because
I went down there this morning when I woke up.
It’s deeper than it was, and the water’s going over top
Of the dam, so we can build it higher today.

 And make sure—cause just in case—to bring a long shirt,
Because those horseflys hurt like
Worse than hitting your toe on a rock
Or getting pinched by a crawdad.
So bring a shirt, so they can’t get at your back.
And bring some change, and we’ll go to the store
And get some candy, after,
Maybe some Swedish Fish
Or Sour Patch.

Meet me at the creek. I’m heading down there now,
On my bike,
So hurry up, I don’t like waiting around for you
(Because the girls in the girls’ dorm
Are coming back so soon).

 And we can dig deeper and deeper, and
Pile up what we dig out of our pool onto our dam,
Until our summer is so deep we could dive in headfirst,
And swim and hide from the horseflies in the flowing stream. 

We got to hurry,
Cause school starts up again,
And every year, the dam’s destroyed
As anger management for a freshman
Who’s failed a test.

On Break (official-like)

Hello, all.

I’m now, in every capacity, on break. I’ve technically been done with classes for the past week, but I only turned my final assignment in yesterday, and so this is the first full day of not-having to do anything. It seemed fitting to post something today, mostly because I told myself I wanted to write more over break, and it’s my experience that if you don’t manage to start something you want to do on the first day, it won’t happen at all.

So, I’m posting now, just for the sake of getting something on to the proverbial page—even though it might not have a lot of content.

I read a bit of Jane Kenyon, a poet who I quite like, today. I have a huge collection of selected works that was published after her death in ’95, and I’ve been reading from that. it made me remember that I wanted to write about what I was reading here—I’ve posted a few reviews of Stevenson novels, but nothing more. I’ll try and write something intelligent on other things I’ve been reading lately.

I’m trying to set myself a habitual writing-time. Two hours in the evening, I think. For right now, it’s between 9 and 11. A good two hours a day, no matter what, should be good for me. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep it up once the semester starts again. Keeping a consistent schedule up during class is one of the hardest things to do in college. You might try to set out an hour a day for writing, but there’s never a good time for it—one day your friends might be going to see a movie you really want to see, and another you might have enough homework to drown a salmon. There’s not much you can do to keep a consistent writing schedule besides let friendship and GPA go all to hell. And once you don’t have a consistent schedule, it’s the first thing to go out the window once you get busy.

Well, I’ll be trying to keep it over break, at least, and as much into the semester as I can manage. The key is to form a habit of it, and the sooner I manage that, the more ingrained it will be when I get out on my own—and that’s when the real test of this writer thing will be. It’s easy to be a writer when your not attempting to make your own living while your doing it.

Other projects I have for this break: I want to write some letters (genuine ones, with envelopes and stamps and everything) to some of my favorite writers. I’m not sure who I’ll write to. Part of my wants to try Pratchett and Gaiman, because they’re some of my favorites, but they’re also both well known. I can’t imagine they don’t have screeners for stuff like that. I wouldn’t blame them. I’d probably want one for myself, if I were a well known author.

I might send one to Pratchett, just for the heck of it. If you haven’t heard, he’s been diagnosed with a form of early-onset Alzheimer’s. I’m very sad about it, but he says he knows he has a few more books in him, and he ain’t dead yet. He sounds like a tough old guy, and even if he starts putting shoes in refrigerators, I would imagine he’d still have enough talent honed into prowess to write circles around most of the rest of us.

In other news, now that I’m no longer so busy I can’t think strait, I’m going to continue work on Artifice.exe, along with a bit of thinking about some of the other projects that got their birth fro the fiction class I took this past semester. I hope to post some of the short stories from that little bit, but some of them are quite long. I’ll see if I can pare them down, to the point where they are manageable.

So, with a bit of a course set down for how the next two and a half weeks aught to go, I think I’m going to start work on something. I’m not sure what, but I’ll know before I’m too far into it.

Thanks, all,

~DK

Beginning to Work

Well, the school semester is just about over. Tomorrow is my last day of classes, and all my assignments for the semester are finished and turned in, come what may. I have finals, but for the most part, I test well, so I’m not terribly worried about that.

After that, all the excuses I’ve been hoarding for not writing—too busy, too much work, no consistent schedule, and the like—will quickly become invalid. I hope this means that I’ll pick up the pace a little, but past experience tells me that I’ll just use the extra time to play video games, and make up a whole, shiny new set of excuses to keep myself from wordcraft.

That’s always the problem—we craft reasons why we can’t. Often they’re good reasons, but the fact is that we get so used to seeing them, that as soon as we’re past any number of excuses for not doing what we’ve always wanted, even more spring up in their place.

Back when I was a kid, I would spend all day drawing a single picture, claiming that I wanted to be an artist, and the next looking for bugs, because zoologist was the best career a boy could have. Where has that boyish obsession gone? Oh, that I could harness that, and bring it under a single discipline—nothing could stop me, and paper factories would run to dust trying to keep up with everything I would print!

But then, I suppose that if I had that, I wouldn’t be venting on a blog, now would I?

No, no, I’d be writing, instead.