Back! (Pre-graduation)

Hey, everyone.

Having taken almost a full year (11 months)  to get back to posting on this little blog-o-mabob, I figure it’s about time  I get back to having some sort of presense online. That being said, I’m not quite sure I want my presense to be here–I’ve learned a lot about site design, etc. over the past year, and would really like a place to try it out, as well as some other things that I think would be really cool to have fun with.

I’m going to try and find a site with good features all around. I want to continue with my blog, but perhaps do a bit of stuff on the side. Reviews, some public discussion with other writers, maybe some podcasts, that sort of thing. Maybe (and I hope to do this) start some sort of writing journalism site of some sort. But that’s all plans for the future. The first thing to do is to get a good webhost, and putter around to see what I can do well.

Anyone know where I can find a good webhost?

Thanks–I hope to be getting more out soon.


GoodReads and Locus

So, I now have an account on Goodreads. It actually feels like a pretty slick setup to me. It’s user friendly and intuitive, so if you’re interested you should head on down and sign up.

If you do, add me as a friend, so I can pick your brain for good books.

I’m starting to post my reviews up there as well, but I looked back at two of my older ones, and they’re both pretty rough. I might be re-reading some things, and then re-reviewing them. But I need to hack through my current list, before any of that happens.

Also, I completely forgot to link to Locus, which is a partially online SF magazine. It’s a good resource. Go check it out.

In other news, I’m thinking of perhaps shelling out a bit of money to go independant. WordPress is good fun and all, but I’m starting to feel the cramps of not being able to design my own webspace. So, yeah. That’s that.

And now, I must now go and be a code monkey.

Good luck, all.

Some Links

So, I realized that if I’m going to be focusing more on reviews and the like, I’m going to need to expand my reading a bit. Three Stephenson reviews and nothing else does not variety make.

I spent the last couple days writing fiction, and looking around for different ways for me to find new authors. Found a couple things.

There a list of the top 100 SF&Fantasy writers that seem to include some good ones. I’m glad to see all my favorites are on the list. I’m not entirely happy to see a lot near the top who I don’t know: we’ll have to fix that. This list is, just so you know, compiled through popular opinion. When I first saw it, I started doing the thing where you complain about how He or She isn’t above Him or Her, and it just goes downhill from there. So as much as it irks me that Stephenson is only 45. on the list, I think it might be better for me to use this to look up some of the authors I don’t know, hunt them down, and start reading.

It was good to see that Tolkien wasn’t in slot number 1, though. Not that he doesn’t deserve it: I just feel that he’s gotten slot 1 on so many of these things that perhaps he should be disqualified by default, to allow someone else a go at it.

There’s also Goodreads, which seems to be a sort of reading recommendation site. I haven’t made an account yet, but if/when I do, I’ll report on how good the service is.

If anyone has any points around the web that I might be interested in, do let me know. I like investigating things.



Feeling better

Starting to feel a bit better. Strep throat is no fun at all. Don’t do it. It’s not worth it.

But I’m back at work now, and I suppose that means that I’m not allowed to take any more time off writing either. So, back to the grind.

I used the opportunity of my little illness to finish up Cryptonomicon, so be expecting a little bit of a review on that coming up. I’ve got a couple other books I’m considering for review as well. I’m currently reading The Difference Engine, by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. A little bit of Steampunk going. So I hope to be able to get some news up on that too.

I think I’m going to try to shift this blog away from the dear-diary sorts of posts (even though I find that those do serve their purposes) towards a more industry sort of deal. Reviews, news, discussion, and the like. So hopefully you’ll be hearing less about my personal life (which, no offense to the entire genre of memoir, is not that interesting) and more about what I’m interested in.

I’m going to add a page at some point or another entitled ‘my library,’ which is a list of books I have currently on my shelves. I haven’t read all of them (thus the page will be different than ‘current reading’) but I hope to at some point. If any of the books on that page interest you, let me know, and I’ll post up a little review of what I have read, and if I haven’t read it yet, I will read it, and then post a little bit.

I hope to be able to get that up later tonight.

Also, I hope to be able to post about about my progress on Artifice. I haven’t talked about that in a while, because progress has been choppy at best, but I’m going to be able to start hacking a little more into it at some point. It’ll be good fun.

Now, back to work.

EDIT: I updated my current reading page as well, so that it was, well, current. Anything that’s on there that I’ve read, feel free to ask for a review of that as well. And if it appears I’ve never even heard of a book you really like, feel free to let me know. I’m trying to expand my reading a bit, so it’ll be a big help if I could get some input. Thanks.

Oh dear…

It’s been a bit too long, cyberland. I’ve missed you.

No excuse, I just haven’t written anything on wordpress for a good long while. A few productive things got done otherwise, though:

The June issue of The Woven Thread is sent out. I’ll try and post some of the editorials I’ve written on this site, to see what you all think. The focus mostly on poetry, despite my being a fiction person, but them’s the breaks, you publish what you can, eh?

The new issue of Stonework is out, as well. We’ve got some really good fiction in this one, so be sure to check it out. Daniel Bowman’s piece is really top notch.

Artifice is coming along slowly, but surely. I’m dovetailing between writing the actual thing and writing little side bits to flesh out the perspectives of several characters. It’s turning very heavily economic and political, as is traditional for a work of cyberpunk/post-cyberpunk. I’ll post some status on that once I gather my wits about me again.

I’m mostly writing to give myself an excuse to start posting again. So this probably won’t be very inspired. I’m trying to spread out to a larger community, and start doing some news and the like in the fictive world. Book reviews and et cetera. I’m thinking of making my own website, as opposed to maintaining this via WordPress, but that’s news for later.

I’m starting some work as a research assistant tomorrow. Doing some number-crunching and paper-writing in the field of bioinformatics. I’m actually kind of interested: we’re studying the affects HIV mutations have on drug resistance. Real save-the-world stuff.

Other than that, I’ll hopefully be able to post a bit more soon.

Thanks, everyone.


Hullo From the Grand Rapids (Redux)

Hullo everyone.

Sorry it’s been so long. I haven’t posted anything for about two weeks now. Been real busy.

So, when we last left off, I was planning the Houghton College Writer’s retreat. It went really well, and I got some good connections, but perhaps not as much discussion on the topics I would like. Mostly about the duality of the writer’s call to social action and the call to contemplation. I’ve already got my eggs all in a basket on that point, and thus it wasn’t as interesting to me as other topics might have been. A good time was had by all.

The reason I couldn’t post after was because my academic life was just one big sprint from then to the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing, which is where I am right now. So, I’m back in Grand Rapids (for those that haven’t read from the beginning and don’t know me, I did an internship here last summer). It feels good to be back: not quite like coming home, but more like visiting a well-liked relative who has fun toys.

The discussion happening here is much more to my liking. There’s great variety, here, lots of topics to choose from. Plus, it seems I’ll be able to find time to write in the middle of it all. That’s a good thing. I find that if I don’t do any wordcraft for much more than a week, it’s hard to start up again.

Hoping to be able to write some reflections on some of the discussions that happen this week. On the table: genre fiction, and why it’s looked down upon; the publishing industry, and why writers should treat their art economically; joining into community the right way, or, shake a friend’s hand shake a hand next to ya.

So, yeah, those are things to look for. And more updates for Artifice. Eventually.

P.S. The Woven Thread now has it’s own website, which you can check out here.

The Woven Thread, Issue 2

Hullo all: just a quick post today.

The second issue of The Woven Thread was just sent out. It’s a good issue this time, with some very good poets writing for it.  Some shameless advertisement: if you’re interested in receiving The Woven Thread, just email or leave a comment on this post with an e-mail address, and I’ll make sure you’re added to the distribution list.

If you’re too ambivalent to click the link on your left to get to the actual page, The Woven Thread is a monthly newsletter and poetry anthology, aimed at a workshop setting. You can submit one poem a month, and it will get in to the Anthology automatically. You’re only obligation afterwards is to choose two other poets from the issue and respond to their poems via e-mail, thus establishing not only a good anthology of poetry but a dialog about the poetry as well. How delightful.

I like to point out that, because of the nature of the newsletter, it’s great for writers who aren’t necessarily full time poets, but just like to putter around with the art. You can get and give feedback, and it’s a place to get published without having to worry about impressing anyone. If you yourself are thinking of giving poetry a try, go ahead and sign up. If you don’t like poetry, but you might be interested in seeing what we’re doing, there is going to be material for non-poets as well (editorials, writing resources, and the like). If you don’t want anything to do with us, but have a friend who might, point them in our direction.

And now that the shameless plug is out of the way, I’ll go to sleep.

Thanks everyone,


No Real Substance

Artifice.EXE – Current word count: 1747

It’s slowly going up. This break, I’ve managed to make a post on this blog every day, and write a little bit on Artifice every day. Things are going well, but then again, I don’t have school work or anything of the like to worry about right now.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to maintain this work during the last several weeks of school.

I need to be writing even more though: several hundred words a day doesn’t quite cut it. I’ve been reading on what other writers prescribe as good wordcounts  for a day’s worth of writing, and get different numbers from everyone. I’ve known people to say they go for three, solid pages a day: that’s 1500 words, thereabouts. A little more. My writing professor says that’s entirely too high, and that I should focus more on quality then quantity. But he’s a poet, so I’m not sure his vote counts.

Terry Pratchett says that writing a novel takes being alive for fifty years, plus four to six months of frantically scribbling words on a page. I like that idea, even if I’m short the prescribed time by about thirty years or so.

I think the simple answer is, at this point, to simply get words on the page, and try to do more today than I did yesterday. That should be a good enough goal.

I’m going to stop talking now, though, and go write something of substance instead of blogging.


Flower Gardens

I had a good laugh today. It was a beautiful day out, and I enjoyed the ability to run around to some flower gardens.

Now, I’m normally not the biggest fan of flower gardens, because I always find fauna more interesting than flora. But I it was a simply beautiful day out, and it was a wonderful opportunity to go walking with the parents, so I went and enjoyed myself. And the gardens really were beautiful—the azaleas were out in full bloom, and the tulips were just on the decline. It wasn’t the peak for the other flowers, but the garden itself was lovely as well.

It was set up in sections, divided by ivy-covered walls and sculptures. There were nature-poems carved into the rock of the wall. Most of them were romantic, which doesn’t score many points in my book. By and large the sloppy ‘nature is the be-all end-all of existence’ sort of thing. Not much thought, lots of fluffy imagery.

It put me in a cynical mood, but pleasant one—the wort of mood where you’re throughly enjoying being a curmudgeon.

Did you know, for instance, that when flowers are in bloom, they aren’t doing it to be pretty. They’re having sex. Lots and lots of sex with as many partners as they can get their hands on. Plants normally don’t have genders, or secondary sex traits, so they’re not choosy. Walk through a garden in bloom, and you’re walking through a veritable vegetable orgy.

The sculptures I mentioned earlier were almost exclusively the traditional naked-people. The lovers embracing, or the curvaceous nymph dancing amongst the flowers, not much minding that her shirt has fallen off, or the baby cherub peeing in the fountain.

Now, I should point out that I don’t mind nudity in art, and that the sculptures were very beautiful, and that the plant life themselves were simply gorgeous. There were huge Live Oak trees (which refers to a specific breed, rather than a state of animation), which spread out and interlocked their branches, wider than they were tall. They were majestic, and made me feel very small, which most plant-life doesn’t manage to do very well.

Nevertheless, the nagging perception at the back of my mind that I was walking through a land ripe with romanticism, free-love and softcore porn filled me with a certain amount of internal giggling. And then, as we were wandering a small roofed-area of the garden devoted to sculptures, there was one amidst the plethora of Greek goddesses and nekkid fairies, that depicted St. Francis of Assisi. He was in a monks habit, and huddled upright, but in the fetal position. He had a haunted look on his face. And no, I am not making this up.

It was entirely too much, and I started laughing, earning a number of stares and ‘tut-tut’ sort of looks from more civilized people.

It was a good day.

As just a bit of book keeping, I’m about to add a page to the ‘pages’ navigation entitled “The Woven Thread.” It has the information on the poetry newsletter I’m running, so check it out.


Posting from Myrtle Beach

Spring break started yesterday at Houghton. The second classes left out, my parents and I piled in a car and headed for South Carolina. Myrtle Beach.

My brother has a time share, but couldn’t use it. He let us take a vacation. Very kind of him.

It’s wonderful down here. I walked out on the beach in shorts—I haven’t been able to wear shorts since sometime in September. That’s about six months. Entirely too long, in my opinion. It is warm here, and vaguely tropic. There’s pine trees, at least. It feels enough like vacation that writing more than simple sentences seems a chore.

I’ve brought Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson with me, and have been enjoying it throughly so far. Since my current project is cyberpunk, I feel I have a need to read as much in the genre as I can. I hope to be able to secure a copy of Neuromancer by William Gibson as well. Neuromancer, for those of you who don’t know, isn’t necessarily the first cyberpunk novel, but is quintessential to the genre in much the same way as Lord of the Rings is to high fantasy. I need to read it before I can properly write.

(Speaking of which, no word count this post, because it hasn’t gone up in any significant portion. Been busy packing, and I can’t really use my computer in the car—to many jitters on the road to type proper.)

I’ve been thinking about cyberpunk for a while, and the difficulties this particular genre presents to the writer and reader, but I need to ruminate a bit more before I’m ready to share them. I think I might write an essay.

Speaking of essays, I hope my last post didn’t surprise anyone. It was the essay I used to head up the charter issue of The Woven Thread (more about that soon to come). Just some thoughts on the way writers interact with one another.

In any case, I hope to be able to take this week easy enough to have time to think thoroughly about this and that and the other, and then also have time to write about it. I find that if I don’t have time to do both, I end up just thinking a lot, which don’t actually help me at all as writer, now does it. That, I think, is how Philosophers are born, and heaven help me from that fate.

I hope to have some seafood tomorrow. Seafood is always good for the soul, but not always for the stomach. And, I also hope, there will be lots of time for sleep.

Looking forward to a relaxed week,


P.S. Found another writer dealing with this whole writing-of-the-novel bit. Working on a work of high fantasy, and seems to have a good head for a rather tricky genre. Added him to my blogroll, but figured I’d give a little plug to his blog, Five Circles.

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