A to Z Challenge 2013

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stress is good for me

Yes, this title is a weird launching point and probably untrue. But I am trying to chant it like a mantra as I contemplate all of the duties I have stacking up. My family and I are in the process of moving, an undesirable chore at best. It becomes even more difficult when one has to sift through eleven years of collected junk. Then there are the number of articles I need to finish up and publish for Brighthub.com, where I'm a contract writer. I cannot imagine how busy my editing duties there will be, since our Managing Editor has barked at all of us writers for being lax in submitting our articles. I am hanging my head in shame at this one, because I'm unfortunately one of the lazy writers who hasn't got his butt in gear. I edit for a number of writers as well, so tonight might be a late one.

Then of course there is the day job I have, where projects and problems have been stacking up. I found out a little known "feature" of Microsoft Office 2007 this morning that has played all kinds of havoc with my email, so much so that I have actually uninstalled the software completely to rid myself of it. Luckily I'm an IT guy, so I have access to other tools to replace what has been tossed out in anger.

Finally, its been some time since I had a moment to work on my book, and this last straw is the one that is trying to break the camel's back, so to speak. When I began this blog, I was hoping it would invigorate me to plunge back in and be incredibly prolific in my writing. Alas, time and life in general has worked its ruthless magic once more to deprive me of any real progress. Or maybe its just me being lazy. Probably its the latter, but dammit I'm going to get past this roadblock if it kills me.

On a good note, I have gotten in contact with a friend of mine who will be helping me with some research into politics, a necessary evil I must delve into for the book. Since I've never held public office of any kind, his help will be very much appreciated. Keep your fingers crossed for me, as I need all the help I can get.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday's Blues

For some reason, Monday always seems to hold a great deal of dread for people. This morning, I am in a mood that aims to pull me down as well, because there just isn't enough sunshine coming into this fabric-walled prison known as my cubicle. So what can you do to keep from reaching for the virtual or literal hangman's noose?

Thanks to this new endeavor of writing, I've found it useful to let my mind just wander and imagine what I'd rather be doing if I had nothing but time and vast monetary resources (or at least enough to live comfortably on). What I find funny however, is that my tastes are really quite provincial. Given the opportunity to have "everything", I'd be quite satisfied to just have a roof over my family's head, money to buy a game or two from time to time, and lots of time to spend with my wife and boys. Oh, and I would really like to be somewhere warmer. Summertime in Colorado is really nice, but I've come to the conclusion over the last couple years that winter and cold is really not my thing.

I cannot fail to mention that I'd of course like to have a really nice sunroom with a desk and a laptop, with a spectacular view of just about any scene of nature. I enjoy the mountains here in Colorado, but I wouldn't gripe at viewing the plateaus of the Arizona desert or the blue waves of the Pacific. Just about any environment in the world has some breathtaking vistas, and I'm not that choosy (especially if I don't have to worry about how to pay for it). That way I could just kick up my feet, write at whatever pace my hands decided to type at, and occasionally look up to inspire myself with the beauty outdoors.

Well, enough of being lost in the clouds above the dark shroud known as Monday. Guess I better hunker down, wrap myself up in a blanket of dreams, and weather the storm. Hope you are able to manage as well yourself.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fatherhood

Sunshine streaming through hazy clouds, the day was halfway over by the time he walked into the room. His wife was deep in labor, ready to present her new child to the world. He wasn't ready though, or at least he didn't think so. The contractions came quicker and quicker, until soon a small baby drew its first breath and screamed out his name. It wasn't Dad the tiny thing said, but it might as well have been, because he rushed to the doctor's side to see this new arrival into his already busy world.

Time slowed to a crawl, and a smile creased his tired face. He was drunk with happiness, beyond anything he had ever experienced. Toes and fingers were quickly counted, and he worried over every little inch, no matter that the child was perfect in every way. He finally got to hold this tiny treasure, with more care than anything he had ever touched before. He almost trembled in careful agony, afraid he would screw it up and yet so sure he never wanted to put his little boy down. He walked to his beautiful wife's side and presented her with their son. Despite the fact that she had done all the work, he regretted giving up the child, if only because he was still reeling from the wonderful feelings of having him in his arms.

She beamed alongside him, tired but exquisitely blissful in her joy over the birth of her son. She also held the treasure before her carefully, seemingly much more confident than he felt inside. He was proud of her, and prouder still of the life they had created together. He took note of every aspect of their faces, every little crinkle in his son's nose, the soft feel of his child's bare skin. So began fatherhood for him, the most challenging task he would ever accept willingly.

The above is perhaps a slightly exaggerated telling of how I became a father, but then again, maybe its not too exaggerated. My first child's birth was the best day I've ever had, and the birth of my second was just as wonderful. There really are not words to properly describe the experience, but that doesn't mean we don't try anyway. Hopefully these words celebrate the memory rather than abuse it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wil Wheaton in the house!!

I had to add my favorite blogger and author, Wil Wheaton, to my list of blogs I follow. Its a moral imperative! If you don't recognize that line, you need to go ask your parent's permission to be on the Internet.

If you don't recognize Wil Wheaton from Star Trek - aka Wesley Crusher - don't worry about it. He's an accomplished actor, but he's an even better writer in my opinion (not to diminish his acting ability at all, sorry Wil). His blog is a little geeky, and if you're offended by a little profanity, you probably want to avoid him. But for those of us who aren't as concerned about political correctness, Wil is a great read. He's pumped out a couple good books as well, like "Just A Geek" and "The Happiest Days Of Our Lives".

Although I cannot do him justice, I'll at least do my part to bring more to his flock. Someday I might even be honored enough to have him click on my blog. I'm not worthy Wil, but hey - a guy can dream. In any event, check him out in all his geeky glory. He posts pretty regularly, and you don't want to miss any of the fun.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Trying to free write

So my attempts to write every day of course hasn't panned out, but life has its way of presenting obstacles we must leap over - or climb a huge mountain, depending on the circumstances. In any event, the following is a rambling that hopefully will be understandable and even perhaps entertaining.

"The man walked down the cold cement path to the lone mailbox, thoughts spinning slowly through his barely conscious mind. It was too early in the year to be this chilly, but he knew it didn't matter whether he disliked it or not. Mother Nature had her own thoughts on timing, and it rarely worked out in his favor.

He was anxiously thinking about the mail, hoping the check was there. Too much longer, and he would not have a mailbox to go to. A few spidery cracks had formed in the cement, and he absently made a mental note to fill them when the weather got a bit warmer. No sense in letting everything around him go to hell, regardless if he wouldn't be there much longer.

With one hand, he reached up to pull open the slightly rusted and dented metal door. He peered inside, hoping the blackness was only due to his failing eyesight but realized after a moment that the mailbox was empty. He rubbed a palm over his balding pate, stress beginning to build once more as he pondered what to do. Shrugging his shoulders in despair, he trudged once more back to the door and made his way inside. The money had to be there by Thursday, or he would have no choice left.

The possibility of that outcome was almost enough to break his composure, but Harold was already at the end of his rope. He had already decided that it was too late; the lack of a check arriving was merely one more sign of confirmation. He sat down heavily in the broken recliner, not really seeing the talk show playing on the screen. His dark blue eyes, once bright with possibility, were staring off into space.

The intense feeling of desperation was beginning to build within him, and with each passing moment he began to think of what to do. He stood slowly but with purpose and walked to the dining room table where a revolver sat next to a box of shells. His index finger caressed the barrel almost lovingly, the smoothness of the metal feeling cool under his touch. Mary had been gone for some time now, so there really wasn't much to stick around for. His children no longer came to visit, nor would they be sorry to see him gone. He held no illusions that he was ever a decent father. He was merely the man who had paid the bills, and he had barely managed that much. No, there would be no love lost over him. He reached for the gun, ready to finish what had been a truly disappointing life. The knock on the screendoor interrupted his plans however, startling him slightly. He turned to see who this unexpected visitor could be..."

This didn't turn out too bad, now that I've read through it a second time. I usually don't get a full scope of what I'm writing during the process, because I have a bad habit of overthinking what the right word is. But somehow I make my way from the beginning to the end without too many problems. Its always the beginning that gives me a bit of trouble, but hopefully more snippets like this will help cure me of that. I hope you've enjoyed this rambling. Its been fun for me.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Where Do I Go From Here?

So who the heck am I? Thats not an easy question to answer, but I'll try to give the best answer possible. I'm a computer geek who has decided computers really aren't all that interesting anymore. Or maybe its that the sameness of everyday dealing with them has made them pale in comparison to so many other things I could be occupying my time with. My name is Eric, and I'm an aspiring writer who hopes someday to be able to consistently "work my muse", as it were. But what does that mean? To answer that question means going back to the beginning and starting a story. Go ahead and get your coffee and snack, snuggle down into the chair, and get prepared for something truly interesting.

A beginning is always hard to start, particularly for someone who is trying to find his muse. Writing has not been something that comes easily to me, except for those few moments when I get in "the zone". Judging from the number of writers that profess this same issue, I'm not completely alone in this. Thats a relief. But back to my story. Quite some time ago, when I was a young pup in high school and quite unsure of myself, I had to write a story for English class. The cool thing was that I got to choose what to write. Sure, I had written other things in previous years, poems and such. But this one moment is the singular instance that stands out in my memory, so we'll start there.

I chose to let loose on my imagination, and quicker than I could believe it, I had a full-fledged manuscript of pure fiction. I don't know for sure if my fellow students found it interesting or not, but my teacher seemed to think it was good work. If I were the man I am today (or at least a more self confident teen), I probably would have recognized the potential and launched into a historical writing career. Unfortunately, that dastardly little imp known as Doubt crept along my backbone and destroyed any positive effort I might make for years.

Recently I decided to take up pen and paper once more (keyboard and mouse actually) and see what I could create. I'm now 70+ pages into a rough draft of a book, a writer and editor for brighthub.com, and ready to kick that imp to the side.

So the question remains - which happens to be the title of this particular post - Where do I go from here? I've heard writers say that blogging every so often helps them get over the "dry spots", those nasty hot deserts of wordlessness that seem to plague us all. This is one reward I hope to get out of this particular blog. And although this writing is an exercise for myself, I am hoping that somewhere out there I'll get somebody to actually read and enjoy these posts - or despise them with a passion, whichever the case may be. I might even be able to get some inciteful comments and improve my writing a bit, so that when my book is in its final draft, it will really be ready to send out into the world. Finally, somewhere along the way I hope to rope in my muse and tie him to my hip with duct tape, never to abandon me again. It sounds good anyway.