Done (not really)!

2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover

Yes! I made 52000-plus words. Iʼm done (not really). The reason there hasnʼt been a post for months is in the past now.

NaNoWriMo 2013 — won.

Morte Saison isnʼt half finished at this point — really just a lot of (nearly random) scenes and sections, not even tied together, and certainly not complete. Thereʼs a ton of work ahead. But this year (even more than last, which topped the utter crap I churned out in 2011), I feel like I have gotten quite a lot accomplished. I am even looking forward to more writing and lots of editing and revising ahead.

Right now, it feels wonderful not to worry about getting in hours of writing time for a day or two (and definitely catch up on unfinished and unwritten letters and blog posts — hey, I still have an entire vacation to write about).

Anyway, year four complete. Iʼll add the little winner icon to the sidebar soon…

(Even better, we have our Christmas tree up and decorated — and all the lights have lit!)

©2013 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

…and (unapologetically) Heʼs Back

The cover I quickly hacked out, to accompany my 2012 NaNoWriMo project information, earlier this morning.

Having just signed myself up for NaNoWriMo 2012* and punched out 500 (new) words to post in my novel for 2012 on the National Novel Writing Month website, along with my home-generated cover art (for both the new novel and last yearʼs abortion**), I thought perhaps it was time to stop tentatively pussyfooting and then not adding to the blog.

So hereʼs a post, the first since April (and that one was the first since not-quite-this-long-before-that, as you can read for yourself by clicking the link I just made). Have I continued, as I indicated in my last post, to do nothing much on the writing front for six months? Well… yes… pretty much…

I did churn out some 18,000 words (smartpenned*** in three different notebooks) of my experiences working this spring and summer for USDA APHIS PPQ (again, still trapping for invasive insect pests, particularly in my case the emerald ash borer, again). I am working with those aforementioned 18,000 words, uploaded and decoded/digitalized-into-editable-text, as letters to my brother Stephen and Aunt Alaire.**** So far I have about fifteen of the twenty-five (digitized Scrivener) pages edited and annotated. But only about (hmmm, let me check quickly… ) fifteen hundred words of creative composition (predictably, on Søren and Judah, the latter of whom I am seriously considering renaming a more accurate Yehudah***** or even another name altogether******).

Otherwise, it was all work these past six months, much like last year (go ahead, search out those posts for yourself — the search box over there on the right works fine for just such tasks as this; I am sure the old blog could use the clicks and hits), except that my work region expanded a lot and I found myself on the road and overnight in hotels for about half my working days (more on that soon, maybe even tomorrow). However, the job ended (perhaps, unfortunately, forever for me*******) mid-September, a little over three weeks ago, and I have needed to get seriously writing again.

A few thousand words in correspondence is nothing, really (nor actually are updates to Wakdjunkagaʼs Blog, but I have had thoughts and developments I wanted to post here, for my own interest, presumably few othersʼ). So I have to spend time actually writing, and this comprises just that activity for the late morning today.

That observation puts me over 500 words (a recommended length for most blog posts), so Iʼll desist for now. More, I hope, tomorrow (which would be something almost utterly novel for this year********).

* Thanks for the reminder, Gwen Hernandez.

** I donʼt know what happened to NaNoWriMo information on my genuinely (and unironically) unqualified writing success from 2010

*** For those who clicked that link back to last Christmastime, I have resolved my issues with the Livescribe Echo long since (thanks to intelligent Livescribe support, who had me use Janetʼs Windows laptop — a tale to tell there for the posts ahead — to set up the pen successfully; alas for products created mostly for Windozers and not the Mac world…). The pen has gotten some pretty fierce use for nearly a year now, including the journal junk mentioned above, and I intend to discuss more about it in days ahead, as I attempt to flex and exercise my writing chops before November arrives.

**** Family members, if interested I can e-mail the results out to you all, assuming I donʼt desperately use the results as posts here in future weeks.

***** Any opinions, folks? You may Leave a Reply below.

****** “David,” anyone? Suggestions?

******* Funding shotcomings, donʼt you know.

******** Donʼt believe me? Check back over this yearʼs postings… (The calendar to the right will work for that.) Not much there…

©2012 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

Winner (Kind of, Partially, Not Really IMHO)

Although I struggled to write anything, and although a good part of what I did write was, um, “garp,” my NaNaWriMo 2011 experience has ended happily and, officially, successfully. Just check that meter to the right (which I will delete in a few more days) or, more permanently, that NaNoWriMo 2011 Winner’s Badge toward the bottom of the second column.

Or this…

My Official Certificate

I wasted most of my time most of the days this past month (without exaggeration — I really did, just as I slipped through the first months of 2011 fruitlessly), but with blushing and partial success I made some important progress on the horror story (including a detailed calendar of events for James Arkham and others in 1993-94). Unfortunately, just like my efforts last year on Slaves to the Lesser Moon, the taleʼs not done. How utterly like me.

I would feel a lot more successful if I believed that every word really counted (this year) and that I might (someday… ever) finish these long items.

Yes, faithful readers (who may actually remember other comments I have made on my partial success this year), much of what I wrote may never actually get used,* but 51916 sleazy words later,** the month of November draws to a close. Now I have weeks of completion and revision ahead of me. But first, I think I may take a little vacation/digression/diversion for the writing topic that was drawing my attention when the month began and kept distracting me throughout these past twenty-eight days — Søren and Judah.***

And yes, a gentle and (for me, at least) enjoyable review of the excellent time The Lovely One and I enjoyed in Budapest. I think that starts tomorrow…

See you then (so to speak).

* “May,” ha! Probably will not get used.

** NaNoWriMoʼs count (52174), which may include chapter numbers and titles and suchlike, runs a bit higher than the count I was keeping in Scrivener. I feared the goal count was higher than I might end up with after compilation, so I kept going (necessarily, not just worriedly). And I need to keep going.

*** My first big project, commencing today and tomorrow, is going to be finishing the dictation of handwritten text for that first of the interlocking Sepharad stories (and the part of story #2 that I have already handwritten). Dragon Dictate and my microphones have had it too easy (as have I) for far too long. (Besides, one of the two versions I have composed of our first days on vacation — along with most of our Alaska trip, 2010, too — is handwritten and in need of dictation into digital reality, as well.)

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

Thanksgiving Aftermath

Wow. Nearly the entire month of November has slipped away without even a breath of a post here. I wish I could say that I have been writing diligently for NaNoWriMo, but even though my word-count (now illustrated in the bright new, but sadly belated widget to the right) is pretty close to the norm, I have mostly just wasted my time (still) this month. (And I know full well that a good slew of what I have written and counted toward that total is worthless and I will probably never use it. Sad to say, but bitterly true.)

The box set iTunes is frustrating me about right now.

Anyway, The Lovely One is busily decorating for Christmas today (as per annum), my crapulous iMacʼs optical drive repeatedly refuses to acknowledge or read the final three disks from The Jimi Hendrix Experience Winterland box set (does anyone else think Apple does that — makes their hardware/software refuse to load CDs — deliberately to drive iTunes users to buy/download from that damnable store?*),and I have been raking (yet again — umpteenth time, again) to clear the oak leaves, originating across the street, from our yard. I only got the eastern side and half the back yard raked (and another mostly full truckload of leaves delivered to the dump site) before concluding the windʼs just too strong (damn southerly gale) to keep at it longer — much to your delight/misery, readers.

However, updating my word count with NaNoWriMo today reminded me to see about widgets they provide, and finding many, I placed one into the sidebars. And that procedure made me realize that I havenʼt written a word since the first of the month for good old Wakʼs Blog. So here are a few words.

I do have some parts of a travelogue on our Budapest trip completed, and I will upload those, or words very like those, as a post or two over the next few days, along with some pictures. Otherwise, having not eaten more than some soda crackers — a few with cheese — today, I had better keep this short to be able to help Janet make supper from the leftovers we snatched home from her mother yesterday. (Yum — both for the original Thanksgiving feast and the cold and/or reheated leftovers today and whenever after.)

I hope everyone felt appropriately thankful yesterday, and that those who went shopping all night/today enjoyed themselves (my beloved and I might venture into a store by tomorrow or Sunday). And now I must try to create a Christmas-gift suggestion list for my family, to get in the old e-mail ASAP.

Merry weekend, all!

* Personally, for every time a CD wonʼt load, I schedule not buying anything from the iTunes store. Itʼs around 576 albums I wonʼt buy from Apple right now…

And, yes, any suggestions on how to make the optical drive actually work (and not just kick a valid CD back out) would be gratefully appreciated. ASAP.

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

…and weʼre off!

Supposedly, as the picture-title indicates, writer at work (maybe) with presumed thinking cap on…

Itʼs the first of November. This fact shocked me this morning.

Strangely, even though I was admittedly aware that yesterday was Halloween (no matter that here in Our Town the powers-that-be always see fit to have the kids go around trick-or-treating on any day near the end of October that isnʼt actually Halloween — this year on Sunday), I had an actual moment of light-bulb-over-head, smack-the-noggin awareness of the date at about 10:00 AM (while reading the TLS from about a month ago, the issue with John Speke on the cover) that, “Good grief, todayʼs November 1.” Followed about five minutes later by, “NaNoWriMo starts.”

I hadnʼt even registered my novel yet.

Duh.

And I still had to rake leaves and mow the yard, too. That was my plan for Tuesday/today (after all, itʼs crystalline-clear blue skies and 70° today; itʼs going to rain and the temperatureʼs going to drop a couple dozen degrees tomorrow).

So I did. (Rake and mow, that is.) The job(s) took me until 1:30. I hadnʼt even turned on the computer for the day yet. Once I did, and once I checked e-mail and Facebook newsfeed, reading several articles and such that popped up in one place or another, and dealt with a few practical matters of household finance, it was 4:15.

Surely too late to start a novel this year. Surely…

But I pressed on, logged into NaNoWriMo and set up my novel. Even though I had spent most of yesterday (including half-dreams part of last night) brain-writing Søren-and-Judah stuff (and realizing I have a big travelogue on Budapest to write, if only for my brother Stephen, to whom I owe a letter, too), I registered my eastern Iowa horror novel, giving it the title Quetzal County, Iowa. (I know, really lame, but then no one ever came through, when I was posting stuff last year for that story, with any usable title suggestions. Of course, nobody but me really knows whatʼs going on in the story, either…) I also updated my “Author Profile” a bit haphazardly and without much effort (although I did add a picture this year — thatʼs me on our Danube Cruise in Budapest last Thursday*).

And then I set up a new Scrivener project just for the NaNoWriMo 50,000 words I intend to add to the story. Right now itʼs got two “chapters” or folders — one for Arkhamʼs Diary, the other for “Symonds Stuff.” (I also spent a while refamiliarizing myself with my characters — notice I now recall their names).

Then I hacked out a thousand words (actually 1005, according to the Scrivener Project Targets, of which I was reminded by a timely blog post from Scrivener guru Gwen Hernandez, also undertaking her own NaNoWriMo novel, today — one of the items or activities that kept me from being productive, writing, until after 4:30). An actual thousand words…

Whether I end up using them or not.

And so I have begun…

* Although you will have to click the link to my NaNoWriMo information to see the picture I am talking about.

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

Autumn

Itʼs quite chilly in Iowa today. I have hauled out my fingerless gloves for the first time since mid-April, and although the wrists and palms of each hand are cozy enough, my fingertips feel cold tapping away at the keys.

Everything is indicating the full arrival of fall. I raked leaves five different days (and hauled away ten truckbed-loads). Furthermore, I am going to have to rake again soon, although our back yard trees and bushes have not let go of their photosynthesis machines yet. I may as well be looking ahead at the last lawn-mowing of the year…

I have also been receiving notifications about the imminence of NaNoWriMo 2011. And, although I have been utterly worthless as a writer this year — probably penning (often literally there) only ten or twenty thousand words outside the wretchedly few blog posts I have uploaded* —, I am intending to use November to (I hope!) finish the Mantorville (Iowa horror) novel. If I actually finish it, that will be considerably more than 100,000 new words (and I do mean “new” — above and beyond what I have already written and posted here).

Last year, I wrote 110,000 words on the planetary fantasy, but it remains incomplete. I havenʼt added word one since the end of 2010.

But back to more positive thoughts. Mantorville and the cesspool of evil behind the incarceration of former teacher Arkham**

I know that the story will fall into three (possibly four) sections. Only the first is the more-or-less formal record of the treatment sessions between Dr. Symonds and legally insane murderer Arkham. Part Two, probably, is the Arkham diary that I had finally gotten introduced toward the end of what is available so far. Part Three… well, some things are about to happen that will, after some delay, turn the tale into Dr. Symondsʼs story (and I may just interweave the diary selections through that portion, which I intend him to be dictating into a cell phone or mini-digital-recorder in more or less present time, early 21st Century). That fourth part? I may need one more major character to resolve the whole thing…

And a whole bunch of people have got to get killed off. (It is a horror story, after all.)

Scrivener is ready to go, announcing on Facebook today that their 2011 NaNoWriMo versions are available. So, having used that wonderful software for last yearʼs (still incomplete) “novel,” I guess/hope I had better be ready and willing as well.

* Incredibly, even without regular posts, the blog has been receving more than a hundred hits a day (mostly folks seeking images to use, just as I borrowed the NaNoWriMo official logo to the left and above).

** Anyone remember his first name? I donʼt without re-reading.

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

Planetary Romance, 4

Yep. More of the November novel. You get three parts right in a row. I am so far past this section of the story now, it seems funny to me, as in the old days when I started posting bits of “Mantorville.” Therefore, I will get you all a little closer to the end of Chapter One.

The door was open. I hadnʼt locked it when I came griefstricken into our place. There were lots of nights it remained unlocked. It wasnʼt like, even with the college in town, that Pashitakua was a hive of criminal activity. Small Wisconsin towns are pretty quiet places.

Birch slammed it open and shut and charged right up the stairs to our place, bursting through the door, while I was still registering the bell.

His neurasthenic, skimpily-bearded face was aghast or terrified. Or something. Whatever was going on, that was more emotion than I had ever seen him express. “Terry! Mʼman. You wonʼt believe whatʼs happened to me.”

“Dude. Whatʼs going on?” Terry asked instantly. I didnʼt care.

“Valjeanʼs gone nuts, man.” I had learned some time ago that his pet name for Dr. Fairchild put a (mispronounced) literary pun on her first and middle names. “Plumb crazy. Nuts.”

Which probably just meant that his month of work building whatever contraption she had required was clearly the waste of time that every one of her projects was. I got up, carefully, slowly, to find the refrigerator and grab one more Keystone. Maybe, when I located it, I might ask the bearded wonder if he wanted something. And I wondered, just how many cases of beer had we bought last time? If Terry and I both had just drunk twelve-plus, that meant one dead boxful. Didnʼt it?

I barely heard them talking as I drifted the twenty steps through the kitchen. I did hear Birch selfishly plop himself in the chair I had vacated. Nothing for him, then.

“Short meeting.” Terry observed thickly. “Whatʼd she do? Terminate your assistantship? Again?”

“She wants me to test the machine, man.”

“Dude!”

“Exactly.”

“Test the machine. Whaddaya mean…?” Obviously Terry hadnʼt understood whatever Birch meant as closely as Birch had assumed.

“Test the machine. Test the machine! She wants me to be her first live test on the machine.”

“What machine?” I wondered as I tried to stride manfully back in the living room without either hitting the kitchen doorway or the sofa or the big chair. Or spill my fresh beer. I had forgotten already that Birch had taken my seat. I tottered to a stop behind the sofa.

“Donʼt tell him,” Birch snapped. “Not a word.”

“Tell him about what?” Terry was puzzled. He had, after all, drunk more than I had.

“Fairchildʼs theory?” I asked. “Didja build a machine to test her time breakthrough?” I wanted to say “temporal” but the word eluded my consciousness, and my mouth would probably have never been up to that many syllables anyway. I also wanted to laugh, like I was too cool for their nonprogress at physics.

Birch cut me short. “Whatʼs he know, Terry? It sounds like he knows. What did you tell him!”

“About what?” Terry was looking seriously confused now. “His girl dumped him tonight.”

Thanks, Ter, I thought. Just the guy I did not want to know all about my stuff. But clearly Terryʼs mind was wandering down some drunken corridors of its own, far from our little discussion just minutes earlier. He was back on my personal problems. And now that he had brought it all up again, so was I.

Big warm tears were building up in my eyes, but I didnʼt want to cry, not in front of Birch.

“The redhead? About time. Sheʼs got another guy back in her hometown. Has had all year.”

I wanted to punch him. How could he be so right? I glowered wetly over him, one hand still on the sofa. “How did you know, Birch?”

“Bah. Everyone knows, Hunter. She told people. Besides, it was obvious from the start of the year.” He was right, although I hated to admit it. Somehow I had known from the first day we had seen each other after summerʼs end that something was different, wrong. I knew but hadnʼt wanted to explore the intuition. Still it enraged me that this jerk knew, but fume as I might, I had no clever quip to impact what I felt was his smug satisfaction.

Then he gave me the opening I had forgotten: “What do you know about the device?”

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.