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A moment to lament

Our oldest turns 15 today. The problem with that statement is that I still remember trading sleep shifts with my wife to watch this little bundle of human that could fit most of her body in the space between my wrist and elbow on one arm. I remember fondly a snowy winter morning with her keeping me company while Mom slept and I tried out Gentoo for the first time. I remember late night anime on Cartoon Network so I could stay awake long enough to drive to work after.

Now she is on the cusp of being able to get a driver’s license. She’s giving serious consideration to where she wants the rest of her life – or at least the next decade – to go. But even while I sit here and weep at where did the time go, I’m proud of her. Proud of the woman she is becoming, happy that she still laughs and spends time with her parents.

Mostly, though, I’m dreading that slice of cake after so many cookies, pies, and confectionaries this holiday season. But damn, can that kid bake.

Happy birthday!

Wrapping up a year

Well, 2016 has been quite a year, hasn’t it? I know this blog has gotten quiet of late – sorry about that. Some of it has been work driven, some of it other factors. I think all of us, one way or another, have felt the emotional drain of the last few months, and I am not immune.

At the start of 2016, I swore this was the year I’d make some headway on my writing. I can honestly say I kept the promise – 1 short story sold and published, 1 sold (and paid) to be published early next year, and as an experiment I released my first book on Amazon. By any standard, I’ll call that a success. If the numbers are to be trusted, I wrote over 300k words last year (blog + fiction). Wowzers.

For 2017, I have plans. I have a novel I plan on releasing, the sequel I’m writing currently, and a re-release of my first novel with some edits (spelling fixes and the like, nothing new/changed). A lot of that is on hold this first quarter, for reasons that will made clear in a month or so.

Of course, there is more to 2016/17 than just writing. I’ve been very fortunate this last year – the girls are happy, mostly well adjusted (at least with me being one of their influences). My wife is well, her lupus symptoms currently on the downswing, and our family grew with the addition of a kitten this summer.

2016 is winding down over here. I know many of my friends have already toasted in the new year. We have a sparkling cider ready to pop open and share with the girls in less than an hour. Salud!

New Reading Habits

A month or so ago, I went in for an eye exam. I’ve worn glasses for over thirty years, so you would think that I would be better about getting them checked up on by now. I’m not.
While the overall verdict was that my eyes are as good (and bad) as they have been for years, the eye doctor expressed some concern over strain due to my heavy screen usage. The dialog for that went something like:

“How long would you say you stare at a screen during the day?”

“Minimum 12 hours, unless it’s a work day, then longer.”

“Oh god…”

While it’s true, there’s no way to lower that number too much without a drastic career change, I realized there were a few things I could do. One of the biggest changes I could make with actual impact was in my reading habits.

It should be no shock that you can usually find me with a book at hand. In fact, since I bought my first first generation kindle (used) “back in the day,” I’ve had a Kindle – or Kindle app – at hand at all times. The reason has always been two-fold. One reason is the sheer convenience of being able to read and buy books at any time of day, any place. I dread that void between books, gladly grabbing anything I can to fill it until I get a hold of something more permanent. Owning a Kindle has fed that need, and fed it well. The second factor, if I’m being honest, is that I’m lazy. As of a few years ago, reading on the Kindle meant it didn’t matter which device was at hand, I could pick up where I left off. Only have my phone handy? No problem. Have a Kindle at home and in my bag and keep them in sync? No problem. But I also realize that isn’t helping my eyes. Whether e-ink displays ¬†cause the same strain is the subject of much argument. But the simple fact is, given the plethora of Kindle app/fire devices at my disposal, I can rarely guarantee that it’s an e-ink display I’m using anyway.

Which isn’t to say that I’ve abandoned Kindle books all together. I’m crazy, but not a fool. What I have done, though, is begun to make a more concerted effort to read paper. Is it helping my eyes? I’m not sure. But I’m learning that Kindle books don’t save me any money. In fact, it may cost me more, since I will more willingly buy – and abandon – an ebook, whereas paper, even though it costs roughly the same, I am more likely to see through to the end and be more discriminate in the purchase of. I’ve even gone so far as to join the SFBC. If I’m going to be reading the books anyway, I might as well get a decent discount on them, right?

The irony of someone that writes book in this day and age, with an eye towards digital publication, should have a preference for reading paper books is not lost on me. But, we are cursed to forever live in interesting times it seems.

 

[EDIT] Thanks to my love, who pointed out the autocorrect mistake of “rights books” vs “writes books” in the last paragraph. Granted, I am all for the rights of books to exist, but that probably wasn’t my intent there.

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