No more recaps. No more filler.

This blog post is not a recap. I will not bore you with the minutia of my personal life the last six months. I’ve wondered if blogging – or at least my participation – was finally at an end. Imagine my surprise when I found myself typing up this post, then.

Unfortunately, I have no news to share. I stopped calling myself a writer for a while – after all, writer’s write, and I wasn’t doing that any more. Except that lately, I have been. A few new short stories are floating around the aether right now, and my weak stabs at outlining have recommenced.

OK, because life is fraught with continuous driving when you’re the father of three kids in their teens, I’m just going to leave this post here to be an easter egg in your RSS readers. Later today, I may even clean up the Goodreads feed so it’s closer to accurate.

Until then, here’s the article I’m mulling over today: Outline The Hell Out of Things, courtesy of Jeff Patterson (@jeffpatterson11) who answered my call for help on twitter.

Where did the blog posts go?

You may be wondering just that – where did all of the blog posts go? Why did Cummings stop talking about writing, work, kids, and everything else?

Believe it or not, they are still being written. Sort of. On June 1, I cracked open a new Moleskine journal and began writing in it every day (or thereabouts). Every day, I start by transcribing a quote from a book of daily stoic thoughts I’ve been plodding through. I don’t always add commentary, but I find that the act helps get my mind into the right frame for journaling.

Then I write. Sometimes, it’s a paragraph. Other days, I’ll fill pages after pages. A lot has been going on, very little something I want to air to the public, but all of it needing the act of writing to work through. It used to be, I’d write a blog post to focus some of that. Now, I journal, where I can be a little more candid and a lot more honest. There are no other readers besides myself, and some future historian looking for a snapshot of this mundane life.

The side effect, though, is that I write less on the blog. It’s nothing personal, but I find I have less that I want to share these days. Am I still writing? Not as much as I’d like to be, but as much as I can. I have a few short stories I’m cleaning up, and I can feel the tendrils of a novel trying to worm their way into my brain, though I’d like to see if I can’t actually outline something for a change.

I wish I could offer something more, some promise of more blogging. I know that in general, blogging has died as an “art” form. I think the first of the death knells was when Google Reader was murdered in it’s sleep, and ever since then the art of the blog has dwindled and faded. A few blogs I follow are posting sporadically. One or two blogs that had started to die are coming back, and that’s nice to see too. As for me? I’ll always post things on here, sometimes frequently, other times with huge gaps. If you’re what might be called a regular reader – thank you. Writing anything, even a blog post, let alone a short story or novel, is an extremely lonely and insular activity. You write words with no audience, knowing that the time capsule of your thoughts will be opened and interpreted by someone else outside of your control. How they perceive and internalize your writing can be nerve wracking.

By the way, I completely filled that journal I started on the first of June and am well into another volume already. I don’t journal absolutely every day – I’ve missed two days so far in the last six months, both because of extended traveling. But I get pretty close to writing at least something every day. Analog blogging has its benefits, too.

Writing from the shore of Quiddity

Sorry for the long radio silence. To say that real life (vs. this dream of a life we share online) has had to take precedence the last few months is to sell it short. Too much of life lately has been in dealing with the very tangible, leaving little room for thoughts and musings idylically shared online.

For long time readers of this blog, and I know I must have alienated most of you but surely there are a handful left, I _am_ still writing. I think Ramsey Campbell expressed it best in Where Nightmares Come From, a smaller press book on writing with a lot of hidden gems.

I once waited to continue work on a story until I felt inspired, only to burden myself with writer’s block that lasted six months.

Ramsey Campbell, The Process of a Tale, pg 100

I don’t want to be overly dramatic about it, but real life aside, writer’s block has been a huge factor. I’ve been struggling with understanding where my voice as a writer lives. For too long, I think, I’ve been trying to affect a type of writing because it’s what I enjoy reading. But when I break it down, I don’t enjoy writing it. I have beside my desk the first draft of The Mermaid’s Tears. It’s a beast, it’s rough, and there’s a lot about it I loved writing. There’s also bits that stick in my craw.

A month or so ago, I started a new short story. I’ve stumbled a bit the last few weeks on finishing it, though I intend to buckle down and get it out this weekend because I already have starter notes for a few more stories I want to write. It’s a change in direction for my writing, or rather a reversal back to how I used to write before I got it in my head I had to be a great fantasy or science fiction author (I will be neither). I’m writing this one largely by hand, because by hand is how I first started writing before I had laptops and portable technology that made digitizing everything easy. But I can share the first few lines of the first draft:

     In a house by the Sea, there lived a boy. It wasn’t the boy’s house, but it was empty, and it was dry, and for a time, it was safe.
     The boy had nothing in this world but the clothes on his back and a grey metal box. The box had eight sides – the six you can see, and the two you forget. It was covered in carving of ornate vines, cut from the surface of the box.

All of that is likely to change, but it’s the seed that started a story, and that felt good to accomplish. I don’t know how many words I’ve written – my handwriting shifts from tight and neat to sprawling and messy and back again over the course of the pages, making a rough per page count hard. I’ll know it’s done when I finish writing it, I suppose. It’s a gothic, I think, or maybe not. I’ll find out when I get closer to the end. 

Hopefully, I’ll have more to share soon. Just don’t be alarmed by long silences

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