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Status Stasis

Feb. 24th, 2017 | 06:07 pm
location: Raleigh, NC
mood: Ill
music: Snoop Dogg / Grease Remix

I think a perfect microcosm of my life in this moment is that I'm working an a four-season TV series that will never see the light of day. The proposal is that a publisher wants to audition talent using an existing IP, with the ambition to help revitalize the franchise with off-source material. In other words, they want some new stories set in their universe that they hope will spawn some new series of books, comics, and maybe even a TV series.

What series, you might ask? Well, NDAs are quite a thing but let's just say that Galaxy Quest almost certainly started out this same way.

I cite Galaxy Quest specifically because, well, I seriously doubt this project is going to be picked up. Far (FAR) more likely is that authors will flock to the promise of the gig and submit new story ideas. The publisher, connected with the production company, will review the stories and turn down every last one of them. Then, six months later, stories awfully similar to some of those submitted will appear, written by in-house writers.

Happens a lot. Totally legal and astoundingly immoral.

Now, I'm not quite as big a fool as my peers, but I sure can be a sucker. So yes, I'm applying some elbow grease to the project. The difference is that when submission time comes, I plan on demonstrating that my project is complete and give them a taste, then deny them further submission. I plan to use a couple of people I know in the industry who are unrelated to this project to more or less certify that I have the manuscripts (by sharing them with them), but refuse to release the majority of the project until the contract is signed.

999 out of 1000, they'll just pass and go on to the next writer. But, maybe some gumption combined with my talent will make me stand out and they'll option the series.

I don't know. I also don't really care. I'm enjoying writing a space opera that's light on science and heavy on the fiction.
So yeah. Writing a story that will never see the light of day because I'm enjoying it.

There are worse ways to spend your time. :)
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New Thoughts

Jan. 13th, 2017 | 05:42 pm
location: Raleigh, NC
mood: Good
music: Billy Squire - My Kind Of Lover

I've just submitted my newest book to my publisher for consideration. This would make my fourth book with them if its accepted (and I'm confident it will be). I am currently slated to submit my fifth book to them at the end of the month, but I want to put it through another round of editing before I let them do it.

Not bad, considering I signed a twenty book deal. :)

I am making tremendous strides, which is always nice and always happens after a convention. I've kind of carefully laid out my goals and a timetable for them, so I'm hoping that it takes and I actually get this stuff done. If I get even half of it, though...shew, it's nice to be optimistic.

Optimistic, that is, of my life. If I look up and take a glance at the world around me, holy crap. Ho-lee crap.

Still, I suppose if I can't save the world, maybe I can at least stabilize it?
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Shadowboxing Up Memories

Dec. 2nd, 2016 | 05:39 pm
location: Raleigh, NC
mood: Apocalyptic
music: Awolnation - Sail

"Fear is a stranger to me. I know its face, nor do I know its name, but it calls to me and I must answer."

I am terrified of Donald Trump. Every second of every minute, the situation seems to get worse. I realize how few allies, how few resources there are, in this fight. And I do think it will be a fight. I took for granted how 'sturdy' our society was. Maybe shouldn't have done that. I smell war coming. I just don't know if it will be civil, or world.

Unless the Electors come through and validate their existence (which is an odd thing for me to want as I've generally spoken out against the Electoral College in the past), I fear our best-case scenario is an utter ruining of the country. I fear our best-case scenario is devastation of our economy, of our legacy, of our world. Worst-case scenario? I shudder to even think about it. No, I can genuinely not rule out invasion, rule out global assembly against us, rule out nuclear attack. I really cannot.
I smell war.



But, as Nick Fury once said, "Until such time as the world ends, we will act as though it intends to spin on"
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Speaker for the Dead Ringer for Love

Nov. 18th, 2016 | 05:52 pm
location: Raleigh, NC
mood: Tired. So goddamn tired.
music: The silence of a cold, empty office

"I come to you to tell you I am afraid. Fear is a stranger to me. I know not its face, nor do I know its name. But it calls to me and I must answer."

I'm torn between being honest and being strong.
Do I admit how I'm doing, or do I maintain a facade for the good of others?

I'm afraid. I'm afraid for this country, for this world, and for my friends and family. I watch this march towards fascism and it terrifies me. I'm doing all I can to fight against it...I think. No matter what I do, in my mind, I feel myself knowing I could do more. I called all my elected officials (and a few I didn't elect). But in my mind, I'm all 'yeah, but you didn't go to the protest'. 'Yeah, but you didn't march'.

It's like writing. I wrote a 4000 words. Yeah, but I didn't write 5000.
I practice drawing for an hour. Yeah, but you didn't do it for two hours.
I did kung fu for two hours today. Yeah, but you didn't do it for three hours.
I drove Beth to the doctor and held her hand as we confronted yet another debilitating illness. Yeah, but you didn't stay with her.

I'm scared, and I'm scared of apathy. I'm scared of the specter of Depression stealing my resolve. I lost the will to fight once. I hope I don't again.

It would be so easy to say I've got my own problems and leave the rest of the world to solve theirs. But I won't.
I can fight. By virtue, I must. And I will.
Please just be worth it.
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Deep Side of the Down Low

Nov. 4th, 2016 | 05:21 pm
location: Raleigh, NC
mood: So Goddamn Tired
music: Meat Puppets - Station

Things are good, I'm just stupidly tired. Two weeks ago, I was at a convention. Last week, I was chauffeuring my girlfriend to the hospital for a medical procedure. Today, I've had a very productive day atop a very productive week, but holy hell, am I tired.

Things are good.
Relationship is improving. Long way to go, but improving.
I got some finances stuff straightened out, so hopefully moving forward, I'll be able to have a little bit of fiscal breathing room.
I saw a chiropractor fix a sprained heal and it was nothing short of magical.
There's some political drama at my kung fu school, but it's the result of some masters from outside our style promoting somebody in our style. There's going to be some fallout over it, I'm sure, but holy hell do I hope it ends in a fist fight. I always wanted to see the Matrix in real life.

I turn 36 next week. It's kinda cool, to be honest. My thirties - a few nightmarish hiccups not withstanding - have a hell of a lot better than my twenties.
Considering it all could have ended almost exactly thirty years ago, I'd say I'm doing pretty good.

Be good to yourself. :)
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Now Face West

Oct. 14th, 2016 | 04:43 pm
location: Raleigh, NC
mood: Tired
music: Avengers Theme Remix

This week was awful, then last night there was a big spin, so now things seem...not good. Optimistic? Hopeful? I dunno. Not bad is a good place to be comparatively, though, I can tell you that.

I'm beyond stressed, I can tell you that.

I have a convention next week that I'm laughably unprepared for. MAGFest is looming and, like this coming con, I'm not prepared for that either. Bills mount and family troubles linger.

I find solace in my art, but I'm distracting myself with work that isn't professional viable or really even marketable. it's good for the soul but it won't do anything for my portfolio and that needs to be my focus right now. I have two books in development and my audience grows. I need to have more manuscripts ready. Yet I find myself lulled away with the siren call of vanity works. And thus far, I've had little success trying to make time for both, or split my efforts.

I'm not really that bad, the week prior not withstanding. I'm just tired and my enthusiasm wanes. But that candle still burns, which is more than I can say for some days.
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Underhanded Honesty

Oct. 7th, 2016 | 05:48 pm
location: Raleigh, NC
mood: Good
music: Fitz and the Tantrums - HandClap

Things are going well-ish. Well, they're improving. They'd have to get better to be going well. But a step in the right direction is still going in the right direction.

Working with an editor on a novel, I've been told we need to completely tear the steel out of it and start over. Okay, I'm game. But this story has been floating around in my head for two decades. It's hard to re-imagine it so thoroughly. But he's right, that it is incredibly dated. I'm not sure that much needs to change, just be re-written. We'll see.

I'm behind preparing for the convention in a few weeks. We'll see how I do this Sunday morning. If it's especially productive, then I may be fine. We'll see.

We'll see. That's a lot of this, these days. I'm not sure how much I like this constant westward eye, but it's nice to be looking forward to things.

Inexplicably, this spring is looking to be a big time.
I've set a bunch of goals for my drawing, which will start to come to fruition then. My training will be officially recovered, with a modest mixture of gymnastics work and 40kg kettlebell work. Maybe I'll have my blue belt by then.

So we'll see.
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Proguessing

Sep. 30th, 2016 | 05:44 pm
location: Raleigh, NC
music: Metallica - Small Hours (Holocaust cover)

Rehab on my hips and back is over. I've completed the four-week program after a week off in the wake of my ligament/muscle pull. Starting Monday, I begin the very slowly climb back up to full strength. How slow? I don't expect to return to true, full intensity and form until the end of February. Why so long?

Principally because I want to be damn sure I heal this thing. Right now, my hip is mostly fine except at extreme ranges of motion and/or movement. I had to jog across the street getting to work today and it reminded me it is NOT 100%.
The other reason is to dial in on some training details. It's real easy to say 'that's adequate' in the wake of choosing between higher intensity or remaining where you are, especially if you've set a schedule for yourself. Also, you learn things at higher weight that necessitate downgrading considerably to remedy or better implement. So I'm deliberately drawing out this process to refine my technique. And, you know, make sure my hip injury becomes a past-tense thing and not 'my bad hip'.

I'm taking part in Inktober...for some reason. It's basically NaNoWriMo, but for drawing. You draw a complete drawing every day for 31 days. I have low expectations for myself. I'm mostly wanting to complete the process. Studying anatomy pretty much exclusively does not make for impressive art. :P

I'm getting a lot of mixed messages from my kung fu school about my blue belt (the test where I was injured). The head master, who will be in town to proctor a black belt test (and who is a card-carrying sadist), wants me to test with him at the black belt test. The head instructor wants to just slap the belt on me after some intense sparring because even on a busted hip, I completed the test (sans sparring and rolling). And since I've proven time and again I can fight like a rabid wolverine, most everybody treats the promotion as a formality. Which is flattering, but also a little anti-climactic. I don't want to be 'handed' anything.
That said, of these two options, I can't decide which one I would prefer.

Things at home continue to be unsatisfying. Beth's prognosis has not improved because no test has come back positive, leading her chronic pain and debilitating gastrointestinal problems to be even more of a mystery. Her GP (understandably) didn't want to make a referral until she had some indication of what the problem could be. At this point, though, she's about exhausted all the options for tests and has finally referred Beth.
Our relationship still sucks, though. We're talking about it a bit more, a bit better, but we're mostly just acknowledging how staggeringly unhappy, unfulfilled, and disappointed I am. I've tried to be very subtle and very tactful in warning Beth that I may leave. I can't abide abandoning someone in need, especially if it's only partially their fault. But I also can't stand the idea of spending the rest of my life as a nurse and a maid to someone who seems constitutionally incapable of reciprocating in any meaningful way.

Two books are in development, which has amazed and delighted me. I was writing my publisher off and things started moving again. One may possibly see release before the end of the year.

Estoy Aprendiendo Espanol.

I contested NC State's charges against me. If they rule in my favor, I won't have to pay for my 2000-2001 tuition for a second time. If they decide the charges stand, they get my tuition all over again, plus interest. Worse, before I contested, I was passed the 7-year statute of limitations they had for sending the bill to collections, leaving their only option with garnishing my state income tax. Having contested it, that 7-year clock starts all over again so if they do rule against me and I refuse to pay (again), they can send the charge to collections this time. As if student loan debt and credit card debt wasn't enough.

The nervous system functions almost identically to the circulatory system. The afferent nerves communicate sensory information back to the CNS (akin to the veins bringing de-oxygenated blood back to the heart and lungs) and the efferent nerves transmit muscle commands (a la the arteries taking oxygenated blood to the tissues). There are even parallels between lymph nodes and the ganglia.
For some reason, this realization, the commonalities between the nervous system and the lympho-cardiovascular system, really depresses me.

I'm about half to two-thirds of the way through a book that will never get released. It's purely for my own enjoyment. I may publish it online under a pseudonym. But it frustrates me that I'm so thoroughly enjoying work that has no professional benefit. And I've got professional work waiting, and actually kind of pressing to get done.

The more I see, the more I lear, the more I know, the more powerless I feel.

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More than just a Dream

Sep. 23rd, 2016 | 05:23 pm
location: Raleigh, NC
music: Fitz and the Tantrums - More than just a dream

Sometimes, I wish I was more ignorant.
I loved anime a lot more before I knew so much about animation history, animation production, world history, Japanese history, etc. I remember watching something on Toonami years ago and being unable to enjoy it, because all I heard were people I knew and had met at conventions. I stopped seeing characters and saw the movement lines of the initial animators and the character expression and posture tests.
I can't read books anymore because I study the sentence structure and the foreshadowing of events. I critique art as I experience it.

Learning Japanese, I've come to realize how vapid the lyrics are for almost every song I ever heard in the language. Learning Spanish, I can't tune to Spanish channels because I realize how awful they are, how surprisingly racist their own ads are, how shockingly religious corrdio are.

I'm relearning all the bones and all the muscles in the body, along with the vascular, lymphvascular, and nervous system. I'm relearning all the pressure points too. Why? Because I'm so numbingly bored.
But the more I learn - and I'm learning at a patient yet surprisingly voracious rate - the more I alienate myself from the world. So many friends want to travel, and I don't because I've done so much of it, all I see is the exact same people doing the exact same things in different places. Atlanta was Hong Kong was London was Louisville.

I contemplate going back to some of the games I got addicted to, just to have something fixate on.

The opposite of happiness is not sadness, it's boredom. It's apathy. It was a stunning realization when the psychological community embraced that reality. It was a paradigm-challenging game-changer when the source of addiction wasn't depression but a lack of stimulation.

I'm bored. I'm unstimulated.
And I'm medicating myself with facts, with data.
And I feel like it's making me worse.

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Lawd Hammercy

Sep. 16th, 2016 | 05:36 pm
location: Raleigh, NC

All the ads on my computers, especially social media, are either for things that I already bought (gymnastic programs or kettlebells) or for Donald Trump.
I'm about as opposed to Trump as is imaginable. What algorithm are they running that makes them think I want anything to do with these ads, or that I'm receptive at all to viewing them?

***

My therapist advises me to 'get out'. She thinks I need to get out and do new things, meet new people, until I find something that gets me excited. This came after I conveyed to her that I hadn't really felt excited in years (I literally can't remember when I was last excited beyond 'hey, they've got Mountain Dew in glasses bottles' levels of excitement). The inverse is also true. I did some really, really dangerous stuff not too long ago and felt no course of adrenaline. I jumped off a cliff into rapids and did so about as casually as one might hop off a loading dock on the pavement below.

My therapist advises I do this before I worry about 'fixing' anything else in my life (re: relationship) because I might replace loneliness with being alone and that's a no-win scenario if there ever was one.

Problem is, I don't know what to do to find places to do things. I'm $35k in debt, with a third of my income going towards paying it down (and a glacial rate), and I'm seriously injured in two major joints. None of that sounds like the point with which to start a new social life.
I can't even think of anything to do. Go to a museum? Maybe pick up a sport? I have an eleven-hour day! Most of Sunday is taken up with kung fu (10am to 3:30pm, though they're talking about starting at 9am, so of course I'm considering it), writing, and whatever chores I don't get to during the week. Saturday I teach kung fu until noon. You know how stressful it is trying to do all your living on Saturday afternoon? And I get to fit a social project in there too?

***

That was a recurring theme in therapy of late: I'm so tired of having to do everything myself. From helping family with emotional problems to cleaning the bathroom, it's either I do it or it doesn't get done.
And as I write this, I have the strangest sense of deja vu.
I think I've written sentences like this before.
I'd check but I'm both scared to. Both to reveal I've been complaining about this for fifteen years and to have to read my old LiveJournal entries. That's a level of emo I don't need. I'm not ashamed of who I was, but I damn well am ashamed of some of what I wrote when I was that person. Any artist would be. :P
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