Don’t Touch Anything!

*This is a placeholder. This is only a placeholder. If this were an actual post, you would see information, and opinion, and somebody being WRONG on the INTERNET! Possibly. *sigh* Look, I’d intended to be up much earlier, but for a confluence of reasons, I’m running short on sleep (by a bunch, and spread over a couple of weeks, really) and I’ve just barely started my coffee, and the Creature aka Wee Dave aka the Delight of My Eyes *clenched teeth* is – well, he’s more than stirring: he’s sitting up in bed and sucking his thumb at the world in general. And though Mrs. Dave does have more time today than she would otherwise, it starts earlier than usual. Until I have an opportunity to get to the office, throw up (like Chunk) some ideas you’d like to know more about, perhaps from someone a bit less practiced than the more senior Mad Genii.*

Ok, himself is fed, changed, bathed, soothed, and put down (for a nap. I’m told it’s important to remember to include that point). This one – now that I can finally get to it with something resembling a clear conscience – is going to look a lot like a State of the Writer post (Insanity? Confusion? Frustration? Could be, dear readers, could be), but I hope it’ll segue into something actually worth reading informative, and – perhaps, perhaps – enlightening. Unless you’re a dwarf, and then I hope it’ll be endarkening. Note the line-out in the previous sentence. I’m going to come back to that.

Wee Dave turned one this past week. I’m told this is something of a milestone, and not an altogether arbitrary one. Mrs. Dave and I kept him alive for a year, without losing our minds (much: see the above paragraph for implication/foreshadowing) or running screaming from what passes for life in this fallen world. It was close a few times, though. He’s (mostly) a delight. Most of the time. Especially when he’s asleep and quiet. I like those times a lot.

All right. The Raspberry Pi Traveling Writing Rig is proceeding apace. I have the Dremel drill press almost set up to put the finishing touches on the case for it all, and need to put together something to carry Das Keyboard in the manner in which it would like to become accustomed. And in which I would like to be so. I’m planning something in leather, so I’ll need to put together a stitching horse before that can become realized. I was going to do that, anyway, as I’ve got plans for making some moccasin-style boots that I’m itching to make a reality.

I’ve learned over the last couple of years that my joints are not quite as elastic as they used to be. I’m doing something about it (several somethings), and one of those things is changing my footwear. Every positive inch of heel adds something like twelve degrees of lean (if you were to maintain proper joint alignment) which requires an unpleasant amount of shifting in order to compensate for. This will entail shortening of muscles as full range of motion is lost, as well as extra stress on ALL THE JOINTS. Which results in pain. A pain I could really do without. So I’m looking at shoes that don’t have enormous soles. My New Rocks languish in the closet. They’re pretty sure I don’t love them anymore. Which isn’t true: I just don’t love them enough to put up with knee pain.

Unfortunately, nobody makes what I’m after. No, I tell a lie: nobody makes what I’m after for less than about four hundred. Which I’m just not willing- I tell another lie. I’d love to pay someone to make me the shoes. I just can’t afford that. I can afford to get enough leather to make myself a pair, and to make a pair for Mrs. Dave. Upside is I can actually do the work myself. I just need to put together a stitching horse. And buy a bull hide. And some nice conchos. It’ll still be spendy, but not as spendy as just buying a pair. Plus I get to further develop good skills. Can’t have too many of those.

Unfortunately, all of this work (and the activity board for the Boy-Creature. Need to do that soonest) is going to take time, and time I don’t really have to waste. I already don’t get much writing time (though there’s a plan. It involves money, and a lady trusted by people we trust, and maybe a couple of mornings a week during which time I don’t have to be on the Active Daddy Clock (Heaven!!)) and what I do get is in fits and spurts. It’s maddening, especially when my brain moves faster than my fingers. Which is always, again, frustrating.

One of the things about being anything is the investment of identity in the activity. “I’m a plumber.” “I’m an engineer.” “I’m a writer.” A writer who don’t write ain’t a writer, not to put too fine a point on it. And a writer who doesn’t write often enough becomes a rusty writer. This feeds into Imposter Syndrome (For me, and for most other creators I know. I’ve heard tales of one creative person who doesn’t deal with that voice, but I’m not sure I quite believe them.)

Imposter Syndrome is when that SOB voice in the back of my head starts in on the “if you were a *real* writer – a genuine author – you’d have finished/submitted/published more stuff. Y’know, like Peter/Jason/Cedar/Sarah/Amanda/Pam/Dave/Larry.” So I answer it, “not like John?” And it responds, “ok, now you know you’re really nuts. John’s a freak of nature.” So at least there’s that. On the other hand (you have fingers) there’s learning to let enough be enough. I finished a few chapters across a couple of different projects, I wrote a short story and plotted another, and I’m getting a mess of other shorts ready for publishing. And I have a one-year-old son, for whom I’m the primary caregiver.

Oh, sure, I can make excuses. That one-year-old is usually a pretty acceptable excuse, at least in the set of people who are also parents. It’s harder to convince myself that it actually excuses my relative lack of productivity. (This despite Sarah’s, Cedar’s, and everyone else’s insistence that it does. Look, I’m pretty bright and reasonably savvy, but I’m also an American male, and we’re raised to believe we don’t have limits that we can’t overcome simply with an effort of will. Which will become another post, now I think on it.) This has been my struggle in the past few months, ever since the words started flowing again.

Kris Rusch had a great post recently (like many (most? All?) of her posts), but one piece stuck out to me. In it, she quotes one of the Random Penguin people to the effect of, “if you want to be a solo artist, you’re probably not going to be happy.” Now the context was about working in the happy fam-damnily at whichever part of the Random Penguin empire the publisher-critter works. Kris suggested, not impolitely, I thought, that authors are usually solo artists, and that looking at them otherwise is, perhaps, not entirely keeping with reality. The vast majority of the work we do as writers is inside our own skulls.

Now on the upside, I can do a lot of the preliminary work around whatever else is happening. On the downside, that means I spend most of my time there, and if I’ve learned anything from reading Sir Pterry, it’s that you need to bounce around the rest of humanity to actually be one of ‘em, and as uncomfortable as that may well be, it’s important. To my writing, if nothing else. (And there is else.)

So how’s the writer doing? The writer is doing. He’s working on the bits and pieces, and endeavoring to learn which stuff is the small-stuff-not-worth-sweating. I’m suspicious that it may turn out to be “most of the stuff.”

Oh, speaking getting in touch with the rest of humanity, I’ll be appearing at LibertyCon this year. I’ll even be on some panels. I’ve got an Author Alley slot sometime, too. It’s all at LibertyCon.

40 thoughts on “Don’t Touch Anything!

  1. We shall await your next utterance (well, the ones we can read. I’m sure your next utterance was more about changing diapers, or feeding Wee Dave, or what have you.) 🙂

  2. Quit whining, and give us our free entertainment.
    (Bangs sippy cup on highchair)

    Obviously, I’m kidding. But with the entitlement mentality that’s become popular, I feel the need to state this explicitly.

  3. Wai— whah? A writer with a life? But that’s not what James Patterson, or all those books about writers says happens! You write book, people throw money at you, you manage to eek enough out to buy a little shed on 300 a of prime real estate, and you live quietly ever after (and have a closet full of tweed jackets with suede elbow patches.) There’s nothing in the manual about families, or Diapers-from-H*ll, or gutters that fail in the middle of a downpour, or . . . 😉

  4. Eh, it doesn’t have to be about writing or publishing. You can vent, brag whatever about parenthood. I’ll just sit back and laugh bitterly, because I’m still losing sleep over my adult children (more surgery, this time on my son …)

  5. Couldn’t comment anyway. Tablet good for reading,bad for writing.
    Tiger Direct, please GI!Mme my laptops hurriedly!

    1. Pat, I use an inexpensive bluetooth keyboard with my tablet which works nicely for writing a little bit (anything over 1000 words I need the full-size keyboard.)

  6. Ha! Call a baby an excuse? Why, when my kids were young I wrote . . . err . . . reams of dreck? The stuff you need to write to learn how and later burn? Frankly, I wasn’t writing coherent stories until my youngest was in second grade. And some people might argue with that, should I ever be so foolish as to ever let anyone see any of it.

    Of course, I was also so not-connected that I couldn’t have written anything about the writing/publishing industrial complex even if doing so had occurred to me.

  7. Somebody help me. I need a title. I *SUCK* at titles. I’m working on a short that I hope to have finished in the next few days. The story is about a time/space traveling alien spirit who has the ability to inhabit the bodies of other beings and experience what they are experiencing as an observer. The alien considers himself to be a military historian and studies American military history in particular. The story takes place as the alien observes the D-Day invasion through the PoV of an American private on Utah Beach. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Obligatory Star Wars Reference: “A Certain Point of View”

      “A View from the Beach” (lot of variations like “One View from the Beach”, etc.)
      “With the Screaming Eagles” if the private is in the 101st?
      “On A Distant Shore”
      “A Private Story”

      I don’t know about the tenor of the writing, but if it’s written as a report by the alien to other aliens you could do an “Or” Title, such as “A Private Story or Observations on The D-Day Landing at Utah Beach as Seen through the Eyes of an American Soldier”

      1. I don’t think I can quite use this, but I got a good chuckle out of it.

  8. You need to multitask. Give Wee Dave a keyboard to bang on. He’s old enough to start earning his keep blogging, and we *expect* incoherence here 😀

    1. I have. He won’t be happy until it makes things happen on a screen, and that I’m not really set up to arrange, quite yet.

  9. I’d cheerfully offer to babysit, if we lived a few continents closer.

    Went to mates gathering today and one of the guys in the unit has an imp of a three year old who would dart to the door of the restaurant’s room, and dance just inside the doorway. Fortunately it was big and he didn’t get tripped on, but any time a new group of diners came in he’d dart for the safety of Mummy and Daddy.

    1. I’m looking forward to seeing how himself develops along those lines. And I’d cheerfully take you up on the offer to babysit.

        1. Shortly after we built a computer for Rhys, we let Vincent build a fortress out of the boxes in a corner of one of the bigger rooms. I think it did a pretty good job of keeping all my males entertained for a while – the grownups and the little boy would build it, knock it down, build a new one, rinse repeat.

          1. I like that idea. Right, himself just isn’t quite to the point where such a thing would occupy him for longer than about five seconds. I look forward to the days of box castles and blanket forts, however. A lot.

          2. When oi was about eight, a box for… something that was large enough for me to sit in the box lasted for one day’s play as a Viper cockpit. I did take the time to illustrate a targeting scanner and the engine buttons and some other details…

  10. Just wait until he’s three.
    Everyone warns you about two, when they’re fully mobile, but have absolutely no survival instinct. And, yeah, he’ll give you ulcers.
    But three is much worse.

    On the bright side, ages four through eight are amazing amounts of fun. And you’ll get there faster than you’d ever believe possible.

    1. Sib has started calling Little Bit “the Threenager.” Given Sib’s day job, if anyone is in a position to make the comparison, Sib is.

  11. If misery loves company Miss Eight Whole Months (where did the time go?) has a cold, which her siblings shared with her. On top of that, she’s working on teeth. Mean, nasty, painful little baby teeth. I think I may have gotten as much as two consecutive hours of sleep in the last week. (This is a particularly ugly cold: one of those where the kids cough so hard they vomit.)
    I do promise you the first is the hardest: when you get the second the first already has you trained.
    On the bright side, sleep deprivation is like alcohol, the filters go down and stuff comes out. On the down side, it’s not anything anyone wants to rad, including me.

      1. Yeah. The Boy-creature was a bit miserable last night, and the Drülwerks seem to have increased a couple of ticks recently. I suspect he may be working on the chomper-total. He’s already got six cut.

  12. I (sort of) sympathize on the “lack of time to write.’ I’m in a Nursing Home, because I’m no longer in a position to do many things on my own. Changing my “brief” means waiting for someone to get free, to do it. (That means, sometimes, 30-45 minute waits.) I actually about _2_ hours/day that I can spend writing. At The Moment, I’m finishing the corrections to the third of three cookbooks for single/handicapped. When I’m done with #3, they go back to make sure no _new_ errors. 🙂 Then, it’s final formatting and publication. After that, it’s put together _10_ Smaller Kindle books of each recipe category. (Only way to do Kindle versions of 3 100 page cookbooks. Sigh. Then, I can work on the next book of fiction (again).

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