American Gods Novel

Mike wrote this in the comments of one of my posts:

“I love Shadow but I loved his wife and the crazy God that one the bet to kill Shadow. Those two cracked me up. I can’t remember another book that I loved all the secondary characters as much as this book.”

Well, now I have the novel in my head again. What a great book. Anyhow, several of you have mentioned you also read American Gods, so I thought I would share some information with you. I was cruising around on Neil Gaiman’s site the other day and found a link to a website that describes most of the gods from the novel. This helps to explain a lot in the book.

Also, did you know that Gaiman also wrote about the character Shadow in his latest collection of stories Fragile Things? The story is called The Monarch of the Glen. Has anyone read that yet?

Temptation

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I recently sold my beloved 1973 Volkswagen Beetle, much to the delight of my parents who had been host to the poor little car for the past several years. Even though my Beetle had no heater, had wonky door handles, and absolutely no safety features, I still loved the little guy. I simply didn’t have the money or know-how to get the car fixed up and running properly.

Fast forward to this week, in which as I was driving home from work I noticed an older model VW Beetle (baby blue color) sitting sadly alongside the road with a “For Sale” sign posted on its windshield and passenger side window. Also written on the window was the price $1,500. I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about pulling over and giving the Bug a once over, just to see what condition it was in. If I happened to remember the phone number, so be it.

Every day as I’m driving home from work I pass this car, and fight the urge to check it out. My rational brain is telling me to just look away, but my heart tells me to give it a shot.

Am I crazy? Yeah a little bit. Am I going to buy the car? No, because there would be a long line of people waiting to kill me if I did, starting with my parents. Plus, even though I may have $1500 available in savings, I can’t really afford to take on a project car let alone another car on the car insurance. It would be cool, though.

How about all of you?  Is there anything out there that you know would be a dumb purchase, but you can’t help but consider it?

Birthday

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As I sit typing this, there’s a black arrow pointing at my head that says “Under This Arrow is Over the Hill”. I’m not talking metaphorically, there really is an arrow fastened to the ceiling. I will explain later.

Yep, I’m another year older today. Yay! Much better than the alternative. Anyhow, the only reason I mention this is because it’s a “milestone” birthday. So, how old am I? 70, 80, 90? Or, judging by my sense of humor, you are probably guessing lower, 10, 16? No, today I turn a whopping 30 years old.

You may be wondering how I feel now that I’m officially at an age where college students shake their heads at you wondering why the old man is at the bar rather than at home watching Matlock re-runs while telling those kids to get off his dam lawn. A lot of people have told me how rough it was to turn 30, and how depressed they got. Honestly, it feels the same as any other day. I guess with the baby and everything I really don’t have time to sit around and think about things and get depressed. Age is just a number after all, and I think what really matters is how you feel, and I still feel pretty good. Have I accomplished everything I thought I would by age 30? I don’t know, I really don’t think that far ahead.

Today at work they have a ton of pictures of me up from throughout my life. My wife and my parents were involved, those sneaky people. That was the only part I was a little nervous about. There are some pretty funny pictures up (several of my Halloween costumes, my semi-mullet), some embarrassing ones (9th grade dance anyone?), and some I would like to keep (my late Grandmother and I from a long time ago). They also put up the black arrow and about ten thousand little “30s” all over my desk. My mouse was even taped to the desk!

Well, I hope you all have a nice day. It you hear any creaking or snapping, don’t worry, that’s just my old man joints grinding into oblivion.

The Day After

Sorry I missed you all yesterday. I was busy celebrating Memorial Day with my family. We went to a State Park about 15 miles from where we live and had an excellent time. The highlight of the day was definitely when we took my daughter into the water (man-made lake). She had so much fun splashing and just walking with her feet in the soft sand. I don’t think any of us stopped smiling the entire time.

Also on the baby front: my daughter has been sleeping through the night the past few nights. The first night she did it we checked in her to make sure she was breathing. We think she is sleeping better because she no longer eats at night. Very exciting news for me.

I just finished American Gods, which was a great book to the very end. I may go back and read Anansi Boys again, because I think American Gods gives me some context that I was lacking the first time I read Anansi Boys. I think one of the main reasons I enjoyed American Gods so much was the character Shadow. Gaiman really did make me like the character and care about what happened to him.

New Discoveries

I just realized I haven’t posted any pictures of my daughter from her birthday, so I will do that. But first a story.

I was mowing the lawn last night and my wife and daughter came out to visit me. My wife wanted to take over the mowing, and my daughter probably did too. Well, as they are walking towards me the little one was pointing and waving her hands excitedly. What a greeting! As they got closer, I could hear my daughter was making a noise that sounded like “brrr”. At first I thought it was just one of the random noises she does, but after I thought about it I realized she was trying to sound like the lawn mower! How cute is that? It is truly amazing how observant she is.

Anyhow, here is a picture from her birthday. She is sitting inside a “house” she got as a present. Dadda was nice enough to put it together for her without too much difficulty.

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Having Written

Just a quick little thought about writing for this Thursday morning.  Writing for me is like jogging – I don’t necessarily like jogging, but love the feeling of having jogged.  Same thing with writing.

Anyhow, I will post more later.  Just wanted to share.  Thanks to everyone for the advice on my previous post.

My Struggles With Novel Writing

As I have mentioned before, I am currently working on a novel and I have to admit I am struggling mightily. My main problem, I believe, is pacing. I am so used to writing these 300-600 word stories (which I seem to be good at) that I’m having a really hard time trying to get the novel going.

I would not say I have any type of “writer’s block”. I have roughly 2000 words done, and these are good words, stuff I will be able to use. I’m just having such a hard time putting everything together. I’m also having a difficult time translating my normal style (funny) to a longer form. It’s not that I’m trying to force myself to be funny in my writing, but it seems to me my stuff works the best when there is some humorous elements.

Anyhow, I have heard a lot of writers say how difficult it is to tell a story in a small amount of words. That, I think I can do, but for the life of my I don’t know if I have it in me to tell an interesting story in 60,000 words without writing a 600 word story and then just repeating the word “umm” 59,600 times followed by “The End”.

I guess on the positive side I did get a little idea this morning and was able to translate that into the novel. I just may have something here. I feel excited about it, at least for now.

P.S. I’ve posted a picture of “Frank” I made in Microsoft Paint a while ago, because I think he’s pretty cute. I created him for a little story I posted here last year. If you want to read it, use the search thingy on the right of this blog and search for the word “Frank”.

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Cory Doctorow on FanFic

Locus Online has posted an interesting editorial by Cory Doctorow in which the author praises FanFic. I have never personally written FanFic, but I do think it’s a pretty cool thing and I hope to someday be popular enough to have some of my works be used in FanFic. Doctorow talks about his early writing days, in which he wrote Star Wars FanFic after seeing the movie for the first time (at age 12).

Here is a quote from the piece:

“Walk the streets of Florence and you’ll find a copy of the David on practically every corner. For centuries, the way to become a Florentine sculptor has been to copy Michelangelo, to learn from the master. Not just the great Florentine sculptors, either — great or terrible, they all start with the master; it can be the start of a lifelong passion, or a mere fling. The copy can be art, or it can be crap — the best way to find out which kind you’ve got inside you is to try.”

Here is another:

“Two things are sure about all fanfic, though: first, that people who write and read fanfic are already avid readers of writers whose work they’re paying homage to; and second, that the people who write and read fanfic derive fantastic satisfaction from their labors. This is great news for writers.

Great because fans who are so bought into your fiction that they’ll make it their own are fans forever, fans who’ll evangelize your work to their friends, fans who’ll seek out your work however you publish it.

Great because fans who use your work therapeutically, to work out their own creative urges, are fans who have a damned good reason to stick with the field, to keep on reading even as our numbers dwindle. Even when the fandom revolves around movies or TV shows, fanfic is itself a literary pursuit, something undertaken in the world of words. The fanfic habit is a literary habit.”

Check out the whole article. It is pretty interesting.

Tuesday Morning Splash

I’m not sure what I want to blog about today because I’m dead tired from my daughter refusing to fall asleep until midnight, so I leave you with a story about my morning.

Each morning as I arrive at work the first thing I do is grab my mug and walk to the break room to wash out the previous day’s tea or coffee.  This is always an interesting experiment, because you never know what will be growing there, especially if it’s Monday and things have been festering for three days.  Why don’t I just rinse it the night before?  Well, I know one of these days the cleaning faeries will stop by my office and I want to make sure they have something to do.

Anyhow, I fill my mug with water and proceed to use the spongy thing to clean the cup.  I mean I’m really scrubbing hard.  A little too hard, I suppose in retrospect, because some of the water splashed up and onto my clothes.   Of course it couldn’t land on my shirt or my shoes.  Oh no, this evil liquid had the forethought to land right on the front of my pants.  Yes, there.  If anyone sees me today, I just want to say beforehand that I am in fact potty trained.  It’s just water.

How is your day going?