Saturday Update

Well, the first hockey game of the season went worse than I thought it would.  I was up at 5:30 AM and made it to the game on time.  However, the other team didn’t have a goalie, which always makes for a less that fun time.  Oh well.  I felt pretty good skating at first, but gradually felt horrible as the game wore on (I’ll spare you the details).  Hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow night.

On a positive note, Absolute Vanilla… (& Atyllah) has tagged me for the “5 Writing Strenghts Meme” that has been going around.  Look for that here sometime Monday.  It’s gonna be real hard for me to think of five writing strengths for myself, but I will try.

Hockey Post – Getting Old is Fun?

Some of you new readers might not know this, but I play in an adult ice hockey league. Our season starts tomorrow. Our games are sixty minutes long, with not time between “periods”. We get the crappy ice times like 6:30 AM Saturday mornings and 9:45 PM Sunday nights. We have no practices and no “off-season training”. We have players as young as 18 years old in the league (think super fast skaters) and others that are more mature (think slower). Sometimes, for really early games we get as little as seven skaters show up for a game (meaning I have to play for nearly 60 straight minutes). Still, I love it.

The difficult part is that I haven’t played hockey or done much physical activity since our last game, which was in early April. Sure I played softball this summer, but playing softball compared to playing ice hockey is like writing a 25 word flash fiction piece compared to writing an 800 page novel. Sure both are writing, but one is just a tiny bit harder.

Anyhow, if you are awake at 6:30 tomorrow morning, think about you poor old friend the StrugglingWriter. I’m sure it won’t be a pretty sight. Not only do I have a game Saturday morning, but I also have a game Sunday night. I figure I’m going to be very sore Tuesday as I have found with getting older you are never sore the day after. The day after physical exertion you think to yourself, “That wasn’t so bad.” Two days after physical exertion you feel as though your body is rejecting itself.

I made this graphical representation of myself last year to illustrate how I feel before a game compared to after a game. I think it’s still relevant today.

I leave you with a quote from the coach in the movie Teen Wolf:

“There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body. Now you stick to that, and everything else is cream cheese.”

Audio from Neil Gaiman/Susanna Clarke at Bloomsbury Theatre

There’s a wonderful podcast up at The Guardian from Neil Gaiman and Susanna Clarke’s talk at Bloomsbury Theatre the other day.  I’ve downloaded it and have listened to half of it already, but I wanted to share with all of you.  In the talk, Susanna Clarke reads from her short story collection The Ladies of Grace Adieu and has a discussion with Neil Gaiman about writing short stories.  There is some really great information there that I thought all of you writers and Gaiman and Clarke fans would enjoy.

A Major Award!

fres-floydcraigbrian.jpgDiane gave me an award yesterday because in her words I have “been very supportive of my work and needs some of my ‘exuberant energy’ to cope with his very cute daughter! He still manages to produce a funny, highly readable and instructive blog!”. Such kind words that I really appreciate. If you get a chance check out her blog. She posts many excellent pictures of her amazing bookbinding projects.

Actually, I suggest you check out the blogs of all the people who comment here often, you all do such a great job. I’m basically here trying to share a little of the information I have without sounding too tongue tied. It’s amazing people keep coming back. You all really do keep me writing. Thanks!

I just saw a link on the NaNoWriMo blog today to an blog on which the author is writing a novel based on based on a plot/character poll he posted up on his blog. He was having trouble deciding what his novel should be about, so he asked his readers. Such a good idea (I’m jealous). His blog is called Plotastic. Since he has had so much help writing the novel, rather than keep the profits if it gets sold he’s going to donate them to charity! Amazing.

Look Friday for a post about my upcoming Adult ice hockey league season in which I discuss my game early Saturday morning and how out of shape I am.


Elmo’s Advice of the Day

Monday night we went to the Library to return some books and of course pick a few more up. One of the books, well CDs,cinderelmo.jpg we picked up was CinderElmo, which is a play on the classic Cinderella, with Elmo playing the (male) Cinderella part. It’s a pretty cute story. Actually we picked up the CinderElmo Soundtrack CD, which is more of a “book on cd” rather than a straight music soundtrack.

Anyhow, the theme to this movie has some relevance to those of us who dream to be writers, or those of us who dream at all. There’s a line in the movie that is said by Elmo’s Fairy Godperson and repeated throughout the movie that says:

“If you have a dream, do the thing that makes the dream come true”

This really is good advice. If you dream of writing a novel, go out and write a novel. If you have already written something and dream of being published, go out and submit it somewhere, because it’s not going to submit itself. If you want to be a writer, write!

That settles it for me, I’m definitely doing NaNoWriMo this year. Sure I have not chance of finishing, and I am a little crazy to even try, but a guy’s gotta dream, right?

Was that a Bird or Gunshots?

I hope you all had a nice weekend. Mine was good, but busy. We had another birthday party to attend and this one was a 3 1/2 hour drive so that was our Saturday. It was fun and I got to see a lot of my family, but it was also hot outside, something for which we weren’t prepared.

Sunday, our daughter woke us at 5:00 AM, which she has been doing lately. So, Sunday afternoon we all took a nap when our daughter did. It seemed like it was going to be a lazy afternoon in the house until I got the idea to go for a walk in the woods near one of the parks near our house.

All three of us had a wonderful time on our walk. The leaves are just beginning to change colors, so you will see trees with
just a touch of red leaves on the top. So beautiful. On our walk I saw a Blue Jay, which was pretty cool.

(Picture via wikipedia)

I think that’s the first one I spied this year. We have a couple cardinals in our neighborhood, but no Blue Jays.My daughter picked a couple wild daisies and held them in her little hand our entire walk and was still holding them when we got home. It was funny because at one point we told her we were going home and she just turned around and ran in the other direction laughing. I guess she doesn’t need us anymore, sniff.

The only thing that marred the peacefulness of our walk was the frequent shotgun shots we heard in the distance (still loud, though). Someone was obviously practicing for hunting season. Not a big deal, but it did kill the quiet calm a little.

Oh, and speaking of my daughter. She has been trying out string sentences together, even without prompting. She has been saying “Dadda’s car”,”Momma’s car”,”Dadda’s hair”, and “Momma’s hair” with some frequency lately.

Finally, I did no writing over the weekend. I simply had no time. However, I was notified of a Halloween Challenge on the Ficlets site I think I’ll try out. I’ve also begun to think about NaNoWriMo and some strategies for this year. I’m excited. It was announced in an email that Neil Gaiman is going to be one of the “Celebrity Pep Talkers” for this year’s NaNoWriMo.

Make Your Own Witch Kitchen Jars

It’s Monday and I haven’t really begun to formulate any ideas yet, so I thought I’d share with you all something cool I saw on Boing Boing this morning. It’s a little early for Halloween (as if that is possible), but if I don’t share now I’ll probably forget. Anyhow, here is a site that describes how to make Witch Kitchen Jars, you know stuff like “Hob Goblin Brains”, “Dragon Embryos” and “Bat Blood”. This “Nightmare Larvae” one looked particularly cool:

In addition to pictures, the site also gives some pointers on how to make the jars, print and age the labels, and even to add the little touches such as the twine on the bottles. I’m always interested in all things Halloween, so this site gave me a little smile on a Monday morning.


Actually, I like the whole site except for the “North American Garden Gnome Heads”. That’s just wrong 🙂


I had to go to work today, but it was a special day.  Today we had a retreat.  This means that rather than going into the office, we got to go a lodge in the middle of the country.  This particular lodge is located at a camp that is quite famous in the X-Games (skateboarding, BMX, etc.) and has been a training grounds for several X-Games winners and Olympic gymnasts.

Anyhow, the first part of the day consisted of various team building and personal development exercises, but it all seemed nicer in the lodge.  In the afternoon, we got to do some fun activities including gas powered go-carts.  Overall it was a nice day.

Thanks to all who have commented here the past few days. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to visit many of your sites today.

Some Fairy Tale Links

I just thought I’d share a couple links I found the other day regarding Fairy Tales. The first is a very extensive article from Endicott Studio titled Fairies in Legend, Lore, and Literature which asks and answers the question “Where do fairies come from?”. There’s some really good stuff there.

Next, I found a link to the “proppian fairy tale generator” via the blog Scribblings of a Maniac Writer. The site is really cool. You select some options, click a button, and it generates a Fairy Tale. I generated the following “story”:

“Sugar and spice,” the old woman beckoned as she held out palms filled with cinnamon falling between her fingers like sand. As she sprinkled it across the floor my head swum up in a dizzy spell of hunger. I could no longer control my feet moving towards the cheap gimmicks of an old woman.

As I approached the top of the mountain a white spectacle blinded me for an instant. When I blinked again I saw a white dragon shifting over the mountain like a layer of foam riding ocean waves. I could tell by its movement that it was a territorial creature; I could tell that it would fight me before allowing me to press further.

When he placed his hand upon me he let out a great cry and then vanished into the earth.

Waves of comfort and relief washed over my tired limbs as my father and mother embraced and kissed me. The familiar sights of my home and scents of my family soothed me so much that I nearly forgot the heavy pack I had carried for hours on my back, a sack filled with treasures I had collected throughout my journey to bring back to my family.

It doesn’t really make any sense, but it’s still pretty cool. I guess you could just select one option and generate some story ideas there. Enjoy!