The NaNoWriMo cometh

I’ve been writing books for about three years now and I feel ashamed to say that I didn’t know about NaNoWriMo. November is “National Novel Writing Month”; a phenomenon that started about 14 years ago. Yes, it’s relatively new but I feel like I should have known about this. What’s more, I’ve discovered a whole website (where the NaNoWriMo comes from) that encourages and empowers any would-be or ambitious writer to finish a novel in a month by tracking progress via their website.

So here’s the deal: the competition asks that you write at least 50,000 words; a standard for short novels. But you must complete this task within the 30 day period of November. Gulp. If you break it down, that’s about 1,600 words a day. This post alone will be less than 400 words. Double gulp.

That’s a tall order for anybody to commit to. But in the spirit of competition, I’m going for it. And why not? Practice refines one’s skills. And what better way to practice than to put yourself to the test, right? In eight short days, I’ll be doing it.

On the plus side, I’ll have a group of fellow writers helping to keep me accountable. That’s a positive. On the negative end, some of us may lose hope, time, or focus to make it to the finish line. Here’s hoping none of that bad stuff happens. I know there are plenty of nay-sayers who are against writing a novel in a month, but I find this to be intriguing. So again – why not?

As I continue my search for representation, I realize more and more how I need to keep my head in the game. And a huge part of that is having structure; having clear goals; having a sense of completedness. As a writer, it’s easy to fall prey to “when I get around to it.” Anyone else who writes regularly can relate. Heck, anybody with goals can relate. That’s why competitions like NaNoWriMo are extremely helpful to aspiring writers. It provides a forum, a challenge, and a goal. Just what the doctor ordered.

And for the unstructured writer, it’s the perfect storm to stay on course.

Writers vs. Authors – ok, go.

When someone asks me what I do for a living, I usually say, “Do you have a couple minutes to let me explain?” It’s not that I’m a raving narcissist and just want to hear myself talk (sometimes), it’s just that I’ve always tripped up on how to describe my life as a writer/author. It’s not helpful that I’m relatively new to this gig either. After six years of working in insurance, you’d think I’d be an expert at selling myself. But in all honesty, the reverse is true.

Why is that?

I suppose the biggest hang up I have is knowing what follows my answer. “Oh, you’re a writer, are you? Well, what exactly do you write?”

That’s a toughie right there. That question can be as broad or as specific as it can get. For if you present yourself as a writer, then people may assume that you’re actively writing. You could be a technical writer for a large company or you could be a beat writer for a local newspaper. You could also be an aspiring author who is looking to make a career out of telling great stories (that one sounds the most appealing to me…). But if you say you’re an author, then people have the perception that you’re established in the publication world. And when that happens, you have to describe just what it is you’ve spent your time writing about. Be it something totally irrelevant or totally absurd to the ears of a questioning acquaintance.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be engaged in both of these conversations. So I know a little something about how this show plays out. When I say I’m a writer, people ask what it is I choose to write about. So I give the answer that I write all sorts of things – experience-based satire, fiction, fantasy, and other fun stuff like that. Depending on what nerve you hit, the other party may probe a little further. “Satire, eh? What kind of satire?” or “So you’re into fantasy stuff? What types?” And from there, the conversation becomes give and take. You share a bit about why you choose to write about those topics while the other person tells you why that topic interests them so greatly. I find this to be very enjoyable. I learn a little to a lot about the person I’m talking to and in turn, they learn a little bit of something about me. Not a bad outing, I’d say.

But what happens when I say I’m an author? Well, I get some rather mixed reactions….

“An author, huh? How successful are you?”
“So you say you’re an author? How many books have you sold?”
or my favorite….
“You don’t look like an author. Shouldn’t you have a big beard or something?”

I’ve discovered the unfortunate truth (and you should too) that people love to address social status when presented with the opportunity to do so. And why wouldn’t they? The term “author” gives the implication of established credit. That you’ve “made it” somehow in your profession. In order for you to be an author, you must have published something significant. No one goes throwing around the term “author” unless he feels like he’s accomplished something, lest he be labeled a fool for doing so. And thus, these are the reactions one can receive for being so bold.

So what do you say when addressed with such inquiries? Well, to answer each of those above questions in order, here are some of my responses:

“Very.”
“More than I can count.”
and…
“I can’t grow effective facial hair but I’m hoping to do so one day, thank you.”

I’ve made certain to rehearse each of those for each situation. It’s the preparation that makes all the difference, I assure you.

But in all seriousness, I’ve published two books to date and therefore take great pride in saying that I’m an author. On the flipside of that statement, I love to write about just about anything so I’d rather not pigeonhole myself in the guise of a particular genre (which just so happen to be short story satire). I plan on writing fictional short stories and I’m dabbling in some fantasy and mystery ideas too. So if I’m smart about it, and recognize that every person I talk to from here on out is a potential reader, I’ll be sure to mention that I’m a writer, first and foremost. That makes the most sense to me anyway. Perhaps one day when I have several more works in the marketplace and I’ve gotten more specialized, I can start talking about being an author. But until that day comes, I’ll stick to being a writer. The more interest I can gain, the better and I’m convinced that if you’re a good enough writer, then you can write about anything and be good at it.

Even without the hefty beard.

Tornado Warnings, Tornado Watches, Tornado Touch downs, Tornado….

I’m often baffled by weather reports. It’s not that they’re presented in some overly complex or complicated manner, it’s just that I don’t understand what their purpose is sometimes. Specifically, in the case of tornadoes. Why all the hoopla when it comes to tornadoes anyway?

Most anyone can tell when a bad storm is brewing, can’t they? You look into the sky and you visibly see the dark clouds congregating. The air becomes a little colder, the wind blows a little faster, and every animal within a certain radius either scurries into hiding or disappears altogether.

And then there’s us. Human beings. We stare up into the atmosphere, take it all in, and then wonder if it’s really going to storm or not. We look at the person next to us and pretend like we know a thing or two about rain: “Hey, it looks like rain” (and by all accounts, it usually does). And when the rain actually does come, we can reassure ourselves that hey, we’re pretty good at predicting the weather.

That’s the long and short of forecasting storms. Nothing too puzzling about it. But then there’s tornadoes. The brother of the hurricane; sister to the tsunami; and the cousin of the earthquake. You’ve got your extended family like the hailstorm, the blizzard, and the tidalwave, but tornadoes are truly a force which stands alone. Mudslides, flash floods, and volcanic eruptions can be just as few and far between, but nothing grabs the attention of local weathermen (and the casual onlooker) like the tornado.

They’re somewhat alien-like, aren’t they? Like a big tentacle coming out of the sky, just waiting to snatch up us puny Earthlings. It’s all very War-of-the-Worlds type stuff and yet, it’s a common phenomenon that we have to avoid and calculate if we are to stay well clear of the tornado’s wrath.

Which is why we have so many ways to announce their approach. The tornado “warning”, the tornado “watch”, we even have smaller versions of the tornado called “microbursts”, which kind of become tornadoes but aren’t really at all. It’s like we wanted it to be a tornado, but hey, it just didn’t have the whole funnel thing down enough. Move along please.

I’ve often wondered why that is the case. Why we always get in such a tizzy as it pertains to tornadoes. Is it because of the movie Twister? A film which puts Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt as certified “storm chasers” – folks that literally rush after the nearest tornado in hopes of being able to study these anomalies of nature. Think Jaws but without the water and you’ve got a good handle on what Twister tried its hand at accomplishing. Audiences were introduced to Cary Elwes playing a bad guy, “Bob’s road” became a real place, and people were led to believe that tornadoes made sounds like screeching aliens or roaring lions as they tried to “devour” everything in their path. My favorite part in the movie (somewhere near the middle) is when we’re educated on what an F-5 tornado is. For those who aren’t up to speed, the F-5 is a term of measurement on the Fujita scale – a scale which calculates how vicious tornado is by how it destroys or “eats”, as portrayed in the film. And when someone asks what it would be like to witness one, a fellow storm chaser slowly states, “The finger of God”.

Ooo, I just got goosebumps.

Well, Twister isn’t that old of a film and I’m fairly certain that tornadoes have been around longer than Bill Paxton or Helen Hunt, so what’s the deal? I know that many people (myself included) will frequently have dreams where a big tornado, scary and nasty, sucks them up, never to be seen again before waking up in a cold sweat. I, for one, have been chased by bears, wolves, and crazy people with chainsaws in my own dreams (don’t judge) but nothing is quite as terrifying as being sucked into a tornado. Look up what that means in a dream dictionary and it’ll tell you something like this: “you’re in turmoil”, which shouldn’t be much of a shock anyway. But the truth is, there’s a reason why we’d make a big budget film about tornadoes and a reason for why they’d represent tumultuous circumstances in the deep subconscious parts of our minds. And that reason is two-fold: tornadoes present us with an incredible sense of awe and simultaneously, an overwhelmingly unpleasant sense of fear.

In one regard, we are amazed by their power. A single funnel cloud can lift a whole house from the ground and deposit it miles away from where it once stood. And because of its dramatic power, the tornado is something to be afraid of. There’s nothing cutesy or cuddly about a rampaging twister – you either get out of the way or face the consequences of being swept up in its path. But that’s not all. Tornadoes are very specific in where and when they touch down. Unlike a hurricane which covers a huge blanket of space, the tornado leaves a trail that is easily seen from up above. Like the footprints of some giant monster moving about the countryside, tornadoes end up leaving their mark wherever they go. In that way, the tornado seems to be alive somehow; like it’s actively picking and choosing where it decides to run amok. We all know that it’s not possible for the tornado to decide which way it goes, but its unpredictable nature appears to give some illusion of thought process. Even if it’s totally chaotic, we still feel like the tornado was out to get us somehow.

Then there’s the fact that we can’t fight back. We don’t call in the national guard or the army when a tornado is imminent. That’s silly. The tornado will have its day and then it’ll be gone. Like a really bad in-law or a sudden rush of diarrhea (great parallels, right?), the tornado cannot be combated through conventional means. There’s no special weapon to take down a tornado; we can only move aside and wait for the chaos to be over.

I find this all rather fascinating, to be honest. As a kid, I loved storms. My family had 10 acres of land which sat on a hillside overlooking a vast valley. The horizon stretched from one end of the Earth to the other, or as far as you could see. So when a storm rolled in, you could see it coming from miles away. That was pretty cool, as I recall. And I sometimes wondered what it would be like to see a tornado coming in from off in the distance. Trees would sway from the mounting currents of wind, the grass would come up out of the ground, and the furniture on the front porch would move slightly, but none of those of things would have remained if a tornado were to hit unexpectedly.

My family’s house was never hit with a tornado and for that, I am grateful. But I always wanted to see one up close anyway. I’d be mindful of weather reports in our area and if the chance arose to see a touch down, I’d think about running off to go see it. And that’s when it hit me. The other realization as to why the tornado is so awe-inspiring and so deadly frightening at the same time: its proximity.

We can’t get close to hurricanes and be untouched, we can’t sit through a blizzard and enjoy the scenery, and we certainly can’t observe an earthquake in casual fashion. But what we can do is take in the sights and sounds of a roaring funnel cloud that’s within striking distance. That’s the difference-maker. I’d wager to guess that when people hear “tornado watch”, there’s a mixture of emotions taking hold inside. On one end, there’s that normal reaction which says, “Ok, I better stay inside tonight”, but I’ll bet there’s another part of us that says, “I wonder if it’ll get close enough that I see it up close.”

It’s interesting how that works. Most people don’t go running down to the nearest shoreline to see a tidalwave or a hurricane as it approaches (that just ain’t right), but the tornado gives us an opportunity to get up close and personal. To be feared? Yes, absolutely. Don’t go running out to storm chase because of this blog. I”m not saying that, but bear in mind the sheer magnitude of seeing one in close quarters. A truly frigtening experience, and yet altogether stunning at the same time.

Or just as the movie says, like the “finger of God”.

Ok – my Game of Thrones post is here

I’ve been watching this show for a while now. Not reading the books, just viewing it week-to-week. I knowingly skipped out on season 2 because I didn’t want to pay for HBO, but with all the twists and turns awaiting the characters in season 3, I decided to pony up the dough and watch.

At this point, I feel that the series needs no introduction. If you are reading this, then you probably have some interest in George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series already. There’s really no need for me to start summarizing basic plot details or popular characters – you have likely heard about Game of Thrones one way or another.

With that in mind, what’s to say about it? There’s a ton of buzz lately about a recent episode; one where three major characters are killed off (unexpectedly) in what the books call the “Red Wedding”. Now, for any other series, this would be unheard of. Who in their right mind would be so bold as to eliminate some of their most popular leads? Well, Game of Thrones apparently. In one fell swoop, three primary protagonists are slit by the throat, shot with arrows, and stabbed with daggers. All acts committed via the treacherous activity of a character whom you are lead to believe was in the just the entire time. I realize I should be saying something along the lines of SPOILER ALERT!, but that’s moot at this point.

But that’s just it – it’s not a spoiler if you’ve been watching this show long enough. You are inclined to expect the unexpected with Game of Thrones. If the character is likable or even semi-honorable, Game of Thrones’ author, Mr. Martin, will certainly find a way to bludgeon or kill this character within a few short minutes.

And then it’s quickly off to the next poor sap who tries to do what we would call, “the right thing”. It’s not about the strong surviving – it’s about who can betray who the first and not get caught while doing it.

I had been trying to put my finger on this notion for some time now. I was initially intrigued by Martin’s rich use of history and eye for detail. This was very similar to a Tolkien or Lewis fantasy and since I’m a fan of those two guys, I figured I’d give Mr. Martin a try.

As you can probably surmise, that’s where the similarities ended.

Where Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Lewis’ Narnia etch elements of hope into their storytelling fabric, Martin’s rips hope out from under nearly every character. Ideas like chivalry and honor are afterthoughts. And you can forget about marrying for love – Martin uses the act of a wedding as the primary force behind uniting peoples together who merely want more power. Or in the extreme case of this past week’s episode – a wedding is used as a decoy to invite people into your home so you can promptly slaughter them.

Now, here’s the good part of this post. I was reading some reactions to this sweeping phenomenon of a show and one that caught my attention related to an interview Martin gave. Within the interview, he went on to say that he dislikes stories where good and evil are blatantly obvious (a la Tolkien and Lewis) and prefers to surprise his audiences (no argument there). By making these statements, Martin has inadvertently set himself up for something. Something that a fan such as myself has an issue with. And that issue is this: how the heck does he (Martin) plan on ending this thing if he loves to cut the legs out (sometimes literally) from every major character? If there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, then won’t the ending be unfulfilling somehow?

I would imagine that most people are following the story because they are interested in Martin’s mastery of narrative. But hey, that narrative has to end eventually, right? Shouldn’t that be a concern? A grandiose tale deserves a grandiose ending, does it not? And even if Martin’s series is full of mixed messages, changing alliances, and broken characters, won’t there be some sort of transcendent ending when it’s all said and done? One would think so, but I’m not so sure. I mean, I have my opinions about how I would end it, but this is someone who is not me. The direction is foreign to me, strange to what I’m familiar with, but ultimately, I’m still interested. It’s new; it’s different, and it’s against the grain of what I’m used to seeing.

How did guys like Stephen King or Edgar Allan Poe become so popular? Well, they introduced something brand spanking new. And that’s what Martin is doing. However, I’m unsure as to just how this guy is going to keep it up. And truthfully, I want an ending that’s more than just a twisted climax. I want resolution. I want completion. I want a semi-hopeful ending. And in the midst of a huge, overarching story, shouldn’t it come to that somehow? Shouldn’t there be some semblance of a “happy ending” for at least one of these characters? I would think so. But then again, Game of Thrones has surprised us before. And since history has a way of repeating itself, I suppose I shouldn’t be too shocked when the ending (no matter what it ends up being) surprises me yet again. Will it be honorable in the least? Well, someone like myself hopes so, but that remains to be seen.

Why I will gladly be in your wedding party

Two friends of mine took the plunge last weekend. They got hitched; they exchanged vows; they received their license to wed; in essence, they got married, folks. That’s cool stuff all the way around.

Weddings have historically been a great experience for me. Granted, I’ve never been a groom, but I have been one of the groomsmen on several occasions. And I’ve also had the honor of being the best man for my best friend. The entire experience that a wedding brings is really phenomenal. At no other event (save funerals) do friends and family gather in such large masses. People will fly halfway across the country for a wedding if they are able and even if they aren’t, someone will usually shell out a few extra dollars to help pay for plane fare just so they can get there. Heck, decades-old grudges step aside for weddings. Uncles, aunts, cousins – anyone who has a beef with someone else will still find a way to get to the wedding for the sake of being there.

They may be only be going because they want to see if their adversary gained weight or lost hair, but hey, they are coming all the same.

But what is it about weddings that are so attractive? Why do so many people attend them? Well, there’s lots of reasons, but if you ask me, it comes down to one simple thing (and I promise not to be sarcastic here) – the beauty of the moment. That’s my honest opinion and belief.

Never again will we see a shimmering bride, walking down the aisle to her groom, in the same way, at the same time, in the same fashion. Yes, people do get divorced and remarry, I am not oblivious to this fact, but never again will it be like this time. The bride and groom may take vows again in future years, but I’ve said already – it won’t be the same twice. For in the moment the bride reveals herself to the groom – who is standing at the front, next to the men he has chosen to share his day with – nothing will ever be exactly like this time, this place, this experience.

When it comes to human beings, we like to be there for the “big moments”. The times where we can say “I was there, were you?” There’s an element of awe that we take great delight in with one another. And if we aren’t there for this big to-do, we have a sense that we missed out on something really spectacular. Getting to watch a video recording just isn’t the same. We have to be there in order to enjoy the wedding in all its splendor. That’s how I perceive weddings at least. A fleeting beauty that forever etches itsleef in the minds and memories of all who attend.

As I stood next to my five comrades (aka the other groomsmen) this past weekend, I couldn’t help but get the sense that this wedding was truly beautiful. As were so many others that I’ve been a part of. That level of emotion really stays with a person. And when it’s all said and done, you find yourself wanting more of that feeling if you can manage it.

Which is precisely why I try to make as many friends as possible. It may be selfish of me (you can say it is if you want though), but I want to be in more weddings than I can count. What better way to enjoy life than to be present at one of the happiest moments in another person’s life?! That’s how I like to look at things. So far, I’m up to 5 apperances (four in a groomsmen outfit and 1 as a reader). I figure I’ll squeak into another one or two in the near future, but consider this as an open invitation to any/all who need groomsmen. I don’t charge anything but I will require that my date be allowed a seat close to the bridal party. That’s all I ask in return. And hey, since I’m a writer, I may just share that experience in a book someday too.

I wouldn’t want anyone to feel slighted, so expect an invite to my own wedding if I’m in yours. It’s only natural to return the favor, is it not? I won’t claim my wedding to be the most spectacular you’ll ever behold. But can you imagine a lineup of about 30 groomsmen and bridesmaids on either side?

Yeah, that’d be a once in a lifetime experience you wouldn’t want to miss.

Just Some Updates Here and There

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The picture is not representative of a new book I wrote. And I apologize for the semi-grainy picture quality. It’s actually a copy of The Price of Honor, by John Kandah; a guy who happens to be a friend of mine. The book tells his personal story of Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County corruption scandal and how it’s affected him and so many others. I look forward to diving in soon. My list of books to read this summer is quite long so I’m trying to take it one at a time and see how that goes. Key phrase there is “see how that goes”.

I got the book by attending John’s book signing event, which took place just last Friday, the 10th of May. It was cool to see John’s book on display and have complete strangers come by to see just what he had done. All things considered, it appeared to be a very positive experience and I know he hopes to do more in the future.

One of the perks I’ve been experiencing as a writer (that I did not anticipate) is the sharing of other writer’s accomplishments. That’s been very surreal. It helps a person like myself keep moving forward, even when life seems to get in the way of things.

And on that note, I guess it’s time to get back to it. I have my own book signing to organize as well as a 24/7 job to spread the word about this recent release.

If you want, check out John’s work online via most of the major distributors: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.

Till next time.

The “Lost Pages” of Epiphanies, Theories, and Downright Good Thoughts…

Not everything I write makes it to print. And that’s a good thing. If everything a person wrote made it to the presses, then I’m sure they’d be met with moderate to limited success. Even guys like Mark Twain and Shakespeare cut a few things from their original scripts before their work went public. That’s just the way it goes. As such, my latest book may not be up there with the likes of these great writers (not yet, right?), but I can feel their pain with all the chopping and editing I did before I sent the latest “Epiphanies, Theories, and Downright Good Thoughts…” out the door.

One such chapter that met its fate early on was a short essay on “shaving”. You know, the act of cutting unwanted hairs from various surfaces of the body. Though this may seem like an obvious topic to touch upon when you’re a bachelor, I honestly felt like I’d be losing some of my female audience. Yes, I’m fully aware that women shave too, but to tell tales about shaving beards, shaving chests, or shaving belly buttons to eliminate unwanted belly button lint – yeah, I didn’t see the relevance. But in the spirit of good fun, I decided to pick out some parts of that chapter and put them on my blog.

Hope you enjoy. – J.C.L.

Hair – it’s probably the one thing that will confuse a person greatly as it pertains to men and women. Forget courtship, dating and the pursuit of love – I’m talking about hair here. Guys want it on their bodies when it’s convenient but hate the thought of it on women. Conversely, women like a well-groomed man, but despise the very feel of the stuff on themselves. What a conundrum hair must find itself in. Unwanted, unloved, and constantly poking itself up in the strangest places.
Since I’m a guy, I have a love/hate relationship with the hair on my face. Sometimes I like the sight of my beard; other times, I wish it’d never grow back. And thus, I’d be rid of that strange area by my cheek where only a single, solitary hair grows. Most bothersome if you’re not cognizant of this unwanted passenger. For if a date or a close friend happens to point out the half inch of hair sticking out beneath your eye, you’re sunk. And there’s no going back after that. Embarassment and shame will only follow; as will a quick pluck via a set of tweezers but even that does very little to keep that bugger from growing back in a month’s time. Oh well, I suppose. You do what you can.
And that’s precisely what I do with my own hair – just what I can.
I’ve never been an overly hairy fellow, but I can at least lay claim to having a full head of hair well beyond my 25th year. Some guys I know? Well, they’re about as bald as a cue ball. So I’ve always been lucky in that regard. But what about my face? Now that’s another story.
I don’t think I got facial hair (and I mean real facial hair) till I was about 17. I had small outcroppings on my jaw, under my pits, and naturally in other places (which we won’t go there) but beyond that, I was a naked child. No mane to flaunt around like an alpha lion and certainly no power ‘stache that told the ladies, “Yes, I have plenty of testosterone for all of you.” No, that just wasn’t me. But when I got to college, everything changed. I started shaving once every 3 days (a rarity); then once every other day, and soon, I had to shave every day just to make myself look presentable. The term “five o’clock” shadow actually made sense to me now.
So that’s what it means, I thought. And there it was – I felt like I’d made it. I finally had a healthy layer of hair growing on my face. That meant something, did it not? To a six foot tall, 150-pounder at age 20, yes – it most certainly did.
But, as it can, the allure of possessing something new and exciting will fade quickly into a state of disillusionment if you’re not careful. For as I was shaving my face daily, I was neglecting to see how more hair was gathering upon my chest, congregating in groups and eventually forming a marching band line all the way down to my belly. It was here that my hair stopped to set up shop and once it did, it began another altogether ridiculous project – creating an entrapment device specially designed for accumulating large amounts of lint.
Why? I don’t really have the answer, but that’s what happened. For some reason my body thought it’d be funny to start gathering the loose fabric from my shirts. It was as if my belly button had some hidden objective. One that I was completely unaware of until I noticed a large wad of blue cloth protruding from my midsection.
Honestly, I wasn’t that startled to discover this but when I pulled out the first real ball of lint, I swear I saw my intestines come creeping out. That’s how deep this stuff was.
I resolved to let the situation sit a while until I decided what to do about it. Should I cut all the hairs around my belly button? Or do I just make it a habit to relieve my torso of the lint every evening before I go to bed? I didn’t want to make the hair any thicker around my waist by cutting it constantly, but I definitely wasn’t going the route of waxing either. I’d heard enough horror stories from women to never want wax anywhere near my body. So that was out of the question.
And so, I let it sit. And I removed lint day-in and day-out. Until one day I got tired of the process and shaved the hair off.
In hindsight, this was a stupid decision. I itched like crazy and if I stood in the light at the proper angle, it looked like I had a small sun lying on my belly. Yes, this was not a very nice situation.
Oh well then, right? I had tested the waters and experienced the stinging pain of the result. My stomach hair and I may never be on equal terms again, but I sincerely hope the hair on my head doesn’t hold a grudge for my earlier acts of discontent. I’d certainly like to keep those hairs around. For as long as I can
.

How Every Writer Envisions His Work

Two of my friends reading my recent book.

Two of my friends reading my recent book.

I’d say that picture about sums it up. I received this photo a day ago from two of my friends (who happen to be brothers) as they were “eagerly” and “anxiously” reading my new book, “Epiphanies, Theories, and Downright Good Thoughts…made while being single.” I didn’t ask them to do this so I thought it was rather clever and just had to share.

The best part is, I feel like that’s how any writer feels when he releases a new book. He imagines people actively reading and engaging the new work like they can’t put it down. At least that’s how I think of mine. If anything, it gives a writer the necessary gusto to keep charging ahead. Wherever that may lead.

To my friends, Tim (brushing teeth) and Brent (sitting on the John), thank you for making my day. And supporting my most recent endeavor. Perhaps I should throw this out as an open submission to any/all who can take a similar and funny candid while reading my book? A prize to go to the winner??

I may have to take some time to think about that one. You know, for what the prize should be and what not.

Hmmm….till next time then.

-J.C.L.

Hard to write when it’s nice out

The weather took a serious turn for the better here in OH and it’s affecting everyone I see. “Mild grumpiness” has turned to “slightly happy” and “fairly hostile” has become “somewhat approachable”. It’s a relief to see people in such good moods all day, even if it’s the result of a little vitamin D coming their way. I, for one, am also relieved. The only problem is trying to come up with what to write about.

When it gets nice outside, I don’t want to be inside. I’d rather be outside; as would most other people I’d imagine. If you’re a writer, that’s a bit of a conundrum to be in. You almost wish that the environment wouldn’t play such a hefty role in your writing process, but guess what, it does. As a child, I liked being outside. Rather than grow out of that phase, it’s stayed with me my whole life. So when the weather goes from chilly to “hey let’s wear shorts today”, I get jumpy and head outside.

And outside means no laptop, no pen and paper, and certainly no publishing of blogs. Granted, I could pop open my iPhone and jot down a quick post, but who would see it? If you’ve been stuck in a cave for 6 months (like the rest of Northeast OH) then you ought to be outside when the sun comes out. Leave that iPhone or Droid at home. Kick a ball around or just run up and down the sidewalk (sounds crazy, but could be fun). That’s seizing the moment, if you will.

Conversely, my time to seize the moment is when it’s too cold to venture beyond my apartment. Sure, I’ll write in the summer – that’s a given – but it may not be with the same frequency that I do in the winter. By spring’s end, I should be enjoying a decent book; not just writing one.

So what do you write about when the sun comes out? Well, nothing really I guess. Just a few short quips on the importance of being out I suppose? That sounds about right.

A Quick Thank You

Hey everyone,

I just wanted to extend a quick thanks to those who have been supportive of the new book thus far. It’s much appreciated! Just about a week of being “live” and I’m already amazed at how quick time flies.

Obviously there’s plenty going on, but the immediate future has me planning a book signing event sometime in summer. There are still some details to work through (details…who needs those really?) but I’m hopeful to have some announcements pertaining to the event coming up in the next week or so.

So thanks again, everyone! Not to sound too sappy, but all things become possible with a little vision and some support. The rest you can’t really prepare for, but you can certainly manage it with the right attitude. And much of that attitude is knowing when to simply say, “thank you”.

Till next time.

J.C.L.