madshutterbug: (c) 2011 by Myself: Zone VI 8x10 view camera (View Camera)
Once, oh really even more than twice or thrice I considered seriously the business of being a writer. The key word here is likely business because I said to myself I could be a writer 'when I grew up' with either the implicit thought or the explicit statement that writing should provide my income. My Dad to be fair never said no; on the other hand, he would then point out about writing for a newspaper or a magazine and working on my Magnum Opus after hours, on my own. Oddly enough while I often considered photography seriously as another potential, I didn't talk as much about it.

I asked one of my high school teachers (an English Literature teacher) to read and critique a manuscript for a short(ish) story I'd written. When I met with this teacher after a few days I brought some of my prints with me. My teacher asked to see the photographs before critiquing the manuscript. After looking them over, smiled and said, "I don't see the Spark in this writing. Sorry, but I don't. On the other hand, I see the Spark in these," and touched several of the prints.

Not sure I would say I wanted the Spark of Genius to be there in my writing and I won't say I didn't. That comment didn't discourage me from writing, believe it or not. Instead, it encouraged me to study writing and writers, in depth. Over time, I'd say my writing improved. Still not sure I see a Spark in it either, mind you; that's all right. I've gotten better.

What this all grows out of is that things around here in the Blog-o-Sphere places changed over the rather quite a few years I've been tapping electrons into order to represent words. It feels like fewer people are reading in the places I post. I know I'm posting less often. One of the key factors in the 'business' of anything is consistency, sticking at it, and I'm feeling the absence.

Now, mind, in the past few years I've also been fairly focused at Hospital, first on finishing up the Magic 30, and due to some changes just before hitting that Magic 30 paying pretty strong attention to what I did there. Also, there is a proverb from the Japanese I like, not going to try to quote the original here only the translation: Chase two rabbits, catch neither one.

And I did make a firm decision some time back, yes, my photography is the rabbit I want to catch. Want. My Dad once taught me pay attention to Want versus Like. If one should Like to receive something, do something, and yet it doesn't quite come to pass or not in the exact manner, this is OK, this is good. Want, on the other hand, involves something deeper. There are things, many things, one is willing to sacrifice when one Wants something.

I am willing to sacrifice writing. Oh, studying writing is and has been good. Dad also taught me (my first Art Teacher) to study other art medium, stretch and grow as an Artist. Just -- I am willing to sacrifice making a living of any sort with writing.

Sound sad? Not really.

I am also very clearly in the twilight of my Nursing career. That Magic 30 represents a milestone, and now there are three more years tacked onto that, during which I've cared for others as they needed it. Time runs its course, though, and Time is coming when I will no longer provide professional Nursing care. All along, I've worked on my photography, my art fill the time when I would no longer go to Hospital. So of course, as that time approaches (Perversity being what it is, thank you Oh My Friend Jed) the economy is in the outhouse and not many people are willing to spend what little Fun Money they may have on art.

But Wait.

Herself points out to me that it is, apparently, somewhat easy to begin teaching classes in what I often think of as Community Education; those after hours classes organised (often) by Community Colleges or other educational institutions for adults who are nominally done with school. And one of the things about Nursing, as any of my colleagues will tell you, is that education is an important part of the practice. Teaching patients about their health conditions, their medications, how to cope, how to stretch, grow, heal. Something I've been doing for 33 plus years now and so, not a big leap over to Community Ed.

Recently another acquaintance asked me about studio backdrops. And, um, well, yeah I can pass along a thing or three about studio backdrops. Probably about lighting too, though I'm still studying that on my own. Then again, I think it may of been Hokusai (Japanese woodblock print artist from the Tokugawa era) that said (roughly), "I have been studying diligently the representation of shape and light for some time now, and I believe if I continue to do so another 20 years I shall begin to show improvement." And basics of composition, exposure, and such.

Some of these I've been thinking to do as blog posts, since I do see this blog as a bit of a photoblog with images and discussion strewn about. Even doing that, not much of a leap still to developing classes on this.

Maybe I should stick around a bit longer. Maybe you should too.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini&I)
This morning is following another Hospital weekend work commitment. This time I worked the 'Evening' shift, 15:00 to 23:30. Not quite so mind-altering as a Midnight shift, and still leading to late to bed, possibly different sleep. So a slow start to the morning.

Or it could be that Herself put both Bros out on duty last night to watch over the Dirty Yard Birds (our chickens). We suspect a fox, most likely, for some recent losses which slowed down with moving Squrrl from spot to spot, adding another helpful aid (a marvelous use for conservative all-night talk show radio) and occasionally, two Border Collies on duty. Houdini, feeling he has risen to a Position in Life will oblige for a night or two, then make a fuss about being 'put' outside at night. He didn't fuss at me when I got home, and he stayed outside.

Until about 03:30 when I woke up to thunder. Houdini happily came inside and snuggled all 27 kilograms of himself into my armpit.

On the other hand, left Squrrl out on duty. Then within a half hour, heard Herself get up and go out. Shortly after, Squrrl walked through the bedroom on the way to his favoured 'spot' in the house. He's been getting some Indoor Dog time recently, particularly with the very high heat and heat index conditions we're experiencing. Herself mentioned as she headed back to bed that she needed to close the windows on Forrest Nissan Pickup...

Work, as in Hospital, does seem to affect my blogging time. Recently started working 10 hour shifts four days per week, rather than the 'traditional' five days by eight hours. This provides an additional 'BossStaysHomeDay' quite handily. It is also not terribly hard to work those additional two hours. They go by quickly, and fact is what with staying over to finish cases or some such, I'm often there for a good portion of those two hours anyway. It also helps Hospital to control overtime expenses, and what with various and sundry aspects of today's economic situations coming in to play is probably the largest reason that my two years of requests to work this schedule finally received approval.

Thing that affects blogging time, and truly considering all that extra time formerly known as overtime this is a long term situation, is that after work and commute home (between walking out to parking garage [healthy] and the drive out to Ranch about 45 - 50 minutes) I'm getting home in time to help with evening Ranch chores, then eat supper, then... off to bed.

Add to that the recent business of DDoS to the primary blog site and not a lot of expression going on here. Made a posting recently about how disoriented I feel following the weekend off-shift work, and how long that disorientation may last. Post disappeared into the DD0S. Some of that is on me, I neglected to do a copy/paste of the text before hitting 'Post'. Being somewhat 'flight of ideas' writing, it is truly flown away. Such is life.

That post was my first indicator that the DDoS started. Things settled down a bit over there, and I'm not even sure my current problem is due to the DDoS. Periodically I've problems accessing the secure login on LJ. Often it is due to the wireless router for the Ranch network needing a re-boot. Not sure it is always due to that though. At any rate, now I can read my LJ, and the Reading List commonly known as Friends List. Can't log into the site, though.

Made another post on DW using crosspost during that time period. Crossposting failed as well, and I've not attempted to re-post that quite yet. In some ways this is a minor thing (cross-posting, not being able to access). There is a roof over our head, food on our table, we've gainful employment to provide these things, we've got the Ranch to also help provide these things. In other ways...

Apparently, Reportedly, the DDoS is due to a political entity attempting to control (prevent) access of a significant number of their citizens to their blogs. Denial of access to media is control of a media. There may be a valid, there definitely is a significant argument that such is the internal business of any specified political entity. What does this become, though, when denial of access to a media which constitutes an expression of Free Speech impinges upon the traditional (and supposed guaranteed by law) civil rights of citizens in other political entities?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Well, during the DD0S and lack of postage, though I do believe I managed to put up something about it (yes, I did. Here on DW, the post which didn't cross) I got some Studio 318 time in. Initial post-production is done, with 'initial' defined as reviewing images for view-ability (as in no corrupted files), adding pertinent meta-data (as in Session Theme, Contract/Consent on file, Date, KeyWords, Categories), and then creating JPG files for proofing. Also part of this is the first backup, onto an external hard drive. Still to be done is burning DVD backup of the 'RAW' files, and the proofing itself.

That's for later today, after the Ranch is fed, when it's gotten too warm plus humid outside to be happy.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Expostulation)
Despite the fact that I may of caused the Bard of Avon to roll over there, I do believe I'll continue on in my little track here. May cause some more spinning. Perhaps that will even result in some Richter Scale activity. We'll see.

Some time ago, I picked up a book out of the Sale Bin (you know, the ones where one recognises it's actually the Marked Down To Nothing Because No One Is Buying This Otherwise bin) because the title obviously punned off another work related to a piece which the author (I won't say writer as I'm pretty sure there's a 'with So & So' in the credits. Why pretty sure? Read On) worked, relatively time-related to the publication date of the book. What is 'some time ago'? Um... years? More than several (three) less than ten? I don't even have the book in front of me, to double check those credits nor publication date. Great way to write a review, eh?

So some time between Then and Now, in an effort to stimulate my writing a bit more and in a private entry here on LJ I made a list of things to do. #1, write a review of this book. And it sat there, for some time (see above) reminding me that I am a Great Procrastinator. Last night, during my eating break working at Hospital, said bit of work by the author received more air time on the telly, in one of those Marathon Showings of all three parts. AHA! A clue, Three Parts. Since I'd skimmed through that private entry a couple times recently, my thoughts went along the lines of I really do like this work, both the original written version and the movie treatment, to Wow, I do like it, because I can remember a lot about it, to Oh, Hey, I suppose I should do that review.

Right off the starting line, I can feel pretty comfortable that since it took me this long to get around to "Goal #1: Book Review of There and Back Again: An Actor's Journey Sean Astin's story about portraying Samwise Gamgee in Lord of the Rings" that the book is quite simply not that memorable. Memorable enough that what follows are my memories, and yes, Your Mileage May Vary.

First of all, yes it is Mr. Astin's story about portraying Samwise Gamgee. Yes, there is a good bit of it that looks at the making of the Lord of the Rings. And yes, the title is honest (in retrospect) that it is an actor's journey, all the way from the start up to this part. Which means, it's much more of an autobiography than it is (at least to me) about the process of portraying a character out of an immensely popular epic piece of fiction. More (to me) Oh look how my life is so difficult growing up in the Entertainment Industry, than Here is what the process of becoming, being an actor is and what makes it such an enjoyable professional choice.

As such, I learned a lot about Mr. Astin's professional desires and goals. He'd much rather be making films than acting in them by his own admission. Interesting news, perhaps, and one of the less enjoyable aspects of the book in that this discussion thread wandered through the course of the book mixed with a certain degree of personal angst that it wasn't happening so much yet. Certainly explains why so little of it provided evidence to support that latter summary of an expectation above that I apparently brought to the reading of this book. Expectations aren't bad. They do colour impressions, though.

One of my good and dear friends said to me that I am so very non-judgemental. The discussion that statement came out of involved some things happening in their life about which they needed to vent a bit, and my listening to and accepting the venting, and still providing a viewpoint accepting the position of the source of the vent-need. It is a bit hard to break with 40 years of professional characteristic (that would be the non-judgemental part, something vital to being a Nurse), so it keeps coming back around in my other interactions and such.

Which is all part of my summary here. I believe I expected something else out of this book, and that colours my response. I got through the reading of it, and I did spend some of my beer money on it to do so. I expect that since I spending that money rather than borrowing the book from the library played a stronger part in finishing the reading thereof than the quality of the story being told. Reading it made a strong enough impression on me to decide I ought to tell others about it, and a weak enough impression that I took a multi-year break in the telling.

In fact, I think I feel a lot happier about being able to nudge everything else on that private 'To Do' list up a notch. Not like it's a relief or something, more like well, there's a goal accomplished even if it proved to be not such a major goal by the test of time. I'm happier both because it is a completion of a goal, and because that shows me that while this isn't the Recent Meditations which I've hinted about recently, the writing thereof itself opens the door to laying out those Meditations.

All very mysterious, eh?


Jun. 25th, 2011 08:53 am
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini & I)
Or is it wheels within wheels, or some such? Over here, [ profile] haikujaguar finished up earlier this week with the last installment to a web serial story, Spots the Space Marine. One of the things I enjoyed about her entire process of wrap-up is including a listing of the music she listened to while composing, and writing, the story. I know I've used a 'sound track' before when working on various projects, and this provides me (very selfish that) with intros to some interesting and good (judgemental on my part, YMMV) music. So where are the wheels within wheels?

Some of the music she listened to, it turns out, is also on the playlist (handy term, that, neh?) of another writer I enjoy reading, John Ringo. Perhaps for similar reasons at least related to the Spots tale, perhaps not. It remains, for me, to be another connection to artistic influences and appreciations in my life.

While listening/viewing some of the selections on the You Tube links, I did indeed actually notice the ad being displayed. Normally I tune these out, which I expect is much like a lot of other people. This one though...

Anyone who reads here knows I'm studying and experimenting with light, and lighting. One of the means of lighting I'm slowly escalating into using is LED in various manners. What I've done so far, specifically, uses over-the-counter rope lights for home decoration (think Holiday Season). This led to some research into other means to acquire and/or build lighting using LED systems.

I'm sure that the Wonders of the Internet provide the actual link to the ad display, with the background nosiness of the 'Webz allowing the site to 'read' my recent browsing history or even bookmarked sites. Still, I could happily take it as A Sign that one of the business' from which I'm planning on purchasing supplies showed me the ad.


Yes. It's A Sign.

And, you should go read Spots, if you aren't already. Yes. Go read now.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini & I)
So much wandering through the reading stream leading to thoughts about this, that, and a Japanese proverb. 'Chase two rabbits, catch neither one.' Lately I've been feeling like that a bit. What do I really want to do with a blog? Why aren't I making and showing more photographs? What is lacking on that count?

The string posting a photograph a day provided some of this time for thought. There's some discipline required, and that even if one is 'mining' an archive, not always posting new work done specifically for the post. I consciously broke the string because I felt time pressures getting ready for an art show. Only so much time available when working for a living at something other than making the art. Curiously enough, not posting brings feelings of loss...

Another recent post by [ profile] jongibbs one of the people I read who writes, concerned focusing ones blog quite deliberately. This one, in fact, on blogging tactics. I like punning there, because posting a photo a day provided some focus on this as a photo blog. Discussion about photography and art could fit in as well as the actual photos. Still, there are times I simply feel like digressing, for one reason or another. Doesn't fit the focus concept well, that.

And yet, I see something similar over at [ profile] haikujaguar's place, and it seems to work. Oh, not a lot of personal (hmm... what word) drama/angst/something. Some though, about things happening in life as well as the art.

Lots of readers in both those blogs, so both concepts work.

Part of what spurred these meditations are suggestions and questions from one of the panels at the recent Necronomicon, 'How to Train as a Professional Artist.' I think I mentioned it, even if not by title, because this was the first session Sunday morning panel I talked about where very few people showed. This led to a good bit of talk between everyone there, and suggestions on things to do, and encouragement to continue doing those things when discussed. Specifically, artist web sites, and if not custom sites at least places like Flickr and Deviant Art. I mention those two in particular both because they were mentioned, and because I use them to some extent or other. Also blogs, again either custom sites or using LJ, Blogger, and others. And, key to it all, building readership/viewership steadily.

That last is what I've been pondering for a couple reasons.

For a while I've been watching statistics on Flickr. Now, Flickr's made this easier to do in the past year and a bit, even providing a nifty graph showing stream visits over the past few weeks. Before that, I started watching the 'Most Popular' listing, as in the photos most popular by 'Interestingness' (a unique Flickr algorythm of some sort), Comments, Favorites (how many times someone tags a photo as a 'Fave'). That latter group still intrigues me a bit, but it's the former that provided the recent insight. And, it got a bit of a reinforcement after the Con art show, where I posted an 'artist info' blurb that listed my work on Deviant Art.

DA's statistics for my pieces there showed an increase in viewers starting during the Con and continuing for a few days after. Not a huge increase, and yet a visible one. Also one of the things that came up while talking with another of the exhibiting artists at Necro who asked 'What's your view counts?' Thinking back over it, I mentioned that while the average views may not be high, there are occasional spikes. More thought provoking to me is that it is become unusual (not unknown, yet measurable) for no views in a day to occur.

Steady building of readership/viewership, and with it the spin offs which result in people following links...

Another of the people I read, [ profile] firesmithsghost often talks about being a writer and being successful as in say paid for writing. He writes because he wants to, feels driven to. Being paid for it would be nice. Not being paid isn't stopping him. I see this as one of the measures for success as well. Be really nice to bring in some money selling photographs. Is, in fact; I've done so often enough to know, nowhere near often enough to 'quit the day job'. Point made, in fact, in another of the panels at the Con where a group of published writers all answered in the affirmative, 'How many of us have a Day Job?' They all do.

I suppose then, the point I'm making is... I'm not making a point. I've noticed a trend, after four years or so posting work to Flickr, of views being quite steady. I remember the views to DA bumping during and after last year's Necronomicon Art Show as well. And I'm approaching a change in the Day Job which will in effect be a non-change. I'm still making photographs, even if not posting one a day for a bit. Because it is something I do.

So, what was I talking about, anyway?
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Default)
To Julie, With Thanks, March 10, 2001 )

We now send you along to a place where someone who truly is a wordsmith provides reading material rather than a word mechanic providing ... something.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Houdini & I)
Up not terribly early, when Madame Queen Mary Kitteh decided I'd slept quite enough and breakfast time NAO PLZ KTHZ arrived. Herself is off to another SCA weekend, something Arts and Sciences but not Art/Sci for those who are familiar with SCA. She's teaching classes. I've got Forrest NissanPickup and she is with Sydney SubaruOutback as he is much better for the highway running.

Ah, the joys of multiple vehicles no longer with car payments... )

I finished up a re-read of Turn Coat, the newest Dresden last nightReally, No Spoilers... )
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Default)
Back in January or so of 2004, I saw a photograph by a (now) friend of mine, Zoe Wiseman. I'd link to that photo for you but it's on a site that requires membership: Community Zoe, a site dedicated to Fine Art Nudes. As mentioned, one needs to register for access, and the subject matter may not be one you're interested in. Zoe started as a model, and now is a photographer. The particular photo is a self-portrait where she's wearing a mask. The specific mask was one of the properties in Stanley Kubrick's last movie, Eyes Wide Shut. Someone involved in the production made the present of that mask to Zoe, someone she'd worked with on other projects in a long career in Art.

It sparked an interest in me; at the time I was about three years (with a gap) into the project I call Healing Art, related to breast cancer, and I was heading out to Zoe's neck of the woods to attend AORN Congress. So I contacted her, explained what she'd inspired about using a mask in some of that work, and inquired if she would be available when. Worst thing, she wouldn't be interested.

Turns out she is interested, we did get together and we did work with a mask. Not the one I describe above, another one, because due to that special gift nature Zoe reserves that mask for personal work.

All of this got me spinning around in my mind about masks. They conceal. They reveal. All of us wear a mask even when we think we are not, because a mask shows you a character. I've since worked with other masks (borrowed), and some of that work involved yet another mask (body-painted). That work led me to start looking around for my own masks to work with.

Two years ago I picked up a couple at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival in Tampa aka BARF. Add to that some acquired from an art supply store, one quite surreal in the visage it presents and the manner it is used. Very recently I saw another mask which I just flat out fell in love with. I don't usually consider that love is something one falls into, it's something one does. Still, this mask grabbed my attention and would not let go, and so I bought it.

The artist's name is Merimask and she shows her work on Deviant Art under that name, yet sells her work through Etsy. Merimask's shop is here, and this link should show you Kitsune, one of two masks I purchased. Herself took it off to her SCA event this weekend for the Masked Ball, though she's not sure she'll wear it. Wearing eyeglasses is rather difficult in this mask, and they truly don't look right outside of it. She's contemplating contact lenses again because of this mask, though.

Go, admire Merimask's work. Signed, original pieces. Exquisite.

In other art news today, Drops of Crimson E-zine publishes their third issue. Some great pieces on there, including an interview of an author by one [ profile] salamet. Go. Read. Enjoy.

Meanwhile, back at Teh Ranch it's time to start evening rounds.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (DancingPenguins)
Winnie the Pooh is coming back in the first authorised sequel to A.A. Milne's two works!

Oh, Pooh! You silly old bear.

Go Read

Dec. 29th, 2008 03:20 pm
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (DancingPenguins)

Not that, like, there's anything by moi in this issue.


Dec. 14th, 2008 04:44 pm
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Tsuji)
Kurokuma, approx. 4800 words )

madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Tsuji)
Sakura Ban'nin, approx. 5600 words )


Dec. 14th, 2008 04:41 pm
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Tsuji)
Gembuku, approx. 1200 words )
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Tsuji)
Last month I began nattering on about posting something I'd written mumbly 20-ish mumblthing years ago. Back in the days when I played in the Current Middle Ages, also known as the S.C.A. (Society for Creative Anachronism). Not to slight anyone, as some folk are fairly serious about accurate re-creation of the time periods they play in between the Fall of Rome (approximately 400 C.E.) and the early Renaissance (1600 C.E.). Others, however, are not quite so serious. It's all good, particularly now from a distance. I've not been a part of the SCA a bit over 10 years.

One of the salient points is that one is supposed to create a 'persona', someone who could have lived some time within those limits, and while the 'rules' say anywhere in the world one of the more common 'unwritten' rules (at least while I played) was Western Europe, possibly as far east as the Holy Land or the Ukraine. I didn't play in those realms. My interests turned much Farther East, to the islands of Japan.

Another salient point, related to persona, is that one is supposed to create one's personal history for that persona. Now, I expect this gets done more often than not. I also experienced that some folk would become only passing familiar with that history, and others significantly more than passing familiar, and I think I fell somewhere in between. I would be much more likely to answer to the persona name once at an event than my legal name. It also astounds me, these days, to learn that the persona I portrayed intimidated a lot of people. Well, I did approach the whole thing as theatre, playing a role, being in character. I suppose not to far from what some folk do today, in LARP get-togethers.

But, intimidating? Moi?

At any rate, I did start to actually write this persona biography, as opposed to merely composing it or outlining it, as a series of stories. This started after the second Masque Laureate of Trimaris contest, an event which almost didn't happen, as it required three people to participate at the minimum. Trimaris (Baja Jorja) in those days stood as a Principality of the Kingdom of Meridies (most of the South East, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia but not the Carolinas nor Virginia nor points north). And Trimaris wanted very much to be a kingdom of our own, which we demonstrated in many means, including creating the Masque Laureate.

This is the third of a triumvirate. Nearly all Kingdoms in the SCA have a Poet Laureate, and a Bard Laureate, titles held for six months to one year, for original works in the respective categories. In Trimaris we felt this prevented a number of other artists, performance artists, from being able to compete and showcase their talents (ensemble drama in period forms, dancers, and such).

So, to help the infant Masque Laureate get off the ground I signed up to be the third competitor, with someone who would be reading an excerpt from an original tragedy they were writing (in iambic pentameter), and a Middle Eastern dancer, Damara Narissa. Now, I fully expected Lady Damara to win, because she is very good, and within a 12-month of this particular event she did receive an Order of the Laurel for her dance.

She did not, however, win. Nor did the dramatist. Ah well.

The stories. The first of these three is the one which featured in the aside above. The second and third followed that, both chronologically and in terms of the persona history. I did receive a bit of constructive criticism from a writer mentor on the first of the three, and their critique resulted in the form you will see here.

And, I decided to wait until after the NaNoWriMo frenzy passed. *G* I admit to being tempted to post notes about This Many Words... nah.

This is open season, folks. Seriously. I'm looking for critique. One very specific question I want to know the answer to is this: Both these stories and Holt City Heist (previously posted here) are told in First Person Singular. Are the two narrators different people?

That same mentor I mentioned, one thing he told me is never apologise for unfinished work when asking someone to read it. These are all part of a larger composition, and hopefully stand on their own to some extent.

And, for what it's worth, I also wrote them at a point when I greatly enjoyed a particuler TV series, fairly long-running, and which had episodes (but not all) which had portions where the primary character would do first-person narrative.

And, when I first tried posting this today, LJ told me the post (included all three parts under individual cuts) was too large. So, it will be in three parts. Part the First: Gembuku. Part the Second: Sakura Ban'nin. Part the Third: Kurokuma.

In other news, Houdini enjoyed a long ride today up to Oleno State Park to help Herself pack up and bring home the leftovers from Feast of St. Benet's.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Expostulation)
Which is in progress, but not done yet.

I found the old story manuscript files I was looking for. Backed up in PKZip files, on ZipDrive disks.

I'd thought about posting those stories here for feedback, but I'm wondering if November is the best month to do so. After all, a good portion of the people I'm looking to for feedback will be taking part in NaNoWriMo... busy bashing out words instead of reading them. *G*
madshutterbug: (c)2001 by Myself: Photographed in the Miyazu Gardens, Nelson, New Zealand (Meditation)
We've gotten to a confusing time of year, I suppose. Not necessarily big confusion at least for me, but at least some confusion probably for most people. I don't have a solution to that, but it's what I'm on about today for some reason.

I'd gotten thinking about some things I'd written some time ago, three parts of a longer story or three short stories in an arc, take your pick. Seemed like a good idea to find them and post them during November, just as my own little bit of tossing fuel on the fire which is NaNoWriMo, either encouragement for the participants or gentle teasing for same. You know, hey, look what I wrote no it isn't part of that game.

I couldn't find them. Well, I couldn't find the files of those manuscripts, more accurately, since I've not started looking for hard-copy which may be available. This is where life gets interesting, you know? I remember writing the first part using the very first computer I bought. An Apple II which the salesperson wanted to know, whatever was I going to do with 64K of RAM? Write stories, obviously. That particular rendition of the arc, the start of it, I'd used at an SCA event in Trimaris to help keep the ball rolling on a new (then) public award/bauble/event to showcase people's abilities.

See, back then the two annual and specific 'competitions' in Performing Arts, not the Arts and Sciences events themselves (though at least one was held at each of the two Art-Sci events) were the Poet Laureate, and the Bard Laureate. I expect anyone will be able to follow the Poet Laureate title, at least anyone who's read much poetry, as countries usually do name one of their best poets as their Laureate. It's the same concept; original poetry for one, original song/music for the other.

Trimaris as a group decided to go for a third, for another category of art which did not fit neatly into either of those two because it mightn't involve poetry, nor song or music, but was Performance Art. And so the concept of the Masque Laureate arose, to honour someone who originated performance art of some sort. Dance fit into this, as did theatre. The start was slow, though, and on the occasion of the second competition it looked as though it wouldn't happen because the required three entries didn't exist. So I put my name in the ring as 'Storyteller' to give the other two people their chance, because I knew one of them would definitely be the winner. And with two competitions completed, the Masque Laureate would be on a roll.

So I told the story of how the fellow I played in the SCA left home and started on his journey of adventure and personal vision quest. And I proved at least half-correct in my reasons for this; the Masque Laureate did keep up the momentum and still persists today in Trimaris. The person I just knew would win, though, a Middle-Eastern dancer of great skill and reputation (and who did receive, shortly after, a Laurel for her dancing skills), did not take the Masque. But that's another story.

That part of the story I wrote down, as I said, on the first computer I ever bought, so that would be in '85 or '86. Shortly after, early in '87 I wrote another part, providing background mostly for the SCA wedding event which Herself and I did. Herself's primary persona (for those who are more interested in SCA things) is not married; a secondary persona is married to my old personna. That's what went into the background story for that event. And sometime after that, because I remember writing it out here on the Ranch, I did a third part, set in time after the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and before the Battle of Sekigahara.

Now, I could be off in my recollections on when specifically I wrote two of those; it doesn't matter. I did write them (as opposed to composing them but never writing them). I learned the important lesson about what a 'hook' is, and why it needs to be at the very beginning, by showing them to a friend who made his income writing. At any rate, I went looking for those files yesterday. I don't think I've gotten through all my CD backups yet, but I know I didn't find anything on CD's dated as early as 2001. And I know I converted all the files from the Apple disks to what was then called IBM. Pre-Windows, eh?

Now, since I probably wrote two parts on the old Apple, which never saw a hard drive much less a CD burner, this means the backup files may be on old ZipDisk media from after the conversion in formats. I'll check that out today. Still, I will be surprised if I didn't copy those onto CD's at some time as well. Pretty darn sure I did. Which means, I've probably not tracked down all my backup CD's yet. The quest is on.

I did find a couple voice recordings from August 2001. A ton of memories swirled up even seeing the file names. How I made the recordings. Who the recordings were. Things which were happening then. Very briefly, that since these dated from August that year, all before the whole Twin Towers thing. My brother had called me from their boat, on their first trip south along the Intracoastal Waterway, their first voyage after moving aboard full time.

All three of the males in my immediate family sounded alike, and via either recorded or telephone media could be extremely difficult for others to tell apart. I used to say we could tell each other apart, but let's be honest when one is calling either of the others, it's pretty sure that we would know the other voice couldn't be our own.

Houdini lay behind my chair at the desk in Office when I found those files; he'd been 'helping' me herd files as it were. You know the thing, being patient and near, responding to voice (talking to oneself or even to the dog) with tail wagging and occasionally sitting up and nose-nudging for attention. He definitely stretched across the floor behind the chair when I started the first file because he scrambled to sitting, staring at the laptop with his ears perked and doing the RCA Dog 'Masters Voice' head-cock. Then looking at me, with my mouth closed, lips still, no sound. Back at the laptop, head cocking the other way. Back at me, with an entire expression of 'How can you be talking from there when you're here?'

Mamma Mudge whelped Houdini and his litter-mates the Brothers in 2002, over a year after that recording. John and Kay came by the Ranch between Christmas and New Years, 2001. The next year, though, on their second (and his final) trip south before leaving the US shoreline, we went over to visit them near Daytona. Houdini never met my brother.

I guess our recorded voices really did sound that much alike.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Expostulation)
Regarding a recent short fiction post and this is a shameless plug, in case you need to read/re-read same, and some subsequent discussions with [ profile] thaddeusfavour about continuing to develop past history on a couple of the characters, a pseudo-poll or pseudo-quiz, as the case may be. Feel no oblication to read further or reply.

Really. I won't un-friend you or anything if you don't. )

You know, if I keep this up I'm really going to need a Writing Icon.
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Ninja Pyrates!)

St. Otter's Festival

The crowd nearly filled the church, though they tended to congregate in the center aisle and pews. I walked briskly up the side toward the alcove with the Icon, my eyes sweeping the crowd looking for someone, something to stand out.

One did, towering above the people around him and headed toward the alcove as well. I sighed, recognising the shape of a bald bullet head. As I neared the Icon I could see a svelte shape next to him, looking petite even though she wasn't much shorter than me. Anyone would look petite next to the guy next to her. I stopped in front of the Icon and waited. They were clearly heading my way. The big guy stopped about 10 feet from me, eyeing me warily.

Well, unless I'm mistaken, we meet the intrepid Chief Inspector Zoektochtmann, said the lady next to him. )
madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Ninja Pyrates!)

Skippy's Chemo

The Place to go for information in Holt City is Skippy's Chemo.

It may seem odd, a place that close to a church being a hotbed of news about all kinds of things, but it makes sense in a way. Caffeine and gossip, both ways to catch a buzz. Toss in an after-hours speakeasy and you can find out what wide-awake drunks talk about a whole lot of things they might not aught to. Then they can go ask forgiveness.

We walked through the door just before sunset to find the place already hopping. )

"Hey, where'd you put your shotgun," Weisman asked. Ofuroyama's whiskers twitched.

"Where is easy to reach it if needed," he said. "Go, now, Dutch-san. Time is now important." I trotted off across the street to the front door of Our Lady of PSI.

To Be Continued ...

madshutterbug: (c)2009 by Myself (Default)

International Relations

The ride to the 6th Precinct took little time, traffic moving briskly and mostly being the cable-cars and delivery wagons. Our driver deposited us at the main door and drove off to the garage. I motioned Ofuroyama through ahead of me. We nodded to Sargent Feuerschmidt at the desk, talking to an otter carrying a big camera. The otter bounced over in front of me.

G'day, Chief Inspector. Got anything on that burned-out mech over in Littleton? And who's the bloke built like a brick outhouse? )

"That is a good reason. Yes, Ramaji will move tonight, most probably during the festival. We may gain additional information before. I know place where such is found. We must be ready, and rested." He looked around the room. "May I use chair for nap, please?" I smiled and nodded.

"Yeah, sure. I plan on catching some zee's here." And with that I stretched out, propping my boots on the far armrest and my head on the near one. Experience taught me long ago never to waste time for sleep. I was out in seconds.

To Be Continued ...

September 2015

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