Naïve? Me? Okay….

More important than what the writer puts into the words is what the reader takes out of those words. I’m paraphrasing something I said to one of my English teachers oh so long ago. She congratulated me on an astute observation and I must confess I’m also pretty impressed at my insight at that age although I’m not sure if I came up with it or I read it somewhere.

I suppose it doesn’t matter. The point is valid. A writer can spend months putting together a manuscript, tweaking and doctoring every word, but if the reader doesn’t ‘get it’ then it’s all for nought.

I read sci-fi, in particular the ‘Alien’ and ‘Predator’ novels. I have two bookshelves full of the stories and mostly I find them easy, enjoyable, and well-written. There are a couple of authors however that try to take them to a higher literary level and while I basically have no problem with this I find that having to consult a dictionary to understand some of the words takes away from my enjoyment of the story. Know your market folks.

When I released my first novel ‘White Wolf Moon’ I sold a copy to one of the regular customers of the bookshop where I was employed at the time. She came back a few days later and commented that the book was funny and entertaining which is really all I could ask for. Then she smiled and said that there aren’t many ‘naïve’ authors that can put a story together that flows that well. I can’t remember my response but I imagine it was a slightly sarcastic ‘gee thanks!’

I later found the same reference to Richard Brautigan and I no longer felt insulted.

Like naïve artists, naïve writers are the naturals of their craft. They understand their world and are able to translate that world into an understandable concrete form, creating their visions while appearing innocent of the rules and mechanics.

Basically they either don’t know the rules or they do know them and break them.

When it comes to writing I must confess I don’t know all the rules but I do know a lot of them. Yes I am aware I break some of them and I will also admit there are probably a few I unwittingly break. But…

Wait…let’s talk about ‘but’ for a moment. It used to be that you never started a sentence with the word ‘but’.

But it’s accepted these days…as a conjunction used to coordinate two independent clauses.

But enough about ‘but’.

Unfortunately I’ve forgotten what my second independent clause was going to be which is just as well. It’s time to refresh everything I’m doing (starting with the header pic above) so I shall end this now and get back to working on some changes for this blog and my facebook pages.

Until next time…happy trails.

https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B0143ZI4W8?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070&redirectedFromKindleDbs=true

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CLUTTER CLUTTER

I admit it…I’m a pack rat.  Everything I “pack” is themed, cataloged, and semi-organized (which takes me out of the hoarder category) and I am impressed with my collections as are most of the visitors to my little world. Over the last few months I have let that damned reality slip into my life and ask the question “when is too much too much?” The answer is…probably now.

A brief summary of some of my passions…221 Alien/Predator pieces, 2850 Hot Wheels, 399 Johnny Lightnings, 327 Matchbox toys, and 200 Richard Petty collectibles. This doesn’t take into account three shelves of wolf sculpts/toys, a kazillion books and videos, two massive shelf units of vinyl music, and…well you get the idea.

I’ve run out of room.

These last few months have been difficult for a rampant collector like me. I decided that I should cut back on purchases and specialize in a couple of areas rather than continually adding to each collection and to an extent it has worked. I’ve saved a lot of money but when I walk away from a Predator figure that would look great on the shelf the “saving” part doesn’t quite smooth over the “wanting” part.

WOLVES

In the last two days I have left a department store not buying a cool wolf blanket and departed a thrift shop leaving two wolf sculpts and a framed limited edition wolf print for someone else to buy. It’s been a rough two days of second guessing and fighting the urge to get back in the car and remedy the roughness.

Cutting back has done nothing to clear the clutter of course…the only way to accomplish that is to let go of some of it.

Some will be easy. I have five guitars. I play one regularly and another one quite often. The other three just gather dust so they could go. I have doubles (in some case triples) of some of the toys I mentioned so selling them is a no-pain option…but that’s as far as the “easy” part goes. I’ve spent years building these collections and deciding what stays and what doesn’t isn’t something I want to get wrapped up in right now.

I’m going to spend this winter organizing for a yard sale but a lot of it I wouldn’t sell at yard sale prices so I’m not sure how successful that would be or even how much I would put out. Online selling doesn’t appeal to me either although it may be the only option.

I know there are people who will say just sell them, they’re only things…yes, but they’re MY things. They’re also my kids’ things and I’m not sure how any of them would feel about me selling off their inheritance. On the other hand “Die Broke” seems to be the battle cry of my generation and there’s a lot to be said for reaping my own financial reward from a lifetime of collecting. I have a feeling I’m going to be wrestling with this a lot more before I decide what to do.

I also have a feeling that my final decision will be “maintain the status quo”.

**Upon rereading this I realize I have just summarized the entire plot of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and I now understand the agony that Andy Stitzer felt while watching his collection disappear into the mail boxes.

CREATIVITY AND RAMBLIN’ AGAIN…

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One of my creative writing chairpersons once told her group that not everyone is creative and insisted that we, as writers, were the special ones. She was partially right. We are special but so are all the painters, photographers, sculptors…anyone who can take an abstract and create a concrete that can be shared and appreciated by all those who might be interested is special. As far as not everyone having latent creativity within…bull residue. Is the cat burglar who invents a way to by-pass the latest electronic security system any less creative than a poet or a painter? I think not.

Where there is thought there is creativity.  Not everyone has the ability to express their creativity in an accepted form but that falls under the heading of ‘talent’ and talent can be taught. Creativity must be nurtured without restraint within these teachings. Creativity is an abstract. So too is talent. The result of the two is concrete. A photograph, painting, or poem that could not exist without both.

Now the ramblin’….

Other than a nagging cough my cold is behind me…so too is Christmas. It was a good holiday season, family and all…good food and lots of fun with grandkids but there’s always that letdown on the 26th. It seems we build and build for Christmas Day then suddenly it’s gone. Devoid of the gifts that for weeks had promised surprise and excitement the tree now stands naked. The halls may still be decked but they’re quieter now and the turkey chills in the fridge promising a few more left-over dinners. Rather than buying each other gifts this year my wife and I decided we should treat ourselves to a new flat-screen television. The old analog is into its sixth or seventh year and it takes longer to warm up these days (as do I) so we elected to retire it to the basement. I was told by everyone that I’d spend a lot more time watching television with a new big screen but so far I can’t see many reasons why I would. The Big Bang Theory looks pretty much the same only bigger and other than Haven, the Voice and perhaps X-Factor (I’ve lost all interest in Idol), I don’t watch all that much actual television. I do like movies though and after watching one last night on the new Blue-Ray I am looking forward to seeing some of my Alien/Predator flicks on the bigger screen.

I’m now officially retired and learning to both relax and to discipline myself, in particular my time management. It’s too easy to check emails/facebook/blog in the morning then play on the computer or to sit on the couch with a cup of coffee and read. I’m just getting into Jubilee Hitchhiker, the Life and Times of Richard Brautigan by William Hjortsberg. It’s an 852 page behemoth of about 9 point text so I’m figuring I’ll be at this one for a while. I think I may have to schedule an hour or so a day just for reading although I’m not one that welcomes schedules easily…thus my time management problem.

I’ve been away from the sequel to White Wolf Moon for a week or so and I think this is a good thing. I opened up the file this morning and re-read what I’d done with a little more critical distance and there are areas that I’m not quite as comfortable with as I first thought. As for the book itself, it’s been a good two weeks. I’ve sold a few more copies and picked up four ‘likes’ on the White Wolf Moon facebook page plus had some good comments. It’s also been recommended for two book reading clubs so the book part of my life is rolling steadily along.

All in all things are shaping up quite nicely for the year ahead.

A BLUSTERY DAY….

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It’s a blustery day here, not cold though…at least not yet. Mum Nature is dressed in the latest fall colors and is teasing us with unexpected niceness. I’m sure that sister winter is behind the mountain checking her look in the mirror but for now I’ll appreciate the moment. I’d planned to rake a few leaves today but every gust drops another bushel or so onto the lawn so why bother?

Instead I’ll find something to fill my time. There are always projects around the house…cleaning, painting, repairs and the like…and I have many hobbies. I bought a 1/8 scale plastic model two years ago. It’s a 32 Ford (Big Deuce, they call it). I worked on it every spare minute for a month or so and now it sits, unfinished, on my desk in the hobby room. Standing beside it is a re-issue model of the Alien from the 1979 movie…started but not finished. I seem to start a lot of things….

The point is I always seem to be doing something. Some of it is relaxing and enjoyable yes, but I still have to be doing something.

A part of “White Wolf Moon” recounts a brief time in my life when I lived with five other people in an old house in Edmonton. On weekends we would travel to a pioneer log cabin in the hills on a property owned by the parents of one of the kids that I lived with. It was beautiful up there with rabbits, deer, and the occasional porcupine. We’d arrive with our picnic baskets and wine and spend two days without electricity or running water (save for the creek that ran through the trees and settled into a pond at the edge of the clearing). We would strum guitars and sing out old rock and folk songs around the fire in the evenings but during the day we’d find our own little corner of paradise and paint, write, work on crafts, or read. A couple of us usually ended up down by the pond stretched out in the grass with our book-of-the-moment. Mine was an old red canvas covered “Catcher in the Rye” and while I honestly don’t remember much about the book I do remember how relaxed and at ease I was. The wine probably had something to do with it but I think it was the overall atmosphere of being at one with nature and good friends that created such peace.

I think that was about the only time I wasn’t looking for something to do. I would set Holden Caulfield down in the grass, look up at the clouds and do…nothing.

I think I’m going to treat myself and try to do nothing. I’m going to upload this blog and shut the computer down for the rest of the afternoon. The television shall remain darkened during this rebellious act of personal disobedience. I have a book by another self-published BC author sitting on the end table which I really should read…tomorrow.

Today is for stretching out on the couch and doing nothing.

Okay, I’ll probably end up having a nap but that’s kind of doing nothing isn’t it?