Stephen King, Part 2

After first one line and another, I left Barnes & Noble and got more coffee and something to eat, ran a few errands and then arrived back at the bookstore to stand in my third line of the day.

And this is where the confusion of the whole multiple-line process came to fruition.  For me, anyway.  I was 102nd in line, but due to some confusion, #101 didn’t show up by the time the doors opened.  #101 was a lovely woman from Chico, and we’d had a nice time getting to know each other while standing in Lines 1 and 2, but alas, she’d gone back to her motel room to take a shower and The Line waits for no woman.

I got in and managed to get a chair facing the podium so I was quite tickled with my luck.  I didn’t realize it at the time, however, but the man in front of me had ridiculously broad shoulders and the need to record the event.  Every.  Single.  Second.  With progressively larger electronic devices that he held to one side so I had to not only crane around the shoulders, but the iPad-enhanced block head.  I probably would have been better off standing, but damn it, I had worked hard for a seat and I wasn’t giving it up.

For nearly two hours we waited.  Around me was revealed fandom of increasingly horrifying proportions.  People were live-tweeting.  A man cruising up and down the center aisle was revealed to be the creator of a Dark Tower-centric website.  Stephen King t-shirts were the norm.  Me?  I just wished I hadn’t had that second cup of coffee.

I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and asked the Tweeter next to me if he would save my seat while I hunted down a restroom.

I cruised the perimeter of the room and perused the huge crowd.  I found #101 leaning against a bookshelf in a pretty darn sweet location – there was no broad-shouldered dude blocking her view.

I did my thing in the ladies’ room and came out to find a security-type planted in front of the men’s room.  Across the narrow hall from the man in black, a woman leaned against the wall.

“Pssst,” she said, gesturing to me.  “Come stand here with me.”

I figured I’d at least get closer and see what she had to say.  Her eyes were a little crazy, but it had been a long morning.  I stood next to her.

“Why are we standing here?”  I whispered, leaning toward her.

“He’s. In. There,” she whispered, gesturing to the men’s room door.  Her eyes got a little crazier.

I looked at the man standing in front of the bathroom door.  I looked at the woman standing next to me.  And I shrugged.

“I’m sorry,” I said, pushing myself from the wall.  “I’m just not that kind of fan.”

And I returned to my seat. 

To be continued…

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Stephen King, Part 1

Through the miracle of the internet, and Twitter, in particular, I recently had the opportunity to get a chance to see Stephen King at a reading in Reno.

Really.  That’s what it was like.  There was an announcement that Stephen King would be at the local Barnes & Noble, and, on a certain date, at a certain time, you had to send an e-mail to get into a drawing to get an invitation to get in line with 200-400 other yahoos.

So I sent off my e-mail and got my invitation (which I had to bring with me to the store).

Now, bear in mind that I’m not a crazy Stephen King fan.  I’m just your run-of-the mill Stephen King fan.  I’ve read, and enjoyed, some of his work.  There’s a whole lot I haven’t read, but “On Writing” I’ve read and re-read multiple times.  It’s in that book that I think his personality comes through most strongly, and as a person, I find him funny and entertaining.

So I decided that though I had gotten the opportunity with fairly half-assed enthusiasm, I would at least follow through like a bigger fan than I was.

I was at Barnes & Noble well before the doors opened at 8:00, lined up with the other fans, rabid and otherwise.  And rabid there was.  There was a woman with her nails done with Stephen King cover art, to include a portrait of the great man.  The woman first in line had gotten there at 3:00 a.m.  People had driven hours to get there, as opposed to my measly 20 minutes.  Everyone around me was from out-of-state, some as far as Utah and Washington.  And I only saw one person I knew, which was strange.  Reno’s not that big.

So there was the first line.  I was 102nd in line.  We got through the door and there was another line, this time to buy the book.  I didn’t actually GET the book – I just bought the opportunity to get an autographed copy.  And then we were free to leave until we had to come back and line up again at 11:00.  For a talk that started at 1:00. 

To be continued…


Crossword Puzzles – Not Just For Sunday Morning Coffee

As one ages, one starts to worry about one’s mental faculties (and one starts to refer to oneself in the third person).  To that end, I’ve taken to doing a daily crossword puzzle on my iPad.  They might be New York Times puzzles, but if they are, it’s sure not the Sunday puzzle – I can usually do one in about 30 minutes.

I figure it’s a good investment of time and interestingly, I’m also finding that the exercise is trickling over to my writing.  A crossword puzzle is an excellent way to think about different words meaning the same thing (what’s the word for that?) or, on the flip side, the many different meanings a word can have. That’s got to help a writer, right?

One of the exercises I did in an on-line editing workshop involved writing a poem and then re-writing it using different words.  Suddenly, a thesaurus is a beautiful thing.  Mental exercises like that will help my writing now and help my mental acuity well into my, well, gee, 80s?


Twitter — #yesforrealz

So, I’m on Twitter now.  And I have 28 followers!  Yeah, I don’t get too excited about that either.  They’re mostly local businesses, politicians, and writers or musicians trying to sell me something.

I follow local news and weather, as well as local and not so local authors, editors, actors, and musicians I like, writing-related feeds, the Royals, and the Ducks.  Then there are the guys who just post funny stuff.  I wish I could find more of them because the news can be overwhelmingly depressing.

The immediacy of Twitter is what fascinates me.  I hear about stuff very quickly.  And a little exclusively, which I like.  My own personal news feed, it’s becoming my main source for news.  Or at least a jumping off point for follow up.  If something shows up in my feed, then I move on to a bigger news site.

When there was the wildfire threatening my boss’s neighborhood, the fire department was tweeting updates, which I then texted to the boss because his information was out of date.

And if I don’t like someone’s info, I can just quit following them.  For instance, I don’t follow CNN, but I do follow people who comment on the news of the day.  So they’re like my news filters.  For instance, two people tweeted about the shootings in Dallas, not specifically mentioning it, but referencing it, so I was curious and looked into it.  I didn’t start my day with death and destruction.  I started my day with Prince George sitting in a vintage airplane and Prince Charles sitting on a vintage motorcycle.

And sometimes, a little nugget lands that turns into a whole big-ass event for me, as evidenced by the fact that I got to see Stephen King, in person!  More on that later.

Follow me @NevadaNerd.  Or not.


Rejected

Finally, after over six months, the rejection arrived.  Because it took so long, and the reading period ended months ago, I wasn’t surprised.  But it still hurts.  I thought the piece was a perfect fit.  I thought I had a bit of an “in” with the editor.  I thought my story was brilliant.

And yet…

I’ll be researching new markets and re-submitting in a few weeks.

Such is the life of a writer.  And this was only flash fiction.  Imagine a novel.  I’m still trying to imagine COMPLETING a novel.

#amwriting #amediting #amrejected


Eschew Obfuscation

This is my motto. It’s a core philosophy adopted in college some 30-odd years ago, and still declared on my Road ID.

I’ve always interpreted the phrase to mean “Keep things clear,” and it’s been a part of my life for so long, I take that meaning in every aspect of my life, from writing, to work, to relationships.

To me it means I should be clear in my goals, clear in my wants and desires, and don’t depend on someone else’s interpretation of my meaning.

It’s a useful tool in storytelling, when one is outlining and sketching out the bare bones of a story. I have come to learn, however, that a lot of depth and color of setting and character is lost with that classic “Just the facts, ma’am” mindset. So eschew, but don’t eschew too much.

In my personal life, being clear has meant the difference between an evening at a loud bar in uncomfortable shoes and bra, and cozied up with a good book on the couch in fuzzy pants. “I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want.”

And just to be clear (see what I did there?), this is what MS Word’s thesaurus says about these two simple words that have been governing my life for so long:

Eschew

Eschew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obfuscation:

Obfuscation

 

 

 

 

 

Clear as mud, no?

Avoid complication, shun confusion, and steer clear of smokescreens. All good mottos for life.

Gawd, I was BRILLIANT when I was 18…


So Many Projects, So Little Focus

Actually, that’s not really true. Yes, I have a lot of projects piled up around here. But when I’m working on a particular project, I’m very focused and it consumes me.

My problem isn’t lack of ideas.  My problem is carrying those ideas through creation, editing, and finally, completion.

Some people would say that I should focus on just one project and get the darn thing done. In a perfect world, I would do that. But I quite obviously don’t work in a perfect world. I’m currently bogged down in the minutiae of the middle grade project, and it gives me a break from frustration to work on one of these romances. I’m taking some of the solutions to problems I’m having with Project A and using them in Projects B and C. Project D is in an extremely rough phase and I plan to use lessons learned in the other projects to avoid those same problems completely in Project D.

I’ve lived with these projects for many years and know I’ll eventually get back to all of them. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the process. While a nice big contract is an admirable goal, it’s the journey that’s half the fun, right? RIGHT?!?