A Thousand Words A Day

A writing journal _____________________________ PROFESSORBLOG@HOTMAIL.COM

writing: _ Christian Writers _ _ NaNo _

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

Reader, writer, podcast listener, and TV watcher. And real nice guy.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

This is the story that I have written for my next meeting of the Na No Wri Mo group. The assignment was to do one thousand to five thousand words based on a song, or related in some fundamental way to a song. So I wrote a story based on my theme song, "Child of the Wind" by Bruce Cockburn. Enjoy.ased On A Song By Bruce Cockburn

He let his senses take in all that they could. Three hundred and seventy five acres of prime Canadian wilderness. And it was all his. Some was truly wild, some had been cleared, some he even planned to work himself just for the experience of it.

Looking down from the bluff to the wide prairie below, he let his eyes move slowly until the ground and the sky crashed into each other far off in the distance. There was a similar bluff way off in the distance that he could see clear as a bell. What was that? Fifteen miles? Twenty?

To the West he heard a familiar rumble. He closed his eyes and let the sound roll over him. He loved the pounding of hooves. There was a wild ferocity to the equine form, a grace and power unmatched in the rest of creation. His eyes still shut, he though of other sounds. He loved engines that roar. He would explore every square inch of every acre on his cycle, no matter how long it took or how hard that terrain might be. This spot of real estate would be perfect if it only looked over the ocean. But God never saw fit to put prairies right next to coasts. So he had to imagine the wild music of waves on the shore. It was almost as good in his mind as it would be in reality.

He stood and stretched. God, what a sight. Off in the distance he witnessed the spiral perfection of a soaring hawk. He grabbed for the knapsack and felt for the wanted objects. He extracted a zipped plastic bag of granola and raisins and a plastic bottle of water. He smiled. Carolyn. What a woman. She lad let him sink all of the royalties into this land, moved up here with nary a complaint, and even packed him trail mix and a drink for his solitary sojourns. She was a sweet, sweet woman. He loved her to the core.

Bryce Burns had gone down some crazy paths in his day. Many of these he didn't even remember, and many others he wished he could forget. But he knew that life was full of road after road, and every day he had the responsibility to select one. They all called to him, both the roads of the world and the roads of the spirit. What he had finally realized was that the best roads of all are the ones that were unknown, that were uncharted. Three hundred and seventy five acres in the Yukon were a big unknown. But these were the dreams he wanted to pursue until the big curtain fell on his life and was politely ushered off the stage. Not just yet, Lord, he whispered to the wind. Not just yet.

His mind went back to Carolyn. His anchor. When every wind moaned across the bright diamond sky, his wife was there to tether him to reality. But she also let him go on his vision quests. Let him commune with his muse, and commune with his God. Perspective. A paradigm. That was what she gave him. Or let him find for himself. On the plains, without a soul in sight, it was easy to feel the power of being on such a little round planet in such a big universe. He always assumed that Earth was a cursed place, but Carolyn convinced him that it was blessed. It was not so much the things that he looked at, but it was more of the way she had taught him to see. He knew that his life was short, but was now able to see it as part of an eternity that was long.

Bryce Burns liked who he was. He had not always been able to say that.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Just a few more words on Cameron's book, specifically on her technique of the Writers' Walk. I like the sense of optimism and perspective that she speaks of in this technique, which is simply an open-minded, committed, and dedicated twenty minute walk. In working through my own thoughts on this, I suppose that this can not involve a treadmill, and I suppose that mall walking is also out of the question. It is pretty cold right now, so I was hoping that I could find a technique that would be usable and not too inconvenient for me. I know that things that are too easy are not valuable, so I guess that I know the answer to these hard questions. The sky, trees, birds, all of these are parts of the value of the technique, per Cameron. I would guess that my habit of wearing my Walk Man eighteen hours a day is also out of the question? Bummer.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

The third technique from Julia Cameron's book is the "Weekly Walk." As the name implies, it is a weekly walk. I know this sounds silly, but both aspects of that are important. The regularity of it all, the weekliness of it, the commitment to do this and do this in the way that she recommends is part of the commitment, and that commitment is part of what makes it a useful technique. The walk part is also critical, in that it is not the mode of transportation that we usually utilize, and is not even the mode of locomotion that we usually utilize. We are runners, we are joggers, we are bikers, we are boarders, we are skaters, but we are not as people in the twenty first century walkers. We are too fast paced and in a fast paced world, but we are not walkers. We need to walk, maybe on a park path, we need to walk, matbe through a garden, we need to walk, maybe on the outskirts of a small town, we need to walk, maybe on the back side of a golf course, but we need to walk. The conscious attempt to slow down is what this technique is about at its core. Slow slow slow slow slow. Walk walk walk walk walk. What is that expression? Run, don't walk. Well this technique tells us walk, not run.

She talks about twenty minutes being the minimum for the walk. I think that is certainly workable into my schedule. Is it too bad to work that into an exercise regiment, too? Or are we supposed to separate this and just work one on thing at a time. Does Cameron allow us to multi task? Oh, well. Cameron says that Weekly Walks hold out solutions for a variety of problems, from the emotional to the technical. She talks about emotions working their way through her, wash over her, as she engages in these walks. I wonder if I am too self aware and too task oriented to accomplish this type of result. Her talk of noticing the clouds, looking for a sense of guidance, is something I can buy. Something I can buy in someone else, that is . . . I wonder if it will work for me. I am going to take a short at these, some time soon.

W W are supposed to grant us the knowledge about what we write, how we write, and that we should write it. Again, I feel pretty comfortable with that, but maybe if I were to open myself to other ways of receiving inspiration, maybe it would be good for me. I am not one who has a very loud "muse," as it were. My muse seems to speak in the same voice that I speak to myself in. My muse is pretty much, just me, but maybe I open myself, I will hear more. Who knows? As one walks, theoretically things get worked out, one step at a time, one day at a time, one walk at a time. You walk through things, overcoming as you walk. This all sounds good, I wonder if it is true. Or to put it more charitably, I wonder if it true for me, I wonder if it will be an effective technique for me to use in my work.

This is similar to the vision quest on the Native American and the walkabout that occurs in Australia. Again, opening to the spirit is something that I can relate to, but I wonder if that can be done once a week, twenty minutes at a time. That is not the way that the Spirit moves in the way that I know the Spirit to work. But she does say that you can do this twice a week, so maybe forty minutes is enough to tap into the eternal . . . but I doubt it. But even with that aspect stripped away, the practice of the W W may have something to say for it . . . there are technical problems that can be worked out. As opposed to sleeping on it, as the cliche goes, one should walk on it, according to Cameron. Whether the problem of one of plot or one of psychology, whether it s one of characterization or one of family, whether it is one of building suspense or handling your kids, walking with the right attitude can bring resolution. It can bring peace, it can being ideas, it can bring confidence, and it can being resolution to problems. That would work for me. I hope to find all of those things, I like it. These walk will supposedly focus the thoughts and instigate breakthroughs, emotional breakthroughs, personal breakthroughs, and creative breakthroughs. I like breakthroughs, I hope to have some, I hope to have more breakthroughs. I suppose that anything that can get me closer to breakthroughs and great moments of heights, I need to go for it. There is a realm of larger thoughts and ideas out there somewhere that as an artist I would like to tap into. Speaking about this stuff reminds me of Bruce Cockburn and his "wide open sky" sort of writing and singing. Many of the things he writes about are related to this "something" that is out there that we can tie into. My writing group has an assignment that involves writing a story based on a song and I am picking a Cockburn song, so his ideas are in the forfront of my mind right now. But what he talks about in the "bright diamond sky" and being a "child of the wind" is the type of imagery that I envision in terms of taking a Writers Walk. If I can be inspired by the same things that inspre Cockburn, I am willing to walk. The key to these walks is the habit, and there is a habit of walking and talking to the great spirit and receiving from that world as you do so. I am looking forward to participating in this.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

More from Julia Cameron's book "Walking In This World." One of the things I like about the book is the subtitle: A practical guide to creativity. I like the left and right brained contradiction (or use) of practical dn creativity at the same time. One of the aspects I like about the book is the combination of groundedness and airy-ness that the book portrays. As I reported earlier, the book mentions three techniques that Cameron expounds upon more in previous books. Even though I am consiering getting those books and mining them for the details of what she is talking about, I figure that the review of what she talkes about in "W I T W" is enough for me to get the idea. I know from education that one does not truly understand something until they can explain it to another, so I am going to try to demonstrate my knowledge of the second of her three techniques by understanding it. Her first technique, "Morning Pages" was discussed in the previous blog. Here is my understanding / summary / review of her second technique, "The Artist's Date" (herein known as T A D).

T A D is a once a week, one hour at a time, expedition by yourself to explore something festive or interestig or intriguing to your artistic consciousness. She calles is "assigned play," as opposed to M P which are "assigned work." I wonder if my browsing at the library in a haphazard, let one thing lead to the other, be open to notice whatever you notice sort of way would count? She refers to art generally, including music, the graphic arts, as well as the writing arts, and I do wonder if this particular tip would apply solely to the writer specifically and not the entire genre of the artist. But I will explore the tip more fully before I am ready to finally pass judgment on the technique. She does specifically talk about this tip as a way of gathering images, which I guess I could transfer into gathering ideas and gathering dialog bits and gathering plot devices and gathering knowledge via research. But it is supposed to be fun, and there is supposed to be a serendipitous aspect of this as well. To create, we have to dip into our reservoir of images (and again I would expand that definition to include such things as dialog bits, ideas, plot twists, fragments, pictures, expressions) and that we need to fill that up in order to have a pool from which to draw when we need to. It is an interesting idea, and I wonder if it would require a bit of a change of my button down, organized, accountant style mind. But of course maybe that style of thinking and lving and being is what has held me back and made me cautious about my writing and changing that would be a powerful influence on me to increase the quality and quantity of my writing, to say nothing about the confidence I feel regarding my work. Again, she refers to it as play, although she notes that since it is play it does not follow that it can be ignored because it lacks seriousness.

The technique is designed to open the mind to an awareness of what is around us and what is available for our use. She talks about what I spoke of before, that synchronicity picks up when T A D is employed. She refers to it as an uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time. I do this at libraries often, browsing aimlessly and finding things that are helpful. I wonder if the Internet could be used in the same way for the same manner. She wants other things involved in these A D's, but it would be a struggle for me to seek out and find other modes of participating in T A D's. But if I commit to it, then I need to find other ways than libraries to do this, and then of course I also need to make sure that my trips to the libraries and / or bookstores are determined as T A D's or non T A D's beforehand. In other words, I make 5 trips a week to libraries and / or bookstores to do things that seem like T A D,s, so I need to make sure that I change those trips into more task oriented and fixed on doing particular things, and then save my browsing and serendipitous moments for those once-a-week trips when I have an hour and I determine before the fact that this particular trip qualifies as T A D.

She expects reactions like mine, inthe sense that she recognizes that there will be self sabotage and that there will be resistance. This is the kind of real life work that I appreciate in Cameron's book. She recognizes that we walk in this world, and not some crazy plain in the ethereal and ephemeral and super spiritual, but that where we walk is THIS world. Our inner artist, to use her words, is greedy and volatile and vulnerable and is subject to easy distraction and easy discouragement. It wants to be nurtured and cared for in an undivided manner, when there are other things that it needs in order to prosper in the long run. According to Cameron, T A D is one technique that allows that inner voice to speak loud and clear to you in a manner that it desires. So for one day a week you can give this voice the undivided attention it requres and the outlet for all it has to say to you. It will speak to you of dreams and difficualites all a variety of other things that we would rather not think of. But they are valuable, as well the positive and helpful and guiding things that will be spoken.

I need to work out the details and maybe even read more about this one, but I am intrigued, and I considering it.

Monday, February 10, 2003

I am working my way through the book "Walking In This World" by Julia Cameron. So far I find it an interesting mix of the philospphical / spiritual and teh practical. Some books go way too far one way or the other, so you are either pulling apart a single sentence or paragraph to find the exact write way to express a thought and are givn seven great tips for outlinging or whatever, then there are a huge number of books that focus on the inner writing life, the zen mysticism of creativity and that stuff. I believe that both of those views have shreds of validity, but what I like about this book is the mixture of the two. The whole zen stuff that Natalie Goldberg is into (not an exageration or a swipe or a sly reference to vaguely New Age thoughts . . . she actually refers to it directly as zen buddhism, so I trust her that that is what it is) does not do it for me. I believe in God and His creation and that we can express part of His character by being creative ourselves, but she goes out a little too far on the limb for me. But it is a stretch for meto read those things and so I do. There are few good Christian (as opposed to general religious or more or less universalist) books on writing out there, at least that is my impression. I need to check out a Christian book store for titles, then run them through the public library catalog to see if I can get them . . . assuming any exist. But this book talks about a living Creator who more closely resembles to God that I know that other books do, so I am pretty pleasantly surprised by the spiritual aspects. They do not seem to out of left field. Of course, I am an accountant by trade and training, so most things seem out of left field to me.

Among the disciplines that Cameron proopses are three: Morning pages (every day), Artist's dates (once per week), and Writing walks (also once per week minimum, but additional times are allowed). I will address these either in this blog today or in future ones. In addition, the book has a number of little tests and writing exercises that I will explore today or at some other point.

I suppose that Morning pages are the best place ot start in this regard, as they are similar to other techniques I know about and are the most familiar to my mindset, so I have already figured out what I think and feel about this as a technique. As the name implies, this is the notion of writing the very first thing you do in the day. She refers to it as a "brain drain," as in getting out of your brain the junk you wake up with. She says that they serve to prioritize, clarify, and ground the activities of the coming day. This may be a little too spiritual (in a New Age way) for me, but I understand what she is getting at. Conceptually, I like it, and I will put it on the back burner, but I may revisit it. I like the notion of doing this "first thing" when it is quiet.

Cameron describes the techniques in more detail evidently in other books she wrote previously, so I may need to get those in order to catch the full import of what she is saying and the particular manner in which she recommends that this be done. The purpose is to do a free write, writing about anything to get the juices flowing and get something written. I like it in the sense that it is in the same spirit as this blog and so may work into this format well. Not a big stretch, and probably do able in the family circumstance I am in now. It would take discipline, but it would give me one (two, if you count it as a double-dip for this blog) thing off of the list really early. Cameron recommends heartily and strongly that Morning pages be done by hand, but of course I could then transcribe them into this blog). I like the effect this blog has had on my ability to free write, and I think that a techniques like Cameron describes and proposes and pushes could be effective. Like I said, let me back burner it for a little while before committing. This blog has been tough enough to do (even though I do think I am probably just over 50%, but I am NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT going to go back and count up and check that number. My goals is five a week, and I am not going to be satisfied until I am at that goal. If a Morning Page routine can help me achieve that and not be an additional commitment, then it may work. I am still letting it jump around my brain for the time being. I am not sure that I am interested in finding the inner teacher that Cameron says I will find, but I like it as a technique, and even if I don't do it "her way" I am still doing it, right?

She recommends three pages of stream of consciousness work, but gives no idea as to how long (in word count) that actually is. Based literally on paper size, front and back issues, and writing size, this could actually make a difference. I know I am being picky, but again that is my personality. I like to know what I am getting into on a specific basis and have goals that are spelled out. I am thinking that a thousand words, or close to it, would count. Front and back of a single sheet of memo pad is about six hundred to seven hundred pages, so maybe that is what I can shoot for. But I have not committed, so don't push me!

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Very enjoyable writing group meeting on Tuesday. I think we had six there: Mae, Michelle, Amy, Me, Alison, and Caithlyn. I think I have everyone's name right. I thing I am pretty close, and I do not think that I forgot anyone. I think that makes for three holdovers from the six (maybe it was five) people who showed up last time. Now for a true test of memory . . . Tim and Heather (and Kris, so maybe it was six and not five after all) were at the last one and not at this one. Mae, Allison, and Caithlyn were not at the last one. Of course, all of these people were at the one in December to celebrate the end of Na No Wri Mo, so I recognized them all from there. It is a little easier for them to know me, because there are so few guys, while it is a little tougher for me to get names straight for the ladies, because there are so many! It is similar to my philosophy of learning names in classes . . . learn the guys names first, because there are fewer, then work through the girls. I don't think it is sexist, I think it is practical.

We worked on the whisper exercise as described in the previous day's blog. We all wrote for thirty minutes or so and then read our writings out loud. Last time, we read each other's writings, but of course this time they were chicken scratched out in thirty minutes by hand, so the ligibility issue seemed legitimate, as well as the issue of maybe dropping out a word or two and punching up the grammar as you go. So we read a range of things, which was fun. The point of the exercise is that even starting with a similar or even identical jumping off point, a group of writers will head different directions. That realization led us into a discussion of "first line" contests, which I mentioned here recently and which one of the gals in the group (maybe Amy, maybe Caithlyn) mentioned she found in a writers magazine that Borders has. Not the Writer or Writers' Digest, maybe it was Writers' World, but that does not sound right, either. Anyway, the magazine had a number of contests, including some of the "first line" variety. I mentioned the "First Line" magazine that I had seen, and we all agreed that this type of exercise would make for a good one for us in the future some time. I am sticking with the ones for the other mag, so I hope we do not get into too much of a conflict on that score. The group seems pretty open to the variety of experiences that we will all bring to the group and not be too terribly legalistic about this all.

We decided to keep having regular assignment for the meeting. This time we need to do one thousand to five thousand words based on a song or a piece of music. I am leaning toward using Bruce Cockburn's "Child of the Wind," which I consider my theme song. I have gone to the Bruce Cockburn Project web site, which includes all of Cockburn's lyrics and all of his recorded comments upon those songs. It is a neat web site, and I was able to grab the lyrics to "Child of the Wind" from it. I am leaning towards something like a conversation between a man and his wife maybe, explaining his philosophy. Or a story where every paragraph starts with the next line form the song. Or maybe something like that. It is a great song, a great message, and comes from a really great character. I think that my interpretation of this version of Cockburn's expressions could make for a good story. Or I could be as uncreative as possible and write some other story with the song in the background. I will have to decide this in the next few weeks or so, so I can begin the actual thinking of the story and then of course the actual writing of the story will follow that.

Anyway, we will have regular writing assignments, but we may not always go over them as part of the actual meeting. For example, this time, I brought my assignment, as did others, but we did not go over them in the meeting. Instead, we passed them around to someone willing to read them for crit purposes. I switched with Allison, who also sent hers to other for reading. This is good, because I have no experience in a crit group, and do not know how to approach this. Here I am, a professional educator who grades things for a living, and I am concerned about my ability to give good criticism. It is a little odd, I suppose. Most people would be concerned about receiving criticism, and here I am concerned about giving it. Oh well, I have her story on my list of things to do this weekend, and I will get to it soon. Then I have to figure out what to right and how to express it and how to get it to her in a reasonable way. Not too tough, not too easy. I am looking to this writers' group as a learning experience, and I see my ability as a crit group member one of the things that I have to learn. I look forward to it, and expect the group to react to my nascent abilities in this area with understanding and grace.

I like the way the group is shaping up. We will be mostly a social group in terms of the monthyl meetings, meeting for encouragement, updates, assignments, and so forth. The heavy duty work will probably be done outside of the meetings, through the Yahoo! site and crit meetings. But all of this will be done in the context of the group itself and as part of the larger group. I think that that is important. I have high hopes for this group.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

This is the story that I wrote as part of the "Whisper Exercise" we did at the writers' group this month. This is the assignment where you listen in on someone's conversation and create a story about that. In my case, since it was relatively quiet in the book store, I wandered around just looking for someone interesting, and wrote on them. So after about 5 minutes of observing a young lady reading through four books on writing business plans, I spent thirty minutes writing this: Enjoy.

Oh God, I have got to get out of this place. Actually, not this exact place, I don’t mean this bookstore. I mean I have got to get out of my life. The bookstore is not so bad. I have my cute little orange cell phone, a caramel mocha from the café, and my heroine Gwen Stefani empowering my through the pillowy soft head phones.

I know that I could just buy the four books. I know that, but that is the point. The books are going to tell me how to make enough scratch so I can afford the books next time I need them. Of course, by then I won’t need to buy the books, because the wisdom I can glean from them tonight will be enough to –

Stop! Deep breath, girl, deep breath. Chill out. Memo for next time: Get decaf caramel mocha!

I stretched my legs tight, feeling the muscles pull against themselves. I shook my head one way, then the other. Shake it out, shake it out. You have got to do this, girl.

Yellow legal pad, check. Two new blue ink pens, check. Four books about writing business plans, check. Dreams of untold riches, check. Dreams of success, check. Dreams of getting out of my little rat hole apartment, check. Dreams of getting out of my rat hole relationship with a rat hole boyfriend, check. Dreams of getting out of my rat hole life, check.

So here I am. I spread out the books in front of me on the little table. Come on, wisdom, just jump on out and into my brain. I need you now. Really, how hard can it be to start a new business? Martha Stewart is not that much smarter than me. And how about those burned out hippies, Ben and Jerry? You have got to be freaking kidding me. And I am not going to even mention Orville Reddenbacher.

Okay, first I need an idea. An idea, an idea, an idea. I tap the coffee cup with a pen in rhythm with “Ex Boyfriend.” Sing it, Gwen, sing it.

It is not like I am looking for a huge money making idea, like Velcro or that guy at that company in that place that invented those yellow stickie notes. I’m just shooting for something more like those grippers you put on pencils and pens to make them comfy. That cannot be so hard to do.

An unmet need. That is what I need to find. Ah, here it is. I tapped the paragraph in the second book that caught my eye. “Is there anything in your day to day existence that you wish were different?” Other than an apartment and a boyfriend, I suppose they meant. “Have you ever said to yourself, ‘What I need is a - - - but it did not exist? That is an idea for a business.” I thought about this advice, trying to make heads or tails of it. Then I waited for the lightning bolt. And I waited. And I sipped some mocha. And I waited. Where was my inventor’s lightning rod?

The bolt from the blue never came. Drearily, I packed up my stuff and headed back out of the store. You know, when it really gets down to it, my apartment is not that bad. I actually have a decent job, all things considered. I don’t hate my work and I have health insurance. Just between you and me, Barry is not even that bad a guy. I sighed heavily. Well, I suppose a girl has got to dream, right?

So that ws the exercise that I wrote. I do not think that it is that bad, all things considered. I like having these assignments, both at the meetings and between them. I never took a creative writing class, so this is my time with a variety of exercises. It is not what I would have selected for myself, but that is probably the point of joining a group. I will write more about the group and what we did and where it is going later. Now I want to move on to an update of my academic writing.

I sent my completed, finished paper off to the journal that has agreed to publish it. They needed four copies and the paper on diskette. The problem was finding a diskette mailer that I could send off in the envelope with the copies. I know that does not sound too terribly difficult, but it was tougher than you may imagine. And of course I am convinced that I did not use the proper format and that it will still be rejected. I am not counting any of those chickens until thay hatch and will not believe that it will be published until I see it in black and white. But I finished it and it is done and sent off. Next week I need to send the paper to the reviewer at the conference who will discuss my paper after I present it. Then I am set and I can relax for a bit, just waiting for the publication. Well not exactly, now that i think of it. I still have to prepare a presentation. In finance, we don't just read the papers as is done in some disciplines, we prepare a presentation -- ten minutes or so. The only trick of that is knowing whether they have PowerPoint or not, or an overhead or not, so you have to overprepare. I am currently underprepared for that part of the assignment.

Monday, February 03, 2003

I am either a complete moron or a complete computer imbecile. It is hard to know which. I spent the weekend putting the finishing touches on a Na No Wri Mo excerpt for my writing group tomorrow, an excerpt I was also going to send off today to Bow Wow magazine, a journal which solicited Na No exceprts on the Na No forum page. So, I found a nice four thousand to five thousand word section, printed it out, went over it with a fine tooth comb and a red pen, witrh the merciless attitude of an editor. Then, I made all of the formatting changes they requested for the mag, relating to info on the top page and page numbers and word count. Then, I made all the requisite corrections and saved it on my disk. Then, I even wrote a nice letter explaining my submission as a Na No excerpt, which was for a specific issue of the mag they had planned related to Na No. Anyway, then I got to work today to print it out on a nice computer, and well la de da the disk was blank. Just empty. Completely, freaking empty. I am such a tool. I know, what's the big deal, you ask, just put it on your disk today and send it out. What is the big deal, you whiny whiny person! I know, that sounds like it makes sense, but I don't get home until 10 pm tonight (more whining, I know) and I would rather not have to power up the stupid computer just for five minutes work. It is more the principle of the thing, having forgotten it or screwed it up or something, than anything that is a real problem. Except that it was already a few days late, and another day will not do my submission any good. This is the first literary submission I have ever done, so forgive me if I am a little nutsy cuckoo over it.

Also . . . more whining coming up. The time this weekend that was not spent working on my Na no excerpt was working on finishing up and formatting my academic paper which has won an award and which is scheduled to be published in the summer or fall. Well, I finished it up, paid strict attention to all of the minutae that they wanted on the submission, which this time included four copies and a disk with the file. Again, no problem, i will just toss the file on to a disk at home and print it out today on nice paper and even scrounge around for a mailing packet for the disk to protect it in the U S Mail system. Well, again, it was not on the disk. Am I a moron, or did I just imagine doing this, or am I a complete computer loser? Any of these are possibilities, and I am not leaning one way or the other at this point. At least this one had not passed its deadline, so it is not as big a deal as the one above. It was just the second bonehead news event of the day. Or maybe I can pull them together in my mind to just be one, single, undivided bonehead move. Maybe that will make me feel better. It is worth a shot.

So tonight I need to make sure for sure for sure for sure (which I thought I had done yesterday, but who is going to quibble) that the files are on the right disks and print them out here tomorrow. I need to mail them both -- althought I can save two minutes and snag envelopes here today and address them. Big freaking whoop! I still need to find that diskette holder, protection device. But that is not as time sensitive as the Bow Wow paper, because the academic paper has a few more weeks before the deadline. But I still hope to impress them with my punctuality and get it in WELL in advance. That way if there are any problems (like, I don't know, maybe the files not being on the disk!) I can fix them and still beat the deadline. But the other needs to go out ASAP and I need to make a few copies for my comrades at the writers group tomorrow night. Last time I did not bring copies and it was a bit of a problem. Reading them out loud (or having them read out loud) was a good thing, but it would have been nice to have given them something to look at and follow along. Some did, some did not. I did not. I want to this time.

Judging from the emails and postings on the group site on Yahoo (a nice feature, by the way) some may not have much to bring. I am cheating maybe a little in bringing an excerpt, although a re written excerpt. So I do not think that is as bad. We were supposed to write something one to five thousand words long, and since writing is all about rewriting, then I am judging that rewriting counts to. Or maybe I am in the "it depends what the meaning of the word is, is" mode of legalistic thinking. But no I think it's cool. It was a Na No group, so presenting some of my Na No novel has to be acceptable.

It is up in the air what the rest of the group will do, from this point forward. I like the idea of having some general assignments. I would like sometihng open enough to let me work on one of those "First Lines" stories I mentioned some time ago. I missed the February 1 deadline, but that first line did not seem so hot, anyway. So I did not miss much. But I hope to get something written for the May 1 deadline. I don't have the exact wording at my fingertips right now, but I remember it was something I could work with.