Workbook 6 | March: Ramping Up

Hello, Spring. You’ve been missed. And I’ve been busy. Sorta. Been a while since I’ve done one of these so let’s get right to it.

Current Project: Comeback

  • The past month or so has been devoted to making a comeback in a couple of different ways. A kind of rebirth. Emerging from the dark cold winter with a better outlook on what it is I’m supposed to be doing with whatever talents I may have as a writer and musician. I’m addressing the writer aspect first.
  • First and foremost, I had to upgrade my primary computing and writing device with a new laptop. That was done about a month ago. Updated hardware and software, crucial tools for working smarter, not harder.

Current Project: Ruckerpedia

  • Creating a self-publishing venue for my writing – that’s currently underway as I put together the all-new Ruckerpedia: The Magazine & Archive of yours truly, which will house all of my fiction, poetry and lyrics – old and forthcoming.
  • In the process of the just mentioned, this particular blog became rebranded as simply my name dot com.
  • Currently shopping around for the perfect WP theme to use for a site that is essentially a magazine.
  • I’ve found the what appears to be the perfect WP theme for the new Ruckerpedia magazine site.

Upcoming Project: TBA Music Website

  • Will create another website that will house all of my recorded music, old and forthcoming. Will probably tackle this in earnest toward the beginning of next month after I’ve fully launched the new Ruckerpedia.

Upcoming Projects: Serialized Fiction

  • Soon I’ll be discussing this in greater detail, but I’ve always been interested in (and probably best suited for) writing episodic fiction. Once the new Ruckerpedia venue is in place the endless potential for producing long fiction in small, serialized stanzas and chapters will be more of a reality.

Upcoming Collaborative Projects: TBA

  • Currently in talks with a couple of collaborative partners for two different projects. It’s too early for details as those are still being conceptualized, but both will play into my urge to produced serialized fiction. One of the creative partners is someone I’d been teasing working with on this very website for the past year. The other is a childhood friend and someone I’ve collaborated with in the past on a musical project of ours. This particular type of collaboration is something we should have done forever ago.

Resurrected Project ?: Novel Series (Codenamed: Blood-Borne)

  • Finally decided to share some of what I’ve written over the past 6.5 years with a writer friend just to see how it connects. The good thing is in reviewing those measly 6000 words or so prior to sharing them with her, I was struck by how much I’m still in love with those words I written a few years ago and how at this point they required very minimal refinement in the re-reading. Whenever I can truly commit to this sleeping beast of a novel (series), I thankfully won’t have to look backward and can simply boogie on ahead. But as I write this I still anxiously await my friend’s response to the material.

Next Month

  • Finalize, populate with content and launch the new Ruckerpedia upon an unsuspecting world
  • Hammer out the details on collaborative works.
  • Get my musical affairs in order for the coming year.
  • Keep on task and stay busy, stay productive, etc.
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Lifebook 3 | Indecision & Creative Inertia

Months on end now, since the waning days of last summer, I had been battling what can only be described as typical Libran indecisiveness, which in turn leads to stasis and creative inertia. Write that much coveted all-American novel? Write short stories? Earnestly try to finally break into writing comics and graphic novels – which believe it or not is harder to than getting a novel published these days. Or simply say goodbye to fiction for a while and simply focus on journalism and blogging, which have become so much easier to do. Needless to say it was a very low point for me in terms of my muse and actual productive writing, but also just before my musical activities had ramped up.

As Autumn had begun to transition into Winter, I’d convinced myself that it was probably best if I go on indefinite writing hiatus and focus all of my creative energies into my band and other musical projects in the works. At the time I had also come to realize that quite simply and rather bluntly: I was a lazy coward not built for the misery that comes with writing prose fiction, in general, and novel-length fiction in particular. Added to that were the demands for solitude a writer requires, especially of book-length fiction. That’s simply something I cannot answer to currently – I have a day job and a family that has school-aged children. But also, and I’m not quite sure what happened, or when it happened, but I’ve surmised that my recent years of, first being a short fiction editor, then going from that to focusing on pop culture journalism and other regular non-fiction writing activities, all if that has perhaps had a certain adverse effect on my passion for the grind of writing prose fiction. I am the classic case of the writer being obsessed with stories, yet not obsessed enough with the selection of words with which to tell them, or at least not the whole process of that task. During that time, I had essentially said to a writer friend that writing non-fiction is so easy because it’s easier to master the truth of reality (objective) than the lies of fiction (subjective). Not to mention that in recent years I’ve had a preference for reading and writing microfiction. Yet still it seemed I’d become timid as well, afraid of my own muse and afraid to fall short of the lofty goals I’d had set for myself.

Apparently I need to write when I am the least bit or not even concerned with external approval and validation. Simply writing for the love and fun of creation and storytelling. When I am not anticipating an audience at all, aside from myself and perhaps some select reader friends, there’s probably a whole lot less anxiety involved.

All that said, I’ve had plenty of time to mull this crap over and here’s what I’ve come to realize: I’m not going to – I can’t – stop being a writer, despite music being my original and primary love and artistic purpose. Even while on hiatus from writing I continue to dream up characters and stories. And I’d never abandon the best of my old ideas, and new ones arrive like always, even if at a reduced rate of frequency in recent times since my mind and creativity have obviously been elsewhere of late.

Well, now I’ve reemerged from that period of stasis and I have a lot of work to do. There’s a plan and new mode of operating I’ve put in place to help better facilitate productive writing. But I’ve rambled on long enough, so I’ll leave this at to be continued for now . . .

Talk more later.

The Evening Muse 4 | Tick-Tock

As we entered Daylight Savings Time this past week and gave up an hour of our lives to Spring forward, I was reminded that I have a strange – or more specifically, strained – relationship with time. I have often felt an unending urge to beat time, somehow, someway. There has always been this ticking clock in the back of my mind, pushing me forward with an incessant urgency to get certain things done, as if I am acutely aware that life is terribly fleeting, that our life force is an elusive, unmanageable thing. It’s not like we can ever truly master or control time. We cannot reverse time to put hours, days, weeks, years back on the clock. The day we’re born is the day we start dying. We don’t get do-overs, we can’t time-travel (yet!) and we do not have the power of pause. Temporal stasis is a science-fiction theory at best (for now). This is why Father Time is a cagey mad bastard who remains undefeated.

Tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock!

Link

New Book: Lost Storm Rider | A Novel by Jennifer Macaire

Jenny Mac is back!

In April, the sequel to Riders of the Lightning Storm will be out! Get ready to continue the adventure! And here (drumroll….) is the new cover!

“…featuring an intimately detailed plot, Horse Passages is very highly recommended as action/adventure science fiction novel and an altogether entertaining read.” — Midwest Book Review 

You can get Book 1 of this YA digital novel series directly from the publisher Evernight Teen or via your Kindle at Amazon.

Source: New Cover!

Lifebook 2 | Sugar Detox

It wasn’t that long ago, that fateful day. The day I was diagnosed as diabetic – onset of the disease diabetes mellitus. 6.1.13. The day I went to the ER with severe lethargy, dry mouth, unquenchable thirst and a frequent urination schedule. Actually I was quite beyond just the mere onset of the disease, I was into what’s called ketoacidosis – my blood sugar was 615. So, yeah, essentially I was one step away from a very imminent stroke, and maybe another step or two from death. I had no clue.

Since that near-death-event, there have been some ups and downs, the likely kind that comes with a tricky, almost now you see now you don’t kind of disease. After onset it’s known to present 1 to 2 “honeymoon periods” where it seems to go into a kind of temporary remission. I’ve had 2, maybe 3 of those periods. Initially I was diagnosed in the ER as Type 1, I suspect mainly because of how high my blood sugar was and what it took – 3 days – to get me down to an acceptable level that they could trust me to return home with my family. Later that year as things leveled out to the point where I didn’t need insulin injections, I realized Type 1 was a misdiagnosis because clearly my pancreas was still producing enough insulin to keep me in the hundreds, nowhere near that ridiculous ketoacidosis state (it can’t be stressed enough how I dodged a bullet by not succumbing to the worse while at a blood sugar level beyond the 600 range). Last year when I finally got my blood work done (long story), that particular physician confirmed Type 2. A year later, though, I’m not sure what is actually going on.

I won’t bore any of you with the day-to-day diabetic plight I’ve dealt with these last 33 months, and I wrote all of the above to write the following:

I need a sugar detox!

Not just to better appease my diabetic condition. It’s also simply because sugar is a drug, and we’re all addicts to it, really. Last Summer, in the month of August I had managed to kick all sugar-laden food for about a good two weeks or so. I was fairly hardcore about it. And then like a quitter I got frustrated that I was putting in so much effort and not immediately seeing the results I wanted to see (weight loss, mainly) that I threw in the towel, thinking damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

I need to go cold turkey again. Obviously I know the body needs some sugar – the good kind —  but I just need to detox my system before starting a strict regimented diet where moderation and portion control is more feasibly achieved. I always like to earmark major activities with a specific, predetermined date if I can, and I’ve thought I may go with the first day of Spring (March 20th). Then a thought came to me: April 1st – April Fool’s Day. The day that would signify what a fool I would be if I didn’t commit to this major lifestyle change and stick with it, or more accurately a modified version of it, after a 2-week moratorium.

So that’s the plan, a gradual weening from sugar, carbs and empty calories the remaining time leading up until April 1st (a Friday) before I go into nutritional monk mode.

We’re actually looking to make it a household event. Ah, but those stubborn kids are rebellious and resistant, aren’t they?

It will be fun.

The Morning Muse 8 | Madness

I’m convinced that the madness of the artist is a real and true thing, indeed.  It’s probably nothing short of an affliction, a psychosis kind of disease that’s devoid of a cure.  The symptoms of said disease are not overtly noticeable.  They are internal, within the mind.  An artist suffering from it can smile perfectly and laugh while in the company of others, but inside tells another story.  What are the symptoms?  I’ll tell you mine.  One moment I can be high as a kite on how I feel about my writing or music making.  The next moment I’m awash with negative thoughts of being a fraud with no right to call myself a writer or musician.

The psychosis and plight of the writer is: he most wants to write during times when he is most not able to do so, say like while at work or on the road traveling from destination to destination.

It’s madness. And it’s a madness.

Lifebook 1 | Belated New Year’s Brief

Hello! And, um, Happy New Year!?!?

Yeah, I know, I’m really late. I guess it’s been a long minute since I’ve posted a proper update. A New Year has come and gotten well underway since the last time I discussed my life activities, or confessed in stark detail my ongoing creative struggles – or what I like to call the Writer’s Plight. The latter I will get into more this coming week, and the former I will touch on in this quick rundown of notable events this year so far:

January 3rd – New Guitar

2016-01-13 00.07.05Started the new year off with a instrumental acquisition: a 2015 Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro electric guitar with silverburst finish, special humbucker pickups with coil-tapping feature, a thin neck and decent string action on a rosewood fingerboard with medium-jumbo frets. This beauty — I named her Silvestra — made her debut in the next event . . .

January 16th – NTA’s Debut

My band Neglect the Alarm made its live debut on the Punk Rock Night stage at the historic Melody Inn in my native Indianapolis, IN. Many thanks to PRN curator Rich Barker for booking us in a pinch, and the three other bands on the bill: The Last Standing, XXX Smut and Roberta Sparrow. Videos and photos from the show can be viewed on the Neglect the Alarm Facebook page.

After the show we promptly went on hiatus as our drummer 2016-01-19 22.18.15continues to land job opportunities working on independent films in various entry-level capacities, building his CV. We’re all old men in our forties so it’s almost a certainty that our little band is a transient thing, whereas Tommy’s goals in filmmaking are bit more far reaching into the long-term future. The plan is for NTA to resume operations as a proper four-piece in the month of April.

February 2nd – Traffic Accident

So I was involved in a car wreck on my way home around 6:30 PM. My 2014 Kia Forte Sedan was rear-ended by an elderly fella who seemed a bit out of it. I was at a stop light, perhaps 4 cars back when BAM! My world was jolted, jostled, rattled, rocked – whatever synonym you want to use. I was unharmed, miracul20160203_110518ously, I suppose because he obviously wasn’t going too fast, but obviously the rear of the car took the brunt of the impact and the collision forced my car into the SUV ahead of me, hardly even damaging it, yet crunching the frontend of my car pretty good. Long ordeal short, my car wound up being totaled (the estimator got up to $10k in damage and knew another $5k was likely and thus I got a call from an adjuster and was happy to’ve had GAP insurance as well). So this unfortunate event eventually lead to . . .

February 13th – New Car

I now have a 2016 Honda Civic Sedan, easily the best, biggest, sexiest Civic they’ve ever made. I wanted a dark gray one with dark interior, but since that was not in the cards (they only had the light interior) I got yet another black car with dark interior – my third in a row, also my third new car since 2011 because in I had traded in the 2011 Kia Forte Koupe in for the 2014 Forte Sedan. I had been with her quite two years yet before we were forced apart. I was quite fond of her. But I can’t deny I may be even happier with the Civic. The music streaming technology and sound system alone make it the most enhanced ride ever. Also happy to have a sun/moon roof again.

February 27th – New Laptop PC

A week ago I finally upgraded my PC operations with the ASUS Q552UB, a 2-in-1 with 6th Generation Intel Core i7-6500U CPU @ 2.50 GHz, 12 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, Windows 10 (with touch). Also has an NVidia Geforce dedicated graphics card.

Looking at my last ASUS which came out in 2010, it’s amazing how fast micro technology changes and the insane efficiency they’re able to achieve nowadays. The elder machine has huge vents on the back to help cool itself, because it has a Core i7 along with an ATI Radeon processor — both of which ran quite hot. This newfangled one, however, is fully sealed and doesn’t even get  very warm and the fan is a quiet whir, unlike the old one that sometimes sounded like an airplane at takeoff. The only thing that could truly make this new on better would be a Solid State drive for increased speed and optimal efficiency.


Housekeeping Notes

If you’re a regular reader returning for the first time in a while, you probably immediately noticed a different look here in terms of layout and even the general name change. This has always been brandonrucker.com but a couple of years back I named it Ruckerpedia. I am now in the process of re-configuring my online venues – expanding, actually, and thus I need specific brands for each venue. Brandon Rucker Dot Com is the hub — the HQ the main blog. Comic Book Fetish.com is specifically a comic book commentary and appreciation blog, dedicated to comic book-related geek culture and such. Two more online venues are under construction, each with a specific purpose: the all-new Ruckerpedia will be my online publisher and archive of fiction, poetry, etc – both old and new (and developing). The fourth and final site will be outlet for my musical production. I’ll tackle the specifics and informative details in the coming weeks. I aim to launch Ruckerpedia on the first day on the Spring Equinox.

-B.