Workbook 8 | May: Gentleman, Restart Your Engine

Workbook, Working Update

Ahhh . . . May! Probably my favorite month of the year for a few reasons: one, the residue of Winter isfully shaken off and Spring finally in full swing; two, usually great weather (tho we didn’t get it until later in the month this time), and the NBA Playoffs enter the more competitive second and third rounds. You can usually count on the temperatures not being too extreme either way with lots of sun and blue in the sky, sometimes with those big fluffy pillow-y clouds. Regular readers here know the weather plays a bigger role on my general disposition than I’d like, ideally. Last month’s Workbook made that painfully clear. As I write this monthly update on this fine Memorial Day morning, we’re in our second straight day of mostly blue sky and 80+ degree temperature. I foresee a cookout on my horizon (this is posting after said cookout).

For May there’s more actual activity than April to report. It still wasn’t as productive as advertised or desired, but in the spirit of the Indy 500, the engine is revved up and purring nicely. Since it has been a month of renewal of sorts, there’s actually a few new projects to announce.

As usual since I’m cagey with actual titles of unfinished, unpublished works, the “project” names are just place-holding codenames or working titles. Previously published items have actual titles.

Writing – Prose

All Things Considered (short story) – For the past couple of weeks I’ve been giving this one a spit-polish shining, and I’m nearing the final stretch of that. Originally written in 1998 and finally published in 2010, my intention has been to re-publish it on Smashwords, where it once was as well, but in an inferior state (incidentally the same state it was in the The Cedar Chest anthology), but I also want to feature it on the still forthcoming Ruckerpedia magazine site that I’ve been slacking on launching (more on that later). While I’ve been re-reading and refining the prose in this old story, it occurred to me that even as one of my longest ever short stories finished (it approaches 6000 words), there’s so much more story to be told that it’s begging to be expanded into something bigger, like a small novella. I’ve finally admitted to myself that as it currently exists it is a mere snapshot into the three main characters’ lives and that there’s so much in the past, present and future of the characters teased on the page already. It begs further mining, and I think that with enough focus it could pretty much write itself. Maybe I’ll make that a goal for its 20th anniversary in two years. The tricky part that remains – as is the case with working on any really old story – is the fact that it takes place in the era in which it was written, the late 90s. It’s a period piece now for crying out loud.

Project: Blood-Borne (novel series) – No comment. For now.

Project: Comeback (initiative) – this is the codename for my supposed return to short story writing and publishing, of which I took leave back in 2011-12 to focus on editing, journalism and music. It’s an initiative, really. It always gets stalled by my focusing on nurturing the older children I’ve already released into the wild. It’s like I’m that parent who knows he didn’t quite do the best job rearing his offspring prior to their going off to college and now that they’ve graduated I just want to make sure they’re the best citizens they can be, even in a society that cares very little about them. Hence, why “All Things Considered” is getting the attention it is right now. However . . .

Project: Micro Mondays (writing exercise) – I really want to get something like this going, specifically on the (still) forthcoming Ruckerpedia magazine site. If I do ever get that ball rolling I should probably stockpile enough microfictions to ensure they land every Monday. Would love to be able to do that for 52 weeks straight someday. Nanofiction Wednesday could be cool too . . . okay, I’ll stop.

Writing – Comics

Project: Mr. Macabre – Didn’t talk about this one last month, but it was recently being reconfigured to its original graphic novel form with my lifelong best friend/musical partner/artistic brother-from-another-mother Joshua Hooten. But we’ve already shelved that for something more from scratch from the both of us (I’ve been kicking around the Mr. Macabre concept for nearly 20 years — first as an original comics idea, and later as a novels idea). It’s being benched for . . .

Project: Unsettled – An old germ of a concept I’ve had for a few years, but maybe only 5-10% developed. So that it’s ripe for Joshua and I to develop it from scratch as a co-creation of our own. Unlike with Project: Mr. Macabre, I didn’t populate this idea with characters and stories that I’ve had for two decades. We’re developing this one together, even Stevens. I want Joshua to be as fully invested from the ground up as I would be, and a large part of accomplishing that for an illustrator doing the lion’s share of the work is designing the characters from whole cloth in full collaboration rather than from dictation. We’re only about a week into this and we’re both busy/working/old/family men, so naturally it will be a slow burn. More as it develops.

Other Comics Projects – Plenty in waiting, but like starting a band and needing a drummer, none of these ideas can come to fruition without a devoted illustrator.

Writing – Journalism, er, Commentary & Blogging

Comic Book Fetish – I don’t really do “traditional” comics journalism anymore, I do what I like to call rogue analysis and commentary. I’m trying to be more active over at CBF, but a lot of my energy for it gets put into the CBU group on Facebook.

RuckOgnition – Ramping up my activity here as well. As always, the blog exists to keep me writing on a semi-daily basis so that I, although that was the idea in 2009 when I started, well before I finally embraced Facebook as my daily go-to for social media. The keystrokes there should be here, but alas. Still, I’m making an effort to stay active here.

Music – Band(s)

Neglect the Alarm – The latest hiatus continues, indefinitely. In fact, I’m getting the sense that the days for this band may be numbered a bit less than anticipated. It’s complicated. But in the past couple of weeks we were offered a spot on a June 2nd show with a band from Chicago at the same venue of our one and only previous show, and I had to turn it down because of our current state of flux. I hate letting others down just as much as I hate being let down. I do have a plan for how we can finish up our 5-song demo if things go completely south, but that will take a small monetary investment on my part. Let’s just say the situation on this band is developing and leave it at that for now.

Unnamed New Band Project #1 – Not sure this one will ever get off the ground without a drummer. Pretty much ‘nuff said there.

Unnamed New Band Project #2 – This was just conceived this past week as I approach my guitar partner from NTA about pursuing something different while NTA sorts itself out. Too early to describe, yet, but it would be heavier and more metal-leaning than NTA. Of course the initial task, like with all my other new band projects that have failed to materialize, is finding an available drummer, let alone the right one. So, it’s really too early to say more about this one yet.

Music – Solo

Singer-Songwriter Acoustic Project – Several songs still in various levels of finished/unfinished, and I truly want to get back to this project by the Fall and maybe record them as the long-not-awaited follow up Bridging the Disconnect that I self-produced and self-released in 2009. But I first must rebuild my home studio, since I sold a good portion of my gear three years ago following a layoff. And then, of course there is finding the time given all my literary goals and activities.

As always it’s an arduous balancing act of the arts for me. I should be two or three people instead of one.

New Websites

Ruckerpedia.com – Will likely finally launch in June. Unlikely for it to be June 1st. Actually, who am I kidding, it will probably be July.

The unnamed music site is scratched from the whiteboard until further notice.

Next Month

I predict even more progress!

Currently Reading: Drifter the stunning debut suspense novel by Nicholas Petrie. I’m on Chapter 8 and really digging it. Check it out!

Currently Listening: to a shit-ton of audiobooks, already mentioned in Daybook 5 yesterday.

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