Ruckin’ With You | 11.29.16 | The Lone Wolf

It’s a good thing I’m a fairly independent person who is no stranger to the role of lone wolf and self-reliance because I’ve once again been made starkly aware that it’s the only way for me to roll creatively, at least until certain things significantly change. As a musician, inherently I am a very collaborative soul who nowadays finds writing songs alone quite boring and not-quite-so-fulfilling. This past year has proven that I can’t rely on my now always dormant band for a consistent musical outlet. And now recently I’ve been shown that I can’t rely on illustrators to co-create comics. So I may as well couch that particular goal once again and simply get on with writing prose, right? Because . . .


Art Fart

. . . My recent dalliance with a trio of different artists has proven ultimately fruitless for different reasons unique to each of them. And for two of them there’s one big reason. I’m looking for more of a co-creator partnerships, sharing equal rights to the IP, with the eventual (back-end) earnings tilted in the artist’s direction because he or she would be doing all the heavy lifting in terms of the division of labor. Only one artist, my best friend, was agreeable to that setup, but the proverbial outside distractions on his side of things has derailed that particular project, indefinitely. One of the other artists, a Canadian, is clearly after a work-for-hire situation to earn up-front money which translates into a paid commission by me. Well, if I’m going to pay that page rate for the work, then I would (like an editor/publisher) intend on owning that work (the original pages) for which I’m paying professional rates. And artist number three resides in Italy, is also a musician like I am (though far more active) and of course being uber talented (like, seasoned professional-level talent) his services are in high demand and thus I lack competitive advantage in that rat race.

Oh, and earlier in the year there was an artist/creator who was only looking for a writer to script the stories that he has pre-conceived. So, yeah, it’s been a mixed bag of upsets and misconnections.


So the Dream is Dead, Right?

No. Not dead. Dormant, again, yes. But never dead. I have what I like to call a comic book fetish. I’m generally a bookworm overall, but comics have a slight edge due to the immediate and serialized nature of them (and say nothing of their unlimited content and narrative potential). As a kid who watched a lot of TV and read a lot of comics, I became an adult obsessed with serialized fiction and graphic/visual storytelling. So to finally be writing comics professionally in the very near future still remains in my overall goals as a writer. But truth be told, I shouldn’t have stopped drawing twenty years ago. Had I kept drawing (and maybe even gone to school for illustration and design) I would have been self-reliant enough and likely a 10, 15-year industry vet by now.


Try, Try Again?

I might just be a glutton for punishment, but despite my early flame-out with NaNoWriMo at the start of this month, I’m going to force myself back onto the novel grind. I mean, what else is a lone wolf supposed to do? No, nothing’s change in the home life and lifestyle that would be more conducive to novel writing, but I just have to tough that out and get pages written by any means necessary. To serve the inherent splintered focus that unfortunately comes with long form work, I fortunately have a few different projects to toggle between when I hit the inevitable wall on one.


The Lineup

So what’s on the roster of priority projects of long form stories for this stumbling, bumbling scribe? It looks a lil’ sumthin’ like this:

Title or [Codename]   — Format  —  Progress — Initiated

All Things Considered     — novella   —  5000 +      — 1997

Misery Loves Company   — novel      —  8000 +      — 2001

[Project Blood-Borne] — novel      —  10000 +    — 2009

The Dame’s Got Game    — novel      —  1400 +       — 2016

[Project One Shot]       — novel       —  2 pages     — 2016

[Project Anti-Media]    — serial       —  notes        — 2016

I guess I should probably update the Projects page to reflect this current roster.


Linkage / ICYMI

Jubilee | Lyrics

Lifebook 11 | Local Heroes . . . 5 Years Later

Grind – Christian Mihai

Boundaries Pushed – Mel A. Rowe

Her insanity is what I love – John Coyote


Annnnd that’s all the ruckin’ I’ve got for you fine folks this week.

Oh, I saw DOCTOR STRANGE on Friday night. It was good. Probably give it a strong B. Not one of Marvel’s best, but maybe somewhere in the middle? I’ll have to see it again to make a final-ish judgment.

Y’all be good.

If you’re not, I’ll know about it.

I have minions and sleeper agents everywhere.

-BLR

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Lifebook 11 | Local Heroes . . . 5 Years Later

So this past week, November 22nd, to be precise, marked the five year anniversary of the publication of the first ever physical book to bear my byline on the cover (as editor/compiler). Local Heroes was a small anthology conceived, compiled and edited by yours truly and published by now defunct small press publisher Static Movement (with an assist by the also now defunct publisher Pill Hill Press and Amazon).

As the proud compiler of this anthology I somehow managed to select some exceptional work from my fellow scribes. As noted in the introduction, the sequencing of the pieces  (24 in total, including one by me) was a tough task not unlike that of a DJ deciding which songs to get the party jumping and keep it rocking throughout.

As stated in my introduction, I had to go with the three stories that emotionally impacted me the most as the lead-off trinity. “Virtual Memory” by Bob Eccles (known more for his horror stories), was a sci-fi story with so much heart (break) that I did become a little misty-eyed when reading it, which doesn’t really happen when I’m reading short fiction. I believe that story went on to win an award of some kind (I just can’t remember which).

lh-vm-pg1

The second piece, “Football and Faith” by Kevin Wallis, also pulled on my heartstrings a bit.

lh-ff-pg1

And then “In the Eye of the Beholder” used a game of baseball to tell a very touching coming-of-age tale that gripped me immediately.

lh-iteotb-pg1

There were several military stories that tackled heroism in their own unique ways. Guardian angels also had a strong presence, as well as what can only be described as, well,  ‘local heroes’. 

For the theme of Local Heroes alone makes it an important book, so I’m happy and proud to’ve helped bring it into the world, even if for only a small press print run. 

Today I think the theme of local heroes is a very timely one, all things considered. I’d love to do a sequel someday.

Jubilee | Lyrics [via RUCKERPEDIA]

I wrote this little ditty in 2009 under less tumultuous socio-political times. But its message of unity and the overcoming of differences and the celebration of the fact that we’re all here, human and alive, is timeless. And timely on a day like today.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

RUCKERPEDIA

It’s that special time of year

We should gather with each other despite our fears

We’ll break bread and dine with wine

And discover there’s no trouble and we’re just fine

We are all of the same blood

So it’s silly to throw punches instead of hugs

Peace is not (just) for the naive

We should be wearing our compassion upon our sleeves

So let’s celebrate today

And be grateful that we all have a voice to say

That we’re thankful for our lives

And we’re laughing, dancing, singing and giving high fives


Written: March 28, 2009. Released on the album Bridging the Disconnect, released September 29, 2009 via I Rock Recordings under the moniker of Sap.

Copyright © 2009 by Brandon L. Rucker

brandonrucker.com | RuckerWrites | @RuckerWrites

I Rock Recordings

spotify:track:5o5VTPtrKvCJDHcf2AG4wi

Guitars, voices & percussion performed by  Brandon Rucker.

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Ruckin’ With You | 11.18.16 | Ugh!

Late Edition. As I finally file this away for transmission to you on this fine Friday (71 degrees in mid-November), I am a miserable bastard who stayed home from work today due to having received the plague from my teenage daughter. I know how it happened too. It was last Saturday when I was enclosed inside a car with the infected child (Patient Zero — I call her “Outbreak Monkey”) when we all went to lunch that afternoon. That was the day–if not before or immediately after–that the insidious virus leaped from her body to my unsuspecting one. By Tuesday for sure it was gestating, and by Wednesday I was waking up in the morning with a sore throat. By Thursday it was full bore. So here I sit on a Friday cooped up on such a unseasonably nice day. I’m normally quite the iron man, capable of warding off most contagions. But not when you entrap me in a small space like a car with diseased individuals (especially a school-age child). Kids, man. They got no respect.


Transmet

So in light (or dark) of recent sociopolitical events, I’ve decided to start re-reading Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson’s TRANSMETROPOLITAN graphic novel series that was originally serialized in comics form from 1997 to 2002. It features a Hunter S. Thompson-inspired gonzo journalist named Spider Jerusalem of the distant future who, after five years living alone “up a goddamn mountain” is thrust out of early retirement by the fact that he still owes his book publisher two more books. He must reintegrate himself with The City as a journalist who is after the undisputed societal truth to report to the masses, aided quite advantageously by his old newspaper editor who rehires Spider and furnishes him with all the accommodations a future gonzo journalist of his stature requires. Immediately he discovers that all is not right in The City and that those problems are being propelled by politicians, and he begins to uncover a deep conspiracy that leads directly to the  narcissitic head of The City’s government. Seems like a timely read, no?


Raiding Tombs

For the past week or so I have been playing RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER (on Xbox One), the first sequel in the re-rebooted Tomb Raider videogame franchise. It’s been great fun so far with harrowing, but survivable action-adventures, fine character work and a mysterious plot. The graphics are phenomenal, the gameplay is fluid and well-engineered, and the environments and the game’s scope is vast. I’ve only scratched about 18% of it so far and I’m having a blast. Special thanks to the wife who got it for me last Christmas.


I Still Bleed Metal

As evident by the font in this week’s featured image, I am a huge METALLICA fan (since 1987) and today is Blackened Friday–the day their first proper new album of new music in eight years, Hardwired . . . To Self-Destruct, is released. I procured my package (the 3-CD deluxe edition) earlier today and just burned it into iTunes for upload onto my iPod (my newfangled car thinks CD players are already obsolete). I’ve heard all 13 songs via their massive video releases on Wednesday and Thursday–a unique original video for each song–to promote the imminent release. Also released today was The Duke, a 5-track EP by LAMB OF GOD, one of my other favorite metal bands (since 2006). 

Also recently bought the 2016 releases by old thrash metal stalwarts in TESTAMENT’s Brotherhood of the Snake and DEATH ANGEL’s The Evil Divide. Both albums are very solid modern metal offerings with an almost throwback aesthetic to the heyday of thrash in the late 1980s when the entire genre was releasing its most seminal music. This is the kind of music that forced me into finally picking up the guitar in 1988. 


Movies I Need to See

I still haven’t seen DOCTOR STRANGE. Nor ARRIVAL. I must rectify this ASA logistically P.


Recently on RUCKERPEDIA

ICYMI

New additions to my Library of Works site include:

A collection of “on the road” pieces – “I’m Not From Around Here” (poem), “The Road is My Map” (WIP), “Going the Distance” (micro), “Road Dog” (double-drabble).

And one of my most romantic pieces ever written“Living and Dying Under a Harvest Moon” (short story).

Check’em out and more as a patron of the RUCKERPEDIA library.


I’m going to go ahead and end this one here. I’ll probably file another of these on Sunday or Monday where I will get into what’s next for me creatively and such. I haven’t filed a proper workbook update in a while here, so maybe it will double as such.

Enjoy your weekend. And try to do something nice for yourself and others. Kindness should be sprinkled when and wherever possible.

-BLR

Living and Dying Under a Harvest Moon | A Short Story — RUCKERPEDIA

One of the most romantic pieces I’ve ever written. But of course I always like to add a little tragedy for good measure. Just a tad this time, though. Enjoy!

{ 1039 words } As dawn claims the night I see the morning sun begin to break over the horizon from our window. I’ve been watching Stella sleep. She’s so quiet and still, I want to feel her beating heart to be sure she’s still with me. With passion as our spark, we’d made love, […]

via Living and Dying Under a Harvest Moon | A Short Story — RUCKERPEDIA

Thinkbook 6 | It’s Over (Election Edition)

Despite the Election not turning out how I wanted, I’m going to go ahead and shave the trees off my face to start the work week. My kids have been clamoring for this momentous occasion ever since I stopped shaving in mid-September, perhaps a week or so before my birthday. So, in the wake of the outcome, what can I say? What can I say that hasn’t already been said elsewhere? I won’t belabor it here with new words, but I want to share some of the words I transmitted into social media last week that convey my thinking on this unfortunate turn of events, if only for posterior.

* Note: Though I like to provoke thought, it is not my intention to stir up yet another political debate on the Interwebs.

**Note: It is also not my intention to lose any of you by sharing my quotes on the election, but if I do, well, I understand.


Majorly bummed and disappointed. But am I surprised? Not really. The writing’s been on the wall for eighteen months when the dregs hiding beneath the rocks and hiding in the closest got stimulated by the Candidate. As evident from the result, ALL OF THEM came out of the woodwork to help prove that a progressive American IS NOT a true reality. And I don’t want to hear more of their bullshit that “we’re tired of the government not working” when they also re-elected the same GOP congress members who have helped do the very failing they’re complaining about.


Funny how the Candidate’s voting base is ALL ABOUT being against illegal immigrants and them not paying taxes and jobs going overseas, yet they vote in a candidate who doesn’t pay taxes, had an illegal immigrant for a wife and has also sent thousands of jobs overseas. Dumb and hypocritical much? But it’s like he said, he ran as a Republican expressly because of the GOP’s ignorant voting base. Well played. The American Dream is alive and well.


You focused on inconsequential emails, but Russian ties don’t bother you?


How the hell did the Candidate get the evangelical vote too? I guess sin is in.


Dear John McCain and Mitt Romney,

I’m sorry. We still cool?

Your Friend,

– B.


It’s no consolation but Hillary actually won the popular vote.


If only our intelligence was more equal to our emotions . . .


My guess is insurance companies are happier than pigs in shit about their future prospects. The poor folks, truly poor folks who voted on the side of GOP that were lucky to finally get coverage in recent years, should probably prepare for a stark compromise of that in the next couple of years. What preparedness for that even means, I do not know. The rest of us will be footing the bills again.


I think the main problem I have with the flak that I’ve gotten from the pro-Trumpers who’ve parted ways with me recently is that conveniently — yet unsurprisingly — they are not the targets of his agenda, proposed policies and rhetoric. And they have absolutely no empathy to the past, current and forthcoming plight of those who are those targets, or are simply unlike them. I continue to be resolute in my belief that supporting and voting for him is diametrically opposed to also supporting the progression and inclusion that I believe in from the core of my being. You can’t have it both ways. So that difference is not just a mere divide. It is a chasm.


We are the Divided States of America, and our enemies are watching. 


Now with that all purged and out of the way — I didn’t want to overload the regular weekly Ruckin’ With You blog with it — I can now move on to putting together a proper weekly for tomorrow, which even with Election stuff removed, looks to be pretty chunky. 

Until then, keep your wits about ya and be good to each other.

-BLR