Bookworm Ruckus At It Again

~ Daybook #11 ~

The picture above doesn’t do it justice (not wide enough) but it is an image of the graphic novels section at one of my local public libraries.

You know you have an incurable book fetish when you find yourself unexpectedly rummaging the shelves at the dollar store looking for unlikely gems. #AlwaysBeReading folks.

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A Perfect Date

~ Daybook #10 ~

The wife and I had a rare night out sans children last night and what we had to show for it was a nice Mexican dinner (with dessert — fried ice cream) at a place we’d never been to before, and the other thing we had to show for our evening was an armful of books because as bookworms our evening consisted of trips to two different bookstores, Half-Price Books and Barnes and Noble. A total of seven books — 3 books for her and 4 for me. Though we definitely should, it might be a good thing that we don’t procure books more often from the bargain bin/clearance and half-price stock, otherwise we’d have fare more than we have space to accommodate. Amid the bargain finds I also finally nabbed Normal, the new novella by my main man Warren Ellis that was originally serialized in 4 parts digitally last summer/autumn.

At any rate, according to my better half, this was the perfect kind of date, dinner and books. I owe her a margarita next weekend, though.

Daybook 9 | Sunless

According to the weather app on my phone yesterday, we are in for a long stretch of virtually sunless cloudy-covered days here. A stunning monochromatic overcast threatens to oppress all that exist below it. Such is Winter in the U.S. Midwest, which I suspect perhaps mimics that of the United Kingdom, the way you hear them tell it. Ugh! What a miserable backdrop for anyone’s existence.

This reminds me of what I wrote in the first ever Journal Juice entry called “Overcast” on December 9, 2014.

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Daybook 8 | Giving Her Whiplash

~ This is a #daybook entry on #ruckology in which Brandon L. Rucker chronicles yet another random day event ~

So yesterday while driving in my car, my 2016 Honda Civic EX Sedan with the lovely wife at my side and we’re listening to the music streaming from my iPod via the Bluetooth feature.

As often is the case I had the pod on shuffle for a random progression of songs. Now you must understand that ever since I was a child I’ve always pursued a variety of styles of music. I am truly one of those people who believes that variety is the spice of life and when it comes to music, music geek that I am, you could say my musical tastes and consumption is all over the map. The wife, my partner in life for 12 years, knows this about me better than anyone. Seriously, playing disparate types of music is something I do almost as much a breathing. She should be more than used to it by now. She should be so well adjusted, jaded even.

Yet, apparently she had a momentary lapse of regarding this because she somehow managed to be taken aback by a certain artist flowing into the next.

The first song was “X-Ray” by THE NOISE, a precursor project featuring Canadian R&B/Soul singer Abel Tesfaye, best known now as THE WEEKND. (A few songs before was “Church” by Atlanta hip-hop superstars OUTKAST.)

So those smooth R&B/Soul sounds flowed directly into “Desolation” by one of my favorite metal bands LAMB OF GOD.

Her words to me, prompted by the abrupt change in genres: “You’re giving me whiplash!”

What can I say? It’s how I roll. Literally.

I guess she forgot her neck brace.

Daybook 7 | Writing Space

~ This is a #daybook entry on #ruckology In which Brandon L. Rucker chronicles a random event from his day ~

So today I am again writing at the local public library in my small city, a place of refuge and solitude. You may be wondering: “Well, if you’re a writer, don’t you have a study or office at home?” Why, yes, I sure do. And I do spend an inordinate amount of time in it on a daily basis. However, a home office is a very familiar and comfortable place. It’s a very crucial writing space to have, make no mistake, but it can also be a place where every so often you can become too comfortable and complacent. Not to mention there’s just something about home that lends itself to distractions and disruptions. So I’ve come to realize lately that it’s good to regularly escape one’s domicile for a writer’s refuge at a relatively quiet place of study like a public library. There are two big libraries to which I have membership, and one of them has private study rooms in which you can setup your workstation. That’s what I’ve been doing the past couple of weekends and today I actually got up early enough to make sure I got the most coveted room in the building, the one that’s always occupied by someone when I arrive, but today was not that day.

I have to say it’s amazing how fast time flies when holed up at the library writing or reading, compared to how slow time passes at the day job during the week. This is just something I need to make a regular habit of doing because at home I get a bit restless and start welcoming distractions, or conversely when I’m locked in inevitably something or someone in my home requires or outright demands my attention. Or more likely the case, absolute silence is not achievable. Still, I am very grateful for my private writing space at home, which prior to three years ago didn’t exist when our family dwelling was a mere two-bedroom apartment. I can’t imagine ever going back to a time where optimal writing space is an elusive thing.

Hopefully all you fellow scribes out there have suitable writing space as well.

Daybook 6 | The Power of Collaboration

I became a serious musician (in 1989) a few years before I became a novice writer (in 1993) and a serious writer (in 1997) – at age 15, 19 and 23, respectively. When you’re in a band you learn quickly the power of collaboration with other creative souls. Music is one of the most communal of all the arts, and thus, the musician often has an innate desire and ability to collaborate.  I’ve seen this on a regular basis with my current band.  Over the past 25 years I’ve been in several bands and the vast majority of them have been creatively democratic.  It’s more rewarding for all involved when contributions are welcome, appreciated and accepted – collaboration.

However, when it comes to the art and act of creative writing, it’s traditionally been a starkly different situation.  It doesn’t help that creative writing is, by and large, a predominantly solitary activity.  So my writer’s ego – particularly with prose – has almost always been that of the lone wolf; at most times confident, but usually at the very least I’ve been fairly self-assured of vision and self-possessed to the point of complete stubborn independence, at least when it comes to my role as a writer. In other words there’s typically been no room for another’s vision when yours truly is writing the prose.

Well, times are a-changin’. I’m feeling very collaborative in a literary sense of late. It also helps one come around to the idea of creative collaboration when one realizes that about a third of his entertainment – television – is written collaboratively in a Writers Room, led by a Showrunner. I would like to do something similar to that in prose as well as comics. I currently have one collaborative partner on a new comic book/graphic novel concept with my best bud Joshua S. Hooten. Since this graphic fiction project is a co-creation, I will be collaborating story ideas with him to ensure our visions mesh well and I am providing him with the kind of stories he wants to illustrate. A true partnership rather than writer dictates to the artist, artist just follows direction dutifully. The thought is that in comics the artist does all the heavy lifting, so why not ingratiate yourself with him and accommodate him the best you can as the writer?

A quick aside: five years ago I made a confession here about my, um, envy of other writers who are privileged to collaborate with an artist in graphic fiction.

So, anyway, there’s that.

However, that is not prose. Prose collaboration, which I’ve done in the distant past and really enjoyed, is a trickier affair for all the reasons I mentioned above – on both/all writer’s side of the equation. Particularly on long-form works like novels, I’ve begun to truly embrace the idea of teaming up with some writer friends who I know would be good collaborating partners on a few different projects.

I also want to try something like a TV Writers Room where groups of 3 to 5 writers come together to create a small universe in which the characters we co-create can co-exist and then we hash out plot details and split up chapter or ‘episode’ duties among each other. With the recent resurrection of the Zoetrope Virtual Studio, I think I might be able to attempt this experiment, which is fitting that’s where I’ve done prose collaborations before.