Blog, Daybook, Journals

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.


Blog, Daybook, Journals, Music

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.

Blog, Daybook, Journals

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.

Working Together
Blog, Daybook, Journals

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.

Blog, Daybook, Journals

Daybook 5 | The Sound of Fiction

So sometime last week I had been lamenting the fact that while working at the day job I had burned myself out on listening to music and podcasts on my iPod and needed a third option, at the very least. That’s when the little light bulb went off in my head and alerted me that I would love to be listening to fiction while at work and could simply load my iPod up with audiobooks. Genius, right? Yeah, I thought so as well. So this past week I ventured to my local public library a few times with the intention of stocking up on audiobooks that I would burn to my PC and then migrate them over to my iPod. Sounds simple enough, and it essentially is, if a bit tedious since the minimum amount of discs I’ve found to be contained is 6, which of course was for a breezy crime novel. A lot of them are 12 – 14 discs, so as the saying goes, there’s no gain without pain.

The point I really want to make here is that after a week of listening to fiction, while also reading novels, I’ve found that it’s also served both my muse and my internal voice because just like reading, the auditory consumption also helps keep your prose and narrative skills sharp. And since I’m trying like crazy to get myself back on the road to regular writing, this daily activity is working its magic on a subconscious level. Moving forward, if I’m ever unable to gets some regular reading in, I’m going to resort to audiobooks.

The sound of fiction. It’s an underrated powerful thing in these days long since the old radio dramas of the 1940s were killed off by the advent of television in the 1950s.

It’s even got me thinking of doing some recorded readings of my own stories at some point. Then again, I dunno. While I may certainly have the voice for it, my Midwestern accent kind of spoils it a bit, IMO. So I might experiment with it, or simply leave it to the professionals.

I’ve checked out a whopping 18 audiobooks this past week and have listened to four thus far. The most notable one to this point has been Stephen King’s The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. When you’re a big time bestseller like Uncle Stevie – hell, an American institution, you tend to get the best production (i.e. budget) in audiobooks. Bad Dreams is another short story collection by Mr. King and with well over a dozen short stories, it also boasts just as many voice performers such as Dylan Baker, Hope Davis, Will Patton, Brooke Bloom and King himself, whose interludes include so many great Constant Reader addresses with backstory insights into the stories and poignant quotes, one of which I shared here the other day.

Now if you will please excuse me, I have a, um, plethora of discs to load up.

Blog, Daybook, Journals

Daybook 4 | Weekend of May 6-8, 2016


Saturday – FCBD & Mother’s Day Eve

  • Free Comic Book Day 2016 at my local comic shop. For myself I grabbed FCBD editions of LOVE AND ROCKETS (Fantagraphics), CIVIL WAR II #0 (Marvel) and Valiant’s 2016 edition.
  • Saw Marvel’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR alone early enough that the theater was only 6% full when I bought my ticket and it hardly increased beyond that by my estimation. Maybe 20 people, tops. At any rate, it is the best damn superhero movie yet. Even though it’s a solo character’s movie, it’s essentially a team movie given all the characters included and teaming up, and since I always preferred team book in my superhero comics, I immensely enjoy team movies like this one. It delivers on so many levels. The Russo brothers really know how to craft these movies into great cinema. Bravo!
  • Lunch at Culver’s. I’ve done a shit job at eating healthy this past week. But I’ve certainly earned a passing grade for the past 6 weeks I’ve been at this better eating/better me initiative.
  • Mother’s Day eve dinner with Mom. Kept it simple at Texas Roadhouse with steaks, baked potatoes and salads.

Sunday – Mother’s Day

  • Breakfast, er, brunch at Bob Evans with the wife and two of the kids. I had the Brioche French Toast, a decision influenced by my youngest child’s choice. I might be biased, but I prefer my own unique style of French Toast, which in my mind is World Famous..
  • Later, family dinner at Aurelio’s that just recently opened up down the street a few blocks. Had an Italian sandwich that was rather underwhelming. I swear Penn Station has THE established standard for a proper grinder (namely the Dagwood). Most every other sub I have that isn’t made by Penn Station usually pales in comparison.
  • Watched a backlogged episode of this season’s AGENTS OF SHIELD before nodding off for a brief nap. Later, watched FEAR THE WALKING DEAD. That show seems to’ve found its stride in its sophomore season, I’m happy to say. After watching TALKING DEAD afterward I decided I’d better save GAME OF THRONES for Monday night.
  • Prior to bed I came up with a new name to brand this blog – something that played off my name just like Ruckerpedia did (which was the former name before I decided to affix it more appropriately to a different website that will launch soon). Brandon Rucker Dot Com as a “brand” just wasn’t doing it for me. So, yeah, another made-up word is in order.
  • RUCKOGNITION. Ruck, a short nickname some folks have called me, and the word cognition. Immediately I knew I was on to something. And I have Warren Ellis to thank for it as I was reading his latest newsletter late Sunday night into the AM hours where I saw he mentioned reading a novel by Steve Shaviro called DISCOGNITION. The timing of this could not be more perfect, because I was brainstorming a new name just prior to opening up that email. It also kind of plays on the word recognition too. A double win, I suppose.
  • Of course with a new name branding for the site comes a new layout/template/theme.