Saturday, March 21, 2009

Three a Week my hairy...

So I dropped the ball...again. To let you know what's going on:

No writing in March. Long hours, added in to some problems at home. It looks like my lovely wife is actually suffering a touch of PTSD from the birth of the twins. She wanted a natural home birth, and got a c-section at the (iffy) advice of a doctor who didn't fill her in completely. This means most of my home time is spent being a Dad and Husband type of guy. In addition, she's taking her courses this year online, which means my laptop gets comandeered most nights. We plan now on purchasing a second laptop for her personal use, and I'll hang on to this old thing so I can actually get stuff done. Although I have several outlines and a couple of pages done longhand, my mind works faster than my hand can write, which means without my computer being available I'm more or less worthless.

A typewriter, for those who will bring it up, is out of the question. The clackity-clack of keys machine-gunning through our house is not a viable option in the wee hours of the morning, unless I want to write with a fussy baby on my lap.

Which brings up a question I want to put out there: I know many of us prefer longhand when possible, either due to portability, persuasion, or the simple enjoyment of a pot of coffee and a legal pad. Let's face it though, the pen and paper approach is falling off faster than a three legged dog slides downstairs. So we must accept the movement of technology into the arena or creativity, be it photoshop, word processing, or even music through mixing, blending, and synthesizing (Interesting side note: I once managed to synthesize a cat screelings [Side-sidenote: "screeling"- the act of screaming and squealing at once. Imagine a pennywhistle being blown by an overexcited child who, at the same time, is singing the Star Spangled Banner after sucking down a weather balloon-sized helium supply.] This was in college. It was not a pretty song.)

So, here comes the basic question: if tomorrow you were to have the modern conveniences of a computer and typewriter removed, how many would find it much more difficult to maintain their current story output. Cate, you don't get to answer this one. I'm convinced you'd write entire stories in blood on cave walls in the course of minutes if dropped in the woods.

Alright, time to go to dinner.

J.C. Tabler

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Watch me toot my own horn!

Stop with that thought, pervert.

Alright, so yesterday I stayed home while our landlord came over for an inspection. See, our roof leaked, then the water heater leaked, then the garage door broke. So we called for repairs. Our landlord harassed us, and I gave it back, so she wanted to do an inspection. Be nice to get out of this place, and into one where I can spend my money fixing something that belongs to me.

After all that, Issue 3 of Sand came in the mail, causing me to flurry to hide it. My wife likes reading my work after publishing, whereas I shove it away never to see daylight. I hate reading my own work, it makes me nervous. I start thinking "God, that was horrible" and seeing any potential writing career go up in flames. Plus, the subject matter of "Crib Death" is based, somewhat, off of my wife's post-partum depression, so I really don't feel like catching hell. But if you did read it, give me your honest opinion. Honestly, it isn't like I know where any of you live...except the ones who send holiday cards.

Working on a story later tonight, but I want to address Superior Scribbler. I was going to do one of those after I read my "award", but decided against it. I know too many great writers, and choosing five was a little too taxing on my tiny, overworked mind. So, here's to all of you great literary folk. I consider every one of you the best.

It IS nice to have Graveside Tales back, considering it was down for a while. The first mail I got when it came back online was a hold notice for "Ain't Gonna Dig No More", a nice little piece I enjoyed writing and am confident will someday see print, even if it doesn't this time.

A few submissions need to go out tonight, but other than that there's nothing really to talk about. How are you guys doing?

J.C. Tabler

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Below, in the darkness...

I've been seeing all these folks give up their writing spaces lately...I'm not one of those folks. I prefer description to photos, so if you'll please take me hand and follow me.

Our basement is a dark place, a strewing of clothes and broken fixtures, the regurgitated rejections of a million thrift stores and yard sales. Nothing there is new or in good condition, a washer which goes off-balance and dances over the floor in a banging ballet during late night hours, a dryer which stinks of melted plastic even on low. Clothes, washed or waiting, form miniature mountains among concrete, and no insulation serves to block ceiling from floor above. The lighting is horrific to an extreme, flickering randomly from flourescent sun to bare bulbs daring to plunge shadow into complete darkness, and throughout it all is a stench of cat piss older than whatever eldritch gods one may believe in. Among, above, amidst all of this stands two walls, wooden and painted gunmetal gray where paint hasn't sloughed off in massive collections.

The walls sit in a corner, forming a room locked tight though there is no necessity. Jokingly we refer to it as the "killing room", a place so forlorn and absent of feeling that it seems taken directly from a horror movie lair and landed gently and in our basement. A bare buld, the only strong one in the basement, shines off two wooden and two concrete walls, thoguh light is muted by cobwebs. one shelf sits occupied by an odd collection of screws, paint cans, broken tools and a single sword of indeterminate and hopefully innocent origin. High on the outside wall, inches below the bottom of the upper floor, sits a chute sealed over with welding and luck, painted black. An old coal room, still smelling of dust and dirt, of solid earth picked bare. Sparse on all the senses, sectioned away from the progression of time.

And in the center of it, my desk.

Got a good picture?