Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How many calories does typing burn?

The darkside of writing: weight gain.

I once declared that I'd never weigh more than 140lbs. I was pretty successful at it, too. I made it to age 33 without crossing the 138 barrier. That's when I got into a car accident which put me on the sidelines for a year. I rocketed up to 145. No problem, I told myself. As soon as my neck healed, I'd be back on the basketball court burning up those calories.

But alas, fate intervened, and I decided to become a writer. I quickly learned that sitting behind a computer every spare minute of your life combined with anxiety-eating caused by trying to write a novel, is not conducive to maintaining a decent weight. I shot up to 174 lbs. Of course, it's all muscle so I'm not too worried about it. Except that the muscle around my mid-section has triggered a mass migration of buttons away from my pants.

The good news is that thanks to the internet, I've learned to sew on buttons. So if you think about it. The cause of my button problem was also the solution.

How's that for a paradox?


Note to reader: there is no point to this post. I'm just upset because I bought a gallon of milk yesterday only to find that it expired 13 days ago. The tragedy is that I always look at the date. But because this particular store has always been so good about having fresh milk on the shelf, I skipped that step.

So the point is: there are no shortcuts. Every step of the process is important. I think . . . uh, excuse me, I need a drink. The cold stuff. Milk.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

One man's garbage . . .

In a previous blog life, I wrote Christian fiction reviews. I did this mainly because of my frustration with the lack of honesty in Christian reviews. Something I find ironic. Of course, there's a big difference, albeit a fine line, between honesty and accidental cruelty.

For years, I subscribed to CCM magazine. The reason I finally cancelled (and never looked back) was due to the singular fact that I've never read a review of an album that wasn't deemed "groundbreaking", "a milestone", "a landmark achievement", "a solid effort", and so on, and so on. According to CCM, the Christian music industry managed to string together an unblemished record of great albums.

So, I had to learn to read between the lines. Basically, if the reviewer didn't come right out and say something like: "this is one of the best albums of the year", then the album was probably bad.

Reviews are what they are, but awards should be something else. Awards get to pick from the multitudes and almost guarantee not to "miss".

But . . ., the subjectivity of differing tastes, as usual, raises its ugly head.

Case in point, The Christy Awards. (I would love to win one of those, by the way.) It just sounds good, don't you think. But I digress.

I had once assumed that reading a Christy Awards winner would assure a good read. But, out of the five (that I know of) winners I've read: I loved two, I liked one, disliked one, and couldn't finish one.

*** disclaimer: I'm not saying they're bad books, they just didn't suit me.

But I was surprised that the award didn't equal a sure thing. It's hard enough to get published, much less win an award. In a perfect world, the transitive property should establish that any self-published book passed on by the industry, be inferior to an award winner.

Not true. My friend, Nicole Petrino-Salter's book, The Famous One (available at amazon), is a better read than two of those award winners. At least that's my opinion.

*** disclaimer 2: I'm not saying the award judges were wrong, I'm just pointing out the subjectivy of it all.

Individual tastes are a factor. This INCLUDES when an agent or editor rejects (or accepts) your manuscript. Don't take it personally. Award winners and published authors deserve congratulations. And pre-published authors deserve encouragement and respect.

But that also means that editors, agents, and awards judges deserve the benefit of the doubt when it comes to exercising their individual tastes.

Disagreeing with them does not mean their incorrect. It only confirms that we're all human.


epilogue: I quit reviewing books when I decided to try to become an author myself. I believe in professional courtesy. That's why those books will forever remain nameless. Except the two I loved: River Rising by Athol Dickson and Thr3e by Ted Dekker.

That is unless this post is a breach of courtesy, then I apologize. (Feel free to let me know)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The evil of pack mentality . . .

. . . not one of us lives a perfectly normal, ordinary life in every regard. We are, after all, human beings, each of us unique to an extent that no member of any other species is are different from others of its kind.

We have instinct but we are not ruled by it. We feel the pull of the mindless herd, the allure of the pack, but we resist the extreme effects of this influence--and when we do not, we drag our societies down into the bloody wreckage of failed utopias, led by Hitler or Lenin, or Mao Tse-tung. And the wreckage reminds us that God gave us our individualism and that to surrender it is to follow a dark path.

- excerpt from Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz.

It's great to see something I've always believed so eloquently stated by my favorite author. The idea that the congregation of man seems to be the most fertile soil of evil. . . . Or at best, willful ignorance.

What scares me is that I've seen this in churches. That dark magic moment when a preacher says something so outlandish that although it would, in a one-on-one conversation, immediately garner outrage and dismissal, instead, under the credibility brought by the pulpit and the assumption of acceptance of the flock, receives applause and blind acceptance.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Losing my religion . . .

That ShamWow guy is driving me crazy.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Birthday Lesson . . .

On Sunday I officially became an old man. That's right, I hit the big 3-7. I'm sure all ya'll gifts are on the way via UPS, but just in case anyone forgot, tomorrow at work there will be steaks and potatoes (and chocolate cream cake) in my honor. If you're in the area, stop by. But only if you have my gift. That is, if you know what's good for you. Capiche?

I found out today, via Creflo Dollar, that the reason I will get published will not be because of my talent or hard work or sticktuitiveness, it will be simply because I've said so. Apparently, the words I use have great power. Whatever I say - will happen. In fact, that truth was apparently the whole point of the gospel. Not that whole sanctification through faith in Jesus Christ and acceptance of His sacrifice on the Cross thing.

So here it goes: "I will be published." Oh wait, "And I'll make lots of money."

Well it's a cinch now. I'm just gonna sit back, pop open a root beer, and wait for those royalty checks to pour in.

Wow! Just think of all the time I've wasted actually working on my novel, learning the craft, and ugh, rewriting. What a shame.

Well, I gotta go. Time to throw all my "Writing - How to" books in the garbage. Wait a minute, I'm not using my powers. "Books. Get in the garbage. ......Now!"

Oh well I guess it takes practice.