6-30-18 On The Rooster,

Kept hearing a cockle-doodle-doo (more like oaoaoaoaaaahhh) from chicken island. I ulimately ordered pre-sexed chicks because it was cheaper without the extra couple roosters, and also because we were attempting to take it step by step so the process ofndealing with brooding and pontential baby chicks all the time seemed a little too much this year. We had to get the electric fences up, build a chicken tractor, move the first twelve out, and later intergrate the two generations.

I chose a heritage breed called the Speckled Sussex. I’m really like how the birds look, like Jackson Pollock spent a weekend being ornery with em. I was thinking a rooster was afoot, so I had started staring at them a bit more. One of their bright, irredescent blue-green oil-sheens, caught my attention. There were other signs of a cock, Gallus Domesticus, an erect and bright red comb, overall size, a classical strut. These noticeable detail were improved and confirmed via the internets.

I discovered that a rooster will have more pointed feathers, while a hens are rounded at the end. The male will also have a bushier neck. And of course sharper and larger back claws, spurs.

To discover if an egg has been fertalized one must take a strong light beside it and determine whether it is clear or opaque. I did, but it was hard to tell what from what. Except for one, where it gone cloudier, and there the primitive first place a single lil red dot of cell swirled.

The rooster offeres a real-world introductory dialogue about love-making with the children. The love touch. Male and Female. Like Mom and Dad. Like You.

I wish you could have seen my sunset last night. Perspective through the bubbling hills of the horizon, it wore a crown as it set. Endless beams to infinity. Champagne hues, oranges and blues, golden-yellow, saucer center, sort of like an egg…

6-20-18 On Chickens, The Rain, 1997 Honda Odyssey, Stephen King Netherworlds

If I don’t get out early enough to feed the chickens, they start coming out of the electric fence. We must be grounding out somewhere, but all the fiddling hasn’t seemed to fix it. They all sneak back in though, once the food is out, but having 30-some chickens squawking at ya, chasing you around the yard every morning can be anxiety inducing.

There’s been a bit of civil strife in chicken land. Early in spring, we moved the original dozen chickens out to the field, in a chicken tractor, to let the twenty-or-so teenage birds have the coop. Eventually the new chicks were big enough, and it was hot enough, so it seemed best to bring them together in the coop, which was shadier and easier to do all the chores together at once.

The OG girls were happy to be home, but not happy with what they deemed to be the squatters in their spot. I had to play rooster to the bunch during some early feedings, to discourage pecking. Some general state of equilibrium had set it, I believed. Yet some on both sides, show signs of tussling, nicks in their crops and such.

Routines are interesting, how they build up so much momentum. I realize that every morning, that it’s my unavoidable habit of feeding them, after they’ve run out, that ultimately reinforces the unwanted behavior. And then I’m able to step back and say, what’s really the harm? Rather, could I calm down in the moment? Let go of the absurd resentment of a creature foraging for their food. And just allow myself to let the moment be as it is.

They stop yelling when the food is finally distributed. They’re eating good on kitchen scrapes, cabbage Leaves, and all the weeds and things they can forage, or are tossed into them, so I know the morning swarm is unwarranted anxiety. I’ve developed the ability to identify a number of wild edibles, dandelions (easy one), nettles, lamb’s quartets, purslane, etc, and the chickens tear through all stuff too.

Two days of rain have it way cooled down, an ideal late stage spring day. And instead of watering, I got to weed one of two large raspberry patches, 50 new plants total, that we just started this spring. I collected and spread compost for those and some pepper plants, while Britney and the kids burned our papers. There was a moment there, with the orange fire coming out the side of the barrel and the setting blue sky, I thought to myself, this is paradise. I couldn’t ask for anything else. I don’t deserve this. Grace made this.

Stayed cloudy til dark. All those blues and whites. Dark spots of the storm. Swirling whites cloud, thick lines of the painter’s brush.

The skies went that ominous grey-green last Thursday. Got caught out in it, picking the boys up from reading group at the library. Our 1997 Honda Odyssey, is an archeological phenomena. Mostly Mechanically reliable, yet defrost remains one of its greatest flaws. The rain, hail and four anxious breathers had us in a thick, Stephen King-like netherworld, at sixty out on the deep country highway. Had to demand the oldest boys shirt, which he struggled with in the thick milieu. Making it to our turn somehow, we found our gravel road deteriorating with thick rivers in the ditches, rolling with glorious and destructive tan water. This rain is everything. Even in the danger zone, we were grateful.

9-13-16 Journal Snippet

Got stung by a wasp Sunday. Went to pick up a stick and move it while mowing, flung the bastard on me. Felt like an ant at first, they’ve been in contact, but when I felt the pinch, and saw the lil fucker burrowing in, I realized the truth. I ripped it out, stormed around, cursed like a madman, went back to mowing defiantly. When I went inside we went through all the bullshit remedies for things like this, lavender oil in the wound, baking soda paste on the arm, Gregorian chanting. None if it worked, hours later arm was swelling, itchy as shit, bad enough I had to have my wife run to pharmacy to get the benadryl. I was embarrassed by my swelling member, feared sight of it might cause a panic, send them running for an epipen or ambulance.

Been battling that for last two days. Bendaryl made me sleepy, grouchy. Parenting little ones is oddly physical too. Loss of my dominant arm left me flustered. Makes you think too how weak our bodies are, how easily things can invade. Just a little swelling and redness had my whole ;eft arm out of commission. The thing pinged me for a second, with a minuscule amount of poison, and it did that much damage. There’s a lesson in there: small things can have a huge affect. Words and emotions most of all…

Reading: Hill & Rodriguez Locke and Key VOl 2 Head GamesTom Sawyer Abroad and Other Tales by Mark Twain.

8-19-16

In the writing lab 2:59PM. Just had to apologize, hang my head, do penance, smooth the rough spots. Chay turns six today. Tomorrow is the big party, so today is a preparation day. We run to Costco for a giant bag of chicken wings and other supplies, and then stop at La Tapatia for a pinata on the way home. Commerce and piling the booty into big boulder had us off our A-game. As I and toddler Coen, sat in the parking lot, he started sucking on the silver part of the seat belt, in the frustrating toddler way of doing things, which can be very cute and funny, but also infuriating. It’s like playing chicken with Joker, you flip back and forth between desperation and laughter. The gang shows up, pile back in, motorcycle pinata on birthday-boy’s lap in the middle. Mom tells me she talked him out of the skull. I tell her she should have let him get it. On the way home Coen goes to works on the motorcycle’s yellow tassels, enraging birthday-boy. I try to get control of the situation, while Mom drives, we were too packed in for me to operate the vehicle safely. Little man has the perfect barrier of bulk items blocking my control, so we start a game of automotive Marco-Polo, which involves me trying to stop his hands from ripping the tassels off. I succeed but have only elevated the stakes. Now it a game of hand combat. I, more expert at the martial arts, control him easily, but this only brings the toddler’s ear piercing screams of defeat. The siren causes me to let go of the hand, and the game begins again.

Several rounds into that I lost it. Raise my voice. Yell at little man to stop. He gives me big pouty bottom lip. Saucer eyes lids brim with tears in a cartoonish fashion. In the moment, I feel terrible and angry, let down by my own lack of composure. It all becomes obvious I should have brought a cooler, and bags for the grocery, so I could put them in the bed of the pickup. We should have gone into the grocery with everyone else so we weren’t bored. No matter what, it is your responsibility as a parent to BE COOL. You cannot teach little ones not to throw fits, if you’re throwing a fit.

I deleted a post the other day. I was sort of embarrassed by all that, by what I wrote, deleting it. It was whiny, cliche. Quoted Mel Gibson as William Wallace, so silly and melodramatic. It was all true, horribly true of course, and I should have left it. I did leave it, in here, the electronic second brain of this creature.

I get build up, pressure issues when I’m not writing new stuff. It’s kind of odd to start falling apart cause of the something like that. It’s about exhausting that emotional, psychic build up, I think. Hitting the bag gets it out, exercise or intensive manual labor too. Time, always the issue. That’s just something to say though isn’t it. The truth is much more complicated. You have more energy, do more, brings more challenges, requires more energy more activity, do more, more challenges, more energy, more challenges. Something like that. No real thing as rest. The meditation will be timed. Start now, ten minutes. Space between thoughts. I am Austin. I am Austin. I am Austin….3:36PM

8-5-16 (Slice of the Morning Stream Amidst Editing)

In the lab, 10:58AM. Had an early dentist appointment, taking in info and stimulation now, mind wanders towards editing. This is a day dedicated to writing. I watch this video on Joyce, one of the great ones. Writers are my favorite people. Mainly because they’re like perception and cognitive super heroes. I want to be one. I might be. A quarter sized dangerous looking spider paraded passed on the window pane. It had a worthy ant clutched in its front legs. Earlier, during the Joyce video, an ant ran on to the screen. I let it wander, wondering if it was into the subject like I was.

Mechanics, execution, these are my trouble areas. I write, think, talk in a complicated fashion, and making that work in prose is a challenge. I need to slow down. I feel like I’m in a big ocean and if I stop treading water I’ll sink. That’s generally my attitude towards editing, feels like I’m sinking, drowning.

Stop that shit, greater self urges. Focus you lazy, weak belly, bastard. It’s work, a craft, not supposed to be easy. Don’t waste your time, your life. Do or do not, there is no try. Thanks Yoda.

The ant’s back. It walks on these words as I edit them, then falls off the screen. Not a fan?

7-12-16 (Late Meditations)

8:15PM Blue flame of the stone heart wanes. A bubbling ripple of red rage thrumming against its underbelly. I step beside it. Look beyond into it into the great blue sky, thick white wall clouds. Stopped, like I am.

I think about what to write to you. How to paint an interesting, attractive view of my reality. The blog is low-key enough I can say what I want, but public enough so not really. I hate that the bastard truth would be more entertaining, but I don’t have the courage.

Writing is a dangerous sport. It makes us hoarders of memories. Paradox abounds, because I suspect it is horrible memories which float the best. Writers are trained on the horse bits of their own suffering. Lead around by a cultural sadist, sauntering in the latest fashions. You are this because you were born here, by these people, this is your life.

You hear about this Pokemon Go business? Fuck, right? Billion dollar digital overlay of the world. Makes me think of Philip K. Dicks The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. That’s where we’re headed, twenty years. We’ll all swim in virtual realities.

Print

Not me. Think I’ma trade it all in for a patch of dirt. Give me some space to cultivate the blue flame of stone heart. Eat food from my dirt or die. Kill the Television.

It’s Babylon sickness, the roads, the concrete, the bad food, heat and sweating bodies. Everybody is so gassed. Rorschach tests from the sweat on the shirts of pot bellied old men. Diabetes leaning side ways, sweating at the bus stop. Skeleton chested woman in dated black jeans, and a stretched red tank-top. Three trash bags of diet cokes cans slung over her shoulder, making the three mile march to Wal-Mart, for what? A pack of cigarettes? The last five bucks she needs, for whatever it is she needs…

That’s god though, I’m sure.

Later, 10:26PM, kids in bed, post shower Dr. Bronner’s rub down. Everything is better after Bronner’s. So here I sit friends, 10:36PM, maybe an hour or so until sleep, then 6:44AM we do it again. How do we make it fresh? How do we make it original? How do we make it great again, and again, and again?

I think I’lll wake up and walk one of my dogs. Then do a loaf of bread. Made my best sour dough loaf today. Starter is about to take a break in the fridge. You could just keep feeding the starter, a little flour and water everyday. It could exists on your counter forever, I’ve learned. Fascinating when you stop to think of it. You cultivate a bunch of microorganisms that make your bread taste great and helps you digest it. Sigh. Babylon. You know they went to this ancient bread making process, stripped it down, dissected it, strained it, bleached it, reconstituted it with some preservative shit, and filled your grocery aisle with it, told ya it was good for ya.

Today I substituted honey for the sugar. Delicious. The honey for the sugar. I like the sound of the that. I love honey pots. I love bees. I like working in the field, simpatico with the bees. Pollinate these flowers. Float over here. Bring the good back to the hive, to the Queen. I get bees. Weird you can fit so perfect in one environment, so wretched in another. Seen retarded bees staggering from a shot of Round-Up.

It’s not good writing like this after a certain time, so I will sing you farewell dear reader. I hope you found your way to some Art today. The flame may spark red, but it burns eternally blue. I hope for you too. Get your words. Make someone else’s day. Stay in the space between yourself and the world.

7-2-16 (Morning)

9:50 Amazing start to the day. All signs are pointing to the way, the flow. Woke up early, spooned with my lovely. Finally hopped out of bed 7ish, greeted two and three with morning salutations. Out the door to the rainy day farmer’s market. I love rainy days, as I’ve mentioned. It slowed the market down to the perfect speed, cut some of the herd, not that it necessarily needed cut at all. Market folk generally seem to be putting off some friendly cool vibes. I grabbed one of the little ones green frog umbrella and hit the streets.

Was greeted on the walk up, by older black guy, totally enraptured hopping around on his bench, by the jazz he was putting down on the public piano. I see the spirt swirling around him, roaring in its independence, and lust for life. A symbol of the Holy Spirit, humanity unchained, free, and beautiful. He’s playing as I leave too. I hope he sits there all day, a hundred days, until the end of time. He’s not the only musical act on the walk either. There are solo guy and girl singer-guitarists, belting out their best, exceptional.

Greens and cabbages are out, cukes, onions, carrots, potatoes are on. I have to put myself on a budget or I could go crazy. Spent twenty something, got three end of the season cabbages from Grade A, about 3-4 lbs for another batch of kraut, five dollars, some Lions Mane mushrooms from super cool mushroom lady, a bowl for 8, and a bowl each of cukes, potatoes, and red onions, from my new regular stand.

Stop by store for a booze run six pack, bottle of whisky for BBQ sauce and cocktail for dinner tomorrow with friends. Back home got big pot of coffee going, then went and harvested Lemon Balm from garden to make second patch of honey time sleep tea, family loves that stuff!

Now it’s time for words, 10:14, let’s go! The thrilling 1st Draft Conclusion of Nowhere!

Day 16 (On Writing & Editing)

CIMG1059

Authors Note: I am deep into my September challenge, with only six days to go. The challenge was to write one thousand words a day, for the whole month. So far it has been a raging success! Here’s his Day 16.

I woke up to the sound of running water and my wife screaming out my name. Water has been popping up a lot lately. It’s a big part of the September novel, so are dreams. That’s what it felt like when my wife woke me up this morning, a dream. The hot handle of the shower had somehow come off, a torrent of water coming out of the wall, like the rock Moses split. She tried to stop it with a towel, which only accomplished dumping the water into the basement.

It took all our clean linens to sop the water up. They were freshly washed and folded, still holding the delicious smell of clean laundry. The water filled the basement room’s floor half an inch. We had been trying to dry out this room, and seal up the concrete wall for a month.

There’s a lot of moments as an adult that make me feel like I am on the deck of the Starship Enterprise, or something. Hyper real moments, where my Fate hangs in the balance. Sometimes it is little moments like trying to cross the street with both children and an arm full of groceries. Or when you are trying to lay down new floors so the house can be lived in. Or when the central air unit goes out, and you realize you are facing 100plus and humidity, with a houseful of nordic folk, and there is no money for a new system. Or watching you wife give birth to your children. Or when your handle pops off for no reason and dumps gallons of water in the basement.

All due respect to the Captain, but they got trained professionals at their bidding. You and I, we got the yellow pages and mountains of debt. And I don’t know what it is about some of these positions like electricians and car repair folk, but it always seems overpriced, and mystical, and it is hard to get the job done right.

Same time if you’re blessed with handy friends or family, you will discover the issue just required a little time and know how, and then you are even more disconcerted when the next problem arises, because now you know that most problems can be fixed, by real adults, but you still don’t quite have it. So you’re back on the bridge and all hell is breaking loose and you got to figure it out.

As a writer these mundane things are doubly troublesome. First because our positions are so strange you can’t help but compare it to this new necessary skill which you so need. One plumber told us 85 an hour. The absurdity I raged. My college educated, debt ridden Wife makes something like 25 dollars an hour and she takes care of dying people!

Can you imagine that? This person whose Grandmother may be under the care of my wife, pays less for her care, then I will have to pay him to reassemble my shower knob? How is this possible? There I sit broken, crazy artist, banging away each day trying to assemble some great work of Fiction, so that I can go peddle it to whoever will humor me, for .99$ a pop, and this guy screwing on a handle works at 85 an hour. The absurdity! Even more absurd reality when your facing the hard reality of broken plumbing.

All this to say it polluted the writing well this evening. It seemed the height of absurdity to go spout off a thousand words, when my own connection to life giving water is so fragile.

How can one write when one is starving? How could you writer with tanks rolling down your streets? How could you write with leaky residential plumbing? It wasn’t a leak though. Let’s be serious. It was a full on gusher, but all it required was for me to race down stairs, climb over some inconveniently placed junk, and then I turned off the water to the house. I cleaned up, contacted my Elders and debated the moves with my disheveled and wet, Britney.

Communication was difficult, considering the circumstances. Real life scenarios require extra courage. Ultimately, number one was set into work, and I was left make Executive decisions on the Water issue. The Elder’s words came in sporadically at first. Mother Elder called surreptitiously canceling her prescheduled visit. As to be expected, crisis created hot spots for parallel conflagration. Thankfully I have been training in parental Judo as of late, so progress and understanding was achieved with Mother Elder. She emphasized appeal to Father Elder.

Father Elder in this case was Mother Elder Husband #2. He is a true Master Craftsman. Fate had relieved me of all danger. Father Elder was out and about in my neck of the woods, and believed he could be of assistance. He was.

He identified how to fix the problem in under five minutes, offered to retrieve the one small necessary washer, promised his return later in the day to fix. Showed up later, five minutes more, problem solved. Father Elder is the man.

I want to be the man like that. There are tons of skills out there successful people need to have. From what I have seen each work attracts a different personality. The physical worker would consider sitting in a chair for four hours reading and writing a strange torture, and most writers would probably melt if they were forced to roof a house.

I’m definitely melting along with the rest of my Craftsmen, but I really admire and want to be handy. I also enjoy the physicality of man work. My problem is I just don’t have enough technical knowledge to be effective. I have a couple good avenues to explore these interests, but I am also so busy with being a Dad and sometime writer that its sort of impossible. So I ride the waves of Fate.

We try to save extra money for these types of things, and we could have bit the bullet and probably paid someone over a hundred dollars to come do what Father elder did in ten minutes. And if Fates had been different that could have very well been the case. I was a boy scout for a little while growing up. I think thats where I first thought about ideas like preparedness. I believe that Artists need to be concerned with survival first just like everybody else. I currently because of my circumstances am able to pursue writing as a hobby. But I also have to recognize that I need to have security for my family at large.

I have really been thinking about this all in connection to my writing. If it something I want to approach seriously I need to turn it into something that can make me money. I have been writing for sometime and have some material I could bring to a finish state. I am coming to realize self publishing my stuff is my answer. The success of that endeavor depends on my own ability to master my craft. 

Does Size Matter? (On Writing & Editing)

Image

Well I don’t think it does, really. I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity, in most areas really, ahem. There is a lot of discussion out there among writers about how much is enough. There are different word count for different genres I’ve learned, and a myriad of reasons and explanations for these different levels. Like Hard Sci-FI should be no less than 90K words, and YA should be somewhere around 60k. These are of course dictated by the always dubious and ambivalent, “publishing industry”, and so of course my Generation Y, anti-conformist, middle-child syndrome, wasn’t raised right ass, is highly doubtful of all these conventions. Of course no one is really saying these word counts are a hard line in the sand or anything. No, of course not, just merely suggestions, based on empirical research and common sense.

For a thorough listing and explanation of word count expectations, check this out    http://www.literaryrejections.com/word-count/

So I am on Chapter 3, Draft Three, and I am having another sort of size issue. The first two chapters are each roughly six pages and then my third chapter end ups being only like two. So I have gone back tightened it up, done some rearranging and rewriting, removing some of this telling, adding some of that showing, and it still sort of tops out right around two. So then I ask, well is this just the way it is? Is this okay? I think about pacing. We start out Chapter 1 in the action, 2 we get a little interlude world building, 3 bam we get another little bit of action, 4 we will return to development, five pick up the action, I see some sort of scheme here. All sounds fine and dandy, but then again the over analytic, non-conformist, begins to think, well is it too symmetrical, too formulaic, and then suddenly an existential abyss opens up and the whole thing must be evaluated for all points of problem and merit, until we find ourselves lost in circular battle of artistic doubt and mania, and then our Tuesday is ruined…

Image

source: http://alexiuss.deviantart.com/art/The-Abyss-333599379

That’s not what happened though. I edited for an hour, will probably spent another half an hour, in deep contemplation, rereading Draft 2, and then I’ll call it a day, and go plant some tomatoes. Now how do I grow those things into monsters….

The Work Continues (On Writing and Editing)

Image

source:http://www.dailycompass.org/2013/05/31/the-long-and-winding-road/

 

We are off on draft three people. About one and 3/4 chapters on our way, so we still got some way to go. I understand too of course that this may not be the last draft either. I do hope though that this can be a definitive draft. If I can’t get this basically in line, this round, then I will have to caste it to the abyss officially. I don’t want to do that.

All right with that melodrama out of the way, life is going very well for me. Spring garden is rocking, except for the ravaging bunnies. My garlic is about twelve inches tall, got a tater popping, and seven tomatoes plants out in the raised bed. Little kiddies are keeping on rocking in the free world, and the Wife has five days off! It’s write time folks. Actually edit time, I guess.

The great thing about writing is you can only do it so long. If I get in my morning session, like I like it, by noon I am basically spent and can go do other stuff. Like read! I picked up a few books on editing. I started Orson Scott Card’s How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy. The first chapter was about the differences in the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy. How they each have similar rules and conventions, which self-identify to perspective editors and publishes. He also give a wonderful overview of the readings that should be done to acquaint yourself with the scientific cannon. So basically I got like twenty some authors I need to go get into, super exciting!

Image

I’m realizing that my writing has a lot of plot holes, and not in the traditional sense of a singular distracting instance, but instead like holed swiss cheese. I need better character integration, and better frames for the main narrative. I need substantive development through narrative, but not info dumps. All the actors are here, the set is made, and the ideas are on the page, but we still don’t have the story, beginning to end. But we are getting there, one day, one session, one sentence at a time. Hope you are getting somewhere too.