Month: September 2011

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Whenever I’m alone I’m thinking,
there’s a part missing from my life.
Wonder where I’d be without your love
holding me together now I’m
watching the time tick, tick away.

Jet City Woman.
Got to find my way home to her.
Jet City Woman.
I see her face everywhere I look!
Jet City Woman.
Just a thousand miles and I’ll be there
Jet City Woman, to make the clouds go away.
Time for some blue sky!

–Queensryche, Jet City Woman (video below)

I’m flying again in the morning.  Not a terribly early start, but it will still put a slight dent in my Saturday.  :)

We’re headed for Pristina, Kosovo.  This kind of flight is what we call an “out & in”, which means I’ll be home again tomorrow evening–unless we run into weather like we did on Wednesday.

But you know it’s hard for me to complain.  I enjoy flying, and I know I’ll miss it when this good deal finally ends.  The person who really gets left holding the bag when I have to leave–on the weekend especially–is my better half, Furnacegirl.  She’s often on her own to take care of the kids and housework and a thousand little chores.  What with my writing and the daydreaming and the constant distractions, it’s a wonder she puts up with me!

But she truly is one in a million, and even though it feeds a part of my soul to fly away over the horizon, or feeds another part of my soul to detach myself from reality for awhile to dream up a fictional world, I’ve found that there’s always a part left behind, no matter how distant I am.

Needless to say, I couldn’t go do my job (at least without losing my mind) if I didn’t know there was someone I trusted implicitly keeping the home fires burning.  For every crazy writing idea she listens to, for every wild anecdote I have to share just this minute, for every raving lunatic scheme I conjure about our future, she’s there with a smile and a steady hand on the wheel.  And I love her for it.

Furnacegirl, I love ya babe! You’re my Jet City Woman!

Sorry.  πŸ˜€  Got carried away.  How ’bout we say enough of the dime-store romanticity (yes it’s a word!) and get down to business?  πŸ˜€ 

I had a relatively good week on the writing front.  After my long lay off, my unused writing muscles are starting to flex back into shape.  I banged out some #REN3 work, and I have a few flash fiction pieces to throw up next week and get your thoughts on.  And it’s a bit of a race against time since we head for Paris on Friday, but I think I can get it all done.  πŸ˜›

So, perhaps I should get off Blogger and go do some writing?  Waddaya think?  Well, here’s some News & Views that have been piling up to keep you entertained in the meantime.  And a nice video to follow…

NEWS

VIEWS

CONTESTS, etc.

Finally, to ready you for the weekend, some groovy 80’s Rock to usher in the good times!  Have a rockin’ weekend!

This is a quick odds and ends post before I bolt out the door.  I’m up early today, flying off to Spain–and back!  I love my job, but ten plus hours in the cockpit can get somewhat tedious after awhile.  πŸ˜‰

Although I’ve been getting up early for years due to the demands of Navy life, a 4:30 a.m. wakeup is still pretty painful.  I used to not be a morning person, but I’m working to change my ways.  And I’m pretty proud of myself: I’m up early to write some fiction.  πŸ˜€

Anyhoo, I’m making progress on the writing front and happy with the results.  My main effort lately has been scribing out a little flash fiction, which I’m discovering comes with a whole different class of challenges.  You may recall I mentioned a contest hosted by Esquire Magazine where entries are stories told in exactly 78 words. 

Have you ever tried to tell a story in less than a hundred words?  It’s pretty tough–but fun.  As a writing exercise, I decided to write ten of them, then choose the best.  I’m about halfway through, and enjoying it.  I may even share a few before all is said and done.

I’ve also started work on my idea for the upcoming Rule of Three Blogfest (link in the sidebar)!

If you haven’t checked this one out yet, I highly recommend you get on over there and sign up if you’re interested.  It promises to be a ton of fun, and the excitement is palpable as I consider how to structure my piece.  I’m learning I tend to enjoy challenges like that–not only for the fun factor, but because they help keep me focused on getting words on the page.  πŸ˜€

Of course, NaNo is right around the corner.  (Has it been a year already?)  I am certainly planning to participate again this year.  Last year was a blast, crazy unbelievable finish and all, but I think I need to be somewhat more organized this year.  I’m planning to finally have a go at First Person Shooter (previously called First Man–detailed here) but I have some character development and plotting to do before the starting gun goes off.  You planning to play in NaNo this year?

Finally, we’re heading off to visit Sweet Paree in a few weeks!  We’re excited.  We’ve been before, but only for a day and a night, so this’ll be our chance to see what’s what in Paris.  Anyone got any travel tips for me?

That’s it for now.  I have some News and Views piling up, and I’ll get those out tomorrow. 

 

Now I’m off to dream up some fiction.  What are you dreaming up today?  Have a blast of a hump day, and don’t forget to stay groovy!

After nearly twenty years flying for the Navy, I’m pretty used to the reaction when people learn I’m a pilot.  The general flavor of the response varies from mild reverence to downright aww-shucks-I-jus’-met-a-rockstar astonishment. 

It’s easy to understand why.  Airplanes and helicopters are complex machines, constructed of literally thousands of components designed to hold together, create lift, produce thrust, and, for some larger aircraft, convey several hundred thousand pounds of passengers, fuel, and cargo into the heavens–to travel thousands of miles and touchdown with nary a scratch at a distant airfield at the other end. 

I suppose people figure any guy or gal who knows how to safely operate that kind of equipment must have half a clue.

On the other hand, tell someone you’re a writer or you want to be a writer–I don’t have a lot of experience with this one yet, but I think I’ve got a reasonable sense of it–and you get a very different reaction.  Unless you’re on the New York Times Best Seller List, or had your latest novel made into a blockbuster movie starring Matt Damon and Kate Beckinsale (or whoever the latest Hollywood A-listers are), you aren’t likely to get much of a reaction at all.  Perhaps some mild interest, perhaps a few questions about who you write like, or a comment about the horrible novels the questioner was forced to read in high school or college. 

Don’t get me wrong.  People LOVE writers; they’re just not all that impressed when they meet one on the street.

I think this is wrong.  Here’s why: take a look at these two pictures. 

Which one–an aircraft or typewriter–do you think is more difficult to operate?

By now, you’ve probably figured out what I’m gonna say.  The answer IMHO is that the typewriter is more difficult to operate–especially when writing fiction.

Before you decide I’m off my rocker, let me fill you in on my logic.  Sure, there are two million switches in that there cockpit, and what the hell are all those dials for?  I mean–just look at it!  It looks like something out of Star Wars or something.  That’s what you’re thinking, right?

Then there’s the lowly typewriter–now grownup into a computer.  Forty-eight keys–give or take–and the durn thing don’t even need electricity!  What could be simpler?

But I tell ya, I’ve been flying for nearly twenty years and writing fiction on and off for ten.  What I’ve learned in that time is that, when flying an airplane, all those gages and dials are telling me where to go.  The entire inside of an aircraft cockpit is designed to feed as much information to the pilot as possible, and pilots are generally talking to ground control on the radio to get directions on their next heading, altitude or frequency change.  As complex as it looks, in practice the whole process is pretty much paint by numbers.

But sit in front of a typewriter and figure out where to go next.  The typewriter gives you no information.  If you think the inside of an aircraft cockpit is intimidating, consider a blank page when you’re writing fiction on deadline.  What’s the next thing to happen in your story?  What does your MC do?  Geez, it ain’t easy!  πŸ˜€

That’s why I think writers should get more respect.  And that’s why I’m in this game.  Writing fiction is, hands down, the hardest thing I’ve ever done–and that’s why I’m still trying to get on paper the stories I’ve been carrying around in my head all these years.

So what do you think about my little theory?  Met any really cool writers recently?  How do you measure the complexity of writing fiction against your day job?  πŸ˜€

Boy, this weekend flew by!  And today too!  So much to do, so much to do.

How you doin’?  πŸ˜€  Have you been writing?  I’ve been doing some–and happy with where I’m headed.  We’ll see how long that lasts.  πŸ˜€

So, without further adieu, your

NEWS & VIEWS

CONTESTS, CONFERENCES and FELLOWSHIPS

Have a fine writer’s day!  πŸ˜€

Time has been flying by lately, as we hurtle toward a New Year with ever increasing abandon.  I can hardly believe it’s almost October.  Much lies in our future; a move back to the United States; retirement for me after 20 summers in the Navy; a whole new life to start again.  It’s thrilling and terrifying at the same time.

But time also flies, as they say, when we’re having fun.  Though I’ve been missing from this forum as of late, much has happened in real life, and the last six months have gifted us a veritable cornucopia of memorable moments.  It’s easy to be thankful, and I thank my luck stars every day.  πŸ˜€

So, on this Friday afternoon, I’m feeling somewhat reflective.  I thought I’d share a few recent life events with ya’all, just for fun.  Consider this fair warning: I may wander into Facebook territory a time or two, but rest assured we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming soon enough.

The first thing I can report–and the biggie on this list, is we have a new member of the family.

Chip (his Blogosphere Codename) was born June 11th, 9 lbs, 10 ounces, healthy–and happy, as was Momma and sister Muffin.  He’s a big laugher already; we’ve taken to calling him Gigglebox among other nicknames.

Sister Muffin is in love with her brother, and needless to say we are all thrilled.  I guess if I had to have an excuse for not blogging too much, this is a pretty good one.

Other news from around here: Etna’s been acting up, which has made for a few photo opportunities.

Caught this pic on an early morning run one day.

This one was taken from our yard.  No reason to be nervous.  We’re miles away, and on a hill to boot!

I took up running again, which I am finding energizing and refreshing.  It’s been right hot here in Sicily through August, but I managed OK.  I went out for the 9/11 Commemorative 5k, which was a blast–and such great weather!

As part of the run, they handed out slips of paper with the name of a 9/11 survivor on it.  We safety-pinned them to our T-shirts and ran in their honor.

A great event all round. (you can find out more about Babita Guman here).

We also capitalized on the abundance of fresh produce and other products made from fresh ingredients available on the economy.  When it’s hot, there’s nothing better than sitting down to a cold dinner of fresh peaches, cucumbers, peppers, prosciutto, cheeses, bread from the bakery down the road (panneficio in Italian), the list goes on.  Mmm mmm, good!

Finally, you may recall way back when that one of my goals for 2011 was to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania.  Turns out it’s not gonna happen in 2011.  BUT I will head off in January 2012 to do the deed.  As a result, I’ve been doing tons of hiking and other climbing-related fitness activities in preparation, including this recent climb to the summit of Etna.

Boy, was that a blast!  But enough about me.  What fun non-writing stuff have you been up to lately?  Please, do tell! 

I’ll wrap it up now, but not before I play you into the weekend with a song that’s sounding particularly apropos to me right now.  Have a way groovy weekend!