Progress is all about progressing and stuff

That whole “Day Whatever” thing? Yeah, I think that can go away now. I mean, posting in a succession of days that mark every day I have worked on the novel makes great sense. Not that I often make sense. I usually make not sense, and with great precision. So, it’s canned. On a shelf to be forgotten forevermore. Like Apocalypse Tuna. But NEVER FEAR! I am still here. Still hereing and being here and being not not here in order to post what I have written on the The Progenitor.

That said, in the time I have managed not to waste watching football, cheering my fantasy baseball team to a long-awaited league winner winner chicken dinner championship (Yeah that’s right, I play fantasy sports. What of it? I’m a dude who likes sports, all right? Back off, lest I pummel you with my sportish knowledge and bore you to tears.), taunting the cat, humoring the dog, and putting back a healthy dose of the Fall’s first batch of chili, I have created more words! Words that pair with other words to form sentences and paragraphs! Paragraphs that talk about stuff and lead to other stuff. Two chapters worth, in fact! In fairness, they’ve seen a light edit, but I tend to read through what I last wrote in an effort to drop back into the flow of the story, which always results in some alteration along the way. I edit, therefore I am, or something.

With these two chapters, Agatha’s adventure has officially begun. A bit earlier than I had expected (I’m at 12,000 words, and I thought I’d make it closer to 20k before everything really took off), but it feels right. The story’s never wrong. When it says it’s time to fly, you jump. When it says have some meat and chill, you better not be a vegetarian.

Speaking of jumping, as this story plays with the concept of jumping through time, the task I face is explaining this, and the results therefrom, in a way that is easy to follow and understand. If I have failed to do so at any point, fire away. You’re the reader, I’m the writer. I stand behind the curtain, while you fall asleep in a field of poppies, or head off on a witch hunt with but some sketchy courage, a tin brain, no heart and a stupid bucket of water. I know everything. You know nothing. NOTHING!

So, here it is. All six chapters. 12k words out of a projected 90k pushes me past 10%. It’s a small benchmark, but something about crossing 10% has always infused me with excitement. Hopefully it shows.

Progenitor Manuscript .pdf

The Golden Ticket

One day does not a year make.

But, doesn’t it?

I had intended on writing a blog today about the maddening mess of mental malady that was my 2013. It was awful. Nothing seemed to go right. Plans were not merely rerouted, but torn to shreds by this monstrosity of a year. Short of 2009, which saw the close of my beloved Wordsmiths Books (as well as another unmentionable dissolution), there has been no other year spurning more depression and anxiety than 2013.

Then today happened.

Can one day really undo the damage the preceding 364 brought?

This once, I can say undoubtedly so. After all, being lost in a desert might be a continual trek through despair, misery, and pain; a plodding journey toward inevitability. Yet, find your way free and wouldn’t the memory of it all seem somewhat diluted? You survived, right? That has to cast some light upon the shadow of your anguish.

My light arrived by way of the Georgia Center for the Book. I am pleased to say that, as of January 6th, 2014, I will assume the post of GCB  Assistant to the Executive Director. I’m not sure if that’s the official title, but it sounds Schrutian (Schrute-ian?) enough for me, so I’ll go with it. If I can walk around screaming, “Michael!” then they can call me whatever they want. Regardless, I’m beyond excited to be joining this organization. As a writer, as a reader, as an individual who longs to see a greater emphasis on literacy, this is the job I have longed for. This is the place I belong. Additionally, it places the Moss and I back in Decatur, a city we have missed quite dearly in the year we’ve been away.

What is the Georgia Center for the Book, you may wonder? There’s a lengthy description here, but to summarize, here is a list of the Center’s Activities:

Sponsoring over 100 programs each year bringing authors from around the nation and the state for free year-round public appearances.

Sponsoring the 2012 Georgia Literary Festival November 9-10 at Jekyll Island.

Sponsoring state student literary competitions in two national programs,Letters About Literature and River of Words

Developing programs to take nationally known authors to libraries around Georgia with a “We the People” grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Georgia Humanities Council. The first “We the People” program was successfully held at Young Harris on January 29, 2007.

Co-sponsoring major state literary awards including the Townsend Prize and the Lillian Smith Award.

Georgia Center for the Book

It doesn’t fully encapsulate the enormity of the organization’s purpose or impact, but it offers a nice glimpse into their reach. I look forward to assisting them in their work, helping to generate further awareness, and joining with the GCB Executive Director, Joe Davich, in expanding and evolving its reach.

This is not Joe Davich. But it really is.

This is not Joe Davich. But it really is.

2014 seems to be opening with a bang, offering an array of possibility, leaving the memory of 2013 as but an exercise in endurance. A period of brutal pain and misery, suffering and depression, yes, but also of survival, of resilience, and of the rewards that come from a refusal to lay down against the weight of it all.

This is no way detracts from my writing, or from my desire to reach as many readers as is possible. Book One of The Storyteller is still moving forward, the reissues of Anointed and Flutter are in the pipeline, and the initial response to my current manuscript, Specimen A, is glowing. 2014 is, indeed, lining up nicely, and I more than look forward to the adventures it will offer.

The Negligent Blogger

I am a negligent blogger.

It may even go beyond that, but it somehow feels freeing just to say it. I don’t imagine anyone willing to drop their child in a wicker basket on a doorstep would pause after leaving the note, nod, and suggest to themselves they felt freer already and good for them for making such a selfless decision; still I can’t help but look at my blog as the neglected and abandoned child it is and somehow feel pleased about it. (Originally followed up by a lengthy ramble about why this validates my childless family, but deleted because my cat saw it and immediately began hacking up a hairball in protest. Never test your cat.).

Point is, I haven’t written here in a long time. I’d count the days, but that would be like dropping that child off at the doorstep, then counting the steps back home, just to see how far a heartless soul can actually walk.  But then I’d have to devise some reason for feeling bad about it, when I’d much rather have tater tots while contemplating the unpredictable mood swings of hippos.  Regardless, I’ve thought a lot about my abandoned child, wondering when I might visit it again, stressed it might not like me anymore.  However, when I woke up this morning, feeling refreshed and stress-free for the first time in months, I had a thought that brought me to a place of peace with my bastard blog.

“At least I’m not Dan Brown.

Aside from the money, of course.  Waking up to know I could buy a small island and decree myself a one-man nation of articulate baboons has always been a dream of mine. Not that I’d do it. Who wants to serve under a dictatorship like that? And all the paperwork of being the Dictator doesn’t pay off unless you actually have baboons to go ballistic when you assign it to them.

Some dreams need work.

I had a dream last night that the Moss and I lived in a two-story house that was docked in a tremendously deep lake. Not a houseboat, mind you. A whole house. Just floating there. Well, floating in that sinking kind of way. For some odd reason we had decided that living in a two-story house on a lake with no notable means of flotation was a quality idea. Needless to say the fact that it was sinking came to us as quite a shock.  So we hurried about gathering whatever our arms could carry, water cascading down the stairs–yes, that’s right, the house sank into water that came from the second floor–stumbling onto the dock in time to watch the steeple of the house disappear into the murky waters below.

This in no way seemed odd, or even remotely disheartening.  Quite the opposite, in fact. Like any couple, having watched their improbably placed two-story home sink into a lake, we simply waited for it to reappear. Which it did some time later. Because that’s what houses do. All the time. I want to say it reappeared hours later, but who knows in a dream, right? We could have returned to the spot years later, or we might have just been reliving the moment in perpetuity. Like a less funny Groundhog Day. Or we could have been like that stupid couple who somehow buys a house without bothering to see if it was once owned, I don’t know, by a homicidal maniac who butchered his entire family thing. Because, let’s face it: If you know this and still buy the house, you deserve to see the world in a hundred different pieces. Anyway, we wittingly walked back into the house. And it sank again. Go figure. Houses. I would presume this would have happened again had I not woken up. Though I’d like to think somewhere in there I would have said to the Moss, “Don’t drive angry,” which wouldn’t have made any contextual sense unless you were Bill Murray talking to a groundhog driving a truck, and would have been precisely the reason I would have said it. Dreams. Sometimes a babbling drunk Uncle detailing the process of baking one of his “special pies” is easier to understand.

Which is why I’m terrified my blog hates me.

So I’m going to talk to it a bit more, worry less about whether or not anyone cares, ramble about nothing important, and hope to repair the damage done by a negligent father who long since forgot how many steps away he walked before realizing he eventually needed to find his way back.

Also, because this:

White Americans is LOL.

White Americans is LOL.

Yes they are, funny cheese sign. Yes they are.