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Archive for March, 2016

Throwback Thursday (Gently)

Posted by Dirck on 31 March, 2016

The throwback is only to last Thursday.  Last week, we got what I could without much fear of contradiction call the only real snowfall of the winter.  Those who attend to the cycling of the equinoxes will probably spot that, technically speaking, spring was already upon us last week.  This illustrates both the contrary nature of weather and how astronomically-determined seasons just don’t mesh with experience here in the broad Canadian prairie.

Anyway, last Thursday, the snow had stopped, and the sun was out by day’s end… and there were some pretty things emerging from the interaction of loads of fresh snow and low-angle sun.  As it takes me this long to drag images out of my good camera and process them, it’s not exactly news, but it is fodder for my own little on-line gallery.  Here, see how pretty Old Man Winter can be when he’s just shuffling out the door–

March Foliage

March Foliage

Snow Lace

Snow Lace


The Darling Buds of March (seriously, Tree– it’s too early; go back to sleep)

Today’s thawed pen: Parker 65
Today’s ink: Waterman washable blue 


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Posted by Dirck on 31 March, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 28 March
  • 29 March
  •  30 March
  •  31 March
  • Second draft of  “The Loss of Deep Waters”.
  • First draft of “Exciting New Designer Jeans”.
  • Third Draft of “The Mermaid’s Husband”.
  • Third Draft of “Wilden Klausen” (title amended after consulting German people)
  • Done at 2,631 words.
  • Two manuscript pages.
  • Down to 7,111 words.
  • Only one darling killed, and a whole month before the deadline!
  • 45 min.
  • 35 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 35 min.

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Posted by Dirck on 24 March, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 21 March
  • 22 March
  • 23 March
  • 24 March
  • First draft of  “The Loss of Deep Waters”.
  • Conclusion of that first draft, beginning the second of “Wildenklausen”.
  • More second drafting, with some unexpected bonus time late in the day.
  • Thanks, bonus time!  Now it’s done!
  • Seven manuscript pages.
  • Two pages, then 945 words typed.
  • 2,219 words.
  • A total of 3,606 words.
  • 45 min.
  • 55 min.
  • 100 min.
  • 35 min.

Another new development in the past two weeks– I’m writing not merely to get the stories down, but to externally-imposed deadlines.  “Wildenklausen” and “The Loss of Deep Waters” are aimed at two different anthologies, both of which close at the end of April.  This is not a very tight pair of deadlines, admittedly, but it’s a good deal more pressure than what has been my usual practice of getting the thing written briskly but comfortably, for eventual presentation.  I think I’m enjoying it.  Probably.

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After a Long Test-Drive…

Posted by Dirck on 22 March, 2016

I mentioned, back when I first admitted to having the TWSBI Eco, that I would come back and give an update if any problems developed.  Here I am to give an update after using it for about two months.

I’m back! Miss me?

You ghouls may put aside your bibs.  I am not here to speak of problems and failures.  I am still in the Eco fan club, and now I have actual reasons to support the position.

First, let’s talk mileage.  All the fiction writing I’ve done since that entry in January has come out of this pen, and I only just had to re-fill it.  I’ll save you going back through the entries and adding up the page counts– that’s 94 pages.  Before you call for the smelling salts, though, keep in mind that it’s all double-spaced; if I were writing like a normal person, and making allowances for some un-recorded scribbling, we can call it about 50 pages of 8 ½ X 11 loose-leaf of moderate cheapness and absorbency.  Which is… pretty damn good, thinking back to how quickly I could empty my pen at the height of my university note-taking days.  Keep in mind also that it has an extra-fine point, which is going to keep consumption down too.

The other thing I wanted to mention is those little vanes at the front of the ink chamber.  There’s no mention of them in the instructions, but I found that they were useful for wringing all possible writing out of the load of ink.  When the pen was effectively empty, I put it point up, ran the piston forward, and found that the vanes did indeed conduct the last vestiges of the ink to the feed– which last vestiges included what had been clinging to the piston seal thanks to surface tension, and the mere moist vapour that collected on the inside of the chamber, scraped down into a place of use by the piston.  It’s not something you’d like to rely upon during an important exam (and if you filled up ahead of time, you almost certainly wouldn’t have to), but it’s nice to know the potential is there.

The one fly in the ointment I notice is that little lip at the front of the section.  It seems to be there only to make comparisons to the Lamy Safari absolutely mandatory…

I was going to use the Vista, but its lip is hard to see, being transparent.

…and it makes cleaning after refill slightly more tedious than it needs to be.  It’s not a crippling problem, by any means, but I thought I should avoid giving the impression that this pen is Utopia in the shape of a writing instrument.

Today’s pen: Parker 65
Today’s ink: Waterman washable blue 

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Hopping Down the…?

Posted by Dirck on 18 March, 2016

Easter is drawing near, so why not a film involving something with… sort of, after a fashion, rabbity ears?

There’s an excellent blend of sweetness and melancholy there, too.   Just like a Laura Secord egg; delicious, but makes the heart hurt a little.

Today’s pen: Pelikan M20
Today’s ink: Herbin Poussière de Lune

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Posted by Dirck on 17 March, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 14 March
  • 15 March
  • 16 March
  • 17 March
  • First draft of  “Wildenklausen”.
  • Ditto
  • More first drafting.
  • And that’s all for the first draft.
  • Eight manuscript pages.
  • Six pages.
  • Nine pages.
  • Eight pages.
  • 45 min.
  • 40 min.
  • 50 min.
  • 50 min.

…and as an addition to this “See?  Writing!” nonsense I’m burdening you with–

Stories Submitted This Week: 6 (!)

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A Musical Interlude

Posted by Dirck on 11 March, 2016

By the way, yesterday’s noise sounds a little like complaint.  I suppose I would have preferred the revelations to have come a little earlier, but in all honesty the sensation I have this week is one of the world opening its secrets too me and offering me comfort.  I would be very pleased for this sort of feeling to become the standard.

Today’s happy pen: Parker 51
Today’s contented ink: Diamine Marine

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The Imbecile Confession

Posted by Dirck on 10 March, 2016

But let’s start with a strangely-configured progress report:

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 7 March
  • 8 March
  • 9 March
  • 10 March
  • Attending to the uncreative aspects…
  • …of creative writing.
  • As above, plus first draft of “Human Endurance”
  • Second draft of “Human Endurance”

  • See explanation below
  • Total of 641 words.
  • Two…
  • …solid days of it.
  • 45 min…  of writing.
  • 35 min.

So, what’s all that about, then?  Well, it all started last Sunday, when I went to a writing workshop under the direction of a Hugo-winning Canadian author.  The workshop had nothing at all to do with how to find a market for what one wrote; it was all about how to lay a solid foundation for a novel, based on notions the fellow had developed in the course of writing a lot of SF, but which apply to most genres as well.  Jolly useful information, too, but what developed out of it was what I can only think of as blindness resulting from a curse or a brain lesion fell away.  On Monday, I found I was able to uncover all sorts of paying markets for the sort of stuff that I write.

Had I looked previously?  Indeed so.  Not only that, but I had looked in basically the very same places I investigated on Monday on those previous attempts.  Having made this startling… I will say “discovery” because it was new to me, even though already well inhabited and supporting thriving cultures, I decided to get properly serious about making some submissions to places that offer money for stories.

Money for stories.  Fancy that!  Exactly what I have been trying to discover the alchemical principles for!

There is a substantial element of regret in this discovery, as over on the fiction site I have been rendering some of what I think of as pretty good stories unappealing, because most markets want stuff that hasn’t appeared anywhere previously.  I knew I was doing this, too, but in my earlier innocence, I saw no real alternatives by way of becoming known at all as a writer of fictions.  Had the blindness lifted six months earlier, I would have a lot more shot in my locker.

The way in which I intend to address this startling discovery of the obvious is probably self-destructive too, although hopefully only in the short term.  I’m going to carry on here much as I have done, intermittently becoming the sort of specialized interesting I once was while mainly just letting the world know that I’m plugging away and still rotating my pens.  Over there, I’m going to stop being quite so profligate with my new material, which is where the self-destructive comes in– little flash fictions, such as that one I did up today, will appear in what I intend to be a pretty regular way (long intervals, though) while longer stories will get driven around the markets in search of a paying audience.  Once they have found a paying audience, and served their time of exclusivity, I will then post them on the fiction side of my online world; I will then be able to include an annotation along the lines of “Originally presented in the Fall 2016 edition of A Rather Splendid Periodical that Pays Good Rates to Authors“, which will be ego-boosting for me and hopefully drive some more eyes in their direction(s) so they may continue to pay the creative types.

Once I’ve got as many stories with of those annotations as not, I may begin to feel less like a great blundering infant.  I hope so.  These diapers look ridiculous.

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Don’t Let Your Participles Dangle

Posted by Dirck on 4 March, 2016

Merry Grammar Day to all!  It may only be (quasi-)official in the United States (and in the face of the Republican candidates’ efforts, who needs it more?) but it’s one I don’t mind allowing a little cross-border observation of.  Here’s a couple of Filched Films to make it fun:

The latter may be seen as a little contrary to the letter of the day, but it’s so beautifully expressed that it lives up to its spirit.

Today’s pen: Waterman Executive
Today’s ink: Herbin Lie de Thé

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Posted by Dirck on 3 March, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 29 February
  • 1 March
  • 2 March
  • 3 March
  • Second draft of  “The Mermaid’s Husband”.
  • Second drafting like a lion!
  • A little reworking of “The Blue Room”, then persisting with “The Mermaid’s Husband”.
  • Crossed the finish line– time to go to the pits and get my fingers changed for fresh ones.
  • 909 words.
  • 1,384 words.
  • 1,049 words on the latter… maybe 200 on the former.
  • Total of 7,206 words.
  • 45 min.
  • 55 min.
  • 50 min.
  • 55 min.

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