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Posts Tagged ‘idiot’

Posted by Dirck on 13 April, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 17 manuscript pages

The paucity of output this week is down to Monday being too taken up with agony to be creative. You may remember a really dumb thing I reported doing to my leg about four months ago.  Well, I managed to do almost the same thing without the assistance of ice on Sunday evening, simply through inattention; I stepped too long for the last step in a flight, and then down I went.  The damage isn’t as bad this time (although I really should have a medical professional opine upon how things stand with my inner rigging), but it was sore enough on Monday to make creativity in anything other than self-directed terms of abuse fly right out the window.

And to avoid leaving people up in the air about important things: the pen I had in my pocket at the time is completely unscathed.

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Posted by Dirck on 5 January, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  •  20 manuscript pages.

A minor disaster has occurred for me on the mechanical side of the writing. I managed to jostle my book at the end at yesterday’s writing session, causing a Rube Goldberg cascade which threw my fiction pen to the floor.  This was not the Sailor, but my well-loved Touchdown Valiant, and it now has a small crack opened up at the rear of the barrel which defeats filling.  I’ll take it away for repairs, but I think I’ll rotate something else in so I don’t feel like I have to rush the repaired pen back into service before the solvent-weld has a chance to knit properly.  Probably a slightly older Sovereign II, which has very similar writing properties.  I am somewhat low in my spirits about this accident, though– I love my pens nearly like children, and to have injured one through my own clumsiness stings.

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Posted by Dirck on 8 December, 2016

Oh, let me tell you about some fun I had on the weekend. Through my own negligence as a householder, I slipped on some ice.  The main injury was not, as my initial vector would have had it, through taking the edge of a concrete stair to the parietal lobe, but resulted from my quick “thinking” to avoid such a blow; the non-slipping leg suddenly took the weight, slipped sideways on an entirely different but smaller patch of ice until it found traction… at which point everything below the knee stopped moving, while everything above the knee carried on for another three or four centimeters.

This hurt rather a lot.

The silver lining in this was twofold.  I discovered that my son does not panic when a parent collapses in a howling heap, but waits for a break in the screaming to ask if he should go inside and call 911 (not this time).  Also, I was presented with an unusual opportunity to amend the lyrics of a Sesame Street song to run “One of These Knees is Not Like The Other” for the amusement of my family.

The reason I mention all this is that my page output is a bit low this week.  For some reason, I was having trouble focussing on Monday.  Things are rather better now– I may even put aside the cane before the weekend is done!

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  •  24 manuscript pages, plus 11 pages of “Free Balloons for All Good Children”.†

† This is one of those stories that you either vent off by writing or go nuts from it presenting new and ever more upsetting details on the screen of imagination.  I’m cracked enough already, so I’m dividing my attention until the short story is safely pinned onto paper; lunch for the novel, idle minutes in the last half-hour of the work-day and through the evenings for the this horror.

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Ventriloquism!

Posted by Dirck on 29 July, 2016

That’s what it’s called when a dummy speaks, right?

I thought, in lieu of the usual Friday Film Feature, I’d recount a tale by way of making up some of the entertainment-of-visitors deficit I’ve run up on this blog.  A tale of a lost pen.

A humorous tale of a lost pen, I should say; let the smelling salts stand where they are.

I had intended to use today’s pen on Tuesday, but it was not where I expected to find it.  This was slightly distressing, because one of the few habits I have that is reliable is returning a pen to the in-battery facility; a small correspondence box with a drawer for a half-dozen pens in its base, which itself rests in a profoundly rustic Welsh dresser which came to me through my parents’ protracted move.  Since this pen doesn’t sit comfortably in the drawer, it gets to sit on top of the inks which take up the space one is meant to stick letters in the box.

I didn’t even have to open the glass doors on the top of the dresser to establish that the pen wasn’t where it should have been.  But of course, one does, and roots around.  Did it get in behind? No.  Down the side?  Nope.  And that was it for the easy possibilities.  We then start the unhappy game of I put it down somewhere foolish.

Our house is… cluttered.  My son builds railways on all horizontal surfaces.  We haven’t yet finished the integration of crap from the parents’ house with our pre-existing crap.  We have to use plastic containers full of Lego, roughly shoe-box size, to keep the insane diabetic cat off items of furniture we don’t want her to mistake for a litter box (if we’re not sitting on it, then it’s a litter box).  Setting down a pen without attending to where one sets it, even a relatively large pen, makes for problems.

So, when not attending The Regular Job and not otherwise engaged in cooking, washing, or cleaning up after the flippin’ cat, I was peering under things and into corners, all to no avail.  I was becoming resigned to the idea that the pen would not be found until the slow campaign of making the house a place for living in (insane diabetic cats already with 14 birthdays on the clock can’t last forever…) removed whatever it was hidden by.  This wasn’t a devastating blow by any means, as (i) I’ve got plenty of other pens to fall back on and (ii) this one cost less than burger at McKing&W.  I wasn’t happy, as I’d hardly had any use out of the thing since its recent arrival, but I could cope.

Coping only had to struggle on until this morning, as it turned out.  It turns out that it was in the pocket of a shirt worn on Sunday.  Not much worn* either, which is why it got hung up rather that chucked in the laundry… unlike the shirt from Saturday, which I had roused out of the hamper and given a pat down, because my search was wide-ranging if unscientific.  Hooray!

Some minutes of pointless self-castigation then followed.

There was something to learn from this incident.  Not that I have all too human failings in the areas of retention and looking after my stuff– that has, alas, been well-known for a long time.  It is the simple and happy discovery that the cap seap on this pen is very good indeed; almost a week standing point-up, but not a moment of hesitation when I opened it up to start writing this morning.  Not bad for a pen that costs the same as a ride on a city bus.

Today’s inexpensive, elusive pen: Jinhao 159
Today’s ink: Herbin Éclat de Saphir

*”Not much worn” meaning duration of contact with me since last washing.  It is, in all honesty, profoundly worn and is a “Weekend when I don’t expect to interact with others” item of clothing.

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Summer Heat and Warm Thoughts

Posted by Dirck on 17 June, 2016

I’m about to embark on my summer vacation, which takes me away from the Regular Job entirely and the internet to as great a degree as I can manage (because it turns from a welcome distraction into a vexatious distraction).  I’ll be using the time in the following ways:

  1. Throwing out stuff I should have thrown out when clearing out the parents’ house instead of letting Nostalgia shove me around;
  2. Throwing out stuff so my son won’t have to do item (1) in 35 years;
  3. Committing small acts of home repair as a proof of good intention to the house;
  4. Small acts of sympathetic magic in hopes of convincing wealth to shower upon my household (already begun, as you may note from the roster of “Rich Man’s Pens” that are showing up in my rotation);
  5. Getting my son as much locomotive time as possible in celebration of his birthday– there’s a steam engine and an archaic diesel within reach;
  6. Submitting more stories to more markets;
  7. Please, please, please some writing, because the boy’s at school still for almost the whole period that I’m not and I should have time even with the previous chores standing in my way.

I may also, if something particularly interesting lurches up in front of me, stick my head in here, but don’t count on any more than a large and oddly formatted progress report in early July.

And now, because it’s Friday, let’s have some films.  First, something sizzling hot pen action!

Seriously, folks– don’t get your old pens near an ignition source.

To balance all that horror, here’s something I’d actually like to be present for:

…and may one day, should my efforts at conjuring bear fruit.  Have a nice solstice, everyone, and I’ll see you next month.

Today’s pen: Parker 75

Today’s ink: Lamy Black (more old cartridge tidying underway, see point (2) above as well as last week’s complaint)

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Nothing’s Perfect

Posted by Dirck on 6 June, 2016

I mentioned a few entries back that I had indulged myself in the use of my Parker 75.  Over the weekend, after intermittent use, I decided it was time to clear out the pen and put it back in storage.  This proved to be a more thorough cleaning than I’d expected.

I had loaded it with a somewhat elderly cartridge from a packet unearthed during the re-housing of my parents last year, probably of mid-1980s manufacture.  The ink had lost some of its moisture over the years, but I have replenished it with water after the piercing, as one can.  I was not, alas, sufficiently attentive when I did that, or I could have saved myself some hassle.

Plastics can go brittle as they age.  In the case of this particular cartridge, the mouth of the cartridge had done just that, and rather than deforming slightly to provide a good seal with the piercing fang, it had cracked in admitting that fang to provide a perfectly miserable seal.  A good deal of the ink ended up inside the barrel of the pen, having travelled between section and cartridge via the same capillary action that is usually a welcome element in the function of a fountain pen.

A warning, then– you may decline to examine the mouth of a gift horse, but do look closely at the mouth of an elderly cartridge.

Today’s pen: Pelikan P1
Today’s ink: Herbin Vert Empire

Oh, also– I have a new little story up at my other establishment.

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Raving Looney

Posted by Dirck on 3 June, 2016

Time for a dose of barking mad.  His soundtrack is rather raucous, too, so you might want to turn things down a bit before you hit ‘play’.

The friend who first pointed this guy out also pointed out that he never wears a helmet.  You might also notice the bit where he nearly chops his own arm off in this video.

Today’s Pen: Waterman Master
Today’s ink: Waterman Florida Blue (and if you’ve been paying attention, this combo has been on the go for ages— the Waterman long cartridge has a ton of ink in it!)

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Posted by Dirck on 4 May, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 2 May
  • 3 May
  • 4 May
  • 5 May
  • Fourth draft of “Yard Light”
  • As with yesterday.
  • And still, this fourth draft.
  • Finished at last
  • Serious contemplation of flaws and some notes
  • About half the amendments needed.
  • The last 10% of changes is very steep and calls for oxygen equipment.
  • Some people say writing is hard (pant pant).
  • 35 min.
  • 40 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 40 min.

*Mondays being what they are, I left the house without the day’s selected pen, so Designated Fiction Pen had to stand in.  To balance out, I managed to leave my wallet at The Regular Job at day’s end.  I don’t usually Monday with that much force.

**More commentary on the forums has convinced me that Friday’s conundrum is mostly a Duofold with a replacement barrel stolen from a contemporary Mk. IV Victory; the barrels were the same size, and this explanation leaves the fewest gouges from Occam’s razor.  No new page for the site, alas, but a new picture to apply to the Duofold page (the one without the imprint showing).

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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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How to be Content in Marriage: An Example

Posted by Dirck on 1 March, 2016

Last night, just after supper, I took my son’s boots to the basement to apply some commercial rubbery shoe sealant to them, because they were developing cracks between sole and upper, and it’s too damn late in the season to go and buy a new pair that absolutely won’t fit next October.  This is done in the basement, because the volatile compounds of the sealant agitate my wife’s asthma.  Since I make a trip into the basement each morning to do the day’s initial examination of the internet, it would be no big deal to bring the by-then stench-free boots up with me and set them, as will a good Japanese host, ready for my son to slip into and step out the door for his school day.

Unfortunately, I had Mr. Migraine yelling in my ears (or, in truth, eyes) this morning, and forgot all about that plan until about five and a half hours after son’s school departure time.

At this point, I called to apologize to my wife.  She dismissed this as unnecessary.  She had, shortly before departure time, found a thing that needed to be taken downstairs and put right beside the place the boots sat; there was no real effect on the course of her day from my error, and she told me as much.

And there’s your happy marriage in action.  Mistakes admitted and dismissed as trivial.  I think I’ve mentioned in the past that the extent of our “fights” is generally along the lines of “No, you take the remote.  I don’t want it,” and today’s event is a branch of the same root that produces those set-tos.  We do not strive for mastery over the other.  We each treat the other as an equal partner in the household.

What I find amazing is that this strikes some people as remarkable.

Today’s pen: Parker 51
Today’s ink: Diamine Marine (which is really the wife’s ink, but she doesn’t mind it I use some)

PS– since I’m making noise now, I won’t wait until the Thursday progress report to mention that there’s a new story on the fiction front.  My wife, who is somewhat biased, says it’s her favourite thing there thus far.

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