What's up at Ravens March.

Vintage pens-Handmade books-Silly statements

Posts Tagged ‘Regular Job’

Tinkling of the Season

Posted by Dirck on 15 December, 2017

Good news, everyone!  A change of location within the Regular Job building, which I somehow failed to moan about here last winter, puts me very very very far away from the radio which produces Offensively Repetitive Christmas Music (with Some Country Versions), with a couple of walls and a ninety degree bend in the building to complete the isolation.  I am blessed with silence, at least as far as seasonal tunes not of my own choosing go.  One of the primary generators of Humbuggery in my life has been shut down, and I am far more able to say Merry ChristmasSeasons GreetingsHappy Holidays, and Gruss vom Krampus without a scowl and a snarl.  Except that last one, because the snarl is traditional.

Since I am thus liberated from woe and light of heart, let me now inflict some of my less classical musical choices on you.  If you choose to listen.  No one will make you press play.

Now get out there and smile at the other people in the shops.  You’re all trying to brighten the world, right?

Today’s festive pen: Waterman Phileas
Today’s reflective ink: Montblanc Racing Green


Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Dirck on 21 September, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 2,997 words typed

Not a terrible week, I guess, and more than I thought I’d manage– a couple of segments attacked this week were very like pulling teeth.  I’m also not going to manage to present a new work at the other outlet this week, as I have the last couple, because this week The Regular Job entered one of its infrequent “this is as much fun and effort as juggling flaming bears” phases.  I know I’m disappointing some people, and I’m also disappointing me.  The reproachful looks over the bathroom sink are going to be very hard to take.

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Unexpected Role Models

Posted by Dirck on 21 August, 2017

Today, I wasted my lunch period; rather than return the flayed flap of skin on the front of my face to the proverbial grindstone, I raced home to share the Great Eclipse(!!!) with my son.

That is pretty much the peak of totality where I was standing.

Wait a minute… by “wasted” I mean “utilized in the best possible manner,” because while eclipses happen regularly enough, they don’t happen here a great deal; the last one like this was in 1979.  But this is all digression, really, because it is writing I will eventually touch upon.

Today at The Regular Job has been very quite, so much so that I have tacit dispensation to do whatever I liked so long as I was handy to the telephone; thus, I have done a little tidying of the back room of my site, soon (I hope) to appear with a shiny HTTPS in its address and prevent Google from blacklisting me.  In the course of this, I found some backtracks from this very blog hiding among the apprehended spam, and entertained myself with a bit of reading– because, once upon a time, I actually produced content on this thing, some of which was vaguely amusing.

One of the items of past glory I examined was a slightly meta examination of my own writing style, which I’ll synopsize here so you don’t actually have to click that link.  I had found a place which claimed to analyse the style of any text pasted into it, and discovered that the writing of this screed as it existed then was like David Foster Wallace, H.P. Lovecraft, Mary Shelley, Cory Docotorow, and (shudder) Dan Brown.

All of which was somewhat interesting to the current version of me.  Then-Me was about a year away from getting nearly serious about fiction writing, and somewhat further away from getting as serious about it as I am now (which some might say is still “insufficiently so” but I work with what I’ve got).  What, Current-Me wondered, would be the effect of feeding some of my fiction into that purported analysis engine.  Indeed, did it still exist?

Why, yes, it did!  And here’s me with idle hands!

The results are… interesting to me.  Certainly satisfactory, although in a head-scratching way which I’ll explain presently.  As with the last attempt, I gave thing ten samples in an effort to see if there was any consistency in it.  Whole stories, too, not just snippets.  I was told with one of them that it was stylistically like the work of Arthur C. Clarke.  That story, the only one of the bunch that has yet been shown publicly, was aiming for more of an M.R. James flavour, but I will never decline to be likened to Clarke.  Two others came up with Anne Rice as the style-mirror for me, and seven of them produced Agatha Christie.

And here I became bemused.  I understand the presence of Clarke in these estimates.  Rice and Christie confuse me.  This is not a fragile male ego baulking at being compared to women, because really, honestly, that’s not the way I roll.  The source of the confusion lies in what I know about my own reading.  I have read loads of Clarke.  His influence creeping into my own work?  Sure.  However, my reading of Anne Rice is limited to Interview with The Vampire, once, in… I think 1990.  I have read Christie more recently, but rather less of her; a single story, about two years ago.  I have watched the entire run of Poirot Mysteries, but that’s hardly like reading the books upon which they are based.  The similarity of style is unlikely to be a result of emulation, however unconscious.

Bemused, then, but not exactly put out.  No reference to Dan Brown, which pleases me greatly, however commercial his work might be.  “Commercial” is a word one might apply to any of the three this recent sampling produced; not only are they all considered good writers in the literary art sense of the word (none without debate, of course– that’s art critics for you) but they have been widely published.  I am very content to be compared to people who got publication galore.

…of course, one also say “widely published” of Edward Bulwer-Lytton, for a particular period.  Ulp.

Today’s pen: Parker Senior Duofold
Today’s ink: Waterman blue (vintage)

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Posted by Dirck on 29 June, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 18 manuscript pages (thin air up here.  Thin indeed).

The annual summer silence is about to descend on this enterprise, as my two weeks away† from The Regular Job begin on Monday.  Of course, the way things have been running lately, the interruption will be almost imperceptible.  As it ever the case, I’ll hope to get some writing done around the expectations of family and fabric of the house without expecting to.  This will make for a good deal more physical work than last year, carting the giant heap of paper home and then shifting it out of the way while doing whatever it is that gets in the way of writing is; we remember that another translation of codex is “lump of wood.”

We will try to overlook a more colloquial use of the word by native Latin speakers; blockhead.  I’m sure I shall feel like one in a fortnight when I’ve failed to advance the work beyond its current state, however much I hope to.

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Dirck on 26 November, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 23 November
  • 24 November
  • 25 November
  • 26 November
  • Second draft of “Aliasing Harmonic.”
  • Still second draft.
  • Metaphorical landslide at Regular Job.
  • Back to the second draft work, with both hands.
  • 923 words typed
  • 824 words.
  • 0 words.
  • 1,063 words.
  • 55 min.
  • 45 min.
  • All of it.
  • 50 min.

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Little and Often

Posted by Dirck on 13 November, 2015

Say, look what I forgot yesterday. The short-staffing at The Regular Job persists.

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 9 November
  • 10 November
  • 11 November
  • 12 November
  • Last week’s woes extend.
  • Second draft of “Aliasing Harmonic,” plus this.
  • Contemplating past events
  • Contemplating past works
  • Zipperoo, writing-wise.
  • 379 and 315 words, respectively.
  • Never quite enough.
  • Inconclusive (see below).
  • Unendurable, really.
  • 45 min.
  • All day, but peaking at 11:00.
  • Enough to prevent fresh writing.

In part, today’s film is a mere public service; if you find yourself suddenly called upon to fill this role, it is good to know what you should be at.

Yesterday’s distraction was not shovelling coal, whether actual or metaphoric, but did involve a quantity of smoldering.  I’ve had news that a publication which I would like to submit to has reopened their submissions desk after a long hiatus, and I was trying to decide which of the things I’ve got in my shot-locker is most apt to the forum.  I’ve got a couple of candidates in the tumbler getting final polish now, and should have something away by Monday.

On a side note; I think “little and often” is probably a good policy in most things.  I lament that, while I’ve got the “little” side of writing locked down brilliantly, “often” is becoming elusive.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Snorkel Sovereign
Today’s ink: Montblanc Racing Green

Posted in General Blather, Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Dirck on 5 November, 2015

But first, important stuff: tomorrow is Fountain Pen Day. Celebrate responsibly!

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 2 November
  • 3 November
  • 28 October
  • 22 October
  • Second draft of “Aliasing Harmonic”.
  • Second draft persists
  • The Regular Job (see below)
  • Getting a new story run out on the fiction front.
  • 448 words typed.
  • 804 words typed.
  • A recurrent Wednesday problem
  • G’wan, have a look.
  • 25 min.
  • 45 min.
  • see below
  • Enough to prevent fresh writing.

I was struck on Tuesday at the relatively grim words/minute stats that the second drafts work out to.  Take it was proof that there is actual revision in that stage of the exercise, not mere transcription.

…because otherwise I’ll be horribly embarrassed.

Also, due to an illness-induced short staffing of The Regular Job, I feel I have to include yet another animation to suggest how the past couple of weeks has seemed (complete with inexplicable interruption and repetition).  Unavoidable working through lunch breaks!  Monstrous!

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Raise the Alarm

Posted by Dirck on 2 October, 2015

The Regular Job presented me with several metaphorical fires to put out today, which has eaten into my lunch break!  Thus, a late and entirely thematic Friday Film From Faraway

Today’s pen: TWSBI Vac 700
Today’s ink: Diamine Sargasso Sea

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Progress, and deep thoughts about the near future

Posted by Dirck on 3 September, 2015

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 1 September
  • 1 September
  • 2 September
  • 3 September
  • First draft of “Old Home Week”.
  • Pondering Patreon, Kickstarter, and Gofundme.
  • The same (more story than pondering).
  • “Old Home Week” concludes
  • Five manuscript pages.
  • Deeply.
  • Seven pages.
  • Four pages, and about a pint of tears– this one really opened an emotional vein on me.
  • 30 min.
  • All damn day.
  • 40 min.
  • 35 min.

The three crowdfunding things listed above are another response to the current dire financial straits I’m bound up in, of course.  The prospect of strangers sending me money is, for a dinosaur like me, a slightly odd one, even in the versions where there’s some strings of performance attached.  At the moment, what I’ve got in my head looks like this:

1) Kickstarter


  • Everyone has heard of it (and yet I provide a link to show what it is…)
  • Doesn’t call for repeated output, just a single explosion


  • Should have a specific goal in mind (a novel, an anthology, a comic, something with a title hung on it)
  • Categories include “publishing” but not “writing”, and I’m not sure I have the knowledge nor the stamina to figure out self-publishing.
  • Need to come up with a lot of extra little treats for the various levels of support
  • Needs a certain amount of flashy production in the presentation to be really successful

2) Patreon


  • Has a discrete “writing” heading.
  • May provide enough of an ongoing income that writing displaces The Regular Job (may–  I’m not insane in my optimism on that point)
  • Pushes me to push my writing out the door (much as one must eventually sent the kids to school, no matter how tiny they look crossing the playground).
  • I know there’s probably a curious follower or two here that would like to actually see the stuff I’ve been boring you with for the past couple of years
  • Comes closest to the “get paid for what you like to do” sensation I’m hoping for


  • Anticipates extremely regular output which means:
    • relentless pressure to keep producing (so a long, time-consuming thing like a novel or that still-awaiting-second-draft Choose Your Doom project becomes difficult);
    • on-line releases of material, which burn first-publication rights (a consideration when hoping to get into more traditional print anthologies)
  • That extra treats problem raises its head again, although possibly more manageably
  • A lot of the writing projects seen there seem to view the natural measure of funding as “per project” rather than “per month”; it takes the time-pressure off, granted, but doesn’t seem like a good way to get bills seen to.
  • Also needs a somewhat flashy production (although perhaps less-so than Kickstarter) in the presentation to be really successful

3) Gofundme


  • Doesn’t have to be reliant on productivity– “I am broke” is a viable pitch
  • Not as Big Fat Project-ish as Kickstarter, but also not open-ended like Patreon; looks like a good middle ground for funding the effort of a novel without having to see it all the way through the presses (if it was a novel rather than bills that were my current prime concern…)
  • Less anticipation of rewards for donations, but it is there.


  • Embarrassment factor of shaking a begging bowl, especially when it’s not a discrete “house burnt down” situation.
  • Not as well-known as either of the others for artistic funding; I know when I see it I’m thinking “people in trouble” more than “project needs funding”

I need to do something, because The Regular Job isn’t keeping up its end of the social contract, and there’s little alternative in “real jobs” otherwise for reasons I won’t bore you (moreso) with.  Right at the moment, I’m wondering if I don’t try two of the above; I begin to see, with some serious thought-experimenting required to finish, how I might be able to work my way into a Patreon client, and while the house hasn’t burnt down, I have the sort of real concerns about it remaining intact without renewal of the roof that make Gofundme seem wise.  The martyr/proud idiot element in me shouts that doing both at once is somehow cheating; I don’t understand why any more than you do, but it’s in there.  Kickstarter is where the money is, and I think I’ve got sufficient powder for the charge if I go that way, but it’s SO daunting in the department of stuff that would still need doing should funding be successful… and frankly also in the prep needed for a pitch.

This is not, by the way, mere rhetorical muttering.  There’s space for comments, and I will happily greet anyone’s suggestions or descriptions of experience (and, with a nod to the embarrassment angle mentioned above, I will at request anonymize or remove those comments from public view).  Speak out, please!  I’m going to do something really soon, and I’d rather do it after suggestions are in.

Posted in General Blather, Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Forecast Calls For…

Posted by Dirck on 20 July, 2015

Well, that was a less productive vacation than hoped for.

What I mean is that I didn’t get done a tenth part of the refitting of the house done that I’d hoped.  This is primarily down to the unreasonable attitude of hardware stores, lumber yards, and chandlers in that they like being paid for the stuff you want to take away from them.  Since the vacation didn’t also bring a stack of loose treasure with it, I had to make do with an exhausting amount of moving things around in hopes of turning chattels into load-bearing walls.

We’re getting an heirloom piano soon, and it should do nicely to keep the ceiling up.

I did get a little done on the writing side of things, although the moving-of-stuff kept me from much in that line.  Thus I am champing at the bit for the Regular Job’s promise of a half-hour or so of scribbling away without telephones yammering, cats making messes, meals wanting preparation, and sons wanting “help” in Minecraft (meaning, “you do it while I see to a more thorough distribution of wooden locomotives about the floor; make sure to find lots of diamonds and iron”).  However, there were also some developments in the realm of pens that I would like to share with the dedicated and long-neglected readers here, so I’m going to carry on champing for a little while while I apply the time to writing non-fictions.

Unfortunately, with that foreword written, I now have to break off.  The return to The Regular Job finds a great deal of stuff that I usually do needing doing.  It’s at least in tidy stacks, not the mixed drifts I’ve found on past returns, but the extra week means there’s that much more of it.  The forecast, then, is for slightly interesting things… soon.

Today’s pen: Pilot Vanishing Point
Today’s ink: Pilot Black (which I don’t have a sample of– it’s black.  Quite strongly black)

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »