One Voice Among Many

People are funny, and Police work, just like writing, is all about people.

One of my favourite past times, recently, has been to immortalize on Facebook some of the stranger (hilarious) conversations I have with the people I come in contact with during the course of my work day. And since Police work is all about people, I have a lot of conversations. For example:

Guy: “Why do I have to go to the hospital? “
Me: “Cause you took too much heroin, and you were dead when the medics saved you.”
Guy: “What do you mean ‘dead’?”
Me: “I mean ‘go towards the light, grandma is waiting for you’ kind of dead.”
Guy: “But I’m cold!”
Me: “Probably because you were dead.”

And:

Me: “So, what are you doing here?”
Woman: “Collecting the scrap metal.”
Me: “Do you have permission to collect the metal?”
Woman: “Well, I talked to Tim, who knows Steve, who lived here a year ago, and knows the guy that might move in, and he said it was cool.”
Me: “So, what you’re saying is you don’t have permission.”
Woman: “Yeah, I got nothing.”

And one of my particular favourites:

Me: “So, what are you doing?”
Drunk guy: “I don’t need the police.”
Me: “Uh, since you’re standing in traffic without any pants on, I think you do.”

While I was chronicling one of these little interactions last night, I got to thinking about the nature and the meaning of the conversations I have with people.

When I talk to someone during the course of my shift, it is usually because I have to deal with a problem; either a problem that person is experiencing, or a problem they created for someone else. Often, these problems are ridiculous (hilarious), and I am able to chuckle about it afterwards and share it with people on the internet. Other times the problems are tragic and completely beyond my ability to solve, and the best I can do is try and control it so no one ends up dead…or no one else ends up dead. 

Almost invariably, that person I’m speaking to is going to be one of a dozen or more calls for service I’ll attend with the guys that work with/for me. I will deal with them and their problem, help them out as best I can, then move on to the next person with a problem. That person will be largely forgotten, just one voice among many that I’m going to hear that day.

The thing that I sometimes forget, is that while that person is just a blip on my workday radar, I may be the only policeman they will ever speak to directly for their entire lives, and I often wonder what they think of the experience afterwards.

Will they remember me fondly? Will I be the cop that picked them up when they’d fallen down, protected them when they were scared, maybe even saved their lives? Or will they hate me? A villain forever cemented in their memory because I showed up with a ministry worker and took their kids away, or hauled them off to jail after fighting with them over something they felt justified in doing?

I very often wonder if I’ve made any kind of impact in the life of the person I’ve finished speaking to. And if I did, was it a positive one?

This thought also crosses my mind when I sit down to write a story, as I think it does every other storyteller.

For a writer, a story is an epic endeavor; something you spent countless hours sweating over until you’d crafted what you view as a masterpiece from nothing but ether and imagination. It is a thing that you can’t stop thinking about and will never forget, because you poured your entire being into it while wading through the fires of its creation. When you finally type ‘the end’ and send that piece of yourself out into the world, you worry over how it will be received and how the world is going to treat it, because you had something to say and you really want someone to hear it. You want to have an impact on peoples lives, and for you that story is your voice.

For a reader, that story might be nothing more than a time killer on a plane ride or something to read while they’re taking a dump.

I am no different than any reader. Some stories really stick with me. For whatever reason – the entertainment of it, the way it makes me think, the way it changes me – there are books I cannot put down and will remember forever. Others, I quit thinking about by the time I close the back cover, and can’t remember the lead characters name a week after I’ve finished it. I don’t really know what the author was trying to tell me cause I didn’t care about the book enough, and I didn’t want to read anything else and ask any more questions.

Now, as I ask myself more often what people think of their policing experience after I get in my big white car and drive away, I’ve begun wondering if anyone cares about my stories, and if they’re hearing what I’m trying to say.

As storytellers our main goal is to get through to our reader. Whether the goal is to make them laugh, cry, fall in love, rally behind our hero or shit their pants and hide under their beds, we need them to hear us. We need to make an impact in their lives so they remember our names…or at least the names of our character. I think we all need to wonder, when we put our words down, whether the reader is really hearing us, or if we’re just another babbling voice among so many others.

Cause the world is filled with a lot of babble…and people walking through traffic without any pants.

As always, thanks for reading.

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A Little Self-Reflection

Image

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend at my gym lately: there are a lot of people taking ‘selfies’ while they work out.

Hang on, let me qualify that. They’re wearing gym gear, they’re in a gym, they’re standing near to gym equipment, but they’re not exactly working out. Really, they’re making a grand pretence at training while they make duck faces and take pictures of themselves in the mirror. I’ve often wondered why guys gel their hair, or women wear makeup and hoop earrings when they go into a large building to sweat, and I can only come to the conclusion that sweating was never their goal.

Out of sheer curiosity, I took my own gym selfie, and you can see how it turned out above. I think I look like a worn-out bag of shit, which is, I think, the general idea when you go to exercise.

I started training at this gym because it is a temple praising the old gods of iron. It is filled with chipped iron plates, has an over abundance of squat racks, and it smells like a combination of rust and aggression. Most of the people (both guys and girls) who show up there are meatheads like me, ranging from the age of 15 to 65 (and that 65 year old guy lifts more than me, I’m not ashamed to say), and they come to train, not to take pictures of themselves. We lift, we sweat, we grunt and occasionally we talk about throwing things at the guy wearing his hat sideways and sneering at himself in the mirror as he snaps away with his i-Phone.

As I’ve discussed before I’m extremely adept at throwing around judgement (you just have to look at the paragraph above to see a glowing example). But I couldn’t help thinking of my free-floating feeling of superiority over the picture snapper when a friend of mine introduced me to someone and said I had been published, and was a writer. I thought, then, about how much writing I’ve done lately, and can I really claim the title anymore?

My work ethic, as far as my writing goes, has been pretty dismal lately. Since my dad died, the well hasn’t exactly been dry, but I’ve had a hard time drawing anything up. I’ve thought about writing. I’ve talked about writing. I’ve made plans to do some writing. But as far as production goes, I’ve had about two thirds of fuck all.

So, I asked myself, am I really a writer, or am I just like that guy making duck faces in the mirror. The more I thought about it, the more I found that I really wanted to be a writer again.

I really had not written anything since my last blog post about writing my Dad’s obituary, and my writing muscles were a little stiff. But I sat down at my lap-top, opened up the story that I’d more or less abandoned, re-read the last half-dozen pages, and then started writing. It was a rough go at first, but it got easier, and those writing muscles started to limber up. I’ve not put down an impressive word count, but I’ve worked on the story almost every day for the last two weeks, even if it was only for fifteen minutes at a time (when you work 12-14 hour shifts, sometimes fifteen minutes is all you can afford, but it’s still better than nothing).

I’ve now got some momentum going, the story is starting to look like something, and I’m feeling really good about it. I feel like I’m actually working at my craft and moving forward. It’s a slow move, but slow is better than not at all.

Being published doesn’t make you a writer. Writing makes you a writer. And I really like being a writer.

For all the people who have showed me love and support over the last two months: You guys rock. For everyone who is struggling just like I am: Remember, you can do this. You just have to get your ass in the chair and get the words down.

As always, thanks for reading.

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Writing My Father’s Obituary

All of us will experience loss during the course of our lives, but the death of a parent, a father, comes with an especially keen edge that makes a ragged cut. And that cut is slow to heal.

I lost my Dad recently – a little more than ten days ago - and it was a hard shot to take. My Dad was ill, and had been for some time, so I knew this was coming, but the knowledge of the inevitable end provided no armour against the wound of his loss. I was at the foot of his bed when he passed and talked to him through his end, although he was well beyond hearing anything I had to say at that point. Those last few moments, as important as they were, were not vital to the heart of our relationship; I’d said everything I really needed my Dad to know long before the day of his death, and there was nothing left to do but love him as he died.

The days that followed were a blur of activity, filled with the familial tasks necessary upon a person’s death, but I never had a real breakdown until it came time to write my father’s obituary.

Don’t get me wrong, this was not a burden that was shovelled on me. It was something that I wanted to do, that I volunteered for. I wanted to use my craft to honor my Dad, and notify the rest of the world of his passing the very best that I could.

But when it came time to do the job, I found that I’d run out of words.

I sat down and started to write a couple of times, but always failed halfway through the first line. I got to, “It is with deep loss,” and then stalled. I found when I tried to employ my craft to honour my Dad was when I felt his loss most keenly. He had been such a big part of my development as a writer, and had been so supportive of my pursuit of a writing career (as long as I still had a day-job to feed myself), that it broke my heart to think I might fall short and screw up his memory.

How was I going to tell the world how I felt about my Dad? I wondered as I stared, first at a blank computer screen, then at a blank piece of paper, the again at the cruelly blinking cursor. How was I possibly going to explain the love I had for him, and the way his loss affected me and my family, in the short lines of a newspaper obituary? I wracked my brain for several days, continually putting off the job until my wife gently reminded me that the piece had to be done so it could be to the newspaper office on time. I said I would get it done that night, and then pounded away at the inside of my head trying to figure out what I was going to say.

During my pacing and my worrying, I found myself staring at the titles lining the bookshelf in my parent’s basement. My Mum and Dad both were fans of Jack Whyte, long before I came to know him, and receive a large part of my writing education from him, through the Surrey Writer’s Conference. As I stared at the spines of Jack’s books, resting on a shelf in my father’s house, one of Jack’s lessons came back to me.

Jack had read a piece of my work and shook his head afterward. “No, Tyner,” he said. “This isn’t right. This is you talking, not the character. Sometimes you have to remember that it’s not all about you. The character has to speak with his own voice.” Anyone who knew my Dad would say that he certainly was a ‘character’, and that lesson suddenly became more important than Jack or I could have possibly known.

With Jack’s words in mind, I sat down at my Mum’s computer. I stopped thinking about myself. I stopped thinking about telling the world how I felt, because this wasn’t about me. I needed to write something about my Dad and the time for me would come later. In about ten minutes, I came up with this:

It is with deep, and heavy sadness that we announce the death of Daniel Gillies, who passed on January 29th, in Vernon Jubilee Hospital. Daniel was born in Vernon in 1948, lived there for most of his life, and spent the majority of his free time plotting a way to escape into the wilderness and roam around the woods. He was active, during his life, in the Cam Jammers car club, as well as the Vernon Camera Club and the Vernon Lapidary Club, which provided excuse and venue to wander the aforementioned woods. He is survived by his wife, Joy; his son, Tyner and daughter-in- law, Ewa; grandchildren Zoe, Samantha and Joshua; his brothers, John and Alan, and his sister, Mary. A service will be held in the spring, after the cotton-woods blow, with notice to follow. The family asks that no flowers be sent. Instead, donations can be made to your favourite charity, or the Vernon Arts Center, where Dan spent many of his latter days polishing rocks, acting as a handy-man and chatting with everyone who walked through the doors.

It was short, and simple, and spoke of my Dad. The people who knew and loved him would know the words to be true, and anyone who didn’t know him would get a snapshot of what kind of man he was.

It wasn’t until I forgot about myself, thought about my Dad and remembered my craft, that I was able to do the job that needed doing.

We are all going to have loss in our lives. We’re going to have times when we’re dealt a bad hand and be forced to play it, even though the cards suck. But if you remember the people who love you, the words of the people who care about you, and forget about yourself for a minute, I’m sure you’ll find a way to get through it.

As always, thanks for reading.

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The Original Intent

There are a lot of reasons why I got into a career in law enforcement, and no small part of them have to do with the fact that I got my ass kicked on a regular basis when I was a kid. I was punched, kicked, slapped, spit on and stuffed into garbage cans, although I was too wide to be stuffed into a locker. I was a chubby kid, very socially awkward, and acted out a lot in order to get attention. I’m sure my peer group found me to be a troublesome annoyance, but regardless of how annoying I might have been, I’m not sure I deserved to be bullied in the manner I was. I lived in more or less constant fear, wondering when next I would be surrounded by a group of other kids who would beat on me, steal articles of my clothing, or taunt and ridicule me until I would sit down on the ground with my hands over my ears – and likely be poked with sticks.

When I grew to manhood, as well as growing several inches and discovering a love of weightlifting and Karate, I decided the bullying was going to stop. Once I figured out how to take care of myself, I signed on with the Mounties and figured I’d make the bullying stop for everyone else, as well.

My original intent, when I first took the three oaths, was to stand up for the people who couldn’t stand up for themselves. I was going to seek out the things (mostly people) that went bump in the night and be the one to bump back. It was unfair, I thought, that anyone should live in fear of the malice of others, and I wanted to be a light in the dark.

My original plan of taking on all the evils of the world might have been a little ambitious, but I still try to hang on to the general feeling I had when I first started. The problem I’ve run into, especially recently, is that police work is more about combating human stupidity than the forces of evil. Most of people’s problems are the result of a continuous series of their own poor choices, and it’s difficult to protect people from themselves. Real evil is hard to come by, and mostly this job turns into a practice of wrangling adults who are completely incapable of managing their own lives

I was reminded of my original intent, recently, when I read a blog post by my buddy, Sam Sykes (http://samsykes.com/blog/). Sam had a similar childhood experience as me, where bullying was commonplace and it seemed a tormentor’s main goal was to make you feel “like an outsider,” probably to assuage their own feelings of inadequacy. Sam attributes this behavior to fear, and I cannot find a way to disagree with him.  In his post, Sam examined the reasons that fear can make us do dumb, mean and offensive things, and this goes for both the bullies and the bullied. Often, Sam said, fear can make people fight back against the things that oppress them. But the original intent of self defense can be lost in a feel of power, once you realize that in defending yourself you can make people hurt just as much as they hurt you. The original intent is lost, then, and we become nothing more than what we started out fighting against, and I think we are poorer for it

As I was thinking about all this, I examined my writing life, and what my original intent was. In the beginning, I thought that stories were important, and that if I had some that were worth telling, it was my responsibility to learn the craft and put those stories out into the world. I’ve spent a lot of time, especially during the rough years of my childhood, lost in the pages of a good story and whether they had lessons in them, inspired me, got me through a hard time, or just made me laugh, I thought they were all valuable. My intent was to do the same thing for others that my favourite writers had always done for me

My first few writing attempts were terrible (like a lot of people’s are), but I got better because I still believed that my stories could be important, and I really worked at it. As I progressed, I won a contest, had a short story published and then sold a novel. In a very short time my original intent was set aside by a crippling fear that every tiny bit of success I’d had was all a horrible fluke, and I’d never write anything else that anyone wanted to read ever again…ever! The importance of the stories I might write was completely forgotten in an effort to write something that would sell, that people would like, that would get me a little more attention and keep me moving forward.

Now, after reading Sam’s blog, and thinking about the original intent of many parts of my life, I realize that all the successes I’ve experienced have always come when I worked from the truest part of myself. I always do best when I forget about what might sell and work on the things that really speak to me. In the past year I’ve had three short stories published, and won a non-fiction contest. The three short stories were all pieces that either had a message that was very important to me, or that made me laugh while I was writing because it was so much fun. The non-fiction piece was about the most difficult call I ever attended in ten years of policing, and it felt like I was laying my soul down on the page. All of these pieces of work came from the deepest center of me, the place where I keep the important things: my fears and sorrows, inspirations and joys.

When I remember the place these stories came from, I’m not surprised they did well.

Very often, both in our writing lives and elsewhere, we start a project with a certain ideal, but sometimes lose it in the shuffle of our lives. But I’m sure, if you look back at all the best things you’ve ever written, they will all have come from the same place; the place where that ideal you started with still lives.

As I look forward into this New Year, I am going to try and remember my original intent, both in my policing world and my writing life. Because there are always has to be someone to fight the boogie man, whether it’s out on the street or in the pages of a book.

I hope you have some luck fighting your boogie men, and as always, thanks for reading.

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So, This Is The New Year, Huh?

I was originally planning on calling this post: “Fuck you, 2013. I’m glad you’re dead.” But then figured I probably shouldn’t use the word “fuck” in the title of a post, as well as the consideration that 2013 wasn’t that bad. It just wasn’t that great.

I had some pretty cool highs during the course of the year, but also had some pretty deep lows. I had three short stories published in various places, which was cool, and then won the Surrey Writer’s Conference non-fiction contest, which was really cool. I also finished a novel and set it loose on the world (although, so far, the world has not really given a shit).

The lows I had were not necessarily writing related, but they affected me nonetheless. I crashed my car (oh! how I loved that little blue car), had my house broken into while I was sleeping in it, and got some really, really bad news concerning the health of a family member – without who I’m not sure how I’ll get by.

I got rejected, a lot, both for short stories and for novel length stuff, but I’m not convinced this is a bad thing, because it is evidence that I am working and moving (I’m not sure I’m moving forwards, but if I’m getting new words down then I’m moving in some kind of direction). So, I cannot cry that my year was filled with misery and woe. I cannot say that I kicked 2013′s ass, but it didn’t exactly put me down for the count, either. Right now I think the cosmic referee has called it a draw, and we’ve both retreated to our respective corners, glaring hatefully at one another.

As the new year gets started, I’m eyeing it up with a significant amount of trepidation. I’m waiting on a lot of things that will likely get sorted out in the next couple of months, and how they fall will really play a big part in how the rest of this year goes: There is a decision pending at work which will make a big difference in my career path and what I do for the next year, and many years to follow; I’ve got a novel out to some agents, and I’m waiting to see if they have any interest or if I’m heading back to the proverbial drawing board; and several of my short stories have currently been cast into the ether, and I’m waiting to see if they catch hold anywhere. There is also the news of my family member’s health issue hanging over my head, and when it falls it likely going to hit hard and leave some bruises.

I do not make new years resolutions – I do not believe in them, because they are almost always vague fancies that are forgotten by the time your new years eve hangover fades – I make goals, and I have some pretty big goals for the year. The problem that I’m facing now, is the goals may change pretty heavily depending on what happens in the next few months, and the uncertainty is making me kind of twitchy.

As I face this year, I know I am not alone in my feelings of uncertainty and the loathing of the idea that so many of the things that will affect me are completely beyond my control. I know it to be true, but I have a hard time accepting that I’ve done everything I can, and now all I can do is wait, and work on something else – something that is within my control.

As writers, we cannot control how people are going to view our work; no matter how good we think a story is, everyone who reads it might think it sucks. There are only two things that we can control in this writing life: how much effort we are willing to put into our craft, and how we treat each other.

I really do think that we’re all in this thing together. As the publishing industry changes, and experiences these deep states of flux, the only thing that is constant is how we take care of our own. I’ve gotten a lot of support in the past year from the writing community around me, and some days it really has gotten me through. Comments on this blog, emails from my critique buddies, events where writers come together to shore each other up and improve our craft, these are the things that help me get by, and these are the things that we can control.

So, all other goals aside, one thing I plan on doing is reaching out a little more, to both lend help and accept it. This is a long road, and if we don’t walk it together, I’m not sure how we’ll get to the end.

As always, thanks for reading.

 

 

 

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The Evolution of Magic

Christmas has always held a special sort of magic for me, especially when I was a child, but even now into my adulthood. There was a certain myth and mystery to the idea that a magical elf-burglar would break into my house while I was sleeping and leave me a large quantity of loot I did not remotely deserve. When the first snow fell I would get a small tingling that would last up until Christmas Day, which would only grow with every light display I passed, or Christmas special I saw on television.

I have never been particularly religious, but the Yule traditions of good will towards your fellow man always appealed to me and do now.

Now, as I am older, the magic of this season still affects me, but it has evolved. Instead of waiting for the sound of sleigh-bells, I look forward to my Staff Sergeant giving me a few days so I can scoot off and visit family who are going to feed me until I grow fat. Instead of hoping for ill-gotten loot from the North Pole, I open a good bottle of scotch with my Uncle John and drink the entirety of it while we talk about things that matter.  Instead of watching “The Muppet Christmas Carol” and “Garfield’s Christmas”…no, wait, I still do that.

The Christmas and Yule-tide seasons still mean just as much to me as they did when I was ten years old, but the structure of that meaning has changed.

The same thing happens, I think, with our writing. During one of our scotch drinking sessions in the last couple of days, Uncle John asked me what I hoped to achieve with my writing. If you’d asked me this question five years ago, I would have said that I wanted to sell a whole lot of books and get really rich. I would still like to do that, like every other writer, but that desire for fame has been tempered by several years of experience and a genuine love of the craft. Where before I expected that everyone was going to love everything I ever wrote, now I hope that a few people like one of my stories enough to publish it.

I write, now, not for any hope of gain, but for the love of the story I’m writing, and the hope that it will affect someone else the way it affects me.  I have grown to think of myself as a craftsman, pounding away at a piece of writing until it does exactly what I need it to, so I can give it to someone else and it will do what they need it to, as well. The way I look at a story has changed, but it does not mean any less to me. In fact, it might mean a little more.

As we grow, our perspective of things is bound to change. Some people take this is a bad thing. They grow bitter with life, and let the magic of things slip away. Others will refuse to evolve, and spend so much time trying to cling to their past that they forget to enjoy what they’ve got going on now. To grow as writers, and as people, we have to let go of our old notions, and let our views change with the world around us. This is the only way to get better.

I know I said there would be no new posts until the new year, but this came to me as I was laughing at one of my old man’s jokes today and wanted to share it with you. I hope you currently have somewhere you want to be, and someone there to make you laugh.

As always, thanks for reading, and Merry Christmas.

 

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Judgment and Change

There is a man that comes into my gym on a regular basis, and I enjoy judging him.

To those who don’t know me personally, I’m a bit of a Meat Head. I lift often and heavy, and enjoy imagining I look like Arnold Schwarzenegger as I smash and growl my way through my deeply sweaty workout. You can deduce, by the fact that I don’t show people pictures of myself with my shirt off, that I do not, in fact, look like Arnold, but this is one of my favorite lies to tell myself, among many others.

Anyway, there is a man who often comes into my gym; at least as often as me, because I see him every time I’m in there. Each time he comes he does the exact same thing: Shrugs and Bicep Curls. Endless sets of the bloody things. His workout, which is already silly and ineffective, has not changed in the last year, and so his body does not change. He does not grow. He accomplishes nothing.

And I, as I look at myself in the mirror, checking carefully to see if anyone else is around to catch me in my self-adoration, enjoy judging his lack of growth. I shake my head as I think poorly of his routine and roll about in my free-floating feeling of supremacy, much like a pig rolling in its own shit.

This feeling was shattered several days ago, however, when I realized that, much like my bicep curling friend, I was getting nowhere. I walked past my office on my way to the couch – that’s right, I didn’t even sit down at my desk and stare at the cruelly blinking cursor, I just glanced at the bastard as I walked by – and I recognized that my writing life had stalled. I was not growing. I was accomplishing nothing.

People in glass houses shouldn’t take their shirts off and pose in the mirror…or something.

November was a dismal, disappointing, ridiculous month for me. Freshly armed with a bucket-full of new knowledge from the Surrey Writer’s Conference (www.siwc.ca), I approached November with a heap of swagger, intending to take on NaNoWriMo and kick its ass. Instead of kicking anything, I wrote three thousand words in a story I didn’t particularly like, then spent a significant period of time picking my nose and flexing at myself in the mirror. A couple of times I wrote blog posts, talking about how I’d found some inspiration and I was back on the track to awesomeness, only to find myself once again examining the contents of my nasal cavity while I watched You-Tube videos of CT Fletcher and thought about making tacos for dinner. November, largely, was a wasted month, and I feel like the momentum I gained from SiWC was pissed up against the wall like a belly-full of beer after closing time at the pub.

Once I had some self-realization – and put my shirt back on – I thought about why it was that I was doing nothing. Why had all my momentum dried up? I wrote a blog post a couple weeks ago about Making an Impact with your writing, and doing absolutely nothing makes even less of an impact than something that sucks. So what should I be doing?

In the gym, when your progress has stalled, you have to make a change; change your routine, your diet, your schedule, anything. You have to change things up and keep your body guessing so that it responds to the stimulus and is forced to grow.

Perhaps, I thought as I slunk back into my office and sat down at the computer that I’d so often neglected in recent weeks, that your writing muscles are the same as your gym muscles: you have to change things to make them grow.

With these thoughts in mind I’ve been doing some different things. None of them in itself is Earth moving, but I hope that several small shifts will equal one medium sized step, and be just enough to get me going again.

I’ve started reading a book that I wouldn’t normally give much attention to: JK Rowling’s “A Casual Vacancy”. There is no magic, no swords, no hard-bitten detective who pistol-whips people, nothing that would generally catch my attention. It was a certainly a departure from the established norm for Rowling, so perhaps reading it will affect some kind of change on me.

After a good piece of tutelage from Jack Whyte, I’ve started drinking scotch (single malt). I’ve never had much of a taste for it before, but people who drink scotch consistently always swear by it and insist it tastes wonderful. I’ve not gotten to that point yet, but the building of my palette feels like a progression, and right now any kind of progress is good.

I’ve also set aside the story I was working on, that I felt so frustrated by. It is another urban fantasty/horror, based in policing, which is exactly the kind of story I’ve been working on for the last couple of years. And because it’s so similar, perhaps its familiarity is killing my progress. Instead I started re-reading/editing a partially completed piece that I worked on a number of months ago. I have no idea why I abandoned it then, because when I look back on it I find that some of it was actually good and it is certainly a line worth pursuing. I can’t say that I’ve got any real work done on it yet, because I’ve not finished the read-through and put any new copy down, but I think I might get there.

Another thing I’ve decided, as I sit here writing this, is that there’ll be no new blog posts until the New Year. I’m relatively certain the dozen or so people who actually read my blog can probably get by without my foolish rants for the next four weeks, so I’m going to turn my energy away from here for now and try to get some new words down. Hopefully when I return I’ll have some story done, and perhaps something intelligent to say.

There are a lot of reasons why we might get stalled in our writing, or anywhere else in our lives. It happens to everyone. The important thing, I think, is to realize that you are stalled, and then do something about it. I’ve got some things going to affect my own change, and plans for a few more. I hope they work.

At any rate, I’ll let you know how it goes after the New Year hits.

Merry Christmas (Happy Yuletide), and as always, thanks for reading.

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