Multiple Enthusiasms

Infinite jest. Excellent fancy. Flashes of merriment.

Category: blogging (page 1 of 3)

So there went three months.

Funny thing: I never stop writing. Haven’t stopped now. Been busy. Since April, Exciting Press has published like a dozen titles. Some mine, most not. And that’s on top of the fact that I moved in late July, but spent all of June and July doing so (June was packing, July was preparing the new house to be lived in). My fiancee and I purchased a house we have to reno a bit, so that’s meant new floors and new paints and new fixtures.

It’s been a lot of fun work I’m proud of. Few things are as empowering as installing a new ceiling light fixture.

And when I get busy, blogging’s always the first thing to go. Probably because I hate the word (“blog”? Blech), but also because it feels like it requires way more effort to be way more ephemeral. Even the sites that attract millions of readers every month require new posts every day (if not every hour), which means older stuff falls by the wayside and disappears from immediacy. And given the choice, I’d rather focus on what doesn’t. The Prodigal Hour won’t fall by the wayside. It may languish in obscurity and one day be forgotten, but it’s a novel, whole on its own and always ready to be discovered.

Every time I start to think I want to post something, I lose interest or over-analyze it. I posted a lot about publishing and Amazon and Kindle and marketing, but those things are really only of interest to other authors, not readers. Those things are probably utterly boring to readers.

And I loathe the idea of boring people, and that’s why I stop.

Which I suppose is why I’ve begun to concentrate more on actually getting work out there. I’ve always liked the aphorism that one could be known by one’s work, and honestly, if I could be known for writing and Exciting Press, that’s all I’d want. I could talk more about craft and fiction and writing, but then, do I want to be known as a great writer, or a great teacher of writing?

Of course: why not aim at both?

Maybe I will. Or maybe I’ll ignore it. Again. Because there’s always renovation, and another story to code. Right now we’re fixing up the house while planning our wedding. And then there will come the holidays and the honeymoon. We’ll see.

I updated the look and the feel here, wondering if that’ll help encourage direction forward. And by that I mean help me figure out what I want to do with this site, if anything at all.

The other day, amusingly obscene penmonkey Chuck Wendig posted a prompt about Terrible Minds nicknames to Google+. His note at the time was that one’s first name was the object immediately to one’s right, while one’s surname was one’s greatest fear.

Which is where the title of this post comes from, as mine was Remote Control Mediocrity.

Because it got me thinking about success and how we define it. Years ago, I thought six-figure (or any-figure) book contracts were required for validation, because I thought for sure that if one wrote a “good enough” book–meaning a book that is technically competent in all ways–one could get an agent and attract a corporate publisher like Random House.

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Over at Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds site, the resident penmonkey extraordinaire was kind enough to chat with me and introduce me to his readers.

We discuss some thoughts about indie versus so-called “self-publishing,” but we also chat about writing advice, motivations, and beverage of choice.

Check it out.

Also, I’d be remiss not to mention Chuck’s Irregular Creatures, a short story collection. He’s got two collections of writing advice worth checking out, as well.

Finishing my MBA at Regis University.

Regis splits semesters into two eight-week sessions, and this year, this Spring 2011, my first eight-week session was devoted to what they call the capstone, and which is actually titled Strategies in Global Environments. So the reason I disappeared was that, for the past eight weeks, I’ve been part of a five-student team acting as consultants, in a simulation, running an athletic apparel company called Mercury International.

Given that it’s a simulation, the whole experience has been rather like one long, turn-based RPG videogame. Well. I think that’s what it’s like. I tend to prefer third-person, plot-drive shooters when it comes to videogames (inFamous ftw!), and this was nothing like that. It was divided into weekly rounds, and every week, we held a conference call during which we discussed and agreed on strategies going forward, based on previous results and future objectives.

I had a great team, and a great time. But I’d wanted to finish this strong, and I feel, now, like I have.

And now, just one more course to go. Product Management.

Product management is interesting from my side of things. I’m a writer, but if you think artists are selling art, well, at least in a digital context that becomes slightly problematic. Ross Pruden has an #infdist hashtag on Twitter that discusses Infinite Distribution, which is basically how creators can make a sustainable living from their creations in an age where information pretty much, at this point, demands to be free.

Of course, that’s not even to mention how many creators actually ever make a sustainable living, anyway. Stephen King and Jo Rowling and Stephenie Meyer, sure, but they’re modern-day exceptions. Shakespeare pretty much made a living as a real-estate agent when he wasn’t collecting money from some lord or other (to whom he may or may not have dedicated his sonnets).

Really, nowadays, with sites and Kindles and apps and independence, what writers are selling is more themselves. Which tends to be even more problematic from the self-promotion side of things (because no writer wants to be Tila Tequila).

Which I think is going to be helpful for me, in approaching this final course. For years, now, I’ve been trying to work out the kinks in what I’m doing, between MySpace and Facebook and Amazon Kindle and this site and Twitter and work and teaching and writing. I go back and forth in terms of how rewarding any one endeavor is, but there’s so little cohesion between everything. I look at authors who have nine different profiles across seventeen different sites, and all I want to do is take a nap.

And write.

So wish me luck. Hopefully, after I finish, I’ll have some better ideas, some better strategies, and some better writing for your better reading.

I‘ve been posting stuff online, in various forums, for more than five years. A couple of years ago, shortly after graduating from USC, I realized I needed a while to be quiet. I needed some time to figure out what “being a writer” meant for me.

I’ve realized this is part of it. That the trouble with blogging is not something that concerns me anymore. Don’t take me wrong; I still want to explore the dilemma there, but more in the sense of what marketing and writing mean nowadays.

I’ve nearly completed my marketing MBA. I enrolled in Regis University when I lived, for a time, in Denver several years ago, and it’s possible to complete the program online without any of the connotations of online degrees. It’s not University of Phoenix–with no offense intended to that online institution.

There is, however, an interesting point I stick to there, and I think it applies overall. Nowadays, it’s so easy for people, online, to not only pose as experts but to become them. You get a lot of people talking very loudly in a small community, and regardless of their backgrounds, knowledge bases, and levels of expertise, people start to look to them for advice when the advice they offer is not actually all that sound.

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That was one of the search phrases that led someone here. The actual phrase was “is blogging worth it writer,” but it immediately rewrote itself as a question in my head. I’m going to figure the seeker in question found “The Trouble with Blogging,” which remains one of the most popular posts on this site.

That post discussed the dilemma sharing writing online, for free, poses to the professional writer–and by “professional,” I’m meaning both those writers who are aspiring toward bestsellerdom and those who have already achieved it. Actually, though, I’ve realized, more accurately, it’s really only a dilemma for aspiring authors, less so for ones who’ve gotten publication deals already; certainly, J.K. Rowling, Dan Brown, Stephenie Meyer, and Stephen King don’t really have to worry about any such dilemmas, given how much money they make from their books already.

Then again, none of them blog.

(Can I note, as an aside, how much I loathe the word? “Blog”? It sounds like the Internet drank too much. It sometimes reads that way, too.)

The prevailing dilemma I wrote about was a simple question often raised in other contexts: why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? If I–as a guy who’s endeavored, over the past few years, to become a professional writer, and, indeed, has a master’s degree in it–continue to post good, well thought-out, well written essays on my site, why would readers want to buy my books?

Of course, the answer is right there; because my site is not my book. Because my books–while well written and well executed and occasionally full of essays–are mostly not what is on my site.

But is it worth it?

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Yesterday, JA Konrath posted an interesting essay titled, simply, “You Should Self-Publish.”

I agree with him, for the most part.

I just wish he would drop that modifier.

Because forget it. You should publish.

You should publish essays on your website, tweets to Twitter, status updates on Facebook. You should use your Kindle to share quotes from books everywhere. You should join online forums filled with people who have similar interests–Konrath mentions the KindleBoards and how great they are for writers but sort of neglects how amazing they are for readers.

Which we all are. And we’re active readers. We’re better readers. We’re exciting readers.

I thought, for a long time, that what was so game-changing, what was so paradigm-shifting, was that we’re all now creators. We’re all publishing all the time. We’re all contributing new information to the cloud and the world.

I don’t think I was necessarily wrong about that. All those things mostly hold true.

But then I got to thinking, that’s not really what’s changed. That’s a by-product of more activity on our parts.

The biggest companies in the world right now are Google and Facebook. The former is, I think, the more important because it signals a new service. It’s a search engine. It took away passive Internet browsing. No longer was the Internet a place of CD-ROMs and free subscriptions to AOL and “You’ve Got Mail.” What Google changed was our ability to seek new and more information (as well as our ability to sift through it). Remember before Google? Back when we had AltaVista and Hotbot and Metacrawler?

No longer do we wait for information. That’s pretty huge.

We Google things. I have a Google search function on my phone. We go on Wikipedia, though we know the information we find there might be erroneous, but maybe we do that because we know that even if the information is erroneous, we can find more information right away. We can find better information. We can find commentary on that information.

We can contribute to that information, and we can change it, and we can create it.

And the faster all that occurs, the less likely traditional modes of media can keep up with it all.

It used to be, in ways, that media created culture. Radio and television delivered sounds and images to our living rooms, and our only control over what we received came in the form of dials and switches; we could change the channel or turn off the set, but that was about it. If we wanted books, we had to wait to see what corporate publishers had deemed worthy of our attention two years before. Movies, too: from optioning of screenplays to delivery of celluloid, at least a year would pass.

The time it takes to create something worthwhile might not have changed (and continues to vary), but the time it takes to access and manipulate it has. Do any of us merely read when we come online anymore? Or do we all go to news sites we frequent, share posts on Twitter and Facebook, contribute to commentary?

When was the last time you got news from CNN or MSNBC? How about the last time you got it from Twitter?

It seems like we’re moving into times of cultural responsibility, and we’re taking such responsibilities away from the people who traditional took control of them as we notice that many of those institutions gave up their reins. One of the biggest arguments people tend to make against so-called “self-publishing” is that it’s not vetted, there’s no quality control, etc.

And then they buy and publish A Shore Thing by Snooki.

We’re the upstart crows. We’re the Johannes Factotums. We are the creators and contributors, channels of inspiration and information. And we’re not just living in exciting times.

We’re exciting them.

In the realm of the every day, the word “exciting” generally means something fun, something that gets the old ticker going, but in the realm of science, physics, and chemistry, excitation has a more specific meaning. In quantum mechanics, for example, excitation means any particle’s assumption of a higher state of energy.

When I think of excitation, I think of electrons. It’s been years since I formally studied chemistry and physics, but I remember electrons and their shells. Every electron has a nucleus: positive protons and neutral neutrons. Around this nucleus exists an electron cloud difficult to study because of the way it exists–in a quantum sense, only sporadically. Consider a city block, and imagine that some of the buildings exist only on days that begin with a T while others exist on days that begin with an S and others exist on all other days, mostly, you get a sense of quantum uncertainty and the existence of electrons–as particles and waves that are both only partially there simultaneously.

Most atoms–save those of the first few elements–have electron shells with multiple energy levels. The number of electrons is generally equal to the number of protons, but sometimes that leads to certain instability, or even propensity to react. Consider, for example, lithium, which has three protons and three electrons in its shell. Its first energy level is full, with two, but that leaves a third electron to react with just about anything it sees: imagine a horny, hyperactive dog who will hump any leg it finds and you’re thinking of lithium. On the other hand, back up one: helium has two protons, with two electrons in its shell, a full energy level. Helium also has a monocle and a top hat, and it wipes its white-gloved hands with disdain when it encounters any other elements. It will only speak to one under duress.

The thing about those energy levels is that, under the right circumstances, an electron can be induced to assume a higher state. This higher state of energy is called “excitation.” An excited electron is one that achieved a higher level than it had reached just a moment before.


Very exciting news around these parts. I’m thrilled, honored, privileged, and humbled (simultaneously) to be working with Simon Smithson.

During the past few months, I’ve found my excitement for all things stories and words and books rekindled. Which is a pun, mainly because Amazon’s Kindle might be the most significant source of my newfound enthusiasm. I swear, I haven’t had so much fun, nor read so much, nor bought so many books, since I don’t know when.

Perhaps the most brilliant thing about Kindle, though, is all it makes possible. It throws open the doors, kicks wide the gates.

There’s a new world of possibilities.

When I published my collection in 2007, neither Kindle nor iPhone actually yet existed. eReaders were niche gadgets, novelties at best and absurdities at worst, expensive and awkward and not really able to deliver a quality reading experience. The first Kindle was still six months away and would be expensive, even if its e-ink display would become (and remains) the best in the market.

Now Kindle is on every device out there. Jeff Bezos has been really smart to deliver the platform across devices, tying the reading experience to software, rather than hardware.

And it’s rather perfect for a couple of emerging authors to take advantage of.

Which is what Simon and I plan to do.

This week, we’re launching Sparks. He told you all the news with regard to the book.

What he didn’t really much go into was what it means for Exciting Books.


When I published my collection in 2007 and effectively founded Exciting Books, I’d already conceived of the model I aimed to ultimately follow with regard to writing and publishing. Back then, I wasn’t sure what sort of path my career would take, but I did know the sort of projects I ultimately hoped to work on: highly commercial, genre-busting blockbuster novels, which I’d intersperse with projects I saw as smaller.

Meets Girl for all intents and purposes, would fall into the latter category.

What I ultimately hoped to do was exactly what I’ve found myself doing, even if I wasn’t quite aware of it: leverage my experience and knowledge to bring publishing up to a new, and higher, energy level.

And now, with other authors.

Because this is how things change. A couple of blokes with a bold idea to excite things. Shake things up a bit while taking them up a notch. Which may mix metaphors, but hopefully doesn’t conceal my intention.

In the past year or so, I’ve reveled in quietude while trying to figure out how to do what I meant to do. I’ve moved to Manhattan, studied marketing, dedicated myself to writing better.

And now, I think it’s time to try some exciting things. In the spirit of which I figured it was time to redo the site header, retitling this here endeavor. In the spirit of which I intend to publish more often more exciting and interesting things, including but not limited to the stuff I’ve been learning over the past few years.

In other words, here goes everything.

Sparks marks the first Exciting Book that isn’t solely mine.

Exciting Books: When people talk about ebooks and epublishing, the ‘e’ they’re talking about is Exciting.

Before Meets Girl.

I wanted to talk a bit more about the project before the launch, though. Because, honestly, I’m basically doing it completely backwards at this point. Ask any of the so-called or self-proclaimed writing gurus or marketing Internexperts or anyone else on Facebook and Twitter . . .

Look. Am I the only one completely exhausted by all the writers nobody’s ever heard of expounding their advice on how best to reach wider audiences? I can’t be, can I?

The situation is daunting at best. In terms of social media and networking, at least, never before have so many people said so little so loudly. The signal-to-noise ratio is crazily lopsided to the latter. There’s so much advice out there and so little of it actually sound. Anyone would tell you, if you want to become a successful author, you need a platform. You need a steady readership, which you gain from getting on Twitter and Facebook and updating your website and creating a fanpage and all those sorts of things.

In an ideal situation, of course, the implication is that all those things come after producing a solid novel, but I’m not sure how many people infer that fact, nor even that it’s true. In many cases, platform is the primary gauge of saleability. Indeed, corporate publishing is less a vehicle for writers and authors than for people with platforms who wrote books. There’s a huge distinction there.

According to most advice, I should have posted endlessly about how to write. How to structure. I should have reviewed more books so I could be a book blogger, and I should have posted links to other writers’ blogs. I should have done it daily, or nearly so, or even more frequently, an endless push of writers talking about writing and bloggers talking about blogging and let’s not forget about marketing and buzz and et cetera (and let’s be frank and call it ad nauseum).

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The life of a writer, despite what you may have heard, is not exactly glamorous (though some writers look way better living one than others), and it’s often full of hustling and scrambling to reach certain goals, not the least of which is getting paid. Several months ago, while seeking freelance opportunities to supplement the meager income of being an adjunct professor at a small college, I found an opportunity to write online for a growing website I will leave nameless, both for purposes of professionalism and discussion but also because it’s not actually relevant to my purposes.

The ad I saw looked interesting and sought a writer interested in a monthly column. So I dropped a note to the supplied e-mail and, when I got a positive response, checked out the site, which was actually pretty awesome. I looked over some of the articles and pitched to the editor an idea I’d been kicking around for a few months (and still am).

The editor was encouraging and liked my style but thought the topic to specific and narrow, too relevant to writers and not relevant enough to their readers.

Ah, the dichotomy.

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I just caught a tweeted link to this blog by Mitch Joel on publishing and blogging.

Those of you who’ve read my “The Trouble with Blogging post know that this is something I’ve been thinking about. Hell, it’s part of the reason I’m doing an MBA.

Right now, I’m teaching my students about structure and plot using Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone as a demonstration of a Hero’s Journey plot archetype. Reading it, I’m rediscovering just how excellently Rowling hits every plot point and necessary element note for note, from the Call to Adventure to the Crossing of the First Threshold etc. Harry Potter is really an excellent example of someone who becomes a hero; he certainly doesn’t start out that way. Yesterday, while teaching, I was asking my students what makes people heroes. What do we look for as a demonstration of heroism?

One mentioned worthwhile purpose, and intention.

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Just read a post by Jane over at “Books as a Business”. It’s a mostly good article with some interesting analysis, though I would change the title, at least; books are what we read, while publishing is a business.

Which aligns with my previous couple of posts, staying on the theme of writing as creative endeavor and publishing as business endeavor. The other day, I was chided on Twitter by dietpopstar for using the word “monetizing” with regard to writing, and who told me I’d “lost my way” as I’m supposed to be “a fucking artist,” and such considerations were “vulgar.” She’s arguably right about my using the word “monetize,” I admit; I probably should have chosen a different word or phrase, like maybe “I gotsta get myself paid, too, yo.” Which, at least, is funnier.

And that’s the trouble with blogging. Not the funnier part. The part about having to get paid.

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Holy Hell it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I didn’t plan on that; if I had, I probably would have said something.

I’ve been otherwise occupied, obviously. For myriad reasons. Thinking less and getting on with things, which is generally a fine way to go about it. This past year was difficult in several ways, including two major moves, the end of a long relationship, and overall a lot of change and flux. I think it culminated a few weeks ago when I didn’t get into NYU; I’d looked forward to going back up to Manhattan to attend school there. There have been false starts and falser hopes, but in the end you live and learn and I’m still, in ways, absorbing some lessons. It is, in ways, like that moment in The Matrix when Neo mainlines kung fu, except for the fact that there’s a steeper learning curve, and more time necessary with new knowledge before the application thereof.

The reason for the actual break from blogging was simple, though: I was getting deep into a project called Meets Girl, which is going really well, lately, and which came alive to me in ways previous drafts didn’t. It’s the first thing I’ve retried since I got my Master’s; I started this new draft not long after I graduated, if I’m not mistaken. Which means it’s taken a long time, but the nature of the story and the telling of it have challenged me in ways I haven’t expected. Which you’ll understand when you read it, and which may come sooner than later.

I didn’t expect it to take so long as it has, but then I had an idea for a screenplay I had to go with. It was one of those 6 a.m. ideas so powerful it leaves you no chance of getting back to sleep, and I wrote the first act in a two-day mad rush of ideas and fun and laughing at myself.

It has since slowed down, but I’m about midway through, now, and it’s going well.

It’s all going well. I can’t complain, I’ve realized. Not in this lifetime.

But that’s not the whole explanation. The whole explanation and the whole reason I haven’t posted is because I suddenly started to feel very ambivalent about blogging. I think I was eleven when I realized I wanted to be a writer, and the only thing I ever wanted to write, growing up, was novels; they’re all I read, besides a handful of short stories. When I started blogging a few years ago, I thought it might be a good way to somehow become a better writer, but, I’ve realized I think that’s rather a bit like trying to become a better golfer by playing pool–sure, there’s a ball and a hole and a stick, but that’s now how you–no, don’t–what’re you–?

That’s not how it works, sir.

That’s not to say there’s no room for a pool table in the golf clubhouse, of course. Just, priorities; nobody’s in the clubhouse for the felt. The felt is an afterthought.

I’ve now arguably belabored the metaphor, and I don’t even like golf.

So I’m finishing a novel and a screenplay. In the meantime, I’ve been doing more on Twitter, which you can see right there in the sidebar. I plan to come back here at some point. I plan to post more. But I plan to use it differently than I was before. Best laid plans etc., but then again, sometimes it’s good to have one if only so there’s something to aim for, even if you finally miss.

Do you require those register/log in/wordpress/rss links over on the side? I figure, the RSS is available through feedburner over there on the right (I can’t figure out how to remove it from the top of the page, but then again, I’m always all about offering as many options as possible), and the comment feature is consistent across pages, so probably not. Which is why I removed those links.

But let me know if you do, in fact, and I’ll put ’em right back.

(ETA: On second thought, it makes my navigation easier, so I’ll keep it for now.)

Speaking of awards seasons, the Bloggies are upon us, as well. I guess they’re a bit like the Oscars of blogging, except without Joan Rivers and boring montages. I’ve been reading blogs since before it was even a common term, back when Neil Gaiman started his American Gods blog (which has since morphed into his uberblog), and over the years, lots of my favorite blogs have always come up for Bloggies (and many have even won).

I always liked when my favorite blogs won.

And I just thought I’d let you know, because who knows, maybe after all these years, I might even be someone’s favorite blogger. It’s really totally rad that I can somehow say I’ve had people reading my blog for years now.

You can find the balloting stuff here. I say go nominate your favorite blogs, whomever they may be. And if you want to nominate this here blog for, I don’t know, say, Best Written Weblog, or Best Kept Secret, maybe, I won’t argue. I’d probably even blush and stammer and shuffle my feet.

Been working a lot through the holidays, but for some reason, it’s only the past couple of days I’ve begun to feel overwhelmed. A little anxious. Might be because I’ve been really productive but look around and realize I’ve barely scratched the surface, or then again might just be because I’m always hardest on myself. Got to stop that. I’m trying not to worry too much, but the state of the economy is daunting; I have some money coming in, from various sources, but the problem is it ain’t in yet, so lots of waiting. In business, as I understand it so far, that’s called accounts receivable; revenue you know you’re getting eventually for services already rendered, but ain’t come in yet.

In some ways, it’s very much part of the story of my life. In screenwriting, it’s called working on spec; you finish the screenplay with no guarantee you’ll actually either sell or option it, but you’ve still got a product you’re sending out.

There’s no fancy phrase for it in terms of writing a novel, besides, of course, The Way Things Are, because that’s just how it is. You write and write and write without any guarantee anyone will even read it, much less pay for it, or even more important, you know, enjoy it.

There are ways to get around such things nowadays, of course. But until some drastic changes occur in the publishing industry, well, they’re sorta The Way Things Aren’t.

Thing about it, though, is that business is a transaction. Payment received for services rendered. Good services bring reward, ultimately, and indeed can even be their own.

I’m thinking about all this partly because of this video, which is totally worth watching and totally made me cry:

Then again, I’m a big sap, so there’s that.

But there’s something to be said for it, in the sense that lighting other people’s flames never diminishes one’s own.

The end, though? Totally fuckin’ killed me.

(Via It’s All One Thing)

Which is why I wanted to begin my day (and week, and year, even) thusly:

You’re awesome. You’re smart and funny and witty and fantastic. Every day, you brighten mine just by showing up.

But, the first time I tried to import my old WordPress blog, it only took all the posts through March 2008. I assumed I would have to manually import all the rest, and so, this morning, after going shopping for cars and earrings with my mother, began to.

The good news was, it must have just been a fluke last time. I deleted all the old posts that had imported the first time, and then reattempted.

All the other ones came up in one fell swoop.

I’m not sure if that means that anyone who subscribes is going to suddenly find 90 go-jillion Will in the World blog posts in their e-mail inboxes, but if that happens . . . well, there are worse things, no? And it shouldn’t happen again, I don’t think.

A lot’s happened in the past few weeks, while I’ve been away, the biggest change being that I’m typing this from my old bedroom in my parents’ house, where I’m now living again for a lot of reasons I’m not yet going to go into, no so much because I don’t want to articulate them to you but rather because I’ve already tried several times and failed rather spectacularly.

I left Denver pretty much the day my commitment to the community college where I was teaching ended. I packed up my car full of all my earthly possessions, and for the third time in two and a half years, started driving to new goals and a new life (same as the old one).

I hesitated in doing so; I moved back after September 11th, and very much spent several years trying to figure things out and not doing a very good job of it.

This time, though, the difference is: I have a plan.

And yes, I realize plans are the surest way to inspire God to laugh at you, but I’ve got high hopes for this one.

I just applied to NYU, you see. I’ve realized that I love teaching and wish to continue to do so, but I’d like to teach more than just composition and writing. So I’m going for another Master’s degree, this time in literature with a concentration in writing, and then I’m hoping to go on to earn my PhD, which I also hope to do at NYU. So far, I’m cautiously optimistic; I want this in a different way than I’ve wanted some other things recently, and I executed it quite deliberately.

Plus: I really want to go. In the same way that I wanted to go to USC.

Anyway, that’s what I’m doing. And I figured with all the new changes, it was the ideal time to move to my new digs. Which are pretty much the same as the old ones to you. But really, the old blog was actually hosted at WordPress, even though it looked like it was on my website, mainly because I didn’t know enough about hosting and the web stuff to initially set it all up the way I had wanted it.

Now it is. This is actually

I dropped the “blog” in front, because: well, yeah. Also because it’s me in the world, and part of me in the world is my writing, and I figure it’s logical the online extension of my writing would include my blog. And my photography, which I’ll be posting here intermittently and sporadically, like I never kept up with over there.

Regardless, here I am. Glad to see you. I’m suitably refreshed and looking forward to more, and I hope you’re having a terrific holiday season so far.

I am.

Because I’m home.

Technorati Profile

Hey, everyone.

So, I’ve moved. And not just from Denver to New Jersey.

Here’s my new blog.

It’s the same as the old one, but actually hosted on my site. Which this one never was.

I’m going to pick all this up over there. Hope you’ll join me. It’s actually really cool, because it lets me do a lot of things I’d wanted to do before but never could (like Twitter, for one).

Hope you’ll swing by. And just wanted to let you know. If you have links to this one somewhere, please change them over to reflect the new digs. I’ll be changing the feed and all that stuff probably tomorrow.

Yeah, so that hiatus I mentioned is obviously going longer. Lots of stuff I’m trying to keep up with.

Doing well, though, and I’ll have plenty of news for you soon.

But I figured I’d say hello and wish you a happy holidays, and also warn you that, over the holidays, I might break this site. I’d like to migrate everything to (which may be down right now). I think WordPress will let me export the whole blog there, though, which would be nice.

Anyway, things are good, hope they are for you, and hope you’re having a happy season gearing up for the holidays.

I’ve been blogging pretty consistently since February, which I think marks this as just about the longest I’ve gone without taking a break. I think I’m starting to feel it; I know I’ve been getting cranky, lately, and it’s manifested in enough ways that I’m thinking, hey, somebody needs a time-out.

Since I can’t enforce it for anyone else, I figure I ought to take one myself. Be the change you want to see in the world, and such.

It’s the right time, I think. Holidays coming up, student papers coming in, all the good stuff. So I’m going to take a break from the Internet and redirect my energy; I’ve got a few projects I’ve been working on, both for myself and for others, and it’d be good to get those done. For at least the next two weeks, I’ll be checking e-mail but absolutely nothing else. That might become longer, but you won’t see me again until at least December.

Have a great Thanksgiving. See you soon. Don’t miss me, because I’ll miss you.

During one of the classes when I mentioned Eddie Izzard, one of my students mentioned a documentary called Heckler. I went to look it up, because I love when comedians pwn hecklers.

Here’s Jamie Kennedy (who, coincidentally, produced the documentary):

Jimmy Carr does it extraordinarily well. Here’s one:

And here’s another:

But it’s not just comedians. Here’s Kevin Smith:

And even Bill Clinton pwning some idiot “9/11 truth conspiracy theorist”:

I mean, seriously. Some people are just douchebags.

Thing is, Heckler turns out to only ostensibly be about heckling; over the course of interviewing Jamie Kennedy, Carrot Top, and Bill Maher (among many others), it slowly became a rumination about criticism. In doing so, it raised some terrific points about critics and their relation to, for lack of a better word, “art,” and especially about the way the Internet has changed things. It featured appearances by writers from and Giant magazine and questioned the idea of random dudes commenting about cinema. Kathy Griffin made an analogy between Internet commenters and hecklers, which I thought was apt, except for one crucial difference:

At a comedy show, the comedian gets to be face to face, even if across a room, with the person.

On the other hand, the Internet allows a degree of cowardice when someone like Shecky Gangrene or, as is most often the case, Anonymous wants to crap on somebody. I swear, I’d often heard quotes attributed to Anonymous before, but the Internet exponentially increased Anonymous’ body of work, which is mostly restricted to little more than saliva-spattered vitriol. I’ve rarely seen Anonymous actually be supportive; usually Anonymous uses the old “I’m sorry, but I’ve just got to be honest with you” to make personal attacks and mostly horrifying comments they’d never make in real life to someone’s face.

And while I’ve never gotten altogether much attention from Anonymous because I’m just a mostly unknown writer still making his way in his work, any attention from Anonymous can feel like too much. Most of the negativity I’ve encountered has come from Anonymous (who most often really, really doesn’t like me). Anonymous most often believes that the ends justify whatever means it is necessary to use, and frequently makes the case that anyone who has earned any degree of spotlight whatsoever must grin and bear it because it comes with the territory and one must develop thick skin.

To which I say: bullshit.

Bill Maher and Dr. Drew (ftw) address it best in the documentary by making two points: first, honesty does not excuse douchebaggery (that’s Dr. Drew), and second, as Maher notes, entertainers can’t develop thick skin. We need some degree of sensitivity because that’s our role in the culture we need to be part of.

Which I think is an awesome point.

The documentary is well worth checking out. Here’s the trailer:

I think my favorite part was the segment dedicated to director Uwe Boll, who challenged his critics to boxing matches and summarily beat the shit out of them. It’s absolutely hysterical to watch as the movie switches back and forth from idiot bloggers making asinine comments like “No, I’ve never watched one of his movies, but I’ve heard their awful” to selfsame bloggers falling to the canvas, culminating in a shot of a twenty-ish blogger lying on the curb, post-fight, wearing a tank top with Sharpie-written “Hi, Mom!” on its back while puking into the gutter.

Technorati has released its latest “State of the Blogosphere”.

From it, Mediabistro’s Galley Cat pulls that only 2% of bloggers cite blogging and their blogs as their primary source of income.

Which sounds about right.

Mainly because: isn’t that about the same as the number of writers who make their living at writing?

I’m not. Once upon a time, I hoped to be, but then again in recent years I’ve realized that I don’t think writing is all I’d want to do. I love to write, but when it starts to become all I do, I think I feel like there’s imbalance in my life. The whole “all work and no play” thing, to some extent. I mean, I go back and forth on it, because I think that writing is playing, to some extent, but I guess what it comes down to is that writing is a largely solitary activity, and I can’t very well be in the world if I’m being all solitary and such.

via Only Two Percent of Bloggers Can Make a Living – GalleyCat

Some new changes to coincide with all the other ones going around. Trying out a new theme, most obviously.

Also: Entrekin in the World replaces the old Reviews page. I like it so far but will probably tweak it as I go. It’s something I had included as an album on MySpace and was trying to figure out how to integrate it here. From the get-go, I’d asked people to photograph themselves with the book; Los Angeles Times best selling author Brad Listi was the very first.

Since leaving MySpace and switching computers, I’ve misplaced a couple that I’d really like to include. So if you don’t see yourself there and you’ve got one you wouldn’t mind my putting up, send it to me via willentrekin at yahoo dot com.

Please. That’d be rad.

I left comments open over there, too. So if you’d like to put your own review there, be my guest. Especially if you, you know, liked it.

Finally, I mentioned I’d considered removing the collection from Lulu. I looked into hosting the file here, because I still like having it as a free .pdf, along with the “singles.” Problem is, the process of doing so is not nearly so straightforward as Lulu’s system, nor does it seem to track downloads/sales so well. Part of the reason I’d considered removing the book was its ‘community,’ but then again I wonder if those problems aren’t actually a function of the self-publishing community and not necessarily Lulu’s. Regardless, I’ve decided to continue using their printing services as the tool I had meant it to be, and I feel okay leaving it up.

Plus, the downloads just keep coming in, and, well, the whole point was to share it. I’d feel bad keeping the book from someone who wanted to read it.

I’d say to bear in mind that I’m still working out kinks all over the place, but I’ve realized that part of the interesting thing about blogs and the Internet (and, it seems, life in general lately) is that: well, yeah. It’s all evolution all the time, really.

When I was younger and first breaking from Catholicism, I became very interested in Wicca and paganism. Something about the more natural ways of thought and worship appealed a great deal to me: I am by ethnicity, like, Scotch-Welsh-Dutch (or something); I grew up as a Boy Scout and so was often camping or hiking, which was why I liked the idea of nature as the truest and most accurate expression of the divine (I don’t know about God or Jesus either way, but show me a new day and I know where I stand); and I liked the idea of not having to go to Church or receive Eucharist or pray to know the way of God.

By the time I got to college, that had begun again to change. Studying theology with Robert Kennedy, roshi, S.J. remains one of the most formative experiences of my life, with consequences and repercussions I am even still parsing. Back then, in the way of the arrogance and pretension that became my characteristic for several years, I declared myself a “Zen Christian Wiccan,” because I thought I had discovered over the years that there is, inherently, either no difference whatsoever between prayer, spells, and meditation, or that the differences we perceive between them, like the differences we perceive between Coca Cola and Pepsi, more a result of brilliant advertising campaigns and the placebo effect than anything else.

Nowadays, I know better how little I know.

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(pretend there’s a little accent thingy over that ‘e’, please, because I think there should be one there. I could be wrong)

Wired‘s Paul Boutin notes that “blogging is so 2004.” Basically, Boutin seems to think that Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook have not so much rendered blogs obsolete as taken their thunder. Why blog when we can micro-Twitter and Flickr to our hearts’ content? His first paragraph indicates I need to quit blogging, because it just ain’t worth it, and I’ll never reach a level of, say, Gizmodo, the popular gadgets blog with a team of writers producing dozens of posts per day.

He’s probably correct. I think I hope he’s correct, in fact. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with blogging, I’ll admit, for personal reasons; while I do love to do it, and I love the instantaneous and often-collaborative nature of it, I feel like . . . well, I feel a lot like it takes away from my real writing. And I hate to say this isn’t my ‘real writing,’ but I’ve never thought of it that way, probably because I use different writing ‘muscles’ to blog than to write . . . well, pretty much everything else. I’ve been discussing with my students the idea of frameworks in writing, and I’ve always thought blogs have a different framework than anything else, probably because everything has its own framework.

Then again, that may be just me.

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I get another batch of student papers tomorrow, so I’ll have that to do over the weekend, but I’m also trying to finish a couple of other projects I’ve been working on. They’ve all been slow going, probably because I’ve got a lot going on.

So far, it’s two novellas and three short stories, though either of those novellas might end up longer than I think. The one I’m concentrating on most right now is called Meets Girl, and I’m hitting the end of the first act of the story but am already past the fifty page mark.

I’m hoping to finish all five by the end of November.

But I’m also winding down the publishing experiment I conducted over the past year and a half, and I do want to blog about it. It’s set me to thinking about a lot of different things, all related to writing and publishing and reading. I’ve been rethinking removing my content from Lulu, because so far it’s worked pretty well and maybe I shouldn’t try to fix it if it ain’t broke. I will be talking about my experience with Lulu, though probably not here (more on that to come).

Over at The Fractal Hall, Madeley is delineating major (so-far DC) superheroes, according to what is essential to their stories.

It’s fascinating. Even if you’re not into comics or Superman or the Dark Knight, it’s really neat in terms of story and character.

This is the first one, on Batman. Others in the days following.

I’m hoping Madeley will continue through many.

My “About Me” page notes that I am, currently, an educator based in the Denver area, and I think I’ve mentioned I currently teach composition at a local community college. Previous to this year, I taught composition for a year at the University of Southern California, a name I don’t so much drop as note with gratitude; it was my great pleasure to serve my students there, as it continues to be to serve my students at my current institution. When I started blogging on MySpace, the idea of teaching hadn’t so much crossed my mind, and neither had the ideas of either Denver or Hollywood.

And I look around today, and I think: yowza. This, this is special. I’m extraordinarily lucky (and discover every day that the amount of luck I experience is directly proportional to the amount of effort I put into the work I do).

I mention this because I have now been teaching, at the college/university level, for more than a year, but today was the first day I was ever observed. I found out about the observation a few days ago, and just the idea made me nervous: ZOMG authority! What if they realize I’m a sham? What if they realize I’m, well, me, because no matter how many novels I write and how many people love my work and how many classes I teach, it’s still difficult to think of myself any differently. I’m just me, and I still feel like I’m goofy and silly and really lucky to be anywhere at all. Maybe that’s a self-esteem issue, or maybe it’s the truth. I don’t know. I just know that even though USC recognized me as an expert in writing, and even though I taught my students well enough that I went so far as to inspire them, in a few notable cases, it’s still difficult to realize that.

But today, the totally rad woman who is the composition coordinator of our department sat in my class to observe me.

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  • Statistics.
  • Houghton-Mifflin, purveyors of the textbook of said statistics. Who decided that even though I spent nearly $150 purchasing their textbook, I could only download it once, and then only to one computer, and only then using Adobe Digital Editions. Who the hell uses Adobe Digital Editions? And seriously, I get the new Coldplay, I rip it to my computer, I can listen on any device I want, but I spend nearly ten times as much and you lock me in? It’s a statistics textbook for a business course, and that business model makes me question just how damned authoritative you actually are. Business is about relationships and transactions with your customers. I am your customer, and you totally and completely failed me.
  • PUMA supporters. Which, apparently, stands for “Party Unity My Ass.”  Have you heard of this?  All the sad supporters of Hillary who are upset she lost and decided that Obama is the antichrist, and that McCain/Palin is a good choice because Palin is, like, a chick? God, I’m so tired of everyone backhanding Obama and treating McCain/Palin like they wouldn’t be 8 more years of the same. Dear female PUMA supporters; take your heads out of your collective twats long enough to acknowledge that feminism is about more than simply voting for anyone in a skirt.

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