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Happy Memorial Day and other thoughts


The blog is back! I can't believe last weekend was only a weekend away, it feels like so much has happened since then. Sorry for missing the post that day, but with the amount of stress I was feeling, I couldn't formulate any coherent thoughts. Not that this blog is coherent, but...well, you know what I mean.


First off, Happy Memorial Day! While personally, I don't have much stake in the day - one of my grandfathers was in the military but that's the extent of my family history - I know many of you hold today in high regard and I'll celebrate for that. I'm thankful for the military in terms of allowing us freedom and the major good they've done over the years. Although, personally, I think we've got a bit off the mark in the recent decades with our specific desire to impose freedom on areas that we have no right to be engaged with. However, I'll be the first to admit that I stay as far away from politics and government as humanly possible, so my opinion counts for nothing.


As with many holidays - minus the Big Four (July 4th, Thanksgivings, Christmas, and New Years) - today is just another day for me. I'm not off work for my day job, although it should hopefully be a lot more calm than usual Mondays are. However, being a holiday, it's a day for reflection, and I'll take some time to reflect on things that have been happening in my life.


Firstly, last weekends shenanigans. I bought a couch after years of not having one. I'm not social - like, aggressively not social - so I had no use for a place for guests or an area to entertain. I also don't spend any time in front of a TV, consuming most of my media from this chair in front of my computer. So having a place to sit comfortably in my living room seemed like a waste of money. Moving into this new apartment, however, I have a balcony and sliding glass door, which allows sunlight and a view to a bit of nature, and I find myself wanting to spend more time out there. So, the decision was made to take the plunge. Ordering the chaise lounge from Amazon was smooth, but the "logistics" company that did the actual delivery was terrible. After being scheduled for Saturday nearly three weeks in advance, it was cancelled at the last minute, having to be rescheduled for Monday, which caused me to have to take an extra day off work to be here when it arrived. On top of that, the delivery men informed me when they arrived that my purchase of "threshold delivery" did not take stairs into account, and they wouldn't be able to bring it up the 12 stairs to my apartment. After basically begging them - and also bribing them with a cash tip - they did in fact carry it up for me, but the thought of rescheduling again or having to find some way to carry a 150lb sofa up stairs by myself was enough to make me done with the day by 8am. It all worked out in the end, but it was an obnoxious process.


That said, I love the couch! It's perfect for curling up with a book, or taking a midday nap on weekends, and I've been doing both since I've had it.


One of my goals recently is to start reading more, and consuming less YouTube, which tends to take up most of my time. So far, it's been going alright. I finished Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, a book on writing and life, which I have to say was a wonderful read. Her humor is on par with mine, and her insights into writing and the feelings writers have were spot on. If you're interested in writing craft books, it's on my list of recommended reading. After that, I tried to dive back into The Big Dark Sky by Dean Koontz, one of my inspirations of this writing journey. Sadly, I wasn't able to finish it. First off, I'd started this book last year at some point, taking a break near the halfway point as I wasn't feeling pulled into the story. After I moved, I gave it another push and made it to around 100 pages from being finished before putting it down for a bit. That "bit" was probably 4 months. This weekend, I tried to pick it back up and blitz through the end, but by then I was completely uninterested in the story or characters or what action was happening. With regret, I've shelved it for now. That did, however, open the door for me to hop back into the final book that I've been partially into for the last few months, Billy Summers by Stephen King. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a fan of King and always have been. When I first started Billy Summers, something about the writing was putting me off. I think it was the present tense nature of the story telling that I wasn't expecting. I read around the first third of the book and then lost the motivation to continue. I also brought it to work at one point when I had free time, but after transitioning to a new role, that free time was taken from me. On Friday of last week, I brought the book home with plans to continue it, and after failing to finish the Koontz novel, I picked it back up and found myself diving right back in and coming to terms with the tense. Now, it sits on my couch as a reminder to spend time reading, and I think I will be obliging it more often.


I've also been on a cooking journey, after having a month where I ordered DoorDash nearly every night. Not only was it making me broke, it was making me feel like garbage, and the urge for a homecooked meal became overwhelming. I decided to start buying more groceries and preparing meals at home, in an effort to eat slightly better and save a bit of money. So far, it's been working. I even think I may be losing weight! It's slow, and it's not a lot, but it's progress in a good direction, and that's what matters.


Finally, writing news! I'm quickly approaching 40,000 words in the new novel, and ideas and turns I didn't expect are still popping up and giving me the drive to continue. I already know there are a few chapters in there that will need major rewrites or at least additional description to continue the vibe that I produced in the first third of the book. I tend to spend a lot of time in the beginning fleshing out the setting and the characters, but towards the middle I start plowing full speed ahead through the plot, which makes the writing a bit weak and bland. At least I'm aware of that now, and can go back through and spruce it up after the fact. If all goes well, I'll be onto edits sometime later this year - August or October? who knows - and then we'll be ready for release around the March of next year. That's the plan at least. If you like crime dramas on TV, I think you'll like this book. It's definitely a lot more dramatic than the others, with more focus on characters and relationships and themes than action, but there's still a fair amount of things happening. Especially in the upcoming final third of the book, I think there's going to be a few areas that will get the heart pumping.


Also, I've been running Google, Facebook, and Instagram paid ads starting on Friday, and I've noticed at least one person read Fall Winds Blow on KU, and someone noted PsyConics as a "want to read" book on GoodReads, and I'm eternally thankful for those people! Sometimes, I see other writers pages on Facebook who have grown to over 1,000 followers in a few months, or who are selling fifty books a week, and I feel defeated because I'm nowhere near that mark. But then someone comes along out of the blue and leaves a three star rating, or marks down having read the book, and I remember why I do this. It's not for the money or the fame - money would be nice for sure, fame not so much - but for the joy of writing little stories and hoping other people like them. I never get sad for reviews, even if they're a low star rating, because I know I have growing to do as a writer still, and someone at least gave me a chance. That's all I can ask for, in the long run.


-Dave

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