December’s Full Moon Story – The Drowning Giant

In December we have a supermoon! If you saw the full moon last night it probably looked closer, bigger, and brighter than usual.

This month’s full moon story is an attempt to take a myth and write it as a short story. Any guesses on the original myth on which this story is based?

This month’s story is barely more than a short-short. I had another queued up, but it needed too much revision. After the effort of November’s writing to finish the work-in-progress, I didn’t have it in me to substantially revise.

I love J. G. Ballard’s story “The Drowned Giant” and this story is a slight play on words. It is about a giant who drowns his children, rather than about a giant who cannot swim.

Hard to believe December is already here. Even harder to believe that with the distractions of work, the Oval Office, and various hurricanes I managed to piece together 95,000 words and get nearly a dozen stories up on the blog.

I’m not sure what the plan is for next year, but I still have a few weeks to figure it out. I have a short-short (which was never on this blog) I’ll be submitting to the markets in January. I have to revise the novel (which I expect will take at least another year). I want to post more frequently, but I want to avoid politics, so I need to figure out how I can carve out time, and what sort of topics will be suitable.

I’ve got a few more posts for this year, but until then stay warm, stay safe and I hope you enjoy the final Full Moon Story of the year.

The Drowning Giant

It is evening and I watch him mourn on the beach. He wails. He kneels on the beach, a thatch of seaweed hanging from his shoulder. He is too distraught to clean himself. Sea water drips from his long black hair. His keening cry can be heard for miles.

Near him lays the drenched and drowned body of his daughter, the surf washes up around her legs, and then away again.

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Not long after that evening I watch him mourn again. His pain fuels my rage because I knew his pain is a lie. I watched him murder two of his daughters. My sisters. He pretends he had no choice, that they were working to destroy the paradise he built. Paradise? What paradise is there for my two dead sisters, and the dead brother I know he killed before I was born?

Read the Rest Here

Annnnnd….done

It worked!

I needed a push to finish a project started at the beginning of the year. Coincidentally, I needed about 50,000 words to complete the project, and NaNoWriMo requires 50,000 words to claim victory. It worked. I finished. And for this brief moment I am a winner. Yay, winning!

I’ve completed the first draft, but there’s still several shit tons of work left to do. I have a big pile of …clay, and now I can start to shape it into something that might be interesting and entertaining.

I’m not sure how to track the revision process, but that’s not something I need to figure out tonight. Right now I’m going to go drink a beer.

NaNoWriMo 2017

It’s National Novel Writing Month in November and I’m participating once again.

I started in 2010 and this will be novel number six.

In all candor I’m using this opportunity to push through on my current work-in-progress, which has sort of stalled out at 45,000 words. However, since the goal is somewhere between 90,000 and 100,000, then adding the concluding 50,000 in the month of November works perfectly!

In 2010 I finished grad school, and only had a part-time job. After grad school I returned to all the things I loved before academia sucked up every free moment. I started reading for pleasure and writing for fun. That first novel was a near-future eco-disaster involving time travel, future mutants, and ancient abandoned cities on Mars.

2011’s novel was an update on Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens. Tim is rich and generous, but when he loses his fortune he learns he never really had any friends and dies bitter and broke.

In 2012 I returned to gonzo fantasy with story about a girl and her dog. But, her dog gains sentience as they travel through weird dimensions, and then each have to cope with the new complexities of their companionship.

2013’s Swamp Ape spawned Denny and the world of Abdera, Florida. Several of the stories in the right-hand column take place in that world. When I complete the current WIP (probably toward the end of 2018) I plan to re-write this novel.

In 2014 I did not participate in NaNoWriMo. Instead I worked on creating a full-length work over the course of the year. I completed it, but this one really never came together. Some of the ideas were OK, but the characters never came to life. It was about a group of body-modification hackers who stumble across a government plot to deploy mind-reading technology across the internet of things.

In 2015 I tried my hand at satire and wrote an updated version of Candide, starring a sentient sex-robot.

2016 was a year for short story writing.

And, this year, I’m using NaNoWriMo to complete my current work-in-progress. I describe it this way on my author’s page:

“In the 1970s Annabelle Easley went from the rarefied heights of rock stardom and Rolling Stone covers to being charged for the murder of a popular New Age guru. This story chronicles her life of sex, drugs, rock & roll, and her awakening spirituality.”

There will be a widget in the right-hand column of this blog to chart my progress. You need to average about 1,667 words a day to successfully complete the challenge. I’m pretty sure I’m going to start out in the hole because next week is an extra-busy time at work. Regardless, I’m looking forward to re-visiting the challenge!

That Whooshing Sound

It’s nearly the end of August, and my calendar shows me I was scheduled to be finished with the first draft of the novel work-in-progress. If you look in the status box on the right-hand side of the blog you’ll see that I’m up to nearly 43,000 words of a projected 90,000.

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
–Douglas Adams

The bad news is that I’m not even half-way there.

The good news is that I have persisted. The work in progress is still in progress and hasn’t been abandoned.

So — I’m resetting the deadline.

The new deadline is Dec. 31.

Somehow I need to carve out more time for writing, so I can pick up the productivity. pace. And, since my schedule shifts and adjusts at the beginning of a new semester, I think I might have found a few extra pockets of time. Fingers crossed.

Full Moon Fail

June’s full moon came and went with no story.

For some reason my brain decided to take a month off. Weirdly, this did not lead to depression or despair. It’s been a great month, but for whatever random, inexplicable reason I haven’t felt any compulsion to write or post. And, I didn’t feel guilty or anxious about not writing. This is unusual.

I’m going to accept that for what it was, whatever it was, and skip this month’s Full Moon Story.

I got some writing and research done today, so perhaps the drought has passed.

Writing Update

The transition has worked. I’ve reduced my internet browsing time and increased my time spent writing. I’ve been adding words regularly to the novel-in-progress, and written a few flash pieces based on random prompts.

I expect the next couple of weeks, at least, to be productive.

This Wednesday is the next full moon story. The story is written and needs to be edited over today and tomorrow and will be ready to go.

Fresh Remember’d: Kirk Drift by Erin Horakova is hands down one of the best things I’ve read in a long time. It’s a little long, but a close reading (and re-reading) pays off. While it’s an essay about how we mis-remember Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise (played by William Shatner in the original series), it’s also about cultural memory and how our current reality distorts our memory of the past. Kirk is not really the womanizer, eager to bed every sexy alien, that we remember. So, why do we mis-remember him? Why can we not see what is plainly in front of us?

“With the exception of Lester, all Kirk’s relationships that we’re aware of seem to have ended amicably. He and the women involved have often kept up communication to some extent, despite the impediments caused by interstellar travel (Wallace, Marcus). The relationships all seem to have been of some duration, and characterised by fairly serious involvement on both parts. They were distinctly emotional affairs, and no one accuses Kirk of having “womanised” during them. They all involved competent people drawn to demanding, intellectually stimulating fields—usually science—and the service of something greater than themselves—almost universally Starfleet.”

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I also read this Alan Moore interview last week, which addresses issues of progress and place, and the influence of place on creativity.

“a common misapprehension regarding writers is that they have an idea and then they write it down, whereas this is not my experience when it comes to writing. Ideas are usually generated by the act of writing itself.”

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And, thanks to Maria Haskins, I have these “18 superb speculative fiction short stories” stories queued up to read this month.

Our Current Situation: Transition Time

I think I have the hyperventilation under control. My panic has subsided. The future still looks grim and uncertain, but I have a better grasp on Our Current Situation. At least, how things came to be this way. I’m still all out of solutions.

However, re-posting links has become tedious instead of educational, so I’m stopping.

For the next four months I’m turning my attention to writing. Here are the goals for this blog for this summer —

-A new story posted every full moon;

-A record of all the books I’m reading in 2017;

-Tracking the word count on the novel-in-progress (see Writing Project Progress in the right-hand column);

-Linking to author interviews, short stories, reviews, and stuff about the craft of writing;

-Regularly posting short-short stories, flash fiction, prose poetry, and other odds and ends I compose as exercises;

-Updates on my New Year’s Resolution of staying in tune with the moon;

-Posting whatever the hell else catches my attention or motivates me to write something.

Above all, this has to be a fun space for me or it’s not really worth the time. In a recent interview Stephen Graham Jones answers a question about how he manages to be so prolific.

“For me, if the novel’s real, then it’s always fast. If it’s slow, then that means I’m having to force it, that it’s not happening on its own, and, man, writing, it shouldn’t be work, should it? It’s playing with dragons. It’s not mowing the lawn. It’s hiding from the world. Let’s keep it fun, I say. Let’s make it an escape. I’ll build my fort, you build yours, and tomorrow we can trade.”

So. For the next few months I’m building forts, playing with words, and having fun.

Moonlight landscape with Hadleigh Church by John Constable after Rubens 1796
Oil on Canvas
(Private Collection)

Of Blogs Present: Balderdash and the Moon

Hillsborough River Chronicle ended up being a little too generic for my tastes, so with the new year, I’m working with a new title: Balderdash and the Moon.

Fortunately, dear reader, there is only one of you, so I’m trusting the title changes won’t be too disconcerting.

One of my new year’s resolutions is to be more in tune with the moon. And, almost everything in this blog can easily be categorized as sheer balderdash, hence the title.

Of Blogs Past Part Six: Hillsborough River Chronicle

UPDATE: It turns out I never felt comfortable with the title Hillsborough River Chronicle, so just before the end of 2016 I changed the title to Balderdash and the Moon. The new title, I think, ties in better with the titles of previous blogs.

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Blogging helps me cope. I don’t know how to respond to our new political reality, so I’ve decided to take up blogging again.

If you read the series Of Blogs Past you may note I have a fondness for obscure terms and neologisms: Intelligencer, Re/Creating, patahistory, abderitic. I decided I wanted a title for this blog that didn’t come with an asterisk and an explanation. I also wanted something rooted in the real, natural world. The inspiration for the title Hillsborough River Chronicle lies with Warren Ellis’s opening to his newsletter which begins with some variation of “Hello from out here on the Thames Delta.” I like that he’s writing from a geographical landmark rather than a city or country. I want this title to serve as a reminder to stay grounded in the natural world as the mediated world churns up humanity’s psychopathologies.

The Hillsborough River Chronicle will cover whatever I want. I live in Tampa, so I’ll be blogging occasionally about local issues. I continue to work on my writing craft, so sometimes I’ll post about stories, rejections, maybe even a story or two. I like to share stuff I find on the Internet, so sometimes I’ll point to those pages. I’ll also be posting about what I’m reading or watching or eating or listening to. Sometimes there will be long silences because I want to prioritize my fiction writing over my blog writing. It will be, in effect, a combination of all the interests of blogs I’ve written over the last decade and a half. I hope that it is part entertainment, part educational, part practical, and heavily spiced with weirdness.

Welcome to the Hillsborough River Chronicle.

Of Blogs Past Part Five: Abderitic Review

For me, blogging is an extension of zine culture. Throughout the 1990s I wrote for, and published, lots of zines. These were mostly photocopied works created by my friends and I, and we rarely produced more than 100 copies at a time.

The Internet killed zine culture, so after a few years without any outlets for my hobbyist writing I took to blogging.

I was in school between 2001 and 2010, and that took up nearly all of my writing energy. Short stories and novels took a back seat to research papers, with the occasional short burst of energy directed to blog posts.

By the end of 2010 I was ready to turn my hand to more substantial fiction writing so I took up the NaNoWriMo challenge. I successfully met the challenge in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. In 2015 I decided to devote my attentions to improving my knowledge about the craft of writing. I knew I could produce at great length, I knew I could have fun writing and I found it satisfying, but the quality wasn’t where it needed to be if I were ever to get paid for a piece of fiction. And so, I created Abderitic Review to publicly keep track of my writing goals. Over the course of 2015 I produced a score of stories. The goal in 2016 was to polish these stories and send them out to short-fiction markets. 2016 was to be “The Year of Rejection.”

It turns out I had a hard time figuring out where to send the stories I’d written. The paying market for SF/F and weird fiction is small. I’ve collected a couple of rejections this year, but not nearly as many as I wanted. If 2015 was a successful writing year, 2016 has been less so. That doesn’t mean I haven’t written anything. I’m currently working on a novel that I’m striving to write to the best of my ability. I expect to complete it in the summer of 2017.

So, Abderitic Review was active during 2015, but mostly moribund through the first part of 2016.

Abderitic, by the way, is a reference to an essay by Immanuel Kant where he attempts to answer the question “Is the human race constantly progressing?

He argues there are three potential futures for humanity.

“The human race exists either in continual retrogression toward wickedness, or in perpetual progression toward improvement in its moral destination, or in eternal stagnation in its present stage of moral worth among creatures.”

“The first we can call moral terrorism, and the second eudaemonism …, but the third we can term abderitism because, since a true stagnation in matters of morality is not possible, a perpetually changing upward tendency and an equally frequent and profound relapse (an eternal oscillation, as it were) amounts to nothing more than if the subject had remained in the same place, standing still.”

About abderitism he writes:

“This opinion may well have the majority of voices on its side. Bustling folly is the character of our species: people hastily set off on the path of the good, but do not persevere steadfastly upon it; indeed, in order to avoid being bound to a single goal, even if only for the sake of variety they reverse the plan of progress, build in order to demolish, and impose upon themselves the hopeless effort of rolling the stone of Sisyphus uphill in order to let it roll back down again.

“The principle of evil in the natural predisposition of the human race, therefore, does not seem to be amalgamated (blended) here with that of the good, but each principle appears rather to be neutralized by the other.

“Inertia (which is called here stagnation) would be the result of this. It is a vain affair to have good so alternate with evil that the whole traffic of our species with itself on this globe would have to be considered as a mere farcical comedy, for this can endow our species with no greater value in the eyes of reason than that which other animal species possess, species which carry on this game with fewer costs and without expenditure of thought.”

I was once quite the fan of progress and optimism, but as I move closer to the sweet embrace of the tomb I find myself planted firmly in abderitism.

The term abderitic never caught on, but during Kant’s lifetime there was a popular work titled History of the Abderites by Cristoph Martin Wieland. Abderites were the foolish rural counterparts to the cosmopolitan urban Athenians. Notably, Democritus, the laughing philosopher, was from Abdera. Cicero described Abdera as a republic of fools, and it became short-hand for the classical Greeks for the folly of the self-satisfied and petty-minded. These are indeed abderitic times.