Clock Fighting

Alarm_Clocks_20101105One of the most universally hated sounds known to man is the dreaded alarm clock. It pierces into your dreams and forces you to stir from the comfort of your bed. You might be watching the TV at the start a new episode of your favorite show, while the protagonist is peacefully sleeping the sound of their alarm clock kicks in and you say out loud “Turn that off!” Driving into work, while listening to your favorite radio station they cut to commercial and that incessant buzzing nearly drives you into a ditch.

The alarm clock is a much maligned piece of technology that is a necessary evil for many of us. It is probably the thing I despise most about punching a clock at work. Most of us would wake up at an acceptable time without the alarm clock, but when we have a schedule to keep we don’t risk it.

These days we use our phone, and we still try to find the most annoying, ear piercing, high pitched sound we can find on our phone. Why, because we are gluttons for punishment? Maybe. More likely because in the grand scheme of things the alarm clock is a minor annoyance. However not making it to work on time, or to a scheduled appointment, might make a serious impact on our lives. The alarm clock, however, makes a serious impact on our day and our nerves. And do you really trust your subconscious or your body to wake up at the correct time? I know I don’t. I might be up before 8:00 am, but there is no way I’m waking up before the sun comes up without the aid of a digital rooster.

Then we get to work just to wrestle with another clock, known as the time clock. As if there was some sort of clock that measured distance or volume. I highly doubt that the time clock was invented to benefit the worker, even if it does not create a detriment. The time clock was created so the employer was not robbed of precious time by the work force, but, much like a locked door, it keeps honest people honest.

After we are at work we start to feel that we are at the mercy of the ever present clock. Some people even throw out and cover up clocks to avoid feeling the pressure of waiting for the clock to strike closing time. As we look at the clock it only gives us the feeling of time dilating. Seconds turn into minutes, and minutes into hours. Until the relief of close of business.

Then we go home to start it all over again.

I hope to one day break free of the clock. To not be on such a strict schedule that I require an alarm clock, but only set it for my benefit. To be able to perform my duties without the close eye of the time clock, to keep track of how much I’m engaged in my work. To not have to watch the clock to wait for anything that I dread to end, but only for something I enjoy to begin.

I’m only conveying my opinions, but I’m sure there are many folks who long for that as well. If I’m lucky I will free myself of the clock some day soon; until then, I will carry on, furthering my goal while maintaining my regularly scheduled day.

Is this a goal of yours? How do you plan to liberate yourself from the monotony of the time piece? Leave it in the comment.

Monday, Monday

public-domain-images-free-stock-photos-high-quality-resolution-downloads-around-the-house-7On Friday I posted the first part to a story I will be writing here when I’m not
writing anything else, however I posted it at 7:00 am and I don’t think it popped up for many people. I’m learning very quickly that timing is key for getting new readers and views.

For those of you that didn’t see the post you can check it out here http://tinyurl.com/mk4jdsc.

The day before I posted this I had a conversation with a colleague/friend who argued that self publishing doesn’t count as being published. I argued the opposite for the simple fact that being available to the public is published. It’s in the base of the word. That got me thinking about success, and how it’s measured.

We all define success in our own way, but in the end the final goal is that sense of accomplishment. By writing and publishing my first book for Amazon Kindle, I will feel a sense of accomplishment, but is that success? I think it is a form of success, a small piece of the success I’m trying to accomplish. If someone buys the book I will feel some more accomplishment, another small piece of success.

However, I don’t expect to be a successful writer from one book. I hope that my first book will be a success, that is not my expectation. I expect to use my first book as a learning experience, a way to better myself towards my goal of becoming a successful writer. I measure that success as being able to make a decent living writing. One of those learning experiences is this blog, which I hope to one day monetize.

Here’s the flip side to that though, does monetizing my writing make me a sellout? Well, honestly, no. I’m not coming to you saying I’m doing this solely for the art and experience, that’s only portion of my motivation. I also want to earn an income, but that’s a lengthy goal that will require plenty of effort on my part.

It’s important to know what you want to get out of the things you do in life, but success is measured in the eye of the beholder. If you feel you are successful just by getting your words out, then do that, and feel as though you’ve made it. Others may not agree with your assessment, but they don’t need to decide your success, they need to decide they’re own. Once you know what you want, go for it with everything you have. Don’t expect it to just happen, and don’t expect it to happen with your first efforts, as nice as that would be. Prime example, my post of the first part of my short story The Return of the Cult has only seen 4 views since I posted it; that doesn’t make me feel like a failure, it just means I need to put in more work. Part of this post is that work, if you didn’t notice.

I spent most of my life not knowing what I wanted, I went with the flow of things. It has worked out pretty well so far, but now with a beautiful wife, an adorable baby boy, a dog, and a full time job, I’m wondering how long this success can last without any additional effort. Instead of waiting for “the other shoe to drop,” I decided to make an effort. That’s why I’m here.

The Return of the Cult, Part One

Disclaimer in table of contents

Part One.

My name is James Webster, I used to be a professor at Miskatonic University. Three weeks ago my life unraveled into a state of hallucinations and delirium. From professor of philosophy to a rambling lunatic screaming about monsters the likes of which have only been dreamed in the heads of the soft minded, the artistic, and those with apparent psychic connections to such great and malevolent beasts. During this period of general lucidity I am able to collect my memories for a short period in this imaginative chronological space that we call time.

Let’s go to the beginning of my journey into the depths of insanity, before I ventured into the dark secluded underground dens of people who have long since given up there ability to rationalize the surreal with clear reasoning. It was the 13th day in March, I was grading papers for a lesson on religious leaders and their charismatic presence, when I heard a scream coming from the hall outside my office.

I proceeded to investigate the scream. Opening my office door, I found a young woman across the hall laying on the floor in a pool of what my best guess was blood, which must be seeping out of the body from a spot on the individuals abdomen. I made this deduction when I noticed the student’s hand grasping the wound. While my brain made sense of the situation I rushed over to the aid of the victim. I asked how badly she was hurt, but she did not speak.

With her available hand she pointed down the hallway. I turned my head in the hopes of spotting the suspect responsible for this atrocity. I only caught a glimpse of the despicable culprit’s hooded cloak and muddied shoe. As they turned the corner of the hall I yelled out “STOP” but it made no resonance with them. I turned back to the scene of the crime and the young woman was not moving, so I reached down to check her pulse, she was now a murder victim.

In my panic, I looked around the hallway trying to decide the next logical course of action. During this moment of anxiety I discovered a small blade of about nine inches with a serpent like pattern, etched into the blade were symbols. As a professor of philosophy and religious studies I’ve seen many dead languages, but nothing like these. The characters looked a little like pictogrammes, but none that matched any from the far east, past or present. On the hand guard was some sort of creature, if you could call it that. There was something anatomically incorrect about the creature, parts from different biological classes of animals. It was unidentifiable with the knowledge I possessed. I came to my senses with a snap and telephoned the police from my office.

The police arrived within ten minutes of call. During my wait, as I tried to cope with the cruel reality that I witnessed, I drew a copy of the knife in one of my journal. As well I made note of what I had only just observed, from the audible scream to the suspected culprit fleeing the scene. I wrote down as many details as I could pry from my mind because, I did not want my fallable human memory to recollect any incorrect information when explaining my account to the police. As the officers took my statement, one of them, he will remain unnamed so as not to implicate him, told me in confidence that there have been a string of murders over the last four nights that fit the same modus operandi. Until tonight they had no found a single clue leading to the person responsible. They said it was probably my quick reaction that caused the killer to drop the knife in panic at being caught.

After the police left I went back to my home, a one bedroom apartment downtown. It was only a couple of blocks from the university, but I decided it best to take a cab tonight. I paid the cab driver and made my way up three flights of stairs to my apartment. I got in and placed my coat on the rack, then placed my notebook on the coffee table and prepared dinner.

As I ate, so too did my thoughts eat at me; the sight of a murder, the cryptic language on the knife, the creature that should not even exist in the minds of man. I began to lose my appetite but became insatiable for answers. I started looking through my books for any resemblance to the characters I had seen on that knife. There were many books of various breakout versions of Judaism that used pictographic letters in their rituals, but none matched. Neither did the blood rituals of ancient Mayan and Inca cultures. The symbols were nothing like those of ancient Egypt and far from the characters found at the Jiahu site in China.

I fell asleep in my chair with books all over my small living room. As I got up I knocked over a glass of wine hidden underneath various papers on dead languages. I scrambled to clean it up, grabbing towels from the kitchen. When I finished cleaning up I noticed one paper, I must have overlooked it the previous night. It was a study on a language that has never been pin pointed to a single location or period of history. The only information on it was from a case of mass hysteria that ended in the mysterious death of a professor at Miskatonic more than 40 years ago. The death was officially ruled as natural causes and the case was closed, and the study was kept from the public by the professor’s sole inheritor.

I went to the school that morning with the intention of letting the police do their job and dropping the entire subject. Sleepless nights were something I could not afford with my own study getting close to approval for grants. However, I failed to uphold my intention when I handed the drawing of the knife to one of the archaeology professors. Professor Thomas Ames has studied ancient artifacts for the better part of 20 years. After looking at the drawing with an inquisitive expression he responded with “let me get back to you.”

After the rest of the day went by with no response from Professor Ames, I had hoped, at the time, that might mean the end of my obsession. Little did I know, I was sorely mistaken.

Table of Contents | Next

All Dressed Up, No Place To Go

20150218_062449I’m stuck at home again due to icy road conditions. Yesterday my place of employment closed due to the inclement weather; today, however, the decision makers decided to go back to business as usual. I, on the other hand, live over 30 minutes away and that makes a huge difference in road conditions. You can probably see from the picture.

I thought, “oh well, time to get comfy with some hot cocoa and read.” But then I thought better. This is the time I will be taking advantage of this blog or writing the book.

I’m sure many of you know how hard it is to separate the work you want to do from the fun, entertaining, lovable, glaring distractions that we surround ourselves with at home. After all, we spend so much time working that the first thing we want to do when we get home is talk about something else. “How was your day?” Followed by the common change of subject, “um, what’s for dinner?” You do it, probably subconsciously at this point, maybe different questions.

Then, once you’ve gone through the daily exchange of information you turn on the TV, open a book, get on the internet. Many of us even put it in our heads that we can multitask this with some work. But few of us can actually pull this off. I am not one of them.

So here I am, early in the morning. Already went for a walk in the cold, made some hot cocoa, staying off the roads. Everyone is asleep except me and the dog, everything is off except this browser and a lamp, the only distraction I have now is me (and Steam, so many games so little time).

This is when I say something motivational like, turn off the TV, close that book, stop playing that game, stop browsing Facebook or Wikipedia. Do something that you keep putting off, like write a book or start a blog; I said before anyone can do it these days. Go make some music, put paint on canvas, program that app you think will revolutionize the way we use phones. And don’t sell yourself short, make sure you value the work you do and get something out of it. If that means make some money for the time you put in, then so be it; there is nothing wrong with providing for yourself and your family. If you can already provide and your just looking for that feel good when you help people or make people feel something that they would not, had they not seen your work that’s good to. There is value in helping others.

The most important take away here is that you have something to show for your work. Tell me in the comments how you focus.

Snow and Titles

The weather has taken a serious turn east of the Mississippi River. I’d like to start off by encouraging everyone to be safe. I for one do not appreciate sliding into the office. I hope everyone is getting where they need to be safely, and those that are not required to be anywhere, please stay home. A quick thanks to all those who go out in this mess to keep the rest of us safe.

In my first post, ever, I wrote that I would release the title of my book, I’m wondering now if that’s a really good idea, both legally and creatively. What if I change my title before completion, or some “ne’er-do-well” does something despicable with it. With that in mind I’ve decided to post my jacket synopsis. This is for constructive criticism as well as the opportunity to reach out for some creativity from the community. I’d like to know your title suggestions for a book with my synopsis.

Without further ado:

The world has been all but destroyed. The rich and powerful moved into bunkers underground. One community built their own sophisticated underground complex. Cameron and his best friend, Hunter, volunteer to undergo training to scout the surface. This will be the first scouting party for this community of subterranean members of a society lost to nuclear winter. The winter is long over, what awaits our adventurous duo on the surface?

Please share your thoughts, critiques, and title suggestions in the comments.

Opportunity, the Internet, and Personal Goals

The internet really is a place where anyone can do nearly anything. Since it was a driving force for social connection and sharing it has been an open connection for creative people to reach the masses. Today the world is saturated with opportunity for those who care to take it. I care to take it.

I encourage anyone who wants to try a creative profession to do so, the sooner the better. If you think the world is going to hand you a big break, then stick your hand out, palm up, and wait. I know I’m not going to get handed a big break so I’m going to work for it. I work full time and I’m writing. It’s not easy, but I want to provide for my family and get my creativity out there; if I can do both as one that would be great, but until then I continue doing both separately. However, like I said in yesterday’s post I will get published, even if it is self published on Amazon.com.

Thanks to the internet you can put anything out there. If you fancy yourself an artist, put it out there; you like to write, publish it; you make music, create and share. The internet brings together like minded people from around the world. It also brings closed minded people from around the world, but we can’t let that discourage.

Leave a comment if you have a personal goal you’d like to share, success story on how you reached your target audience through the internet, or just something to say.

Hello WordPress

I’m starting this blog to get myself writing more and to keep the words flowing.

I made my New Years resolution and this is in, not only and effort to stick to it, but to progress it even further. I’m not really a socialite, I don’t Facebook anymore, and I haven’t tweeted about anything in years.

I was inspired by the birth of my son to write, and that’s what I’m going to do. I am currently writing a work of fiction with a polymorphous title that I have possibly nailed down. I know that 29 is a bit late to begin writing and hope to make a career out of it, but here goes. The writing is a little bit slow because I work, I have responsibilities just like anyone else, but my goal is to get this book finished and published this year. Now if you’re reading this and thinking “published, how do you plan to do that, you don’t have any previous work or connections,” you’d be right, but Amazon is making it easier for anybody to publish. Now that doesn’t mean I’m going to just hammer at a keyboard and publish the first 50,000 words that comes out, this is a serious effort. I will be proof reading, editing, re-writing, and having someone else do much of the proof reading. I’ve also commissioned a cover we’ll see how that goes.

The real trick is building a following out of thin air, so it looks like I’m going to get back on Facebook sooner than I wanted. I’ve got to do something to get the word out

Stay tuned for a jacket synopsis and title reveal.