In the ink well

Dog Ear

July 2, 2015

Block (DOG EAR)

uthor: “So here’s the setup, kid. You know that the count locked in his castle has been cheating his workers. You passionately argue the point, win over the peasants, and lead an attack on his castle. Got it?” Baronet Mergenstein Von Graftin: “How will I do that? What do I say?” Author: “You’ll figure it out. Okay, ready on the set? Lights! Camera! Action!” Mergenstein: “…” And that’s rather what happened to me over the last few days. As noted, a character had to convince flunkies that they were being taken advantage of, that they should rise up and lose […]
June 25, 2015

Echo (DOG EAR)

was feeling pretty down. I’d read The People’s History of the United States – not the apple-pie Sousa march towards patriotism you’d expect. Then, watching a clip of Good Will Hunting (the friend who’d recommended the book had pointed it out), Robin Williams mentions Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomski as another good book. Curious, I ordered it from the library. It’s just as depressing as People’s History, a discussion of how propaganda in media occurs, how it always benefits the rich and entrenched, all that. As a liberal, sometimes the world can be a bleak and depressing place, and I […]
June 18, 2015

Grinding (DOG EAR)

kay, so I started playing this game, see? A little sea adventure called Windward. Clever thing, rather like Pirates. You get a ship, you sail around a random board, you trade between towns and sink pirates. I started playing about a week ago. I sunk a literal boatload of pirates – I’d see those black sails and I’d volley instinctively – must have sent an armada of pirate ships to the bottom. And trading. Pick something up here, take it over there. Repeat. I played and played and played. Then I started reading the bases for the game and its […]
June 11, 2015

Way behind (DOG EAR)

don’t know how this works. I was comfortably ahead with my Dog Ear pieces and now they are all but gone. Yet suddenly, where I had no idea of what I wanted to write, three new ideas popped into my head (this is one of them). So now, on the Saturday evening of a lazy memorial day, I find myself with the following things to knock out. 1) This piece, describing the situation of everything suddenly looming. 2) A Dog Ear piece on Grinding (on what?) 3) A Dog Ear piece I found concerning a checkout list discovered in a […]
June 4, 2015

Disingenuous (DOG EAR)

love English. I am thankful that it is my primary language (like I know any others!). But English is a beautiful language to write in. The rules are loose. You can make up words and sling them around. You can change tempo and pacing and meanings, pick words for foreshadowing and flavor. I don’t know if any other language has quite the versatility of ours. It always comes to me, when I’m reading a superb book, what a great language this is. A page from China Mielville or HG Wells or George McDonald Fraser drip with flavor. I can watch […]
June 4, 2015

Vacation (DOG EAR)

kay, so I’m slacking. We’re up in North Carolina, high up beyond the ends of the earth (Beech Mountain, but sadly, there are houses now beyond the end of the earth – they are clearing the mountain behind us for homes). It’s a week-long vacation, and I’m sitting here on the final day, reflecting on it. It wasn’t much of a stargazer’s vacation. We brought the scope, sure enough, but there were only two nights where it was clear enough to see (and one of them was 35 degrees, but we went up into the high hills anyway, just for […]
May 21, 2015

Resources (DOG EAR)

ast night, while writing, I discovered just how powerful a tool the internet can be. In the original Tubitz and Mergenstein, there was a scene where they attempt to conceal themselves in a small boggy port (where the idiotic inhabitants work long hours harvesting ferns used for animal fodder). Originally it was on a planet, now it’s simply a port in this sprawling fantasy world. Most of the dialog for the chapter comes from Tubitz (the svelte thief woman, all deadly and grim and such) talking to the bartender. The point of this conversation is to establish that this fern […]
May 14, 2015

Green Light (DOG EAR)

ust got the green light the other day on my new effort, Tubitz and Mergentein. No, it wasn’t anything as fantastic as that literary agency call or the proverbial “rich and famous” contract. No, this was from the first reader to run eyes along it. I’m out to 100 pages now, double-spaced, which is about a 50% reduction from the initial effort 30 years ago (and, frankly, I think it’s far superior). It’s been a couple of weeks of chapter-here, chapter-there work, just writing and remembering how much I enjoy writing. So now it’s done, the first book section. My […]
May 7, 2015

Technology Shift (DOG EAR)

y current project is Tubitz and Mergenstein, a story I wrote nearly thirty years ago. The original dealt with a young couple, opposites in every way, who flee across the galaxy pursued by corporate and governmental forces. Back then, I was writing a luke-warm scifi novel – nothing special. Spaceships traveled through black holes to get places (‘downsloping’, I called it). Now it’s a full steampunk yarn, with runnered sailing ships crossing vast seas of mirror-flat rock. Should be easy, right? Just say “sailing ship” instead of “spaceship” and you’re covered. Uh. No. As I read this, I’m coming to […]
April 30, 2015

It shows? (DOG EAR)

 won’t deny I’ve been under a lot of stress at work, all that man-against-man that looks so heroic and climactic in stories and yet comes across as petty nonsense in corporate environments. Honestly, the things people fuss over. So I’ve been quiet. But I’ve also been mentally busy. Yeah, I’m dealing with your clucking and egg stealing, but I’m also considering ideas for my “Tubitz and Meganstein” rewrite. In a nutshell, this is a book I wrote almost three decades ago. I remembered liking it then, and recently I located an old copy in storage (likely the only version in […]