In the ink well

Dog Ear

September 3, 2013

Dark stories (DOG EAR)

I‘m going to stay apolitical here, which is tough. In the midst of the 2013 Government Shutdown, you’d have to be a doorknob to remain apolitical. But we’re looking at stories here, storytelling and the art of foreshadowing, convincing, of setting moods and moving hearts. And it’s happening faster-than-light these days. We’ve all heard the story – A group of minty one veterans came in on an Honor Flight to visit a memorial, only to find it closed from the shutdown. They crash the gate, and now there are cameras aplenty and politicos circling like vultures. This is spin-time, a […]
August 29, 2013

Ask Amy I (DOG EAR)

Dear Amy: I recently published my first book. Although it is fiction, a lot of the events and characters are based on my real-life experiences and the main character is based on me (though her actions are very different from mine). I wrote the book under a pen name because I was afraid of negative feedback, but I told a few friends who I thought I could trust. One of these friends, however, does not like the way I portrayed a character that I loosely based on her… I read this in the paper’s advice column the other day and […]
August 22, 2013

Writing hazards (DOG EAR)

I‘ve mentioned my favorite writing place, right HERE. This is where I do my blogs and short stories, as well as anything else I pen-name out onto the web. It’s a perfect place for breaking one lousy work day into two small half-days. I get a boost of creativity and lose myself in my art. Perfect. But there are dangers. The other day, I was writing right from the seat shown in the piece above, nobody around, a clear and perfect day. I was just wrapping up my writing for that day, scanning the last paragraph to make sure everything […]
August 8, 2013

New Job Observation (DOG EAR)

So I’ve moved and am looking forward to my new job at Virginia Tech, that of being a consulting writer. Who would have thought that my books and DOG EAR would pull in such notice, but there you have it. I took leave from my day job, packed up a minimal amount of stuff, bid my wife and cat goodbye and here I am in Blacksburg. The odd thing is, I’m not alone. The university picked two ‘consulting writers’, myself and this gifted young woman, a weedy thing to who I’m not about to give a free plug to. I […]
August 1, 2013

Grinding the worm (DOG EAR)

What’s that old factoid – if you teach a worm how to do something, grind it up, then feed it to other worms, they’ll know how to do it. Which leads to the primary question – like, just what can you teach a worm to do? Really, the options are limited. Regardless, I started working along a disciplined timetable for writing information, insights, fears and whatnot. I didn’t want to post them just any-old–when since only the most dedicated of fans will check every day for updates (I’ve dropped reading certain webcomics for just this reason). It comes down to […]
July 27, 2013

DOG EAR Contents

The following is a full list of “Dog Ear” articles, a collective blog about the wonders and frustrations of writing. A description of the entry is included in square brackets. New articles will post every Thursday, and will be added to this list. Speaking “Ute” (DOG EAR) [I can speak the language  of young kids…] The End of the Blogatorium (DOG EAR)  [Scary times on this site. Lots of pacing.Lots of fretting] Public Speaking (DOG EAR)  [I was away last week, attending ProtoRails (where I gave two speeches). A tale of preparation.) Best of 2022 (DOG EAR)  [My best reads […]
July 25, 2013

Quest (DOG EAR)

My father wetted my interest in a number of things – model railroading, gaming, but most importantly reading. Sure, mom hammered me when I wasn’t reading in school, and I thank her for that. But dad was the pervasive reader, his shelves stocked with heavy tomes of great men, or thick classics like Atlas Shrugged and Winds of War. I took after him on this, setting off on a lifetime journey, not of one road of literature, but of many. I don’t even remember the specific incident – could have been after dinner, or in the car, somewhere. Just a […]
July 18, 2013

Ya ya (DOG EAR)

Instead of writing over Friday lunch as is my norm, this time I got a lesson in writing. Cassandra and Darlene invited me to a “cultural lunch” – Jamaican food down in one of the strips along the west side of town. Bryon, a guy from Darlene’s team, came with us. I’ve make this joke before, since I was the only caucasian in this group, I felt like the gay white guy in a black comedy film. Anyway, lunch was great – barbeque chicken and rice and dumplings – yum! But the interesting thing was the conversation we had, and […]
July 4, 2013

Dark (DOG EAR)

It’s a Western character type, the dark and world-worn hero. He’s got back-story, haunted eyes and a half-growth of beard. His cynicism is cool and his standoffishness endearing. It doesn’t really translate well to real life. I’m finding out how grief and depression really work since my father passed a few weeks ago. The event itself moved me (in a quiet way). I reflected on him, I wrote his obit, and experienced a few moments where his memory came back to me. I talked about him a bit more than I expected, finding myself relating stories about him. But now […]
June 27, 2013

Really? (DOG EAR)

“Really?” Got a coffee-buddy at work, a God-fearing, pool-shooting, sharp-tongued lady with whom I chat over lowest-bidder coffee every morning. She’s a fireball and I like her. The thing is, she has this phrase – “Really?” (used with a dash of incredibility). When she describes someone doing something stupid, her shift from straw-man-protagonist to her own level-headed take is to toss in this word. It’s sorta the story clutch-press, the shift from dumb action to witty observation. And it’s fine – it works. And it’s the word I want to use, fellow writers, when I describe what I feel when […]