Saturday, February 29, 2020
Deadlines come and go. Occasionally, I will not start a project or submission until the deadline is approaching. Having a deadline is a good thing - the time constraint to be done by a prescribed moment keeps the work on focus.
This week I was talking with a First Fan when I mentioned that I had two deadlines looming on the same day - February 28. (It turns out, it wasn't the same day, one of the deadlines was in fact February 29, as 2020 is a leap Year. But for the sake of this entry, the deadline was "the last day in February".)
The second deadline was finished with with...a day to spare. The first deadline zoomed right by me without a word being written.
On the last day, that is, February 29, I was in my car mentally revising the submission made on February 28 when I come to the conclusion that a lot of submissions I make center around transport and traveling. Some of my best published non fiction has the critical element of "traveling" in-bedded within the story. Then there are other good fiction stories that I have had published where traveling, or rather, "the journey" has been the strength of the story.
Looking back, I began to recall some of the "transport" focus of my youth. In the Police Department, I wrote a paper for the National Transport Road Forum on truck driving hours. In College I wrote an assignment of early transports affecting education in the outback. In High School, I wrote an English assignment which documented the travels of the protagonist. (It might have been Jude The Obscure.) In primary school I did a project on Transport for the new schools open house, that featured a model railway and identified thirty seven different means of transport. Even earlier, than that, I was collector of the Weet Bix cards that featured motor vehicles.
A writer of travel. Who would have seen that coming?
Monday, February 24, 2020
I am Done.
A letter today from the California Department of Child Support Services reads "According to our records, your support obligations are paid in full ....Do not send further payment."
It is almost 23 years to the day since I was divorced. Along the way I have battled the Commonwealth of Australia, set precedent in the San Diego Appeals Court against the Dept. of Child Support, had my fight against the oppressive Child Support machinery published locally and in Australia, and been on radio talk shows.
I was fortunate that I knew how to read law, prepare briefs of evidence, compile witness statements, and handle a court room. I became schooled in the Hague Convention Child Support rules, and put a stop after their financial gang rape. But at what cost?
The swiftness of the system to take is not replicated on correcting their errors. I've not owned a house, but their mother bought a beach house with my child support. My credit report is obliterated, had my drivers license in peril, my passport attempted to be revoked by a foreign country not authorized to, and worst, emotionally hurt another women as I failed miserably in a relationship.
I was lucky - not everyone gets to win almost all their fights. Others may not have had the knowledge, or the staying power, or maybe they were beat down more than I was and could not go on. The one I truly needed to win though - is a loss. My daughters are now 31 and 25; alienated from me by their mother. I last saw my eldest when she was 18, her sister - when she was 12.
It's too late for my girls. I am done.
Monday, February 10, 2020
Fifteen years ago, today, I stepped off the plane and onto the tarmac at San Diego International Airport. There was no one there to meet me.
Today, I am still working alone on much the same arrangement that I had when I first arrived in the United States - commissioner per submission.
Along the way I have had moderate success.
I'd like a little James Patterson success in the next fifteen years.
Saturday, February 1, 2020
On the last day of the first month, I made this years first submission to a publishing house.
Not a great track record for a writer, but one submission is better than none.
As the "First Fans" are aware, the care of a parent is draining my time away. Being accountable for a toddler in an adult frame is a time consuming job, You can't just instruct on what it is and what it should be, - because they are elderly. Instead, grace is needed.
After spending two days and a night back and forth to the emergency room of a local hospital, it was late yesterday when I realized the deadline was approaching. Unsatisfied with the third, or fourth version, I submitted the version that I thought better -but not award winning.
One submission is better than none.
Saturday, January 18, 2020
For those that came in late...when I write, I write with a pencil. Always have. There is something about the lead of the pencil on the yellow of the legal pad paper that makes the writing seem... historical. It feels alive as I scribble it down.
As one of my goals for the year involve more published works, I began taking online lessons in Masterclass. Masterclass is a series of video tutorials given by experts in their field of expertise. One of the contributing authors is James Patterson. Patterson has multiple books that I have read (as a fan) where his protagonist (Alex Cross) is employed in an industry that I once was.
About the fourth lesson in, I was not enjoying the tutorial as much as I like. Though the format was similar to Stephen Kings "On Writing" book, I was not enjoying Patterson's class as much as I had enjoyed his book.
And then it happened.
James Patterson said that he writes in pencil on a legal pad.
James Patterson writes the same way I do...or more accurately, I write the same way as accomplished author James Patterson does.
And suddenly I was enjoying Patterson's class much more. I went back and started his Masterclass again, and although the links to a number of discussions with previous students is broken, the class became more poignant to me. It became more real as a one on one class because....James Patterson writes in pencil.
I am hopeful that one day a fan will have the same connection that I had when they relaize their favourite authors (that would be me) writes n pencil.
Sunday, January 5, 2020
In 1999, I purchased my first computer in Australia, a Hewlett Packard Compaq computer from a big box home store. At the time, I also purchased one computer game to accompany the purchase. The game was a city building strategy game called Anno 1602. The game was a ground breaker in that the Artificial Intelligence progressed in accord with player development.
At the time, I was divorced and not in receipt of enough income to make my daughters life more enjoyable. The girls and I played that game. Endless hours was spent with my little one sitting in my lap as her older sister cursed at the non player characters (NPC) when they destroyed something she had spent an hour creating.
Anno 1800. The game was available by download only, and for less money than I paid for the original game, I treated myself to my first game purchase in about eight years.
The reviews justify it's nomination for Game of the Year. The graphics are immersive, the game play addictive, and last weekend, I lost both days off playing the game into the wee small hours of the morning.
The girls are gone from my life - grown up and moved on. Late nights playing Anno on the computer are not the same without my youngest sitting in my lap pointing out the "bad guys" for her sister. Still, what I lost in the companionship with my children, is retained in the memory of the original game.
20/20 - a year and hindsight.