Mar 30

Get Ready For April

Joined April Fools this year. Pretty cool. Kinda like NanoWriMo, except you set your own goals and count anything you write. I’m going for 10k for the month. That’s a lot for me, but I need goal and a good stretch right now. This will give me an incentive to get going again.

Check ’em out.

Mar 30

Writing? What’s that?

I haven’t been able to get much writing done for a few days. A sudden confluence of left turns has left me shaken and confused in the middle of life’s highway. The worst thing is that the dreams have gotten bad. Really bad. Really, really bad. So bad, I had to get my sleep medication refilled. Anyone who knows how desperately I hate taking sleep medication will know just how bad these dreams are. I’m just holding on right now. It will clear up. Soon, I hope.

I did manage to get “Though Your Sins Be As Scarlet” submitted to Blood Rose this morning. Vampire stories are a tough sell in pro markets. I may have to sell it for a token payment. I can understand why so few markets will take vampire stories. They have been done to death (so to speak 🙂 ) in the past few years. Mostly very badly. That great mass of really bad horror fiction gets in my way when I have what I think is a really good and unique vampire story. Tarred with the same brush, as they say.

If you’ve ever hit a deer in your driveway…

…you might live in the country. I didn’t actually hit it, but there were tail hairs in my headlight frame. Whew! A warning about deer: if one crosses in front of your car, stop! There’s another one close behind. The one that almost got me was the 3rd in the series, which is unusual.

Mar 30

Planting Season

Finally got the garden spaded up. Over the past weekend, I set out 6 tomato plants, 7 row-feet of pole beans, 3 squash plants, and 5 bush cucumber plants. Next up are peppers (current plans are 1 cayenne, 3 jalapeno, and 4 bell), bush lima beans (about 25 row-feet), okra (about 20 row-feet), and possibly corn (20 row-feet). I’m looking for a small corn plant that I can space closer together to get more yield per square foot.

Gardening is my “chop wood, carry water” practice. It’s mainly physical activity, and I can let my mind wander to some extent and have long conversations with myself. I get the benefit of mental and physical exercise and really fresh vegetables and flowers as a bonus. It really helps when I’m having a series of bad days.

Mar 30

Truth, Justice and the American Way

Over the past 5 years, Bob and Mary Schindler have been given an in-depth course in the workings of the American judicial system. I don’t know how much they have retained, but the rest of us should be paying very close attention. In the end, the lesson is very simple: truth and justice are completely irrelevant.

The Schindlers’ appeals have been routinely denied for one and only one reason: the trial judge did not make any egregious errors in procedure. Once a trial judge renders a decision, the case is essentially closed. Facts, evidence, and arguments will not even be considered by another court. The apparent assumption is that a trial judge will never make a bad decision. Having read Judge Greer’s decision, I can confidently state that this assumption is incorrect. Read it for yourself. If you can get through all the errors in language, see if you can pick out the underlying flaws in logic and leaps of faith in this document (link fro Abstract Appeal). It’s frightening.

Anyone who has had the privilege of serving on a jury (I have sat on 3 so far), can attest that trials are not about searching for truth or seeing that justice is done. A trial is basically a game to see which lawyer or team of lawyers is better. Truth? The jury decides what the truth is based on whatever limited testimony and evidence they are allowed to hear and see. Justice? There are no shades of gray. Guilty or not guilty. That’s it. Guilty verdicts often lead to absurdly harsh sentences because of strict sentencing guidelines. Judges who try to use common sense and compassion and refer some lawbreakers to treatment instead of prison are castigated for being “soft on crime”.

If you ever expect to get justice in a courtroom, you have a rude awakening coming. Our legal system is a joke and an absurdity. How else could a person be awarded millions of dollars in damages because they didn’t expect their coffee to be hot? How else could Michael Schiavo be awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars because he could no longer have sex with his wife? What, his girlfriend wasn’t enough for him? Was he ordered to use this money to pay hookers to provide these services for him?

Gah! This whole business has me so upset I can’t think straight.

Mar 27

Attack of the Infernal Editor

My internal editor has been very active this weekend, throwing up all kinds of barriers. He even brought up incidents that happened when I worked at the prison, which I left nearly a year ago. Fortunately, I’m on to his tricks now and on guard for distractions. In spite of all his best efforts, I got another 300 words on “Wolf Moon”. Finished Scenes 2 and 3 and started Scene 4. Scene 3 is very short and may not survive the recision. Out of 7 projected scenes, I have finished 4 (the ending is already written) and started on another. The Finish Line is in sight!

In Other News

Cemetery Dance rejected TYSBAS without comment. Score: 27-8, Avg.: .296

Rejections still bother me. I hope they always do. Even though a rejection may not mean a story is flawed in some serious way, it does mean that this story did not knock this editor’s socks off. That means I still have room for improvement. Rejection = incentive to work harder and learn more.

Now I have to find my marketing notes and see who’s next on the list.

Mar 23

Warning: Bad Poetry!

I make absolutely no claims about my poetic attempts, except to say that anyone with any esthetic sense at all may find the following the poetic equivalent of the infamous Driver’s Education film. Non-masochists should leave now.

Devotion
by Carter Nipper

Copyright © 2005 by Carter Nipper. All rights reserved.

On Sunday morning she rises,
waking to the blaring of the city’s carillon.
She takes her daily Communion
Of coffee and toast, her knees to weak to kneel.
Then she waits for her son,
his obligatory weekly visit.

The Wedding Glass
by Carter Nipper

Copyright © 2005 by Carter Nipper. All rights reserved.

Etched
Into a glass
So bright
It flows
Love’s mantra.

An Unholy Communion
by Carter Nipper

Copyright © 2005 by Carter Nipper. All rights reserved.

“Eat me,” He cried.
So they did,
And He died.

Sweet dreams. 🙂

Mar 23

Upward

Made some progress on “Wolf Moon” this morning. Between editing and writing new words, I had a net gain of around 200 words. First 2 scenes are complete. This evening I’m working on evaluating the scenes in depth using the criteria of Character, Conflict, Crisis, and Conclusion. This way, I can make sure I don’t have anything extraneous hanging around. I may not get much done on it tomorrow, but I have a 4-day weekend coming up with rain predicted for Saturday and Sunday, so I’ll have a little free time from yard work.

“But I’m feeling much better now”

Back has settled into muscle aches with only the occasional twinge. It should be back to normal by Friday. Mood has also improved considerably. I didn’t drop as low as I feared this time, which is extremely good. My Spring depressions are often really bad.

I’m creeping back to life
My nervous system all awry
I’m wearing the inside out
Anthony Wright “Wearing the Inside Out”

I know I keep quoting this, but it just perfectly expresses the feeling of recovering from a relapse of depression. I do feel reborn, renewed. but still jangled. It’s an odd feeling. But then, I’m odd in all sorts of ways. 🙂

Last Time on Schiavo (Maybe)

Isn’t there anybody involved with this case that has the balls to admit what they are doing and try to show a little basic compassion? You’re killing this woman! Let’s call it what it really is: involuntary euthanasia. As Holly pointed out so succinctly, if she didn’t write it down, she didn’t say it. The only assumption we can make is that her husband wants her dead, and that’s what he’s going to get.

What bothers me more than anything and what makes me so fucking mad is the absoluyte lack of compassion or humanity. These animals are starving this woman to death, for God’s sake! Isn’t there anybody around there with enough balls to give her a shot of something that will kill her quickly and painlessly? What has she done to deserve treatment we wouldn’t even consider for our pets? Fucking animals.

Stupidity coupled with blatant hypocrisy just burns me up.

Mar 21

Dragons

Watched Dragons on Animal Planet last night. You must see this! The CGI effects are awesome. The courtship scene is absolutely spectacular! The producers put a lot of thought into this film and a lot of work bringing dragons to life.

My only quibble with them is that they portray dragons as non-sentient animals driven by instinct. We all know that’s not true, don’t we? Dragons were (some say are) intelligent beings at least on a par with humans. The comparison is somewhat difficult, though. Very large, semi-magical flying reptiles of necessity think much differently than mundane, barely-out-of-trees simians. Apples and oranges.

Dragons typify the magic that exists in the world. They are mysterious and powerful, deadly alien, the dangerous unknown that is just beyond our understanding. Man’s relationship with dragons exemplify the best and the worst of the human spirit. At the same time we see how the human race accepts challenges and triumphs over seemingly overwhleming odds and our very real penchant for destroying the unknowable and uncontrollable.

If dragons had never existed, we would certainly have had to create them.

The pain of it all

So on top of everything else, I strained my back yesterday. Son-of-a-bitch it hurt! Still does when I move wrong, which is often. Sometimes I have to be forcibly dragged back into the physical plane and forced to acknowledge the world around me. I also need to whacked on the head occasionally and reminded of one very important concept:

When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s hard to remember that your original intention was to drain the swamp.

I often think that my life needs a warning label.

Mar 19

A Special Kind of Crazy

After watching some professional writers’ blogs for a while, I have noticed some common threads. Stress over deadlines, stress over finances, driving one’s self through sickness and life distractions to meet obligations to publishers. You have be a special kind of crazy to want to do this.

So why do successful writers do this to themselves? What’s the payoff? Being crazy means not seeing the world in the same way as “normal” people. It means living in a different reality. This special kind of craziness allows writers to live in a reality in which there really is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and which allows them to follow the rainbow to its end.

Question: If you find a pot of gold, how come so much stress about money? Answer: Not all that is golden is spendable on material needs. Illustration: Tor Books rushed a special printing of a single copy of her last novel, Three Hands of Scorpio, so Andre Norton would have a chance to hold it in her hands before she died.

Writing brings its practitioners intangible rewards. Few, very few, get any substantial financial benefit from their writing, but intangibles make a big difference. Quality of life is far more important than most people realize. I have learned that I can survive on little money and still get enjoyment out of life. I get to scratch that psychic itch that drives me to create with words. I get to see the world in ways that are far richer and deeper than the great mass of people can imagine. One day, I hope to hold in my hands the physical culmination of years of work and worry and stress. One day, I hope that I will know that my words have at least a small chance of reaching other people. Maybe they will change someone’s life for the better, and I will have improved the world in some small way. What more could I hope for?