Leave me where I am, I’m only sleeping.

If only.

Oh, hey, sure.  I took the long nap in-between starting this blasted thing and then finally getting around back to it.  But that wasn’t entirely unexpected, was it?  I knew that I was bad at the blogging habits these days as it was, and then I went and allowed myself to reopen my Facebook page (I think I’d shut it down when I started here).

Facebook in a wonderful sort of time suck run by horrible people.  I accept it for what it is, which is mostly a way for me to interact with friends and family that I normally never get to see or talk to any more without it.  But I also recognize that it’s controlled by an entity determined to tell people how they should get their information instead of, you know, giving them anything resembling a choice.  What things posted chronologically?  How about seeing all the posts from something you actually like or are subscribed to?  Nope, we’ll be having none of that (and neither will you).

So, you start a blog (or, let’s face it, a Twitter, a Tumblr, a… heh… an Ello), and you write to the ether instead.  You lose the safety net of Facebook, but you gain… not being on Facebook?

I disabled my account again yesterday.  Disabling is the cop-out.  You’re not shutting things down fully.  Facebook actually asks you why you’re doing it, and a choice is, “I’ll be back later, this s a temporary thing.”  And that’s what I chose, of course.  Again, because of the people.

Love the players, Hate the game.

Speaking of games, that’s why things are disabled once more.  Because November is NaNoWriMo.  And, while I finally made my “win” with National Novel Writing Month two years ago (just shortly after I’d been laid off my job of 12 years), I went from writing 50k to writing exactly nada.

(And now NadaWriMo must become a thing.)

So I’m climbing back on that horse.  But I’m not as interested in finishing this year.  Just in writing.  A little bit every day.  If I hit goals, great.  If I win, wonderful.  But none of that really matters this year.

I just celebrated my 1 year anniversary this month.  I’m on six months into my new job (new career is more like it).  I still spend every Friday with the best friends anyone could ask for.  I get to do a couple webcasts with some newer friends (who are also really great folk).  House is still keeping the wind off us.  Health is reasonable (although I may have sleep apnea, but at least I have insurance so I get to see my doctor this week about it).  And maybe, one day, I’ll get to make another comic.

S’good life.  All things considered.

So all that’s owed to me (all that ever is, really) is what I owe myself.  What I’d like for myself.  And I’d like to write something.

Which is not to say that I have a single clue what I’m doing for NaNo this year.  Every attempt (this is my fourth) seems to get a little worse with that.  The first year I got a little more than halfway in my progress with a story I’d semi-plotted as comic book 10 years before.  The next time, I got about 4k in on a story I’d been wanting to write for even longer (and it was torture the whole way through).  2012 was a newer idea, basically about an archer who was more than a bit of an asshole and, what I originally hoped at least, a story that was supposed to be like an action movie (think “Speed”), but because thematically about truth instead.

This year, nothing.  I have several things I could use, but not a one of them has reached the surface to say, “Pick me!  Pick me!”  Maybe because now, knowing NaNo as I do, I see that giving is something that I care about is just going to kill me when I actively have to break it apart and destroy the idea just to be able to get words down on the page.

As I write this, I’m watching a really gruesome episode of “The Walking Dead.”  Two things at once, that’s how I do it.  But I think NaNoWriMo can be looked at with some comparison.  We have the things and the people we love.  We want them with us, always.  To protect them.  To help them to flourish.  But that’s not NaNo.  You take what you love to NaNo any more than you take those you love to the end of the world.  Because NaNo is ugly.  NaNo is struggle.  NaNo kills the good.

You take what can survive, what can help you keep moving forward.  What you can shrug off losing, and what you can live off the leanest parts when there’s nothing left.  NaNoWriMo is post-apocalyptic writing.  They say, in some writing advice books and columns, to kill your darlings, but no one should bring their darlings to this kind of environment.  You may find something you love in there, by the end of it.  But that’s hindsight.  And hindsight is fine, but foresight is going to break you.

I was supposed to spend my weekend preparing myself.  Cleaning my office up was the big thing.  But, again, I’ve discovered I may have a sleep disorder, as I’ve been waking up choking every night. So I instead found I spent my weekend trudging around, catching cat naps in my chair (being upright helps a bit), fighting headaches and sinuses.  Procrastination is probably also a part of my process.  I abhor homework something fierce.  I write for distraction anyways.

So this next month or so, I’m trading one distraction for another distraction.  Which means, while I’m sitting in front of my computer screens, desperate to hit my two thousand word count every day, I’m probably going to desperately wish I could go play on Facebook instead.

“What Else Is On?” –> Of course he does a podcast…

When I was a kid, after wanting to be a superhero, and then a game show host, I eventually wanted to be a radio DJ.  I probably assumed this would mean I’d get to talk a lot on air, but it more likely would’ve been me working 2am slots with no one listening playing the hard-rocking hits of the 1950s.

Be that as it may, I eventually figured out that what it really is I like to do, it’s talking.  Conversing more than just talking to hear my own voice (although I do seem to enjoy that too).

A few years back, I got introduced to podcasts by one of my best friends who said, “Why aren’t we doing this?”  So we did, and almost every show we’ve done for The d20 has shown exactly why we shouldn’t be doing it.  ;-)

But that hasn’t stopped us so far.  And, if no one else was listening, I still would.  Not just because of narcissism, but more because I love my group of friends, and I feel like I’m my best when I’m with them.  I learn from them, I have the most fun with them.  I was recording our gaming sessions anyways, but we have done a massively irregular show for a while.  It’s hugely inappropriate and offensive, so, know that going in.

Now, about two years ago, I discovered a show on a site called Spreecast hosted by two excellent guys.  It was, at the time, called “What We’re Watching Weekly,” and the title described the it perfectly.  The nice thing about Spreecast was that it was as open as you wanted it to be, so you could have people jump into your show while it was going on, joining the discussion, then jumping off to make way for the next person.  And, on a whim, I wound up on screen, which was a lot of fun.  So I kept coming back, every week, to take part of the show.  Glenn and Dave were incredibly gracious to let me be a part of things.  Over time, Dave had to step back, but Glenn carried on, and people like Gregor, Casey, Mike, Evan, Beatmaster, and more all filled in time here and there.  Gregor and I really sort of took up two of the seats so regularly that, eventually, when Glenn himself was having problems getting online or had scheduling conflicts, we tried to keep the show running for him.

Let’s face it…  The show was, and always would be, Glenn and Dave’s.  And we treated it with the reverence of a couple fanboys because that’s what we were.  We were fortunate enough that people who watched for the original hosts still would show up when it was just us.  But Spreecast changed their business model, and while Gregor and I had already been talking about starting a second show that was actually ours, we also saw that WWWW was going to kind of lose its home, after it had already lost its original hosts.

As fans, neither Gregor nor I wanted to see the show disappear.  We loved it.  We loved doing it.  We loved it being a tribute to the guys that started it.  But if we took it somewhere else, could we really keep it the same?  And should we?

We talked to Glenn, explained to him what was going on, and what we were thinking.  Glenn, as always, was gracious and gave us his blessing.  We talked about what we wanted to call the new show, again, in tribute to what he’d begun.  We kept the “What,” but integrated the name of the new network we’d already been looking to start: Elsenerds.

And that’s how we ended up with “What Else Is On?”  We kept what we could too.  Starts and Stops, something Mike had originally been in charge of, Gregor had taken over a while back.  Evan and Beatmaster, two of the regulars from the old chat, deservedly became Producers for our new network, helping us build content to talk about on both the shows, and sitting in on the chat during the recordings to keep us on point, or derail us in the best possible way.

We’ve only been doing this for a couple months, so we’re still figuring out what all Elsenerds really might be or do.  Maybe this is it.  A TV/Movie show and a Comic show.  If that’s all we get, I’m still pretty satisfied.  Again, all I was looking for was to be able to have a conversation with some friends.  Even if no one else watches or listens… I do.

We were also really surprised and flattered with Dave (that’s Tasteful Dave actually) invited us to be a sister network to his own Galactic Netcasts, a place with excellent shows about Science Fiction and Aliens.  He’s even invited us to participate on a couple episodes here and there.

And then, every episode, as a tribute to our other Founder, we finish the show with “This has been a ‘Don’t Tell Glenn’ Production.”  Because: respect, yo!

Trick or Drabble (a very old challenge from a very dear friend)

Spade, the Evergnome, sat with his back against the cave wall. The doorway he’d run through was solid enough for the likes of him, a spill of loose rocks and a couple boulders that he’d rigged to fall onto his pursuer if one should ever catch him in the act of cutpurse.

But he’d never expected that something so shiny would be the property of a troll.

The troll beat mightily at the doorway, its heavy club bashing at the stones. It had been nimble enough to avoid their collapse, but not smart enough to leave with its head still intact.

“Trixty!” it cursed at Spade, the grunts getting louder to his ears, the air getting fouler as the troll and he shared breathing space.

As moonlight broke in, enough for the troll to see by, easily, Spade jumped up, in plain view, and dove for a smaller hole in the back of the cave. The troll made a lame grab at him, still getting its bearings in, what was for it, a cramped space. It slid on the damp stone floor, and shoved an elongated arm into the crevice, scraping at the furthest back edges of the hidey-hole for its prize.

Spade squatted quietly at the back, too scared to breathe. He held out hope that he was still out of the beast’s reach.

Then suddenly, the troll caught the edge of Spade’s cloak. It felt a desperate tugging at the end of the cloth, so it pulled harder, crushing the form as it finally got him within its grasp. Spade lay limp in its hand, but as soon as it got him out of the small hole, it pounded his small body, within its fist, against the largest rock nearby, and then, happy that he wouldn’t wriggle on the way down, tossed Spade into his mouth.

“Treat,” it mumbled to itself as it munched on the lifeless form. As it chewed, the troll felt not meat and bone crunching between its rotted teeth, but cloth and hay. The creature tasted no sweet gnome blood, but only something akin to dwarvish silverale, heavy and pungent of distilled alcohol. The troll’s chewing slowed, its mouth agape as it began to spit the gnome out.

Spade shot out of the hole in front of it, a small rod in his hand. The tip glowed a fiery red on his mental command, and he pressed it up directly to the beast’s tongue. Immediately, the combination of the wand’s enchantment, the concentrated alcohol, and dried hay ignited in the troll’s gullet, and its entire giant head went ablaze.

The troll dropped dead instantly in front of Spade, the Evergnome.

“Trick,” is all he offered to the smoldering corpse.

It makes sense to start off this blog with this story, not because it’s my oldest piece, or even that it’s particularly good.  But because it ties in several things about my writing and the people that I write for.

This came as a challenge from my bestest of besties, Anne.  Now, Anne is an impeccable writer, and has been as long as I’ve known her.  But we met in a group that was basically fanfiction before it knew it was called that, and we always treated writing as play.  We’d do these wonderous stories with our characters interacting with one another, and it’s some of my favorite stuff to read, but, because it takes place in someone else’s universe, it’s not something we could ever try to publish.  And it’s so full of in-jokes and private moments, no one else would really get it anyway.  The definition of “You had to be there.”

But Anne still likes to play sometimes, so back in October of 2008, she challenged me to something she called a “drabble” (the word was new to me).  Write a story, so many words, and the theme, based off the calendar, was “Trick or Treat.”

Now, this takes me back to the days we met, on the Prodigy BBSes, where I would just have an idea, throw it up in our forums, writing it without planning or thinking, and let it go.  Sometimes the stories would be near masterworks, sometimes they would be horrific failures.  Often, though, they just struck our little group as funny.  I’ve learned that trying to write as a Writer should, I fail near every time.  When I go into it just to make a joke or avoid doing real work and responsibilities, that’s when I do my best.

And, again, I’m not saying this is my best (not that my Best is much better).  But it came from my biggest muse.  And then it went into the hands of one of my other ones.  I don’t know why I sent this to Levi, other than it was something short and it seemed like he might get a kick out of it.  Whatever I was expecting, what I didn’t intend on was him drawing me a wonderful little picture to go with it.  Painting the picture to my words, only much more expertly.  My story got Levi art, and that is about the best thing I could ever hope or want to accomplish.

Spade was just a name for someone I needed to name in the moment.  But this was not the last time I’d see Spade the Evergnome wind up on my page.

But that’s another story…