In which fear is stupid

IMG_6721Holy cow, that tablecloth has gotten raggedy.

I had an idle thought the other day and put it on Twitter– I wonder what kind of artist I could be if I drew something every day for a year, it said– and now suddenly I own a sketchbook.

Well, “suddenly” if agonized over the idea of spending $5 on a sketchbook for two days counts as “suddenly.”  I mean, as projects go, this isn’t much of one, right?  I’m not talking about full-blown landscapes or some shit, just, like, a quick sketch every day to elevate my ability to draw from not the worst artist on the planet to maybe somewhere in the top half of humanity.  I’m not about to start a webcomic or anything, although I’ll admit thinking about the first Questionable Content vs. how it looks now as a perfect example of what practice can do for someone.

So I own an inexpensive, yet reasonably robust sketchbook, and I bought some new pencils, which probably wasn’t strictly necessary but hey, pencils.  And all I have to do is draw something.  I don’t even really have to do it every day!  Just draw some shit once in a while!  Like, I get to set the rules!

And I put the sketchbook down, because I found the idea terrifying, and here I am blogging about it instead of just picking up a pencil and drawing something simple and calling it a day.

It’s so weird how hard I work (we work?  It’s not just me, right?) to hold myself back sometimes.

EDIT:  Boom.  Don’t expect me to post these too frequently, if I even continue with the project (I’d estimate no more than a 50% chance this lasts longer than a few days) but at least I did it once:


Also, I need pencils with better erasers, as you can tell from Uncle Grandpa’s incorrectly-misshapen head up there.

#Weekendcoffeeshare: 2016 edition


If we were having coffee, we’d be talking about the same thing everybody else is talking about: it’s 2016!  What have you been doing with your life for the last couple of weeks?  What do you want to do with your life next year?

I’m not super interested right now in looking back at 2015.  I blogged every single day last year, most days more than once; feel free to start with January 1 and work your way through.  The year had high points and low points much like any other and was, I think, on balance more high than low despite the chaos of the last few months while I’ve been on medical leave.

I don’t do resolutions.  Resolutions happen in January and are abandoned by February.  However, if you ask me what my current goals are in life and I don’t have any, it means I’m probably deeply depressed.  I always have a couple of goals that I’m working on; right now is no exception.  Most of them are related to my writing and I’ve already discussed.  The rest, right now, are job-related.

I want a new job.  Preferably soon.  Real soon.  I’ve put a hold on stressing out about it over the holidays; there was no point, as the holidays are a deeply bad time to be unemployed.  You have to be unemployed through the whole several weeks; all the folks with job openings, on the other hand, are looking at piles of resumes and going “Yeah, we’ll deal with that when we get back.”

(The exception that proves the rule: my brother recently moved to Illinois to be with his fiancee, and has had some trouble finding work too.  He had a series of interviews last week in rapid succession, and when the third interview in three days was “go downtown, talk to this person, and then do the paperwork for your background check” I told him he had the job and to not worry about it.  Why?  Because they pulled in teachers over winter break to interview him, and they did three interviews in three days, and that means they’re in a huge damn hurry to get the job filled.  I was right.  Most of the jobs I’m applying for are not jobs that are going to lead to death or dishonor if they’re not filled this week.)

Well, at any rate, tomorrow’s Monday, so everybody will be back.  My suspicion is that every office on Earth will start with a horrible three-hour meeting and then 80% of the people at work will spend the rest of the day looking around their desks, bleary-eyed, and trying to remember their passwords, and that therefore the earliest any “Hey, come interview with us!” phone calls could possibly happen will be Tuesday.

I am desperately hoping to get a phone call on Tuesday, especially for one particular job that I applied for the week of Thanksgiving and was explicitly told not to hold my breath about until after New Year’s.  We’ll see, I guess.

At any rate, I’m going insane over here and I need a new job.  So that’s goal one, even before any writing stuff happens: get a damn job.

I kinda feel like that’s enough for right now.  How about you?  What are you working on right now?

On reading and books and 2016

51yHchbYJTL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_A couple of things:  first, The Sanctum of the Sphere is free today at Amazon.  Have some other e-reader?  Email me or leave a comment (you have to provide an email address for that anyway) and ask for a copy for whatever your device is.  No problem!

Second: my Top 10 New(*) Books I Read in 2015 post is coming soon.  Previous editions are here and here.  I’m probably going to wait until after Christmas, but since I’m into my mostly-annual Lord of the Rings reread and therefore nothing on it is likely to change, if I end up with nothing to say sometime this week I’ll get it done earlier.  One way or another, coming soon.

Third: I’ve read 99 books in 2015 so far, and it’ll probably be 101-102 by the end of the year.  37% of those books were by women or people of color.  I’ve been interested in increasing the number of books by women/POC that I’m reading, mostly as a way to find new authors, and I’ve been going back and forth on how exactly I was going to do that, from “I will read no books by cishet white men during X months in 2016” to trying to set an arbitrary number, and now I think I’ve come up with a slightly softer method:  I’m going to double that percentage in 2016.  Slightly more than that, actually, as my goal for this next year will be that 75% of the books I read will be by women or people of color.  I think white gay or trans men will probably count too, but as I don’t intend to do research into the sexual presentation/orientation of the writers I read, unless I somehow already know someone is gay I don’t think it’s going to add too many books to the total.

Probably easier to just say I’m limiting cishet white guys to 25% of my reading and leave it at that.  The main reason I’m not doing a blanket ban, either for all or part of the year, is that I follow a fair number of indie authors, and I don’t feel like carving out an exception so that I can read Book 5 of The Yellow Hoods when it comes out.  Easier to just say “I’m going to double how many I read” and leave it at that.

New books only, by the way.  Rereads aren’t counting toward the total.

Do you have any reading goals for next year?


EQjAirYI look forward to discovering how this is STILL worse than the one I started with later on today.

At any rate: having had another seriously low-productivity day yesterday, I have resolved to play no Fallout and write no blogs until Sunlight has at least 20000 words, and I really ought to shoot for at least 21-22K today.

So don’t tell anyone about this post.  It’s our secret.

Leave encouragement in comments.  Or, y’know, whatever.

In which this is really actually true

I’m, like, fifty followers away from the big 3K.  REPOST ABUNDANTLY.

I received a thank you note today– from a parent of one of my students, mind you– that started with the sentence “Thank you for being a cynical, sarcastic, grumpy asshole.”  And, like, it meant thank you, and not weird reverse-psychology I’m using thank you to mean I hate you nonsense.

What can I say; some of them get me.

Today was Field Day; it went just fine, as these things tend to do, except it had rather less Field than I might have liked due to torrential rains at the beginning of the day (when all of the outdoor stuff would have been set up) and at the end of the day as well.  In between, though, it was beautiful outside.  Unlike last year, as you’ve seen in the post below this one, I managed to remember to get a picture of the last bus as it pulled away from the building. So, yay: achievement unlocked.  I also found out today that there’s at least one other school wanting a phone interview.  And another actual interview Friday.  So double-yay.

Goals for this summer:

  • Get BA 8, currently untitled, written.  I’m about 3600 words in.
  • Get Skylights online.  This will require talking to my artist tomorrow.  And, uh, the revisions.  Damn revisions!
  • Finish the bathroom.  Soon.
  • Get my comic books categorized and, hopefully, sold.
  • Go through the four enormous crates of vintage 1980s toys that my mother unleashed on me last weekend and figure out what to do with them.  Yes, that’s a big enough task that it counts as a summer goal.
  • Oh, and, uh, get a new job.

I still technically have one more day at work; the teacher record day is tomorrow, but literally everything is done and if I wanted to I could check out of the building five minutes after walking into it tomorrow.  I’m not going to, but I could.

For right now, though?  Bed.  Early.  I didn’t sleep well at all last night– not, like, end-of-year related, I just couldn’t sleep– but I intend to make up for it tonight.

(Random late addition: the lack of an apostrophe in the title of this YouTube video is annoying me enough that I may actually change the video.  Something is wrong with me.)