My goal this year was to be more vigilant in keeping up with this page and my writing in general. That has not happened. Back in February I attended Boskone in Boston and ended up falling into an illustration gig instead, which is awesome and very exciting!
I haven’t done Illustration in any serious capacity, beside my book covers, in probably twenty years. It’s also a children’s book which I’m working on so that is also very different than what I’m used to. So far it’s been very fun and extremely rewarding. It’s nice to be able to brush off some old skills, also a bit exhausting (in a good way). I’m hoping to have that wrapped up in the next few weeks since I’m working on the finished pieces now.
I also have the third book in the Strand series that I should be working on but I have been finding it difficult to be productive these last few weeks. I find myself mindlessly tabbing through social media and news websites even though I know there’s really nothing on either of them that I want or need to see. Being cooped up in isolation hasn’t bothered me very much since I work from home but the worry and anxiety that everyone is emitting seems to be seeping into my psyche and giving me a constant feeling of unease. “The tension is palpable.” is how one of my friends put it and I have to agree.
Today, after staring blankly at my laptop screen (Oh yeah, I also got a shiny new gaming laptop a month or so ago, which was nice and long overdue) for almost an hour I decided two things. 1. that I needed to set up a nice long playlist and 2. write something, anything. The first point about the music is that I work much better when I have music playing. it helps block out other shit and keeps me focused. As for the second point. I decided to tackle trying to catch up on some of my website stuff since that has been lagging far behind lately.
I’m going to finish up this post and then start working on one of the travel sections of this site. The trip that was planned for France at the end of this month has been cancelled and thinking back on some of my other trips will help mute that blow a bit. I’ve also been working on photo editing and posting a bunch of my travel pictures on Instagram the last few weeks so if you read this and want to check it out you can find me at Donchase315
Other than that I’ve been washing my hands a lot, taking a bunch of naps and probably gaming too much. I’m hoping the weather gets nice and warm soon so I can motivate myself to go out and do yard work. I never in a million years would have thought I’d look forward to mowing my lawn.
Stay safe all,
Its that time of year again when I get my annual invitation to the Arisia sci fi convention that’s held in January usually at the Westin waterfront hotel in Boston. Someday I hope to have a lot more invites to a lot more conventions but this is something nice to look forward to every year.
I’ve got the hotel all booked for the weekend and i just have to finish up which panels I want to be a part of and then I just sit back and wait until they tell me how many I have to plan for. Last year I got 1 so I’m kinda of hoping for a few more this year.
I always enjoy going to Arisia, I don’t always remember them all that well but when I do I always have a good time.
Thankfully, the end of winter is coming somewhat soon. There were no dragons or white walkers. That shouldn’t have made me sad to type, but it did. On that note, it does mean that the new, and last, season of Game of Thrones is just around the corner as well, which will be fun… hopefully. It hasn’t been a particularly difficult winter here. I am aware that could change at any moment, and now probably will, since I’ve said this. Bad or good, I don’t do particularly well during the winter, I never have. My whole being seems to want to go into hibernation in like the middle of November until it starts to get warm again (like I’m sure many people do). I won’t go so far as to say I have seasonal affective disorder (I might, but I also might not). I just don’t like winter.
It’s getting better though, the last two winters have been amazing compared to almost all my previous winters. I noticed that the better I feel, in general, the easier it is to handle the lower energy and general crappieness of gray, dismal, cold days, where it gets dark by 4 PM. I am, by no means saying I’m super healthy or energetic these last couple months, just better than I have been for the past 30 years or so. Back then, I used to just stay inside as much as possible and felt horrible whether it was because my back had seized up from the cold damp weather or my knee wouldn’t work and I worried constantly about falling on the ice and breaking something, anything, or just because it was shitty out and mentally I didn’t want to deal with it.
There is a point to all of this rambling, kind of. I was scrolling through Facebook earlier today and I saw that one of my friends was a bit annoyed that they had a list of things they had wanted to get accomplished this week but hadn’t gotten through it because the weather was crappy and they just didn’t have the motivation to finish the list. To their credit, they had accomplished some of it, which is more than I can say that I would have gotten done a few years ago. Anyway. they were disappointed but soldiered on. In the comment section below the post, a bunch of their friends had chimed in about how they too were having trouble staying motivated after a long few months of winter.
I’m sure there are people out there that aren’t adversely affected by the long winter months in some way or another, but I’m betting they’re far fewer than those that are. A lot of the time though it feels like it’s just us. like we’re failing somehow and everyone else is doing just great. They’re not. It was nice to see the comments on my friends post today, that so many had agreed and almost all had positive comments or helpful advice to keep pushing ahead and words of encouragement.
Which brings me to the point. In case you’re reading this and feeling the way I was talking about above. You’re not alone. A ton of people hate the long dark months. We’re almost to the other side. It’s already light out at 5 pm instead of 4. The winter is almost over and we’re all going to be feeling much better once the spring kicks in fully. Just hang in there, you’ve made it this far.
I’ve been trying to find the motivation to finish the third Strand book. I didn’t find it this week. I did manage to do almost everything on my list, which feels really good, but I purposely didn’t add writing new material for the book on the list because, well , I’m a realist. Updating my page here was on the list and it took me until Sunday night to do it, but it is done (or will be soon)! In the end, I made the list, I got done what I could and I’ll keep trying next week as well. It’s all progress and eventually, if you keep working at it, you’ll finish the list, or the project or the goal… just always keep pushing.
This is The Veiled Virgin by Giovanni Strazza, sculpted sometime in the 1850’s out of Carrara marble. I saw this amazing masterpiece for the first time ever today when I was perusing facebook. I’ve taken many art history courses over the years and am still baffled at how I have never come across this piece before.
I find it fascinating and a bit amazing that someone can create this level of detail and gossamer transparency from such a hard and unforgiving canvas such as stone. Sculpting stone is one of the only art forms I haven’t dabbled in. I would love to give it a try some day and hopefully, I’ll get the chance. The amount of planning, time and care that goes into something like this must be astronomical, I would think.
As much as I find the piece stunning, it makes me also think about the man that created it. I can’t look at this piece and not think that Giovanni Strazza must have been a bit of a perfectionist. The level of patience and mastery of craft to create something like The Veiled Virgin goes beyond what most would consider the norm.
As much as it makes me want to delve deeper into sculpting techniques and equipment, it also inspires me to work on better mastering my chosen craft. Maybe someday, I can write something that gives someone the same feeling I get when I look at a sculpture as beautiful as The Veiled Virgin.
Back to work with me,
It’s been a crazy but interesting summer and I haven’t even really gone anywhere vacationy. I suppose I should start with the fact that there’s been some drastic changes in my life in the last year or so, well drastic for me, mostly centering around my health. I’ve dropped a boatload of weight and worked hard to strengthen and rehab my knee, which twelve months ago I (and my doctors) thought was beyond repair. Those two issues alone have made this the most productive, fun and enjoyable summer that I can remember. I’ve never liked the heat and humidity of the typical New England summer but I have this year.
Those changes also bring a big bunch of adjustment though. I understand what people say now when they complain about “Not having enough hours in the day,” I have a ton more energy than I ever remember and it allows me to do a lot more than I’ve ever imagined doing in the past. I Mow the lawn, pick up around the house, trim the hedges, work on my car, fix things around the house, voluntarily run errands I would normally try and get out of, work out four to five days a week, socialize more than once a week and have started getting guitar lessons from a friend, which also requires daily practice. All of this on top of all the normal hum drum things I had been doing plus trying to squeeze in working on the new book a few hours a week at least.
Now I know that for some people this might not seem like a lot and I’m not actually saying it is. I don’t have kids to cart around and take care of, or elderly parents to care for so I know I could be far more busy. But considering how pared down my life had been for the last decade or two this is a huge amount more than I ever would have tried to take on in the past. The best part is that I’m actually enjoying it. I like challenges and now that I know my knee won’t fall apart on me, anymore than it already has, I keep adding in new things to try and accomplish (I walked on the treadmill the other night for my 35 minutes of cardio instead of riding the stationary bike which is much easier on my knee).
The only downside has been that I feel hurried all the time now and I forget some of the stuff I wanted to get done because I get busy doing something else that I wanted to get done. Both of which I’m hoping will get better as time goes on since this is all still pretty new to me. It seems to make me a bit flustered and unorganized which I’m not a fan of. So I think my next challenge will be to work on getting more organized and maybe make some lists to help me keep track of the things that have started to slip out of my brain only to show up later to haunt and annoy me.
I am also going to start working on a better and, hopefully more effective, marketing plan so that I can increase book sales, as well as finding some more conventions to attend and updating this site more often (I’m shooting for a couple times a week). Oh yeah and I have to throw in finishing the next book in the Strand series, which I’m really enjoying writing so far. There’s a bunch of other stuff too that I’m sure I can add to the list I’m going to go make as soon as I get done with this. Actually I may need a list of different lists to keep all of this straight.
Thanks for reading.
P.S. If anyone has any tips for organizing or marketing please feel free to leave a comment
I don’t talk about my mother enough. I think about her every day and miss her even more. I didn’t know her as well as I would have liked. She’s been gone since 1994 so I was just barely twenty one. I was basically still just a kid with the ability to buy booze. I hadn’t gotten to the point that I see a lot of people get to, now that I’m older, where they can hang out and talk like adults with their parents. I think that would have been fun. Read the rest of this entry
So I decided tonight that I should indulge in a couple drinks. I’m about 4 shots into a lovely single malt whiskey and so far everything seems to be going swimmingly. The melancholy tones of Vooddo Chile by Jimi Hendrix is blaring out of my laptop and It’s just about time for another refill. So far my typing seems okay and the one wonderful thing I’m noticing is that my normal level of not giving a fuck and non racing mind is back. Lately, I’ve had this massive problem of overthinking and since I’m not the most optimistic person, it is usually overthinking in a negative way. So to stem the tide of negativity I decided to have a few drinks and by golly it seems to have done the trick (for now). I may have to punish my liver more often. I was never one for the idea of drinking alone but I’ve done it a couple of times so far and I have to say its actually pretty fun. I may have to do this more often. anyway I’m off to refill and listen to some tunes (Journey right this second) I’d say back to work with me but fuck that shit I’m drinking. maybe I’ll draw something later on
I’ve been called a lot of things over the years. Some bad, some good, even been a few things that fall in the indifferent category. Subtle and vague have never been ones that pop up often Read the rest of this entry
All over social media I see posts about how we all should just love each other, stop hate, stop the killing, racists, bigots and on and on and on. What I don’t see is anyone actually defining what the problems are or solutions on how to fix it. “Well its racism” and “Just stop hating” aren’t defining the problem or solving the issues. They are cop outs and oversimplifications. If things were as simple as that then we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in, which to me feels like one small step away from falling off of a very high cliff. Read the rest of this entry