Welcome to my live journal!
I am keeping track of my twenty 2021 Writing and Podcasting Goals here.
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To filter my entries by a certain subject like kids, family videos, stories, writing, religion, etc., go to my Tags page and select a subject.
To see what I've added lately, just read below, and enjoy.
Welcome to my live journal!
- Finish writing "Three Guins"
- Finish writing and recording 1st issue/episode/chapter of "Pants on the Ground" serial.
- Start writing "Eddy, the Macabre Explorer"
- Finish production and release "Troubled Child"
- Record and release an OTR episode.
- Record a "Trekkin'" episode
Last year, I entered the Escapepod flash fiction contest with my religious android story "Revelations". It didn't get past the first round, but it was fun to contribute again. So when I heard Podcastle's contest started taking submissions this month, I wanted to join in again, if only for the challenge.
But 500 words or less is hard to pull off and make it feel like it's a complete story. What should I try to do? Then I remembered a weird little story (if you want to call it that) that I wrote for a twitfic magazine in 2009, titled "Line of Sight". Back then, they were looking for an interconnected series of five tweet-sized naratives (140 characters or less). I came up with an idea where I chronicled the life of a man with reflective vision powers.* (Click on the "line of sight" tag at the bottom to read the original.)
If I enlarged each of those five segmants into just under 100 words each, I'd have a flash story to submit to Podcastle. So that's exactly what I did. I stayed pretty close to the original, but added some more context and character bits. I thought it turned out pretty well. However, I could just as easily expand it even further, add more scenes and fill out Daniel Hunter's life with more fun stuff. It could be a novella or longer. Maybe some day I will do that.
*A super power that I have never seen used in a comic book before. However, odds are it is not an original idea. Cyclops is the closest character I can think of, but he's is totally different. I used the same powers in a larger superhero story I wrote later on, which I never finished.
* I will try this asterisk thing that Rish does. We usually can't afford steak unless it's on clearence and we cook it up or freeze it right away, but my wife went to the butcher and asked for a big T-Bone steak for my birthday. It was humungus. I was only able to eat half of it, but I had the other half for lunch today.
** My wife found Love Boat on CBS All Access (which is soon changing to Paramount Plus soon) and we have slowly been going through season one. When I was a kid, my parents would go out on a date pretty much every Saturday night, and my sister and I would watch Love Boat, Fantasy island, and if my parents were out late enoght Dukes of Hazard every Saturday night. It was a weekly ritual. It's cheesy and sometimes maudlin, but it's.still fun to watch the crew and see what guest stars were going to show up. Half the fun is seeing how fast we can guess the outcome of the storyline. I forgot the show had a laugh track.
- Finish “Something Scary”, present in October. - Finished 1st Draft! Sent out for comments. In the fermenting phase. Need to go back to 2nd draft later and record for the podcast.
- Finish “Hoth 105” and include it in an episode of Delusions of Grandeur - Finished 1st Draft! Rish read it and had some great suggestions. Need to go back and work on it some more.
- Write an ending for “Dark Protocol” and include it in an episode of Delusions of Grandeur - Developing background Jedi characters in order to flesh them out a bit for the ending.
- Finish / rewrite “The Black Cat” and produce it for a Edgar Allan Poe month in January
- Write “Eddy, The Macabre Explorer” and produce it for a Edgar Allan Poe month in January
- Finish “Good Morning Girl”
- Finish “Three Guns”
- Write “A Sci-fi New Year”
- Write “Timecast, Part 2”
- Start serializing “Pants On The Ground,” editing and finishing in the process
- Update LiveJournal almost daily.
- Publish five episodes of “Trekkin’” on Patreon
- Publish five episodes of “Comics Cave” on Patreon
- Publish eight episodes of “Outfield Excursions”, including a Poe adaptation ready for January 2022. - Recorded METEOR episode with Rish.
- Work to get the permission to produce "Test of the Twins" by Margaret Weis - I read the story again. Found MW website. Looking into compiling profile of best productions, focusing on Fantasy.
- Work to get the permission to produce "Newsletter" by Connie Willis
- Exercise every day
- Eat Healthy (low to no carbs)
- Hike to Table Rock
- Plan Wirter’s Retreat
Lee continued his work. He’d learned that if you wait for the conversation to end with Karl before doing anything, you never got anything done. He was sure Karl would never get the hint.
“You’ve got a fine yard here, Lee,” Karl continued. “Of course, it looks like it needs some TLC. Last year I cut down all my ferns and a nasty bunch of those lilac bushes like you have there. You know what I replaced them with?”
Lee shrugged and emptied his shovel into a white plastic garbage bag.
“Bamboo. Man that stuff grows fast. You have to stay on it, but it looks nice and it’s growing tall along my back fence, which it perfect because I’m tired of looking at my neighbors back porch all the time. And the blackberries aren’t growing there anymore either. They’re like weeds around here you know. Nasty stuff. Looks like you’ve got quite an infestation on the side there.”
“I’m grateful to have them,” Lee said, knowing he shouldn’t engage in the discussion. “Just a small bowl of those cost like $15 where I grew up in D.C. They take some tending, but they taste good.”
“That’s what you say now. You just wait. They are a scourge, I tell ya. I burned all of mine up last year. Gasloine works real good on them. There’s still a few coming back. It’s the stinking birds, you know. They eat the berries and poop out the seeds all over my yard. But I just send the kiddos up to pull up the runners.”
Lee didn’t push it any further. He walked over to the garbage bin by the house.
“Say, that’s what you need,” Karl stated profoundly. “You need to have some kids so they can do the yard work.”
“Not me,” said Lee.
“Aw c’mon. Best thing that ever happened to Carol and I. The pride of my life, them boys. Wouldn’t you like to have some little Huelet kiddos running around.”
Lee droped the garbage bag into the bin and slammed down the lid.
“No,” said Lee. “I wouldn’t. And there is no such word as ‘kiddos’. They are ‘kids’ or ‘children’. Not ‘kiddos’. That’s just a word that teachers and pediatricians made up to made the kids seem less obnoxious than they really are.”
“All right there, Lee,” Karl said with a laugh. “No need to get all bent out of shape.”
Lee sighed. He had overstated his case. He didn’t feel that strongly about it. Karl was just putting him on edge. He rested the shovel over his shoulder.
“Look Karl, I hate to run you off, but I have a lot of work to get done.”
[to be continued...]
Jen may have been enjoying her new job; but Lee was frustrated with his. Since the cat incident, Lee had been pulled into a floundering controls project at a lumber mill near Medford. Another engineer, one Karl Metz, was in over his head, but hadn't told anybody until it was too late. Now the customer was upset because their production was critical. After many long hours and pretty much living in Medord for a couple weeks, Lee and Karl were able to get it to the point where the mill could consistently run lumber, but there was still a lot of cleanup and efficiency to work out.
It didn’t bother Lee so much that Karl got so far behind. Lee had been in that position himself and had needed someone to help bail him out a time or tow. But Karl was so ambivalent about it. He continued to blame others for his mistakes, and he took credit for things that Lee had actually solved. Karl constantly talked himself up, but it didn’t take long to see through the blowhardedness. Not that he wasn’t capable. Karl had more expertise than Lee in several things, but he often just did things halfway or with shortcuts to avoid doing the work.
Lee struggled with Karl on the personal side as well. First of all, Karl never stopped talking. He also had no filter when it came to what was appropriate, which led to issues with customers. A considerable amount of the damage control Lee had needed to do involved customer relations moreso than controlling the machinery of the mill.
To make matters worse, Lee had moved into a neighborhood that wasn’t too far from Karl’s. Had he known, he would have kept searching the market. Now, since Lee helped him out in Medford, Karl considered them to be good pals. Carpooling to Medford was a necessary evil, but Karl wanted to carpool to the office now, and thought it was okay to drop by unannounced on weekends.
In fact, it was a Saturday afternoon when Lee heard Karl bellowing from the front driveway.
“Hey, Lee, are you back there?”
Lee was in the backyard shoveling up dog doo, so that he could mow the lawn and tackle other yard work that had been long overdue. He wondered if he should try to hide, but felt that would be silly. This was his yard after all. Maybe if he just didn’t answer, Karl would go away. But then be saw Karl’s head pop up over the side gate. Was he standing on a rock or something?
“There you are,” Karl said. “Nobody answered the door, but I saw you’re truck in the driveway.”
Lee sighed. “Hi Karl. Do you need something?” He tried to neither sound rude or inviting.
“No I was just coming back from dropping my kids off for their dirt bike practice rally, and I thought I’d drop by.” Karl said.
Of course. thought Lee. Because we are best buddies.
“You didn’t want to stay and watch?” Lee said.
“Naw. This coach doesn’t want parents there for the practice rally before the big race. He says it’s too distracting for the kiddos. I think he could use some help. I usually try to show the boys a few pointers.”
I’m sure you do. thought Lee. The no parents rule was probably implemented simply on account of Karl.
[to be continued...]
I know why I don't write very much. Well, first of, I'm lazy. But besides that, I'm slow. It takes me forever just to write a few paragraphs. Not always, but often. The major factor I think, like I said earlier, is that I can't turn off the editor. I should just be writing and writing freely, not worried about good sentence structure, or spelling, anything. Just get it out on the page, and pick up the pieces later. Maybe it's the engineer in me that needs everything laid out. I'm definitely not OCD. I don't mind leaving a physical mess. You know, clothes on the floor, stuff in the yard, junk on my desk. There is a limit, but I'm not a neat freak. But if I am going to write something, and especially if I am going to post it on the internet, then it should be somewhat edited, right?
Months passed. Life didn't stop just because Lee killed a cat, or because he was having bad dreams.
Jen got a job working the front office for a pediatrician. She liked the doctor, which wasn’t often the case in her experience as a medical assistant. She also made easy friends with a couple co-workers.
Lee was glad for her. It was nice to see his wife happy, and in her words, “being productive”. Selfishly, he was also glad that she wasn’t at home anymore because he feared that she might start having second thoughts about not having kids. They had talked about children a great deal before they got married. Lee did not want children; and Jen made it clear that she was on board with that. Her opinion wasn’t quite as intense as Lee’s, but she just didn't feel like she was the motherly type. However, after the cat incident, Lee worried that she might feel lonely—that those maternal instincts would kick in, that she’d hear the ticking of her biological clock, and so on. But Jen had shown no signs of hankering for a baby, and that was fine by him.
From an early age, Lee had decided he didn’t want to be a father. Adults would ask him how many kids he was going to have when he grew up. “None,” Lee would say flatly. Most would just laugh and say something about him changing his mind, but he was adamant. His mom would always fend them off.
“Stop pestering the child,” she would say. “Lee can sure enough make up his own mind.” She also protected him when people came to her concerned that Lee didn’t have a lot of friends. “Some of the most brilliant men in the world kept to themselves.” And sometimes Lee would hear her append in almost a whisper, “Poor thing.” He was always a bit confused by that.
[to be continued...]
After several weeks, other elements started to enter into the dream.
Jen came out of the house yelling at him. “You big dummy. What are you doing? Don’t you know how to kill nothing. What kind of a man are you? You ain’t nothing like my daddy. You’re getting blood all over my dress.”
Jen had never been this cruel or dismissive to him in real life, even when they argued. But dreams have a way of projecting fears and insecurities onto its characters. Her east Texas accent was exaggerated almost to the point of satire.
Lee noticed the sun dress she was wearing. It was the white one with yellow roses on it—the one in which he first laid eyes on her that first semester at Texas A&M. He had been in the engineering department, Jen in agriculture. There had been some kind dance going on in conjunction with a big rodeo. Lee’s friends had drug him to it against his will, but once he saw Jen in that dress, he had been eternally grateful to them. However, now Lee observed the dress was marred by streaks of blood.
“Give me that shovel. I’ll show you how it’s done,” Jen demanded. “Shouldn’t leave it up to no city boy. My daddy showed me how to kill chickens. What’s a matter, Lee, don’t you know how to kill a stupid old cat. Give me that shovel.”
Lee looked up at the shovel to find it drenched in blood. Was there that much blood before? He heard the sickly cry coming from the cat. He looked down at it. All of the familiar gruesome features were there, but the head of the cat was also caved in, sinking into the ground like rotting fruit.
“Come on,” Jen mocked, as if talking to a small child. “Give me the shovel.”
Rage flashed through Lee’s mind and he thought, I’ll give you the shovel all right.
He reared it back as if to strike.
Lee sat up in bed. Sweat dripped from his forehead. His stomach turned, his throat convulsed, and the taste of metal and phlegm rested on the back of his tongue. He rushed to the bathroom, but his sickness never rose above his warning symptoms. Eventually he returned to bed.
“Have another bad dream?” Jen asked, partially muffled by a pillow.
“Yeah,” said Lee.
“You want to talk about it, sweetheart?”
“Okay then, get some rest.” Jen sounded almost relieved, and was back asleep within seconds.
Lee stared into the darkness for a bit, but eventually drifted back to sleep as well.
[to be continued...]
Word Count Today: 435
Word Count Total: 1815