Sunday, November 29, 2009


It's the last gasp, about thirty-someish hours until the end of the month. For NaNo'ers, this is either a sweet deadline or impending doom. I hope you're in the former camp, but if you're not, or you didn't try NaNoWriMo this year, I hope you'll give it a try again next time. I truly do believe that it's a magical month (likely because I start gearing up for it far in advance.) For the more writerly among you, I'm looking to you for guidance as to the proper "soak" time to allow the first draft before sitting down and re-reading it again, and to find the courage to re-read and re-write. I'm mired in last year's novel, opting to jump in and fix every tiny little thing instead of stepping back and looking at the structure of the Whole, and going from there. The collision of words on the page leaves me speechless at times, and I don't have a good strategy for plowing through it. Help!

Thanksgiving came particularly late this year, too, so I didn't realize just how close to the end of the year we truly are. 2009 is running out on us, and I'm shaking myself awake to face the holidays... they've had a four-week head start, and are moving at quite a clip already. Time to be pulling out all the hall-decking from the shed and start giving the house over to tinsel and bells and non-stop seasonal bossa nova. Considering that we're still pulling down Halloween art projects from my preschooler, this is quite an undertaking. The Spirit of the Season is upon us, as I was reminded when I saw this Lettera 22 being offered for $250 on the local Craigslist. That also leaves me speechless.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


20091124 typecast
(click to embiggen)

UPDATE: transcribed for the copy-and-paste challenged...

November 24, 2009


I've been keeping a low profile for the past week or so, willing your word-counts past whatever hurdles you might be facing from over here along the sidelines. I'm not sure if my cheering/goading is helping matters at all, or just annoying you to no end: I hope for the former and always suspect the latter. Those U.S.-based members of the typosphere at least get a reprieve in the form of a long holiday weekend, which I hope you're not all spending hunched over the keys, at least not without a slice of pie close at hand. Take strength in the caloric overload of the season, and don't forget what this Thursday is really all about (and no, not for stocking the shelved in dreadful anticipation of Black Friday.) Contrarian that I am, I far prefer making a big fuss over Thanksgiving in the face of the pre-pre-pre Christmas hysteria. You know we'll be sitting tounf the table making handprint-and-construction-paper turkeys while we wait for the tolls to bake or the cranberries to boil. Even that big Parade is so overly commercial that the kids won't sit through it. Take a little time away from the word pile to grab a convenient loved one (child, parent, pet, Olympia) and tell them "thanks" for putting up with you and your eccentricities for another 365.

On Friday, it's all back to business.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Big Sell-Out

Inspired by a comment in my Shift Freedom photo, I spent a few minutes this morning fiddling with the "Posterize" tool on Gimp, and have entered the realm of typospheric merch.

Behold! Clickthing Swag-o-Matic 6000!

I'm realizing, though, that this offers up opportunities for those who might want to embellish themselves with their favorite scribomechanical devices, without the stigma and righteousness that will rightfully rain down upon you if you were to, say, support a keychopper on Etsy.

This is kind of a joke, unless anyone actually buys one, and then I'm all in. What would you like to see on a shirt/mug/sticker/magnet?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Keys to Romance

Staying heads-down in NaNo land before H1N1 lands on my house (as I feel it is doomed to do) but I had to share this worthy op-ed piece from the Times of India, entitled "Keys to Romance"

"[Y]ou could fall in love with the typewriter. With the comp[uter], one is not very sure."

How true indeed that is. And not that I'm crazy about Geeksugar, since they have promoted/cooed about typewriter key jewelry, but I was surprised (and pleased) to see a pair of my very own machines show up in this post. (Etta the Quiet DeLuxe and the unnamed SM-9, for those playing at home.) I do have to admit to feeling all a-swoon when I open up their cases, which I do far too infrequently.

EDIT: Ah, Olivander has teh stronger Google-fu than I. Check out his link, and also this clip. I think we have a new name for the Brigade rock band: Duffy Moon and the Fate Machine.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Mt. Diablo, November 2009
I'm shepherding a group of NaNo newbies this year, first timers making their trek through November. This is my third go-round, which I suppose makes me the grizzled old veteran around these parts. One of the newbies (a co-worker) just stopped me in the break room and said "you know, I was working on my story last night, and it's been hard work, and then all of a sudden it just took on its own life."

I know the feeling well. I like that we have this month-long excuse to be silly and self-indulgent and take a tilt at the "novelist" windmill. I joked on the NaNo forums that I'm addicted to the word count rush -- my competitive nature again, surely -- and that I'm just chugging along with the story because in my head, it's already done. I'm just filling in the gaps.

Let me try an extended analogy here. Around springtime, I'm standing on the plains, just kind of looking around the mental landscape for interesting features. I've recovered from the previous November, and I'm starting to think about that next great story journey. Out on the horizon, I can see something -- hills, maybe, or trees, or rocks. It's hard to tell from here, but they look interesting, and I make a note about them on an index card and start walking in their general direction.

It's a long walk: months long, in fact, and all too often I need to take my eyes away to attend to something or other in my waking life -- work, kids, pets, whatever. But those features are still there, out on the horizon. I can make out shapes if I look long enough. I can start seeing the high points, and I can see the gaps in-between. It looks like mountains. I'm still walking, making notes, and details are starting to appear. A tree line, or the way a cloud breaks over a peak. I start thinking about the path I'll be taking, the way over and around and through those mountains, when I finally reach them.

By the time I get to their feet, it's October. Now I'm so close, I can only see the surface. The peaks are clear, but the valleys are hidden, and the path is mysterious. I know the big landmarks -- I spotted those weeks ago -- but I'm still not sure of the path through. I set up camp by the mountain, the start of the range. I'm eager to start, eager to set out and explore.

November comes, and I can finally start climbing! The low, round foothills are the easiest, and I meander my way up, up, up. The peaks are coming into view, as are the paths that lead to them. I'm still heading for my landmarks: I know that they'll see me through if I just stop to orient myself now and then. I'll get to the other side in the end, exhausted and weary surely, surprised and amused maybe. The way was twisted and turned, the path was tangled at times or unclear. It lead me down into hidden vales, and up along steep climbs, and sometimes an exhilarating headlong rush downhill, my feet barely able to keep up. But I have been climbing before; I know what to expect, and I know what I can do. I am not the most graceful, the most skilled wayfinder in the mountains, but I am getting better with each climb.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Tangled Weave of Plot

Feeling the typewriter love this morning: momentum is a powerful force, and the combined weight of all those typewriters thunking away... it's awe-inspiring.

Wanna see something else inspiring, in an I-can't-believe-how-nerdy this is way? Take a look at today's xkcd, and be sure to click through for the big image. (xkcd is... difficult to explain. Some are moderately NSFW if your boss frowns on stick-figure coitus. This strip is fine, but you have been warned.)

It certainly helps if you've seen the movies in question, but as a card-carrying mouth-breathing fanboy of The Lord of the Rings (both books and movies), I am completely awed and in love with the narrative chart. I know that Randall's ultimately going for a joke here, but I love the idea of seeing the lives intertwining on the page.

I was toying with something like this on Saturday before I started writing, trying to list out the various subplots and resolutions I'm aiming for in this year's book. But the chart form...

...I need some butcher-block paper and a pack of markers, stat.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Oh, thank goodness. Now I just have to try and read the notes I made last night while all hopped up on Reese's Pieces.

November dreaming

Now stop wasting time on the Intertubes and get typing!