Sunday, August 25, 2013

(Re)prize

Writing today went much more favorably than last week. In this, the last book of the series, whether they die or not, I'm having to say goodbye to a lot of characters. And I wouldn't call them my children, because most of them are older than me, better or worse than me, and all of them different. But they did come from me, and I did my best to nurture them during our time together. Today's chapter was the series wrap for a character that I enjoyed, and I was enthused that I could send him off with something that felt like dignity.

I'm taking that positive and am trying to build on it. I've had a lot of ideas lately about a possible series after this one, and I might actually start writing them down. I'm getting closer to arranging those ethnographies, as well. I need to outline some things before I start, and chisel out some time to brainstorm on ideas. The meetup has been strangely unhelpful for that, but then, I haven't really been helping myself, either, by attending. The group will be visiting the local book festival this weekend, the same book festival that I read at last year. I hadn't thought at all about participating again (on account of the horror last year) until the meetup reminded me of it. Suddenly, it was August again, and I hadn't done enough networking. This is also about the same time of year that I promise to do better in 2014. Maybe I'll write an angry letter to myself.

In other news, I, in fact, was the loser of the third place run off. Ten or so people voted, and I got one of them. I suspect it was a pity vote because the woman posted about how much she loved someone else's story, and said nothing of mine. I got an email today from the site moderator about me checking out this month's story competition. I had already read about it, and wasn't interested. I thought to tell him that I was considering dropping from the site entirely, because it wasn't providing me with anything that I joined up for. I'm interested in getting better, and I can practice writing alone. With others, I need feedback, and I'm just not getting any. I posted things, all over the site, poetry, fiction, contest submissions. But, before writing any of that in an email, I decided to check and see if there were any more replies, and found this:

Re: J.E. Cammon's Diablo Canyon submission titled:
"Man in a Bottle"


Hola J.E.!

Quite frankly, at first, I had no particular idea just where 
you were headin' with this little western tale of yours. 
However, as i got more and more involved in its semi-
paranoid posture and purpose, I began to realize that 
I was being drawn into the protagonist's (Rupert) sad and 
shameful woeful western world.

I felt as though I were right there in the cell with the shamed,
sequestered sheriff of yesteryear. His dipsomaniacal dreams
and nightmares were 'sloshin'' all around us...both!

After his years of service, Sheriff Rupert had become nothing
more than the tumbleweed town's front porch whispered laughing-
stock. Now, just a shadow of his former self, hiding and hungry 
beneath his cot...thirsty, thirsty, ever thirsty and...doomed to
the shame and scars brought on by the demon rum distilled some-
where around and about the dark shadows of Diablo Canyon!

You see, I know first hand about those particular 'devils'. I've
bunked up with Rupert and Ruperts in my checkered past...
I've been there! 

Muy Bien Amigo! You have hit the proverbial nail on the head 
with this maudlin and melancholy visit into America's ol' west.

"4 out of 4 stars!"


Adios J.E., 
Doug
(Staff Reviewer/C&C)

Just in case you were curious, "Quite frankly, in the beginning, I had no idea where you were headin," is the kind of thing most people say about my writing. It confuses people, and splits readers into a majority that assumes I don't know what I'm doing, and a minority that thinks I just might have some skill. Neither group understands what is going on, though. I do wonder a little at what happened between this person reading my story, the voting, and this person reading my story in such a way that would make him write such a reaction.

But I guess if I knew what to do to make things better, that'd make it all too easy.

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