I’ve now missed my writing birthday for two years in a row.
I don’t even know if a writing birthday is something other writers commonly observe, or if it’s my own unique brand of writerly madness.
Even the exact date of my writing birthday is uncertain. I mark it from the day I commenced my first (incomplete, shelved) novel, which was sometime in early February, 2002.
Eric John Baker (R) and me, clearly hoping to win this thing by sheer force of smugness.
Only two approaches to writing exist: Good and Bad. Write good. Debate over!
Hold on a sec. That’s not what this post is about. This post is a point-counterpoint between two WordPress bloggers arguing the merits of two distinct writing methods, pantsing (freeform writing) and plotting (writing from an outline).
Read on as right-brained, right-coast writer Eric John Baker argues in favor of pantsing (at least we hope that’s what happens… he is making it up as he goes, after all), followed by left-brained, left-coast writer Janna G. Noelle making a case for plotting, probably with all kinds of charts and graphs and stuff.
No matter how ugly and violent it gets, they promise to return you home in time for tea and biscuits!
From the recent Imagine Dragons concert in Vancouver. I thought this was the moment I’d been waiting for, but the best was yet to come.
I never paid much attention to the Imagine Dragons before the Grammy Awards on January 26.
I was well familiar with their radio-friendly first single, Radioactive, but also knew they were very popular with the kids in the youth programs I work in.
Which right there put me off of them, for surely my musical tastes were more discerning than those of a 12-year-old.
Then the Grammys happened. I don’t own a TV, but followed the progress on Twitter and the official Grammys website. When Radioactive won Best Rock Performance, it made me curious in spite of myself about what the rest of their debut album, Night Visions, sounded like.
In a word: great.
In a few more words, it’s easy to see why they’re so popular, and likewise why their fan base is of such diverse ages.
There are people out there who read like fifty books a year.
This post is not for them.
(Indeed, I wish one of them would write their own post to teach me to read more.)
Reading is my oldest pastime, yet the older I get, the less time I seem to have for it.
I don’t ever want to stop reading books. But life is busy and full of countless distractions, not the least of which include writing, socializing, finally watching Homeland on Netflix (seriously, have you seen that show?!), and of course working – by far the biggest occupier of my time.
Last year for New Years, I resolved to read 12 books for the year. A book a month-ish, as I took to calling it given the overlap of some calendar months that occurred.
Writing a novel is one of the scariest things I’ve ever attempted.
And I’ve done some scary things in my life:
- I’ve moved to two different provinces on my own, both times having no prior friends or family present when I arrived.
- I’ve come face-to-face with a bull moose during rutting season.
- I’ve spend 24 straight hours in the woods on a fasting solo sit. (The fear in this isn’t possible animal encounters at night, but rather the act of sitting silently for hours with nothing to distract you but your own thoughts.)
- I’ve risked – and received – rejection asking guys way out of my league out on dates.
Just to name a few. As my father is fond of paraphrasing from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “The brave will only die once.”
In some ways, living in an apartment is worse than living at home with your family.
Not exactly movin’ on up.
Admittedly, apartment living isn’t all bad: it makes it possible for those not blessed with boatloads of money to live in urban areas.
As well, as an environmentalist, I’m definitely in favour of the densification that results from apartment living, as well as the concentration of resources like transit and amenities like shops and cafés that tend to spring up around apartment buildings.
However, when you live in an apartment (or condo, or university residence, or any other such non-detached living space), compared to living with your family, you can’t tell the people living among you what to do.
Correction: you can, but your family is far less likely to tell you to go f*ck yourself.
One of the iconic ads for the first generation of Apple iPods.
I am of the opinion that music makes the world go ‘round.
Whether you like to belt out radio hits in the shower, hum to yourself while concentrating, assemble the coolest party playlists, or sing along at church, I believe that everyone is a music lover in one way or another.
And music truly does seem to motivate the world, right up there with coffee. Every day – particularly on public transit, when I take it – I see people sporting the ubiquitous white (or red or black or what have you) headphones, piping sweet songs and strains into their grey matter.
My own days are no less musical, although, in tending to disfavour headphones, my method of delivery tends to differ.
If I were desperate, the internet is not without various resources.
I’ve been unhappy with the name of my blog for some time now.
Not that The Rules of Engagement is terrible as far as names in general go. There have been at least two movies called that (one about the 1993 Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas no less; the other a military legal thriller starring Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson) as well as a sitcom that just concluded its seventh and final season last year.
And yet, The Rules of Engagement is indeed the name of two movies and a long-running sitcom.
Which is to say, it’s not particularly original.
Plus, I didn’t put any real thought into it when I chose it as the name for my blog.
Of all the various forms of social media out there, blogging is definitely my favourite.
The ability to blog is a wonderful privilege for someone like me, for I was always the kid everyone was trying to shut up.
At school, despite being a strong student, I was constantly criticized on report cards for talking too much – both in and out of turn – and in general disrupting the class with my compulsive need to share every last idea that came into my head.
Thankfully, my father, who was a huge proponent of self-expression, told my teachers he’d much rather I talk than not talk.
Yet for someone like me, blogging is the perfect pursuit, for I get to express my thoughts (and my thoughts are usually fairly detailed, which is why I do better on WordPress than Twitter), and those who care can read it while those that don’t can tune me out entirely.
And yet, I’m not really that good of a blogger.
Anyone who knows me well knows that my favourite of all the holidays in the year is New Years.
Christmas, I could really take or leave: it has an interminable, commercially-driven lead-up that starts the moment Halloween ends; holiday travel is utterly wretched, as I lamented in my last post, and I don’t much care for Christmas carols (for all that my one and only successful songwriting attempt resulted in a modern Christmas song).
But once all the hoopla and mayhem of December 25 is passed, the sixth day after the fact is one I look forward to with excitement.
Now, I’ve never been to a swanky New Year’s Eve bash….
I’ve never rung in January 1 with champagne, a sparkly gown, and a kiss from a charismatic stranger at midnight.
The one time visited I New York City to spend New Years in Time Square, I was so many streets back from the action, the TV back at my accommodations offered the best view of ball dropping.
And yet, sexy celebration or not, I still love New Year’s, for I love new beginnings.