Hey friends! I can call you guys friends, right? We've had a few talks? We're in that place, right?
Anyway... Hi friends!!!!
It's been a busy few weeks. Lots going on personally and professionally. Thy Choicest Gifts is off to my close group of draft readers, my friends who I trust to give me some good feed back for the next (maybe final) draft; and the first book of the Cryptid Chronicles is now with my amazing new editor (more on that to come in a future post!)
On top of all of that, I got my first round of the Covid-19 vaccine a little over a week ago and I'm staring into the second does with anticipation!
But I've also been keeping up on my reading; books, blogs, all sorts of stuff. And now, I know that I'm A LONG WAY behind the trend here, but I've been looking at what I have with me all the time; the classic 'Every Day Carry' concept. I keep seeing an interesting take on it, that you can tell a lot about a person by what they have with them everyday; about what they prioritize to keep on their person and what is either necessity or important enough that it's worth the precious space in a pocket or bag, and the time and energy it takes to collect those items each morning. And that got me wondering; what do I carry with me? What does my 'Everyday Carry' say about me? Why do I choose to take those items with me?
So I decided to examine it and drag you poor saps... I mean... my precious friends along for the ride... So let's dive in!
Okay, first off, it's a little weird to see most of my whole day just laid out like that. Somehow it feels like a lot of stuff just dumped out but it also feels strangely vulnerable. Like almost every thing I dow is laid out there and it kinda feels insignificant. And I think that's okay. So... Wanna dive in and take a look? Let's go.
First off I guess we should talk about my iPhone, because... well it's rather ubiquitous. Data shows that of the smartphones used in the United States, 60.75% are iPhones. Not too bad if you own any Apple stock. Besides the obvious; voice, text, email... you know, the same boring crap that just about every iPhone user uses it for, I also keep a running tally of what books I'm working on and their approximate word count... ya know, just so I can wallow in the self doubt that I'll ever finish another book again... For those days when the crushing existential dread isn't enough.
At this point, I'm compelled to tell you that I've been taken prisoner.
Next up, I guess is my iPad. It's not a big deal, nothing special in terms of iPads. In fact it's a little old. It's a fifth generation! Gasp! But I mostly use it to read on and to do some research, so it's more than adequate for what I need (read* wants a new one...)
Next is my MacBook Pro...
First I'm gonna point out, that yes, I am one of those people who put stickers and crap on their computers. And before you criticize me, let me remind you that this whole post is about the concept of what the things we carry say about us, about how what we carry and how we carry it is an expression of self. Now you may mock me.
Now that we've all had a good laugh at my expense, let's talk about the actual computer. This is my favorite machine to work on (as you can see, I took this picture while writing this! You are looking at me talking to you! Take that shit, Christopher Nolan!) But in all seriousness. I love this computer. I wrote most of Opportunity on it, and nearly all of Thy Choicest Gifts on it.
You might have also noticed a theme here. All the tech is Apple... that's because I lovingly refer to myself as an iFag. I'm happily a member of the cult of Apple. Ok... next.
Okay, let's talk about my wallet. I've had this wallet for a while now and I love it. It from OCD Experience and it's the best wallet I've had (I've gone through a lot, I'm rough on them) It's got room for all my cards, a money clip and pocket behind the money clip (the pocket is holding my WHYY membership card. WHYY is our local NPR station and we're so happy to support them. You should check out your local NPR station and support them too, if you're able) We can also talk about the Starbucks gold rewards card, because yea, I'm that kinda gay.
Alright, so "one of these things is not like the others." To be perfectly honest, I didn't think I was ever the type of guy who would carry a 'multi-tool.' The whole idea seemed ridiculous to me... but I received this in a subscription box and thought, 'what the hell.' It's only the size of a credit card, maybe even a little smaller, so it's no real cost in terms of space or weight, and I can't tell you how many times I've actually used it. Granted, mostly to open Amazon packages or a Stella Artois, and if I'm being perfectly honest, I haven't a clue what some of those hole thingies are for, but hell, I'm sure I can come up with a use for 'em.
Okay, these are my two most commonly used pens. the silver one is actually a cheap, Zebra V-301 fountain pen. It's under $5 but it writes pretty nicely and it's the body of the pen is all metal. It's a great pen for frequent use. But ya know what's an even better pen? The blue one. That my friends is my Montblanc. Is it bougie AF? Oh hell yes? Did I pay WAY too much for it? Well let's just say that you people need to start buying books to pay for it (kidding, mostly) Was it worth the money? Oh fuck yes! I've never felt anything that writes like a Montblanc. It glides over the page with such amazing ease. Like Holy God! I love that thing. I mean, I probably wouldn't give up my first born for it, but... I'd probably take longer than I really should to consider it.
Okay this one seems a little silly. It's just a canvas little pen case, but I tend to carry more pens and little stickies and crap then there are slots for in a messenger bag or briefcase. I just shove everything (but the Montblanc) in there, toss it in a bag with the rest of my stuff and off I go. And it's cute, with the little quill and quote.
Right, it only makes sense that I should like to keep a notebook on me, and while I've got a few favorites that I love, just ask my friend Jesse, he got a whole, unsolicited review of about 30 different notebooks, in video format after a really simple question about which I prefer. This one is nice because it tends to lay pretty flat, which makes it a lot easier when I'm making rushed sloppy notes. Plus you can't tell me that you don't think this is a cute ass notebook.
But the thing is, I don't always like to cart around a full notebook... That's where the next item comes in.
Okay, this is my favorite pocket sized thing here (the Montblanc does NOT go in my pocket). This little guy is a pocket notebook inside of a leather notebook cover. It fits easily in my back pocket and is beat up a bit because I end up sitting on it but I love this thing. The notebook slips right out to be replaced. I prefer the dot grid format. I had to do some redaction there... You're not ready for those facts yet! Both the cover and the notebook are from Story Supply Company, a small company based in York, Pa. Check them out!
Okay, so this seems like it's a no brainer, but a flashdrive is kinda important. This one is just 2 gb.
This is the last thing, I think. This small case is great. It holds my MacBook and charger, iPad, all my gizmos and crap and was pretty affordable. I was given the patch and was like, "Hell yeah, that's goin' on there!" I can't think of much more to say...
Um... so yeah. I think that's about it. If I think of anything more I'll certainly update.
I'm not really sure what all this says about me, other than "WRITER!" haha, but I hope you enjoyed this weird little look into me... Talk to ya soon.
And remember: You are seen, you are loved, you matter.
I really hope 2021 is treating everyone better than 2020 did. I don't know what everyone's been doing but I've been trying to keep busy. I've been plodding my way through the first draft of Thy Choicest Gifts and I was so excited when I finished the first draft last Tuesday night.
I dove in pretty quickly to start working on line edits and finished the first round of line edits on Saturday, which now comes the task of incorporating the edits, notes and continuity checks into a second draft. Then comes the hardest part. Letting it sit. Critical distances is an important part of the process for me. If I come back too quickly after finishing the second draft, I'll miss glaring errors. I also use that time to give it to a few very close friends for a 'comment period.'
I sent the very, VERY, rough, first draft to another author friend and got back some lovely comments. That'll help when I come back to the manuscript a few weeks later to create the third draft.
In that fun, in between time, I'll be refocusing my attention on the second book in the Cryptid Chronicles series. The first book of the series coming along and I've finished a third draft for it and I'm letting it sit a while before going back for a final polish. I can't tell you what a mess that first draft was! The original manuscript spanned ten years and at least five complete rewrites before I had a manuscript that I was happy with enough to call a finished first draft.
With so much stewing for what I hope will be 2021 and 2022 releases, it gets a little chaotic sometimes. Sometimes it feels like the different characters are warring to tell their own stories, or their worlds are battling for precedence. It makes me think of a few quotes about writing. Hemmingway wasn't wrong when he said, "There is nothing to writing; all you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." And that's okay, because the flip side is the that for as hard and easy it is at the same time, it's also "the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel like I should be doing something else." (Just gonna through in some Gloria Steinem for ya!)
My two favorite quotes about writers come from Carson McCullers and Victor Hugo. McCullers said "the writer is by nature, a dreamer; a conscious dreamer," and Hugo wrote "a writer is a world trapped in a body."
You see, for me, the struggle and pain, the blood letting so to speak, the tears and laughter, are all part of the process. From the draft to the edits to the final polish. Even comments bring the same feelings about. You remember what you wrote and why. You'll find in Thy Choicest Gifts a few passages where I put more of myself into it that I expected and that's okay, it's part of that trapped world, struggling to get out.