Friday, October 29, 2010

The most important thing…

“You may need to do a signing where I work,” Vicky said. (Actually, she said the name of where she worked but we’ll let her keep her privacy this once.)

Sometimes I have a tough time deciding which blog to post to. I mean, there’s the writing blog and the personal life blog (and don’t think I haven’t been tempted to bring back MY SIDE as a political blog). In the case of this entry, I’m writing about both my writing and my personal life – Vicky in particular. And Vicky always trumps everything, so…

When Vicky and I first started dating, I told her all about my artistic background, my writing and my acting. She told me about her ex, the musician, and how well that worked out… no, it didn’t. She said, “Just don’t ever expect me to be a fan. I love you for you, not for what you can do.”

But if there’s one thing a guy needs – especially a writer guy – especially THIS GUY – if there’s one thing I need is a woman who loved what I do as well as who I am. So, I was very disappointed by all this… but I hoped…

So, the years passed and I wrote book after book and play after play and Vicky read them or saw them on stage (the plays, not the books) and slowly she came around as a fan. Not only is she a fan but she’s become a very important part of what I do. She proofreads my work, which I need very much! She’s my biggest booster. She’s become my partner in ways nobody else has ever been. And I’m grateful for that.

So, when Vicky said, “You may need to do a signing where I work,” it was because she has so many people she works with looking forward to reading Wormfood Island that they don’t just want the book; they want a signed copy of the book! Of course, I told her I’d be happy to do a signing anywhere she’d like. Heck, I’ll be travelling up and down the west coast!

But it means so much to me that she’s become an ardent fan, someone who loves my work and is looking forward to what’s next as much as I am. That’s what sharing my life means to me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Job for now…

I’m just as surprised as anyone to hear me announce that I got a job… so let’s not overdue it. I got a temp job, a contract job. Wooooo… uh, I guess…

I’m not complaining, nor will I. I’m working part-time as a tech-writer, redesigning manuals and quick start guides. It’s not a mental marathon but it is a semi-steady paycheck and I’ll take it.

I really should have more to say at this point…

… so, let me see… In keeping with the theme of the new job, I should also mention I got my free copies of Recovering The Self today (see the side-bar to order yours TODAY!). One copy goes to me and the other to my mom (order your copy of Recovering the Self TODAY!). I’m probably going to bring hers over this weekend (but you can order your copy of Recovering the Self TODAY!).

(… too much?)

This coincides with some muchly-needed house cleaning I’ve been doing lately. Actually, it’s not house cleaning. It’s in-box cleaning. I am what you might call an email packrat. You might also call me a slob; isn’t that right, Vicky? (Don’t get her started!) I’ve been holding on to emails for nearly a decade and, liking round numbers, I thought 2010 would be a good year to clear them out.

So, I’m reading them as I clear them… divorce in 2000… near-suicide in 2002… I’m just finishing 2002 and thinking, “Geez, Ken… don’t ever do that again.” By “that”, I’m referring to the horrible depression I was in… and all the horribly depressed emails I sent out. I couldn’t believe how – let’s just say it – pathetic I sounded.

But, you know, I’m proof that things get better… for some people… others die – but nobody wants to hear about your crap in the meantime!!! Since those bad days, I’ve tried to refocus my life on the positive aspects: my lovely wife, the things my talent allows me to write, a good bicycle ride now and then. Sure, there are days when disappointment gets the best of me and then I realize how much worse things could be.

And then, I get a job. And then, I get published. It ain’t bad… for now, at least…

Friday, October 22, 2010

Little Victories…

Any time you get something published, it’s a little victory. In this case, though, there’s a bit more to the story.

Little Victories is about the work I’ve done in cobbling my life together in the past decade. For those who haven’t bought into the mass-delusion that there’s no such thing as regrets, I discuss how you actually learn to live with them.

Initially, I had not considered writing anything like this. I had sent my book on success, Climbing Maya, to Loving Healing Press. While they like the book, they’re not sure – so they asked me to write for their magazine, Recovering the Self, instead.

So, here’s the plan. Recovering the Self (volume 2, number 4), featuring Little Victories, is now on sale at Amazon as well as other Internet money-suckers. If you buy it, I thank you. I also ask for you to drop the publisher a note, either through the magazine or whatever website you purchase it from, telling them how much you liked my article and would like to see Climbing Maya in print.

I thank you.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Let have a holiday for gay teens who kill themselves!...

Today is Gay Teen Suicide Awareness Day.

I’m going to repeat that so the fuckedupedness can sink in.

Today is Gay Teen Suicide Awareness Day.

You have your Arbor Day. You have your Independence Day. And now, you have your Gay Teen Suicide Awareness Day.

Listen, I’m all for equal rights and I don’t think anyone should be offing themselves but this business of having a holiday and this business of wearing purple shirts is the biggest load of shit in an already shitty situation.

People should look after each other every day of the year. Bullying should not be tolerated by or towards any group – not that I honestly think it can be stopped. And no color clothing can stop anything. Pink can’t stop breast cancer. Purple can’t stop suicide. Periwinkle Blue cannot stop people from acting like idiots, which is why I’ve decided to throw away all of my periwinkle blue underpants.

… I’m just saying…

Monday, October 18, 2010

Birthday this weekend…

I was trying to think of what to call this when a great song by Steve Forbert, Autumn This Year, popped into my head… so blame him…

I turned 45 this year… only a couple of days ago. Vicky says I don’t look a day over 44 11/12s, but I feel the age, believe me. I feel it when I go jogging and my bad leg says, “Remember all those good times you had abusing the shit out of me?” There’s my mistake. I didn’t know legs held shit. I feel when I look in the mirror and realize it’s the brown hairs I can start counting… backwards…

But most of all, I felt my age this weekend as we spent it up in wine country around Paso Robles. We made a great excuse for not being amongst friends and family, taking off and staying in Cambria, one of our favorite little towns. We had a wonderful time – no so wonderful that I didn’t want to get home and start working on a new book but, still, a wonderful time.

As we often do with long drives (we drove to Cambria and back), Vicky and I had selected an audiobook to listen to and this time it was A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. I love the movie but had never read the book. Always one to outdo me, Vicky had read the book and also loved the movie. Still, we both wanted to listen to it and it was a treat the whole weekend.

But then came Saturday evening. We had spent the whole day winery-hopping amongst some amazing hillsides and some of the prettiest country you could ever wish to be in and Vicky was returning us to Cambria – I was far too drunk, I mean, relaxed to drive. We made a stop at Jack Creek Farms for some cider. I have to link it because we just love this place. It’s nothing, really, but that’s what makes it so wonderful.

Then, Vicky kept driving. She hadn’t really been drinking because she was the designated driver this time out. Hey, it was my birthday! But all that wine turned my mind to a darker place, a place that made me feel a lot older than my graying head or limping leg ever could.

I thought, “So… 45, huh?” I thought about some of the people I’ve lost and wondered where they were and why they couldn’t celebrate with me. Particularly, I thought about one reader up north… my ex… and I pondered for the millionth time how that went wrong – because it’s a celebration, why not fuck that up by being morose, right?

And Vicky drove on.

We came to a country rode we knew would wind well out of our way and give us some great scenery before taking us back to Cambria. I suggested Vicky take it and she did. We left this four-lane road for what could only very generously be called… well, a road. It took us through hillsides and meadows and beneath the bows of some great, old trees. It also took us by a lot of farms, ranches, what have you – and there were cows.

Now, Vicky loves cows… seasoned just right… but, no, she loves living cows. She gets excited when we see them and I always threaten to take her to a petting zoo. So, we’re driving next to all these cows and Vicky is going, oh, two miles an hour, saying, “Hello, cow!” And, when one looks at her, she giggles with glee.

And that totally fucked up my morose mood… the bitch.

It didn’t stop me from reflecting on the past, people in the past, and where they are in the present… but I had to admit to Vicky that she takes a lot of shit from me in the form of baggage. I came loaded with more issues than – well, we were in an antique store this weekend that had literally boxes of old Playboys but let’s not stretch the analogy, okay? – and, so, I had to thank Vicky for that.

And for being my best friend.

And for letting me get all saucy while she was the designated driver.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another reason why I’m not a children’s book author…

I’m considering packaging all of these together as a book of post-post-post-nursery rhymes, with appropriately inappropriate artwork to go with it…

Three Magical Ice Cubes

Three magical ice cubes were rolling down the road one day

Two of the ice cubes were having lots of fun at play

The smartest of the ice cubes said, “Crap, we’re gonna melt!”

And then the sun killed them – killed them – seared their flesh with agonizing pain until ice cube blood and ice cube entrails (which looks very much like water to you and me) were splattered, evaporating on the ground…

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Another thought about what makes Vicky so great…

So, Vicky and I were out driving last night. We’d just seen the Long Beach Symphony play. Fantastic show. Vicky was craving Pinks, so we were on the freeway for a while. And I was telling her what I decided to write next.

My next project is going to be a return to some very personal writing for me. From my first book, I’ve developed this style where I will take truths and characters and feelings and reflections on my own life and put them in a reality of my own choosing. This often makes for some really good story telling and I enjoy it.

The problem with this kind of writing, though, is where I often find my best stories. These are usually drawn from the part of my life that has caused me so much pain, and the provider has universally been the memory of my ex-wife. If there’s one thing I hate telling Vicky, it’s that I’m going to do that. I fear that she thinks I’m pining for something I had, when in reality it’s another opportunity for me to turn this horrible loss into… well, into cash.

I fear that Vicky will think this means I don’t love her.

But what I realized last night (I’ve been up all night working on rewrites to a new play, in case you’re wondering) is just how much Vicky really gets it. In fact, this realization has kind of blown me away. I mean, for the longest time, I didn’t get it! Just thinking about writing anything in any way related to my ex sent me running for the hills. It took me time to understand that the thing I do well is to take my pain and use it. It’s what I call “using your loss without reliving your loss”.

The last thing I want to do is hurt Vicky. And it means so much to me to know that I won’t.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Where I’m at right now…

This is something I don’t talk about as much as I used to and, honestly, don’t think about as much as I should. Being unemployed, I guess I assume I should have plenty of time to do that but as it turns out I’m working harder than I did at my last “real job”. (It didn’t help that nobody knew what they were doing there…)

So, where am I right now?

I just got another unemployment benefits extension. That comes with mixed feelings. At once, I’m relieved and disgusted. I’m happy to be able to provide a little money (while Vicky does most of the providing) but I wish it didn’t have to be this way.

I actually had a great interview yesterday – but I’ve had so many of those in the past couple of years, I know it could mean nothing.

More than that, though, there’s a part of me that thinks, “This gives me ____ number of weeks in which to keep working at selling my writing.” My life has really become about my writing. I don’t play video games or watch movies or TV. Most days, I spend the majority of my time working on my writing. And I’m not complaining about that; it’s really kind of a dream… but I hate getting unemployment checks to support it.

I ran into a friend at the store the other day (Paula) who, I guess, just assumed I’d collected a fat advance on my royalties. Sadly, that’s not how it works. I’ve got to get some books sold before I start seeing those royalties.

So, I keep working and working at selling other things. And, now that my PC is working, I’m ramping up towards starting another new project – dog only knows what.

Of course, none of this would even be possible if not for Vicky. Heck, she’s even going to start proofreading my new book, Sleepwalker, for me so I can start working on selling that, too! We’re an industry over here! But, more than that, I know she’s got my back and that she’s my biggest fan and that feels good. It helps me breathe a bit.

Where am I? I guess, in a way, I’m a place I’ve always wanted to be. I’ve got a book coming out next year. I’m doing work I love.

… I just need the money… always the tricky part.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

On the money and the wasting of the money…

I’m no stranger to wasting money. (There’s an understatement. Remind me to tell you about my old comic book collection someday.) But the wasting of the money that I’ve been wasting… no… hold on… but the money of the wasting that I’ve been money… no…

… I’ve been wasting a ton of money lately and it’s driving me crazy!

Here’s a good example: the PC I’m writing on right now. Because my PC got a virus, I had to buy a bunch of new software. Actually, that’s not true. You see, I tried to save a buck on Windows and Office and I ended up being without the proper disks to reinstall the software if I ever needed to. (You’ll find that the biggest wastes come from trying too hard to save a buck.) So, I was without Windows when my PC got a virus and, thus, screwed. And I didn’t have Office so I couldn’t reinstall that, either.

Thankfully, my dearest, darling, goodest friend in the world – JENN – helped me get Windows 7 and Office 2010. (You bet, I’m sucking up! I haven’t sent her the check, yet!) When it finally came in, I realized that the money I’m spending on that could have all been saved had I not tried so hard to save a buck in the first place… dammit…

But not every waste comes from trying to save, sometimes sheer stupidity steps in to help me out.

Case in point: my gym membership. I was out on the SART (Santa Ana River Trail) this evening for my evening jog (which I did because it was too damn cold and wet to cycle), and I realized that between the cycling on the trial and the jogging on the trail I haven’t seen the gym in nearly a year! Nearly a year!

And this is what a great scam gyms are. They have us convinced… okay, they have me convinced that I need to keep paying even if I don’t go because I’ll never get such a great deal on membership again! Think about it. I’m paying money every month… for something I never use… because I may never get such a good deal ever – IT’S JUST CRAZY!!

Mind you, I’ll have to talk to Vicky about this when she gets home. She’s the financial brain in the family… she’s also the one who keeps telling me not to cancel my gym membership…