Posts Tagged writing

Week in . . . Aw, let’s just catch up, shall we?

10 April 2012

Well, that didn’t last very long, did it? In my defense, this last week might have been the first in several without a sick child in the house. If you’ve never had small children, their colds are likely demonically inspired. However, as sleep is for the weak, we shall carry on.

The Chaos, my oldest daughter, was off from school last week, which means I got almost nothing accomplished. My Librarian will be out of town tomorrow and the day after, which means pretty much the same thing, though I might get a few paragraphs scrawled in Living Theurgy during the two hours the Chaos is at “half-day” pK4. I do not know in what world two and a half hours is half a day, but there it is.

I am on what may be the last chapter of the first main section of Living Theurgy, the Human Soul. I say may be because I’m not sure of the placement of one chapter yet. The chapter in question is on the curriculum of Iamblichus’ school of Neoplatonism, and possibly a general sort of curriculum for Neoplatonism, and whether it should go in the introductory section, along with the introduction and history chapters, or if it should go in the philosophy section. Either way, it is the next chapter to be written.

In various other parts of my life, I currently have four books sitting on my desk (well, okay, on my bookshelves) for review. Two of them will be reviewed for then ext issue of the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition and two are through LibraryThing. I promise to find time to read these. Honest. Also, we are now in the last week for submitting an abstract for the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition Conference. If you, or anyone you know, has any interest in presenting at this conference, please get your abstracts in no later than April 15th.

Tomorrow is the fifth class of the seven week course I’m teaching at Viterbo University. It is a small class, which is something I’m not quite used to, but it has been a good one with a good group of students. I am finding that I rather enjoy teaching an ethics class, though I am not certain how much my students enjoy me presenting far more questions than answers. Or that I keep saying it’s not really about what is quantitatively right and wrong but what leads the enquirer to a better life. However, as I typically teach religious studies rather than philosophy, this is more or less par for the course for me. That being said, in three weeks I’ll have over a dozen 8-10 page research papers and just as many 6-9 page final exams to read. As I’m the one making the assignments, I suppose I shouldn’t complain about that.

Oh, I also got to go gaming with friends with only one child. Which was cool. More gaming in a few weekends, this time with no children (thanks, Mom!) and with my Librarian, as a sort of early anniversary gift to ourselves. It’s the little things, you know?

So, how have you been?

Weeks in Review – 3/4/12 and 3/12/12

19 March 2012

You may have noticed a lacking of a Week in Review last week. At approximately this time last week, I was lying on the ground outside of my garage in something I can only describe as “excruciating pain.” In my desire to shrug off doing something productive for going for a walk, I did, well, something to my back. A trip few hours stay in urgent care, and a prescription for hydrocordone later, saw me at home “walking” with a cane. That’s pretty much what I did last week, excepting for beginning to teach a class on Ethics from the New Testament Gospels at Viterbo University. That, the mind numbing pain thing, not the Viterbo thing, is why I did write about the week before last week.

The week before last I did get some, though not a lot, of writing done. I am currently finished with drafts of the first five chapters of Living Theurgy and am working on the last section of the sixth chapter. I foresee two more chapters before finishing the first of the three sections of the book. The chapters of the first section are, tentatively, as follows:


Section I: Theologia
First Principles
The Spiritual and Natural Realms
The Demiurgos
The Greater Kinds: The Gods and Theology
The Greater Kinds: From Archangels to Heroes
The Human Soul and its Vehicle(s)

How were your week(s)?

The Week in Review – 1-22-10

30 January 2012

Let’s view this as an experiment, shall we? If you promise to read this, I promise to attempt to write it. Once a week we can talk about all the exciting things that happened to us. Okay, its my blog, so once a week I’ll write about all the probably-not-that-exciting-things that happened to me, you can respond and it’ll be like an actual conversation. It’ll be like we’re living in the future.

Or something.

Anyway. Last week saw the completion of the sketches for the Neoplatonism Tarot I’ve been working on for the last several months. You can find the drawings here: Surprisingly, I’m actually quite happy with most of these. I will likely add in some symbolism to the major arcana as I paint them, but otherwise, I like them. The deck will be painted on wood panels, with acrylic and gold leaf. As you can see, they are drawn in the style of Orthodox icons, and I will try to keep that going throughout the painting process. Each painting will likely be 10″x12″. I will likely write a book to go along with the deck, possibly writing each card as I paint them. Or maybe not. I don’t know yet.

Last week also saw the release of the official Call for Abstracts for the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition Conference 2012. You can find the CFA and information on the conference here: This will be held, assuming there are enough attendees and enough presenters, July 14-15 in Milwaukee, WI. If you’re interested in attending (or presenting) it would be great to meet you.

My Librarian and I spent Saturday at friends playing a Chaosium RPG set in Austro-Hungry in the 1890s. I’m playing a priest who sees visions of avenging angels and goes out to follow them. Which is to say he isn’t particularly useful unless God is giving him things to do. Also, he prays a lot. Still, it was great to get together with friends, something we don’t have a lot of opportunity to do these days.

Also, I have a cold. It is a baby cold, gifted to me by my 1 year old daughter. If you don’t spend a lot of time around small children you may not be aware that baby colds are evil. And vile. Far more evil and vile than grown-up colds. Consider yourself warned.

As dull as it may seem, that’s about it for the week. Each week I switch off on the various projects I’m working on. This weeks is writing chapters for my non-fiction book, tentatively entitled Living Theurgy. But we can talk about that next week.

It’s not just about story telling

19 February 2010

It’s about telling the right story, too. I just axed 30k words from THE MACHIAVEL, which is about half of what I’d written. They were a fairly good 30k words too. I liked them, they told a good story. They just didn’t tell this story. It was too complex. It was a good story for a third or fourth book, moving into an overall story arc. I like story arcs. I’m a Joss Whedon and J. Michael Straczynski fan, after all. But it wasn’t right for this first book, which needs to be more visceral and just plain mean. Marcus is not good people and he’s not a hero. I mean, he’s an assassin who kills people with demons. So, 30k gone and a hundred or so re-written to re-finish the end the chapter where things went off. Time to get moving again.

The Joys of Meta-Communication

17 February 2010

“Meta” is a cool word. It means self, or with, or beyond or various other things like that. Okay, what it really means is . . . hard to put into words. So, examples. Metaphysics is the physics beyond physics, the physics that makes physics work. Meta-communication is communicating about communication. Its sort of like that.

What’s my point? This is going to be a post about writing. I’m writing about writing. Meta-writing. Writer’s do this a lot. We’re a very self-reflective bunch. I teach cultural anthropology, so myself, perhaps a little more so. Or maybe that’s just the Narcissism talking? Whatever the case may be, this is the seemingly obligatory entry on my writing process. But don’t worry, its not what you’re thinking.

I’ve seen a lot of these posts. If you want to be a writer of the publish author variety it pays to read what those who are where you want to be have said on the subject. I see a lot of the same thing. Writing is very hard, the hardest part of the whole thing. You see a lot of books geared towards that as well. I get it, I really do. Pat Rothfuss was writing his book The Name of the Wind, while he was still in college. It took him forever to finish it, and it was well worth the wait. (Go out and read ;The Name of the Wind right now. I’ll wait. Back? Okay, here we go).

So I get it. But it’s not me. For me writing is not difficult. Its time consuming, especially with the equivalent of two full time teaching loads and a three year old, but it isn’t something I agonize over. Maybe I will once I start making money and it becomes a job and not just that thing I do when I’m not teaching or hitting martial arts students. But right now, not so much. I blame that on having a doctorate. After you’ve written that first 100k words, and had two experts in the field go over it for anything they can chew up and spit out, everything else seems somehow less intimidating. That being said, it does take discipline and you have to do it, if not every day, as frequently as possible. So, here’s how I write (at the moment. Take all this with a grain or three of salt. I’m not actually published, so who’s to say this is actually working for me? A fantasy novelist with delusions? Say it ain’t so!):

First, I do try to write every day. I have time set aside for it. Usually not too long, maybe an hour or two. I do have two day jobs after all. I don’t like to start on blank pages, so whenever I finish a chapter I start the next one. Even if its only a paragraph, even if I’ll re-write the whole bloody thing the next day. It just makes me feel happy inside. I usually start each writing session by re-reading what I wrote last time, usually starting at the beginning of the chapter. So, yeah, I edit. A lot. I’d like to think of myself as a wordsmith. It’s a loverly self-image if nothing else. Then I rewrite anything I don’t like. Which is a lot. Then I move on to the next bit, whatever is new, wherever I left off, etc. Usually there’s a lot more editing involved there, too. Discrepancies in the time-line or descriptions creep in and the like. That’s why I edit a lot. To catch where I’ve fallen asleep at the keyboard. Beyond that, my particular writing style if fairly organic. I’m one of those strange one’s whose characters live their own lives. Hell, Olivia Monroe has her own twitter feed! But that also means I end up doing a lot more rewriting when I want a scene to go somewhere and everyone else wants it to go somewhere else. Occasionally I win those, but usually they’re better at describing what’s going on in their lives than I am.

So, yeah, its kind of like that. Write, rewrite and then write some more and hope everyone is getting along well enough in my head, because there’s only so much room up there.