Archive for August, 2008
See the above photo?
That’s the entrance to my new office.
That’s right. Office.
With number four due sometime in January (if you missed the subtle announcement, you can read it here), Marathon Girl and I decided it was time to get our basement finished. In all we’ll be adding a play room for the kids, an office, a half bathroom, some storage and finishing the washroom. Everything should be finished by mid-September.
The only thing I need to make the office complete (after it’s finished) are my overflowing bookshelves and a big, comfy couch. I’ll be browsing yard sales, Craigslist, and thrift stores for something I can feel comfortable stretching out and writing on.
I’ll probably still do a lot of writing in bed. However, it will be nice to have a quiet room I can retreat and write or edit when I really need some space. If anything, having an office should expedite the completion of my novel.
August 28th, 2008
Writing in the (Salt Lake) Deseret News, Scott Pierce makes the following observation:
On multiple occasions in this column, yours truly has written that “Lost” took a sudden turn for the better.
That, once an end date was announced, the show quickly became much more watchable. Actually, that it stopped being unwatchable after a second season that drove viewers away by the millions.
I’m not the only one who thinks so.
“That made all the difference in the world,” executive producer Carlton Cuse said. “We now basically knew exactly how much time we had left to tell our story, and we were basically able to blast towards that ending. I think that really completely changed our storytelling approach.”
I made a similar observation last year when ABC gave LOST and end date because I knew it would give the writers a time frame to work with. It’s a lot easier for the writers to tell as story when you know the story’s going to end. That gives the writers the ability to have all the pieces fit into place.
I hope the final two seasons of LOST prove to be a big success because I think all television networks should examine their hit shows and decide years in advance when to end them. That way you avoid the “ER” debacle where the show has just dragged on and on and lost any sense of what it was. (USA’s “Monk” is heading down a similar road.) It also avoids the fate of “The X-Files” where the last episode ranks as one of the worst finale of a long-running television series.
Were I in charge of a TV network, after a show has had two hit seasons, I’d sit down with the producers, creators, and head writers and figure out where the show it going and a good time frame to end it. I think that would increase or, at the very least, stabilize the number of viewers and give them a hope that their favorite TV show will have a satisfying ending.
August 27th, 2008
If you’re interested in winning a free, personalized copy of Room for Two, fellow author and friend Anne Bradshaw is sponsoring a contest for one. You can read the contest details on her blog here. Contest is open through Wednesday, September 4th.
August 26th, 2008
A couple months ago I was approached by the Open to Hope Foundation about writing a blog for those who had lost a spouse. (I was a guest on the foundation’s radio show last November. You can download the MP3 of the program by right-clicking here.)
I was hesitant to accept. Between my widower blog (no longer updated) and Room for Two I didn’t think I had anything left to say on the matter. Besides, I’ve been happily married to Marathon Girl for five and a half years. I haven’t thought of myself as widower since the day she agreed to marry me. In a lot of ways, I’ve put that sad chapter of my behind me. Thought thoughts of the late wife and daughter occasionally enter my mind, 99.9% of my thoughts are on making a better life for me and the family I have now.
I also have a novel and other writing projects that take up most of my free time. Even if I had something to say, I was unsure I’d have the time to write regular blog posts.
Then I checked my email.
There were three new emails in my inbox. Two were from women dating widowers. One thanked me for writing an essay that helped her see that her widower boyfriend wasn’t ready to commit to a serious relationship and she was going to finally end it. The other was from a woman asking for advice about her widower boyfriend’s behavior and whether or not she should be concerned about it. The third was from a young widower who thanked me for my website and telling me it had given him hope that he could one day again be happy.
These kinds of emails flood my inbox every day. (I’m not complaining about them – just stating a fact. If you have something to say, you can contact me here.) In the back of my mind, I thought the number of widower related emails would stop after my book came out and this blog focused on other things than widower related issues. But every day there are new emails in my inbox similar to the ones above and I realized there are a lot of people that are hurting out there.
And I thought back to a wintry afternoon six years ago. I had just spent most of my Saturday afternoon searching for something – anything! – online that would make me feel that I wasn’t the only young widower in the world. Something that would give me hope that tomorrow would be a better day and if I just put one foot in front of the other and stuck with it.
I found nothing.
And in that brief moment of grief and anguish I vowed if there was some way I could help someone else from feeling the pain and loneliness I felt at that exact moment, I’d do it.
So I called to the foundation’s director and expressed my concerns about writing a blog and we came to mutual agreement. I will write an occasional blog post (three or four times a month as time allows). And instead of making it a traditional grief blog, I’m going to focus on putting your life back together and moving on instead of becoming bogged down with self pity and the “woe is me” attitude that infects so much of grief literature and makes it completely worthless – often hindering people from putting their lives back together.
It’s going to be very different from typical grief blogs. It’s going to have an attitude.
So be warned.
If you’re content wallowing in grief and self pity then the blog’s not for you.
If you don’t want to think of yourself as anything other than a widow or widower, then find another grief blog to read.
If you don’t want straight up advice about learning to put your grief aside, making the most of your life, and becoming happy again, then do not read it because I’m not going to mince words.
Finally, though I have permission to do so, I won’t be reposting the content on this blog. However, I will post the first paragraph or two and link to the latest entry for those who are interest in reading it. (As soon as I complete some other projects, I will create a URL on this website for them, however.)
Also, I have about 30,000 words of material that I cut from Room for Two before it was published. Some that content will probably find a home there – in a slightly modified form. (My first entry is a part from my book that was cut from the book and tweaked for the blog.) For those who have read the book and want to read vignettes that were cut between the first draft and the published manuscript, I’ll let you know when those are posted too.
The website I’ll be writing for can be found here.
You can read my first entry here and my second one here.
I’ll let you know when the third one is up.
August 24th, 2008
Many thanks to Chris who gave me the fixes for the two issues mentioned in the previous post. It’s nice to know there are talented programmers who read my blog.
Chris has also just started a blog about a subject that is close to my heart and many readers here. If you want, you can check it out here.
August 21st, 2008
If you can’t tell, I have a new template for my website. Many thanks to Trevor for the new design.
I’m having some minor issues integrating the template with WordPress. For some reason the navigation bar goes to the left (it’s centered on the other pages) and my footer’s not working. If you happen to know CSS and what I’m doing wrong, leave a comment or send me an email. Hopefully, I’ll have those issues, and a few other minor ones, resolved soon.
August 20th, 2008
Yes, I am alive. Stay tuned.
August 19th, 2008
Don’t you hate it when you’re trying to describe something but don’t know the name for it? As a writer, this really bugs me.
The other night I was tying to find out what you call those pads that hold your glasses to your nose (they’re called “nose pads” if must know) and stumbled across a really useful visual dictionary from the good people at Merriam-Webster. I haven’t gone through their entire offering but it seems to be at least as good (maybe even slightly better) than my giant visual dictionary I’ve been refereeing to until I got too lazy to pick it up last night. And what’s really cool is that they list the definitions to all the words on the bottom of the page.
One note when using visual dictionaries: Occasionally visual dictionaries use the technical word for or a part or piece of equipment instead of what the part is commonly referred to. If the word sounds to strange, ask someone who knows what it’s really called.
Check out Merriam-Webster’s visual dictionary here.
August 9th, 2008
Some people blog about what their reading.
Others update their GoodReads account.
Will, puts it in the header of his website.
August 7th, 2008
When temperatures are routinely climbing past 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it makes me glad I’ve incorporated swimming into my gym routine once or twice a week – depending on my workout schedule.
Yesterday after giving my abs and shoulders a good workout, I headed for the pool. The water was nice and cold compared to the hot sweaty gym. The water felt so good that after my 20 minute swim, I didn’t want to leave the pool. Just wanted to float in the water and pretend there wasn’t a crushing load of work to deal with back at the office or that I’d be sweating in the hot car again after heading back to the office.
Since there was no one else in the pool I closed my eyes and floated on my back letting my breathing and heart rate slow, enjoying the still water and the silence that comes with having your ears below water.
For a few minutes my mind wandered.
I thought about what a better swimmer I am now than I was when I started swimming last month. I’m still the slowest swimmer in the pool, but my time, technique, and endurance have improved tremendously. Michael Phelps may not have to worry about me in the 2008 Beijing Olympics but he and the rest of the American swimming team better look out in 2012.
I ruminated over a problem I was having with one of the characters in my novel and whether or not I should eliminate him from the story altogether.
I wondered what Marathon Girl was doing and hoped she was taking some time to rest. Between taking care of three young kids and have a fourth one on the way, she needed those afternoon breaks when the kids are down for naps.
I started to think of something else but there was a disturbance in the water. I looked up. In the next lane a swimmer was barreling down the lane, toward my end of the pool. I watched him flip as he reached the end of the pool and headed back to the other end.
My respite from reality was over.
It was time to get back to work.
August 5th, 2008