Hey, Yellowcat, I.O.U. …

… an apology.

Last time I posted (a week ago now!), I mentioned my friend Yellowcat and said I didn’t always agree with her in my post. In context, I was talking about how she posts on her amusing blog about her customers and how they act, but I never said that in my post. And even now, trying to explain, it’s a bit jumbled, so I know I didn’t communicate what I intended.

I was complaining – okay, raving – about people on Amazon who give a book a one-star rating because they don’t like the price. Well, the author doesn’t control that, and the author is the one reflected in those reviews. The other potential buyers looking at the ratings of a book will see several one-star ratings and might be put off buying it without reading the reviews themselves.

I said, in my last post, this is akin to someone giving my friend yellowcat a bad tip because they don’t like the restaurant’s policies or prices. I added that I don’t always agree with yellowcat’s viewpoints, but I said that without making it clear that I DO agree with her, completely, on that point. She should not – neither any other food server, for that matter, unless they participate directly in setting policies for the restaurant – be punished by poor tips for things out of her control.

I will clarify now: I agree that authors should not be punished for book pricing as I agree that yellowcat and people doing her job should not be punished for restaurant policy over which they have no control.

So, Yellowcat, I apologize for sounding like a complete ass who just disagrees with you. I think highly of you and I didn’t mean to appear otherwise. We don’t always agree on the customer-server conflicts, but I have always considered you a friend and I hope I haven’t offended you with this careless statement. It was not my intent to do so. I humbly apologize and ask for your forgiveness publicly.

In other news, I’m still slurping and slurping and slurping. *Sigh* I’ll miss NaNoWriMo again – I usually do – and this year I actually have ideas I could pump through. Oh well. Like I always say, there’s always next year.

So… how was your weekend?

God bless all.

-JDT-

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Painful Rounds

I’ve been to a few blogs over the last couple of days to find people I dind’t expect to reveal their pain revealing their pain.

Seems the world has been less than kind to a lot of people recently, and while a few I know seem to make a habit out of stepping into a barrel full of scat and coming out smelling like a rose, it’s been sort of eye-opening for me to find most people are as vulnerable to pain and suffering as I am. I guess misery really does love company.

Not that I’m wishing anything but good fortune on those I see and follow. In the blogosphere, the only real friends I have, I don’t like finding out how much agony there is. I pray for them when I know they’re hurting, but I’m learning a lot about prayer right now and well… I don’t know.

How about the faithful readers and commentators here? Any of you have something bothering you you’d like to unload? Anything hurting you right now, keeping the smile from your face, keeping the spring out of your step? Or maybe it’s more serious and is weighing heavy on your heart. Dragging you under, so to speak.

You’ve all been good to me, now I want to try and return the favor.

This is your thread. I’m not going to answer, but for everyone who leaves a little bit of their pain here, a little piece of your heart laid bare and hurting here, I’ll be praying over the weekend for you.

It’s all I can offer to do to help you, if that matters to you, and it’s the least I can do for those for whom I have cared so much.

Sound off if you’re of a mind to. And God bless.

-JDT-

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Who’s Your Friend?

Some of you have a lot of friends. I can tell because you write about them regularly on your blogs. You might be telling us about the weekend activities you shared like WIGSF, or it might just be the way you interact with them which indicates you have some sort of relationship, like my wife with her pals.

Most of you have friends. And outside lives to share with them.

I’m not of that ilk, however. I’m cut from far different leather than most of you. Some of you will find me “weird” or “different” — “unusual” at best – and that’s fine. Others will sympathize with me. Others will see themselves in me.

But I don’t have any friends outside of cyberspace. Not really.

When I was a boy, I had friends from school. Most of them lived more than walking distance from my house. Those who lived around me polarized into cliques when school started and summer friends became autumn enemies or winter cold shoulders. I met a few kids in relative walking distance from my house and those friendships could be nurtured a little. Then my family moved out of our old neighborhood, established with kids and settled residents, and into a new neighborhood. Shortly thereafter, I went to a new school. After that, nothing was the same.

The Catholic school kids I met seemed nice. They seemed like quality people. They weren’t. Having money to send kids to a parochial school didn’t make them better people, only better educated than the teeming filthy dirt-children of the California public school system. (At that time, among the worst in the nation; I’m not sure that’s changed much.) They were only schoolyard friends for the most part. They had friendships forged long into their pasts – I mean, I joined them in sixth grade and they’d been in that school and chumming around since kindergarten or first grade, maybe longer. Several of them grew up near the school and they lived there until the newer developments uptown called their parents to bigger homes, nicer homes, more affluent (-appearing) homes. So they had their cliques well established.

They sort of let me in for a while. I continued trying to be friends with them – one lived only a short walk from me until I moved away in 1991 – through high school. Blindly loyal, I stick by people until it becomes painfully, blatantly obvious I’m being stupid, which takes more extreme measures in some cases than in others. I stuck with them despite some of the mistreatment I got. (As an example: I was the most popular of the “crowd” when I got my driver’s license months before the next one of their clan; once I wasn’t the only one able to drive, I stopped getting invitations to join them on the weekends and such. But I was too stupid to figure it out until much, much later. Oh, and also, they lied about it.)

I have one friend, still living to my knowledge, whom I’ve known from birth, literally. My mother used to hold him atop her stomach while she was pregnant with me. He’s a year, a month and a day older than I am. He was a good friend, but distance and absence wreak havoc on relationships. I lost touch with him permanently when I moved to Illinois. A few phone calls, but the last of those occurred in … what? 2001? Something like that? It’s been a long, long time. It’s okay; I wouldn’t want him to see me this way anyhow.

I’ve had a few “friends” from various jobs I’ve held, but like school friends, they’re only situational. Movement shifts things. I don’t have any friends now except those with whom I can maintain contact over the Internet – via their blog or mine or email. Sad, but true. And my poor ability to keep in touch with people doesn’t help. Most of my friends end up putting forth the lion’s share of effort in that regard, I’m sad to say.

How about you? Where do the bulk of your friendships lie? Where did you meet most of your friends? How good are you at keeping in touch?

Sound off, then have a great weekend. 🙂

-JDT-

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ALL rights reserved.

Nothin’ Doin’

Lately, I don’t have much at all to say about writing because I haven’t done any. In fact, I’m not sure I’ll do any more.

Okay, technically that’s not true. I’m writing right now, doing this post. And I have to do the revisions and corrections on the technical book I finished in January. But fiction writing? Nope, nothin’ doin’.

I don’t have any ideas. I don’t have even the slightest spark of creativity, but at least now I know what’s wrong. (It was a little ambiguous and vague before, but I have a clear handle on what’s wrong right now.) I don’t have any motivation, even to edit past works.

Recently, I read on an agent’s blog the statement “If you can give up writing, you absolutely should” (or something very close to that). At this point, I think the question of whether I can is settled. Oh yes. I can. I have, for an extended period of time now. I have a million excuses why, but the long and short of it is, I did it. If the agent’s statement holds true, then I need to set this aside for the rest of my life. It’s not something I can do. I’m not compelled to write anything. I’m not compelled to keep pounding and getting things out. I know a lot of writers who say they can’t help but write. Well, I’ve discovered I can, and in some ways, there’s a lot of freedom in that discovery. I can be free to stop pressuring myself to produce, to write something, anything, just get words down on the page, dammit. Now I can look at my computer and see something I don’t feel pressured to sit at and stare at. I can pass by my pens and pads and not feel guilty about not using them. I can have a tiny little image or movie pop into my head and not feel required to jot it down, embellish it, make it into something “useful”. I can go to sleep and dream without the anxiety and worry of perhaps missing something if I don’t write it down, remember it somehow, get it all out of my head.

The sound of the wind whistling through my empty skull is sort of soothing.

I don’t know what it all means, if it’ll stick or not, or whether to even care. Right now my priorities are elsewhere than writing and I don’t have time to worry about it. So many of you expressed support and encouragement when I told you about the technical book, and I appreciate those sentiments truly and deeply. But when you asked whether I expected any further work from them or said maybe it would turn into something more, my stomach flip-flopped and I almost passed out. I don’t know if ever want anything more again. I really don’t.

Thank you for being friends and reading whatever falls out of my fingertips here. I really appreciate it. But this is about as much writing as I can muster and frankly, it’s all I want to muster. And I don’t even feel compelled to do this every day as I did before.

*Whew!* There. I said it. I don’t think I’m a writer. And I feel better for having said it.

-JDT-

All original content © 2009 DarcKnyt
ALL rights reserved.

Updates and Such

So, I told you all yesterday I finally finished the Super-Secret Real-Life Project (SSRLP).

With that off my plate, I can now do some other stuff. One is blogging on a semi-consistent basis. I hope to revive this thing as much as possible, but there are still some requirements for patience from all of you. For one thing, I still don’t have Internet access except through public channels. I’ll leave that to your imagination. What it means is, my wife and I have one computer which can consistently get on the Internet, and she has a lot to do each and every day. Another thing it means is, I might not be around to comment on YOUR blogs as much as I used to be. I’m sorry about that, everyone. I’m trying to at least READ your blogs, but commenting takes a LOT longer than it used to and I just can’t spend that much time doing it anymore. I’ll try, but no promises. So I’ll get on when I can and update when possible, but the job search thing has to take priority.

Yes, the job situation hasn’t changed. I still don’t have work. And now that the SSRLP is over, I have to look for one with every ounce of energy with which I dedicated myself to the SSRLP. Keep prayin’, y’all. We need all we can get.

My beloved remains confident we’ll be okay, but I have doubts. I know the economy is supposedly improving but I find that to be a crock. In my experience, things haven’t changed much in the last fifteen months and until and unless I see a change, I won’t consider it “better”. That’s just me maybe.

As for writing – well, let’s just say the SSRLP was sort of writing. Not what I wanted to do but something I could do. It’s better than nothing. So, when I think I can spill the gory details, I will. I’m not sure I can’t now, but I have to clarify a few things first. Then I’ll dish. Promise.

Football – well, I watched the Pro Bowl this last weekend. That was sort of like the world championship of flag football in a lot of ways. The AFC took the trophy and they will likely have their representative raising the Lombardi trophy also. Not my choice, but my prediction.

And other than that, there’s been nothing to report. A  lot of butt-in-chair time. A lot of stress. A lot of complaining and drinking coffee. OH, and we got an emergency extension for the unemployment benefits with nothing but a phone call, which was awesome. God is good! We’ll survive another couple of months before the hammer falls, at least.

There’s been a lot of spiritual growth. I’ve spent a lot of time in prayer. My buddy Raga did something awesome for us. We’re all joy and aglow with happy right now. So, that’s that.

How’s it by all of you?

-JDT-