December 2023 Update

Wow, November went fast. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. Thanksgiving cut into writing time and overall productivity this month — but seeing family was worth it.

Book 2

I am chipping away. I'm reading through it again after adding some draft material. On this read through I am tweaking prose (always tweaking prose), but also reorganizing and borrowing a scheme from Steinbeck's East of Eden. Essentially I am adding a subheading, and having a new chapter every time I switch locations. This will hopefully add some clarity for the reader, and break it up into nice chunks that can be read in short sessions. I will undoubtedly run into difficulties with this, but hopefully it will be worth it, and at the end of the read through I'll be looking at adding more draft material and trying to draft new material through to the end of the story.

Dawn Must Follow Night Audiobook

This fell by the wayside as I tend to prioritize writing book 2 when I don't have time for anything else, but I did re-record a section of bad audio that was blocking my editing. So now I should be able to pick up the editing and start getting chapters exported. Those will go up on Patreon when I get them done. Then I will schedule PeerTube videos, and lastly weekly YouTube videos. The best way to get and listen to the audiobook is definitely Patreon, since the YouTube process is slow, not to mention the organization of everything. All Patreon subscribers get access to a podcast feed, and you get to listen to new chapters as soon as they go up.

I should mention that I will be working on a map to use as the background of the audiobook videos (as well as Book 1 2nd edition and Book 2), and I will probably upload it to Patreon when it's done.


Was able to jam with the guys and it was a lot of fun. I have been thinking about recording an album for Bandcamp and trying to perform out at a couple places for a long time — but the key phrase there is “thinking about it”. I don't know when I'll have the time to make it a reality, but I'll keep trying.


Eric and I haven't forgotten about it. We just have a family and kids. Might not get anything recorded until after the holiday season.


Ugh. I'm trying to get more comfortable with marketing and self-promotion. It is difficult, but I am tired of making virtually nothing from my work. I do feel the quality I put out is at least as good as some bigger channels/authors/musicians. I don't really have much ambition beyond having a few supporters and readers, and maybe enough income to allow me to do more writing once the kids are in school, and it's time to get back into the workforce. Right now I'm just trying to start with a newsletter through this blog.

My approach to marketing can be summed up by a couple Needtobreath songs:

All of this work and I ain't seein' any wages. I ain't gonna stop until I do” — Tyrant Kings

Don't wanna know where the money is, it's just another tragedy trying to take its toll again, Don't wanna know where the money is.” — Where The Money Is

It is probably not the most lucrative approach, but I don't want marketing to take me over. I am not too proud to think that I can't be influenced by that world. In a way, I am kind of glad I didn't find much success with the first book. I wonder what it would have done to my ego. I am at a place now where I can say with some confidence that I don't think I would change my process even if I became a bestseller. I have always valued the art more than what the art earns, and I don't really want to compromise my creative freedom just to sell some copies. And if I were successful, and I could write full time, I might not have as much to draw from because I would not be living a real life. I would forget what it is like to struggle at a job, to take care of kids, to budget tightly.

I often think about this quote from Francis McDormand: “You have to get away from the theater or from the set and live life. If you work constantly from job to job, you're living in a fantasy world and you have nothing else to offer than fantasy.”

I am speaking from a place of privilege since I don't depend on my writing income (thank God), but with AI threatening writing jobs, isn't it time we stop valuing art for what it earns? I think most people would tell you they don't like things just because they are popular, yet it seems the only way to communicate that something is “good” or successful is if it has sold a lot of copies. What about artistic success? What about the vision? What about the message? How many of us can truly look at a piece of art or read a book and say with confidence that it is “good” unless we also know that a lot of other people say it is “good?”

I wonder if we should start labeling art the same way we label our food. It would introduce similar difficulties with food in that the labels can be misleading. But maybe we could say art that is made by a single person or a few people whose primary motive is art for art's sake is #organic.

I don't have any answers, and I'm not really in a place where I can find them. Regardless, I'll keep writing. I hope you do too.

What I've been reading

This month I read a collection of Wordsworth's verse, selected by R.S. Thomas (a random library pull) that I really enjoyed. I took my time with it since it's old poetry, but man was it worth it. Some of it definitely flies into the stratosphere, but when it lands (and it often does), it sticks:

“Sweet is the lore that Nature brings; Our meddling intellect Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things: — We murder to dissect.”

— From The Tables Turned

The power of Nature to teach and feed our soul is one theme I noticed, as well as the power of childhood memory and the way it shapes and informs the rest of our lives. It saddens me that the long form poem is going out of style, and even when long poems are written they are barely read. It is a rich experience that can be compared to listening to a concept album, but more rich lyrically, and more free to branch out and paint with impressions and visions.

Some of my favorites were the Ode to Duty, Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood, and To Sleep among many others. I felt like underlining and/or sharing on every other page.

I also read a random Terry Prachet book about Poo that was fun, and Alan Noble's You Are Not Your Own. I really loved You Are Not Your Own, and while I think Noble sometimes overstates in his effort to challenge culture and its way of thinking, his thesis is very solid. He asserts that we live in a world that tells us that we are our own and responsible for our every action. This is a great freedom and also a crushing weight, since life often runs contrary to what we envision for ourselves. The result is that we turn to coping mechanisms such as social media, TV, online games, porn, drugs, and more. But those coping mechanisms let us down. Ultimately, our only comfort is belonging to Christ. Maybe that thesis turns you off, but he tempers it and balances it with a lot of examples and a balanced presentation that I would recommend for anyone whether they are a believer or not.

#update #reading #writing #organic #december2023

To echo a sentiment from Thomas Hardy, I greatly regret that I will never be able to meet you in person and shake your hand, but perhaps we can virtually shake hands via my newsletter, social media, or a cup of coffee sent over the wire. They are poor substitutes, but they can be a real grace in this intractable world.

Send me a kind word or a cup of coffee:

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