February 2024 Update

Well, what a month. I feel like I am just now getting over the hangover from 2023. I turned 30. All my creative endeavors were a struggle, but I struggled on. Not looking forward to this year because of the election... But I have decided to show my work by my actions rather than my words, as far as that is possible for a writer...

Book 2

Work continues. People ask me about it and I wish I had more to give or show, but the truth is I won't until it's published, or very close to published. I have taken to using my wife's old typewriter to try and find the end. For now I'm re-writing draft material to try and stitch it together into coherency, which will hopefully be a springboard towards the end end. I have been going back to Tolkien as an inspiration, since that is where all this started for me, and I took heart from the fact that he finished all of LOTR before it was published. He considered it all one novel. So I'm sorry if it takes longer before you see anything new, but I have to find the end in the way I see fit.

Other Writing

I published Playing Wolfenstein II this month. It was a draft that I dug up and edited a bit. Unfortunately Book 2 is my main focus, and my limited free time doesn't leave much left over for other projects. Which is maybe a good thing. I've been possessed by a reactionary distaste for contemporary publishing (as always happens when I'm in the midst of drafting) that I've been using to fuel my time at the typewriter, and I'm not convinced I could write any other project without bitterness.


Work continues. It has fallen a bit by the wayside as I focus on getting my pages for Book 2 before anything else, but I've been editing and putting up chapters on Patreon. It will probably be awhile before people can listen on YouTube, since I also plan on doing a map for the videos, but I have a workflow for editing the chapters now, so if you want to hear Part II you can get access to the RSS on Patreon.


Jammed with some friends for my birthday, and played music with another dear friend. As always happens after these sessions, I am beset with a deep desire to start a band. But I think I just need to be patient. I can see a lot of things coming into place in the future, and I know God will show me my place in it in due time. In the meantime... I'll keep writing songs, and I may even have something else to share this month.


Who else could I read this month but Virginia Woolf? I gave her a toast on her birthday (because it's also mine!), while reading the essay Modern Fiction, and let me say it is no less true in 2024 than it was in 1925:

”...the analogy between literature and the process [...] of making motor cars scarcely holds good beyond the first glance. It is doubtful whether in the course of the centuries, though we have learnt much about making machines, we have learnt anything about making literature. We do not come to write better; all that can be said to do is to keep moving, now a little in this direction, now in that, but with a circular tendency should the whole course of the track be viewed from a sufficiently lofty pinnacle.”

What medicine for a grumpy writer like me. And if, reading this, you have a bitter reaction against my curmudgeonly ways, I'm sorry. The whole point is: write the way you want to write and read what you want to read. If that matches with the contemporary style in whatever genre you fit into, then go for it; but if not, do not be afraid to break the rules and trust yourself. No one but you can write your words for you.

If you'd like to read the rest of Modern Fiction you can rent the Common Reader (in which it was published) for free on Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/commonreaderfirs0000wool/page/194/mode/1up

Black History Month

This month I'll be finishing Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin, and hot damn, what a book so far. The man has made something truly beautiful out of the speech and vocabulary of the black church and community surrounding it. It's been really difficult to stop reading, and the way the characters wrestle with faith and life and church and family and society has hit pretty hard.

I also plan on listening to Son House, as I love the blues but have regrettably neglected a lot of the old stuff besides Robert Johnson. I also like that Son House started out as a preacher. His song “Preachin' Blues” has some great lines, and the man's dobro playing is gut-wrenching. It is so fresh to listen to because you can hear him growling as he plays hard notes. It's a great antidote to the “showy” style of playing today, that seems more about impressing people on Instagram than expressing an emotion.

I also recommend Shemekia Copeland and Don Shirley. Seriously, Don Shirley is an American treasure. His Gershwin Medley is a masterpiece, and his version of A Bridge Over Troubled Water is my favorite of all time...

A final quote from Virginia because this is my blog and I can indulge myself if I want to

“But any deductions that we may draw from the comparison of two fictions so immeasurably far apart [Russian and English] are futile save indeed as they flood us with a view of the infinite possibilities of the art and remind us that there is no limit to the horizon, and that nothing — no “method”, no experiment, even of the wildest — is forbidden, but only falsity and pretence. “The proper stuff of fiction”does not exist; everything is the proper stuff of fiction, every feeling, every thought; every quality of brain and spirit is drawn upon; no perception comes amiss. And if we can imagine the art of fiction come alive and standing in our midst, she would undoubtedly bid us break her and bully her, as well as honour and love her, for so her youth is renewed and her sovereignty assured.”

#update #writing #reading #blackhistorymonth

First, thank you for reading! 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.

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