Thursday, December 9, 2021

Hate Mail

Dear Sir,

I am writing regarding your recent publications, or lack thereof, and your mismanagement of missives pertaining to such. You are remiss, Sir, in your submissions and—dare I say?—phlegmatically under-emotive in your overly-omittive emissions.

If you were a math problem, you would require division by zero, Sir. If you were a painting, you would be a Van Gone. Forsooth, methinks I shall compare thee to a grand play performed by an invisible mime who may or may not be stuck in a box, but if he was, how would we know? And honestly, any imaginary creature capable of incarcerating itself in an invisible box has earned the solitude. Methinks you, Sir, have become just such a creature! A pox on your invisible box—a pox I say!

I believe I speak for all your one-time readers when I say, “shave that hideous hobo beard and finish a book!”

Yours In Aggressive Waiting and Judgment,

EJ Patten

Yes, I am in fact writing hate mail to myself. I haven't finished my next book. I haven't blogged, like five years? That can't be right. 

My last surgery was a year ago (neck fusion and disc replacement). I've been feeling pretty good since then. I've been writing, but I'm a bit stuck. For now, until I actually manage to finish a book, here are some snippets from my freeform writing (i.e., things I write to challenge myself and/or reengage my mind). 

With the first one ("Ode to an Office Printer") I felt like my writing had gone flat, so I picked one of the most boring things I could think of (an office printer) and tried to make it interesting. 

The second one ("Night Falls Dark") is a poem I wrote after a surgery. Be warned, it's a bit grim.

Ode to an Office Printer

The printer smelled of death and ozone. It had taken the life of many young office assistants. Bright lights. A too hot laser. Ink accidents. The power supply had a short in it that would cause the unit to hum incessantly, driving normal people mad and mad people murderous. The body was an eggshell turned beige with time. Some believed the unit predated the wooly mammoth, but carbon testing proved inconclusive. Paper jams weren’t uncommon. New assistants often made the mistake of printing on envelopes, which would jam endlessly like the lead guitarist in a heavy metal band who really wanted to get out of his day job, and would, if not for his inability to play the guitar.

Night Falls Dark
I saw a creature dark and true,
buried in a midnight bog.
There was nothing I could do.
It climbed afoot to rend anew,
the life that I forgot.
I could not run though I raced
round the purpled bend.
I could not fight, though I thought,
to flee the creature
and ascend.
Stippled feet and burning cross,
it rises to a stop,
and kills,
the piper and the lamb;
screams dying to descend
and rot,
never rise again.
I saw it yesterday,
falling through the jasmine sky,
star-kissed madness,
drawing near me where I lie.
Until it land upon me there,
climbing from within,
a withered husk,
a corpse undone,
a monster, not a man.
A monster that was once a man—that is what I am.
Long roads lead to empty ends.
No matter how far I walk, knife in hand
—the ticking clock—
night falls dark in every man.


Monday, December 26, 2016

No News Is, etc.

Ever hear the saying "no news is good news?"

It's a lie.


Health-wise, I've been doing pretty well for over a year now. So why haven't I finished the next Hunter Chronicles book (or any book for that matter)?

I have no idea.

Well, I have some idea. Okay, a pretty good idea, actually. The problem is, there's a conspiracy of factors and no simple answer. Five years of health problems weren't in my game plan. Book sales didn't exactly carry me through the period either. So I'm playing catch up, financially and otherwise. Trying to survive. My family, it seems, prefers eating over not eating. I've been trying to teach my children to subsist on delicious toast, but sadly I'm no Samuel the Simpleton. Guy could live for like a year on a single piece of sourdough. Crazy.

But I digress.

When will I finish my next book? I don't know. But honestly, if I haven't finished something in the next six months, I'm going to start sending myself hate mail. I know what it's like to fall in love with a series, or even a shy liking, and have to wait years for an author to get around to writing the next book. Now that I'm seeing it from the other side, well, I should probably write some letters of apology. I'm not going to, of course, because seriously, just finish it.

I appreciate the prodding and encouragement. I'll try to blog more, even if all I can share is bad news. At some point, I will have good news. Or some really funny hate mail.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Throwaway Ideas

I've had some really terrible ideas. I mean awful. Sometimes they pop up while I'm reading. Other times, they might hit me in the middle of a conversation. Someone says something and I make ridiculous connections.

Bad ideas are the dark side of a creative mind.

I've gotten good at filtering myself over the years. Well, mostly. I do a lot of rewriting and even more apologizing. Fortunately, most of my ideas are amazing. Here are a few examples:

  • A Ferris wheel powered by hamsters
  • Better tasting roach spray
  • A book about fart sounds and how to mask them
  • Four tips on how NOT to give a eulogy

I particularly like that last one.

Tip #1: Don't animate the corpse to clap during the best parts of your eulogy.
Tip #2: Don't use a laugh track to compensate for lazy writing; you're not fooling anyone.
Tip #3: Don't prop the corpse up next to you and pretend to have a conversation with it.
Tip #4: Don't accuse anyone in the audience of murder without compelling evidence or a strong gut feeling.

An idea like this, I might develop into a scene. Or, it might help me build out aspects of a character's personality. I might start thinking, "What kind of eulogy would a particular character give?" or "what kind of fart masking does this character employ?"

Sometimes ridiculous questions can break a cycle of tedium and get our minds moving laterally again. And sometimes, they're just funny, and that's enough. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Just A Flesh Wound

Still alive. I had surgery about three weeks ago--my fourth in roughly a year, as it turns out. The upside to all the cutting is that I've now learned enough medical jargon to fulfill my dream of writing Boogie Schnauzer, Dog M.D. The downside, of course, is that I have such terrible dreams.

But I'm better now and hopefully my dreams will improve and whoever has my voodoo doll will stop poking it long enough for me to write another book.

In other news, quantum mechanics is complicated.

That is all.