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August 2011
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January 2012

Christmas in a strange place

This was written for a challenge on Terrible Minds - we were given the title and a day to write 1000 words or less. Enjoy.


It was the quiet that woke him up. He could hear the faint murmur of traffic, the occasional screech of steel wheels on rails, but the familiar and constant rumble was missing. Strange for a Thursday morning, he thought, then remembered it was Christmas. He hated Christmas. Weeks of even more confusion and crowding and shoving, faceless people rushing about, loaded down with parcels, busy trying to out buy each other. Today, Christmas Day, most of the stops on his tight little route would be closed, so he'd have to spend longer up there foraging. His few friends would be at the missions and churches for the free dinners, but he avoided those places, with their sermons and lectures. Many of the workers looked at him askance, too, at his bushy white beard, rosy cheeks, and big belly, and asked why he was there, taking a meal from someone who needed it. It wasn't his fault, as long as he could remember he had looked like this. He did sometimes remember Christmases in the distant past, of himself being busier at them, of kids and toys and laughter, but now he seemed to be pulling in on himself more and more.

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NaNoWriMo winner

I "won" this year, as I did last year. Meaning I wrote at least 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. It's hard to explain to people the concept,the idea that that's "all" I had to do to win. They ask where can they buy it, or when will it be published. Tiny steps, I tell them, as the aim of this is to provide the focus and encouragement to get writers, or would-be writers, to shutup  and write.

But it was harder this year to finish. Before I started last year I was worried that I'd never get it done, as it was my first major writing project ever. So, to prepare, I had planned like mad, developing a plot, major plot points, and a full list of scenes from beginning to end. And that worked, I did pretty well at sitting down every morning and writing for a couple of hours, basically filling in the blanks. The characters did come up with the occasional twist, and I added and deleted some scenes along the way, but chugged along and finished the story two days early, at about 51,000 words.

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Sci-fi Book Club

I'm in a small but keen science fiction/fantasy book club. We've been meeting for about a year now, sharing new - or re-discovered - books with each other. We also discuss politics, economics, food, music, Occupations, retirement, ABCP, families - whatever we are all interested in. The books we choose can be pretty well anything - just not so old we can't find a copy, or so new we need to wait at the publisher's door. We do a writeup for our newsletter, I'll copy it below, and keep in adding every session.

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Lost, but not forgotten

Yes - I'm still here. 

I decided to draft up another novel this November, a sequel to last year's, as part of NaNoWriMo. Which meant that some of the months leading up to November was spent editing the first one enough to be able to continue on from it. More on that another day.

I signed up for another term of Ottawa's New Horizon's Band too - only at the Intermediate level this time. Advanced and/or Jazz were both a lot of fun last year, but took more practice time than I had to devote to do a proper job. This is a little easier, still the social aspect - juice and cookies at half time, and sometimes the pub after.

Speaking of pubs, many a warm afternoon was spent on the patio at my "local", Daniel O'Connell's. Lots of live music there, and also a good place to write. Or take photos. Or collect character studies, the place is full of "characters", one of which is me I think. All great people though, always feel welcome, my beer practically handed to me as I walk in. In a not-offending-the-AGCO kind of way.

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