An irritating, maudlin blog post

Everything around me is breaking or broken, in need of repair or in the middle of being repaired.

My downstairs half-bathroom is a shambles. I had to tear out the shower & the drywall after a water leak. I've installed the concreteboard and most of the new tiles. They all need to be grouted before I can reinstall the frame and walls of the shower proper. This is exacting, tiring work for which I am trained only by dint of my own self-guided experience. When it's fixed, will it look OK? Will it stay fixed? How much confidence do I have in my own skill as a mason/tilesetter?

A computer has been disassembled for weeks as I alternate working on the bathroom with diagnosing and trying to fix it. Software fixes have been to no avail. I went so far as to desolder some suspect capacitors off the motherboard and replace them. No good. Next stop is... what? Junk? Replace it? I bought the thing for a reason, and I can't afford to just buy new computers whenever they break.

The lock switch on my driver's side car door is screwed up. Sometimes it locks & unlocks the other doors, sometimes not. A minor thing, perhaps, but it would cost more to fix than I have available. I can't fix it myself and I can't pay to have someone else fix it. It's just easier to accommodate the brokenness.

My novel WIP is the same WIP I've been WIPing for a year. Progress is so slow, I find myself re-editing things I've already edited before I edit the parts I've only edited in the markup copy. Do I want this to be hard-hitting and noir? Or thoughtful and introspective? It all depends on how I was feeling when I did the edits of this chapter or that. And does any of it sound like it's written in my "voice", whatever the hell that is? Or is it all just a sloppy, hopeless mess?

In the last year, I also put together an anthology of flash fiction. It took time away from the WIP, but it was educational with respect to publishing. Well and good, yes? I suppose, but I'm guessing that it has sold about as many copies as it ever will. I don't know what I was expecting, but I'm going to have to regard it as a teaching tool, an exercise that will pave the way for other things rather than as an accomplishment in and of itself.

My right elbow has been killing me ever since I strained it somehow, probably in shifting a quarter-ton of concrete board a few weeks ago. The tile installation has prevented it from healing, so I'm in constant, nagging pain from it. Also, a week ago, as I was taking a seat out of my minivan, it shifted and drove one of the sharp edges of the frame into the back of my right knee. A giant blue-purple bruise has been spreading around the puncture wound. A few days ago, I also sliced open my right thumb on the edge of the notched-tooth trowel when I was cleaning the mortar off it. All I need is a stroke on the right side of my brain and I'll have the entire right side of my body in a fine fettle.

There are other things I could talk about, other examples of brokenness, half-assedness and general shambles I could dwell on. Suffice to say that I am tired. I am very, very tired, and I have far too many things to do. What I accomplish and what I don't are all garlands on my brow and millstones round my neck, each and every one of them of my own creation.

One can be weighted down by successes, half-successes and successes-in-the-making as much by failures.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.


  1. Oh...have a scotch? It won't help but it'll numb some of the pain...or chocolate. Sometimes that works too. :)
    Hope things start going a bit smoother for you!

  2. Tony, Tony, Tony - I am so sorry you're feeling so broken. I almost started crying hearing all the crap that's going on your life. I know how you feel - when absolutely everything is on the blink and you feel like you just can't take one more thing going wrong.
    Chin up! Take some Tylenol for your arm and get a good night's sleep. Screw the computer! Screw the bathroom! And stick some duct tape on the car. Take care of yourself and your family and forget everything else.

  3. If it's any consolation, I'm even worse than you at WIP-ing.

  4. Heh, I've been there with the home maintenance/improvement projects! Those are nothing like writing a novel… at least *my* wife never gets up my tailpipe about finishing a novel!

    Good luck with the WIP. I think you'll see at least some uptick of Blood Picnic sales when you roll it out, as people might catch one but not the other. You might want to re-release the antho with an excerpt from the novel when you get closer to finishing. I'm going to do a single short story release, mostly to see where the pitfalls lie and slightly to publicize the novel. It will probably be a Kindle Single on Amazon & who know what on the other sites. Sales are a tertiary goal with this, I'll probably run freebie promos just to get feedback and (I hope) get people interested in the novel.

    As for the computer, there are few PC problems that can't be fixed by typing "format c:" at the command prompt and installing Linux. Install Mono and you'll be able to run yWriter too.

    Drink. If the pain continues to bother you, drink some more. It will either go away or cease to be an annoyance. ;-)

  5. @ Laura: Slowly but surely, it is, thanks!

    @ Red: Sorry, did you say a reboot?

    @ Cathy: Tylenol and sleep made a MASSIVE difference in my mood. The enormous pile of stuff is still there, but I'm able to face it better.

    @ FAR: I don't know what to expect for Blood Picnic in the future. It was really a good experience for the learning it gave. Now I know better what the self-pub route would entail for a novel... for whenever I finish it. As for the drinking - excellent advice. Will implement.


Thank you for leaving a comment. The staff at Landless will treat it with the same care that we would bestow on a newly hatched chick. By the way, no pressure or anything, but have you ever considered subscribing to Landless via RSS?