How’m I doing? Well, lemme tell ya…

Let’s let the title of the blog guide this update.


It’s going.  Being accepted to Viable Paradise gave me some faith in myself, but that only really boosted me for a week or so, then it came back to forcing myself to work when I’d rather be in the hammock reading, or playing video games, or going to movies.  But I’m writing.

Yesterday I worked all day and came up with only 300 words, partly because I just couldn’t get the words to flow, but also because I had to take some time off for business–setting appointments for my daughter with the doctor, buying groceries, cleaning the disaster in the kitchen.  Later, when my wife and daughter went out shopping, and then after daughter went to bed and wife went to a friend’s place, I wrote an additional 1200 words.  So in all, my total for the day was about 1500 words.  Not quite my preferred quota, but nothing to sneeze at, either.  I just wish it hadn’t effectively taken all day.  Those dragons in Skyrim won’t stop themselves, you know.

Looking forward to having my brain ripped apart and my ego crushed and (hopefully) rebuilt at VP in October.


Not happening.  I keep telling myself I need to practice more, as my skills have atrophied to the point that I’m probably worse than I was back in May.  It’s not that I don’t want to practice, and I realize this sounds like an excuse, but it’s difficult when I’m almost never alone.  My daughter is not really very good yet at giving me time, so practice is frustrating beyond all reason as she interrupts every thirty seconds.  So I try to practice when I’m alone–which is about two days a week.  Still, I need to make the time.  I lost the ability I had as a kid, and if I want to get it back, I need to practice.  But knowing it, and doing it, are two different things for me right now.


I’m both excited and scared of my classes this year.  I was given a pretty hefty schedule teaching four preps, which is messy and ought to be avoided.

For those among you who don’t know teacher jargon, a “prep” can mean either a break–a class period in which you don’t teach a class–or a subject you’re teaching.  So when I say that my Prep period is 6th, that’s the latter meaning, but when I say I’m teaching four preps, that’s the latter.   Usually teachers aren’t supposed to have more than three preps, which is already pushing things in my opinion, as each prep is a separate task of planning, support, and teaching.  But, to be honest, it’s better than teaching four sections of one class in a row–that can be sapping on one’s nerves, especially when all four classes are reading the same thing at the same time.

This year I’m teaching Journalism, Advanced English 10 (sophomores), English 12 (yay!), and three sections of English 9.  I love teaching English 12, even with the Senior Project requirement.  I wish I had another section or two of that, but ah well.   This year’s seniors–well, 150 of them, at least–were also my Freshmen, so I’m looking forward to this year’s graduation, but that’s practically forever away, so I try not to think about it too much.

All in all, I think I’m doing pretty well.  How’re you?

The Gonzo History Project

The Gonzo History Project This is the blog of a friend of mine.  Well, it would be more accurate to say he’s a friend of my wife who tolerates me when he’s here in the States.  He’s currently teaching in England, where he lives with his lovely wife.   The blog looks at history, and […]

It’s official. VP is a GO.

VPXVIIBlogBanner-2-dkblueOkay then!  All is figured out, all is arranged.  I sent my tuition check yesterday, I’m arranging my flight today.  Then all I need to is steel myself for the painful but oh-so-useful criticism, prepare to suck up information, and try to be patient.

Oh, and plan for not only the classes I’ll be teaching this year, but the week I’ll miss to go to VP.  That part’s not so bad; if I get a good sub I can even give them great lessons that will actually be taught, as opposed to the usual “Oh my god I’m sick what can I have them do that won’t be a TOTAL waste of time?!?!?” when I need a sub in an emergency.  Hell, I’ll even write the lessons for him/her.

I still keep expecting to get an email telling me there’s been a terrible mistake and I wasn’t actually accepted.  My wife is probably ready to slap me the next time I say that.  But that’s life in my head, I suppose.

One good side effect is that getting that “Yes, you’re not a total loser at this” has reenergized my writing.  I’ve been having trouble forcing myself to work, but now I’m going like crazy, trying to convince myself to trust in what’s coming out of my fingers.

Speaking of which, I’m behind on today’s quota.  See you later!


Son of a Motherless Goat.

So, as people who actually read this thing know, I applied back in February to Viable Paradise, a writing workshop taught by some of the best writers and editors in the field, such as Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Manager of SF at Tor Books),  Theresa Nielsen Hayden (Tor books consulting editor) to Debra Doyle, Steven Brust (BRUST! Writer of the Vlad Taltos books!) and Steven Gould (current SFWA President and one of my favorite writers), among others.

I had no real hope of getting accepted, but what the hell, thought I.  And this past weekend, a message came down the email pipeline from James D. MacDonald, saying “All invitations have been sent.”  And I didn’t get one.

I was ok with that–bailing my brother out of jail, and spending the money to go to Oregon to do that, pretty much killed the fund I had been creating to cover the VP tuition and boarding, as well as airfare.

But today I got a message that made me wonder, so I sent a query that basically said “Uh, did I get this by mistake?”  And I got back a message saying “Oh sorry!  We thought we sent you an invitation to attend!  No no no, you’ve been accepted!”

(A bunch of crap deleted, because really, Michael?  Really?)   OMG I’M SO EXCITED!!!!!   This will be an opportunity to really see what I’m doing wrong, and what I can fix, and how to make it all work better.  And maybe even get some of this stuff published!

One thing is sure–I will be doing more writing, and less video game playing, over the summer.