Hey, kiddos! Did you know that a new school year at a school is busy? I sure forgot. After four of these things, you’d think I know better but here we are. So here’s a rundown of what I’ve been doing around my regular work.
Below is my first published piece of fiction ever! I was way too excited to have this online when it first came out. I just knew I was going to be rolling in cash within the week. Now that my excitement has died down from my first publication, I still enjoy reading the short piece.
Weirdyear Magazine is a great place for just starting out writer. This has been one of my favorite journals since submitting to it because it is all flash fiction. You should check it out at: http://www.weirdyear.com/
Just Got to Laugh About the End
He would have to laugh about this. That’s what he needed now. The world was God’s concern now. He only had one to laugh all this off.
To worry; about the apocalypse, the death of his friends, Marla, the zombies—was as bad as being afraid. Though being afraid would have been a perfectly acceptable emotion, he just simply didn’t have enough laughter to shrug fear off right now. Things were difficult enough by trying to drink a whole case of warm beer, and polish off his last pack of cigarettes by noon (they always made him feel sick).
The invasion had been slow at first, like the staggering of their undead feet on the concrete; scoffing, moaning, screaming, gasping, they never stopped, never took a break, so there was nothing to do but laugh about it. Laugh about them looking like people he knew. Laugh about the explosion that would send them back to the hell they crawled from. No horsemen, four or four-hundred, could tell him what to do now. He had made up his mind, and he had laugh about it.
He laughed from atop the mall roof, “save moNEY! (a shot from his 12 gauge rang clear as the bells that once hung around Marla’s necklace), live betTER! (another ring, another bell)”
“NO, not now, hahahha!” He laughed away his pain to an empty sky, and a deserted world. He laughed and laughed till he wheezed for breath and his sides hurt. Only the dead remained to hear his laughter. “Got to laugh” he said. Laugh about coming to the mall. Laugh about getting trapped here. Laugh about your friends being eaten. Laugh about Marla being taken by a crowd of them. Laugh about being the only one left. AND, most of all, laugh about blowing them all up. Laugh about them. GOD damn IT! LAUGH! That’s just as far as he could laugh, as far as he could think, as far as he could go, not caring.
He crawled down from his roost atop the gas station and made his way to the first pump. As he tied the homemade bomb he could hear them coming, hear them trying to remember to breath, hear the hissing sound the bullet holes made as their rotten cores sloshed with their morning meal of teenagers. For a second, just a second, he thought he heard one laugh, as though his attempt at revenge was fool-hearted. No matter, it was done. He kissed Marla’s necklace, and with that lit the fuse. He ran at first away from the gas station into the parking lot, but then stopped. He looked at the swarm coming closer and he just laughed.
A fire ball engulfed his being. As he was vaporized, he laughed.
Posted by E.S. Wynn on 9/13/10 at Weird Year Magazine: http://weirdyear.blogspot.com/search/label/Daniel%20J.%20Pool
Originally posted to Concerning Fiction on blogger, 03/09/2015
Today the campus I work at is being visited by Neil Gaiman. I tried thinking about all the things I could scribble out on a blank Q&A form for him. Thankfully no one will get to stand up awkwardly and ask questions into a microphone. This is always the part of any symposium where I try to see if I can shove myself completely inside my seat in the auditorium.
The only questions I could up with were either your generic “how do I get famous writing?” questions or “who is your favorite Game of Thrones character?” I’ve decided I’ll go with the latter.
This is because I’m sure he and people in his position get the first question all the time. Also, I’m fairly certain the answer is: Write.
That stings. Straight and deep. To get famous and write for a living I have to start by writing. Reading King’s On Writing says as much. His thoughts on life while up to his elbows in maggots at a dry cleaner could sober anyone up to that. If you want to write you have to start by actually writing.
And I have been writing–just not all on the novel… okay, or even the same project consistently.
The adventure novel project is at 17,775 words (nearly halfway through) and it is coming easily when I write on it. The problem is that I haven’t been writing on it very much. Between grad school, the house, work, and video game project I barely sleep a full night much less complete anything.
Every time I think, “This will be a short project,” I end up taking months to complete it. Endless email chains, phone calls, and planning docs till I set it aside to start the next project. I know many other creatives probably do the same thing. We just see their accomplishments and think they only ever worked on that product alone. All the same, at the end of the day I can’t help but stay at the blank page I’ve written myself to, sigh, and put it to the side.
Life is some much more simple when I’m running or drywalling. I only have to do to do X number of miles or X amount of wall left to cover. When I’m writing I get so wrapped up in the end product and the big picture that just getting a few words takes hours.
In the blank places between my thoughts, I find myself contemplating GoT’s–that’s probably why I want to ask Neil which character he likes. My wife and I just finished watching season four over our snow (read as ICE) day. Sometimes I turn my thoughts to what will happen next.
Will Lord Baelish swoop in and save the throne after everyone else is dead? Will Arya become a legendary swords lady? How will dragons play out in the series if they are so wild? The questions just run out my ears.
That’s when it hits me the hardest. When I find myself so completely consumed by a work that I spend my spare blank time mauling it over. That is so powerful. That is what makes good writing good! That’s what I want to do–I want people to feel, think, and experience the thoughts I have had.
I feel so separated from the world. It’s like a heavy blanket of Otherness hangs between everyone and me. We never really touch (at least not in a meaningful way). Then I write something. They read it and they get it. Like notes passed between jail cells. I have stories inside myself that want to be shared.
But not today! Today I will write! I will tear a little off the blanket, pass it to my neighbor, and bask in the knowledge that a little bit of me transcended the little blank place between us.
So I’ve been following different indie game developers on Twitter for a while now. I’ve felt like an imposter or like I was party crashing listening to them talk about their work. A few of these people on Twitter announced that they are putting on a ‘Salvage Jam‘ for old unfinished projects. I decided to sign up to force myself to actually finish something. I don’t want to be ‘faking it’, I just want to be ‘making it (the game that is)’.
Greetings! The holidays were a whirlwind here. My last day of work for the year was also the day I saw the Last Jedi and the day I graduated (and that was the first night). Christmas break is traditionally a time of the year where I make big promises to not deliver on. I always say I’m gonna do big things but usually just take a break. This year wasn’t really any different but then I started the year off sick.
Another Turkey Day in the books. This year we honored the time-tested family tradition of doing manual labor, eating till we hurt, and discussing medical procedures in gory detail over dessert. It was fun.
Because I sort of let the month slip by, I thought I’d give the short-hand version of my month for everyone.
I’ve been a bundle of nerves for the last few weeks. I took my comprehensive examination for my graduate program a few weeks ago. It was a weekend long essay test. I had heard horror stories about it but couldn’t really devote time to thinking about that. The weekend came and I made nearly every mistake possible as a test taker. Turned it in and prayed. Then waited for my results. I saw a friend on Facebook post that they had passed and it took a full minute to remember we are in the same program. So I rushed out to my school email…
AND I PASSED!