Clean Slate

“Woah! Woah dude! What have you done?”

I know, I know. The blog feels a bit…spartan. If you’re one that followed for the last 8-ish years, you’ll notice that there is about 273 posts missing. I deleted them. I’ve deleted everything and cut down on some the content that is still around from before. And there is a very good reason for that. For the last 3 years, I barely touched this blog. There was good reason. After the transplant, it was rough trying to get back to my normal blogging mode, and writing in general. Rebounding back took a long time, and even now, you could say I’m still trying to recover from that event 6 years ago. To help get my brain back to where it was before, I decided to go back for my MFA. That just took time away and most of what I wrote was for school. Once I graduated, I only had about a month before I got sick from what we now know was lymphoma. And someday soon I’ll write a post about that, but, for brevity’s sake, let just say it was wearing. And it got to the point where I just didn’t think I could do it anymore. Thus, I posted last May I was taking an indefinite hiatus.

I put together many of the pieces of my life in that time and I now feel like I can try to getting back to some of the old habits. The problem was that, towards the end of the old version of the blog, I kept trying to reorganize and update it so many times that it was just a mess. I’m also finishing the unpacking from the move down south and I realized that sometimes it’s best to just junk stuff that is no longer useful to you. That’s what these old post really were. So, I cleaned house and starting again. And it fits with the new start that began back after the transplant. I’ve transitioned from one era of my life to another and that is what this blog will catalogue.

But I know my readers well. You are smart, inquisitive folk where half your brain has concerns and other has conspiracies running through your thoughts. So why don’t I address some of those.

1.) “Isn’t it important to have an archive for new people to read and get to know you?”

This is idea I’ve heard a lot in the last decade or so, especially as a writer who must be part publicity agent. It’s a sort of “do it now, so you don’t have to do it later” idea that you’ve presented a tuned image of yourself in the case you get something published that draws people to learn more about you. But here’s the thing, this is an idea is almost antithetical to the era that devised it. Be honest, how many blogs do you actually take the time to go through their archive? I’m gonna guess a handful because you have a finite amount of time to devote to it. So, its benefit to readers is relative to your audience. I did not have that active an audience, so I have a feeling old posts aren’t going to be missed by most. In my mind, it sounds better to start fresh and try again rather than have a boondoggle of eight years of wildly random stuff (this is not to say I won’t continue to be wildly random, as that is just my nature, just better organized)

2.) “Ain’t this just a way to change yer mind on ideas like dem there politicians?”

In fact, it is! Despite the common thought that changing one’s mind is a bad thing, it’s actually a good thing. Especially when those ideas are from a time when we are younger, less knowledgeable, and less experienced.  While I start this blog after I graduated with my M.A. from Seton Hill, it was still an extension of the blog I created way back after I finished undergrad. I used that one to stay in contact with friends from college since most of them lived in different states than myself. In that time, a multitude of life events have happened that have changed the way I think, reason, and react to life. And I feel I’ve change significantly enough that it would be easier to understand who I am now without the eight year backlog that I would have to always have to take into account, most of which, I don’t even really remember what I said. If anyone really has a need to know my positions on things through out my life, that is what the internet is for. Just ’cause I’ve deleted posts doesn’t mean they aren’t stored somewhere.

3.) “This is about that ‘snuff fiction’ post, isn’t it?”

Oh man. For those who are new or don’t know about the snuff post, here’s the skinny. Couple years back I wrote a post on a trend I saw in a lot of horror short fiction, especially new and/or indie and small press writers. I dubbed it, for lack of a better term, “snuff fiction” as it all tended to lack any real story or character development and was purely an exercise of using all the synonyms of viscera possible in a story.  It generated some discussion, which I was proud of, but it had an unseen consequence. It is my most visited post, but not for the reason you might expect. Since I wrote that post, I consistently had at least one visitor a day because they searched “snuff” on Google. After a while, I grew tired of it and really didn’t want those readers to be a part of my audience. So it helped in my decision to delete and start again.

4.) “What about all those reviews/interviews/guest blog posts/all the things you did to help friends and fellow creators?”

One of the things I do feel bad about is the fact that these posts were swept clean too. Granted, it’s not like any of them created much traffic after the first week of them being posted. So, again, they really aren’t doing anything for either of us now. And while I’m still open to the possibility of doing more at some point in the future, I think I may stay away from them for a while. There are a lot of reasons, especially when it comes to reviews, but those are a post in of themselves.

Now, this isn’t just a relaunch of the blog. It is also the launch of my RedBubble store and a new project I’m working on: Angst & Ennui.  My art is something that I discovered while recovering from chemo. It has taken a lot to get back to my writing, even just to write this blog post, but creating the art helped keep that restless of not being able to write to a minimum. As I created, people asked where they could get some as prints. So, I decided that I should take the dive and put it out there for sale.

Angst & Ennui also evolved out of chemo recovery. After moving down here to North Carolina, I decided to get back into tabletop role-playing games. Once the more debilitating part of chemo finished, rpgs became the way I was able to get back into society. I was exposed to a lot of systems in that time and ideas for possible games percolated in my head. Angst & Ennui is my effort design one of them. While I may talk about it here, from time to time, I’m making it a separate site so those interested in progress have an easier time staying informed.

I’m not one to make promises I don’t know I can’t keep, but I feel like, barring yet another life threatening medical issue, I’m back for good.

So, that’s me, how are you doing?

2 responses to “Clean Slate”

  1. First of all I want to say awesome blog! I had a quick
    question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind.
    I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts
    prior to writing. I have had trouble clearing my mind
    in getting my ideas out there. I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted
    simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any
    suggestions or tips? Cheers!


    1. Interesting question, since I have been having my own struggle with that recently. After the chemo, I’ve found that I can still get distracted in a completely empty, silent room with no internet by just my own thoughts. The first question to ask is, are the thoughts you have that keep you from starting about the story you are writing, or something else entirely. If they’re about the story, you can always do a little outline of what I want to accomplish. I usually for a scene or a chapter, depending on if it’s a short story or a novel, respectively. What do i want to have happen, what imagery do i want to invoke. And you’ll find that those distracting thoughts will either fit into what you plan to write that day, or they can be foreshadowing something later in the story.

      If it is about thoughts outside of the current story, that’s tougher. If it is another story, try and write them down someplace else, and do it physically. I know a lot of other writers that will just open another file and add it there, but I find for myself that just adds to the temptation of working it be cause its right there and its started, so why nit try to finish it. By writing it down physical and keeping it away from you and where you are trying to work on the current story, you’ve allowed your mind to process the fact that, “Hey cool, that thought is now recorded someplace, I don’t have to try and keep it in the active thoughts loop so it’s not forgotten.

      If they are about life in general, then there are two ways to look at it and requires a lot of self-reflection and self-discipline. The first is that you have something else you really do need to deal with that is more important that your writing. And this is the hard juggling act of a writer. Life doesn’t stop just because you want to write. That being said, and the other thing it could be, it’s possible that it’s just something that’s on your mind and you have to give yourself the right to write. There is a lot going on in everyone’s life, minute to minute, and if you are waiting for the perfect conditions to write, you may never find them. You need to allow yourself some time, when possible, to just close the door and have time for you and your writing.


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