A Miscellany

Artful Players - Acrylics (by StarbuckGuy)

I have no single topic of interest today — just some loose threads to bring together. I nearly named this entry “On Divers Things” but was fearful someone might think I was discussing snorkels and oxygen tanks, so I went for the slightly literary word miscellany. From the Latin misceo, to mix. Perhaps I’d have been better off using the earthier Odds and Sods.


It’s day 26 of the month and this is my 26th post. For the first time since I started I’m feeling nervous about finishing — the pressure’s on. I wasn’t certain I’d get this far, but now that I have, I want to finish my goal of posting a daily entry for the entire month of January. I’m having second thoughts about the usefulness  of the exercise. For one thing, a daily posting doesn’t give me much time to think. Being a slow, or at least leisurely, thinker, I normally like to have at least a few days to work on a piece, even a short one, before inflicting it on readers.

I’m of the school of thought that any piece of writing should lie dormant for some time after you finish what you think is the final draft. Stephen King suggests a six-week gestation period — whatever is long enough that when you re-read your manuscript, it’s like reading something written by someone else. That makes it easier to edit ruthlessly, often killing off passages that seemed so good when you first wrote them.

The blog-a-day has been good for getting momentum back into my blogging, but I’m looking forward to a slower pace in February. Work on some of my other writing projects has suffered, including a tentative start on some fiction that, for the first time in my life, I can say isn’t bad. Meaning it doesn’t suck totally. Only some.


I realized this morning that I’m colour starved. The winter landscape of ice and snow has been too uniformly white. Even as a B&W photographer, it’s beginning to bore me. I was wandering around the house shooting anything colourful. My best shot was of my wife’s paint trays — her art supplies always seem to attract my lens.

After several weeks with the new Panasonic Lumix LX3 I can say I like it very much and that the image quality is remarkable for a small-sensor digicam. I’m loving the wide 24mm equivalent in 16:9 mode. For anyone not bothered by its short tele range (a mere 60mm) I can recommend it highly.

I’m missing my film cameras. When the weather warms up enough for me to easily carry something larger than a digicam, I’m eager to spend some quality time with my Nikon SLR’s.


I’ve had Sibyl, my Acer Aspire One, about as long as the LX3 and it too has become a favoured member of my tech-toy collection. I wouldn’t have attempted my month of blogging without it.  The toughest part with Sibyl was adjusting to its child-size keyboard. The second toughest part has been talking about Sibyl to every Starbucks customer who is fascinated by its tininess and wants to know more about it.

My friend Peter just acquired an iPod Touch and I’m feeling a touch jealous. Mark also has one and shows me the cool apps being developed for it. What a slick interface.

I’m disappointed with Apple, though. Where is the Mac version of a netbook? The MacWorld show brought nothing exciting at all. I hoped they’d revolutionize the whole concept of the netbook by  introducing a small unit with good keyboard, based around Touch and iPhone technology.


I’m well into (Sir!!) Terry Pratchett’s latest novel, Nation. Although he’s reported that, with his early-onset Alzheimer’s, typing has become very difficult and slow, it’s done nothing to slow  his vivid, creative mind. The book, so far, is wonderfully written and I expect it will rank among his best.

In re-reading the Discworld series, I’ve just finished Maskerade. Next up: Feet of Clay.

Creative Nonfiction

I’m happy to say the Creative NonFiction Writing Forums site has been launched and has attracted some very good members who have posted interesting and useful information. If you have any interest in nonfiction, either writing it, or reading it and wondering what makes it tick, you’re cordially invited to join the forums. Membership is free. The more members we have, the more discussions we’ll have to enjoy.

Speaking of creative nonfiction, Susan Johnston, who maintains the excellent Urban Muse blog, has published a very thoughtful article The Paradox of Writing Personal Essays.


Mur Lafferty‘s recently posted I Should Be Writing podcast interview with horror author Scott Sigler covers some exceptionally interesting points of view on what it takes to develop a base of readers in today’s recessed publishing world. Podcasts, blogs, and social networking are all part of the mix.

There. Was that miscellaneous enough?

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