Writers’ League of Texas Summer Writing Retreat

For those new here, I’ve written a manuscript. It’s about the period covered by the first two years of this blog. It took a year to write the book, alternating days that I write this blog. Another year passed while I edited it. I was sitting in a virtual drawer for a while, then I found a couple of people to do beta reading. While that process continues, this opportunity came along after I recently joined the Writers League of Texas. Membership has its privileges, and one of them is discounts on programs like this class on revision. (Many are free.) Although not cheap, I realized it’s a bargain and that I couldn’t really afford NOT to take the class. Although the goal — to write a book — was accomplished, if I ever want to get this book done and out into the world somehow, it’s going to take a lot more work. After all, as they say, writing IS revising. I’m thinking of it as an investment. Who knows? Maybe it’ll make me some money some day. (Unlikely, but possible).

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A Blog Post About Something, but First…

… lemme tell you about my day. A Tuesday, it ’twas. And boy, what a doozy! Actually, it really wasn’t that much of a doozy. I just enjoy using the word doozy. Which makes me think about whoopsie daisy. Can you have a doozy of a whoospie daisy? Or a whoopsie daisy doozy? wonder if anyone has ever written those two sentences. Probably, there’s nothing new under the sun. Oh, yeah, you’re right: tell you about my day. Speaking of the sun, it was hot. It only got to 98 degrees, so that wasn’t a doozy, but I did get dizzy on my walk. I went over to the Orifice Despot to make some copies. I was standing at the copy machine, makin copies. And I printed some things, too. Well, the copy machine did. It’s like a transformer, it turned into a printer, though I noticed no changes. And then I walked home. Even hotter. And then…

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What to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Writing Your Blog

You know how sometimes actors will look into the camera and talk to the audience? It’s called “breaking the fourth wall.” Well, this post is similar to that. I’m pulling back the curtain to say, sort of like when you’re out on a long bicycle ride and your body just isn’t up to the task and you turn to your fellow riders (or yourself) and say, “I just don’t have it, today, mates.” Everyone has off days; nothing wrong with that. We’re not human bicycling machines. (Yet.) Sure, I could come up with something bike-related, or talk about some picayune detail of cycling, but I’m just going to go wherever this writing about not knowing what to write takes me. I don’t know what you do when you don’t feel like writing your blog — of course, you do you. But I know what I do: I write my damn blog.

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The Writers League of Texas: Membership Has Its Privileges

After a number of years of hearing about WLT, attending some of their pre-pandemic Third Thursday events at Book People (the largest independent book store in Texas), and meeting some folks at Owen Egerton’s One Page Salon, I finally joined up. I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner. I suppose it had to do a bit with the Wayne’s World motto: “We’re not worthy!” When actor-director Tate Donovan asked me at a OPS if I was a writer, I said yes for the first time. Hey, that makes me one degree of separation from Jennifer Aniston, whom he dated after playing her boyfriend on Friends. As we all know, she’s well known for her books. Strike that, reverse it. I mean looks! Humunuh humunuh! No, it’s her mad acting skillzl OK, that’s tangential, but it was diversionary. Mmm, more big wordz!

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Blah-g: When You Don’t Feel Like Writing

I’ve noted that writer’s block is not really real. If you stick to the dictum and write what you know, you can come up with something. I always do. But then again, I’m not a journalist on assignment; it’s my blog, and I can lie if I want to. But sometimes, that blinking cursor taunts me (a second time), and I just don’t have much pithy to say. So some days are trickier that others. And if writer’s block is real for you, what are some ways out of the trap?

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60 Days of New Years Resolutions: How YOU Doin’?

Happy First Day of International Women’s Month. (Is it bad that I can’t get Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It”) out of my head?) Here in the States we were hoping 2021 would suck a lot less than the dumpster fire fluster cuck that was 2020. But it’s been a year already: insurrection at the US Capitol; inauguration of the lawfully elected 46th President (who quickly began steering the ship of state away from the rocky shores with some pretty righteous executive actions); impeachment without conviction of the ousted one for inciting said riot; the vaccine rollout happening but mostly botched (largely due to the last guy); and the new guy before bombing some places in Iraq. (Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, at least when it comes to war and the military.) Then there was epic Winter Storm Uri (a Russkie?) which led to ultra cold temperatures, blackouts (the weather kind and I’m sure booze-related ones, too), near record snow, ice, and in Texas especially, the loss of electricity, heat, and then water for millions. Yeah, pretty sucky, 2021.

But hey, there ain’t much a dude can do about all that but to survive and Just Keep Livin’. And that means doin’ some stuff, makin’ moves, and what not. Thanks to the boss man over at Sorryless saying I inspired him to take 10,000 steps every day but starting Februrary 1st, now that March has arrived, I figure it’s time to review my vows to suck a little less. It’s a lot to hope for, but maybe some of my very modest but important marginal gains will rub off on y’all, and on the year at large. OK, suck it up, we got some stats to update. I’ll try to keep it short.

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16 Months of Consecutive Daily Bicyling

It’s that time of the month, again. The 11th, that is, which is when I began biking every single day back in October of 2019. For some reason, I cain’t quit you, bicycling. That streak will be tested Monday, when we might see the coldest temperatures in a decade and three to five inches of snow — in Austin, Texas. I may have to pull out the old metal home trainer stand and do my 14.3 miles* in the relative warmth of the inside. I say relative because this house leaks air like the White House press office, and the space heaters can’t keep up. Anyway, the miles add up, although at a slower pace than last year. That’s thanks to having a smaller goal, a niggling injury, and my old frequent friend, fatigue. Plus, the cold does slow one down. Don’t get me started on how my body seems unable to handle cold very well anymore, for whatever mysterious reason. Still, I bike, because, well, you know: a dude abikes.

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My Book Report: It’s Beta Reader Time, Baby

It’s taken me a good while to get to this point, but I’ve finally done it: I printed out Chapter 1 of my book to give to a beta reader. Of course they weren’t there went I went to drop it off, so I’ll do that tomorrow. And I’m working out getting an electronic copy to my first victim I mean volunteer who is out of town. Just today, a third person offered to read it. So the ball is rolling, wheels are in motion, the train is leaving the station… insert other clichés (which a good writer knows to avoid). Anyway, Sorryless wanted updates, and as my steadfastest reader and mostest commenter, I want to keep him happy.

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Book Review: HEFT ON WHEELS by Mike Magnuson

Courage is a word you could use to describe bicycling, especially the urban kind I do wherein one risks one’s life while several-ton killing machines blow by at high speeds mere inches away. Or bike racing, BMX riding with the ramps and jumps and tricks, or screaming down a mountain on a bike: all take some degree of courage. But writing? It doesn’t take any courage at all to sit down at a laptop and start hammering away, right? Well, that’s easy to say if you haven’t tried to write a book. And when it comes to memoir, laying your soul bare to people you never have, and never will meet, takes a big chunk of gumption.

I should know, because I’ve been writing this blog for over five years, albeit with far less courage since I use a nom de plume / velo. I have also written a book — a memoir. I have yet to find the courage to even show it to others to read. (I’m getting close to sharing with beta readers, once I figure out the details, having finally just found two awesome volunteers.) But in Heft on Wheels: A Field Guide to Doing a 180, his 2005 memoir (I know, I’m very late to the party), author, creative writing professor, magazine article writer, and cyclist Mike Magnuson has courage in spades. (Heft is a follow-up to his previous memoir, Lummox.) As quoted in a speech he gave, I’d even go so far as to say he has “sixteen suitcases full of courage.”

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