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Seasons

As anyone who frequents this blog can attest, Sitting in Darkness is decidedly NOT a confessional or a journal blog, or even a how-to-write-and-get-published blog. It’s mostly a compendium of weird, little stories, with some editorial content I throw in occasionally to illuminate the seed of the story. Or perhaps I’ll include an interesting anecdote about stuff that happened while I was writing the story.

I spend a good deal of time reading confessionals, journals, and how-to’s, so I’m not saying the way I am blogging is all that…it is, in fact, inferior to the many blogs that actually offer visitors useful information about writing, good reads, and, well, let’s say, “the state of the publishing industry”. I just don’t feel I have much to offer there.

But, I do have a group of regulars; people who visit the blog often, leave supportive comments, and are generally excellent individuals, as far as I can tell from their avatars and their comments. I can only hope their opinions of me are half as high.

So, I thought it might be fun (or not) to post some seasonal shots of where Sitting in Darkness gets done. In a future post, I might even post a pic or two of my office, where the writing happens (or not), but the utter disarray of said office right now might constitute a violation of web etiquette.

Robert Frost once so eloquently wrote, ‘spring is the mischief in me’. So here is a shot of the homestead in spring. I haven’t been able to discern any difference in the tone of my stories from spring to fall to winter. We plant and dig and sweep. The bumble bees chase us away from the peach, pear, and apple blossoms. Writing takes a back seat to outdoor pursuits. The summer builds and send us to the pond to cool off.

But I must admit, I loathe the summer heat and wait expectantly for the fall, my favorite season, when I am not above telling my kids that we live in werewolf central. It just seems that way to me. Driving home from a jaunt in the city, I develop a delicious sensation of dread as we weave through the autumn fog in the hills, the roads a jumble of color from the wind-swept leaves. The fall invites me outside to ramble in the fields but it also tugs me to my office to write. A more interior approach to life comes home to roost in my chest.

I will take an autumn shot this year, and post it.

With the leaves turning to brown mud, the first snows start to drop – languid, fat, and wet. But this is New England and the storms pick up. The snows begin to pile and lay heavy on the land. Sooner or later, the storm comes. The electricity fails, and fire is the only heat and light to prevent us from sitting in total, freezing darkness.

When we’re really in it, and the writing is furious:

The winter evenings in such a place are made for sitting in darkness: the wind howls, and the trees grow so thick and close, they creak and scream as they bend back and forth on dark, frigid nights. After the rest of the family has started to snore under a mound of quilts, what writer could resist the urge to bask in the glow of the orange face of the wood stove and scribble a dark little story? Monsters roam the upstairs hallways; lonesome spirits moan in the wet, fieldstone basement; and nameless horrors whisk past my little window, outside in the snowy bluster. The best writing comes when I can convince myself our deliverance from the storm and its denizens is far from certain. What will morning find in this house?

I wake to giggling children, the smell of coffee and waffles, and powder blue skies. The stove is toasty. I don’t even look to see what I wrote last night. That can wait. We huddle around the iron stove and feed in logs to warm ourselves before going out to breathe in that scrumptious, clean air.

After breakfast, out to blow the snow, shovel the property, change out the chickens’ water which would have frozen overnight. The dogs disappear in the drifts.

Back in the house after a good snootful of fresh air and some vigorous shoveling, I find I have the gumption to read what I wrote the night before – maybe there’s something worth keeping. The truly abysmal sentences, so clear now in this growing sunshine,  are summarily deleted. This evening, I’ll be at it again, I hope.

The fall and winter just bring on my muse.

My muse is an old man who wanders the fields aimlessly, kicking at the dead cornstalks, and talking to geese on the wing.

And he’s approaching now.


Sitting in Darkness…The Novel

Stage 2 of Sitting in Darkness has begun.

There are stages, you ask?

Perhaps I should explain.

I started this blog to do two specific things:

1. Entertain readers with short, snappy, sometimes creepy, (and hopefully engaging) stories.

and…

2. To see if some of these tiny germs of stories want to grow up to be…bigger.

Well, it has finally happened. One of the stories on this blog has announced itself as wanting to be told more fully, with all the bells and whistles of noveldom.

So, I am fully engaged in the planning and execution of this story, this novel.

Why do I bring this up, you may be wondering?

Just to explain the spotty posting schedule over the next few months. I will continue to put up stories, and hopefully more of them will want to be novels.

Now, I’m tempted to ask all 12 of you who subscribe if you can guess which of the 50 some-odd stories on the blog I am currently novelizing.

I’ll just say this: Margo will probably get done as a novel someday, because I want to know more about her and I just love the way she looks at the world. One of my relatives thinks I am doomed to be the victim of an Annie Wilkes copycat if I write the Margo novel(s).

If you don’t know who Annie Wilkes is, Google will be more than happy to oblige you.

There are several stories herein that have hinted at their aspirations to become more than I have made of them so far. But right now, only one story has flooded my fevered brain with imagery, additional characters, colorful backstory, stakes to die for, and a lead that looked me in the face, in a dream, and convinced me to write the story.

I have to admit, that was kind of weird. But hell, we only go around once, right?

By the way: these characters are completely of my creation, but I don’t tell them what to do all the time. Sure, I have a general idea of where I want the story to go, but sometimes my subconscious, in the guise of one of my characters, has other, usually better, ideas.  It’s super fun, and sometimes a little disconcerting.

I believe it was Jerry B. Jenkins, author of the 14-volume, bazillion-copies-sold Left Behind series, who, when asked why he killed off one of his major characters, answered, “I didn’t kill him off. I found him dead.”

So, I hope you’ll continue to stop by and read my little stories (and see if you can guess which one on the blog is soon to be a novel).

As always, I’m writing this alone in my room and hopeful the stories connect with a reader out there.

I’ll occasionally post updates to let you know where I am in the novel writing process.

The publishing world continues to evolve so quickly, I have no earthly idea what it will look like when I’m done writing this story.

But I’ll deal with that when I actually have a completed manuscript.

Right now, I just want to tell a rollicking, balls to the wall story.  A story the reader simply cannot put down.

There, I’ve said it.

There’s no turning back, even if I wanted to.

Behind me an avalanche has sealed the mine entrance.

I can only stumble forward.

Into darkness.

_________________________

image by kevingessner


Sitting in Darkness is Back!

I miss Sitting in Darkness.  I miss putting these little stories up here.

So, I’m going to start up again.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting a story sparked by this picture.

Feels good to be back.

Image by studiobeerhorst


Rumors of my death are wildly exaggerated…

 

No, I haven’t exited this vale of tears, shed my mortal coil, bought the farm, kicked the bucket, or eaten every bite of a big shit sandwich. No, I am in that living death called a day job, a carnivorous one that has been snapping up enormous chunks of my life like that huge black German shepherd in the old ALPO commercials.

Seriously, I am working on stories and my summer of airports is nearly over. I look forward to the coming of fall: cool nights, Bard owls, coyotes, that crisp autumn wind that howls through New England. It all just puts me in the mind to tell stories. Grab a blanket, pull down the shades, ignore the scratching of the branches on the study window, and fire up some stories on Sitting In Darkness.

Stay with me. Posts will be more regular…


What Happened to Sitting in Darkness?

Nothing.

I”m still here.

Travel, work, family, summer – excuses, excuses.

Off again today. To Scranton, PA, this week.

The stories are just waiting for a little breather to make their way from my fevered brain and thence out into the blogosphere.

Soon!…..


From the road…

Sitting in Darkness at the Charlotte Douglas Airport in NC.  On my way to West Palm Beach for work. Story coming tonight…. something straight out of the today’s news….check back later or tomorrow.  Thanks for stopping by!


Quick Update

This week’s story “Margo Heats It Up” has been entered in the Friday Flash Fiction Challenge at Chuck Wendig’s awesome blog, terribleminds.  Now the only reason I point this out is the fact that each Friday Chuck issues a challenge, and writers from all over this godforsaken planet sit down and create something that is uniquely – THEM.  This is something I support in writing, music, glass-blowing, pipe-fitting and all the myriad arts. Check out Chuck’s blog for great posts on writing and general-but practical – artistic mayhem.  But be warned: Chuck should never be confused with Mr. Rogers…


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