Notes on a Book, Novel, Poems, and Stuff

It’s a rainy Sunday and I am sitting at the computer feeling a bit overwhelmed with the number of projects open on my screen.  Currently there are three big projects I’ve been dividing my time on:

  • Cancer poetry book
  • Novel
  • Lectionary Project

Being somewhat unfocused, I do have a fourth poetry collection starting to build – okay, I have a file where I’ve been adding a few poems that I’ve written that could, possibly be the basis of a poetry collection.

I’ve titled the cancer book, There was a Time.  Heather did some illustrations for the book and I asked to use one of her paintings as the cover art.  I intend to self-publish this one.  It’s not one that will make money or anything like that, but I wanted to have it to give friends, family, and have available for my blogging community.  Here’s the cover art:

There was a Time

The question that I’ve been procrastinating on is how to publish it?  Should I do the Amazon Create Space thing, which would give me a physical book and a Kindle edition or use another option?  One possibility is a local company who specializes in self-publishing.  This company would take my book and do all the work, including printing a few and getting it listed on Amazon.  I know people who’ve used this service and for a few dollars I can dump the whole project on them and have copies of my book to give out.  Going directly with Amazon is a bit more work, but allows me to have a book that is generally available and who knows, might sell better that I imagined. I have other dreams I’ll share later.

There’s another question on There was Time that’s been pulling at me from time to time – editing.  When I reread some of the poems there, I do get the urge to revise them, which sometimes makes me question if the book is ready to leave my desk or if I am just having trouble letting go of what has already been completed.

North and East, is the working title of my novel.  I have about 6,000 words written, along with a ton of notes, and a few side stories.  The book is best described as a post-apocalyptic centering around a young man named Colin who is an engineering operator at a power plant.  The world Colin finds himself in is nicely oppressive and this is the story of his escape and journey of self-discovery.  I am working on describing this work better, but it’s still largely in my brain and most times it takes an hour to explain what it is all about.  Part of the complexity is how I’ve chosen to tell the story – in fragments. One of the fragments I worked on is a number of “This Date in History,” things that are to be used to help explain the background of Colin’s world.  Here is a sneak peek at one of these:

On this Date in History:

In 2094 Lt Col David West led the 35th Homeland Guard Regiment in the battle of Soledad which established the northern frontier of the City for the next 50 years until his grandson, Col Jose West, led the 1st City Regiment which included elements of the 2nd City Calvary, 1st Homeland Guard Battalion and was supported by four airplanes from the Vandenberg Fixed Wing Squadron in the battles of Salinas and Monterey thereby securing the whole length of the Salinas River Valley for the City on the very same day in 2144.

From the Vandenberg Times, May 24, 2277

I have a few other methods like this that I am weaving around a basic story.  It’s a bit of an experiment and I don’t know how far I’ll take it.  Personally I like stories that weave around a number of threads.  One of my inspirations for this is the novel Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin.  In her book, Le Guin, tells both the story of a woman named, Stone Telling, and about the Kesh people in a distant Northerner California.  And it’s often how my brain works – in short fragments of coherence. 

The Lectionary Project is up to four completed poems.  It’s moving along slowly and I do have some trouble keeping up a rhythm of reading and meditating.  Life just interferes and last month I had extra work at the office which consumed some of my evenings.  That pressure is past and I hope to get into a better schedule on this.  I do have to say that sometimes I find myself, retelling the Bible passage, rather than interpreting it.  A problem I did have, has been that one lectionary passage did nothing to inspire me and the resulting poem was difficult and not to my liking.  I delayed on this passage for a while, before deciding I just didn’t get it and that now is not the time for me to understand that one.  It’s a lesson I am learning that not all things call to us and sometimes it’s best to just move on.

I have not been working much on this blog except for trying to maintain my Friday funny wisdom posts.  I’ve not been in the workshop much this fall so the Wednesday Woodworking posts have as many kitty pictures as wood projects.  As for my Sunday essays, I aim to get one out a month.

One thing I still try to do every Sunday is, PIZZA! It’s time to stop writing and start the pizza making.

Till next time,


Posted in Writing | Tagged , , | 38 Comments

Andrew’s Third Law of Software Development

Bugs detected in a software system can be corrected in these four ways:

  1. Fix and do a new release.
  2. Tell boss, “It works on my machine.”
  3. Tell user, “That’s a network error, retry later.”
  4. Document it and call it a feature.

More insights next week,


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Wednesday Woodworking – Framed

Finally got this project done: The Redwood Picture frame with Heather’s painting of redwoods!

Heather’s oil painting in my frame. Size: 30×18

Heather did a great painting and if you think this is good, it’s one of a set of three that she’s working on.

The frame is made from redwood scraps left over from building a planter box.  I milled the wood down and used my picture framing jig to cut the corners.  The frame is finished with a coat of wipe-on varnish.

The idea was to have the frame look like a tree so I used the pieces with knots and defects.

If you need me – I’ll be in the shop,


Posted in woodworking | Tagged | 40 Comments

Movember Poem


Razor scrapes face clean.
Towel dries tears.
Lip quivers at the memory.
Eyes face the past,
while throat prepares to cry
into the future.

A budding soup-strainer
starts the conversation.
Stubble opens ears.
Lips speak of,

Passion, and compassion.

A fuzzy lipped community speaks
of the possibilities.
Of hope for the day when
we no longer raise a
hand to dry a tear
for the brother felled by this

This is a special request poem from a man who is participating in the Movember Men’s Health awareness and fundraise for research for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.  How it works is that a man will start the month clean-shaven and then let their mustache grow.  Participants in the month work to rise awareness and funds.  The growing stubble is a great conversation starter.

Personally I am not growing a mustache.  When I noted this on an on-line cancer forum, I was asked if I’d at least write a poem for the month – which is now published here.

I’ve heard of this for a few years.  The one thing I know for sure is that the men and women (yes ladies are helping with this too, they get a bit “creative” with the mustache part) who support this fund raiser are passionate about their cause.

As a victim of prostate cancer, I do appreciate the effort these folks are putting into Movember.

Till next time,


Posted in Poems | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments