My novella “Soothsayer” will be free for downloading on cyber Monday if you haven’t read it. I could really use some reviews, if anyone has the time.

 

My first novel, “The Dead God’s Due“, is now available on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. You can find this and my other work here.

 

I finally decided to take the plunge and put some of my stuff out on Amazon’s Kindle Digital Publishing. You can find links and descriptions of my published work here.

Matt’s first law of programing: you are an idiot.

Not exactly flattering, eh? It certainly doesn’t make the old ego stand at attention, and yet there is a reason it’s the First Law: it is true, and embracing it is the solution to most bugs. The vast majority of problems one encounters are due to mistakes he has made, either from commission or omission. You want certain things to happen, and so you have a certain mindset that they are in fact happening. Obviously, they are not, or you would get the results you seek, and yet it is devilishly difficult at times to see one’s own mistakes because of limited perspective. It is only by embracing the idea that you likely did something wrong that you can alter that skewed perspective and find bugs.

Obvious, isn’t it? But why, then, do we go out of our way to avoid such an obvious approach to problems in other areas of our lives?

I admit to suffering from it, though less so as I grow older and wiser. I try to practice such things in life, but I certainly have my moments of failure. I notice that they go hand in hand with the times I am feeling particularly self-righteous.

One incident stands out in my mind. I was late for work, and in a hurry. I was also driving an expensive sports car, which likely added to my egotistical mood, less in a penis-waving way, and more in a ‘my shit is really fast and slow bitches should get the fuck out” kind of mindset.

There was a large moving van in front of me. I saw that the next lane was open, and that we were in a lane marked by a solid white line. Now, for some strange reason, this did not register in my mind as ‘We are not allowed to change lanes.” It registered as “He is not allowed to change lanes.”

Isn’t that the very essence of arrogance and self absorbed thinking?

Naturally, then, I swerved into the other lane, intending to roar past the truck, when, to my dismay, the truck also changed lanes. I barely avoided a collision, and I was hopping mad.

I pulled alongside the van, cursing the driver and flipping him off. The driver, a young black man, rolled down the window and offered a conciliatory look. “Hey, man,” he said, “Don’t be so angry. Let’s talk about this like reasonable people.”

But I was angry, and self righteous to boot. “You stupid fuck!” I shouted. “You almost killed me! You weren’t supposed to change lanes!”

The man looked at me strangely. “Just listen to me for a minute, man, let me talk to you,” he pleaded. “Yes, I wasn’t supposed to change lanes. But you did it too! I thought you wouldn’t be changing lanes. We both made a mistake.”

Had I been a sensible person at the time, I would have accepted this. It was, after all, nothing but plain truth. We had  both made the same mistake. How could I be angry at him? And yet I was, very much so, enough that his very reasonable and non-hostile attempt to defuse the situation had little effect on my mood.

My answer? I just shouted, “No!” at him, rolled up my window, and sped off. As my anger faded, I kept seeing his face in my mind as I shouted my stupid answer to his sensible words. He was not angry. He looked, if anything, sad, disappointed that his attempt at reason had been rebuffed with stupidity and anger.

I have seen that face in my memory often over the years. There was a lesson, there, one I try to bear in mind as I make my way in life. I am a smart guy, but I have always been a little on the passionate side. I try a little harder these days to actually hear what people are saying before I make a judgment. I don’t always succeed.

But I do my best to never again shout “No!” and run away when someone is trying to reason out a conflict.

I am sorry, Mr. Truck Driver. You were right. I did it too.

You were the better man that day.

Matt’s first law of programing: you are an idiot.

Not exactly flattering, eh? It certainly doesn’t make the old ego stand at attention, and yet there is a reason it’s the First Law: it is

true, and embracing it is the solution to most of the problems one encounters. The vast majority of problems one encounters are due to

mistakes he has made, either from comission or omission. You want certain things to happen, and so you have a certain mindset that they are

in fact happening. Obviously, they are not, or you would get the results you seek, and yet it is devilishly difficult at times to see one’s

own mistakes because of limited perspective. It is only by embracing the idea that you likely did something wrong that you can alter that

skewed perspective and find bugs.

Obvious, isn’t it? But why, then, do we go out of our way to avoid such an obvious approach to problems in other areas of our life?

I admit to suffering from it a bit myself. I do indeed try to practice such things in life, but I certainly have my moments of failure. I

notice that they go hand in hand with the times I am feeling particularly self-righteous.

One incident stands out in my mind. I was late for work, and in a hurry. I was also driving an expensive sports car, which likely added to my

egotistical mood, less in a penis-waving way, and more in a ‘my shit is really fast and slow bitches should get the fuck out” kind of

mindset.

There was a large moving van in front of me. I saw that the next lane was open, and that we were in a lane marked by a solid white line. Now,

for some strange reason, this did not register in my mind as ‘WE are not allowed to change lanes.” It registered in my mind as “HE is now

allowed to change lanes.”

Naturally, then, I swerved into the other lane, intending to roar past the truck, when, to my dismay, the truck also changed lanes. I barely

avoided a collision, and I was hopping mad.

I puled alongside the driver, cursing him and flipping him off. The driver, a you black man, rolled down the window and offered a

conciliatory look. “Hey, man,” he said, “Don’t be so angry. Let’s talk about this like reasonable people.”

But I was angry, and self righteous. “You stupid fuck!” I shouted. “You almost killed me! You weren’t supposed to change lanes!”

The man looked at me strangely. “Just listen to me for a minute, let me talk to you,” he pleaded. “Yes, I wasn’t supposed to change lanes.

But you did it too! I thought you wouldn’t be changing lanes. We both made a mistake.”

Had I been a sensible person at the time, I would have accepted this. It was, after all, nothing but plain truth. We had  both made the same

mistake. How could I be angry at him? And yet I was, very much so, enough that his very reasonable and non-hostile attempt to defuse the

situation had little effect on my mood.

My answer? I just shouted, “No!” at him, rolled up my window, and sped off. As my anger faded, I kept seeing his face in my mind as I shouted

my stupid answer to his sensible words. He was not angry. He looked, if anything, sad, disappointed that his attempt at reason had been

rebuffed with stupidity and anger.

I have seen that face in my memory often over the years. There was a lesson, there, one I try to bear in mind as I make my way in life. I am

a smart guy, but I have always been a little on the passionate side. I try a little harder these days to actually hear what people are saying

before I make a judgment. I don’t always succeed.

But I do my best to never again shout “No!” and run away when someone is trying to reason out a conflict.

I am sorry, Mr. Truck Driver. You were right. I did it too.

You were the better man that day.

Hrm, at 43, I am still behaving a little too much like 23, still justifying bad behavior with the notion that I have worked hard and therefore deserve it. While I suppose that is occasionally true, it is more often than not an excuse to cheat whatever plan I have in place I am trying to follow: financial, dietary, productivity, etc. Perhaps it is simply the curse of the creative that we are able to find so many excuses, but in the end, it’s all a case of fooling one’s self. Math and physics are implacable: you can’t talk your way out of the consequences any more than you can beat a wall at tennis.

Here’s the truth: I have certain goals, and I need to do better at achieving them. Step one for me has always been writing them down. There is a certain magic in the act. I can plan things better when I do.

And more to the point, I follow the plan I have better when I know I will have to confess any failings.

Money, health, and creation. Those are the goals. Now for a roadmap.

Mei! Chapter 22 turned out to be monstrous, but after it was slain, the other fell quickly. The result is rough, but I am pleased with it for now. Once act III is done, then will begin the task of cleaning it all up.

It is enough for now.

So, I am still on chapter 22. Yes, I have actually been working on it, but it’s been a real bear. I suppose, considering it’s the climax of the second act, it SHOULD be a bear, but whatever the case, I am annoyed. I want to finish the draft of the novel, and this is in my way. Other chapters come easy, but this one? Well, it’s coming. At 40 pages, it’s not a case of dawdling, just volume and some surgery from my outline, things I wanted to fit together differently when the actual scene was written.

Maybe today.

Delicious!

Delicious!

Halloween has passed, and it was enjoyed by all. For some, it was a completely new experience!

And as for me, I am on chapter 22.

I have let things lie on this for a long time, and much to my detriment. It’s been a rather hellish year, full of fear and trepidation. I’ve accomplished little other than age twice the amount of real time that has passed. Time to dig out again.

I’d love ot finish this thing by the end of the year. That’s a very rigorous schedule, but it can certainly happen if I actually work on it like I would a programming task. It’s considerably more tazing than programming at times, but it can be done.

My chief roadblock is feeling as if I am simply wasting my time, that the novel won’t be good. I suppose, in the end, I would waste the time one way or another. I am in no position to judge the work. That’s what an editor will do once I finish it.

16 chapters in Act II, quite a haul. I on on the 11th, chapter 21 of the novel. It’s getting pretty big, now.

Release me now, dog, and your death will be swift and relatively painless!

Release me now, dog, and your death will be swift and relatively painless!