Moving Right Along….

Between promoting, marketing, being unable to sleep, I am making progress on my next project.

The story which originated about 10 years ago and put in my own slush pile because of, well, didn’t have time to write, is in many ways writing itself.

A lot of my projects feel that way because I do often plot the story and develop characters in drafts and notes and will do my research, (45 y/o anx still doing homework.)

I read the story every night to my wife. And to have her approval is the best critique. The first draft, I read her the beginning paragraphs and she cried, so I must be on go something…

I’m about 30 pages in. It’s a story within a story, a romance, drama, sexuality, and how the world has changed so dramatically from 20 years ago to today.

But it is hectic at times. I am learning more about self publishing and planning and marketing, so when I am finished with this project I will be ready to roll. Something I regret with not doing with my last project.

Otherwise, I hope all is well…. Much love and respect to all of you… Chad

Need to Decompress

I’ve always found it difficult to sleep. Like Alice having a recurring dream of Wonderland, then realizing she’s been there before.

As a writer, I often feel this way, the character’s I write, the places, their stories, when I’m awake I talk to them, I follow them, or maybe they are following me. I’m sure it’s the latter.

It’s even worse when you’re thinking about several characters and not all in the same story, but different time periods even, different circumstances.

And I’m anti-social. And my characters don’t call or text before coming, they show up. Or is it they never leave and I’ve learned over the years to block them out, because I have a life outside of my writing, and knowing I can’t stay forever down in the rabbit hole, even though I’m tempted to stay.  

So when I am sleeping I dream of them, and when I am lying in bed attempting to fall asleep, I am interacting with them, plotting with them. When I wake up, I’m researching, and taking notes, always delving deeper, peeking up out of the rabbit hole every once and while taking care of things, like getting groceries, or feeding the cats, or spending time with my wife, who knows and encourages me to write, and loves it makes me happy, and wouldn’t it be nice if I could take her down into that rabbit hole with me? Perhaps I could, maybe it’s a selfish act, so the best way I know how is to write, so I can take her, and the reader to this place with me.

So I write, because my character’s want to speak, and I write because I feel as if i have to tell their story, I write as a way to hang out in the rabbit hole and away from the mundane, from the ever-ticking of the clock like Captain Hook, and like a deep-diver coming up, I have to decompress, where you feel even more isolated, and alone, clocks ticking, debates about medieval walls, blue lives, black lives, all lives matter, another senseless mass shooting, sleep, eat, say I love you, pray, repeat.

So I take from, and give back, from one world and into the other, because everything that comes from within, comes from somewhere, the mundane, the ticking of the clock, and what you bring up with you, you leave something behind, and both worlds become one over time, that whatever we touch we become a part of it and vice versa…

But I have to go for now. My characters are calling me.

Much love and respect, Chad

3000 Words: Progress

And so it begins…

The story I am writing has been on my mind for sometime and actually began it as a script a few years back, but it got shuffled into the “to-do” pile.

I reently uncovered it and changed a few details around, and started writing notes about characters and other details late last week. Read the first few paragraphs to my wife, and she cried, so I knew I was on to something.

One of my biggest obstacles is finding a place where I’m comfortable writing. I haven’t had an office set up in the house for quite sometime. It’s only been in the last few months that our youngest went off to college and late last year when I resigned my position as Shelter Director for a non-profit job to begin focusing on writing.

In the meantime, I’ve been just writing on my Chromebook, saving it to Drive, and reviewing it on my Android, and then I have a desktop, which is more multi-functional then the Chromebook. Unfortunatley so many software downloads do still require a Windows operating system. Something I wasn’t anticipating when I purchased this Chromebook. So I’m glad I have my desktop, but it means having to add everything to a cloud to make writing wherever I want wherever I want easy and then revising it on the desktop. So I am using Word, and Google Docs.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my plan is to work on three projects at the same time, but thus far, have only began starting this novella. But hope to be on the other projects by Monday.

I wrote 3000 words today, which isn’t a lot for me personally, but when I get on a role I’ll be doing much better than that.

But so far, I’m feeling good. I’m getting back into shape, mentally. Like riding a bike.

Until tomorrow, much love and respect to all of you…..Chad

THE BASIC TOOLS MY BABY NEEDS TO WRITE A LOVE POEM ABOUT ME

At your local super-duper sized
Wal-Mart Über Center,
on one of the various aisles
between the tools and T.V. dinners,
are white and yellow wide
ruled notepads propped on dusty racks, that have straight thin blue or red lines on the front and on the back.
And directly right across the aisle
you’ll find pens filled with ink,
with reds and blues and blacks and greens and tangerines and pinks.
Now if you prefer a pencil,
you’ll probably find them too,
and you’ll notice they’re eco friendly,
for lead is bad for you.
With the basic tools for writing,
you buy them and come home.
Then you cuddle up with me and get cozy, baby and write yourself a poem

Caution: WRITING IN PROGRESS

I’ve narrowed the list of several writing projects to 3. The goal is to work on all three projects simultaneously.
Won‘t that be a hoot!
One will be a script.
One will be a novella, a romance.
And the last will be a thriller.
How am I going to do this and promote and blog and spend quality time with my wife?
I don’t know!
But I will do it.
And I will make regular updates on Twitter and here on my blog…
I will take Wednesday and Thursday off. Those are the days my wife is off work.
So wish me luck…
Follow me on my journey!
Much love and respect… CMA

And here we go…..Lessons learned, and still learning about self-publishing, and self-promotion.

Well, I have learned a lot from self-publishing my first book to Kindle. One: never rush to get it online. I learned after I published the EBook and downloading the contents I noticed several spacing errors and other technical issues I hadn’t noticed when formatting it on KDP Create. So I’ve been busy attempting to work on those issues, by removing the book off the site and republishing. However, I still have not seen the changes from my copy which Amazon FAQ states may take up to 72 hours. Then it also states if you changed the content you have to inform Amazon to send an update to any customer who has downloaded the book so I’ve done that too.

I am learning as I go, basically. I have been also learning the process of self-promoting. Having worked as a talent coordinator in the past and using various social media platforms, I know my way around those sites and hashtags etc. I’ve also connected with many other authors on Twitter and love being a part of this community; social media is only one step of the promoting process.

I’ve created this blog here on Word Press. And I like how easy it is to use, and it’s user-friendly, and the cost isn’t too much, especially if you are just getting started and have several works in progress that eventually I hope to publish and having this up and running and establishing myself online is getting ahead of the game.

I’ve also invested in ProWritingAid, an editing platform to help me as I write to aid in editing. I haven’t used it yet, but plan to use it soon.

I’ve also found this interesting site https://kindlepreneur.com/list-sites-promote-free-amazon-books/ that suggests great ways to aid in promoting your book. Most I have used have been free, but I may end up using a paid for promotion, most likely with Whizbuzz.

One thing I’ve learned is that paying for advertising through sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, is that they offer exposure, but in most cases will lead to “likes” and “retweets”, but not to actual clicks on the link to the book you’re promoting. So those are platforms I won’t use again as far as paid advertisements.

And because I’ve still not decided whether I will continue the self-publishing route versus the traditional route I’ve renewed my subscription to the Writer’s Market.

Out of the three most popular social media sites, I have found Twitter’s #writerscommunity to be the best of the best. Facebook just has too many bots and I don’t really find it useful. Instagram is still a good way to promote, but I suggest creating images using platforms such as PicsArt and other tools that create visceral images that will appeal to casual scrollers.

So I’m learning these lessons as I go, and I hope it will prepare me for my next few projects.

Much love and respect to all of you in the Writing Community for all the support and inspiration to keep writing..CMA

Essay: “If I Were Tickled By The Rub of Love” by Dylan Thomas

“If I were tickled by the rub of love”, by Dylan Thomas is as difficult to interpret like Picasso’s “Femme a la Fleur”. In fact, many of Thomas’s poems have incited both “praise and condemnation” from critics” (Cox 2). However, the aforementioned poem is not the ramblings of a babbling trickster attempting to dupe his audience by breaking the established rules of language. For Thomas would interpolate:

I am a painstaking, conscientious, involved, and devious craftsman in words, however unsuccessful the result so often appears, and to whatever wrong uses I may apply my technical paraphernalia. I use everything and anything to make my poems work and move in the direction I want them to: old tricks, new tricks, puns, portmanteau-words, paradox, allusion, paronomasia, paragram, catachresis, slang, assonantal rhymes, vowel rhymes, [and] sprung rhythm. Every device there is in language is there to be used if you will (qtd.in McKay 376).

This particular poem has been described as “deal[ing] with love and life as seen at birth, infancy, adolescence, and young maturity (Halperen 25). John Yow also believes that “In the opening stanza the images apparently focus upon the moment of birth, both in general terms and in reference to the speaker’s own birth” (30). However, this is not a correct analysis, at least not in the sense that Thomas is speaking of his own birth. William Tindall, who Halperen agrees, implies, “the speaker, [Thomas], a ghost or a pre-natal virus, knows neither the delights nor the troubles of love,” going on to say that Thomas is writing as if he is “Not altogether alive” (46). After closer examination of stanzas 1, 2, and 3, it is obvious that Thomas has not taken us back into the womb, but begins the poem as a young man frightened by the thought of war, having his heart broken, and most of all, he is sorely afraid of dying.

“If I were tickled by the rub of love”, was published in December 1934, in a compilation titled, 18 Poems, apropos of “creation, both physical and poetic, and the temporal process of birth, death, and rebirth” (Tindall 27). The poems in this publication were written during the early 30s around the same time that Hitler became both president and chancellor of Germany, wherewith the military was obligated to swear allegiance to the self-proclaimed der Führer. Thomas also began corresponding with Pamela Hansford Johnson in 1933. Johnson first wrote to Thomas wanting advice concerning her own poetry after reading “That sanity be kept,” and there “became a love affair after they met in February 1934” (Ferris 20). Thomas was also aware of his inadequacies as a writer:

I’m an odd little person. Don’t imagine the great jawed writer brooding over his latest masterpiece in the oak study, but a thin, curly little person, smoking too [many] cigarettes, with a crocked lung, and writing his vague verses in the back room of my provincial villa (qtd. in Ferris 27).

Thus, between the ages of nineteen and twenty, Thomas clearly is affected by the “fear of impending war, sexual experience, and literary failure” (Tindall 27).

Throughout the poem, Thomas is “using fixed stanzas with intricate rhyme and metrical schemes” (McKay 375). It is written in syllabic form, with seven stanzas, consisting of seven lines in each. Stanzas 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7, have the following numbers: 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, and 6. The poem resembles blank verse, popularized by Shakespeare and Milton, because most lines are pentameters, or five metrical feet, and the verses do not end in rhymes. However, stanzas 3 and 6 are written with the following syllables: 11, 10, 10, 11, 10, 10, and 6. Stanzas 3 and 6 separate stanzas 1 and 2, from stanzas 4 and 5, seemingly used by Thomas as a refrain, and stanza 7 being a conclusion or summary. It does appear that Thomas makes use of consonance in stanzas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. The final words in lines 3 and 7 of the corresponding stanzas, Thomas uses the words: string/spring, hair/war, love/grave, jaws/toes, and eye/away. In the poem, “A refusal to mourn the death, by fire, of a child in London, Thomas writes:

Tells with silence the last light breaking (4). Thomas uses the word “Tells” as a transitive verb, to describe “darkness told in some divine sense of spoke into being, ‘the last light breaking’” (Carson 241). In “If I were tickled by the rub of love,” transitive verbs used in lines five of stanzas 1, 2, 3, and 4, are mirrored purposely by the poet. For example, in line 5 of stanza 1, Thomas writes, “Still set to scratch a laughter from my lung,” and in the second stanza, line 5, Thomas writes, “The itch of man upon the baby’s thigh.”

Each stanza tells of Thomas’s life, not from his own birth, as Halperen, Tindall, or Yow suggests. Instead, the poem begins with the poet as a young mature man. In the first lines of the poem, Thomas is saying, “If I were tickled,” or if I were easily excited or amused, “by the rub of love,” rub in this verse taking on the meaning of spark. Restricted by the strict form of ten syllables, if one were to add the word “by” in front of the second verse, “A rooking girl”, or manipulative girl, “who stole me for her side,” it is evident that Thomas is not drawing upon his own birth, but he explaining why it is difficult to fall in love. Reading the next line tells more of Thomas’s reservations: “Broke through her straws,” the girl from the previous line, breaks through her straws; straws meaning shyness perhaps, and thereby breaking his bandaged string; the broken string invoking the image of being previously broken-hearted either by “lover, mother, lovers,” (41) and he has since forbade himself from falling in love by forging a barrier (string), that keeps him from being hurt again. Thomas does speak of birth, similar to the proposition by both Halperen and Tindall, but not exactly the same. Thomas writes, “If the red tickle as the cattle calve” (line 4). Red seemingly makes little sense in this verse until one knows that Thomas once explained to an editor that he: Once looked up an old dictionary and found [ram] meant red, but now [Thomas] can’t find it in any dictionary at all. [Thomas] wanted ram in the poem to mean red and male and horny and driving and all its usual meanings, (qtd. in McKay xiv).

If one were to postulate that in this verse red means ram, and ram is synonymous with a driving force; in this instance, the driving force is the feeling of being born again. In other words, Thomas is saying: if only love was like a driving force (ram), and stimulating (tickled), as the cattle calve (being born again).

The act of being born is described in the second stanza. Again, Thomas is not explaining his own birth, but instead he has moved forward till after he has settled down with the “rooking girl” and contemplates having a child. Thomas writes in the second stanza:

Shall it be male or female say the cells, And drop the plum like fire from the flesh (8-9).

The first line is explaining the act of copulation or perhaps insemination. The second line is the actual birth of the child. In the third stanza, line 18, he says “If I were tickled by the urchin hungers” urchin representing a poor or hungry child, perhaps in this way because of the negative consequences of war, Thomas moves into the stage of adolescence, but not his own, but that of his child, and he expressing grief of watching his child grow up, same as in his poem “In Country Sleep.” This poem “is striking for its frank portrayal of a caring though conflicted state of fatherhood,” and:

is a far more arresting and complex treatment involving a loving fathers deep, oedipally colored attachment to his daughter and his concern that she retain her natural innocence and faith in life(Balakier 21).

In the final verses of stanzas 1, 2 and 3, Thomas divulges in stanza 1:

I would not fear the apple nor the flood Nor the bad blood of spring (6-7). The apple and the flood, a direct reference to the Garden of Eden and the flood in which God destroyed the earth, altogether can be interpreted as meaning, he would not fear life as a whole, nor the beginning or the end. The “bad blood,” in this verse, is the exact opposite of spring, which would be autumn. These seasons represent life and death as well. Thomas makes known his fear of war in the final lines of stanza two:

I would not fear the gallows nor the axe Nor the crossed sticks of war (13-14).

Fearing the gallows or the axe, could be interpreted as suggesting that during war, if one speaks out against it, he or she is subject to being executed. This is explained by one of his letters to Pamela Johnson:

If you read the news, you’ll see that Swansea is the center of all revolutionary activities this week. It is the week of the trail of Tom Mann and Harry Pollitt, whose trial has been framed-up by the police and the local authorities (qtd. in McKay 146).

Pollitt, and Mann had been charged with making “seditious speeches (McKay 146).

In stanza 3, again Thomas sums up his fears: I would not fear the devil in the loin Nor the outspoken grave (20-21).

“The devil in the loin”, could be the same as when Paul writes of a “thorn his side” (2 Cor 12:7-9). In Thomas’s case, the thorn is the “outspoken grave”

Plato writes, “Because the poet traffics in mimesis, ungoverned by reason, appealing to the irrational part of the soul, this makes it right for us to proceed to lay hold of him and set him down as the counterpart of the painter.” Dylan Thomas is an artist, and like Plato, clarifies the nature of his craft in a letter to Pamela Johnson:

There is no necessity for the artist to do anything. There is no necessity. He is a law unto himself, and his greatness or smallness rises or falls by that. He has only one limitation, and that is the widest of all: the limitation of form (qtd. in Ferris 25).

There is, or in Thomas’s case, was, a method to his madness, if one wishes to call Thomas mad (and of course many people did and still do). “I write at the speed of two lines an hour,” explained Thomas (qtd. in Ferris 51).” In “If I were tickled by the rub of love”, his message is simple: love is never perfect because it cures nothing, life equals death, the thought of death equals depression, so therefore one should give into temptation and lust after women and wine; because, as Oscar Wilde once proclaimed, “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself” (21). And in true fashion, after supposedly declaring “I’ve had eighteen straight whiskies. I think this is a record,” Thomas lapsed into a comma and died in 1953.

Balakier, James J. “The Ambiguous Reversal Of Dylan Thomas’s “In Country Sleep”. Papers on Language & Literature 32 (1996): 1-13.

Carson, Rick. “Thomas’s “A refusal to mourn the death, by fire, of a child in London.” Explicator 54 (1996): 240-241.

Cox, C. B., eds. Dylan Thomas: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1966.

Ferris, Paul, eds. The Collected Letters of Dylan Thomas. New York City: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1985.

Halperen, Max. “Thomas: “If I were tickled by the rub of love”. Explicator 25 (1962): 21-23.

Kaufman, Ellie. “BookRags Book Notes on The Picture of Dorian Gray.” 10 May 2005.<_ http://www.bookrags.com=”&#8221; notes=”” dg=””>

The Bible. King James Version.

Thomas, Dylan. The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas. New York: New Directions, 1953.

Tindell, William York. A Readers Guide to Dylan Thomas. New York: H. Wolff, 1962.

Yow, John. “An analysis: “If I were tickled by the rub of love.” Studies in Poetry 1 (1977): 30-45.

Copyright © 2005, Chad M. Ard, All Rights Reserved.

Just Relax Take it Easy… EDIT, EDIT AGAIN, AND AGAIN…

Self-publishing, for the most part, is not as difficult as it had been in the past. Kindle actually makes the process very easy. Even so, that doesn’t mean what you have written is ready to go, so relax is a lesson I’m learning and figured I’d pass this tip along.

Now, I know I’ve read this somewhere, and I don’t know who said it but I’ll put it in quotes anyway: “Don’t worry about getting it right, worry about getting it written.” Now that’s true for the most part in the early stages, but at some point, you do have to worry about getting it right. And that part, especially after you have written 200 pages, and read, and re-read, it is very easy for whatever document program you are using to overlook mistakes, and I can tell you that it’s usually the smallest of details like homonyms or dialogue quotations, you know simple stuff. And it will drive you mad!

But relax….It can wait until it’s ready. I was in a rush to publish my book, believing I had ironed out all the mistakes until I published it and began reading and that although I had fixed many issues over the last 15 years, there were errors just yelling out to me: “Stop everything you are doing and fix this NOW!

So that’s what I’ve been doing most of yesterday and today is fixing those issues. And then I ran into another issue: formatting. I realized when I self-published from my Word document onto Kindle, there were spacing issues. I have had to go back and correct those and have learned not to trust the program to get it right, but trust myself to proof-read and fix those errors.

Creating the Kindle EBook manuscript isn’t too difficult because of the KDP Create add-on that will set up most of the file for you. It too can be problematic, so go through every page when you review, not just the first couple.

The paperback, on the other hand, caused the most issues, setting up margins, trim, gutter, WTF man, just let me do this so I can have some alone time with my wife!

But trust me, you can attempt to download a template, but I promise you when you get ready to format your book to self-publish, go here and follow the instructions carefully: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G202145400

No lie, this made my life so much easier and in the future, if I decide to keep pursuing self-publishing rather than approach agents and publishers, these last few days have been crazy, insane, and aggravating, but as I push harder to get it right, hopefully, as close to perfection as possible, this experience has enlightened me and I hope those that read this will be enlightened too.

Well, so that’s done, I can now begin focusing on my next project.

BTW: watched “Uncle Drew” last night with my wife, loved it.

Much love and respect to everyone…You keep me inspired and I hope I do the same for you. Keep writing! CMA

Couldn’t Sleep…Too Busy Writing My Next Project–in my mind…

For starters, the last few days have been friggin cold, and then last night it warmed up so my wife and I couldn’t get comfortable. We did watch the newest episode of True Detective Season 3 ep: 5. It was filmed mostly here in NWA. I remember seeing the catering trucks and Star Trailers in town. I’m loving the series, and the acting and dialogue are amazing. I’m very intrigued by the plot and well, it’s something decent to watch until the final season of Game of Thrones comes back in April…

But where was I? So it was too hot in our bedroom. I tossed and turned, and found myself fixated on my next (several) writing projects. I was working out plot lines and character development, and finally, at some point, I passed out.

My first project this morning was to make an update to my new Ebook, “Forever Striking a Crucified Pose”. After publishing it, I started reading through it and realized that when I utilized the Kindle Create Software it created spacing problems that didn’t exist in my final draft. So I woke up, started coffee, and went outside (the weather is actually very nice today) to finish that. I went back inside to make coffee I had started earlier and noticed that I had instead only made boiling water having forgotten to put in the coffee grounds. So, yeah, I didn’t sleep well. However, I did manage to finish the post-editing on my book and uploaded it back to Kindle (which could take up to 72 hours to be reviewed). I don’t think it will take that long. My printed proof of the book should be arriving in the mail today and I’m sure I’ll have some issues with it. I’m still learning the processes of self-publishing, and I’m not too hard on myself because I realized from the outset I’d probably make a few mistakes.

However, with that said, I am still trying to settle on which project to begin next…I have several ideas in mind. One is a novella. I have a novel I could be finishing and a few short stories I’ve started I could be working on. Even so, this poses a conundrum, I am happy that I have multiple ideas and projects, and I know when I finally settle on one it will move pretty fast, because I’ve already played the stories out in my head, when I can’t sleep, in my dreams, and when I’m walking through the store grocery shopping…

So maybe instead of waking up and starting coffee, I should probably set the coffee maker up before going to bed, that way I can prevent this from happening again. I hope all is well….Much love and respect to all of you. CMA

Super Bowl? I’m Busy Working On My Next Project…

The big game. The big dance. Don’t get me wrong, I love football. I have several fond memories of going to several games and even to Super Bowl XLV in Dallas. My brother and me had season tickets back in the day to see the Saint’s of New Orleans, and would drive 10 hours one way, watch the game, which last’s normally around 3 hours and drive 10 hours back. And each and every time on the way home we’d swear we’d never do that again–but we would, the very next home game.

But, now that I’ve self-published my book Forever Striking a Crucified Pose on Amazon, and have spent the last few days promoting it on Twitter, FB, and Instagram, it’s time to get back at it. The main reason for publishing these stories as I mentioned in an earlier post, is that I had written them over the last 15 years, and it seems like anytime I wanted to start something else, I’d fixate on the fact that I haven’t published the one’s I had written, and I had re-read, edited, re-read, edited some more, (and it appears when formatting it using Amazon Create there may have been some mistakes in the final cut, that I will have to fix), I was satisfied, more than satisfied, with those stories and wanted an outlet in which to share them that didn’t mean spending lots of time searching through WritersMarket.com and looking for suitable publishers in which to send these works (and I have done this and it has times been successful, but most of the time–rejection). Oh well….

So, I don’t have football on the brain, and obviously I will hear all about it before, during and after the game through Push Notifications. What I am fixated on; however, is which project to start next. I have several ideas in mind, even a novel in which I’ve written over 200 pages. But I cannot lie that I have been contemplating more script writing. I have written three screenplays, had some interest in one, but eventually fell through, but I love the idea of writing screenplays, and even more fascinated by seeing something I’ve created come to life on the big or small screen.

Also, screenwriting, normally around 80 Pages is your aim, or in other words, one page is the equivalent of one minute of screen time. Most of it is dialogue and interior or exterior descriptions…etc.

Nevertheless, I think my next project will be a novella, it’s a story I’ve had in mind for sometime and have written some drafts. It’s a romance, and begins in “96 and takes place in New Orleans. It too, may be a book I decide to self-publish maybe within the next couple of months. I haven’t yet decided if I like the self-publishing route vs. the traditional, find a publisher/agent route. Forever Striking a Crucified Pose will be a lesson learned, as far as that goes, and hopefully a good lesson.

So, I’ll from time to time promote on social media, but that can be so time consuming, but I love connecting with so many writers like me, and seeing what they have in the works or have finished, and I hope to maintain those relationships. And I will attempt to update this blog often, maybe daily on progress of what I’m working on, or whatever comes to mind. Thanks so much for the recent follows and visits to this page. Much respect and love to all of you…..CMA