Long story short, the majority of this post is the story of what I have been doing over the past 9 months or so. I mentioned at one point that I would be sharing this and I am holding myself to that. Now there is an added bonus. At the end I am going the bring up some exciting news and stuff that I think will have a huge impact on everyone who enjoys the work I do here. Stick around, I swear there is good stuff coming up.
It’s a bit funny, the title I used for this particular post. You might think I am honoring someone’s death or something momentous. But in the end I don’t know that this is anything that profound. But it is a reflection, not on a life but on several months in time.
As time slips past us we can never truly relive those moments. When we look on it all from that angle we can think of every passing minute as something dead, never to be recovered. We can sift through out memories and recollections and see again intervals of time as we remember them. I can hear you saying our memories cloud their exploration in how we interpret the events. I can also hear you saying why the hell is it all so gloomy and dark in here and who the hell turned on the smoke machine.
The more humorous notion to all this gloom and smoke is the idea of what I am going to bring up. See, this is a moment of reflection on the past (gah I don’t want to count the months). Basically, I took some time this year to pick up a few English classes that I have been wanting to take. Seems fairly simple right, go to school take some classes, no big deal. It never happens that way. EVER!
The original intention was to take the second creative writing course taught at the local community college. I had taken the first one roughly 20 years ago and I wanted to bring about some closure on a that portion of my life. I also wanted to pick up a Science Fiction class that they offered. And here is where everything went crazy.
Neither class was offered in the fall semester. Plot Twist! I ended up picking up a short story class and their Shakespeare class. No biggie right, I spend 90% of my time in short stories and flash fiction so this should be fun. And of course, Shakespeare right, I can spend some time reading some fancy poetry and some plays. This is when I ran into something I wouldn’t have defined till much later.
Ya, I realize now I am not one of the die hard Shakespeare fans. Now don’t go issuing death threats or anything of the sort. If you love him by all means, love him. But the stuff isn’t really my thing. But I spent the time watching plays and listening to the poetry and writing papers about all of it. And then we hit short stories. I knew going in I would come face to face with stuff that was well outside my wheel house. The class didn’t disappoint. I read stories and wrote papers on stories I would never have gone near without this class.
Now I ran across stories I care nothing for in the least, a few that I hated but not for the reasons you might think, and then some more that I loved. In the end, great writing is great writing, even when it involves subject matter you don’t agree with. But these were just the first semester. I want to point out right here though, I was only going to school part time. I still maintained as much as possible within everything else I had going on. If anyone remembers the madness of October and the stories every single day… Ya, this was in the middle of writing out a story analysis paper every week and reading, reading, reading, reading, reading.
And so we come to the next semester, the winter semester. For this one I found that creative writing 2 was offered. I was set to take it but I found that all but one person who taught it was a poet. Not necessarily a problem, except that when I took the first class it was taught by a poet. He was an award winning poet that spent 90% of the class on poetry. I had fears. I did not want to repeat that again. As it turned out, the guy who taught the short story class was teaching a creative writing one class at night. This guy is a memoirist. So that held promise and it helped that I actually like the guy so I knew at least that would make it worth while. And of course, writing the stories and all for the class, well, that’s just like working for me so no big deal.
And then we hit the other class for the winter semester. This was the first time in a long time that the school was offering a young adult literature class. My mind went to Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Divergent. Of course there are many others we could think of here but those are the most obvious. This had promise, a good thing since the Science Fiction and Mystery classes seem to only be held in the summer if at all. Great thoughts and high hopes all around for this one. It didn’t disappoint.
What I found with this young adult class is the thing I had been hoping for all year. Sure there were stories and novels I wouldn’t normally read but then there were so many other things to make up for it. We explored the world of YA lit from the early 20th century to where it is now (and even some stuff outside that time period). This was a trip that should the growth of teen culture and the world they inhabit and what shapes who and what they are. Now the crazy thing is, we didn’t have too much writing in this class. Sure we read a novel every two weeks and had to essentially write papers (forum posts) about the novels we read but that was the most of it, till the end. The killer for this class was the reading. Not only the novels every two weeks but history and short stories every week. And notes, copious notes of what we read, this was a crash course in teen history unlike anything I have ever experienced. And I have been one and raised two of em. By the end of all of this my brain has felt like mush. Especially when we add in the final project for this course. Basically in the last few weeks while still reading and all that we are scrambling to write a novella of information, reports and analysis of stories and so many of the things covered in the class. Sure, normal people do this all through the course. I do this the week before it has to be turned in (I procrastinate, go figure).
But here is the thing, it was during this class that I had one of the best insights I have ever had and it was given to me. During one of the discussions the instructor and I had after class we were talking about one of the books we were reading. He said something profound, “Everyone needs to read something and experience something that makes them uncomfortable at least once in their life.” That summed up quite a bit of the writing I had experienced over the course of the past school year.
It is in these moments that real growth occurs. Sure you may find that you still don’t care for parts of it all, but that isn’t really the point. You need to see more than just the world with your own blinders.
Here it comes
Now, with all that laid out in the open, let’s get into some good stuff. You may have noticed that I have put stuff off for a while now. I do hope that what I just detailed will give you a good idea why I have been running at what feels like half speed around here. There is a huge pile of stuff I need to get back to and I am going to be hitting the ground running within the next few days.
One of the first things I want to address, Patreon. The rewards I have available right now seem a little blah. I know I know, I have needed to address it for a while now. Well, here it comes. First and foremost, I want to thank again those loyalists who have suffered through the sad and minor offerings.
What I am about to share isn’t listed on the Patreon site yet, I will soon change that.
Supporters that subscribe at the $3/month level will receive not only a bonus story every month before it is ever published to the magazine, but they will also receive the ebook anthologies in ebook format that are compiled from stories here.
Now this is the big one… The $5/month supporters will receive every book in ebook format. This means not only the compiled anthologies but also the stories that only appear in book form. In other words, anything published by 10th Day Publishing.
What that means right now is, starting with the bonus stories this month, Smashwords codes will be included in the packets for every book published on Smashwords. This will allow you to download the books in whatever format you wish.
As time moves on I might bring out other ways to help support with even cooler awards but as it is right now, I like these right here and I think they give supporters a great benefit for helping to keep everything running.
Coming up soon, I have a backlog of things that will be popping out into the world soon. This is more a reminder for myself than it is telling you anything. But keep your eyes open, things are about to get crazier.