Thursday, December 18, 2008

Charles Shaver: A Year in Review

It's the 18th of December as I write this. My birthday is tomorrow. I'll be 32 and I have a loose tooth. Odd.

I've busted my ass tremendously this year. I've published 4 issues of the webzine, a fan guide to the webzine, promoted quite a bit on the webzine's MySpace profile, finished editing and sent off Soar and written my second novel. That's a lot for a single year. What I've just listed accounts for close to 650 pages worth of writing and that doesn't including editing, essays, general blogs, and various other writings. I've also completed the first 111 pages of my next novel (it's cyberpunk! is anyone surprised by that? haha) and earlier this year I started a novel that is now on the back burner. That novel on hiatus has approximately 140-150 pages completed.

That makes for one helluva productive year.

I traditionally do an end-of-year-it's-my-birthday personal essay blog entry. I didn't want to do one this year until I started reading over some of the stuff I've written in my journal. Instead of expounding upon some subject, I thought you'd like to go through my journal with me and read some of the more interesting bits and pieces.

We start with an entry that concerns the treatment of Hepatitis C I went through last winter. It was a difficult time for Johannah and I. Far worse than I think most people realize. One of the side effects of the shots was that it tampers with your brain chemistry, causing depression... and hair loss (mother nature's doing fine on her own, though haha) and appetite loss and flu-like symptoms. As one of the doctors put it (and I appreciated his frankness): "...leaving you feeling kinda shiity most of the time". He was right on the money with that. The worst was when all my energy just slipped from me. Tired and afraid I stayed there until Johannah got home from work. My cats came to stay with me. I guess they knew. When Johannah finally did come home, Kuei - the eldest cat - ran to the window and started meowing out at her. Another time a similar thing happened while taking a shower and I had to just sit down, call for Johannah to come turn off the water and wait it out until I regained some energy. She's been so frightened so much this year for me.

With that said, here's my year in review.

Enjoy. And Merry Christmas.

Last night's shot was the worst. The plunger on the needle pinched my palm. I jerked from the pain, tore flesh and bent the needle. I think I'm lucky it didn't break off under the skin.

I hate this.

Today's my last shot. I'm tired and sick as hell.I'm ready for this to be over.

We;re in the middle of a blizzard. I don't want to go out today, but we have to. I have DVDs due @ the library today. We also need salt for the sidewalks. Everything's iced over.

Sometimes I think my cat tries to tell me I'm stupid. Sometimes I think my gov't is filled with cats.

I'm sitting at the mechanic's. The Jeep needs $700 worth of work. Where the fuck am I gonna get $700?!

(poem I wrote)
"Pit-Pat, Rain Without Rain"

Rain without rain
Spring thaw
The world is melting
I'm glad for it
I hate the snow
So cold
So wet
So slick
But now the world
Rain without rain
The sun woke me this morn
A happy friend
A dog
In the eyes
Excited for the day
I look out the window
Everything is so bright
Colors peel through
White veils
I'm seeking
It's Thursday
Tomorrow is a doctor's appointment
And more snow
And I'm smiling

I see my Hep C doc today hopefully for the last time. What a long, long road it has been. I was told I could possibly be cured some time around June of 2006. My first shot was August 22, 2007. My last shot was January 30, 2008. Hopefully it takes.

I'm tired. Our trip to Florida is Wednesday. We'll be gone 8 days. I'm looking forward to the rest and seeing old friends. I miss the sun, too. I miss being warm.

It looks like Johannah didn't get that job. That completely sucks. It sucks that a person with a degree has to make minimum wage.

What happened to America?

I've done a lot of thinking and celebrating on this trip... we now sit in the airport...

It's going to be a lean, lean month but I think we'll manage. Money has greatly preoccupied my mind the last year, but with xmas and the Florida trip out of the way we ought to be good for the rest of the year.

I'm a little sad I've filled this notebook with figures and barely any writing.

Soar got its first rejection. With the way the email was worded I suspect they didn't even read it.

TCoG also got rejected.

My whole life this year must be dedicated to writing.

***** (later that same day)

I'm hoping to expand upon the TCoG universe this summer.

If only a publisher would become interested.

We wound up hanging out with the neighbors all day, going to nurseries and Walker Farms. I then helped Tuan build a couple of horseshoe pits.

I'll be finishing up the last two parts of Act 1 of "The Theft of Heaven" today... The Xiao-tep universe has really gotten a hold of me.

I'm tired, Exhausted, really. Seems like time passes so quickly now. I wrote Part 2 of "From Here to the Stars!" yesterday. I'll need to crank out Act 3 of "The Theft of Heaven" sometime in the next few days. I'm happy I'm writing so much, even if nothing has as yet come of it.

Soar was rejected by all three of the publishers I sent it to. That's okay. That just means I have to get back to sending it out. I hope I can figure it out. Where next to send it, that is.

Robert said I could really write when he called yesterday. That's nice to hear.

My sites are getting a ton more hits nowadays. A year ago I was lucky to get 3 hits a month. LLast Saturday my blog alone got 42 hits and yesterday the ezine's MySpace got 14 hits, some from all over the world.

Lots of writing.
I'm happy. :)

It's 11:30 & it's nice & quiet right now. I'm about to head out onto the porch & read some more of The Stand. I really like it so far.

I've had the horrible and unfortunate feeling of being rundown virtually all week. I'm exhausted and finding it difficult to motivate myself into writing. I'm at least able to struggle with reading, though my progress is slow as my mind remains unfocused.

A writer writes and the end result of a writer not writing is the horrible, ugly feeling of wastefulness... to waste time is a small death for a writer. Not similar to the French orgasm that ends in exultation and a crisp, beautiful white light. But a death more akin to a hobo dying in a usually untraveled part of the country where his remains won't be found for perhaps a generation and without family or friends or identity.

Tired today. I busted out 12 pages, damned near all of Act I of "The Ruby Bug" yesterday, on only 3 hours of sleep. I like this story so far.

It's almost summer here now. I can sit outside on the porch and read or write, except at late dusk as it is now. Tomorrow's plans include grocery shopping and other mundane shit that keeps me afraid and awake at night.

JoJo just went in. She worked all day and came home and ate tuna casserole before planting a rose out back. She just blared her fave music, Billie Holiday, and came out to read with me. I don't know how she's reading and I'm writing in such soft light. No wonder my eyes are going bad. I've worried about that lately.

Waved at the neighbor as he drove off to work. Third shifter janitor @ a hospital.

Even trains blasting in the distance. Traffic noise dying. Thought I heard the bats squeaking just now. Haven't seen any lightning bugs yet this year, the bats' fave meal besides gnats & mosquitoes it seems

Cat meowed a single, low, soft, pining meow, wanting to get out. She used to be an outdoor cat, but there's too many dogs and shifty people around here. I feel sorry for her.

Cell's ringing with a text.

Dreamt I was trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic Star Wars world. Shot out the lower jaw of a homosexual Native American with a laser hidden inside a can of Tab. Johannah was there as were Robert, Kim and [their son]. Someone was trying to reform a body politic almost as though in a class with a single lecturer describing how it should be done while pacing before a white dry-erase board. I got sick of the lecturing. There was all this neat little writing outlining a plan for government upon the board. I got sick of that, too. I walked behind the lecturer, who didn't seem to notice me, and erased all her notes replacing it with my own writing:

The first thing to do is get home. The second thing is to find and gather your family.

I think government was responsible for the apocalypse.

Got an email from someone in Atlanta sayin' he likes my ezine. Don't know if I can call him a 'fan' (probably could... probably my attempt at modesty to assume otherwise), but my readership seems to be growing. Maybe he doubled it! Haha

Got a 17-1/2" largemouth yesterday. Also got a tan. It's Friday the 13th. I debut the ezine's mascot today (Iffy the Ifreet).

I am my pen, my destiny to spill oceans of ink.

I used my rebate to pay off my [credit card]. Now I have one less bill to pay.

Dreamt I was hungry. Went to a restaurant. Couldn't really afford it but went anyways. They wound up screwing up the order. Didn't fill it. Waited an hour and got no food. I was starving, yet relieved about not having to spend the money.

Woke up hungry.

It's some time just after 8AM. I've got 3 pages of "The Elephant Crusade" done. I'm enjoying it. :) I'm now taking a break with some decaf on the porch. It's nice right now, but I can feel the heat of the day on the air. It'll be hot and humid today. Around 10 I think I'll mow the front lawn. Did the back yesterday. I sometimes wonder what Hemingway or Bradbury or Bukowski were like mowing their lawns. Did they mow their lawns? Did they have lawns to mow? Pedestrian questions of those we deem great fascinate me. For years I've been plagued with wonder as to whether or not Bob Dylan does his own laundry. If so, how? What settings does he use? What soap? Does he write songs while waiting for the laundry to get done, as I wrote the original short story "Soar"?

Completely fascinating.

But then, I've tendencies towards weirdness.

... I'm BBQ'ing and relaxing. Maybe I'll watch some movies or something. In any case, I doubt I'll write. I'm gonna take the day off.

Relaxation. Damn that sounds good.

JoJo's b-day is in 2 days. We're going to see Weird Al tonight @ Meadow Brook. I hope we have a good time. We'll go see the new Batman (w/ Heath Ledger... RIP) on Monday. By then most of the crowds should have died down.

We had a nice long weekend. We saw Weird Al Friday, had the readiator replaced on the Jeep and rented movies on Saturday, went to visit the parents and the Tuscola County Fair and had dinner Sunday ( the Bavarian Inn), and lastly saw Dark Knight yesterday.

Dark Knight was amazing.

I didn't write a bit all weekend.

It's time to get back to work.

Had a blast at the [Genesee County] Fair! Uploading video now. Ate bloomin' potato, pulled pork sandwich, corn on the cob, cotton candy, a gallon of soda, water, straberry lemonade, my first honeycomb, my first deep fried Snickers and it's no wonder I'm sick! Haha!

Also watched some wrasslin'. Good times.

I needed this day off.

Good for me.

Tomorrow I plan to read & watch TV. Maybe upload Fair pics.


I took my first Hep C shot a year ago yesterday. We celebrated with a big, expensive steak dinner. Haha. Had shrimp and artichoke dip and blackberry lemonade with it.

Act 1 of "Song of Momoki" was posted yesterday, too.

The Olympics just ended. Michael Phelps was awesome. We're proud of him. As the credits for NBC's broadcast rolled I told JoJo, "I wonder where we'll be for the next one." She hopes we'll be there, AT the Olympics.

It's been 7 years. I can't believe it's been 7 years have gone by already. Those were such uncertain times back then. A month and a half later I'd move to Maui and start studying on my own. It was then I thought I should begin writing. I needed that move. I needed to get out of the anger that was America. I needed that time away from TVs and computers, living on a mountainside an hour and a half from any town, a quick walk from a Chinese cemetery, a neighbor to a strawberry farmer where all I did each day was read and write and do housework. It was like my own private monastery. I think that November we visited one of the oldest Taoist temples in the U.S.

We left California the day after Halloween. The day of the Dead followed by All Saints Day.

Seven years ago I was in a lawyer's office filling out paperwork by hand because their head office was in NYC, a block from the Twin Towers and their computer network - run out of NYC - was down.

At about 6:15 this afternoon I finished up all but the epilogue. The rest of the stories are complete. I might try to tackle the epilogue in a bit. I have too much nervous, excited energy to relax.

I'll be getting that 360 soon! :)

My second novel. At last!

I finished the 2nd novel this morning @ about 9:30. It's almost 11 now. I'm listening to some blues and about to take a shower.

We'll get a 360 today.

Halloween was fun although the afternoon and evening flew by. Iffy was a big hit, though he scared a few smaller kids. Pumpkins got a lot of compliments.

My neighbor and I are heading for my parents' today to do some shooting, etc. I would have gotten more sleep except Obama was elected last night and I wanted to see him speak... I voted yesterday for the first time in my life and I voted for him... and to legalize stem cell research and medical marijuana here in Michigan... I feel like everything's finally going to be set right in our country.

It's Thanksgiving. JoJo and I are just having a quiet day @ home. We got a little dressy...

This year has been like that episode of M*A*S*H where they covered a full year in 22 minutes. It seems like I was on a boat with Tuan fishing just a week ago and the World Series 2 days ago. It's slowing a little now, but this year has been a blur. It's crazy.

Happy Thanksgiving


It's been a good year.

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