Sunday, December 30, 2018

This Year And The Next


I went into 2018 with the knowledge that I wanted a more chaotic life than I had, because I finally realized that I thrive in a less controlled situation. I declared 2018 “the year of biting off more than I can chew,” and made a ridiculous list of goals. It’s not a surprise to me that I didn’t nail them all, but I did achieve some cool things and felt more alive than I had in a long time. Here are some good things about 2018:

* While working two jobs, I went back to school and picked up 27 college credits toward my AA. I made the dean’s list over the summer.

* I finished three short stories that I’m quite proud of.

* I sold one story, “Stars so Sharp They Break the Skin,” to Apex which was published in May in Apex 108. You can read it here: https://www.apex-magazine.com/stars-so-sharp-they-break-the-skin/

* I read my story, "The Wardrobe," at ICFA, which went over well. I met, and received praise from, Geoff Ryman, and that made my year (as you can see).

* I was promoted to a full-time gig at the library, which is so much better than all the retail jobs I’ve had over the last thirty years, it doesn’t feel like I’m really working (except for all those hours I’m not doing other things).

* That comes with good health insurance, which my kids and I didn’t have for about three and a half years. I had my first check-up recently, got back on some meds I needed, and I’ll be getting more issues checked out soon. I’ve also lost eight pounds in the last couple of months and plan on losing more in the coming months. I’ve made exercise a regular part of life.

* My daughter got her BS in Forensic Science and got her first full-time job mere days ago.

In 2019 I’m focusing on writing. I’ll be shedding some of my less productive activities and I hope to finish twelve stories this year, as well as complete the first draft of a novel I’ve been fooling with for far too long. That’s on top of the usual stuff for my patrons, which includes short fiction and podcasts. I’m excited about whatever it is I’m about to create.

I look forward to bigger and better things in the coming year, some of which I can’t yet imagine. I hope all of you have a fantastic new year, too!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

167

Number 167 of The One-Thousand is "Markers for Our Unborn Departed," a roughly 2,000 word story written in response to io9's call for stories about the future of death. It went well, and I was very happy to write another story so soon!

Sunday, October 07, 2018

166

That probable 166 became the actual 166 of The One-Thousand. I finished "Out of Breath in a Sharp Red Suit" yesterday and sent it off to a market. I wrote the first draft relatively easily last year, but I struggled to make it good for the last two months. A lot of that struggle was against the rest of my time-consuming life. Until two weeks ago I was afraid the premise was just plain stupid and why was I doing this? But then I came up with a solution that settled my stomach. Anywho, if it sells, I'll let you know!

Monday, September 03, 2018

A Probable 166

I realize I haven't mentioned what I've been working on for quite some time. I've been taking classes and there hasn't been a lot of time to talk about it, much less actually write. But I've been working steadily and slowly on a story called "Out of Breath in a Sharp Red Suit," which is probably going to end up being story 166 of The One-Thousand. I've recently begun finding nooks and crannies of time to fit the writing in, and this may be that best way to do it for me. I once read another writer saying that you'll never find a block of hours of time to get the work down. You find five minutes here and five minutes there. Of course, that's not true for some, but it's true for me at the moment.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Nuts

Sometimes at my retail job, I'll buy a package of cashews and eat them throughout the day. Couple days ago, I remembered we sold walnuts. I like walnuts. I bought walnuts. And ate them throughout the day. After many mouthfuls, I considered that I had never eaten so many walnuts in one sitting. What if they were poisonous in more than a small quantity, like nutmeg is? Hmmm . . . I checked the bag for poison warnings and found none. But that should be common knowledge, right? If walnuts were killing people, you would have heard. I ate more walnuts.

Turns out walnuts are not poisonous. In fact, there are a surprising amount of health benefits associated with eating walnuts. From what I read, I'd go so far as to say they're one of those miracle foods you're always hearing about. In addition to all of that, they're also laxatives. I discovered this during a google search the third time I found myself sitting on the can that night. It was one of four times I sat there in the space of two hours. I was very happy it hit me only after I got home. But it really screwed up my night.

Food for thought. And other things.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Confession Time

For more years than I can count, and just ending in recent months, I thought Ray Kurzweil and Ray Manzarek were the same guy. Come on now, they're both named Ray, they both have a "z" in their last names, and keyboards were an important part of both their lives. You can see it, can't you? Please comment below if you though the same thing at some point, especially if this post was how you found out they were different guys.

The Musician Comes First

One of the great things about my job at the library is we get to spend one hour a week just participating in webinars or watching videos on all sorts of things. My boss' boss gives us a big list of links each month. He's an old punk rock fan and was happy to choose some music related stuff this month. Today I watched this great keynote speech by Dave Grohl at South by Southwest from 2013. The thrust of it is about making your own stuff and doing it your own way, but it's also a brief autobiography that fans of Grohl, or Nirvana, or the Foo Fighters will love too. It's a long one, but if you have the time, you'll be glad you watched it. It makes you want to run out and make something.


Monday, July 02, 2018

ALTERED IDS Salutes Action Comics #1



The photographically memoried among you will recall that I have a blog on Tumblr called ALTERED IDS (a play on both alter egos and transformed identifications) which curates new takes by artists on well known characters. For Superman's 80th birthday, each day in the month of June I posted a different take on the iconic cover of Action Comics #1. You can see the whole lot of them here:

https://alteredids.tumblr.com/tagged/action_comics_1


Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Apex Interview

Well, this is two months late. Here's the interview that Andrea Johnson did with me for Apex Magazine in the May issue. We talk about my story in that issue, Stars so Sharp They Break the Skin, my writing process, coming up with ideas, Beware the Hairy Mango, podcasts in general, and Cerberus. Enjoy!

Deeper Work, Bigger Thoughts

I've been off of social media for maybe three days now, inspired by Cal Newport's book, Deep Work. It's about cutting down on distraction to better handle the types of work that benefit from concentration. 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25744928-deep-work

Bigger thoughts have been filling my head this morning. New story ideas, long range plans, a sort of overview of my life. I think it's because I'm out of the news cycle at the moment. Something big happens and a news outlet grabs it. All the others join in with different angles,  then all your friends share it and put their two cents in, people fight and the whole thing goes round and round.

In that sort of atmosphere,  you're always reacting to everybody else. The subject of the day is always determined by someone else. Consider pulling out of that and finding out what your own thoughts are once they can get out from under the pile of everyone else's thoughts.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

I'll Make A Note Of That

Once again, I, a person who lives in Florida, am being told by other people who live in Florida that it is hot in the summer . . . In Florida.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Forty-Nine

Well, gang, we're down to the wire. I'm forty-nine years old today, and that means there's only one year left to achieve this blog's original goal: write one thousand stories meant for publication by the time I'm fifty years old.

Let's look at the tally, shall we? Right. So all I have to do is write eight-hundred and thirty-five more stories in the next year. Okay, so much for that goal.

But if you've been following this blog for a while, you know I gave up on that goal a couple of years ago, if not longer. My goal is still to write a thousand stories,time limit or no. At the pace I'm currently going, death will come before I hit three hundred stories.

My life is super busy right now. I've got two jobs and I'm taking classes to get a better job in the library system and say goodbye to retail forever. If everything goes well, I may have a lot more time in about twenty months. In the meantime let's enjoy what we can.

My story, Stars so Sharp They Break the Skin (number 164 of The One-Thousand), comes out next week in the May issue of Apex. I'll post a link when it's up. The issue will also feature an interview with me by Andrea Johnson.

Over at https://www.patreon.com/matthewsanbornsmith the mangoes are still coming out, slowly but steadily, as well as new stories, video and audio extras, and some terrible, terrible art by yours truly.

No matter what happens, I'm always moving forward. Even when I'm moving backward. Because I turn around.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

165

I just finished story 165 of the One-Thousand, I Was Meant to Live Another Thousand Years, and sent it out the door. Don't ever quit, folks.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Sale!

Three days ago, I sold my story, "Stars So Sharp They Break the Skin," (164 of The One-Thousand) to Apex Magazine. I'm quite pleased, especially since I've gone through a bit of a drought. It's been over a year and a half since my last sale, and two and a half since my last sale to a pro market. It took me fifteen tries to get into Apex. I'll let you guys know when the story is published.

Monday, January 01, 2018

2017/2018

Happy New Year!

2017 wasn't great, but a couple of things happened that were good enough to give me some hope for the future. One major thing was getting a part-time job at the library which pointed the way out from a death at the hands of retail.

I had a goal of writing twelve new short stories in 2017. I only completed six, but I thought five of those six were great. Two of them were the longest pieces I've written in years, technically novelettes. I'm excited about the story I'm currently working on, but that will be one for 2018.

I had only one story published this year, but some people really dug it. It's called The Wardrobe and you can read it here: http://www.metaphysicalcircus.com/the-wardrobe-fiction-by-matthew-sanborn-smith/

After peeling out of a terribly stressful job, I started a Patreon in June that helped me reconnect with some awesome fans, raise Beware the Hairy Mango from the dead, and cover some bills during a very lean summer. It also got me to blow the dust off my failed Kickstarter project, Hive Five.


2018 is the year of biting off more than I can chew. On top of my two part-time jobs, I'm going back to school to get an Associate's degree in English, and then an even better library job. But the degree and job are for late 2019. Classes, or at least eight of them, are for 2018.

On top of that, I've packed more (mundane, but important to me) goals into the year than I could possibly have time to achieve, but so what? Among those goals are another stab at twelve stories and finishing Hive Five, though that will likely be a novella, rather than a novel. There's also creating content for the Patreon, probably moving, and consuming a lot of stories, books, comics, and movies.

I'd better get moving.