Scattered Attention

I have been working diligently on a number of things – most importantly, the project I’m working on with my new secret partner. The problem is that my thoughts are just everywhere – particularly today. I’m all over the map.

There’s no grand reason for this. It’s not some anniversary nor did anything go particularly wrong (or particularly right). I wish it were that simple. I could work toward resolution were that the case. The issue here is simply that I seem to have the attention span of a gnat with ADD these days.

My wife was kind enough to point out that I have four of five major things going on in my life (both personal and professional) that do actually require a large amount of time and attention. It’s true, but I’m starting to wonder if that is the only thing. I can’t say with certainty. What I can say is this – my hocus-pocus is out of focus.

Is there anyone that knows of a technique to help with this? What would you recommend? For the record – I’m not a fan of adding a pill (looking at you Adderall) to ‘fix’ this. I mean organization or other tested time management type things.


Sometimes weird things collide in my head. I have ideas and they get wedged in odd corners and stuck. Other ideas will pop up, rebound off of something and crash into the wedged bits.

It’s a lot like the old commercial where somebody with chocolate crashes into somebody with peanut butter (because who wouldn’t walk around just scooping a snack out of the jar, right?) and peanut butter cups are formed.

Two of my older writing ideas have been smashed together. I think they’ll work in longer form. The issue is, finishing.

Adding to this mess – a number of other statements have collided in my head lately. All of them are about dedication, commitment or conviction. I didn’t think I needed the push, but then I looked at the date stamps on a number of the projects I’ve started. There are some old dates in there. These projects are GOOD, but they’ve floundered. The one thing that keeps rebounding back and forth in my head is right around the 58 second mark of this video clip ( ). I seem to lack conviction. I haven’t followed through. I haven’t made my creative life a constant, it has been a constant secondary option – or tertiary depending on the day.

I know a lot of successful writers out there and I see lots of work pouring forth from them. Then I look at my work and wonder where it is.

No more wondering.

There will be a new level of conviction for this project. It becomes priority one for my creative work, all other projects get bumped until this one is done. Now that I’ve got that in writing, it actually feels a lot more like a contract.

There are some very nice things about this new project. Being the combination of a couple of old things, there’s already a 20k word start on it. Admittedly those words are a bit of a hash at this point, but that’s for edits later. Get through the work. Finish. That’s the key.

One of the other nice things about this project? I’ve worked out a secret deal with a writing partner. This other person and I have agreed to work this together and help push each other along. An added level of commitment. I’m very excited about this new project!

Updates to follow!


Myke Cole is a very interesting guy. He wouldn’t remember me, despite having met a couple of times at conventions and such. He was kind enough to sign my copy of Best Laid Plans – the one he wrote the forward for, and my first appearance in the Defending the Future series.

I will say with absolute honesty (and I do strive for honesty all the time – not just when it’s convenient) that I wasn’t a fan of his first book. It’s not the style or the setting, Myke is a good author and I read that book very quickly. He is a pro and I’m not. I’m speaking strictly from the fan point of view on that. I love to read a good story, but I’ve learned over the years there are certain things I NEED when I’m going to delve into a book and become one with the main character. Oscar Britton is not the right hero for me. Maybe I’ll read Shadow Ops again in the future and it will speak to me in a new way. I doubt it – but I’m willing to try. Why would I be willing to try? Because Myke has shown me stuff in person and on his blog that makes me WANT to read his work. I have seen more than one thing from him that shows me something about him. I am seeing things that make me respect what he writes – even if I don’t like it. I respect him and what he does. That counts for an awful lot in my world.

Want to see the post that kicked this thought off in my head? You should. Go and read this:

Now that you’ve read that, take some time and think about who you are. I mean really think about it honestly. If you don’t lie to yourself, there are likely things you want to change. It’s certainly true for me. Wrap your head around the topic he’s speaking on if you can. That’s huge. I’m very glad he wrote that, and in some small way I want to try to pass that along.

I hope, in the future, to be able to speak openly and honestly in a manner like Myke does. He is worthy of respect.

Nostalgia Again!

I spent some time in my post Soft Spot talking about nostalgia related things. I mentioned the whole “suffering for your hobby” bit in there. I have, over the years, had the reoccurring thought that I should gather a list of actual facts to drag out whenever somebody provokes me enough to defend Dungeons and Dragons.

Once again I find myself looking at something I thought I was alone in and finding just the opposite is true. There is apparently a book coming out titled “Bad For You” that has gone and done that work – and likely extended it a lot further than I would have had I gone after this topic (who knew chess was once considered bad for kids?).

The thing that caught my eye was in the use of the tragic story of Dallas Egbert, a child prodigy who committed suicide, and the publicity-chasing detective who linked his suicide to his love of Dungeons & Dragons. I have the book and have read it more than once. There are also ties to the most unforgivable role of Tom Hanks’s long career – starring in one of those “based on the true story” movies called Mazes and Monsters (actually based on a Rona Jaffe novel that was based on the inaccurate news accounts I believe – cause novels are where we always find the best facts after all). I really thought I was one of a very tiny number of people that actually remembered this case, and the fact that all of the other issues in this kid’s life were totally overlooked (at least until after the splashy headlines were gone).

There’s a lot of stuff out there now that I’ve jumped down the rabbit hole. I can’t wait to dig up The Pulling Report by Michael A. Stackpole (an author I met at a GenCon once – check out his X-Wing novels, they’re fantastic. I wonder what else will turn up as we go?

Two Minds on Media

In typical fashion, I’m of two minds about something. Happens all the time.

I’m a little upset that an article I found on a large, well known web site essentially panders to the lowest common denominator. It bothers me more than a little that I’m caught by this pandering, but hear me out. The article is “Artistic Masterpieces That Have Been Stolen, Destroyed or Lost”. You can find it here:

The vast majority of the “destruction” happened during the fighting of WWII. I’ll admit I was caught by the title, but there was a very limited focus after that. It’s one of the things that disappoints me about media on a regular basis. It’s very easy to be down on any large media source for things like that. Are paintings the only artistic masterpieces? That certainly seems to be the focus. There certainly wasn’t any sculpture mentioned… like I said, easy to criticize.

On the other hand, at least there is attention being brought to this kind of thing. I would never have known that being “blown away” had a literal beginning had I not read the article. It’s brutal, but it lead me into further reading and other topics that I’m very interested to learn about. The longer I read, the more I thought how interesting this story could have been. Others seem to share my view – both before and after the article. I’m actually hoping a new movie that’s coming out will help things along in terms of learning about art and how it features in our history. Check out the trailer here: