Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015

2015 was a tough year, though not as bad as 2009. My Kickstarter failed. I changed jobs, moved twice, and put in way too many hours working for other people for not enough money. Things have started to pick up, though.

My creative work was consumed by the podcast. Outside of that, I did a couple of major rewrites on short stories and that was it. I did sell my first pro story in years and sold a couple of reprints. I did my first reading, sat on my first panel, did my first Drabblecast narration, and wrote my first introduction.

I'm happy that I took more chances than usual this year and expanded my too-close horizons a bit. I learned a lot of new things, met some awesome people, and scored a win with last spring's Mango fundraiser.

Because of that fundraiser, I still have five months of Mangoes with which to contend. After that, I look forward to getting back to short stories and novels. 2016 will probably be a year of regrouping, but I'll keep my eye out for new opportunities.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Giraffe Cyborg Cleans House!

Hey, Gang!

I'm tired and useless-wobbly right now as is not unusual on Mondays these days. I work very long days on the weekend, then have to be back at work at 5 a.m. Monday morning. It's amazing I'm good for anything once I slog through that.

But fuck all that noise. The real reason I'm here is to point you toward my latest story, Giraffe Cyborg Cleans House! which you can find over at Diabolical Plots through this here linkage:

http://www.diabolicalplots.com/dp-fiction-9-giraffe-cyborg-cleans-house-by-matthew-sanborn-smith/

Giraffe is number 144 of The One-Thousand and marks the time I was crawling back to fiction writing after thinking I had left it behind for good in that long-forgotten year of 2013. I actually didn't think I had what it took to finish this one, and asked some good friends to slap me across the face (metaphorically speaking), which they did. I finished the thing and was quite happy with it. I hope you will be too.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

MangoWriMo

I haven't done NaNoWriMo in years. Haven't even paid much attention to it in a while, but I decided today to give it a shot, in my own matty way. The average Mango script runs about 1,250 words. 50,000 words means about forty Mango scripts. I only have about 45 left to write in total to finish this year, do the promised personalized episodes for super-donors, and do 2016's MuchoMangoMayo.

The thought of all those shows has been dogging me, especially because I've only been able to get one Mango done a week lately. I'm going to push myself now. If I can do MangoWriMo and it doesn't destroy me, it will make life much better after November.

Here we go!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

When Avoiding The Rewrite

As I mentioned last post, I've been doing a lot of rewrites lately.

There are some writers who can't help but write. As frequently as possible, for hours on end, with passion and obsession. Then there are most writers who aren't like that at all. We often have to cajole and trick ourselves into getting the work done. Some people say we're not real writers if we have to struggle with it. We tell those people to go fuck themselves and we squeeze a little more work out of our keyboards.

Rewriting is normal, but there are times when one doesn't want to tackle it. It may be due to the fear that the rewrite will make it worse. Whatever the writer adds or subtracts will ruin that gentle balance of mess that originally sat there and that's like taking a step backwards. We don't want to take a step backwards. We're far enough behind as it is. Paralysis is easier and can often be rationalized as something else.

Here's a thing that helps me get over that feeling. I copy the entire text into another file, call that file "Story Title" Rewrite, and tell myself I can fuck up the story beyond recognition there and the original will remain pristine back in that other place. In fact, it might help to insist to myself that I fuck it up and come up with the most ridiculous shit that occurs to me every step of the way. I just need to push forward. Many times that ridiculous shit is brilliant.

If you're still having trouble, start slowly. Change a word here or there. Do a search for a name and replace it with another name. Add a sentence that you feel is too gorgeous not to exist right in the middle of that mess. Sooner or later you'll find you've pulled out of the driveway and home is in the rearview mirror. That means you're rolling.


Sunday, August 09, 2015

Some Things Old Are New Again

Quick update.

I haven't been working a lot on new fiction the last couple of months. What I have been doing in the non-Mango fiction world is rewriting old stories so as to give them a better chance in the cold cruel editorial world. I don't know if I've made these stories great, but I do know I've made them a hell of a lot better than they were.

I still haven't finished MuchoMangoMayo! I'm trying to squeeze out an episode once every couple of weeks around the episodes I normally produce. I still have four May shows to go.

I have piles of ideas and I'm trying to find the time, the discipline, and in one case the money to make things happen.

Jonathan Brown - Murder Ballads

If you're not subscribed to the Indie Feed podcast, fix that.
http://traffic.libsyn.com/indiefeedpp/indiefeed_jonathanbrown_murderballads.mp3

Elizabeth Bishop - The Fish

This fish has had a tough life. From Indie Feed:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/indiefeedpp/indiefeed_elizabethbishop_thefish.mp3

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

My Genius Isn't Drippy Enough

I decided to start listening to one of the voices in my head. I'm going to start mowing the roof.

No, not actually. 

When I finish a story I'm hot to get it out into the world. I see flaws in it, and think, "Yeah, but look at all the genius in there. That'll drip down and fill in all the flaw cracks. Art isn't finished, it's abandoned. I need to move on to the next story." 

Then I wonder why nobody buys my stuff. ("Nobody" is a bit of an exaggeration, yes.) 

So the voice previously mentioned is that pointing-out-the-flaws voice, not the other one. It struck me a day or two ago, that I should pay more attention to that one, because the other way hasn't been working. I've finally admitted to myself that my genius isn't drippy enough.

It's hard as hell for me to not send a story out when it seems done-ish. I want the glory, I want the fame, I want the money, now now now, and finishing fiction is infrequent enough it deserves a red date on the calendar. Then again, selling a story later would snag more glory than getting a rejection sooner. 

I've never been good at sacrificing now for something better later. If you know me well, you know that explains my entire life (which, for those of you who don't know me well, is shitty). As they say, the first step is acknowledgement.

The next is fixing those unfillable flaws and if I can't, sitting on those finishes for a couple of weeks, then finishing them again. And then maybe you can read something from me that isn't a blog post.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

As The Ripe Wheat Lies After The Reaping

Here's a new thing I'll do once in a while. I'm going to post a passage of writing that I love. I've been told that such a thing is covered by Fair Use, but to cover my ass, I'm linking to the books, so it might be considered a review. Also, why don't I pick up 4% of the sale, if you buy it? But money isn't the goal.

Here's a bit I love from The Cairn on the Headland by Robert E. Howard. To the best of my knowledge, this work is in the public domain:

"Aye, it had been a feasting of ravens, a red flood of slaughter, and I knew that no more would the dragonprowed fleets sweep from the blue North with torch and destruction. Far and wide the Vikings lay in their glittering mail, as the ripe wheat lies after the reaping. Among them lay thousands of bodies clad in the wolf hides of the tribes, but the dead of the Northern people far outnumbered the dead of Erin. I was weary and sick of the stench of raw blood. I had glutted my soul with slaughter; now I sought plunder. And I found it--on the corpse of a richly-clad Norse chief which lay close to the seashore. I tore off the silver-scaled corselet, the horned helmet. They fitted as if made for me, and I swaggered among the dead, calling on my wild comrades to admire my appearance, though the harness felt strange to me, for the Gaels scorned armour and fought half-naked."

How 'bout that, huh? If you dug this and want to read more, you can buy the collection through the link below


Monday, June 15, 2015

Drabblin' Guy

I drabbled all over myself and others when I did the narration for Katherine West's story Trimming the Fat on episode 360 of the Drabblecast. Guest producer Adam Pracht felt I fit the story, and he pointed out there was mention of a mango. You can soak it in here: http://www.drabblecast.org/2015/05/31/drabblecast-360-trifecta-locked-boxes/

Sunday, June 14, 2015

"Oh Right," He Remembered. "I Have A Blog."

Oops.

The Mango Coast Guard came out in partial force over the last two and a half weeks and gave me a pile of money so that I might cause MuchoMangoMayo 2016 to happen. So that's something.

I haven't even finished this year's MuchoMangoMayo and it's the middle of June. Well, as this neglected blog will affirm, I've been busy. the last three and a half months have been crazy, with life warping in unpleasant bends. Whatever. Go listen to some of the Mangoes I shot up there in the last month or so and enjoy yourself for a few minutes. >>>> http://bewarethehairymango.com/

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

155

Just finished and shipped off story 155 of The One-Thousand! If I had any hair, I'd be able to feel the wind in it! This one was a shortie that I conceived of yesterday and finished today. It's a story that would be perfectly at home at Beware the Hairy Mango (though it's twice as long as most of those) and I'm sending it to a very non-Mango magazine. Actually, every magazine is a very non-Mango magazine.

In the last five days, I've written or finished three stories and submitted seven. Golly!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

154

Finished and sent out story 154 of The One-Thousand today! This one is a sort of war story that was mostly finished last year. I pulled it out, tweaked and modified it a bit, and shipped it out into the world.

Godspeed, little doodle!

Friday, February 20, 2015

153

Yay! I wrote story 153 of The One-Thousand this evening! I haven't finished a story since November. Probably because I'm working on so many Mango scripts.

153 is a sort of time-travel thing about attitude and regret. It's an 80s story, probably because I've been caught up in the eighties for the past week, starting with watching Top Secret! clips last week, and ending with watching Better Off Dead (for the hundredth wonderful time) last night. Maybe having written the story will shake me out of the 80s thing. Maybe not.

The Kickstarter is still on. It's been a bit too mellow for my comfort the past couple of days. Consider kicking in and/or telling your friends. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/189894541/hive-five

Thanks!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Help Me Write A Novel!

Hey, gang! I'm stoked to have a chance at writing the type of thing I love this spring: a funny, crazy science fiction novel. It's called Hive Five and it's about a hive mind that's not very good at being a hive mind. Here's the opening:

 Everyone was covered in either blood, kisses, or barbecue sauce. 

 Sammy's Recipe for Barbecued Chaos: 

 1. Decide you want a nice little party at your house. 

 2. Forget for a moment that you're part of a hive mind with fifty-six other people. Not a very good hive mind, admittedly, but good enough that those fifty-six other people simultaneously decide they want a nice little party . . . at your house. You do have the biggest yard in the treeborhood, of course, nearly an entire limb to yourself ever since you convinced the Umumwei family there was such a thing as a cybernetic squirrelfestation thanks to the loan of your friend Barry's Travelling Squirrel Zoo, some manufactured doodads from your garage forge, and a hot glue gun. The Umumweis folded up their house and moved it two levels down that same afternoon. 

 3. Allow your now enormous party to be crashed by the rest of the treeborhood who, for some reason known only to God's Clone, have become more affectionate than spawning salmon at a grizzly bear swingers party. 

 4. Remind yourself you have to get better at creating metaphors, but in your defense there is a half-love, half-fistfight free-for-all going on in your yard at the moment.

Tell me that doesn't look like fun! Here's where you can help. I need to raise the money so I can crank this out in three months and get the finished novel into your hands this summer. Besides the book, you can also get cool rewards, like a personalized episode of Beware the Hairy Mango, a ringtone of my voice, having a character named after you, and more!

Check out my page here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/189894541/hive-five

And my video right here:

Friday, January 30, 2015

Good Testicle News



Went to the doctor today and had the staples removed from my scrotum. That was a great physical relief, but what was a great emotional relief was the doctor telling me that everything was healing normally. What I thought was a refilling of fluid into my drained left baggie is actually just my swollen left testicle. So it only looks exactly like my original problem wasn't solved, but became more painful. My lefty testis feels larger than a goose egg, but the doc assures me that the swelling will go down. In three weeks. At least Tom Brady likes them.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review: The Ultimates 2, Vol. 2: Grand Theft America


The Ultimates 2, Vol. 2: Grand Theft America
The Ultimates 2, Vol. 2: Grand Theft America by Mark Millar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I really needed this after volume 1. I felt relief long before the ending, seeing the heroes getting their teeth kicked in. That was bad enough that the comeback of this pile of dicks made me happy. Great art, twists and turns, but it did get to the point where the "tough-guy killer line of dialogue" was beginning to grate. Very entertaining stuff.



View all my reviews

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

All The Reasons I've Been Down

I must admit I've been depressed since I realized the surgery may not have worked. If I see the doctor when my stitches are taken out, I'll share my concerns. Otherwise, I'll see him at the scheduled post-op visit next week.

I've also been down because I read a bit of a downer of a graphic novel, "Ultimates 2, Vol. 1," which is a great story, but reinforces many of my feelings of freedoms being restricted and this sort of new rat race we've created in which we're all struggling to be seen in the new economy.

Then there's the news. I haven't watched the news in years and I recently got off of Facebook and Twitter in part to avoid all the downer news, but I'm still getting information through my blog feeds. Here's the thing. On the one hand, the bad things we see are really happening and people are suffering greatly every day. On the other, we only hear about the bad things. It is the job of a news agency to get us to look at their stuff, and they will do whatever it takes to do that, especially scare the shit out of us.

I don't think you're a bad person if you avoid the suffering, because the Suffer Showcase is way skewed against reality. There are also plenty of wonderful things happening, people making love, people helping each other, people learning exciting things. News shows and blogs save that shit for the last thirty seconds or the sidebar, down near the bottom ("Look, there's a squirrel waterskiing!"), either to keep their viewers from killing themselves or to suggest some insane concept of balance. Fuck those newsies.

The other thing I was down about (Jesus, there's more?) is my lack of desire to write yesterday. I did finish a Mango script and doodled on another, but that's it. I had expected to get lots more done.

Having said all that, there were some good things yesterday and I'm feeling better today. I made it through the rain like Barry Manilow.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Bad Feeling

Today was the first time I could really grab hold of my left nut without pulling away due to pain. It does not seem substantially smaller. I'm hoping I didn't go through this mess for no reason.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Totally Tubular

Today things are better.

I've taken three Percocets in the last few days. As I mentioned in an earlier post, painkillers have made me nauseous in the past and I avoid them. But a nurse on Friday insisted I would want something strong for today when the doctor removed the drainage tube from my scrotum. So I got my prescription (walking around CVS like Fred Sanford) and asked the guy at the counter what I could do to alleviate the sicky. He said to take it after eating. So I tested one that day (Saturday). It went okay. I tried one yesterday because Saturday went well and I'm not enduring pain because I want people to think I'm tough. I took one this morning for the tube-tearing.

You're not supposed to operate heavy machinery on Percocet and I realized why. You don't get this feeling like, "I'm a bit sleepy." You get a feeling like, "I'm about to pass out." It comes on fast and out of the blue.

Anyway, I went to the doctor's office, he pulled the tube as nonchalantly as if it was a magic trick. ("What's this behind your scrotum? It's a shiny new coin!") I barely felt it. It hurt just a tiny bit more getting the stitches yanked. Never trust a nurse who doesn't have a scrotum. I got a little gauze pad to block my juice hole.

I go back Friday to get the staples removed. No more painkillers for me. I'm feeling a lot better, anyway. Now it's mostly about healing up so I don't spill out all over the floor when I lift something heavy at work next week. I'm washing clothes now and soon I'll be taking my first post-op shower. My jockstrap smells like it's come out of winter storage from a giant's asshole. I'm going to grab some underwear snugger than boxers and just stick a feminine hygiene pad done there. Hopefully my hole will glue itself up soon.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Spongebloodbath

I was in pain all day yesterday after the operation. My son summed up my thoughts by quoting Dean Venture from the "Are you there, God? It's me, Dean." episode of The Venture Brothers. Dean has to deal with testicular torsion in that episode: "Suddenly it just felt like someone kicked me in the rocks, and—and they never took their foot away!"

Last night I took off my bandages to wash up and change them. Someone at the surgery center told me I have to see the doctor on Monday to have some tube removed and I have to take sponge baths until then. I had an idea about what I would see under those bandages. My balls, of course, But I was under the impression there would be a small incision in my scrote seam and my sweet potato would have been removed through laparoscopic surgery. No sweat!

Under my boxers I wore a jockstrap, one size too small, I'm assuming to keep everything up tight and snug against me. Beneath that was a sort of ball-holding sling that was stuck to me through the magic of medical adhesives. I'm a very hairy guy. Medical people who stick things to me seem to feel it's a big hassle to shave the hair off first. It took about fifteen minutes of slow painful peeling. Slow is better than quick, by the way. Daniel Ariely looked into it. The mind doesn't take duration into account when gauging pain. Finally removing the sling, I found an assorted collection of absorbent materials which were all engorged with blood. Then I saw my scrotum. It was no small incision. It had been sliced open from stem to stern. There were stitches and staples. Healing is going to take longer than I thought. Then I started dripping.

As I washed myself, blood dripped onto the bathroom floor steadily, I stuck a few paper towels between my legs, and big gobs of jellied blood came off of my junk, looking like a heavy menstrual flow. I tried to poo, since my hospital gear was off, but I didn't want to force, for fear that my bag would rip open and I'd be bobbing for testicles in the toilet water. Finishing up my wash, I found what I figured was another piece of adhesive stuck to my undercarriage. I pulled it, with no luck, then tried to feel where it was stuck to my skin. It wasn't stuck to my skin. It went under my skin. then I realized this was that tube the doctor is removing on Monday. Glad I remembered before I tugged even harder. It took a little while to get myself clean, then a little while longer to get the bathroom clean.

This is good lunch reading, isn't it?

Friday, January 23, 2015

I'm Fine

Hey, folks. Surgery went well. Everything's cool. It doesn't even hurt much. I'm pretty tired, because I'm a night person and I had to get up at 5 am. Also maybe,  lingering anesthetics?  Anyway, I'll probably get some napping in.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Let's Talk About My Balls

I'm kidding, of course. I'm only discussing my left ball. Within the larger sack, there's sort of a little baggie around each of a man's testicles. Fluid flows through these, doing whatever fluid does. Well, in my left baggie, fluid has been going in and not going out. From the outside, it seems like my left nut has swollen to the size and shape of a small sweet potato. (Mmmm . . . sweet potatoes . . . ) If it was out rolling around on the dinner table, I wouldn't even be able to get my hand around it. My fingers wouldn't touch.

As you might imagine, it can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful. So, while I'm still able to wear pants, I'm having something done about it. I'm going under the knife tomorrow morning. I figured my urologist could just stab my scrotum with one of those pointy Capri Sun straws and then poor street kids could play in the resulting spray as a way to beat the Florida heat. But apparently, it's not like that at all.

I don't do pain killers, as they make me nauseous. I got through the recovery for my last hernia without any drugs. I'm not saying that if my arm is torn off in an electric cord fight, I won't risk the nausea, mind you. But my friend tells me his vasectomy really wasn't that painful. His scrote did fill up with blood until it resembled a black grapefruit though. (Mmmm . . . black grapefruit . . . )

I only live a couple of miles from the hospital and since I pretty much live alone these days, I think it's dumb to ask somebody to pick me up and drive me there, so I'm going to walk there. I won't be walking back home later, though. Those medical types won't let you leave without a ride. They don't even want you staying home by yourself for the day that you have the anesthesia. Someone must have gone on an adventure once. I've never had anything that good. So I'll be hanging with my kids for the day and maybe we'll dine on sweet potatoes and grapefruit.

A lady I worked with asked me if I was nervous. Surgery doesn't make me nervous. In fact, dying on the table would probably be the absolute best way to go. "He died peacefully in his sleep while poor street children played in his human spray." Who wouldn't want that? 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015

It's Not About Talent

The amazing Yuko Shimizu explains how she can tell who's going to make it over at her blog. As you've read in those big words above, it's not about talent. http://yukoart.com/blog/whether-you-make-it-or-not-is-never-about-talent/

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Trying Again

Okay, the picture thing didn't work the way I wanted. Trying it another way now, but if it works I still won't be able to place the pick exactly where I want it.

This Is A Test That, Unfortunately, You All Can See

Hi. I'm testing posting from e-mail. If I get the hang of it,  I'll probably post more.

 

I stuck a photo in here to see if that will show up where I meant it to.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy 2015!

I hope all of us have a great time this year and make wonderful stuff happen! Now dance this shit out with Stromae!