Random Musings

Gardening at the End of the World

Since fully immersing myself into the gardening hobby — some would say obsession — my primary focus has always been on growing food. Growing lots of stuff to eat. Producing. Not from any kind of necessity, but because good production is a nice, tangible result of your efforts. All that food, those jars of pickles, those hot sauces you share, the jars of salsa that are 17x better than store bought, all of that stuff is something you can see and touch and enjoy. To me, it’s not much different than recording music at home or writing or painting. When you’re done, there is something to show for your efforts. As the world is lit on fire, this is the first time it actually feels…
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LISTEN TO THIS: Buffalo Tom, “Let Me Come Over” (1992)

A series in which I recommend music that might have flown under your radar. Buffalo Tom – Let Me Come Over Listen if you like:┬áThe Gaslight Anthem, The Lemonheads, The Hold Steady, Afghan Whigs Some songs take a while to percolate. They need to simmer in you for a while before they really get into your bones. “Taillights Fade” by Buffalo Tom is not one of those songs. The first time I heard it, it crawled under my skin and wormed its way into my head. It was one of those songs that even after hearing it only once, it would bounce around my skull forever – and not because it’s catchy or poppy, but because it was a perfect slice of chainsmoking whiskeydrinking fuckitall…
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That time I wasted my life editing together a ‘new’ J.R.R. Tolkien book, then lost it

The recent announcement of a ‘new’ book by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fall of Gondolin, which will compile previously published material about one of the great tragic epics of Middle Earth’s early days, brought to mind a few weeks of wasted life circa 2002 or so. It’s a waste that still frustrates me to this day. Years ago, I got this idiotic idea in my head to edit together a load of Tolkien stuff into a standalone book. There was a wealth of material about a character called Turin, a cursed man who goes through some truly awful stuff, up to and including accidental incest and the death of just about everyone and everything he comes in contact with. Yes, it’s a real joy! Turin’s story…
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The final stages of writing a book are always the most nerve-wracking

The last few hundred yards of a marathon are always the toughest. Well, okay, I’ve never run a marathon and doubt I could run more than a block and a half even if being chased by knife-wielding ducks, but you get my point*. I’m currently under contract with Rowman & Littlefield, and have been neck deep in writing a manuscript since last August, due to be delivered by May 1. (I’d love to be able to announce what it is, but have to wait until they release the information first.) I’m almost there. Being immersed in a big project is generally a must for me. Keeps me focused. Keeps me sane. And it’s gratifying seeing something come together piece by piece. The act of creation,…
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Unplugged 2: snow daze are no ways

My whole life, staying focused has always been a challenge. As long as I’m doing new things, exploring new ideas, doing new tasks, and pursuing creative projects I can keep that in check (usually by multitasking so I’m bouncing back and forth from one thing to another), but it takes work to, you know, work. So to suddenly get slammed with a fairly big snowstorm that keeps the family home, thereby extending their winter vacation home by another four days, isn’t exactly a boon to focus. Love them, but it’s a small house, and no, I don’t have a dedicated, private office space. Still, managed to take three or four rough chapter drafts from my next book and chisel them into finished initial drafts yesterday,…
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