Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Time to Take Off the Training Wheels

Thirty days ago, I gave myself an ultimatum: Write more. With this in mind, I gave myself the goal of blogging, Facing, and Twitting every day of January. How did I do?

For me, Twitter is like that person whom you get along with well enough, but every conversation is laden with semi-awkward silences because you have nothing in common. Yeah, I made it one week. I also missed three other days later in the month. Not a stellar effort by any means (especially if you take a look at what I had to say), but far better than I thought I'd do. Twitter, I'll see ya when I see ya.

I technically missed one day on Facebook, but that was because I didn't manage a post till midnight. It was before I went to sleep, however, so I'm counting it.

As for here on The Wheel? 31 days, 31 posts. Sure, two were photo collections, and a few others were thrown together just to keep the streak going, but I made it. For much of the month, I didn't feel my posts quite reached my blog's standard level of quality,1 but I began to hit my stride this past week. The stories themselves were merely okay, but the spark had returned. I began to feel good about my posts consistently. And that's exactly what I was hoping to get from this whole endeavor.

So, starting tomorrow, I head back into the word mines.2 That's right, other than the occasional blog post, I'm back to writing about attempted political assassinations and invisible monkeys. I'm closing in on the end of my first draft, after which I get to undertake a major rewrite. It's going to be a lot of work, but to tell you the truth, I'm kind of looking forward to it.3

Wish me luck.

1 As measured by creativity and/or number of footnotes.
2 They're a real thing. Authors head underground for a spell, and resurface with brand new words (if their genre is sci-fi) or brand new combinations of words, hewn from the earth itself.
3 Well, except the part where I have to sort through 70+ pages of (sometimes contradictory) notes I wrote myself. Stupid brain, couldn't you have come up with all these ideas the first time through? Oh, sorry, I didn't mean you're actually stupid. It's an expression. No, really, I didn't mean it. Where are you going? No! No no no! Come back! Please come back! Damn it.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Three Sides to Every Story

had no
love for his
neighbor Stan,
but loved Stan's
wife. Then one day,
he learned Stan loved
him. Whereas Stan's wife
only loved Stan; she had no
love for the other man. It was a
conundrum; each of the three loved
one of the others, but for each of them
it was unrequited. They decided the best
strategy was to go on a trip together to see if
the matter might work itself out. And thus, Stan
booked all three onto a cruise in the North Atlantic.
But, just as Stan's wife started to show some affection
for the other man, the entire ship disappeared off the coast
of Bermuda, and was never seen or heard from again. The end.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Full Circle

Round about
ten o'clock, the moon joined
the sun in the sky. The parade was in
full swing: jugglers arced balls through the
air, clowns stayed balanced on one wheel each,
and the band circumnavigated the town green as
if it was in orbit around the marble statue of Atlas
at its center. Sol walked the perimeter, holding one
Oreo in each hand, and listened to the church bells
ring. It was as if the whole of the planet had come
out to celebrate today. A Frisbee hung high in the
air, forming a halo with the sun for a moment,
before curving back down to the earth. Sol
thought of his own childhood, parades
in this very same spot. His life
had come full circle.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A 26-Line Story I'll Write As I Go

by Nathaniel Jahosophat Wilson

Chadwick von Prenderbottom loved to see people fail.
Donovan Thistletwist loved to drink coffee.
Every day, Chad and Don met at the Coughie Shoppe, where they could do both.
Failure practically lived there.
Girls got orders wrong, and misspelled names every few minutes.
Hopeful scribes sat, uninspired, unable to overcome writer's block.

I should mention: The story's 26 lines include its title, byline, and any asides.

Just before 11 am one Tuesday, Chad noticed a disquieting trend.
Kismet, fate, or perhaps dumb luck had brought only success all morning.
Lattes and espressos had been delivered to customers without a single complaint.
Mice clicked and keyboards clacked non-stop as authors typed up a storm.
Not one person had tripped, jostled each other, or even grumbled.

Oh, by the way, my middle name isn't actually Jahosophat, but imagine if it were.

Perturbed by this turn of events, Chad decided to do something about it.
Queerly, every attempt only bred further success.
Ranting about politics prompted one woman to write a brilliant op ed piece.
Shoving an elderly man put his spine back into proper alignment.
Throwing hot coffee on a barista led to Don getting her number.
Utterly disheartened, Chad left his friend and went home.
Very strange things happening today, he thought.
Wednesday will be better, he thought.
Xanax might help, he thought.

You may think there isn't enough story left to have a satisfying ending, and you'd be right.

Zero failure, though, meant everyone had failed to fail, which made Chad happy again.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Tense fists, shallow breaths; he will not survive.
Quinine did little, now his final dive
Sheds the weight he'd shouldered since falling ill.
For he chose vengeance, but he ends up killed
By mosquitoes, sixteen bites on his neck
Pain eased by the quaff I've given him. Heck,
For years he had dreamed of our deaths, because
I'd tricked him once, made his mouth reek of gauze.
He wouldn't accept "sorry," but would run
Through the jungle at me. And now? He's done.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Footing the Bill

I have written1 here2 every day3 so far in 2016, but my footnote-to-post ratio4 has been at an all-time low.5 This won't fix that,6 but it might7 at least get things8 somewhat9 closer to normal.10

1 I.e. typed. No one really writes anymore. Hell, even my typing shows I'm still stuck in the authorial dark ages. Voice recognition is the new quill and ink.
2 In my office chair, sitting at my computer. Oh, you thought I was talking about my blog? Hardly. I never do that. People who blog about blogging don't get any readers. And I've got at least two.
3 I know, I'm surprised, too. I haven't even written typed narrated brainwaved any of them ahead of time.
4 What? It's totally a thing.
5 0.76, or 19 footnotes over 25 blog posts. Take away the three most footful, and it's 0.136 (3 in 22 posts). Downright pathetic.
6 This has been fixing to fix that for some time now. This and that may have been partners for centuries, but man oh man does that get around. Seriously. That will pair off with pretty much any word out there. It's past time to get that snipped.
7 I'm not always the most positive person. Okay, I'm never the most positive person. I tend to dwell on the negative. "Might" might be as close as I get to being positive. Pretty sure.
8 "Things" is such a vague word. In this instance, even I don't know what sort of stuff I'm referring to.
9 Some people recommend avoiding adverbs like "somewhat" and "a little" when writing. They say such words don't add anything, and often the whole phrase can be replaced by a stronger one-word descriptor. I'm somewhat skeptical.
10 Hey, don't laugh. I could be normal if I wanted to. Oh, come on! I could! I absolutely could. I mean, normal people still like footnotes, right?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Shots in the Dark

Before my son was born, I used to take pictures of things other than my son. Like creepy playscapes at night. Or me censoring myself.

Just thought I would share. (Click on any image to embiggen. Or here to view the whole set.)