A more deliberate update

Warning: long and uninterestingly rambling post below. Might even contain personal opinions and a bunch of photos.

I’ve been letting blog posting slide a bit as I deal with certain stuff. Some of it, but not all, relates to writing. 

Following useful feedback from fellow Vipers, I finished editing three of the September short stories and sent them out into the world. The process got me into some introspection and, as a result, I’m going to write something about said introspection. Please, don’t take this as anything more than face value. It’s neither a positive or negative, and I’m not making a qualitative statement about my writing or that of others. It’s just an observation.

I attended the Viable Paradise Workshop in October. Right away, I noticed just how different my writing is from that of the other attendees. This is not a statement about quality or craft; just content and perhaps style. Perhaps each of the other attendees felt the same way, but I can’t speak to that.

Mind you, I like my writing, but  heck, I can’t even describe it, let alone place it. One of the major differences is in the matter of social issues content. Style and words dynamics are also noticeable differences. It’s not only the VP XIX class, either.

In searching for markets for my short stories, I sampled a lot of said markets.  Guess what I found? Nothing like what I write and I honestly don’t know if there’s much of a place in today’s market for what and how I write. Understand, I’m not blind to social issues, but I don’t particularly want to explore them in a story setting, or, if I do, it’s peripherally and not central to the story itself. But, it’s not just social issues . . .

Were I to characterize my writing, I would say it’s escapism to imagined worlds, characters, and situations that tangentially reflect how I wish things were, but whose primary purpose for existing is to entertain through action and occasional humor. I write characters that I know don’t exist but wish they did. I write about the congregation of rare qualities seldom found in individuals. I often write characters as idealized versions of people; I write about how I wish them to be and what I strive to be (no, I’m not nailing it . . . perhaps I never will, but it won’t be for lack of trying).

This is a reflection of my preferences. I want to read about larger-than-life situations and larger-than-life people and through them, vicariously escape a world awash with pettiness and small-mindedness.

I may be wrong and perhaps over-generalizing, but a lot of what I read in the past few weeks reflects writers smacking readers in the face with the worst of the reality that surrounds us. Well, crap! That’s already smacking me around every damn minute of every damn day. I want something different. I want the good guys winning, a real hero, a happy ending, and to be transported to a different place. I know it’s not real, and it won’t make me forget or ignore the problems we face . . . I just want a break from them.

Don’t take this as me bitching about the reality of the publishing market that I see. I enjoy writing, and I’ll keep at it; not for acceptance, fame, or recognition, but because I’m applying myself to something I like. But, mostly, because when I do read my stories, they generate the feelings I want to feel. I don’t exaggerate when I say that I often read my stuff. Escapism, remember?

I should mention one possible exception to the above . . . fantasy. When one reads fantasy, one is more likely to encounter larger-than-life situations, larger-than-life characters. I tried my hand at a few fantasy stories, but I don’t have the facility with fantasy as I do for  . . . well, what I normally write. Sometimes, I start out as fantasy and drift back into science-based things (even if fantastical science). I plan to apply myself to writing a bit more fantasy this coming year. Probably, more Birro adventures.

Anyway, the September stories are all loosely classified as SF, so to SF markets they went. In the end, I picked where to submit only loosely based on whether I thought they fit with their markets. Realistically, I don’t have much hope for them. But, as I learned at the workshop, my job is to write; deciding if what I write merits publication is someone else’s job. When rejected, these stories will be submitted elsewhere until there are no more markets.

The fourth, the time travel “Wolf, are you there” story, needs more revising, perhaps major revising. Like all time stories, I realized there was a major hole in the timeline (not a pun) as it relates to the plot.

Time travel stories are fun to write, but time stories rely not only on the reader having some predisposition to them but also for the reader to turn a blind eye to the very impossibilities contained therein. I’ve never seen a movie or read a book or short story that handled the topic well. I am happier with parallel universe stories, but even there, if you introduce the equivalent of a time travel element, the whole thing goes to crap. Anyway, I plan to polish it up a bit and see if I still want to send it out.

Meanwhile, I’m three-fourths of the way to editing the 2014 NaNoWriMo, the one that got critiqued at VP XIX. That is going out to one publisher and also forming the basis for the start of my agent search, and I want to accomplish those goals before the end of the year. Meaning, finish my edit this next week and sending it out by next week.

Yes, the same thing I said above about the short stories also applies to the novel . . . I have no clue what market is best for it. I wrote it as a science fiction story, but it carries some of the trappings of a mystery novel without fully embracing the mystery format. Mostly, it’s an action story . . . where is the market for action stories?

Another thing occupying my time is our effort to flood e-Bay with a lot of our stuff.   That involves a lot of photographing. Before I post the photos, a small diversion.

This post is already much longer than most people care for. I can count on one hand the number of people who will read it all, and I’d have a few fingers left over for nose-cleaning duties. Still, here’s a bit of Disperser history.

I went to a Catholic high school. De La Salle Institute, near the IIT campus in Chicago. During my junior year, I went on a retreat. I have no memory what the purpose was, but I remember the place having lots of cigarettes-dispensing machines. I came back from the retreat as a smoker.

I smoked until 1983 when racquetball took precedence, and I gave up smoking for being able to play four hours without running out of breath. In the smoking years, I often quit, sometimes for months at a time. I would quit whenever I realized I smoked without enjoyment, and I started up again because I liked smoking (note; it takes some effort to start smoking – you have to really want it).

I never had problems quitting, so in that I was lucky; when I did quit for good, I just stopped and moved on with my life, never looking back.

On a related note, I’ve always been a difficult person to buy for. People bought me stuff (some still do) thinking I might like a particular item and without considering I would already have bought it if I wanted it. BUT . . . not always. Sometimes, people pleasantly surprised me with something I did not know I wanted. This is one such item.

20151216_DSC3054_1_DSC3054_DIGI 20151216_DSC3051_1_DSC3051_DIGI 20151216_DSC3052_1_DSC3052_DIGI

How is this related, you ask? Some of you might have already guessed . . . 


Yup . . . a fly ashtray. 

Now, in the process of snapping photos for the listing, I discovered something neat . . . 

20151216_DSC3062_1_DSC3062_DIGI 20151216_DSC3063_1_DSC3063_DIGI 20151216_DSC3064_1_DSC3064_DIGI 20151216_DSC3065_1_DSC3065_DIGI 20151216_DSC3068_1_DSC3068_DIGI

OK, perhaps it’s only neat to me, but . . . 

20151216_DSC3051_1_DSC3051-Processed_DIGI 20151216_DSC3057_1_DSC3057-Processed-2-2_DIGI

. . . enter post-processing with Topaz Impressions plugin. 

By the way, you can click on the images for larger versions.

And, not only that . . . On1 Suite B&W conversion . . . 

20151216_DSC3051_1_DSC3051-Processed-Processed_DIGI 20151216_DSC3057_1_DSC3057-Processed-2_DIGI

For me, the coolest ones are these . . . 

20151216_DSC3063_1_DSC3063-Processed-2-2_DIGI 20151216_DSC3063_1_DSC3063-Processed-2_DIGI 20151216_DSC3062_1_DSC3062-Processed-2-2_DIGI 20151216_DSC3062_1_DSC3062-Processed-2_DIGI

I see a version of Darth Vader that might be more impressive than the original.

Anyway, in keeping with my practice of flooding posts with too many photos, here are the rest of the photos from my session with the Fly Ashtray. 

20151216_DSC3052_1_DSC3052-Processed_DIGI 20151216_DSC3052_1_DSC3052-Processed-2_DIGI 20151216_DSC3054_1_DSC3054_DIGI 20151216_DSC3054_1_DSC3054-Processed-2-2_DIGI 20151216_DSC3054_1_DSC3054-Processed-2_DIGI 20151216_DSC3064_1_DSC3064-Processed-2_DIGI 20151216_DSC3064_1_DSC3064-Processed_DIGI 20151216_DSC3065_1_DSC3065-Processed-2_DIGI 20151216_DSC3065_1_DSC3065-Processed_DIGI 20151216_DSC3068_1_DSC3068-Processed-2_DIGI 20151216_DSC3068_1_DSC3068-Processed_DIGI

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Black and White, Opinions and Stuff, Writing Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to A more deliberate update

  1. Actually I think my parents had a strange ashtray like that. You write how you want to write. But it’s a tough world trying to get published. Why do you think so many people self-publish? After all, Proust did.


  2. sandra getgood says:

    Interesting. A fly ashtray. It is strange, sometimes, the things that please us, and that surprise us because we are pleased.

    I really do hope you find a market for your work, and a good editor to work with, a mentor who can help you reach the audience who is out there, waiting for your stories and your characters. it’s out there. I know, because I’m one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • disperser says:

      Dang, I don’t know what happened to my comment . . . let me try again.

      The ashtray looks neat but is not very practical. I did use it, as can be seen from the photos, but the it is narrow and poorly balanced. Still, I like it for how it looks.

      As for the writing, thank you. All I can say is that I will try. If I don’t make it, well, that in itself says something.

      Meanwhile, I am thankful for my few readers and even if I don’t often express it, I appreciate each one. So, thank you.


    • disperser says:

      Oh, I had also said one more thing . . . I am not exactly mentoring material. That plus the fact I’m much older than people who might be mentors makes it unlikely anyone would step up . . . especially considering one has to meet people before one can form any kind of rapport.

      But, I’ll tell you this here and now . . . if I ever do make it, half my time will be spent helping others make it as well.


  3. oneowner says:

    I would love a fly ashtray. But god help anyone using it as an ashtray!


  4. I think your fly ashtray is SO cool…but you made him look even cooler with your special effects! Ha, he does look like Darth Vader!
    I continue to wish you luck and best wishes with your writing, publishing, agent-finding, etc…because I think your writing is great and has an audience…I are one of your audience members.
    Hope your nose is sufficiently clean.
    Your story of how/when you started smoking is not funny…but it amused me. I’m glad you quit smoking. I never started…seeing how I was born with asthma.
    HUGS!!! :-)


    • disperser says:

      Thanks, I like the resulting variations of the special effects. And yes, my nose is till clean . . . unless I get a couple of more readers . . . I don’t think I’m flexible enough to use my toes, but you never know.

      No, it was not funny, and to this day, I wonder if the Catholic church had a deal with cigarette manufacturers. I forgot to mention the cigarette machines were free. We just pulled the levers and a pack would drop.

      I should have quit earlier, of course, as I tried not to smoke around Melisa. Still, everything probably smelled as I would smoke at work and in the car. Oh, well. We all have regrets for stuff we did in our younger days, and that is one of mine, and a minor one, at that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, my gosh! :-( It’s like they wanted all of you to start smoking! :-( Wow. I guess my amusement was the irony of cigarettes being available at a Catholic youth retreat. But, there was that time in history when it seemed everyone smoked and everyone thought it safe and okay.
        Yes, we all have those kinds of regrets.
        Ha! Nose cleaning by toes is a gymnastic sport and very aerobic! :-P

        Liked by 1 person

      • disperser says:

        I won’t ask how you know that . . .

        Liked by 1 person

    • disperser says:

      . . . and, as I said in the other comment, my thanks and appreciation for your continued readership.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. AnnMarie says:

    And all this time I thought you began smoking after high school. Once in a blue moon (and now) I recall the day (many of them blue moons ago) you lit up a cigarette and asked me to try it (when no one else was home). Never could accept that yucky taste and that all-permeating smell of smoke. Glad you gave that up.

    But I don’t have any recollection of that fly ashtray. Pretty neat . . . and made even more so by your creativity!


  6. Love the fly!!! All the best with your NaNoWriMo Disperser!! and of the season!!


  7. Merry Christmas, Emilio, to you and Melisa! :-)
    Santa-HUGS!!! :-D

    Liked by 1 person

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