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(pronounced Ko-Hane)
Dan is the Bram Stoker-nominated author of Plague of Darkness, Solomon’s Grave, and the critically-acclaimed Margaret's Ark. Writing as G. Daniel Gunn, he released Destroyer of Worlds and the novella (written with L.L.Soares) Nightmare in Greasepaint (Samhain Publishing),. His short stories have appeared in Cemetery Dance, Shroud Magazine, Apex Digest and many more. He and his family live in New England.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Seven Days a Week

So, I'm trying to get myself back on a schedule of writing where I actually produce something, rather than sit around in angst and curse that I've not written anything. I'm trying to just write anything, even if it's crap, because crap written still is better than genius never. To do this, I set up a daily schedule of writing, which is my mandatory writing I will do every day, with minimum of 1,000 words. Anything else is gravy. Now this is a new process-slash-experiment and I have not been very good at sticking to it, but when it comes to doing it, I must write the required topic first. I can do the thousand in an hour, if I focus. On the days I have written I haven't always hit it the word target, but have been hitting the mark 90% of the time. Only meeting my daily sit-ass-in-chair requirement 50% but that's better than zero, so it's a start, but I need to improve. Trying to re-learn the discipline I've lost over the past few years. My life just seems so much less structured than before. I'm writing this on a Wednesday because I've designated Wednesdays as "web" writing day. Usually, that means a blog entry, but could be anything web related.

So here's the schedule at the moment, as a way to get back into the swing of things and to experiment with the varied types, modes of the written word:

Monday: Movie reviews. I haven't written a solo film review for Cinema Knife Fight for over a year, until last week, when I wrote one for AFTER EARTH (2013), published yesterday (see previous blog entry). It felt great to be able to send Lauran something after so long. I enjoy doing these, and many folks have been asking when a new one will come out.

Tuesday: True stuff, aka non fiction. I've been toying, doing some light research, on Israel between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New. The worlds just seem so different. Of course, 300 years or so passed between them so there would be changes in governments, etc. But it was quite a change, and more research I did the more fascinating I found what happened in this time. Now, when I came up with a title, BETWEEN THE TESTAMENTS, I realized a few books of this kind were written over the past few decades, but I could find some way of doing this differently, though might want a new title. Too bad, this one kicks butt. Linda suggested maybe writing an historical fiction piece. Maybe. Another non-fiction idea I'd had was to take an obscure book of the Old Testament, like Leviticus, and go chapter by chapter giving my completely amateur (we like to say layperson's in the churchy world) opinion of each one. I could also do a non-spiritual concept, maybe write articles, etc. How-to's, whatever. Non-fiction articles pay pretty well.

Wednesday: that's today (as I write this). Web stuff, primarily blog entries. I'm a lousy promoter, but the more people visit your site, the more see you have a book out. But you need to talk about stuff, be honest, and real. It's cathartic, as well. This blog has become an autobiography - granted, sometimes in a very cryptic way. But, still....

Thursday: Thrillers. I figure it's a big market and to be honest, this one is the fun one. Don't care how sellable it might be, what I want to do is write short, digest-sized novels... think Perry Rhodan in the old space opera vein, or other mini book series. Thought of this at a used bookstore in Worcester when I saw a whole slew of compact thriller novels - you know, Harlequin Romance-sized minus th eopen-shirted male models. Who knows, maybe there is a market for these still. If not, nothing says I can't put them out myself through Other Road. So far I've written a couple thousand words of the opening chapters then a thousand words to so of a free-form outline, what happens next etc.

Friday: Free form... or full-length if I want to work on a novel, but in truth free-form is what it is, write whatever the frak I want. However, there really is no novel day (since no N days of the week). In here I've been free-writing character and plot sketches for a potential new novel. I had started writing a novel a few months back called Ezra and lost steam, found the main character was just not that interesting to me. But the other characters I'd introduced were very three-dimensional, especially a woman named Robin. Her and her mother. So I'm starting over, talking about Robin, the town of Ezra, her Mom, and maybe a Carney named... actually I was working on his name last time. But there's a glimmer of a cool story slowly working itself out. Want to do it this way, craft together an outline of sorts of a story I'm actually excited about - maybe it'll get me to write it.

Saturday: Now weekends are tough. No excuse, though. My kids aren't little anymore, in fact my oldest is moving to NYC in a few days, daughter #1 is off to college in the Fall and as I type this my youngest is driving us to Grammy & Grampa's house to pick up some stuff for NYC-son. Not like I have soccer practices and girl scout field trips to attend on weekend, at least not as much. Get up early and the day is yours, too. I seem to have lost the ability to sleep past 6am lately anyway.... where was I? Ah, Saturdays... (and sorry for those who came in here yesterday, for some reason some sentences were moved around...)  Screenplays and/or Songs. "Songs" is new because I realized it's something I've always considered doing. I can't write music, but lyrics... why not? I know and enjoy music of all genres, why not give some a go myself. Can't complain about so many Refrain Songs out there if I'm not willing to put my own neck out. Whether there's anyway of actually marketing this is another story, but that's not the point. A lot of what I'd written in the past was never sold... I just need to write. I found a great quote today...
"There's no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you." (Maya Angelou)
"Screenplays" because after a few fun stint's with Ned Utzig's Mad Ned productions during the 48 Hour Film Competitions, I learned enough to be interested to explore more. I think it's something I could do and enjoy.

Sunday: short stories. I have an unfinished piece I'd written the first draft of called "An Gorta Mor" for the second volume of the NEHW anthology. Never finished it. It has promise, but needs a lot of work. Plus I have a Palm Pilot full of ideas... what? Yes, I have a Palm Pilot. No, I don't own a smart phone yet... and yes, I'm typing this on a used Google Android Tablet that I got on Craigslist and don't think is even made anymore. Consider me a purveyor of antiques... anyway, I have a lot of thoughts on stories, and come up with a lot more. Hell, most writers can whip up a story just by randomly opening a dictionary and pointing. Short fiction is fun to write because you can finish it much sooner than a novel, and it's a way to get your name out there at least to other folks in the genre.

So, that's it. Now today is Wednesday and I've been feeling like a shit all day about not having written, but as I finish this, cruising along 495 I feel much better. My wrists hurt because the angle I'm typing is not the best, ergonomically. But mentally, it's like walking out to a fresh cut grass summer day after being stuck in the house with fifteen cats. I did not do any writing for past few days, but to dwell on that and not focus on the days ahead is the true sin. So now it's out there. I'll try to keep you all abreast of how it's going....

PS: as I clean this up back at the house worth mentioning I did work on a screenplay, just to dabble. But I worked on it, and that's all that matters right now.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Review of AFTER EARTH Now Showing

My movie review of AFTER EARTH (2013) starring Will and Jaden Smith and directed my M. Night Shyamalan is now up at Cinema Knife Fight. Check it out... the review, at least. :-)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Moments of a New Generation

In a couple of days my niece, and godchild, Taryn Keohane is going to be marrying Kevin Terwilliger. Cool name, easier to spell than "Keohane". Not by much, though. :-)  The Keohane clan is converging in New Hampshire for the soiree. This will be the second wedding of the next generation of Keohanes (nephew Joey was in 2010). So after a 20+ year hiatus with very few weddings - before that it seemed we had a wedding of friends and relatives every week in our 20's - the cycle is beginning again. Taryn and Kevin are starting the next Phase of life together, and I can imagine, from memory, the excited, frenzied days that have led up to this weekend. Once the organ starts playing in the church, then it's time to relax and enjoy the day. That day and every day after, be real with each other, treat each other with respect and dignity, love each other unconditionally and never assume anything, always talk, always ask. Hide nothing. The rest is gravy.

A week later my son Andrew is moving away officially to New York City, starting his new job in Manhattan. I told him when he got there he needs to stand on a street corner and take off his hat, toss it into the air. But he didn't get it. He never saw this indelible (in my mind) image:

(I've always gotten a kick out of that sour-faced woman standing behind her - so disapproving)

We've made two trips to New York, he and I, so far, to search for apartments. As I write this, we're just waiting to hear about the applications we put in for one of two good candidates. I should ask him later what it's like, knowing that in a week and a half he'll be officially "leaving home." I remember when I moved to Worcester to begin work back in 1985, I was psyched. So happy to be out on my own, excited about cooking my own meals (yea, right, that didn't happen until 2010! unless you count boxed macaroni and cheese). The world was my stage, and anything was possible because I was also the playwright! I was ready, I was set, I was.. writing my way into a metaphor hole.

He's excited about his future life in Metropolis. And so am I. Do the right thing, Andrew, even if it's hard, and be nice to people. Say 'please' and 'thanks' as often as possible, smile, and remember you're never alone. Keep God close (he is anyways, so maybe I should say Acknowledge Him in everything).

Ooh, Baby baby it's a wild world. Doo doo doo da da da da dum. And it's hard to get by just upon a smile.

But a smile helps.

Smile at people. Just not on the Metro.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Week of Moving On

So, it's been a quiet week. Needed this, considering the week before this one was non-stop Big Events with enough drama to choke a horse. The week leading up to Memorial Day weekend was the same one leading to my son Andrew's college graduation. Temperatures dropped to the 30's in Albany, there was even snow only 30 miles west of us, according to the weather reports, and we had to split our ranks. Andrew's mom and I managed seats in the new venue, the indoor stadium where the graduation-proper was held because of the rain and cold, while my wife and daughters watched from a video monitor in the next building.

Plenty of drama of the happy kind in the morning, watching my 21 year old son stepping with cap and gown into the next phase of life. I was proud and somehow lonely. For various reasons, but 'lonely' works. The not-as-happy drama kicked into gear later as we got Andrew's college apartment packed up into the car and we headed home, Linda and I. Andrew and his mom and sisters followed tradition and stopped at Cracker Barrel one last time. Now he's an alumnus, and will have to learn to deal with his Alma mater always sending hapless work study undergrads to ask him for money.

We're off the New York City tomorrow so he can attend a meeting at his new employer, and we're going to try and look at some apartments. Need to find a place before July 1st, either a lease or a sublet.

The long weekend passed and we turned our attention to my daughter Amanda's high school graduation. There is drama in my world, hurt and pain, and this only intensified as the week went on. Not going to get into it. Tired of talking about it, but the graduation came and Janet, me and daughter Audrey attended (Andrew was sick). Crowded time, but very nice graduation ceremony. The night was late, the the other daughter had homework, it was after nine, so we said congrats, gave some battle-weary hugs, for the week had worn on us (and it wasn't over) then I left Amanda to head out and celebrate with her friends. I went home, relieved that the ceremony went nicely and Amanda seemed happy. I felt lonely, too. Parents must feel this as these kinds of things happen. Maybe there were other reasons but this felt like a right of passage kind. I will diminish, and all that.

Drama, drama, angst and pain, then we come to Saturday, and Amanda's final dance recital with Chickee's Dance World, where she's been dancing since the age of 4, fourteen years ago. I have another blog entry about Amanda and her dancing, and at least I can hold on to that. She was perfect, beautiful up there tall and graceful doing her final dances, including 3 extras she did with another girl who's regular partner sprained her ankle so Amanda filled in for her. Godparents, aunts, cousins, friends were in attendance, and she did well. Though she didn't acknowledge her mom during the recital, she had a nice thing to say about her on Facebook later, which is good, since she'd been by her side in all things dance... insisting on being the one who was by her side for all of it, in fact. I still got to enjoy the competitions and recitals and got to see my daughter growing up every day, and year to year during the first weekend in June, so I have no complaints. It worked out over the years as it should have. This time around, this last recital I felt more like a shadow on the wall, still grateful to have seen the show and not missing any of the dances, if maybe a little more insignificant than usual. The hugs at the end were more tired and weary, eyes downcast, but it was another milestone. One significant moment after another, and in between mortar, of which kind I won't get into, except that it was inevitable, and was going to happen one way or another.

Life moves on, little children become teens become adults moving into their own worlds. Eventually they come to the understanding that their parents don't stop moving the moment their children leave the house, don't sit ion the couch in stand-by mode. Eventually discover their parents are human, and have lives outside of theirs. The parents want to share it still, these lives, every day and every way as some vague song lyric in the back of my head says. But that can't happen. We'll settle for now and then. As often as possible. Hopefully staving off the cats and the cradle syndrome. And still be a part of their life. We want that but to do that, at some point, it can only be done in the right context. They've grown up, they're adults, and as such our answers, our reactions, our responses to our kids needs to be no different than to another adult - a fellow passenger in this world we live and from which we've done everything we could to shelter them. 

Because they are adults, and the last, best thing we can do for them is to accept this fact and treat them as such. In love, and correction.

Most times, the two are the same thing anyway.
June 2013