Stop Signs, Part II

stop signs
Stop Sign (United States)

Graduate Teaching Orientation

So, apologies to all for not posting to my blog all week and especially for not letting you know about my (unintentional) mini-“vacation” from blogging. For those who don’t know, as part of my studies as a PhD student, I also teach introductory English classes here at Middle Tennessee State University (in addition to being a Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer). Every year, the English Department sponsors a week long (Monday – Thursday) Orientation for returning and incoming Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs for short). I really enjoyed my time in these, this year especially, but they do take a lot of time. They start at 9:00 am and don’t generally release until 3:30 pm or so (although they do feed us as lunch is provided!) ūüôā

However, unless you plan ahead, it is difficult to blog either in the mornings or afternoons.¬† My evenings are now pretty much filled, so this week has been a “wash” in terms of writing (either on the blog or my own creative works).

Stop Signs

So, I’ve written before about “Stop Signs” and times when life just tells you that you need to take a break for some period of a time. That was what this week was for me. I knew that I needed to get up early for the Orientation sessions and I was asked to co-present with another GTA on “Multimodality” (text with images, video, etc.). I realized Monday night that I probably wouldn’t be able to really work on the blog in any meaningful way for a while, which is why I wrote the quick blog entry earlier this week.

However, in this case, learning takes precedence over creative endeavors (including blogging). I learned quite a bit during the sessions, and since school (classes) start on Aug. 27, I need to firm up my syllabus and assignments during this upcoming week (so I may touch on that in a blog post at some point).

Currently Reading & Writing

I’m also in the process of updating the way I communicate what I’m currently reading and writing (word count on projects). It may live at the bottom of the post now (like this). I like the immediacy of having it at the top, but it interferes with the blog topic. I could give a weekly update, but then that doesn’t hold me as accountable as I’d like. I’m not sure quite what I want to do with this yet (so stay tuned).

I will also be redoing my Signature Line at the bottom of the page. Why? I didn’t make enough money for under their Amazon Associates Program during the 6 months trial period, so they’ve stopped allowing me access to the program. Ce’st la vie. I don’t work for Amazon, so I’m not going to go out of my way to sell their wears on my site. If people click on them (and quite a few of you did–Thank You!), then that’s awesome, but to ask people constantly to buy my work smacks of “selling out.” I may look for other ways to promote my work, but for now, I’ll settle for a redesign of the signature at the bottom.

Well, that’s all I have for now. Regularly scheduled blog posts should resume on Monday (hopefully), so have a great weekend!



Missing in Action: Why I’m Probably Not Going to See Avengers Infinity War in the Theaters

Captain America, Thor, Ironman, Hawk-Eye, Black Widow, and Hulk from the original Avengers film.  Image Source: SlashFilm (Click Image for more info)

Stop Signs

So, remember a couple weeks back when I posted that sometimes life gives you “stop signs” and you just have to be cognizant of them and learn when to listen to them in order to stay sane. ¬†I discussing it in the vein of writing, but it looks like it applies to other areas of life as well as it turns out that¬†Avengers: Infinity War is one of those “stop signs” for me, at least when it comes to seeing it in the theaters. ¬†Without going into a long essay on the matter, simply put, car problems is the ultimate reason why I’m not going–my car, which had always been so reliable, now has decided to gift me with an intermittent starting problem which happens to me, but not the mechanics. ¬†Yeah, I know, right. ¬†I get stuck and it won’t start and have to get it towed (twice now) and then they start it up with no problem and charge me for diagnosing it.

If there was a digital equivalent of a “scream” emoji, I would be using it right now.

Thor Ragnarok

Actually, I’m not really all that concerned about missing¬†Avengers: Infinity War in the theaters. ¬†My mother and I have already had some of the movie spoiled for us and I’ve even encountered a couple of more spoilers in the two weeks since it has been released (despite my care of limiting my social media use). ¬†My local theater wasn’t showing it in 3D Imax anyway, just regular 2D Imax, and (most importantly, to me, anyway), we haven’t yet seen¬†Thor Ragnarok. ¬†I’m sure that it isn’t essential to¬†TR before¬†AIW, but we’ve pretty seen every mainline¬†Marvel¬†entry in order and their are some character changes to¬†Thor (obviously) that occur in¬†TR¬†which seem to carry over to¬†AIW.

While I have seen movies out of order, I much prefer to see them in order, if that is an option.

Memorial Day & Labor Day

If you are wondering, we’re planning on seeing¬†Thor Ragnarok on Memorial Day. ¬†For those outside of the US, that’s a big holiday that happens on the last Monday in May (this month, as I write this) that is the unofficial kickoff of the Summer Season here as most schools are either out for summer break at this time (or will be out in a week or two afterwards). ¬†We’ll probably purchase it (as opposed to renting it) as a movie to watch after the holiday dinner).

I’m hopeful that¬†AIW will be out on Bluray/Itunes¬†by Labor Day–our complementary holiday that ends the summer. ¬†If so, then we can bookend the summer with¬†Marvel movies and catch-up.

I’m not going to stress over things I simply cannot control. ¬†I’d like to see¬†AIW, but since it doesn’t look like its going to happen for a while, and since I have no control of the situation at the moment, I might as well just wait patiently until circumstances work out and allow me to see the movie.


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Stop Signs

stop signs
Stop Sign.  Image Source:

Writing Advice (Stop Signs)

So, as I’m sure that you’ve probably already guessed, I didn’t get a lot of writing done.¬† As a matter of fact, I got exactly 0 words done last week.¬† I’ve resolved not to worry about it and just to continue on this week.¬† I read in a book on writing–I¬†think that is was¬†On Writing Science Fiction: The Editors Strike Back, but I could be mistaken–that one should be mindful that sometimes life gives you “Stop Signs” in your writing life.¬† I don’t rightly remember, so if this advice isn’t in this book, my apologies (I wrote a list that includes many writing notes from several sources, but I didn’t note exactly which piece of advice came from which source).

When to (Temporarily) Stop Writing

Sometimes life and the writing life don’t align.¬† Last week was one of those times because the sinus pressure and sneezing made just being upright a real pain (both literally and figuratively).¬† Again, I did have the app on my phone for WordPress and for SimpleNote, so theoretically I could have worked on blog posts and drafting, but the pain was such that it was next to impossible to even watch TV, let alone focus on creating anything close to a coherent blog entry or work on a story.¬† My personal approach to stop writing (at least temporarily) is not when I’m “distracted” from writing, but when it is impossible to focus for even a few minutes.

You Shouldn’t Look for Stop Signs Everywhere

The second piece of the writing advice is that you shouldn’t be looking for “stop signs” all over the place.¬† Rather, you should try very hard to minimize your stop signs and make sure that you put your “behind-in-the-seat” in order to get writing done.¬† That is my plan this week.¬† I’m not going to try to “make-up” the lost writing time, but I’m going to try to find another writing time a way to get 250 words down on paper each day this week.¬† We’ll see if I’m able to get it done.¬† Wish me luck!


  • Read Skin Deep¬†(Sci-Fi) for Free at Aurora Wolf
  • Read Childe Roland¬†(Fantasy) for Free at Electric Spec

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