Monday, May 23, 2016

A Fine Line

One of the greatest pieces of advice I've seen concerning being a writer is "never insult the work." I had a bad habit of referring to my works as "turds" and I was admonished not to do that. It made me think of something about being a writer.

I'm in a bit of a rough patch as far as my writing is concerned. I've teased it quite a bit lately but I'm still not ready to talk about it. But I'm reentered that self doubt stage of being a writer, questioning everything. I started to think what happened that's making me think that.

As writers, we ride a fine line between arrogance, humility and hopelessness that I still haven't been able to balance.

Hopelessness is common. Writing is mostly rejection and it can be soul crushing. Even if you get an agent, it doesn't mean that it's all milk and honey. It just usually means more rejection, there's just someone there that believes in you as a writer so much that they are staking their economic well-being on it. I'm in that stage of staring at my work and wondering if I'm good enough. Or is it just that the publishing industry is highly subjective, and as I was also told once, on that given moment, I wasn't what the person reading my work was looking for.

Arrogance is almost as common. Read some of the comments on QueryTracker. People are angry when they are told they aren't good enough. They feel entitled to unconditional love for their ability and are angry when a busy industry professional can't tell them they are a special little snowflake. You can see the paradox, can't you? I wonder if paragraphs like my previous one come across as me being arrogant or bitter. You have to believe in your work and your ability, but is there a threshold for being too arrogant? Am I being arrogant by believing that my books WINTER'S DISCORD or THE LOST SCIONS are at least as good as some of the YA fantasy that's being lauded over right now? Am I arrogant that I believe it's better than some of the stuff? I don't feel that way. But maybe I am.

I like to think that I'm humble while still being confident in my work. But sometimes, and I've talked about before, I get wrapped up in feeling negative, like I do right now.

So, I'm going to continue walking that fine line and not sound like I'm griping.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

What's Best For The Story

Yesterday, I was faced with a decision about the project I was working on. Do I make a change that would fundamentally change the entire story in an amazingly interesting way or do I keep moving forward on the story as is? If you read yesterday's post, you know that I'd climbed up on to the high dive and was ready to plunge in. I was excited and tingly about what I was about to do.

Then about 6 o'clock last night, I started having second thoughts. Blame it on the gas fumes from the lawn mower or being alone with my thoughts when I was mowing the lawn listening to my writing mix as I mowed. I decided not to open the file last night as my brain rolled from one side to the next as I contemplated the story. I oscillated from one side to the next. I slept on it. And now, as of 10am, I'm firmly on the opposite side as I was almost 24 hours ago.

I keep asking myself one question: is this good for what I'm trying to do with the story?

My decision: No.

I'm kind of disappointed, but this isn't for a lack of courage. This is from an honest appraisal of the story and what the change I was planning. The big secret was changing the narrator from the protagonist to another character in the story. The story would begin in third person close and when the big "reveal" to the identity of the narrator happened (where I was in the story yesterday) I would switch it to first person present as the character would then take over the story. It would be a daring move, but I feel like some of the emotional punch of things happening later in the story would be lost by changing the narrator.

This idea however will not go away. I have a few projects in the "To Be Written" list that this would work perfect for. Maybe not the reveal, but where the narrator isn't really the main character. I'm thinking that this style of story might be perfect for my prank war novel. A journal about the pranks is key to that story, so it makes a degree of sense. It also has brought back my desire to write an epistolary novel.

In the end I decided that this switch wasn't good for the story and that's what is really most important to what I'm trying to do.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

That Diving Board Moment

I'm a firm believer that sometimes when you are doing something, you've got to just dive in and do it. Well, that's where I am right now. And much like the way I was when I was a kid diving off a diving board into the deep end, I'm a little scared.

I'm in the midst of a rewrite of the contemporary YA novel I languished on but managed to finish last year and I had a revelation that stopped me dead in my tracks. This happens often to me as I'm writing and it usually takes some time to shake out what caused me to stop. This action happens for an assortment of reasons. Sometimes I realize that I don't have an ending. Sometimes I realize that I need to do something drastic and I don't think I'm ready to do what I need to do. Sometimes I just get stuck and need to walk away from the book for a little while.

The thing about THE SEVEN LABORS OF NICK JABLONSKY is that I don't think it's the thing that's most indicative of what I want to write but it's a story that demanded I write it. It took a long time to write and that's okay, these things happen. As I was writing it, I started to ask questions about it, so I sent part of it off to a beta reader to take a look at it. There were some parts that came across as creepy or unclear and I felt I needed a different set of eyes on it. This has been the first time in almost a year that I'm looking at the book and to be honest, it's not in as bad a shape as I think I thought it was, so I enthusiastically dove into the rewrite. But it wasn't without some moments of doubt. The pause on the high dive before I jumped in. Okay, maybe not doubt but a feeling of what should I do here?

I was thinking about making a major change to this draft right off the bat. I thought about switching it from 1st person past to 1st person present tense, because that seems all the rage lately. I decided against that with the caveat that I could change it if I needed to. (Needed meaning an agent or editor felt the story worked better in 1st person present.) I started with a sledgehammer, combining the first few chapters and cutting some fat at the beginning, then got into a groove. Nora (my beta) had given great notes and I had already cleaned up a lot of what I needed to clean up. The work I needed to do was less sledgehammery and more refinery.  Until I got to what I was writing today. But today's hesitation goes a lot further back than what happened today.

When I first started really writing this, I actually workshopped parts of it at a teacher's writing institute, including the part that I got today, where Nick, the MC and narrator, is talking to Morgan, a girl that he met earlier in the book that he sort of hooks up with right before he meets his present girlfriend. The people reading the section wanted to know more about Morgan and she became a more significant part of the story from that point on. But today's revelation that I came to as I was writing completely changes everything I was doing with the book and it's a big change to make. And all of a sudden, I'm even more excited about this project than I was before about this project.

I conferred with a good friend at work that has read my writing. Not this piece, but he's read my other things. He loved the idea and thought it was brilliant. He was more excited than I was about it.

I've talked before about not being daring about something that could be perceived as difficult or gamechanging, but I think that I'm at that point in the book. I'm about half way through the rewrite and I think it's time to start over, jumping in with this new concept.

If you need my, I'll be at the edge of the diving board, staring down at the pool, ready to jump in.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Month In Review: April 2016

April, the month where my writing and reading, as Eddie Izzard might say, slowly fell apart like a flan in a cupboard. After the relatively torrid pace set in March, I hit a wall in April. Part of that was some upheaval in my writing world that I'll talk about at some point, but not now and that took away significant writing time. In addition, my students' research project was over and handed in, so I had grading to do and was back in front of the class with some direct instruction. So, here's what's happening.

WRITING: Said upheaval completely took me off the tracks. I managed to scrape together 12k on FALCON, so it wasn't the terrible month that February was, but it wasn't the 32k that was March. The sad part is that I am still in love with the story I'm writing. It's doing so many things that I want it to do that I'm happy with it. I've done some story editing as I write and I managed to cull some fat from the outline and I'm looking at it being closer to 75k and not 82k, which is kind of where I wanted it to be anyway. I figured out some plot issues that I'll fix with the next draft, but if I can get back on track, I should be able to finish by the end of this week.

After that, I'm not sure. I'm piecing together this new YA fantasy idea bit by bit but I'm beginning to realize I'm not ready to write it yet. It's not a hard YA like SEASONS or SCION is, meaning my target audience is clearly YA. I'm looking closer to a tween audience on this project and feel like I need to do some more research on it, but I'll talk more about that in the READING section. What I'm thinking about doing is writing a little dystopian piece with my students. We're doing a unit on dystopia and for the final project, I'm having them write a creative piece of some length (I'll share next week when I assign it) about a dystopia of their creation. So I'm going to write one along with them over the three weeks of may. A novella maybe. Then I'll work on the fantasy piece. Then maybe come back to contemporary and do my prank war story.

One of my goals for May is to increase productivity. Try to hit about 40-45k for the month and then average that for the Summer, depending on employment situation.

READING: Read 3 books and they were meh, seen it before and amazing. No reviews this month. Read a diet and fitness book that I'd read before and learned nothing new from. I read "A World Without Heroes" by Brandon Mull and walked away feeling meh. I think the 13 year old in me might have enjoyed it, but the me now was just meh. I'm trying to find things that will thrill the 13 year old in me, so I'm starting my reread of the second "Dragonlance" book to try and figure out what thrilled the thirteen year old in me about it. I'm also reading a few other tween books to see if I can figure out how they tick.

The best book I read last month was "The Day The Crayons Came Home" by Drew Daywalt. This is a work of genius. I had a chance to read this book to my daughter's class and did it cold. There were jokes in it that made me laugh out loud while completely disrupting myself as I read. (There was an allusion to the expression, "Does a bear shit in woods?" that completely unhinged me in the middle of reading that the entire class of 2nd graders were baffled by my giggles.) It's another early leader for best reads of 2016.

WATCHING: Did a lot of watching this month. Here's some highlights:

Dune: The Lynch version. What a freaking mess of a movie this is and it is glorious for it. It's still not the best Dune movie. That honor belongs to the documentary JODOROWSKY'S DUNE.

The Walking Dead: I don't watch this show often, but I understand the appeal of it. My problem is the lazy writing. People make bad decisions, but having characters make the same bad decisions over and over again for the sake of the narrative is lazy writing.

WALL-E: Just amazing story telling and writing with almost no dialogue. Smart, funny and sweet. When Pixar is on, they are so good and this was damn near as good as it gets.

Jurassic World: What a silly but fun movie. I mean when Star Lord leads out the pack of raptors to fight the mutant dinosaur, it was pretty bad ass. The thing the movie was missing was the sense of wonder and awe that Jurassic Park had.

All Things Must Pass: A documentary about Tower Records. I love a good documentary and this was well done. The heavy 70s vibe was again speaking to me as it has been a lot lately. Plus, I love walking around book stores and seeing what's on the shelf. I miss those days when it comes to the record store.

Varsity Blues: My friend Mike Winchell and I have very differing views about this movie. I really like it and I'm pretty sure he thinks it's a abhorent piece of garbage. Sure the ending is hackneyed and rediculously silly, but it's a fun, over the top movie about high school sports. Tweeder kills me every time.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: I had to talk about this. I love Indy and I'm not one of those people that thinks this mars his legacy. The most frustrating part of the entire movie is that the potential for this to be a very good entry in the series. The chemistry between Indy and Marion is still there. Cate Blanchette just chews scenery. The action scenes are pretty good. But the freaking ant scene. The monkey scene. Shia LeBouf. The ending. Shia LeBouf. It becomes a mess.

I'll be honest, I think this was a movie that they should've just recast the character. Not a reboot, just recast the character and continue stories that take place in the original era. I'd be very happy with that.

So, that was April. For May? Writing. Maybe some actual constructive blogging where I actually have something to say. And finishing up the school year.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Month In Review: March

In like a lion, out like a...lion? I heard thunder this morning and the dull ache in the front of my skull suggests that the air pressure's a-changing again, so the mild weather of the last few days is likely to be answered with some no-so mild weather. March has pretty much been a lion like month for me, so here goes with the recap:

WRITING: I set a goal of 30k and finished the month with 32k...probably more. I decided to do something I haven't done in a while and made an Excel file to track my writing. From March 12th to March 31st I wrote 32k. Who knows how much more before that. I didn't write any words five of the days, so I averaged about 2k a day, which is perfect. I hit a real groove and had three days where I wrote more than 3500 words. I haven't done that in a long, long time.

The best part about it is that the words are good words. Really good words. I sent some pages to a good friend, who raved about how good FALCON is.

FALCON has become a weird project. Their are off hand references to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Bourne movies and even Kirk fu. If you don't know what Kirk fu, go Google it. It's funny and I'm very happy with what the story is doing. Every surprise that the story has thrown me has been handled with a degree of ease and made sense within the narrative. I think this has a chance to be a great book.

This leaves FALCON at about 57k and is pacing out at about 82k. I'm setting a goal of April 10th to finish this project. Then I'm going to work on a rewrite of LABORS and a new project I've been toying with. It's not the traditional epic fantasy I was talking about but a tween epic fantasy, younger than WINTER or SCION. I'm going to work out the world building and stuff while I'm revising. I'm going to do some research into "younger" epic fantasies to check the tone. I also think that if I stay productive I might be able to work on that prank war idea I've been messing with this summer. Hard to believe that the summer is right around the corner.

READING: Seven books, including two picture books that I read to my son, for the month and some interestingly mixed results.

  • All Fall Down by Ally Carter: A quick read that I really enjoyed. Put me in totally the right place to write the thriller/spy/YA Bourne thing I've been reading. I can't say enough about how good this book was. Good characters, great setting and worldbuilding and terrific hints at what else is to come. I need to longform this over on Goodreads for sure. 
  • Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace: What a shocking and hilarious surprise this novella was. Man, is killing it with these novellas. I'm ordering the next one this weekend, but this was a terrifically weird and brilliant book that I'm "Sharpie-ing" for the end of year best list. It's a Food Network show by way of the SciFi channel. Great characters, terrifying worldbuilding that fits and a completely wacked out plot that I didn't want to put down and thought about when I wasn't reading it. I'll longform this one too.
  • The Dumbest Idea Ever by Jimmy Gownley: I picked this up based on the title and loved it. It's the story of a story and I wished I could've written something like this when I was the MC's age. I should've taken writing more seriously as a youth. Oh well.
  • Sleeping Beauty by Ross MacDonald: A noir tale of Los Angeles in the 1960s, it's a tight, twisting tale of missing persons, murder and family drama. I liked it better than other noir in that it focuses on what these crimes do to the people and how they touch more than just the victim and perpetrator. I want to read more Macdonald but then again, I want to read more period.
  • The Cold Commands by Richard K. Morgan: This grimdark fantasy is kind of a mess. I've never read any of Morgan's other stuff, but spent a bunch of time reading threads about these books and there is a lot of dissenting opinions about the book. I read the first book in the series and I really enjoyed it. That being said, half of this book is filler and I'm wondering if the first book was the same. I feel like Morgan probably could've told this whole trilogy in one book by cutting out the filler (I haven't read book 3 yet but there's a precedent, I suppose). Nothing really happends in the first half of the book and when it does, it feels a little rushed, like Morgan wanted to shock us a little with the first half of the book before actually getting to a story. It reminds me, in a lot of ways, of Greg Keyes's Kingdoms of Bone and Thorn, which I loved, in that it seems like there are long stretches of the story where the author is bored with what they are writing. I'm going to give The Dark Defiles (book 3) a shot this month.
Presently, I'm reading:
  • A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull: Part of my tween fantasy study. Nothing exceptional so far, but it's not bad either. 
WATCHING: I had a pretty active month of watching things. 

  • The Kingsman: Secret Service: Holy crap. Have you seen this? What a fun, completely batshit crazy movie. It fit some of the stuff I'm doing with THE FALCON AND THE CROW perfectly and was just a joy to watch, which happened on accident. I was going to bed and it came on, hooking me from moment one. 
  • Fletch/Fletch Lives: There are some movies that, when they come on, I put the remote down and watch, every time they are on. Usually they are movies that I have a personal attachment with, remind me of someone or something or they are are something that inspired me to be a writer. The Fletch movies are two of those movies. They are just great. I seriously think there's a YA Fletch story in me somewhere, I just have to find it.
  • Krull: Formative. Holds up pretty well for a 30 year old movie and had loads of potential. One of the few completely original epic fantasy stories created in our lifetimes and I'm glad for it. 
  • Last Knights: Loved this movie. Original epic fantasy. Seriously. Game of Thrones Lite. I would seriously write in this world in a heartbeat. It reminded me so much of my SCION world in the way they structured it and set it up. 
  • The Summer of Sam/Zodiac: I get caught up in decades sometimes. A few summers ago it was the early 80s. Last summer it was the late 80s/early 90s. Right now it's the 70s. I got pulled into the underrated "The Summer of Sam" movie a few weeks ago and stayed up later than I should have watching it. Then last week, I got hooked into the serial killer movie "Zodiac." Both movies are great and between them and "Vinyl," I feel like someone is telling me I need to write something that takes place in the 70s.
  • The People vs. OJ Simpson: I'm working on a longform post on this because my recollection of June 18, 1994 is in question. But I got hooked on this and it is brilliant on so many levels that I can't recommend it enough, especially to anyone my age that lived through it. It's just reinforcing my belief that I need to write the two late 80, early 90s idea I have kicking around.
  • South Park: The Black Friday Trilogy: I actually watched this in January but I'm just getting around to writing about it. There's a point where biting satire can become something on it's own at some point and South Park has well surpassed that point. But this was a revelation of genius story telling heaped on top of satire. I contend that the South Park universe is one of the best examples of worldbuilding out there, surpassing a lot of fantasy works and should be studied by those that engage in any kind of building of worlds. Seriously. The Black Friday Trilogy not only parodies everything that is Game of Thrones mania but rivals it (yes, I believe that) with it's own epic scope and storytelling. Take time to watch this. You will not regret it. 
  • Man of Steel/Winter Soldier: Man of Steel is a mess. It doesn't know what it wants to be and completely fumbles on even the origins of Superman. I have a problem when Supe's first foe is, in canon, Zod, someone that is one of Supe's most dangerous adversaries. Compare it to Winter Soldier, which isn't just a great comic book movie, but a great movie, and Man of Steel looks embarrassingly bad. And for everything that Age of Ultron did wrong for Black Widow, Winter Soldier does right. I am more excited about Civil War then I am about BvS, though I'm sure I'll see both.
  • The Ten Commandments: Live Tweeting this movie when it is shown on ABC has become an Easter tradition to me and I missed the beginning. An epic film at a time when Hollywood made epic films, this movie has everything, including hackneyed writing, ham fisted acting and pretty decent special effects, all things considered. 
  • The NCAA Tournament: LETS GO ORANGE!!!!!!
DID: Not much. Students are finishing up research projects and then we are sliding into dystopia lit circles then short film making. I'm getting back into the gym slowly and starting to set goals in that area as well. 

I'm going to try to blog a little more. I have some book reviews I want to write, some commentaries based on Krull and Last Knights and a few online essays I'd like to tackle. Well, back to FALCON!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Month In Review: February 2016

This should've been an amazing month and it fizzled. I just could get traction on any of my projects, and to be honest, it kind of bums me out. Here's the review:

WRITING: A paltry 8,000 words. That's embarrassing for someone with some aspirations of being an author AND an entire week off from work to write. I was sick for about two weeks, Winter break included, and just couldn't get any traction on the project. The frustrating part is that I think there is a ton of potential in FALCON and I just need to figure it out. I'm contemplating a little break to look at some books that I think will share shelf space with FALCON. As it stands now, it's about 23k, so I'm still about 57k from what I'm imagining being the end. I'm going to slow down and not put so much pressure on myself about it. The rest of March is relatively free, so maybe setting a goal of 30k is achievable. Only 1k a day. I think I can manage that, though I think I can nail about 50-60k if I focus. All I know is that I want June 1 to be the starting point of this big new project I'm thinking about.

READING: Slowed down the reading this month. I finished six books:

  • Insurgent: Very good follow up to Divergent and Roth writes terrific action scenes. 
  • Allegiant: This books vexed me. It felt like she was under intense pressure to finish the trilogy and just didn't quite stick the landing at all. Roth didn't have an ending, so she just rewrote the first two books while mixing in three viewpoints (Tris, Four and Tris's mother) in a condensed volume. Disappointing to the point that I'm thinking hard about endings for everything I write. 
  • The Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Brilliant. My daughter picked up my Kindle and fell in love. 
  • Black Widow: Forever Red: Very good, though I wasn't sure which canon the story belonged to. 
  • Steelheart: Disappointing to say the least. It's hard to make a sociopath a hero, but Sanderson sure tries. Steelheart is only the second Sanderson book I've read and I have to admit that I'm kind of "meh" on him so far. 
  • American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America: Fantasy writers...this is a must read for all of you if you want to see how culture molds a nation just as much as geography. It was an incredible read that makes me look at the US in a whole new way. And has me thinking about all different ways I can apply this stuff to my own writing. 
Presently I'm reading:

  • All Fall Down by Ally Carter (Research for the thriller)
  • Sleeping Beauty by Ross MacDonald (My pseudo-obsession with noir continues.)
  • The Dumbest Idea Ever by Jimmy Gownley (The title of this graphic novel did it for me)
  • Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan (Chipping away)
WATCHING: Just started streaming VIKINGS, so I'll talk about that next month, but this month here's some of what I've watched:
  • Nebraska: A b&w movie featuring Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb and Bob Odenkirk that I had to turn off the first time because it was late and I knew I couldn't stay up until 1:30 to watch it. A melancholy road story that's all about a man's relationship with his family. It was terrific.
  • King Kong (2005): There are some movies, when they are on, I put the remote down and watch every time. Peter Jackson's epic take on the giant gorilla is one of them. And yes, I will watch the entire 3 plus hours of the movie when I can. I'm going to do a blog on it at some point. 
  • Law and Order: SVU: On Super Bowl Sunday, the wife and I literally sat around on the couch and watched a marathon of old school SVU episodes. That was a great show. Don't get me started on what happened to the show after they ripped its heart out: Elliot Stabler. 
  • Vinyl: If you have HBO. Watch it. It's epic. (I've been on a 70s kick lately that I may talk about at some point.)
  • The Walking Dead Mid Season Premier: Everything that is wrong and right about that show in one episode. I don't watch the show all the time, but I'll poke my head in here and there. I was on the edge of my seat but the writer part of my brain was just disappointed with some of the laziness that the show did. 
  • The Good Dinosaur: Just brilliant. I didn't think I was going to like it but I ruined dinner that night because I was so engrossed. I'll do a review of it at some point. (I seem to be making a lot of demands on my blogging workload.)
DID: Celebrated my 43rd birthday. Still struggling to maintain a workout schedule. Not much else. It is winter. Oh, well. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Month In Review: January 2016

Trying something new for the blog: I'm going to review each month to see what I wrote, read, watched and did. So here goes.

January. The phoenix of the months. The time to start a new. But it never quite works out for me that way. It's actually kind of a metaphor for any activity I engage in: I stumble at the start, having to motivate my self to be consistent. Then I hit a stride and I'm real good in the middle. And the end...well let's just say I need a good eighth and ninth inning guy. So, here's what's up:

WRITING: Went pretty well. Not the ambitious 40k I imagined but a respectable 15k on THE FALCON AND THE CROW. Part of the delay was a check with the agent to make sure he thought the project was salable. It is and that makes me very happy. It needs some work. He wants me to think about the McGuffin a little more to make it sound more plausible, though for now I'm just sort of concentrating on the story. Plan for February: I've got FALCON planned at about 80k, so for February, factoring in Winter break, I'm hoping to make a real push at getting close to 50k done so I can finish it in March. If I use an old SAT style analogy to express March as a teacher: March:Teaching::August::Baseball. Plus my students will be engaging in a college level research paper, so I might not have as much time to write as I'd like but I hope to have FALCON done by then so I can work on revising LABORS and planning a new, very big project. But I'll talk more about March at the end of February.

READING: I read like gangbusters and my intent is to do some microreviews of January's reading. I read 10 books:

  • Fit After 40
  • Dreamland
  • The Wicked and The Divine
  • Saga Volumes 3-5
  • Batman: Hush
  • Star Wars: Before the Awakening
  • Radio Golf
  • Divergent (audiobook)
Presently I am reading:

  • Lord of Chaos 
  • Insurgent (audiobook)
I'm going to review Dreamland, Saga, Hush and Before the Awakening. I'm going to wait on Divergent until I finish listening to the entire trilogy. I have a lot to say about it. I'm planning a dystopia unit, so I'll be reading a lot of those in the coming weeks.

WATCHED: I'm only scratching the surface of streaming shows and the list is getting longer. I didn't watch much of those, but I did watch the following:

  • Godfather Epic: Still haven't made it through all 8 hours, but what I watched is just amazing.
  • The Expanse: If you aren't watching this,'ll wait. 
  • The Avengers: Age of Ultron: Meh. Had moments but it was just kind of a run of the mill superhero movie, though it did plant some seeds that weren't awful.
  • Grease Live: Fun. Not as great as The Wiz, but worth a couple of hours of time to watch.
  • NBA on ABC: It's nice to see something that isn't football on a major network. I'm not a huge NBA guy, but LeBron and Steph Curry are fun to watch. 
  • SNL: Funny in spurts. The Rhonda Rousey episode was funny in spots and the second Selena Gomez song left me feeling weird after watching it. But I'm a SNL nut and will continue to watch. SNL writer is still a dream job for me. 
The list of stuff I want to watch is long. We'll see what happens in February.

DID: Not much. Starting lifting again in earnest. More to come.