Back At It

I may as well admit it: I am alive.

More than that, I am, by many mea­sures, well. My fam­i­ly and I are busi­ly engaged in set­tling into a house that will — bar­ring any change of plans — be our home for the next two years. I am cycling a not-incon­sid­er­able dis­tance to school and back each week­day, and now that the bath­room scale has been unpacked I see that for the first time in what seems a very long time, I may soon get myself under two bills: a nice psy­cho­log­i­cal boost when­ev­er that hap­pens.

I am a full-time stu­dent again this year, and now I can insert the word “grad­u­ate” into that state­ment. No equiv­o­ca­tion this time around: I am in grad school, fo’ realsies. This is actu­al­ly quite excit­ing, as life jour­ney stages go, and I love being in class with stu­dents who are all, in one way or anoth­er, head­ed in rough­ly the same direc­tion I am, or at least toward the same degree. It is, admit­ted­ly, a bit con­fus­ing enter­ing into an entire­ly new dis­ci­pline where even the cita­tion rules are dif­fer­ent, but I am feel­ing up to the chal­lenge. Even the gram­mat­i­cal details of Latin are com­ing back quick­ly and eas­i­ly so far, although it is ear­ly days yet, and lin­guis­tics is an area I am unchar­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly reluc­tant to get cock­sure regard­ing.

And writ­ing? Sur­pris­ing­ly lit­tle in the way of orga­nized prose will be demand­ed of me in my cours­es, at least so far (there is a sem­i­nar paper of forty-odd pages to be writ­ten by Feb­ru­ary 2011, but I shall start on that anon, prob­a­bly not until ear­ly in the new year), so I am eager to get back to my own prosi­fy­ing in what I will hap­pi­ly pre­tend is my spare time. First on my dock­et: the con­clud­ing sev­en­teen sto­ries in my sum­mer 90in90 short fic­tion marathon. The planned break has been a bit longer than I had hoped, but it takes some doing to move a fam­i­ly of four into a home filled with oth­er people’s things, so I think I can be for­giv­en. At least, I am going to for­give myself, and not lose much sleep over whether you for­give me or not.

So look for the sto­ries to start rolling off the assem­bly line again for a cou­ple weeks, and then… And then? I will have words for you betimes, I assure you.

Moving forward with McCutcheon

Meet McCutcheon.

Actu­al­ly, you have like­ly already met McC in some form or anoth­er. He has been work­ing out his kinks over at the now-defunct Stuck In My Head for some time now, review­ing books on Goodreads, post­ing short bits of writ­ing on Scribd, spread­ing his name around the Inter­net, and gen­er­al­ly get­ting a feel for how best to car­ry the TFE lega­cy for­ward.

And don’t wor­ry: there is a lot of Bean­er still in McC; it has just been tem­pered and (hope­ful­ly) improved by matu­ri­ty and expe­ri­ence (not always the same thing). So while it is no longer “sass, sass, and more sass” around here, we cer­tain­ly have our wits about us, and a glib pen in our hand. But we are also look­ing deeply (albeit also slow­ly) into ques­tions and conun­drums that Bean­er would only have blus­tered around and thrown adjec­tives at. I won’t pre­sume to make any promis­es about how suc­cess­ful these attempts at unpre­ten­tious thought­ful­ness will be, but I can almost guar­an­tee that they will be attempt­ed. (Any­thing beyond that will still be pure gravy.)

So, wel­come McCutcheon. And wel­come back, Dear Read­ers, the The Float­ing Egg. Believe it or not, it still floats, the chick­ens are still watch­ing you, and it’s still a bad idea to stick beans up your noses.

Epiphany

Here’s an ersatz epiphany if ever there was one: I haven’t been writ­ing much for quite a while. Sto­ry of my life…

I have made so many of these re-starts after long droughts over the years that I feel that I have pret­ty well explored the avail­able range of tone for such com­mu­niques. Since none of these approach­es has ever pre­vent­ed my sub­se­quent relapse into uncer­e­mo­ni­ous silence, I think that this time I am going to dis­pense with the navel gaz­ing, the self-recrim­i­na­tion, the blithe plat­i­tudes, and the pluck­i­ly-opti­mistic plans for the next four­teen thou­sand words com­ing down the pipe. This time, just for a change if for no oth­er rea­son, I am just going to pick up my pen and start writ­ing again.

Anoth­er new year has rolled around, and as usu­al it has not found me any stronger, smarter, braver, more reli­able, more dili­gent, more spe­cialer, or oth­er­wise improved in any reportable or per­cep­ti­ble man­ner. I will turn thir­ty (30) this year, which seems like it should be sig­nif­i­cant, though I am still unclear why. I am try­ing to avoid forc­ing any sig­nif­i­cance upon this occa­sion, hop­ing that what­ev­er actu­al sig­nif­i­cance there may be will just reveal itself at the appro­pri­ate time. I will keep you post­ed on any devel­op­ments on that front.

I feel that this needs must be a year in which a great many thing hap­pen. That’s about as spe­cif­ic as I care to be at this point, but 2008, from this end, looks to be a fiery cru­cible of change, and whether I come out at the far end a much bet­ter man or a bro­ken one is large­ly up to me and the choic­es I choose to make, the ener­gy I put into these choic­es, and how hard I am will­ing and able to work at mak­ing things hap­pen. (Wow! Anoth­er epiphany! I threw that one in for free, just because I’m such a swell guy.) I know that I am tired of not feel­ing proud to be myself, so the rem­e­dy has long seemed to me pret­ty obvi­ous: I need to become some­one I can be proud to be. Huh. Wish me luck on that.

A new beginning to an old favorite

Well, here I am again.

I have been rag­ging on the idea of blogs for the past cou­ple of days, but that has­n’t tak­en the edge off my own desire for a viable forum for my own idle thoughts. The print ver­sion of The Float­ing Egg is not dead, but it is cer­tain­ly in tor­por right now, for a wide vari­ety of rea­sons. So the alter­na­tive has long been appar­ent: an elec­tron­ic ver­sion, which not only can be more live­ly and imme­di­ate, but also more flex­i­ble, free of many of the time con­straints that for­ev­er defeat me, and reach­ing a wider audi­ence than I have done in the past. And now I take the first steps to mak­ing this a real­i­ty.

This will be a mul­ti-stage effort. This is a big first step, and we will see how suc­cess­ful even this small effort is for me as a writer. If I find I can real­ly do this, then we will grow more ambi­tious. In the near future I hope to see this blog move to be an inte­gral part of my new web­site, but I am hap­py to be blog­ging with Blog­ger right now.

So check back, spread the word, and I hope that there will much of both sass and sub­stance to be found at this address before too very much longer…