Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Monday Musing: Clunky Computer Edition

This is one of those mornings where my computer is wheezy and sluggish and unresponsive. It gets like this once in a while, where it takes forever to switch between tabs, and heaven forbid if I try to close a tab or a window or anything like that. It’s times like these when I make sure any of my work is saved, saved, SAVED. What does it need? Maybe a restart, or a run-through with Spy-Bot. Maybe I should pour some of my coffee into it, because that’s about how I feel right now, myself! So, where to start?

Ah! The chestnut! On the left is the “tree” as of May 23. On the right is the tree as of this morning:

It’s put on an inch, maybe two. I’m wondering if I should ditch the corrugated plastic tube in favor of a cage. I have little doubt that rabbits (which are not nearly as numerous as they were a couple of years back), woodchucks (which are far more numerous) and deer (which are ubiquitous) would snap that tender mini-tree down in an instant if I left the tube off. I’m not sure how much more growth it’s got in it for the rest of the summer, but we’ll be checking in again with it.

The Magpie will kill me for this, but what the heck. She and a friend of hers from school have started doing a…podcast? At any rate, once a week they review a cartoon or anime series or movie, updating every Friday. This week’s “review” of Captain Planet made me smile. Check out their Youtube page here!

And speaking of: it’s always interesting to discover the ways your children are like you. And the ways in which they are not. The Magpie has eagerly sought our input (mine, the wife’s, and the Catbird’s, that is) and wants us to watch her videos. When I threaten to post the link on Facebook, she gets a little nervous. “Don’t do that!” She would prefer family to watch, not people she doesn’t know (though they do want more people to watch). As for me? When I do any sort of public program or public speaking (and I used to do it pretty much for a living), I hate presenting to an audience of people I know. The worst for me was when I would go into my kids’ school–I loved the kids, don’t get me wrong, but I would always be much more nervous than walking into a room with a hundred strangers. This carries over into my writing life, too: it’s why it’s much easier to share what I’ve written with relative strangers like my beta readers, my writers’ circle, and my agent than with my wife.

Speaking of writing, I am in another project now, hooray! I have a feeling, however, that this one may be even tougher to write than the last one, which gave me fits throughout. I’m in that stage where I’m in the beginning, and I have a path to the middle of the story, but the ending is not quite clear yet. Of interest: author Brandon Sanderson teaches a writing course at Brigham Young University. His lectures are being made available on Youtube, posted once a week. I’ve been watching and finding it interesting. Will it change how I write? Maybe not, but maybe I’ll try something new.

I think that’s about it for me. The computer seems to have woken up without me having to pour coffee into it. I, on the other hand, could use some more, and so I say, “How are you?”


6 Responses

  1. I'm definitely more like you. Presenting to strangers is so much easier than presenting to groups of people I know!
    Good for you daughter – that's so brave and awesome!

  2. I've been fortunate that Big Red hasn't caused me ANY problems since the hard drive was replaced. Whew! I hope your issues are just connectivity problems. We get that from time to time. Irritating, but not much we can do.

  3. I left a review for your Magpie and her pal on their Captain America podcast. There were fun parts and then the parts where it felt a bit like laughing at my childhood but each generation has their unique view of watching shows we older folk view in high regard or cherish.

    Anyway I am also on a project that kind of scares me as well but it's one I feel very strongly about. Glad you did not have to 'coffee' the computer Jeff.

  4. Jemi–but what happens for you by the end of the school year, when you know your students so well? Must kept petrifying!
    Stacy–I think my issues are the fact that the computer is about as old as me!
    Sheena-kay–Thanks for giving them a listen and a review! I'm sure she'll "thank" me for it. Best of luck to you on your scary project–I think that's one of the ways we grow as writers…and people.

  5. I'm glad both your computer and your tree are doing better. Yay for your daughter's video/podcast! She's braver than I am. Good luck on your new project! I'm in the middle of a WIP (but haven't worked on it for 3 months), so it's time to start planning a new one in my head. This often takes 2 months, then outlining takes a month. Then after writing the first 10 (short) chapters, I totally rewrite the outline! So don't worry about not knowing your ending. There's plenty of time to figure it out. 🙂

  6. Lexa–do you normally start planning a new project when you're in the middle of one, or is it time to plan a new one because the current one is stalled? To date, I have not been especially good at having more than one project cooking at a time. Good luck with your planning!

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