From the pen of Sarah Dimento


First, cover art for my next collection of essais, Style is the Rocket:

Featuring the title piece and a Bunch of Other Cool Stuff.

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By the way, a disturbing development: Today is my Getting Older Day. For my trouble, I got the free birthday breakfast at Denny’s (at 4 p.m.), and wrought away on the post for Mrs. Wright, so that now I have a lot more of it than I can use. Tomorrow I shall have to trim it gently with an axe.

How much older, you ask? I admit to Eleventy-Six; but that is a ruse to make people pet me and flatter me, and tell me that I don’t look a day over Eleventy.


A Vogon poem
In honour of the Technical Documents.

Why won’t you understand?
It’s so simple a child could do it.
You only need to be willing to learn
And master the Splectic Method.

Now this is the Splectic Method,
So called because the dinobial splexum,
Instead of flanding perobically,
Is isoporadic and pletcher-free
With respect to the fornic tondle.
It’s so simple a child could do it.
Now counterforadically frendle the fremm
(Taking care not to pindle the retrofuge)
To mark the axis of co-quixation,
To fiddle the faddle and squink the squonk,
And that is the Splectic Method.

But first,
Take care that the dectic relambature,
Instead of flanding perobically,
Is isoporadic and pletcher-free
With respect to the flange of the splexum.
You only need to be willing to learn
To adjust the flinding renoberator
To less than the critical crillament
Of the anasybotic trexus.
And once you have tannelled the trexus
(Taking care not to pindle the retrofuge)
You mark the axis of co-quixation,
To fiddle the faddle and squink the squonk,
And that is the Splectic Method.

Oh, dear!
You didn’t refrux the relambature,
And now the frinch is deplenerated
And starting to fland perobically,
Not isoporadic or pletcher-free
with respect to the orthozonabulum.
Why won’t you understand?
You have ruined the whole dyspractic.
You have even pindled the retrofuge,
In spite of my simple instructions,
As clear as the peridenobic fluid,
(Or rather, as clear as it used to be
Before you disprickled the peridenobes).
It’s so simple a child could do it.
You only had to be willing to learn,
And master the Splectic Method.

     H. Smiggy McStudge

Sarah D: Mobile apps are not a web solution!

That paragon of outdated thinking, the Calgary Public Hobo Mausoleum Library, has drawn down the wrath of Sarah Dimento. She speaks wisely, as is her wont, and without profanity, which is unusual for Sarah in a wrath.

Key bit:

A single-purpose mobile app is about as useful as a unicycle. Sure, you might be able to ride it down the street, but it was never designed to get you much further.…

Back in 2011, every clueless CEO wanted a mobile app (that does nothing a website can’t already do) because they heard it was the latest, hottest thing and wanted to jump on the bandwagon. It was a terrible fad that had its day because it was a terrible idea. Yet here you are, in 2015, telling people, “Please use our unicycle instead of the bicycle we can’t be bothered to fix. Unicycles are still hip, right? Pleeease try out our unicycle. We lost our bicycle building budget over this!”

Read the rest.

No news

Wednesday: Worked on an anniversary post for L. Jagi Lamplighter’s Superversive blog, but did not get usable words finished.

Thursday: Sick day. Adjusting to the new meds is taking time. On the bright side, I no longer wake up in the middle of the night with neck pains and headaches. On the non-bright side, I’m having trouble staying awake. This is expected to pass in a couple of weeks.

Today: Back to work, if I can get my brain back together. Has anybody seen my parietal lobe?

One step back, two steps forward

Wrote 1,000 words on the Orchard yesterday, which was an improvement in quantity but not in quality. Upon heavy reflection, I decided that the work was structurally unsound, ripped it out, and recast the scene. (Thanks to my alpha readers, Sarah and Wendy, for insights that sped the fix along.) Today I put in 2,000 words, replacing yesterday’s output and getting a little further on with the story. We are now at a chapter break, with a Reveal, to wit: How Greyhand got his name.

I had been hoping that each episode of the Orchard would run about 15,000, but this first one seems certain to be over length. I am just over 12,000 words in (before cutting), and barely halfway through the outline. Looks like the series will begin with an extra-length episode, however much I slice it.

More trees!

Hat tip to The Passive Voice, who says:

An Adobe commercial from 2013 that one commentator has compared to the current state of publishing.

Sounds painfully accurate to me.

In other news, I made good only 700 words on the Orchard yesterday. Going over the notes and plans and getting up to speed on the story takes time, alas. Also, my new medication for the neuralgia makes me sleep longer hours than normal. I think it’s called Ami-Trip-To-Zombie-Land.

Challenge to self

Some of the 3.6 Loyal Readers may recall the opening chapters of Where Angels Die, which I posted on these pages almost a year ago:

The Summons
The Taken
A Battle of Souls
The Food of Demons

After the deaths of my parents, I was so stricken with depression and illness (and practical troubles concerned with the estate) that I found myself entirely unable to write any fiction, except for the odd squib like ‘Kundenschmerz’ and ‘Magic’s Pawnshop’. That deep fog seems to be lifting; I have been able to write fairly regularly this month, and now I should like to try getting back to work on something more ambitious (and perhaps profitable).

So I have decided to spend this coming week in a sort of marathon, seeing how far I can get with the draft of ‘the Orchard of Dis-Pear’, which, you may recall, is my private working name for Where Angels Die. This is, in a way, a forgiving project with a flexible terminus. I mean that with eight projected episodes, each of about 15,000 words, there are plenty of points at which I can stop, if need be, and say that I have definitely Accomplished Something. If I only get the first episode drafted, that will be a significant improvement on what I have done so far this year. If I go further, so much the better.

I shall not be putting up the first draft on the blog, so posting will likely be sparse and spotty for a time. However, I hope to put up short notices about any progress I happen to make.

Your patience, encouragement, and well-wishing is much appreciated. Pray ’em if you got ’em. Thank you, and I hope to see you all soon at Angel Keep.

Author Earnings: The terrible horrible awful news

My dear McStudges, minions, slugs, and uglies:

The September report from Author Earnings is out, and there is good news and bad news.

The good news is that our paid and suborned propagandists in the human media are busily at work pooh-poohing the message, shooting the messenger, and otherwise smearing muck over the picture so that their victims will be gulled into believing our version of the story.

The bad news is the story.

It is vitally important, at this juncture, that we close ranks and maintain absolute solidarity whenever the humans can see or hear us. Among ourselves, we may bicker and feud as much as we please; our operatives will continue to feed off one another, as is our nature, for it is a Studge-eat-Studge world that we live in, and all’s right with it. But we must never be seen to fight in front of the servants. We must repeat the Official Story in absolute unison; but we must never be so stupid as to believe it ourselves.
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‘Operation Friendship’


M*A*S*H: A writer’s view. #13 in the series.

The last of the comedy doubles on M*A*S*H is a study in opposites. One was a streetwise working-class kid from Toledo; the other was a Boston Brahmin who, the minute he was born, spat out the silver spoon because it was not 14-karat gold. One was the first regular character not taken from Hooker’s novel; the other was the last character added to the cast, and was loosely based on a pair of surgeons who appeared in the book.

Five years into the series’ run, Jim Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum went back to the fountainhead for a scene that would help them with one of their most difficult writing tasks. Near the end of the book, two replacement surgeons arrive at the 4077th: a pair of young Ivy Leaguers fresh out of residency, Captains Emerson Pinkham and Leverett Russell. Col. Blake makes the Swampmen show them the peculiar techniques of meatball surgery, instead of letting them sweat it out and learn for themselves. [Read more...]

Calvin and Hobbes on writing

Hat tip to Malcolm the Cynic.

Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. Calvin: 'I used to hate writing assignments, but now I enjoy them. I realized that the purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure poor reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog! Want to see my book report?' Hobbes, reading aloud: 'The Dynamics of Interbeing and Monological Imperatives in DICK AND JANE: A Study in Psychic Transrelational Gender Modes.' Calvin: 'Academia, here I come!'

There are two kinds of people involved in this game, whether as writers, readers, or what have you: Those who agree with Calvin, and those who wish to use writing as an actual means of communication. Which is as much as to say that there are parasites, and there are hosts.

Speaking of Malcolm the Cynic, he has an interesting piece up on Superversive SF: ‘Fixing the Abrams Star Trek Movies’. Very much in the vein of what I did with elements of the Star Wars prequels in ‘Creative discomfort and Star Wars’. I like his take on the Abrams Trek reboot very much.