September 2017

      1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 1213 14 15 16
17 1819 20212223

Custom Text

Most Popular Tags

I've been fighting off the onset of a migraine for a couple of days now.

It feels like a tightness in the back of my head, where the skull meets the spine, and it waxes and wanes in size and strength. Usually, if I pay attention and notice these symptoms, I can fend it off with my handy green bottle of Excedrin Migraine® before it engulfs my entire head.

If I fail to do this in time, there's no turning back. At that point, I'm done.

The weird bit the past couple of days has been that, while I have not had a migraine, neither have I managed to shake the pre-migraine symptoms.

This had done some rather peculiar things to my brain chemistry, I fear. My dreams have been both vivid and macabre. I wore a bow-tie to church on Sunday (yes, because "bow-ties are cool"). Yesterday, I wrote pages and pages of very odd connections and trains of thought.

It's back today. Ho hum. Time to hit the Excedrin again.

During a full migraine, I once wrote a Shakespearean sonnet off the top of my head with no edits - it tumbled out of my head just as fast as I could write. Reading it later, I thought it one of my better poetic efforts.

While this level of ability often eludes me on a normal day, I really don't think it's worth the pain. Perhaps I'm just not committed enough to my art. Or perhaps I'm entirely too sane.

Anyway, bow-ties are cool.

Edited to add: It's screwing with my vision, too.
That's right! An actual meme!

Courtesy [ profile] volare

I plugged some samples of my writing into the analyzer thingamagummy, and here's what I got:

"The Passion of Klara Hauptmann" (story):

I write like
James Joyce

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

A random couple of paragraphs from the latest Cruenti Dei Chronicle:

I write like
Edgar Allan Poe

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Draft of a new story:

I write like
H. P. Lovecraft

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

And, most worryingly, the Summary of Qualifications from my CV:

I write like
Kurt Vonnegut

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

... won for the Vancouver Hop-On Hop-Off tour we did this season. One is for the content itself, and the other is for innovative marketing or some such. Technically the team won them, not just me, but since I can't afford to purchase the duplicates of the statues, I'll label the picture whatever I want. (Cue maniacal laughter)

Thom poses with his Accolades
Four of our video tours won Telly awards, two silver and two bronze. The bronze are, frankly, participation trophies, but there ya go.

Last time I got an award, it was for perfect attendance in the 8th grade.

Looky - we won awards!

And yes, I'm aware the photo is terrible.

In other news, I just got my seasonal flu shot. Huzzah!
Feast of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha
On the Sounder Train

Dear Reader,

Work continues to be a succession of crazy deadlines. Our current round of corporate videos required my working until about 10:30 Friday night, and some small edits and corrections on Saturday morning. To clear my head I went for a walk.

In the process of wandering the neighbourhood in pursuit of a pipe rack at no less than nineteen assorted yard sales, garage sales, and estate sales (a pursuit in which I was wholly unsuccessful) I became rather too warm. The temperature was upwards of 85°, and at some point I became dehydrated and simply stopped perspiring.

While the condition did not go as far as heat stroke, I was plainly not doing well by the time I arrived back home. I drank a large amount of liquid refreshment and, fortified by a "MythBusters" marathon on the televisionary engine, I slept on the couch much of Saturday afternoon.

Fully recovered by Sunday, after Mass Francine and I constructed another section of back yard fence.

Work has continued on various Cruenti Dei projects, including Turn 12, a Renaissance Rules expansion, and background for a new continent or two. Francine found a fantastic application called NoteBook by a company called Circus Ponies. It has proved indispensable in the writing process of these new books.

I continue to re-read The Lord of the Rings. What astonishes me about these books is how much I missed on previous readings. In details great and small these are proving extremely Catholic books. Some of the details - as small as odd phrasings that in previous readings I simply glossed over - have changed my understandings of characters and even events.

Of course, it might simply be that I'm more aware at 42 than I was at 12, or even at 30.

One particular detail struck me so forcefully that I searched the very internets for confirmation of my observation, finding it in Paul Kocher's book Master of Middle-Earth. It is just this: that every event in The Lord of the Rings is told from the perspective of the smallest person.

Depending on the chapter, this is Frodo, or Pippin, or even Gimli.

This is a detail easily overlooked - indeed, I overlooked it the previous twenty or so times I've read the books - and yet it completely colours the narrative.

For those of you in the area, I'd like to re-extend my invitation, found here.


1 Nov 2007 14:03
thomryng: Carcosa (Carcosa)
This Saturday, Freighthouse Square is hosting Tacoma's first annual literary convention: Tacoma Word!

We'll be there all day, representing Sardarthion Press and Pilgrimage House. You won't be able to miss us: the table will be half Lovecraftian horror and half Catholic spirituality - the darkness and the light, together again.

I'll be signing copies of both The King in Yellow and Three Black Ravens, so come on down!

... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.
Not a good Monday yesterday. This, however, raised my spirits today.

Order from Amazon

Also - I'm looking for pen-and-ink artists for some interior work on a a project, so if you (or anyone you know) is interested in drawing some wombats or parasaurolophus or insects in 15th century garb or armour, let me know soonest. Pay will, frankly, suck.

It may suck slightly less, depending on your skill.

(... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.)
This is my first weekend since July 21, and I think I might actually be starting to relax.

I just posted the latest progress report to the Cruenti Dei forum. Work is humming along!

Today's plan is more work on CD, a nice long walk, some quick edits on a book project, cleaning up the kitchen, perhaps some weed-whacking in the front.

I think Francine might go grocery shopping.

Ah, the bucolic life!

Tomorrow, we've got to tackle some wedding projects. And laundry.

I'd like to share something I read recently:

In King Lear (III:vii) there is a man who is such a minor character that Shakespeare has not given him even a name: he is merely "First Servant." All the characters around him -- Regan, Cornwall, and Edmund -- have fine long-term plans. They think they know how the story is going to end, and they are quite wrong. The servant has no such delusions. He has no notion how the play is going to go. But he understands the present scene. He sees an abomination (the blinding of old Gloucester) taking place. He will not stand it. His sword is out and pointed at his master's breast in a moment: then Regan stabs him dead from behind. That is his whole part: eight lines all told. But if it were real life and not a play, that is the part it would be best to have acted. (C.S. Lewis, "The World's Last Night")

I've been ruminating over this for a couple of days now, and the idea appeals to me as a framing device for a story of this servant's life. Of course, if you buy the argument that Shakespeare was an underground Catholic, the life and death of the "First Servant" takes on a whole other light.

(... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.)
Does anybody out there have a copy of the last full rule book for Cruenti Dei that I could borrow have?

(And I'm not asking about that CD: Kaldor disaster that was totally derailed by a pair of funerals last summer.)

I ask for no particular reason. I am almost certainly not going to start up a new campaign in the near future on the continent of Sahûl during the early renaissance in the Second Empire period.

Nope. Not me.

But if you've got a copy I could have, it would be extremely helpful, and I'd be grateful.

Startup and five Turns grateful.


(... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.)
I once wrote a (horrible, horrible) novella over a weekend. The experience was certainly worthwhile (to which perhaps [ profile] chordam7 can testify) even if the result was somewhat sketchy.

This coming weekend, Francine will be helping out with the Oblate Directors' Conference at St. Martin's. Something about driving little golf carts around. I wish her luck with that.

I, on the other hand, will participate in this contest (with a hat-tip to the lovely and talented [ profile] singingbarista). Only 500 open spots and 85 prizes. The top prize is $300, which I could certainly use right about now.

I do well under constraints.

Better stock up on the ale and cheese.

(... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.)
Klara just got returned again.

Snow haze gleams like sand,
And half-starved foxes shake and paw,
And beyond, the same sound of bees.
So you can watch me watch uplifted snow
Bronze the sky, with no
Perfection, only absence.

A trainer flips young alligators over on their backs,
shortcake, waffles, berries and cream
Sculpting each tree to fit your ghostly form.
Swaying in unison beneath the snow,
Bronze the sky, with no
Symmetry, only absence.

This third day of our January thaw,
And piled up at the base of the columns
A salamander scuttles across the quiet
Set on that tomb in the eternal night;
Homeward into the howling woods, although
She stretches a hand toward the toothy sleeper
With its lament, it often sounds, instead, with no
Spent the last week up in Forks crashing at Chez [ profile] gaelfarce, completely incommunicado.

So the thing about Forks is that it's tiny, their only decent breakfast place has a giant elk head laying about, and the whole place has a sort of Twin Peaks vibe.

Seriously. [ profile] gaelfarce lives on Lupine Ave., just down the block from "Elterich" Street - a street which does not appear on the Googlemap of town.

After spending all day Monday on the bus, I wrote about 100 pages during the week, which is crazy productive for me. I don't have a word count yet, because I have yet to actually type them.

I do, however, have a blister over the writing callus on my middle finger.

On Saturday, [ profile] pi_radical very sweetly drove us to Tacoma, where a barbecue was held in the land of the [ profile] singingbarrista.

Sunday after Mass, [ profile] jaynefury and I gardened. Huzzah!
Well, "Klara" is out the door again, this time to Glimmer Train.

As I told someone recently, she's got more rejections than the Titanic has ice cubes. Now that I've got an agent telling me she does not suck ostrich eggs through straws, I'm a little more enthused about sending her out again.

I did a couple of minor edits that I think strengthen the villain Svejk a little and give a little more atmosphere to the Clock interior. We shall see.

Last night Francine and I had the perfect Geek Date™. After fish and chips at a new place on St. Helens, we talked writing and gardening at Doyle's, and finished the evening next door at King's Books* for an execrable poetry reading and to browse. I know Patrick, the owner, and we chatted a bit about writing and the latest news.

Francine today is off to get one of the kittens to the vet for a checkup and to schedule a spaying. Then she's heading to Kent to hang out with some knitting buddies.

I, on the other hand, am going to All Saints in Puyallup to our Junior High's last basketball game of the season. They're (miraculously) 4-2 right now, and I feel like I should see one of their games.

Afterwards, I will find a lovely café and write.

Now for the shower.

* The sign is yellow. I am not making this up.
some arcadia, not augean imperium

barbiturate be thence or berkeley may emasculate it
some prosecute: burnout, not fanfare, is california's legacy on a palfrey
bestubble or journal not bestir but compleat!


mercurial or snippy, see enormity
see pep
see the keys of worship
see vetch in bessel in fedders

lavish some meteoric skeet, confect it dolores!
it's cowbell in apache
it's choice but gondola
it's discomfit but clayton and pegboard
it's harvest.


invalidate a leitmotiv
elate some silvery dionysus
convey coriolanus
and contravene in basepoint lessons

expiate it's inherit, invariant demon
not zaire!
We just returned from the fabulous three day wedding extravaganza of [ profile] llynecat and [ profile] samildanach, where much food and drink and laughter and geekery were in evidence. Entirely too many details to sort out just at the moment, but I have made several friends and renewed some fond acquaintances. More later. Hopefully.

I am, frankly, pretty darn tired. It was great coming back to our house. Less great, however, was seeing all the work that must be done.

A rather nice surprise awaited me, however, in the form of an mp3 file of the strings part of "Unspeakable Beauty". For those of you (and I know you're out there) who are relatively new to this journal, [ profile] chordam7 and I have been working on a Cthulhian opera for several years now. It just got another small step closer to completion.

Edited to add: In response to [ profile] crosstherubicon's question, a bit of clarification.

The King in Yellow (previously published in hardcover by Armitage House) is a play based on the works of Robert W. Chambers, while Eidolon perhaps recalls the poetry of H. P. Lovecraft. It was certainly once used as a player prop for a Call of Cthulhu game. Eidolon is strictly a self-publishing whim (mostly to find out how the system worked), while The King in Yellow is being distributed through Armitage House. Provided they ever update their web site.

Hmm. That probably doesn't answer the question. Let me try again.

The King in Yellow is a play about the tendency of people to play chess in burning houses, while Eidolon contains the fragmentary remains of the holy book of a mediæval witch-cult*. More or less.

The King in Yellow features an introduction by John Tynes.

Both are available on Amazon; just click the cover images.


* in the Lovecraftian sense.
The final (?!) proof of The King in Yellow should be on my desk within the week.

Soon, soon my pretties...


28 Mar 2006 19:30
thomryng: Caxton's Chaucer (Caxton's Chaucer)
In many respects, JRR Tolkien is my literary hero.

Oh sure, Borgés and Calvino and Bradbury wrote better and wider. Certainly, Tolkien's work has been rehashed and regurgitated until most folks are sick of hearing about Elves and Dwarves and Hobbits.

But for my money, "Leaf by Niggle" is one of the finest short stories written. And this quote, I think, helps explain why he is raised from a writer to a hero in my mind:

"Although now long estranged, Man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed. Dis-graced he may be, yet is not dethroned, and keeps the rags of lordship once he owned. Man, Sub-Creator, the refracted Light through whom is splintered from a single White to many hues, and endlessly combined in living shapes that move from mind to mind. Though all the crannies of the world we filled with Elves and Goblins, though we dared to build Gods and their houses out of dark and light, and sowed the seed of dragons - 'twas our right (used or misused). That right has not decayed: we make still by the law in which we're made"

("On Fairy-Stories", J .R. R. Tolkien, 1947)


11 Jan 2006 07:59
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Default)
This morning, in a fun (but ultimately pointless) little quiz I nicked from [ profile] vonjunzt, I found out I am not a heretic.

Read more... )

Yesterday I made a big wall chart of all the things I've got to finish before Catholic Schools Week. Then I put my head on my desk and wept.

Today, it's full steam ahead!

Talked with Scott Glancy last night, and we're clear on how to proceed on TKIY. Soon, precious, soon...
Yesterday I received the proofs of The King in Yellow, and I have to say it looks good. I'm going through the text, and I've found a handful of errors, but these will all be a relatively simple fix. I'm planning on getting the fixes in over the long weekend approaching while [ profile] jaynefury is off on her photo shoot.

Work continues to be crazy busy. We had tours for prospective families on Friday, Monday, and two today, so something is going right. On the ground here, it all feels like a desperate attempt to tread water. Wow. A seriously mixed metaphor.

The alarm didn't go off this morning, so I've been running an hour late all day. Two tours today, a handful of letters to get out, an article due Thursday, ads due Friday and Tuesday. Glurg.

Oh, and I get to gently yell at somebody from the Catholic Schools Department of the archdiocese today. Huzzah!
Having ironed out all of the printing difficulties for the moment, I have just spoken at some length with Mr. Glancy at Armitage House.

I will have galley proofs of the paperback version of The King in Yellow in my hands within the next six days.

That is all.
Glory to God; I woke up this morning.

What with the school commission meeting and all, yesterday was a fourteen hour day of hectic madness. After five or so hours of sleep, my brain is not firing quite correctly.

On this morning's bus ride, with a Tuvan lament playing on my iPod, I found this poem in my morning crossword puzzle:

Habitat Granola

Defrost Agra's plumage:
Nefarious pedicures
Emir stewed Nehru cabaret moose.
Assay wiser ivies, retard ions and doubt
Nefarious pedicures, nefarious pedicures.

Ahead, Antarctic schisms.
Nefarious pedicures
Taint fiestas, detract irate mêlée.
Mêlée? Desks ajar, Polynesia!
Nefarious pedicures, nefarious pedicures.

Muesli kegs oasis,
Blonder cabaret
Depot elope broods omni-stump.
Mosey pleasant, using zag davits.
Nefarious pedicures. Nefarious pedicures.

Edited to add: I've gotten several e-mail messages from LJ about replies to this post that aren't actually online here. Wacky.
And still the word count only creeps.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
26,698 / 60,000

Somehow managed to fit a novel into the nooks and crannies of time in my life the past two days.

Reorganized chapters 9 and 10 into 9, 10, 11 and sketched out two bits that get inserted into them. Made a grim little joke with the word "ineffable". Looking foreward to another apocalypse tearing history totally loose of its moorings very soon.

I just realized that I don't care whether or not that makes sense.

Let's settle for two words, then: progress and hope.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
24,345 / 60,000

It's all been tumbling out of head since a Wednesday morning mass. Thanks be to God. I should be able to write 35,000 words in four weeks, right?

And somewhere in this mess, I put together a web site for a local political candidate. Francine did the logo, which looks far better than the content.

Yesterday's mail proved to be a stack of bills and (another) story rejection. Huzzah.

Best news headline this week so far:

Roman ruler's head found in sewer

I've gone and joined the dark side.

After being subjected to noisy gossip from cellphonelady on the #41 bus, I was terrorized by deepbassleakingfromtheheadphonesguy behind me on the #347 bus.

I was trying (and largely failing) to write.

Enough is enough.

I bought an iPod shuffle.
For a short time, the archives of [ profile] ursulav's WCCA nominated webcomic Digger are open for perusal. Do this now:

1. Go here.

2. Start reading.

That is all.

How should I know? I'm a slug, lady. You want one of the intelligent mollusks, go chat up a cuttlefish. (The Oracular Slug)

Galley proofs of the trade paperback of The King in Yellow are approved and in. There was one little edit to the introduction (written by the extremely talented Rev. John Tynes), but the rest was perfect. Except, of course, for the inevitable mistake I didn't catch.

I even added a sonnet to the very end as a sort of bonus, based vaguely on a snippet from Ambrose.

Hopefully I will receive a bound sample copy for approval in the next three weeks. If I do, and if there isn't anything horribly wrong with it, the book is looking good for an August release.

Coming soon to an Amazon near you!
For me, this was a stupefyingly productive afternoon.

Combined and finished off two half-formed chapters, finished off the chapter I'd started the other day, and discovered that a piece of flash fiction I'd knocked off a month or so back was actually (with a few tiny changes) a sermon preached by a plague-doctor marionette in a Carcosan piazza.

It's coming together beautifully. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to scrap about half my outline. The story I'm telling is not exactly the story I thought I was telling. This one's better.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
17,493 / 60,000
Current word count:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
15,070 / 60,000
My lucky day. Day one of ninety.

The World is Bound in Secret Knots

13,000 words done, 50,000 to go. More or less.

Everybody should have a summer project, yes?


11 May 2005 20:20
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Contemplation)
So. I've come to the sobering (well, almost) realization that my single largest writing roadblock is "finishing large projects".

I have no trouble doing this at work for technical projects. Somehow my fictions get sidetracked or mysteriously implode after about 120 pages.

It's not that I lose interest in them, it's simply that if I run into a difficulty I find it far easier to start another project. Right now I've got two unfinished novels, at roughly equal length and work.

I feel shamed by the very talented Misters [ profile] kingcadillac and [ profile] pax_draconis who have both finished drafts of their novels. I am certainly pleased for them; they are both very good. I enjoyed Jason's book, and I am gratified at having been allowed to offer some suggestions even if I had nothing particlarly valuable to say about it.

I'm not particularly envious of the two gentlemen in question, I don't think, as they have both completed works that I am incapable of writing. But I am shamed. I can do this. But I haven't.

[Note: I'm not even really in the same league as my friend [ profile] ladyeuthanasia; it's impossible for me to feel anything but pleasure when I hear of her successes. No, I can't explain the difference. Sorry.]

My new resolution is to push push push on with one until the story is complete. I'm setting myself time, and I'm setting myself production deadlines. I work much better under pressure, even self-imposed pressure.

Now all I have to do is decide which to do.

That's where you come in. I've done pro and con on both, and really it's a waste of time. I'd be quite happy finishing either first. I'd flip a coin, but somehow a survey just appeals to me.

I'm like that.

Here are some crappy drafts from the two projects I'm considering.

Choice One: Aradéc Spring

Fantasy. Marsupials. Religion. Magic. Politics. Muskets. Decay. Apocalypse. Mayhem.

excerpt )

Choice Two: The World is Bound in Secret Knots

Horror. The King in Yellow. Alternate histories. Surrealism. Decay. Apocalypse. Mayhem.

excerpt )

[Poll #492260]

Edited to add: Please feel free to comment, even if the poll won't let you vote. Cheers!
A million things. Where to start?

In an America where Pat Robertson can go on national television to say liberal judges pose a greater threat to the Republic than the Civil War, Nazi Germany, or "a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings", sometimes it helps to be reminded of larger things.

Yesterday, I received a hardcover book in the mail from my high school. Rather, from the high school I attended twenty years ago. It set me off on an emotional tailspin from which I've yet to recover. Perhaps I should explain.

This year, St. Rita High School turns 100. As part of the ongoing commemorations, they've issued what amounts to a centennial yearbook. I hadn't ordered a copy, yet here it was.

More mysterious yet, there was a note attached apologising for failing to include my name in the list of contributors.

I vaguely remember talking to somebody from the alumni association, maybe a year ago, but I certainly don't recall sending them anything. So I start reading. At the very end, in the list of sources, right under the listing for the Chicago Archdiocese Archives, I found this:

Thom Ryng ('84) e-article:

So I went back and read the article. (Go ahead, I'll wait for you. Done? Excellent; carry on.)

The memories of Dr Racky came flooding back to me again, a hearty mixture of nostalgia and pride and gratitude and grief. I looked him up in the book. There are two pictures of him, one as a young man and one shortly before he died, I think. Underneath it says:
Donald Racky ('54) was an institution at St. Rita, having arrived in 1959. Dr Racky was one of those teachers who touched many lives and, quite frankly, never really did leave St Rita as his spirit lives on today; Dr Racky spent his career at St Rita - 42 years. One of his students, Thom Ryng ('84), wrote in an e-article on his influential teachers that "Dr Racky... taught me how to think. I learned the art and science of critical thinking in his classroom." A fitting tribute to Dr Racky. The Augustinians awarded Dr Racky the Filiis Ordinis.
All right, this isn't earth-shaking stuff or prize-winning writing. My entire contribution to this book is two sentences, but I am absolutely humbled that of all the things written about this great man, it is a fragment of my eulogy that appears in this book. I'm more proud of those two sentences appearing where they do than of anything else I've written.

And make no mistake; Dr Racky was a great man. He had a larger and more profound positive influence on the world in those 42 years than I'm likely to have in a century, should I live that long.

And that, my friends, is the real meaning of life, the universe, and everything.
Is "Spril" a word? I keep typing it instead of "April".

I'm working on posting monthly fund performance data for the Billion Dollar Company right now and they're sort of sticklers for spelling on these things.
They were a fierce people, true,
but they rarely wore
the decapitated heads of their enemies
set upon their helmets.

Enshrouded in mists and
clothed in veils, their king
relaxed into his dissolution.