adventures in dysthymia

Monday, June 30, 2014

A Sign of Coming Things


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Signing off on the Sign

So, I went into obsessive author mode once again and churned out the third book/novel of the Donzalo’s Destiny saga, to be titled THE SIGN OF THE ARROW. Editing and rewrites to come but it’s pretty close to finished form.

Expect it to be published sometime later this year.

It came out just about the same length as the first two books, around 48,000 words this time, divided into three more-or-less novella-length ‘Tales.’ I’m happy enough with it, both the parts that follow my original ideas and those that were the result of inspiration as I went along. I did find a nice way to wrap this one up with the death of a fairly major character, originally scheduled to be offed near the end of the last book. This works better, I think, as well as clearing space, so to speak, for the action at the conclusion.

When will I hit the fourth and, possibly, last book? Hard to say — I’m recognizing that I probably won’t write anything else important until I get all of this story out of me, so I’d better get onto it! Don’t have a title yet.

Now, on to design, rewrites, etc, etc An author’s work is never done!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sneezes and Sea Breezes

There is far too much pollen in the air right now. We seem to have bypassed the dry season and its respite altogether this year! So I have a choice of being drugged up and drowsy or stuffed up and sneezy — I generally choose the latter so I can try to get things done.

I just realized that this summer marks, more-or-less, my 50th anniversary as a surfer. That’s if I count from the plywood bellyboards (what are referred to as ‘bodyboards’ these days) I made for myself and occasionally borrowing rides on other people’s surfboards. It will be a while yet till the anniversary of owning my own first board.

I’ve decided to do some submissions of my poems again to magazines and competitions. Not that I have been writing much poetry lately. I’ve been more in editor mode when it comes to verse and song, as well as continuing to work on the next novel.

On the subject of the novel, having finished the first novella-length section of the book, I find myself again outlining, making notes, etc. before tackling the narrative. That will come. There have been some fairly large changes in how I see the whole thing playing out, in particularly just what Donzalo’s ‘destiny’ and future is — I’ve essentially abandoned the idea of further adventures for him as a central character and am going to hand those over to his son.

But the actual events of the plot that I originally envisioned a few years ago, mostly still stand.

And finally, as long as I am talking about books, I would like to mention a nice little collection of sea tales I recently read: From the Icy Fingers of the Deep, by Chris Kastle. Ms. Kastle is a folksinger and educator with a maritime bent, now residing over in St. Augustine. These stories are very much in the storyteller tradition, the sort that might be told around the campfire. Or maybe up on the deck, some starry night. Recommended.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Arrow Song

This is a bit of verse I wrote for incorporation into the next Donzalo novel. It is meant to be part of a funeral ritual (a major character dies...no, I won't tell you which one) as part of Kamatian rites.

Kamatianism, which I invented for these books, is a dualistic religion with some resemblance to Zoroastrian beliefs. The Arrow Song here is spoken by the priest for four lines with a two line response by the mourners.

Arrow Song

As an arrow flies my soul,
into darkness, into night;
none whom I have left behind
sees the ending of its flight.

Flies to Kamat, ever watchful,
waiting in the realm of light.

As a comet through the sky,
burning with creation’s flame;
as an arrow flies my soul,
without substance, without name.

Flies to Kamat, ever waiting,
to the one from whence we came.

Stephen Brooke ©2014

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Of Daughters

So, a week of somewhat intensive (alright, obsessive) writing has ended with a semi-polished draft of the next novella-length section (which I refer to as a 'Tale') of the third Donzalo novel. Just over 23,000 words. I don't know why I seem to think in that size chunk of words when I write but they keep coming out that way.

Maybe a few days off before I tackle the next one? There might be one, there might be two more parts to finish the book I will probably title THE SIGN OF THE ARROW. That depends on how long the next section turns out! I have a broad idea of where things are going but will need to do more outlining (which largely turns into a series of questions about who will do what). We shall see.

I will say that the end of this Tale (with the subtitle 'Of Daughters') ends with the death of a major character. Or the most major so far. That event will largely propel the rest of the book. I have pretty much planned it since I scribbled some notes about the idea for the first book a decade ago.

Semi-polished, I say --- that means the narrative is pretty well fixed but I'll be inclined to tinker with word and phrase and, typically, add some extra descriptive language where needed. When I'm hurrying through a draft, I neither stop to smell the roses nor write about them.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Book and Beach

Once again I am in obsessive writer mode and have churned out 11,000 words in two and a half days on the first novella-length section of the next Donzalo novel. Which means the section is roughly half done.

But it's all pretty much 'done' in my head. I let the ideas percolate a good while, made lots of notes (my 'first draft,' so to speak) and then started pouring out a pot of prose. Whether I'll be able to dive right into the next part, I do not know. But I will finish 'The Sign of the Arrow' before summer ends, I suspect.

It really would be great weather to go to the beach and there has been surf. Alas, I have been troubled by a sore back. I think it resulted from the long drive there and back for the Florida Folk Festival, not to mention walking around the park all day (or perching on hard benches and chairs).

But then, I reckon I wouldn't have gotten any writing done if I were at the beach! :)

Monday, June 02, 2014

More Peanut Pics

A few snaps from this morning around my place here at Peanut Road.

The pomegranates I put in last year are thriving. Berry patch is behind them. The dwarf poms didn't hold up as well to the winter freezes but are coming back.


The blackberry patch is fruitful. At last.


Little magnolia blooming for the second time this year.


Hydrangeas and various other plantings.