Words in Hard Copy

Tron Journal

This post has been a while coming. Some time ago, I filled another journal with words and remembrances from my life. You may remember this journal from its previous appearance in Crafty Learning, which was all about the misadventures of using expired house paint and a homemade stencil. It got… interesting.

Despite the artistic mishap, or maybe because of it, I had been looking forward to filling this one for a while. (Do I say that with every one?) It was the last of the journals gifted from a friend, and it had been well loved before it came into my possession. It deserved to be completed. And so I did.

It contains less fiction than many of them, like the previous one. Separation and life and global pandemic and and and… I’ve done more streaming than writing in the past few years, and have used that space for a lot of the things I’ve long used writing for. It’s been a great emotional and creative outlet, with the added benefit of hanging out with friends, in a time when hanging out is a dangerous thing to do.

Back of filled journal

By no means am I abandoning writing, of course. The stories in my head still need to be let out, and putting words on the page still brings me joy. I’m already loving putting words in the new journal. I’m still looking for an artist for the next chapter of my webcomic; I’ve still got editing the next installment of Adam’s Name next in line on my writing to-do list. It’s been slow, but there’s a big difference between a trickle and dried-up.

I think this journal was intended to be a bound sketchbook when it was made. The pages are thick and yellowed with age, and are unlined. It held my thoughts and mementos just as well as it would have illustrations, as far as I’m concerned. I first used it, as I have in several, for an idea that was different enough from my usual fare that I decided to put it in a journal of its own. That idea never panned out (but it was good!), so there’s a large gap between the first few entries, and when I began using it as my go-to writing destination.

Thank you, journal, for receiving my attempts at craftiness and art, my stickers, little mementos of my life, and most of all, my words.

Filled a Gifted Journal

Decepticon journal

I have this thing with gifts. If I’m given something, I keep it. I use it. Or, in rare cases, I gift it again so that it can find a better home. This applies to all sorts of things, from feathered boas to stuffed animals… to journals from Wal-Mart. Like the one I talk about in Craft and Links.

It’s a cheap journal bought from a place that makes me feel dirty just thinking about it. BUT! It was a gift from a good friend, at the time, so I wrote in it. And I wrote in it. And I wrote some more. The dates between first and last post span about four and a half years, and the blog post about finishing the last journal was posted at about the same time.

The journal is quite thick, and its pages are as thin as newsprint. I never had the time (nor inclination) to count them, but there were a lot. I’m proud of filling this one up, and I’m grateful that the binding didn’t come apart until the very end. It took a hell of a beating, a lot of words, and a lot of coffee stains. Four and a half years of ticket stubs, convention badges, wedding place setting tags, diner grease, couples therapy homework, journaling, and of course, fiction. I’m moving to this one, and am looking forward to filling it with more of the same.

Penguicon 2014!

It’s been since 2010, but this year, I’m going to Penguicon! I haven’t always been able to make it, but I’ve been attending off and on since Penguicon 2.0 in 2004.  I’ve posted a few times about it. Pictures, too.

This year, I’m going purely as a fan of things technical and fictiony. I’m hoping to meet up with old friends and re-connect, meet new friends, and learn a bunch of stuff that I didn’t know before. I’m not scheduled to speak on any panels this year, and I won’t be doing much advertising.

Okay, maybe I’ll talk up Two Vampires a little bit.  And the upcoming Adam’s Name novella. And the rewrite of the Remembrance.  The thing is, and this is hard for me to admit, I’m really proud of these projects. I’m proud of finishing them, and I’m proud of not giving up on the work Nikki and I are doing. I’m excited about them, too. I’m hoping to get over some of my social anxiety and feeling of being a pretender, and just share my excitement.

If you see me wandering into or out of a panel – this year I’ll be focusing a lot on the technical ones – carrying my Decepticon notebook, come up and say hi. Share with me what you’re excited about. Don’t be offended if I ask you to slow down; you’ve hooked me and I’m taking notes.

That excitement is my favorite part of Penguicon. This year, instead of leaving it in Southfield on Sunday, I want to take it home with me.


IMG_0050My parents gave me this journal. It was a Christmas gift, if I remember correctly. I was living on Fairview. It came in its own box, the same color as the cover. I remember being enthralled with the ribbon bookmark, the stamped leather cover, and the gold leafing on the edges of the pages.

This journal was simply too fancy for me to desecrate with my chicken scratchings.  How could I possibly taint it with anything less than perfect handwriting?  What if I spilled coffee on it, or got diner grease on the pages?  Those were badges of pride in my second hand or homemade journals, but seemed offensive in this work of art.

This journal was NICE.

It spent a year or two collecting dust in that house, and then in storage, and then in my nerd cave in the Bancroft house.  A couple of months after the move to Bradley Ave, I picked it up, brushed the dust off of the gold leafing, and steeled myself.  I took my collection of convention badges and ribbons and taped them throughout.  It no longer shut properly.  The gold had gaps in it.  When it opened, the pages naturally parted to multicolored evidence of nerdy shenanigans.  It was no longer too nice for me, and I could write in its pages with abandon.  I had given myself permission.

I’m glad I did.  The pages are thick and solid.  They’re a bit glossy, creating issues with some pens, but work fine with most.  The ribbon bookmark frayed slowly at the end, but never enough to impede its function.  It’s been an absolute joy to write in.  Somehow, it avoided both grease and coffee stains.

And just in case you’re interested, they’re still made.  In Dublin.  I highly recommend them.

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Crafty learning

photoI’ve learned something from this little project. I’ve learned not to use paint left in my house by the previous owner, that has likely gone bad, with a stencil project. No matter how much you stir the paint, the oily and watery parts will seep beneath the stencil, and into the parts of the cover that have been scored by what looks to be a mechanical pencil tip, and create a mess.

It’s a neat-looking mess. Once it dried (four days!), I put the stencil back on, and went over it with a black marker. Marker doesn’t usually stay on paint, I’ve been told, but the black dry erase marker that I used (hey, it was just sitting there, on my desk, unused and unloved) seems to have gone permanent. I’m not gonna complain.

The symbol is from Tron: Uprising, though modified slightly for stenciling. The end look makes me think of graffiti, which ties in nicely with the last few episodes of the first season of the show. Silver lining!

I’m pretty happy with all of my journals now, so my next craft project will likely involve a Dresden Codak patch and my new work backpack.

Warped and Full of Words

IMAG0390Last month, I filled up another journal.

This one was another gift from the ex-in-laws, and is the last of that bunch. I’m pretty sure that I don’t have any more felt-covered and lined journals. While I’ve most definitely appreciated them, it feels good to be finishing. There’s a sense of completeness about it, on a whole lot of levels.

This one was given to me the night of my first wedding, at the after party (at which we drank the bar out of Jagermeister), in which to chronicle the honeymoon adventures that were about to be sprung on us. In it was a bookmark made out of the tartan fabric that we’d used for our hand fasting cord. The bookmark had been knotted at the top with a stamped metal disc. The first pages were indeed given over to the original and intended purpose of the book, but after the trip was completed, no more was written about it.

The rest of the journal is filled with the Glass Crown, the Remembrance rewrite, and miscellaneous journalings. I hit some serious writer’s block with the Chapter 2 rewrite, and I really questioned whether I wanted to continue tackling it. The opportunity to write a scene in which a unicorn gored an innocent bystander pushed me through most of that, in the end.

I was worried, when I started writing in this one, that its past purpose and associations would hinder my progress, perhaps by being something I’d be hesitant to write in. Then I left it on the kitchen table over night.  Nicodemus, the cat with a death wish, tipped over one of the kid’s cups, as he is wont to do when they are full of water. By the next morning, when we discovered the mess, the journal was soaked. I let it dry for several days, but by then the damage was done. Water damage, specifically. Bowed covers, wrinkled pages, and a slightly warped binding. Considering the way that I feel about my notebooks, Nikki was intensely apologetic (the cat is hers) and was surprised when I told her that I was happy that it had happened.

It was like a new book! The pages had a different texture, it sat differently when I wrote in it, and the paper even crinkled in a new way. I was no longer writing in the honeymoon journal from my first marriage. I was writing in a journal irrevocably stamped by my new(er) life and family. And by that god damn cat. The pages were no longer monotonous machine-printed exact copies of each other. Every page was different than the one before it and the one that came after.

And now, I lay to rest the journal that was once transformed, transfigured, and a little bit soggy. May it rest in peace.

On my shelf.

Next to my other journals.

Now that it’s dry.

Craft and Links

IMAG0387I am unreasonably proud of the journal pictured there on the right. It’s my first attempt at crafting in a long, long time. It’s also the first one that I didn’t have to tilt my head slightly to the side for it to look right.

The next time I do anything crafty, I’m going to have to remember to take a before picture. I had an old journal (because journals) and an old Decepticon patch (because Transformers). I got the urge to combine them, but I did not have the patience or the immediately available fundage to procure the proper fabric glue. I did, however, have some Super Glue lying around.

I covered the iron-on backing of the patch in a very thin, even layer of Super Glue. I didn’t want the patch to curl, so I made sure that the glue went all the way out to the edges, including the spiny bits on top. I then eyeballed the middle, from the right of the journal to the edge of the binding ridge section on the left. I wanted the symbol to be closer to the top than the bottom, for reasons.

I am sure that there is a technical explanation for the aesthetics of the placement, and where the eye is naturally drawn to, but I am woefully unversed in the science behind it. I will have to remain satisfied, for now, with “because I think it looks good there.”

I then gently turned the patch over and applied it where I wanted it to go. I pressed it firmly to the vinyl(ish?) cover for thirty seconds to a minute. It’s a padded cover, so the vinyl dimpled a bit as the glue dried, but not so much that it’s noticeable. I got lucky, and the Super Glue bonded very well to both the patch and the cover. Since I won’t have to worry about putting this through the wash, I guess the fabric glue would have been overkill.  In any case, I LOVE the result, and think it’ll make a nice counter to the Covenant of Primus. (And of course by that I mean it’s the next journal in which I will be writing my fictiony words.)

On to the links!

  • Don’t forget, Two Vampires is available for purchase! Buy it, and your brain will thank you!
  • I’ve just resurrected the Fight or Flight site at a new address. There aren’t any planned updates in the near future, but I thought having the archives available might be nice. If you haven’t read through them, wander on over there and take a peep!
  • The Penguicon info is out early! Incredibly early. So early that I’m a little worried. Worry aside, it’s happening on the weekend of my birthday, and I have decided that I am going this year, come hell or high water! I’ll be adding it to my Appearances page shortly.
  • Make your own Tron laptop bag? Awesome!


I did it again! Well, technically I did it back in November, but I still did it! Another journal bites the dust!

This one was given to me by my Mom and Dad as a way to record my adventures in Japan when I was sixteen. My school district had a Japanese program that I participated in during my High School years.  We also had a sister school, and I spent a couple of weeks in a host family’s home. I was lucky enough to be able to return the favor the next summer, and show Nobu around Michigan a bit. Anyway, as I tend to do, I spent more time experiencing the trip than I did writing about it. So, when I rediscovered the journal, only a few pages had been filled.

Truth be told, it’s not even really a journal. It’s a planner for the 1993/1994 academic year. It wasn’t tough to modify – I just wrote around the date markers, the entries from my trip, and the various checklists. I made sure to leave some buffer space around my trip journal so that I didn’t ruin my scribbles for posterity.

At first, I’d tried to turn it into a gaming journal. Myst 3: Exile, Myst Online, Eve Online, and Everquest 2. That effort went the way of most of my single-purpose journal efforts, which is to say nowhere. I picked it back up when I’d filled up the last journal, and filled it with quite a bit of Glass Crown, some final Adam’s Name – Detroit edits, and the beginning of the Remembrance rewrite. Looking back, it feels like I stayed incredibly on task through the entire thing.

Five months to fill its tiny lines and thin, recycled pages.

On to the next! There are stories to be told!