1 Jan
H A P P Y   N E W   Y E A R !!!

          I've said that there isn't any magic in the world for me, but I was wrong. I remember the exact moment I fell in love with my wife. It happened at a dance. It wasn't your typical nightclub scene, but a dance hall. No ear-shattering music, smoke machines, or bright strobe lights. Just a nice hardwood dance floor and soft lighting. 
          We were slow dancing when it hit me. I was already lost in her perfume and the feel of her hair against my face, when suddenly my world narrowed down to that one moment. Nothing existed for me but her and I as we moved together.
           It may not be the kind of magic I've been searching for, but it's magic nonetheless. And in this life you have to take your miracles where you can find them.

2 Jan
          I did the online tests on Amber's website, and according to the results, my spirit animal is the wolf, and if I were an 80's pop act I would be U2. I can live with that. My New Year's resolution this year was to simply do better. I like to leave my resolutions purposely vague because that way it's harder to prove whether I've succeeded or not. Let's face it, sometime during this year I'm sure I'll do something better. Even if I fail miserably, I'll have been a better failure this year than I was last year. Unless I only fail horribly. Sometimes you just can't win.

5 Jan
          So, I was on my way to work last night at 11:30 PM when the car died. It just stopped running as I was driving and wouldn't start again. I called Pen and had her bring Ryan with her, and we pushed the car off the road, up a hill, and into a church parking lot. Two thirds of the way up the hill I heard a loud pop. At first I thought I'd broken my leg, but I just pulled the calf muscle. It swelled up to the size of a football in minutes. Still, we managed to push the car the rest of the way up hill (for me it was a push with the good leg, hobble with the bad) and into the lot. Oh well, at least I didn't have to go to work after that. So how was the first week of your new year?

7 Jan
          Well, I finally got to the doctors today. They gave me some anti-inflammatories and told me to keep doing what I was doing--basically stay off my feet and alternately apply ice and heat. I have to see a physiotherapist Wednesday morning, then go back and get rechecked on Thursday mostly so they can give me more time off work. My calf is only swelled to the size of a football now, rather than the rugby ball it used to look like. 
          The doctor said I probably would never be able to do any long distance running again, but it's not the first time they've told me there were things I'd never do again, and here I am, still doing them.
          I arranged for my car to be towed to the garage today. Now I'm just waiting for the damages. I promised not to whine about my life anymore, but is it okay if I pout?

8 Jan
          The garage called yesterday and told me there was some kind of short in the fuel system on my car. The good news was that it would only cost about $120 to fix it. That was yesterday. Today they told me it was the fuel pump causing the short, which bumps the price tag up to $500. Let the games begin!
I thought about just going back to bed, but that really doesn't help matters much. Bad things still happen to you while you're in bed, it just takes you longer to find out about them, and then they have a chance to pile up. So instead I think I'll write. I still haven't gotten this years first rejection letter. I wonder who will be the lucky winner? And then there's always the first False Hope Award--you know, for the first agent that actually asks for my manuscript, or the publisher that tells me my story is in its second reading.
          And heaven help me if I actually sell a story or novel, although last year I had to wait until November or so for that one. Maybe I should set up a pool, and you all can guess at the dates for each event. The winner gets to kick me while I'm down.
 

9 Jan
          And the winner is: Writers of the Future. Although I'm not sure in what category. I got a letter from them today saying: Your entry placed in the quarter-finals of the 4th quarter of 2001. We commend your effort and hope that you will submit another entry soon. Placed where? First? Third? Last? Obviously I didn't win or they would have sent a contract or something, or not have asked me to submit again.
          Only two weeks in and this is already shaping up to be one strange year. I saw the physical therapist today. The good news is that I'll be able to run again, but only after a lot of therapy. I have to stick my leg in a whirlpool three or four times a week, and then they hook up this strange suction-electrode thingy to my calf for about 15 minutes. (It felt like they were trying to milk my calf, but everyone knows you can't milk a calf. A full grown cow, however...) I have to go to aqua-therapy three times a week, and I get to walk with this nifty cane. So even though I'm not fully mobile, I'm armed. (I love cane work).
          And it looks like the old band is getting back together. Even though Dave lives in Borden (about 2 1/2 hrs from here) and Steve lives in Montreal (4 hrs away) they're both going to meet Jenn and I here at least once a month. We're throwing out about half of our old songs, which means we have to learn about another 25 our so. With any luck, we should be playing the bars again by the summer.

10 Jan
          So I'm off work for another eight days at least. Of course, I have to go to physio everyday, and work out in the pool at least three times a week, and then do my own normal nightly weight training. Okay, so I don't know the meaning of the words "Sick Leave."
          On the writer's front, I'm on chapter eleven of Darkside 2, and wrote a little over a thousand words so far today on a new short story that I'm hoping I can finish in under 3-4 thousand words, and in the next day or so. Of course there's still no word from Baen yet (unless that word is a big, silent NO.) It's been there 9 1/2 months now, assuming that it actually ever arrived, and that they haven't lost it, or...well, let's not go there.
          Oh yeah, I got my car back today. At $402.50, it's more than the $120 they originally quoted, but less than the $500 it looked like it was going to be. What I really need is a new car, but unfortunately you need new money to buy one. Actually, even old money will do, as long as it's not currently used money, as in used for rent, groceries, cable...

11 Jan
          I'm armed. I picked up my cane this morning, a lightweight, adjustable chrome plated jobby. That's right, I can beat you close up, and with the flick of a tiny button, batter you at a distance. Or I can break it down into two sections and thump you with either hand--hey, I'm ambi-kickassterous. It's even got this nifty ice pick attachment that lowers five wicked looking metal spikes at the tip for maximum damage. Oh yeah, and I can walk with it too.
          I had my first session of physio at the base pool today. It was a pretty good workout too, except for the part where some moron played the national anthem over the P.A. system and the guys in the deep end nearly drowned trying to stand at attention.
          And I just got word that my brother has joined the Men in Black. That's right he's being posted to the local Mennonite community for two years. Congrats, James. 

12 Jan
          Pen's gone into T.O. this weekend so I'm left here to convalesce on my own. I wrote a little, read a little, played the drums a bit, checked my email constantly, and watched what passes for movies on the Movie Network. Is it obvious that I don't have any friends?
          I saw Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai, which was actually pretty good, and The Big Tease with Mr. Wick from the Drew Carey Show. It wasn't bad, but not quiet as outrageous as I'd hoped. It's pretty pathetic when I have satellite TV and those were the only two things worth watching. I suppose I could tackle the what's left of the crossword puzzle Pen and I have been working on, but all that's left is one big honking piece of blue sky. It's sheer torture I tell ya. I swear if we ever get this thing finished I'm going to flip the thing over and number all the pieces.

14 Jan
          I suppose I should've updated my journal today, but I didn't have anything particularly witty, intelligent or insightful to say, so I didn't bother.

15 Jan
          I've realised that not having anything particularly witty, intelligent, or insightful to say is a poor excuse for not updating my web page. After all, it never stopped me before. So, while the following may be none of the above, it's something I have to express. Consider it therapy, but don't bother billing me--I spent all my money on car repairs.
          When I was five we moved to a new neighbourhood. The street I lived on was infested with girls and French kids (most of whom were girls also.) The closest guy my age was two or three years older than I was. We quickly became best friends. Having an older friend was great. He was like my older brother, always watching out for me, except there was none of the fighting and sibling rivalry. He taught me how to throw a football, climb trees, shinny up a pole, hide really well, fight (remember those French kids?, whistle, make slingshots and bow and arrows--all really advanced stuff for a kid my age. When I turned eleven we moved away again. My friend and I had started to grow apart anyway; there was less in common between an eleven year old and a fourteen year old than there had been when we were younger. Take girls for instance. I still wanted to throw rocks at them, whereas he had other plans.
          I was at the bank today, and he came in with his sister. I know he didn't remember me, but his sister did, and we talked for a moment while he went out to the car. You see, apparently he was in a bad car accident about fifteen years ago. He walks with a severe limp now, and his face is malformed even though he's had extensive reconstructive surgery. He suffered brain damage too, and is mentally challenged.
          I don't know why I bring this up. Maybe it's because it struck me so hard, and I really can't quite describe the emotions it dredged up in me. But the word UNFAIR screamed through my mind all day. Sometimes I just don't get it. I keep thinking that somehow everything should make sense, and if I try hard enough I can crack the code and it will all fall into place. But then something like this happens, and I can't see any sense in it all. And that's when I lose faith, when I'm positive that there's no rhyme or reason to it all. That shit just happens. Is it any wonder that I have trouble believing in anything, even though I so desperately want to?

16 Jan
          Amber wondered in her blog whether she was strong enough to be what the Universe asked of her--namely a writer. (I vote yes, btw.) The universe hasn't been easy on me either. It's asked a hell of a lot from me, actually. There were certain things that drew me even from early childhood. 
          Martial Arts was one. I was studying Martial Arts way back before it was cool, and luckily had an affinity for it. Writing was another. I wrote my first Sci Fi story back when I was eleven or twelve. The teacher asked for a thousand words. I gave her nine thousand. Music came next. I used to drive everyone nuts for as far back as I can remember, banging out rhythms on anything and everything. So much so that when I turned ten my uncle gave me his old set of drums. (My parents weren't quite as thrilled with the gift as I was--go figure.)
          So what I want to know is, why pick on me? Couldn't the Universe have asked me to be something a little more attainable, like a stock boy at Costco? Oh well, I suppose it could be worse. It could have asked me to be a cross-dressing Airborne drill sergeant with a penchant for interior decorating.

17 Jan
          The closer you are to writing publishable work, the longer it takes you to get rejected. See, if your stuff sucks the editors reject it right away. They seal up that form letter rejection slip in the SASE you sent them and mail it out faster than you can say, "Don't call us; we'll call you."
          But if your story is close, they have to hem and haw over it, sleep on it for a while, debate about it with their editor friends, and consult their horoscopes and ouija boards before sending out the form letter rejection. Sometimes they'll even scribble a nice personal note on the bottom, like "Nice try," or "Please send us something else," or "Don't forget to pick up eggs and milk."
          Of course, there's always the one in a million chance the ouija might say YES.

Oh yeah, new songs to learn for the band:
Joy Drop Sometimes I wanna die
Bif Naked I love myself today
Linkin Park One step closer

P.S.   No one has mentioned me in their journals for a while, so I'm going to mention them just to make them feel bad: Marsha, Keri, Snagy, Amber, Pam, Angela.  :-p 

18 Jan
          Well, it's official. The calf is torn. You know it's a good one when the tech doing the ultra sound says, "Oh, cool. Hey, look at this!" Of course, I still don't know what they're going to do about it, if anything. I don't see the doctor again until Thursday.
          Absolutely no news on the writing front. Andromeda Spaceways said they'd let me know about Naejin by February, but honestly, do they have to wait until the very last freaking day! On Spec has one of my stories, so I can expect to hear from them by the end of Feb. I sent another story to an anthology--I think I have to do a Tarot reading or something to find out when they'll respond. 
          And of course there's still Baen. I'm going to have to hunt one of their editors down and take them hostage before I get an answer from them. Luckily I'm good at that sort of thing. Maybe I'll force them to read all those old John Norman novels I have kicking around. That'll learn 'em.

19 Jan
          I'm starting to feel like a non-entity. As if maybe I don't even exist at all. I posted a few messages to the Workshop yesterday, and nadda. No response. Everyone hopped on the train of thought of every other message, but mine?--zilch. So I tried AIM. I guess no one wanted to talk to me either. I mean, did I do something to piss everyone off, or am I that easy to ignore? Publishers seem to have no problem pretending I don't exist.
          Hey, that's it. Maybe on one of my little military adventures I was actually supposed to die, but didn't. See, God figures he's already got it handled, but doesn't realise I slipped through the cracks. So here I am walking around on the big Game Board of Life, but I'm not really a player anymore. Of course, He/She/It didn't bother telling the people I owe money to that I don't exist.

21 Jan
          For those of you who are under the mistaken impression that my life is exciting, here's an example of my itinerary for the last couple of weeks:

08:30 Physio - 45 min
10:30 Pool - aerobic conditioning - 1 hr
12:00 Bring Pen lunch at work
12:30 Check mail and email. Pull myself up by bootstraps after crushing disappointment.
13:00 Write, Play drums, Martial arts.
15:00 Elliptical Trainer at gym to strengthen calf - 30 min
16:00 Nap
17:00 Weight Training at gym while Pen does aerobics
18:30 Dinner
19:00 TV, Write, Read, Research, IM Chat
03:00 Bed

That's it. No friends. No excitement. 

22 Jan

To write, or not to write.
Nope, that's not the question.
I'll always write. I can't help it.
But to submit or not, there's the rub.
To be ignored, looked down upon,
Belittled and demeaned by the very people,
Who, if they do deign to accept, 
(A word in itself that implies,
What a huge favour they bestow upon us mere writers),
The work I've sweat, bled, and gnashed teeth over,
Will reap all the rewards, 
And take credit for their amazing discovery.
Namely me.
What a bitter pill indeed.

23 Jan
          Just a thought. Publishers lament (my favourite word, lately) the fact that the sales of books and magazines are down. And while much of this is no doubt due to the preponderance of video games, mega budget movies and the internet, all of which are much better a capturing our fleeting attention, I have to wonder if it's not also due in some small part to the fact that perhaps publishers have forgotten what it is that people want.
          People want a good story. Character. Conflict. Resolution. They want to be entertained, and maybe even tricked into thinking. Publishers, however, seem determined to offer us the cleverly turned phrase, the beautiful prose, the gimmick, the novel execution. Which is fine if you're trying to impress other editors and writers, but doesn't sell to the masses.

24 Jan
          I've decided to go to Robert Sawyer's book launching in Toronto tomorrow night. I only hope they can find a small enough bottle of champagne--one that won't get the book all soggy when they break it across the...um...spine.
          I really need to get out of the house, and the chance to be around writer types couldn't hurt either. And speaking of writer types, Charlie sold a new short story to Fantasy and Science Fiction. Congrats, Charlie. :-)
          The doctor decided it was time I went back to work, although I've taken the first day off. I have band practice, and I still have some days to use up before April. I'll be on light duties, which means I get to do lots and lots of absolutely nothing. That should be good for morale--both mine, and the poor slobs who have to work their butts off while I watch.
          The doc was amazed at how fast I'm recovering. Gee, Doc, maybe it's because I've been working my butt off in physio, swimming, stretching, weight training, and cardio--something I won't be able to do now that you've sent me back to work half healed. 
          You know, I applied for a new life ages ago. Maybe I didn't put enough return postage on the SASE. 

25 Jan
          I went to Robert Sawyers press party for his new short story collection ITERATIONS last night. I got into Toronto two hours early to avoid all the rush hour traffic, and so spent a couple of hour hobbling up and down Younge Street with my cane beforehand. Anyway, I'd say the party was a success. I also met Nalo Hopkinson while I was there, and got her to autograph her book BROWN GIRL IN THE RING for me. Karin didn't show, which was a dissapointment, and when I got home there was a rejection waiting for my from ON SPEC for LONG WAY TO HEAVEN. It just keeps getting better and better.