Mar 1 
          Well, I got some writing in today--about 800 words.  Good words too.  Words I had to look up in the dictionary.  I'm starting to wonder if maybe the reason I've slowed down is because of the bad experience I had when I finished Naejin.  I was so proud to have actually written a novel, and mailed it out to a few publishers that said they accepted unsolicited manuscripts. 
          Of course, being a newbie I had no idea what a query letter or synopsis was.  After waiting several months for replies from each publisher, and getting standard form letter rejections back which led me to believe that my work hadn't even been read, I was depressed, to say the least.  Here I had spent all this time, creativity and energy on my novel, and had dared to pin dreams on it, and I couldn't even get it read.  That was two years ago, and I set it aside and haven't sent it out since.  
          I know that's a big mistake, and a real no-no from a professional writing POV, but I can't help it.  It didn't stop me from writing another though, and I know that I have to conquer my fears about writing queries and synopsis and just do it, especially with my new novel.  Still, rejection is one thing.  Being considered such a non-entity that your work isn't even looked at before it's rejected is another. 
          Oh yeah, I also got my haircut-- just short enought that the Chief might think I'm actually in the military, and just long enough that he'd still have to ask. 

Mar 2-5 
          The last few days have been exhausting.  The band played Thursday night to a small but enthusiastic crowd.  I got home at about 2:15 AM, had a bite to eat, and got to bed about 3:00.  Of course, I had to be to work by 7:30 the next morning.  As I've mentioned, I haven't been too energetic recently to start with.   Now I'd gone from being a walking zombie to a sitting zombie. 
          Pen rescued me, as usual.  Our hot water heater has been acting up, so she arranged to have the plumber come Friday afternoon to fix it.  That meant I got to go home.  I managed to get a few hours sleep in during the afternoon. 
          Of course we had to play again Friday night.  It was a larger crowd, and a rowdier one.  There were at least three fights--or one protracted one, depending on how you look at it.  The same guy got thrown out three times.  Yep, we only play the classiest places.  Of course I got home about 3:30 Saturday morning by the time we tore down the gear. 
          And what was my share of the take for two nights of playing?  About $76 total (Canadian.)  It's a good thing I'm not in it for the money.  The amazing thing is, even after all that I found myself wishing that we were playing Saturday night, or tonight.  I just love to play, that's all.  The worst part is that the band seems to be experiencing personnel problems.  Our bass player may be moving away, and there's been a little tension between a  couple of the members.  I can only hope that everything works itself out. 
           The band is one of the few things I enjoy, that make life worth waking up in the morning for.  I'd hate for it to self-destruct.  I can always find another band, but I like this one, and the people in it. 
          In a lot of ways I guess I'm the stereotypical struggling writer/musician. Financial hardship, depression, cyclic ups and downs--I share these traits in common with most of the "creative" community.  Thankfully, I don't have to struggle alone.  I've never met anyone more supportive than Pen.  She's always there to encourage me, unselfishly allows me the time to pursuit my writing/music/martial arts/anything else that catches my eye, shows up in the seediest bars to watch me play, leaves me alone or orders me to write if need be, and somehow manages to find the money to send me to that Con, or buy that drum skin or cymbal that I need.  Someday, I hope all her hard work pays off. 

Mar 6
          Absolutely nothing of note happened in my life today.  Nor have I thought of anything particularily witty to say.  What a waste of time. 

Mar 7 
          Today wasn't much better, though I did get to work with the OPP.  Any day you get to rough up a bunch of cops can't be all bad.  The book is coming slowly but surely, but tomorrow I have to spend a mind numbing day working in the squadron library.  If I'm lucky I might get some writing done in the afternoon.  I'll talk to you all tomorrow night if I don't go postal in the meantime.  
          Sorry, but I can't help feeling down.  Maybe it's the fact that this novel is coming to an end, and I feel like I'm just setting myself up for another big dissapointment.  Let's face it; if I had written War and Peace nobody would have ever heard of it.  If it had been my name on The English Patient or Memoirs of a Geisah the manuscript would still be sitting in the slush pile somewhere, or lining someone's birdcage.  You may say I'm being negative or pessimistic, but unfortunately that's the hand life has dealt me so far.
          Sometimes I feel like the invisible man, or Nicholas Tesla.  The man was probably one of the greatest creative geniuses of our time, but have you ever heard of him?  Nope.  Everyone knows who Thomas Edison is though.  He had better PR. 

Mar 14 
          I'm back!  Well, okay.  I never really went anywhere.  I was just too bumed out to update my web page.  Chatting with my fellow Sock Monkeys over  the weekend on IM helped draw me out of my funk though.  Well, mostly out.  Pen says my feet still smell funky. 
          I'm almost finished Darkside.  I know, I know.  I said that days ago.  I've been writing my thousand words a day--heck, I even wrote two thousand on Sunday--but the damn story has a life of it's own.  I swear it's teasing me.  "Just one more page, Steve.  One more."  Then five pages later: "Sucker!" 
          This morning when I started up my computer, instead of playing that annoying Microsoft jingle the damn thing laughed at me.  Honest.  I got even with it though.  I downloaded the Macarina, turned the volume down so I couldn't hear it, and played it over and over again in a continuous loop.  The computer surrendered unconditonally about an hour ago.  Don't mess with me.  I'm evil. 

Mar 21 
          I haven't been neglecting my web page--honest.  I fell off the face of the Earth for a couple of days.  Apparently I tripped over the nose, tumbled down past the ear, and landed somewhere in the armpit.  It took me a while to climb back up and reposition myself on the face again, and then I couldn't remember my place.  I settled on right between the eyes, but I came this close to picking the nose. 
          Anyway, I still haven't finished Darkside yet.  I spent a whole day obsessing over one paragraph.  Karin suggested I just skip ahead, but there's bugger all room to skip to when you're on the last page or two.  (Some help you were, Karin!)  I decided a while back that Darkside was going to be twenty-two chapters long (don't ask why) with the last chapter being a short epilogue, so if chapter twenty-two turns out to be 350 pages long, you'll know why. 
          From now on, I promise to update my webpage daily.  Of course if nothing interesting happens, or my wit is duller than usual, you may be subjected to a few paragraphs on why Aunt Marie's moustache is better than Aunt Karen's.   (Hint--Aunt Marie has a matching goatee.)  Or why Uncle Bill isn't allowed at the playland at MacDonald's anymore.  Well, you asked for it. 

Mar 22 
          Aaargghhh!!!  I'm just about finished.  I'm down to the last few paragraphs--maybe a page tops.  I managed to get some writing time in at work, but then it was time to go home.  Hey, I don't care if they're just about  to write me a check for a million dollars, when it's time to go home I'm outta there!  Anyway, I packed up my stuff and ran a few errands Pen asked me to do.  She's working late tonight, so I figured I'd finish the book at home.  At long last, I'd finally be finished.   I forgot the freak'n disk at work!!!!!  Tomorrow.  Tomorrow I'll finish it for sure. 

Mar 23 
          I did it!!! I'm done, finished, complete, the eagle has landed.  Darkside is finally finished.  Of course, now I have to edit it.  On the bright side, I managed to edit the first twelve chapters already today.  I figure I should be finished editing the rest by tomorrow, then it's off to a few friends of mine who act as readers.  If all goes well, I should have the finished-finished product in a week or so.  Of course, then I have to write the dreaded query letter/synopsis.  And mail it out.  I've decided when that's all done with, though, that I'm going to take a few weeks off from writing and just read.  I mean read for pleasure--stuff I  don't have to critique.  It's been a while since I've done that.  Anyway, to reiterate--I'M DONE.  Happy happy, joy joy!!!! 

Mar 24 
          I finished editing Darkside today.  I went through all the critiques my fellow Sock Monkeys provided, as well as the ones from the Del Rey Online Writing Workshop, and edited to the best of my ablility.  I actually even followed some of their advice--especially from the people who seem to think I'm brilliant.  If they're smart enought to realise that then I guess I can give them a listen to. :-)  I had the day off work today, my last official day of leave for this year.  Luckily I get another 25 days as of April 1.  (Whoever thought of having the military fiscal year start on April Fool's day had real insight.) 

Mar 25 
          Pen's gone into the city tonight to celebrate her birthday with her mom.  Her birthday's not until March 25, but her mom wanted to do it this weekend.  So, I'm on my own for another weekend.  I spent all day formatting the book.
          Publishers and editors are very picky about manuscript formatting.  It has to be double-spaced, at least one inch margins all around, proportional font, underlines instead of italics--that sort of thing.  But the people who read for me want it to be in as close to a real book format as possible.  So that means I have to format the entire book twice.  Anyway, I spent the whole day doing that and I'm finally finished.  You know, most guys would go out and party their faces off when the wife's away, but not me...noooooo. 

Mar 26 
          Today was the first day in ages that I didn't have to write, and I took full advantage of it.  I finally had the time to load some software I've been wanting to, like Cakewalk--it turns your computer into a multi-track recording studio, plus a couple of games I've been wanting to try (Pod Racer and Homeworld.)  So that's what I did--I wasted a day.  I actually composed a stupid little song--six drum tracks, bass, piano, saxaphone, and tubular bells.  Then spent the rest of the time playing the other two games.  Of course tomorrow I have to get to work on my query letter and synopsis, and I owe Charlie and Jan crits.  So much for self-indulgence. 

Mar 27 
          Today sucked.  Not only that, it was weird too.  It started this morning just as I was about to go to work.  A bird decided our dryer vent would be a great place to nest.  Unfortunately the stupid critter fell in and couldn't get back out again.  I tried disconnecting the vent, but the idiot just retreated into the dryer.  I had to totally disassemble the dryer (top, back, drum, everything) to get the bird out.  Then I had to chase the dopey bird around the basement.  I finally caught him and released him back into the great outdoors.  The least he could have done is taken all that dryer lint with him.  
          Anyway, then I had to sit around all afternoon waiting for the guy to come and place a screen over the vent.  It's a good thing I got the dryer put back together too, because by this time my uniform was a mess and I had to clean it again.  Needless to say I never did make it into work.  (The guy at the office laughed his fool head off when I told him what I was doing.) 
          Then our bass player called a band meeting.  It seems he has the possiblitiy of work in Montreal.  If he takes the job, we're looking for a new bass player.  The worst part is, he's decided that even if he doesn't take the job, he's still going to quit the band.  Our guitar player, who is a good friend of his, has said that he'll probably quit too so that he can play with the bass player.  And even if the guitar player doesn't quit, there's  a 50-50 chance he's posted to Winnipeg.  I'd say that's pretty much it for this band.  Sometimes life really sucks. 
          By the way, it's Pen's birthday tomorrow.  I can't tell you how old she'll be (cause she'll kill me) and besides, you'd never believe me anyway.  You know guys, when you get older you don't have to marry a much younger woman--just find one who looks the part. :-) 

Mar 29 
          Pen had a pretty good birthday, if I do say so myself.  The girls where she works spoiled her rotten, and then it was my turn.  I brought her flowers, then took her out to dinner at a nice restaurant.  I even made her a nice card and sent her one by email too!  For a present, I gave her money to go to a spa.  I think I covered all my bases here.  I was going to take her to a movie, but we were both pretty wiped so we decided to stay home and watch TV and do the movie thing tomorrow.  Everyone and their dog called to wish her happy birthday, which made watching TV difficult, but what the hey.  All in all I think it went pretty well, with no major screwups on my part, so I'm out of the doghouse for at least another year. 

Mar 30
          Pen and I went to the movies tonight and saw Final Destination, which is a pretty fair horror pic.  We both enjoyed it, but it's a good thing I didn't take her to see that on her birthday yesterday.  While it was a fun movie, it's definately not birthday celebration material.  That would have put me in the doghouse for sure!