Michael Stubblefield Writing Blog

An Unexpected Story

by michael in Writing

Have you ever had an idea that was so driving, so big, you were compelled to work on it whether you wanted to or not?

For the last few months, I had been working solidly, if sporadically, at a certain story idea I had, about a girl I call Deidre Dashwood. I have been trying to keep focus on writing one thing as much as possible, instead of moving from writing project to writing project without finishing. I do scribble ideas that I have down in my pocket notebook, for new or existing stories. This has been working out well and I have made some progress on Deidre’s story.

Until a couple of weeks ago. That’s when the seed of a different idea, a different story, an unexpected story, lodged itself in my brain. I tried writing it down in my notebook for later, but it soon became clear that this was a story that I would have to write.

Since then, I have made pretty good progress on this new story. Easily outpacing Deidre Dashwood on the page already.  Part of the reason I think is because with Deidre Dashwood, and with other stories I had tried to write before, in the back of my mind, I was always trying to write a story that I thought people would like.  In this case, I know this story is going to be something that half the people in the world will hate.  Half may like it.  And probably the remaining half may end up being indifferent.  But it is a story that has to be written.

When I’m done with this one, and eventually turn back to my other creative diversions, I need to remember that.  That I am not writing a book for everybody, no matter what the story is.  It needs to be for my own, and for the story’s sake that I write.

Neil Gaiman Wrote With My Pen!

by michael in Book World, Pens, Writing

I am the sort of person who collects odd things that catch my fancy.  Usually practical, anachronistic things that are ‘obsolete’ by modern standards.  I have a collection of several nice hats for example (and I recommend all of you stylish cats out there take a look at Goorin Bros.).  Or typewriters–which I also collect and use.

Pens–in particular fountain pens–fall very neatly into this classification and intersects with my pursuit in writing.  And so I have a nice little collection of fountain pens and several lovely ink colors.

Neil Gaiman also collects fountain pens.  Although Neil Gaiman’s fountain pen collection most certainly dwarfs my own small handful.  He uses his fountain pens to write his novels and, more relevant to this post, for book signings.  Currently, he is in the midst of his Last Ever Book Signing Tour and is swamping poor unsuspecting bookstores with thousands of people.  Most recent stop on this bookstore massacre?  The Tattered Cover, right here in Denver.

And so, this Tuesday night I was one of the thousand ticket holders standing in what counted for a line but was more accurately an outline of the Tattered Cover, Neil Gaiman’s latest act of willful imagination in my hands waiting my turn for a signature.  Before I went, my wife suggested that I take one of my personal pens and ask if Mr. Gaiman would be kind enough to sign my book with it.  The simple brilliance of this suggestion nearly knocked me to the floor.  I chose my blue TWSBI Diamond 540.  It was a Christmas gift and my first ever fountain pen.

When it was my turn, I brought my books up, along with my oldest son who I’m proud to say was as excited as I was to get his copy of The Graveyard Book signed.  I asked if Mr. Gaiman (or Neil, for those of us who are close like that) if he would sign with my pen and he said “Sure.”  He looked my pen over, said “Oh, a TWSBI!” and nodded approvingly.

We got our autographs, and my son was so excited he started reading the Graveyard book all over again in the car.  When we got home, I showed off my autograph and the Pen Which Neil had Held.   Took pictures and sent tweets.

The Pen Which Neil Held

 Later, when it was time to do some writing, I took the old and new again pen and examined it.  It didn’t look any different.  It’s partly transparent too, so I held it up to the light.  Aside from the ink swishing around inside, I couldn’t see anything.  I took the cap off and looked at the nib.  About the same.  Maybe the slightest glow?  But no.  Still normal.

I put the tip down on a sheet of paper and waited to see what would happen.  The pen sat there immobile, point down on the blank page.  Perhaps I had to give it a little start?  I moved the pen in a straight line,  then squiggles and spirals and messy scrawls.  Nope.  Absolutely nothing had changed about my pen.  It still required that I do all the work.  My faint hope that tactile contact with Neil Gaiman would impart some supernatural properties to my writing instrument–not unlike something which may happen in one of his own stories–was in vain.

It is still a very nice pen.  And now it has extra reason to be my favorite.  Also, on the plus side, I am enjoying very much his latest book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane.  My writing will have to continue to be my own, but I can at least find inspiration in good writing.


Tonight I’m Going to See Neil Gaiman

by michael in Book World

That’s right, tonight I’m going to see Neil Gaiman.  He’s coming to Tattered Cover here in Denver to promote and sign copies of his newest book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane.  He’s one of my favorite authors–I especially love his short stories.  Not a lot of authors are considerate enough these days to offer short fiction–so I’m really excited.

I was pleased to see my son excited to go as well.  He’s going to bring his copy of The Graveyard Book for Mr. Gaiman’s signature-izing.

Greetings I come in Pieces (or: My new Writing Blog)

by michael in Updates, Writing

Lorem Ipsum and all that jazz.  Welcome to my new blog.

I’m creating this new blog because…well because you’ve got to have a blog these days.  You especially need a blog if you’re trying to write, apparently.  I had a blog before, but unfortunately I tried to be tricky and get really cheap VPS hosting.  Well, we can see how that worked out.  Let this be a reminder to you kids: backup your work!

I don’t mind so much though.  When my blog went down and all files were lost, I was upset, sure.  But then I figured it was probably a good excuse for a clean break and a fresh start.

So here’s where I tell you about myself: I’m a mild-mannered computer programmer by day–actually, that’s only the most recent in a string of jobs that also encompasses photographer, tour manager, truck driver, sales and marketing.  Within the last couple of years, I’ve started working on my writing again, bringing me finally back to my scriptwriting degree I got in college.

I’m currently working on finishing my first novel.  I’ve got several short stories written, though I’m not quite ready to do anything with all of those yet.  When I’m finished…well that’s a question that needs an answer still.  There’s a lot more paths open these days for a writer than just a few years ago.  There’s the ‘traditional’ route, with an agent and a publisher and all of that song and dance.  Or there’s self-publishing which has become more feasible and more respectable.  I don’t have the answers right now.  It’s like then ending of a book in progress.  I’ll just be learning as I go along.

Also on this blog you may expect to see plenty of ramblings and digressions.  Fountain pens and typewriters and writing paraphernalia.  And some technology related rantings as well.  Though those should be few as I’m thinking I will give those their own blog to run and frolic through.

Primarily, this will be my writing blog.  To talk about my travails and adventures and mania and despair, all while trying to figure out the hows and whys of being a writer.