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I’ve always liked stories about mundane things. Everyday people who might be ignored or worse, shunned — garbage men, teachers, farmers, butchers, prostitutes, factory workers — who find themselves in extraordinary circumstance and rise up to the challenge. The annals of history are filled with stories of the famous, the successful, the victors. Finding tales about those broke their backs to make a living is harder. It’s not glamorous work. No one does it to become rich or powerful.

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For months, we kept the animated film “9” (2009) on the DVR. I kept telling myself that I’d sit down and watch it on the weekend, and inevitably being too distracted to do so. We came home a few nights ago and discovered the DVR had deleted several of the oldest recordings, including 9. That made me sad, because I really did intend on watching it soon. Kind of mad, I fired up Netflix and watched it that night.

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Mary Robinette Kowal started a delightful challenge, in 2010, to go correspond via letter for an entire month. That has grown to become A Month of Letters, which runs for the whole of February. During the next month, I and the other 6,000 people who’ve signed up to participate will be writing letters, post cards, and doing other creative things and dropping them into the mail. I love to write longhand, and this gives me a wonderful reason to do so.

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As writers, we fill our toolbox with things that help us in our craft. I’ve been experimenting with a few new things of late, trying to boost my productivity. Two of them in particular are making a difference. I haven’t been involved in many word wars — timed writing sessions with one or more other writers. Set a short time limit, say 15 or 30 minutes, and write until it’s over.

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Part of my new and improved resolve to Finish Things is accountability, and to that end I’ve created a master spreadsheet for the year where I’m tracking my daily writing, good things that happen (h/t Christie Yant), projects I want to work on, and deadlines I’m working towards. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. I’m trying to work every day while I’m involved in a project. Writing is, or should be, what I spend the most time on, at least at this stage in my current WIP.

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The calendar has been replaced. Sins of the past tallied and new resolutions made. As far as years go, 2012 was mediocre on many fronts but there were a few bright moments that give me hope for what’s to come. Home: When we moved out of our house to help my Dad after surgery in May of 2009, I could never have foreseen the journey ahead of us. Alone or apart, we’ve been staying with other people ever since.

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Two years and two days ago, I started a journey from Santa Monica, California by foot, bus, train, and plane. Many hours later, I reached Detroit and was met by my friend Katni, who drove me through the Detroit-Windsor tunnel where, six months after being kicked out, I re-entered Canada and was reunited with Andrea.

Being home still feels really good.

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Andrea and I drove up to Toronto — or Richmond Hill, one of its northern suburbs — for World Fantasy 2012 on Friday. This was my second World Fantasy (the first being Columbus two years ago) and Andrea’s first. The hotel(s): We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, one of the overflow hotels. That hotel itself was pleasant, albiet slightly incompetent. One elevator was out of order the entire stay. Andrea was trapped between floors in the second elevator on Saturday and had to be rescued by the fire department.

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I may burst with glee. Tomorrow is Nikola Tesla day. Today, the Mad Scientist Journal published my secret history of Tesla, “Man Out of Time“. I even have word that someone on Facebook commented that they thought the story was a “great idea to run a game/one-shot on”. Katie Nyborg did the fabulous illustration for the interior. How much does this mean to me? Well, Tesla is my hero more so than any other historical figure ever.

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Yesterday was Independence Day back in the states. We already had our fireworks over the weekend, and I worked through Canada Day on Monday and had yesterday off instead. Among the joys of American/Canada relations are mixed holidays. Our plans were a little more focused. Yesterday we saw an apartment, and made a deposit, and transfered utilities to our name. This was kind of a big deal, because for the first time in more than three years, we’re in a position to start a new chapter in our lives.

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