... but you can meet him and many of his friends right here!
Yep, that's me in the picture, the ol' Blimprider, all masked up and nowhere to go. Slightly out of focus after 17 months in quarantine, and haven't had a haircut since November of 2019. That's my epidemic hairstyle, my Kaiser Permanente mask, and my Writing.com tobogganer. Oh, and a clean shirt, so consider yourselves special; I don't bother with that very often!|
So what am I going to do here? Why do I need another blog? Patience, m'dear, all will be revealed. Welcome to the twisted corridors of an odd writer's mind. Enter if you dare...
| Nope, sorry, there's no deep, profound revelations today. Testament is the name of my latest short story, a creepy little foray to a haunted house to meet the haunter in person. I was going to submit it to the "Twisted Tales Contest" , but a quick read of the guidelines shows me that Arakun the Twisted Raccoon doesn't care for gore. My story isn't dripping with it, but it is a factor, so I'll abide by her wishes and skip this outing. I'll post it on the Please Review forum instead and see what happens. Here's the link:
I seem to have become a short story writer. My writing career seems to have progressed backwards, much like the way I approach most everything, butt-first. I began with novels, then made whatever name I enjoy in the field of novellas, and now when a burst of interest comes over me, I get in and get out, 5000 words or less. So there's my latest offering. What do you think?
Jack "Blimprider" Tyler
| "Literature was not born the day when a boy crying 'wolf, wolf' came running out of the Neandethal Valley with a big gray wolf at his heels. Literature was born on the day when a boy came crying 'wolf, wolf,' and there was no wolf behind him."
~ VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Wolf, wolf! . . . So, is there a wolf? I'm not sure, but before I get into all the WdC business for this month, I have need to clear up some weird business. A few days ago a friend of mine dropped an email to ask whether I was on instagram using the handle jacktyler615. I have never used instagram and have no intention to start, but this individual is flitting around using my picture, trying to friend my friends and worm his or her way into their lives for a purpose that is unclear to me. My financial activities are well-protected by methods I won't disclose for obvious reasons, but it has occurred to me that I may not be the main target. So, should you receive a communication from this jacktyler615 individual claiming to be imprisoned in Tibet or some such, and desperately in need of a loan of $10,000 to get home, rest assured, it ain't me. I am home. I've been home since I left the navy in 1969, and have loved every minute of it!
And now, on to business! My format for the new blog has been to post exceptional work as I discover it, so I'll dispense with the list henceforward. I've had my reviewing scaled back during April due to much of my WdC time going to my Elements of Steampunk course, but I did encounter three elegant works to showcase. I always seem to go for the high drama, but this month was a bit different. Of the four, the one that best engaged my attention was a whimsical tale that will appeal to writers everywhere. Allow me to present April's "Talk of the Flight Deck" winner:
Congratulations, a ribbon, and an exclusive Blimprider merit badge to Jon Michael Paulsen for spinning a splendid yarn in a very few words!
Over at the group known as "Dreamweaver Bar & Grill" we indulge in a monthly contest to write a story, poem, song lyric, or whatever that follows a simple prompt. Every entry receives one of my simply fabulous Blimprider reviews. Oh, you don't believe they're fabulous? Well, click on my review tab and see for yourself! Anyway, any work pulling down a five-star review is then added to the group's ever-growing anthology, "Fireside Tales" , which can only bring more eyes to your work. Oh, yeah, and there are merit badges, gift points, and in-group promotions to be had as well. This month's prompts are:
Character: A person who will do whatever it takes.
Situation: He or she is spending the night alone... except for the presence of a large wild animal.
If that sounds like a story you'd like to tell, and scoop up some fabulous awards for doing it, step one is to join "Dreamweaver Bar & Grill" . Just check in at the group's open forum, "The Dreamweaver Lounge" , and ask anyone from the bartender on up to add you to the roster. Couldn't be simpler!
And on that note, I'll bid you adieu. Don't know when I'll be back, whenever I have something to say. Yeah, it's that kind of blog. Take care!
Semper audax esse,
Today I awakened to a most pleasant surprise. Our own CW Hawes is a prolific writer. He joined WdC at my behest, but hasn't yet gotten around to immersing himself in the joys of the world's greatest writing site. I'll keep working on him, but in the meanwhile, let me share what he posted on his WordPress blog this morning:
"I’ve known Jack Tyler for just about as long as I’ve been an independent author-publisher. We met on a now defunct steampunk forum. Jack taught himself how to write stories. He learned the ins and outs, and honed his craft to an art. He not only knows how to write, he knows how to write well. He’s mastered the art of storytelling. To date, he’s published the 3 book Beyond the Rails series, which is steampunk high adventure; and the epic fantasy novel The Stone Seekers, which breaks refreshing new ground in that genre. He has lots more stuff in the wings, and I hope he let’s those books take center stage. Because Jack is far and away one of the better indie writers I’ve read. He has the ability to create a world and people it with characters who draw you in, and make you a part of their world. His stories have an air of the classic about them. Which puts them head and shoulders above much of the contemporary drivel being put up on Amazon today. So if high adventure and lots of action is what you’re looking for, head on over to Amazon and pick up Jack’s books. You won’t be sorry."
High praise indeed from a man who is a damned fine author himself, and until I convince him to join us here, you can, and should, read his most excellent blog at https://cwhawes.com
For All of Us
Okay, we're all creative people here, in theory at least, and are constantly looking for ways to increase our quality, our volume, the depth of our endeavors. We all are. I've been stopped for a while, and wishing I could find some magic pill to regain the full-speed-ahead attitude that marked much of my creative life. Well, folks, I've found it! This very morning, Literary Hub offered an essay by Jeremy DeSilva on the amazing connections between creativity and walking. He talks about the great thinkers who walked as part of their daily routine, and a double-blind study in which creative types at a university were split into two groups, one that walked, and one that didn't. At the end of a year, MRI scans showed that the group that walked had added an additional 60% of connections in those portions of the brain associated with creativity. This is a long essay, but if it's even only partly accurate, you owe it to your creative self to read it. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that if you're only going to follow one link that I ever post here, make it this one:
I've gone for my walk this morning. Have you?
Read well, take a walk, and write better,
Jack "Blimprider" Tyler
| Ahoy, mateys, an' shiver me timbers! I'm back with another treasure map to a gem that shouldn't be lost to obscurity. Looking over the first few entries it seems that, despite the best-laid plans, the function of this blog has become to guide my followers to items that deserve to be read and reviewed, and authors who deserve wider followings. So be it. There are a good many endeavors that aren't nearly as worthy.
Today's offering is an essay that should be read by anyone who has aspirations of going far in our shared writing pursuit. Many of us are here as hobbyists; I am myself, any dreams of Untold Fame and Riches having passed into the wake decades ago, and that's fine. Hobbies are supposed to relax and rejuvenate, pastimes followed for pure enjoyment and no thought of material gain. But whether you aspire to the New York Times best-seller list, or simply inclusion in one of our newsletters, your work must reach a certain standard, and this essay explains in no uncertain terms what's ahead of you if you strive to be numbered among the best.
Read well, practice diligently, and write better,
Jack "Blimprider" Tyler
| Today I found another, and I simply must pass it along. This is the work of yet another skilled author who very much deserves to be read, and at 300 words, this flash of brilliance won't take up much of your day. So click on the link, and prepare to be amazed!
Jack "Blimprider" Tyler
| Some of you are aware that from time to time, I go off looking for something to review. Those who know me know that I'm not a harsh reviewer, but I am thorough. It takes a lot to earn five stars from me, but today, one of the random items the site throws up in at the bottom of the right sidebar caught my eye, and am I lucky it did! Now I'm going to make you lucky as well. Check out:
It's really worth your while!
Read well, and write better,
Jack "Blimprider" Tyler
Good morning friends old and new, and welcome to my new blog. The first question asked by those who have known me will be, why a new blog? Well, I've come to realize that it's well past time to retire Riding the Blimp. You see, RtB was the blog of a writer, and I haven't felt that particular juice in quite some time. I focused there on techniques, styles, how-to articles, and why I wrote the way I did. Now it's time to write about why a non-writer continues to pay the membership fee to hang out on the world's greatest writing site. But first, some backstory.
Many of you will know that I began writing to entertain others at the tender age of 10 at the encouragement of my fifth-grade teacher. That was in 1958, and in the ensuing six decades I've written in nearly every style and genre that there is. I've been to space, the bottom of the sea, secluded lairs, and teeming cities, and I have to admit that I've enjoyed every visit. I found my voice in 2011 with "Beyond the Rails 1" , the first book of a trilogy that sits on Amazon and even enjoys occasional sales. I have another novel there, a "cozy fantasy," and one here that can be read nowhere else, "Broken English" , a police procedural. I've placed short stories in anthologies, some also for sale on Amazon, and tried my hand at poetry here on the site.
At the encouragement of WdC's wonderful members, I taught myself the art of the short story, and even now, one will on occasion rear its head and demand to be told. Some of them have even won awards. The samples are at "Short Stories" . I write reviews on the average of about ten per month, and in addition, I run a contest for "Dreamweaver Bar & Grill" , and give the monthly "Talk of the Flight Deck" Award, so I remain very involved even though writing doesn't hold much appeal for me any more. But what made me that way to start with?
By this point in my life, 72 years of age, I have a pretty good handle on why I started writing. Like so many of us, it goes back to childhood. Mine was probably better than most; I never slept outside and never missed a meal unless it was by choice, but I was raised by a great-grandmother who, having been born in 1888, was a southern aristocrat and a Victorian lady. By the time I was dumped on her when she was 60, she'd had enough of raising children, and was never slow to let me know it. She despised my father, who I never met, and blamed me for being his offspring. The complicating factor was that due to a strange alignment of circumstances, lower middle-class me grew up in a 90210-style neighborhood, and was viewed by most of my peers and their parents as something they would have to scrape off their shoes. Writing, quite simply, was something I learned early that I was good at, and I polished that skill to "show" everyone who viewed me with disdain that I could do something they couldn't, no matter how uppity they felt, or how much money they had at their disposal.
All the parents are dead now, and those peers who are still alive are scattered to the four corners. I've nothing left to prove, and no one left to prove it to, and I find it hard to put my nose to the grindstone every morning without that prod.
There's really only one fable, that I'll start writing again and stand the literary world on its ear. I may write once in a while, but I pretty much know that's a fantasy. I have one story that is prodding at my mind, and I dream of having it written and enjoyed, but the thought of sitting down and working on it is a drudgery that is right up there with pulling weeds for me, and it isn't likely to happen anytime soon. Still, it has my attention, and one never knows what might happen tomorrow. Here's the diary entry that begins the tale:
If my colleagues suspected what I was researching in the quiet hours while they take their libation in the nearby town, I would be denounced as a fraud, a fool, or worse, and likely excommunicated from the church of science. Such is the risk that I must take, for the darkness that besets mankind grows on every side and threatens to return to destroy all that we have built. If I am to be denounced, then so it must be, but if someone doesn't undertake the reassembly of the knowledge of the ancients, it will be the end of civilization as we know it, perhaps the very end of mankind. I cannot allow myself to be dissuaded. I have booked passage and will leave for the site tomorrow.
Maybe some day... But I remain because over the course of a long and mostly well-enjoyed life, I've learned to love writers. Nearly all my friends are writers, and when we get together we talk shop. That's what I don't want to leave behind, and that's why I'll be around here at some level, in some capacity, until the day I die, an event I hope is a long way off. So many conversations wait to be had...
Live to write, write to live!