Monday, January 7, 2013

January: Islets of the Scouts

Christmas saw the arrival of a number of electronic devices, a red remote-control monster truck, Barbie's new favourite mode of transport down the stairs being one of the more entertaining, but as ingenious as the smartphones, eReaders, and tablets are, I still like to snap photos with a camera, make phone calls on a phone, read books with real pages, pin stuff to the fridge with magnets, and yes, scribble notes in the little boxes of calendars that hang on my wall.

Last year, Santa was good enough to deliver such a calendar. It's new and glossy and each month is adorned with a stunning photograph of a...

...lighthouse (thank goodness I did not get puppies or kitties or cottages in the country), and I am wondering the fate of the little boxes that will track my year.

January's lighthouse is called the Islotes les Éclaireurs which is French for "Islets of the Scouts." It is located in the Beagle Channel, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, close to the most southerly permanent township in the world.

Now that we're well into 2013 (it's hard to believe New Year's was only eight days ago), I rather feel like I am scouting unchartered territory, gathering information, exploring my possibilities, warning others to give me room because I'm planning to light up, baby.

Whilst I apply an abundance of spit and polish to my projects carried over from 2012 (and earlier), my goal for what's left of January, is to research my options (seriously), and develop a realistic, but slightly ambitious submission plan for the next twelve months. For me, this means stepping up the process of writing, editing, and - armed with spreadsheets of appropriate references - submitting material.

So with my lighthouse calendar in hand - a little late to the starter's block perhaps, but nevertheless determined - I begin my journey into treacherous, but staggeringly beautiful waters, dodging rocks, and riding the waves. I'll take a beating, and the journey will test my courage, but I have twelve months of enormous lights to guide me to my destination.

So now, I'll suck up my nerve and get back to work, one of my favourite quotes foremost in my mind as I face those little white boxes:
You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.
Christopher Columbus


  1. we have a light house here at ft ebey. it is so beautiful. lighthouses are very rampant. good luck with whatever goal you end up comign up with!!

    1. Hey there Tammy. I've never been to Ft Ebey but it looks like a beautiful spot. Thanks for the well wishes. Now I've found your blog I'll drop on over.

  2. Erica (do you feel vulnerable with your real name out there?), I still like paper datebooks I can write on. I have plenty of electronic gadgets that could do it, but they deprive me of the satisfaction and reinforcement of writing my lists down and crossing items off. I'm still waiting for our bank's free calandar with boring local history pictures but by golly it's free!

    As for your goals for this year, I hope you feel the support of many of us rooting for you and completely believing in your ability to succeed. I think several of us will be smugly claiming "we knew you when..." and congratulating ourselves on our early prediction of your success. May 2013 be triumphant in all ways. (Watch out for the Barbie car hazards.)

    1. I thought alot about the 'name as brand' thing, and realized I'm not ready to be branded (I think this is the wrong avenue, anyway), but I'm ready to be abit more personable. Ha ha - bird by bird, I guess.

      Considering you've ventured far and wide across the writers' cyberworld, I'm humbled by your comments. Is that why we do this? So we can say, 'Hey, I knew Julie when she was ruminating,' or 'I knew Mike when he was Chris,' or 'I knew Rob when he was trying to convince everyone he couldn't write?' What a fabulous faith to have.

      Last year you were disillusioned about your novel and looking at serious non-fiction. I'm keen to hear about your 2013 direction if you can wrangle A Thought Grows from Joseph.

    2. Eggie,

      I admire your willingness to re-arrange the furniture. I am proud of Jules and Swifty for changing their places around as well. Change is good but the only change I like is the kind that I put into the piggy bank. I am a lazy person by nature; therefore I work hard at the beginning of anything. Get the ball rolling and then settle down to a pace that I can maintain, forever. I am a fan of growth and when I see an opportunity I will go at warp speed to take advantage of the chance that life has presented. But work just to make the blog look different, no way because like you I am technically challenged. My point is that I love your new look, just don’t expect any changes on my side of the blogosphere.

      About the brand discussion you and Jules are having. I thought about this before I started writing. I do believe that Egg or Eureka is your brand. Just as Madonna or Bon Jovi are brands. The names they chose are just as fictional as Eureka. I chose to use my real name as my brand. I figured if I was successful then I want the world to know who I am, and if I fail then no one will care about robakers anyway.

      By the way, I am still trying to convince myself that I can write.

    3. I hear ya, Shakers. I need lists, and NaNoWriMo's, and deadlines, and a cattleprod probably wouldn't hurt either, to overcome inherent laziness.

      When I started the blog change, I wished I hadn't, but I do like lighthouses.

      I'm not sure I could publish a book under, 'Egg' or 'Eureka' (even Dr Seuss tried out a few pseudonyms before settling on his brand name) but I do like the idea of becoming a rock star.

      Ah yes, I knew Rob when he was trying to convince everyone he couldn't write....

    4. That's right-- all my blog-surfing is so I can claim fame to all you famous folks someday. I want to see my name in bold in each and every one of your book acknowledgment sections!

      I'll be curious to see what direction I go this year too Erica. I'll keep us both posted!

    5. I knew Eureka back when she was a he. Hee, hee, hee. I had to come here and throw that in.

      You know...all the greats (Hemingway, Stein, Fitzgerald) knew each other. They were peers just starting out, critiquing each other's work, making it into the publishing world together. I'm sure Earnest said at one time or another, "I knew Gertie back when she dated men," or of Fitzgerald, "I knew Scott before Zelda turned him into an alcoholic." Ah...good times, good times.

    6. Yippee! Let's all cavort to Paris to live the gay, artistic life. (And no, that's not related to the sex-change comment.)

    7. Eggie,

      Sorry that I replied in the middle of Jules' comments. Accidents happen.

      I will say again for the record that I am proud to know you guys. Y'all are all right with me. But Swifty ‘s comment provokes a great question. And remember that there are no dumb questions, just dumb people that ask questions.

      Who is the drunk, the crazy one and the lesbian? Big Joe seems to be the guy that walks around the lake and mumbles to himself. When he does speak it is usually something thought provoking and pointe. I guess I am the wacky, sarcastic, southerner who asks his friends inappropriate and mildly uncomfortable questions.

    8. I don't care where you put your comments, Shakers. And I doubt Julie's going to lose sleep over it.

      'The drunk, the crazy one, and the lesbian' sounds like a grown-up, 'The lion, the witch and the wardrobe.' A title for the sequel to Book of Lot, perhaps?

      Wacky, sarcastic southerner, eh? I'll remember that next time you say something (seemingly) nice.

    9. I'm saving all my S & H Greenbacks Stamps (remember those?) for that trip to Paris. Only 2,000,013 to go. And a guest travels for free. You have to ride cargo, though. And no Jordan almonds.

    10. Eggie,

      I am all in on a trip to Paris. I love Paris and it would be the perfect city except for the Parisians. Of course they say that Paris would be the perfect city except for all the ugly Americans.

      Swifty (The cute guy in the blue shirt? Really? I guess I need to go buy a blue shirt and maybe someone will consider me cute), I ride cargo every night so not big deal there. And you are correct, no almonds. It is not glamorous, but you can be sure that the boxes will get there and therefore you will get there as well.

      I was thinking 'The drunk, the crazy one and the lesbian' would be a perfect sequel to 'All the King's words. 'The 'Book of Lot' sequel has already been chosen. I am going off the wall for it. It will be called 'The Book of Gabriel.'

      By the way, when I say something nice, I mean it. Everything else can be considered sarcasm and I think your great!

    11. No almonds? Sacrebleau! Cargo with Rob would be cool. With parachutes.

      Are we looking at the 'New Rob Akers Bible?' Oh joy.

    12. Rob - it's not the shirt. I have a way with the grannies. ;o)

      Erica - let's avoid the Kool-ade when we go to Rob's during the comet and meteor shower.

    13. Swifty,

      You’re a granny chaser? No wonder you live in Florida. That is what I would call a target rich environment.


      No parachutes. You are going down with the jet.

      Funny Story. I have a Navigator who was under suspicion of being mentally unstable. The flight doctor was riding along with us but really he was there to observe my Nav. The first stop of the day was to pick up a 40,000 pound front end loader.

      I only had one loadmaster(normally there were two guys but the flight doc was acting as the second guy), so the men on the ground actually put it in the airplane while the loadmaster did the paperwork. Before we took off, he told me it would be nose heavy but it was okay. After we took off, I commented that he was right. It was really nose heavy. About 30 minutes later, he called me to the back.

      He was pale white and sweating heavily. He told me that we couldn’t land. The guys on the ground loaded it backwards and we were out of limits to land. I told him that the airplane was going to land, the question was if we could control when it hit the ground. So I went back to my seat and briefed the crew on the situation. There was an air base closer to us than the one we left from, so we went there. It also had the appeal of being our home base and a place where I hoped we could ditch the doc.

      We moved some stuff to the rear of the airplane to help balance out the weight. Then we did a controllability check and I was 99% sure everything was going to work out. Well, the fear bug left and the sarcasm bug finally hit me combined with the desire to protect my Nav and finally I didn’t like the doctor so I wanted to mess with him.

      Before we started to descend I told the crew that I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out, we were test pilots and there was a very real possibility that we could die. If anyone wanted to take the silk elevator and jump out, it was approved. My crew knew I was kidding, but the doc actually got a parachute and sat it next to him in his seat.

      I would have never let him jump out and he deemed my Nav to be able to function and be totally stable in the face of impending doom. My plan worked because the doctor got off the airplane claiming he had work to do in the clinic. We laughed at him the rest of the deployment.

      Eggie, I know you would face death like a man. Trust me, you dont need a parachute.

    14. Mean, mean, mean. Poor ol' doc.

      Actually, when I suggested I might want to jump out of a plane, it wasn't the actual plane I was thinking I might need to escape...

  3. Oooo...pretty. I had a little feeler that you were redecorating. I love the header and the new look!

    Yes, it's a busy time indeed! You know, Erica, you've got a great head on your shoulders and a marvelous sense of organization and determination. There is no doubt in my mind that you will attain whatever goals you set forth. Last year's list was AWESOME. I've never finished that many objectives from my list of goals. I guess I have to make a list, first!

    Hey - tomorrow I'll be posting the guidelines and sign-up list for the Progressive Book Club. Our first book will be Bird by Bird. I was going to start with STC, but I've had so many projects flying at me all at once, I felt like I needed to take it bird by bird. One thing at a time. I'm hoping Anne's wise words will calm me down.

    It will be held like a blog hop, but I dislike that term, thus, "Progressive Book Club." You'll see how it works tomorrow. I'm psyched and hope you still want to participate. Spread the word.

    Also...under which genre do you write? I'm throwing together a blogroll specifically for YA authors, and I couldn't remember about you.

    And concerning that last paragraph that Julie wrote - DITTO! :o)

    1. It took me 3hrs to figure out how to change the template! This is definitely not my forte.

      Thanks, Mike. Yep, this year I'm setting myself up for a whole heap of failure... deliberately. I might be asking to borrow those swim wings of yours when it looks like I'm about to be smashed to smithereens on the rocks.

      Sign-up list? Do I get issued a uniform and assigned a rank? I'll be over to check it out, for sure.

      Genre. A-ha. I'm going to post on this, I think. My first WIP is a NA (does that mean the rest of us read Old Adult??), and my second is a travel memoir, so I'm not locking myself into a genre yet. I don't want to be on the YA blogroll, but I would really like to access it.

    2. LOL. Old Adult. A mistake is only a mistake (or a failure a failure) if you learn nothing from it. That's my outlook for criticism, too. It's ALL constructive if you look at it to be.

      I've been tweaking my blog and understand the blogger process if you ever have any questions - just throw me an email. My entire blog is just a simple template, customized. I didn't leave one thing the same as on the default template. And my wings will be waiting in the wings any time you need them.

      The YA Blogroll is in the left sidebar. I'm scoping with the following criteria: content, frequency of posts, professionalism of blog (the look), personality, know...the usual picky stuff. I would put Alison's, but she doesn't post frequently enough to take that valuable space, although she's a talented force. I only like about 10-15. Otherwise it gets too long and difficult to follow.

      No uniform or rank, but you do get an awesome badge for your blog. Just flash it at any library and you'll get the VIP treatment. :o) See you tomorrow (your today).

    3. Tweaking? Man, you've gone to town!

  4. I, too, like to snap photos with a camera, make phones calls with a phone, read books with real pages, and especially scribble notes in the boxes of a calendar.

    I have a huge wall calendar in my home office with big, spacious square boxes which allow me to write plenty of stuff on them. Love it!!! But I'm old school, so of course I love it. Even though electronic conveniences are everywhere and I have a couple of my own, I'm still old school at heart.

    Love the new look and feel you got going on here, and I bid you great success on your year of rejection.

    1. We really do have a lot in common. I like the idea of a huge wall calendar. One with life-size pictures of snakes on it. Or airports.

      Thanks for bidding me success on my year of rejection... I think. (I set myself up for that, didn't I?) I have no doubt this year will be extremely successful for me.

    2. Okay, it's official, you really do need to see a doctor about your snake lust. Maybe there are express medical offices at......the airport.

      Also, I think you'll have great success this year. You have a nice way of thinking outside the box and putting a fresh spin on things. That's a recipe for success.

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks, Charmaine, it really is one of my favourites, applicable to life in general, I think.

      Judging by Wagging Tales, you're a busy, busy person, so thanks for dropping in.

  6. I'm trying to step up on my writing/editing, too. And I'm with you on the old fashion calendars. I bought one, too (for my 2013 business plans).

    1. Good luck with the stepping up. And the business plans.