Where did it go?

I used to write poetry. I wrote it all the time. I have a two foot stack of notebooks filled with it (and I’m pretty sure I don’t have all of it still). When I was in high school, study hall was for writing poetry. It’s what got me through the rest of the day. Any little thing that was on my mind, it ended up expressed in verse. It got me through a lot of tough times.

Continue reading “Where did it go?”

The Gift of Time

Yesterday was a very busy day. Even Kiddo1 told me it was a very long Saturday, and she hopes today is shorter. Today, it’s snowing. Denise said I could have most of the day to myself to catch up on the giant To Do I have hanging on a white board in the kitchen. She told me she would need me to watch the kids while she made dinner, and the rest of the day was mine. Isn’t she great? Yeah, she is, but it only took about 15 minutes from the time she said good morning until she started asking me to do other things, and watch the kids so she could do other things. So much for a guilt free productive day. I’ll settle for a guilt-ridden one if I can make it productive. She is in no way being unreasonable. Time is in short supply in our life right now, and that’s mostly my fault. I’m doing a lot. Well, I’m trying to do a lot. I feel that I’m failing at doing a lot, to be honest. I’m working eight to ten hours a day, taking Kung-Fu one or more times a week, revising a novel, working on the next novel, being a dad, and being a husband. When I look at that list and try to pare it down, the only thing I want to drop is working. I can’t do that if I want to keep the house and eat. I’m not sleeping excessively (six or seven hours a night). So I’m having to make do with the failing. Here’s hoping today is at least somewhat productive.

2005 Series of Doctor Who to Air on Sci-Fi Channel (finally)

Haven’t posted much lately (still waiting for my new glasses), but this is big news. The 2005 Series of Doctor Who is finally going to air in the US (there’s a nice summary at Outpost Gallifrey). I’ve seen it, and it’s great. I can’t begin to explain how great it is. Even Denise enjoyed watching it. There’s no need to have seen the classic series to enjoy this, so don’t let the show’s history put you off.

2005 Year End Clearance

Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 00:00:54 -0500
From: Jason Penney <...>
To: Jason Penney <...>
Subject: story idea

an epic battle/war is tearing apart the land. A small time thief sees his opportunity to make good, but becomes involved in helping a refugee family (maybe just some kids?)

I found this email earlier this week. I have a lot of these ‘story idea’ emails, but this one is the novel I’ve been working on since shortly after sending this to myself two years ago today. I’m slightly less than half way done my second draft, and while the story has changed with time, I can still see how I got from there to here.

I’ve been a writer most of my life. When I was younger I sort of just assumed that you learned to read, learned to write, and then wrote down the stories in your head, and that’s how books were made. Today, I’m still pretty sure that’s how it’s supposed to work, but three years ago I didn’t feel that way. That type of thinking was schooled out of me. I never stopped writing, but I really forgot about writing books.

Throughout high school I wrote poetry. Lots. Every emotion I felt hit the paper while it was still fresh. I probably wrote four or more hours a day. I have stacks of notebooks filled with the stuff (which are fading away because I can only write long hand in pencil). Inside these notebooks I can find a few first chapters or unfinished short stories. I never stopped wanting to write fiction, but I stopped believing I could (or maybe that I should). After high school the writing mostly stopped. A few ideas here and there, and the occasional poem, but mostly nothing.

Sometime in 2003 I decided to take this whole writing thing more seriously. I worked on short stories a few nights a week. Then, near the end of December in 2003 I found Mugging the Muse: Writing Fiction for Love AND Money by Holly Lisle. This free book on writing really got me going. It helped me organize my thoughts on being a writer, and commit myself to making it happen. I set out a series of goals and started working towards them.

Have I met them? Not exactly. I originally planned to write short stories for all of 2004, and try to have a draft of a novel done in 2008. Right at the end of 2003 Lazette Gifford posted on Forward Motion that she would be teaching a 2 Year Novel class. Moving from idea to completed novel over a two year period. I signed right up. So I missed my 2004 goals, but I’m ahead of things for my 2008 goal, so I figure I’ll call it progress and keep moving forward.

As 2005 winds to a close, I want to take this time to thank Holly and Zette. If it wasn’t for them I’d probably still be floundering around wondering how to get from A to B instead of making my way along the path. I also want to thank my wife, Denise, for being so supportive of my writing, even when she’s frustrated that I’d rather write than vacuum.

Chapter 8 done

I’m off from work this week, but it seems that it will be the busiest week of the year for me.  Everyone wants to see the kids (and who can blame them?), so we have a lot of visitors and visiting to do.  Today is a visiting day, so I Got up early and tackled Chapter 8 before we have to leave.

Clocky, where are you?

I need to get one of these for my wife. She’s not good at getting out of bed, and this could be the perfect solution (unless she smashes it to little bits).

I’m a long time hater of alarm clocks. I don’t like be awoken to the standard alarm noise. It fills me with rage almost the second I wake up, which is a crummy way to start the day. See, I’m not a morning person until I get out of bed, and then things change (usually). I’m quite happy with my Digital Zen Alarm Clock. At least I was, until just now, when I saw they have a new verison with a silent strike mechanism. It wakes me up with a single peacful chime, which will repeat itself at progressivly shorter intervals if I fail to get up. It very rarely chimes more than once.

Writing, Hurting, Filing, Reading, etc.

I’m doing my best to do some writing on the novel every single day. I’m not going to make my original goal for finishing the first draft of the novel by the end of April, but it should be close (I hope). The back is getting better, but it still bothers me, especially when I sit at the computer for too long. I started going back to Kung-Fu class last week, which is good and bad. I got used to having more time, but I really need to go. I enjoy it immensely, and I need the exercise.

Denise and I are going through all our paperwork in an attempt to organize the filing cabinet, safe, and boxes of papers marked “Important“. A lot of them aren’t, or at least not anymore. We burned out our last shredder and bought a new one. It was cheap but I hope it’ll at least last a year.

I started reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, and I’m really enjoying it. Thanks to Del for mentioning it recently.

I Had a Great Birthday!

This year had to be one of my all time greatest birthdays. It started simply enough. I woke up in a hotel room next to my wife, with my daughter sleeping nearby in the hotel crib. We rose early, ate free breakfast and hit the hotel pool. I love to swim. I can not remeber a time in my life when I could not swim, and I really don’t get to do it very often. It still makes me feel like I’m four years old without a care in the world. Playing in the pool with my daughter is even more fun that just swimming around. She smiles, says silly things, and tries not to get too wet.

After that we went back to our room, showered and got ready to head on out for the day’s activities. Then my cell phone rang. It was my friend, Brom. I have to be honest, my first thought was "What’s wrong with his website.".

I answered it anyway. "Hello."

"Hey man, how’s it going?"


"Can you hold on a minute, actually."


The next thing I knew I heard singing. It wasn’t just Brom (who is quite an excellent singer when he wants to be), but also my good friend Dursin. They sang the traditional birthday song, and it was quite amazing. It’s great to have two such wonderful friends in the world. I’ve known Dursin since we were 5 and Brom since we were 10 or 11. Thank you both so much.

After that, the family and I headed off to the Third Annual National Buffalo Wing Festival. We ate a lot of chicken, and had an all around great time. If you like Buffalo Chicken, and you can get there, I recommend it.

Then we went to the Walden Galleria Mall, wandered around amongst masses of shoppers (it was "Tax Free" week) and Rachel had her first McDonalds cheeseburger. She asked for a cheeseburger out of the blue, so I bought a couple. We each had one, and we ate them together. Rachel then terrorized people by pushing her own stroller around. I good time was had by us.

Returning to the room after a long day I had "Happy Birthday" emails from my Mom, my Dad, and my Kung-Fu Instructors (which was a surprise). What could be better? Rachel was too excited to go to bed for quite a while, but that’s ok.

There wasn’t a moment of the day that I wasn’t having a good time (even when the two year old melted down). Thanks to everyone who made it so special.

Talking in Her Sleep

The other night, I stayed up working on my novel outline. After that didn’t go as well as hoped I made my way to bed. I grabbed the tap light my wife had left for me in the hall and made my way to bed as quiet as can be.

"You might think I’m asleep, but I’m not." I looked over at my wife, and she hadn’t moved at all, except for her lips.

"Why aren’t you asleep?"

"I can’t breathe through my nose. It’s all stuffed up."

I thought for a moment. "Do you want me to get you a Breathe Right Strip?"

It was silent for a moment and I assumed she had fallen back to sleep. "No. I have to get up soon anyway."

"Honey, it’s 1:30 in the morning." She never get’s up before 7:30, and that’s a rarity.