The Crotchety Old Man

Nov 20, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Gym Memberships Revisited

Six years ago, I joined a gym for the first time. A location close to my house and the availability of Zumba classes were deciding factors. Having never set foot in a gym, I sprung for regular training sessions to keep from hurting myself. The gym — Omni — hadn’t been open very long. Everything was shiny and new. A wide variety of classes were available from 6:30 in the morning to 8 in the evening through the week with a lighter schedule on weekends that still provided a host of options. Going to the gym became part of my lifestyle. I went almost every day for a class or two, a training session, or to work out. I felt …

Nov 13, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Re-Energized

December 17th marks the fifth anniversary of the release of my first novel. Signing the contract made me a pro. Becoming a published author remains the coolest thing I’ve ever done. The fame and fortune I imagined would follow still hasn’t panned out. My expectations were out of whack. In my neck of the writing world, selling 1000 copies is great. Selling more than 5000 is fantastic. That’s a lot fewer zeroes than I’d envisioned. It’s not the money. My financial security isn’t tied to book income, thank God, or I’d have starved four-and-a-half years ago. I want people to read and, hopefully, enjoy my stories. Anything else is icing on the cake. For reasons both beyond my control and of my …

Nov 06, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Cologne: A Confession

Spritzing on cologne is a part of my getting-ready-to-go routine as much as brushing my teeth. Smelling nice is my brand. Unless I’m walking the dog, going to the grocery, or hitting the gym, I’m packing fragrance. When it comes to cologne (and men), I’m a serial monogamist. Over the years, my preferences have changed, but, except for an experimental phase in college and most of the 1980s, I’ve been faithful to one cologne at a time since seventh grade. Old Spice was my first love and gateway fragrance. Mom hooked us up for my first dance. We had tons of it around the house — remnants of gift boxes my dad received for Christmas, Father’s Day, and his birthday. …

Oct 30, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Write What You Know

Every aspiring writer has heard “write what you know.” This age-old adage expresses a general truth that has stood the test of time. My understanding of those four words, however, has evolved with each book I’ve written. I took “write what you know” literally for my first novel. Until Thanksgiving is loosely based on a major event from my life: Moving for a job from Lexington KY, where my family has lived for generations, to Washington DC. I never had a run in with a serial killer, but main character Josh Freeman and I lived in Dupont Circle around the same time and frequented the same restaurants, bars, and other places. Memories weren’t much help for my second or third novels. No Good …

Oct 26, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Farewell, Tico (2008-2017)

The best little dog in the world passed away today. Tico had been limping now and then, favoring his front right paw. It came and went and didn’t seem to bother him much. A week ago, he screamed in pain when my ex picked him up. The next day, the ex took Tico into the small animal hospital. It’s something with the discs in his neck. He limped because he was partially paralyzed. They sent him home with medications and instructions to keep Tico in his crate (complete bed rest) except to eat and go out to relieve himself until a followup appointment scheduled ten days later.   At first, the medications seemed to help. When out of his crate, he …

Oct 23, 2017
By Michael Rupured

The End of Wisdom

Change is constant, but the rate of change has reached the point where keeping up has become impossible. Once upon a time, things stayed more or less the same over the course of a lifetime. With age came experience, leading eventually, after many years, to wisdom about the ways of the world. Not anymore. The older I get, the more clueless I become. The wisdom gained through experience no longer applies, gets lost in translation, or simply isn’t heard. For most of my career at the day job, we’ve lost positions. Over the last two years, some of those positions have been restored. The result is a workforce that is either very young and inexperienced, or getting on in years …

Oct 16, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Three Tweaks Shave Eight Months off Time to Write Novel

Three tweaks to my writing process enabled me to finish The Case of the Missing Drag Queen in a record-breaking four months rather than the usual twelve or more needed to write my first four books. To be honest, the changes brought my process more in line with what experts recommend. #SlowLearner Tweak #1: Write Every Day I tried to write every day. In the past, I’ve waited for weekends and other days off and written until I simply couldn’t write anymore. The greater the time between sessions, the longer it took to get back into the story, and the more likely I was to waste time editing and revising instead of adding new chapters. Tweak #2:  Stop in the …

Oct 09, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Sprinting for the Finish Line

I’ve almost finished the first draft of The Case of the Missing Drag Queen. I woke up yesterday believing just one chapter stood between me and “the end.” Close. Halfway through that chapter, I realized another chapter was needed to finish the story. This time, I’m sure. One more chapter and the first draft is done. Whether today. tomorrow, or Wednesday, I’ll finish this week. That’s about ten days later than predicted, but still a good eight months faster than it took to write any of my first four novels. I’m amazed, and after abandoning several false starts, thrilled to finally finish a story. The much shorter time to finish is due largely to changes to my writing process, discussed ad …

Oct 02, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Growing as a Writer

In a recent email exchange, a good friend and mentor said, “One nice thing about writing is the learning never stops. Ever.” Amen. Experience is a great teacher. In previous posts I’ve written about lessons learned from my first four novels. Each story, one way or another, pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me to grow as a writer. My fifth novel, The Case of the Missing Drag Queen, is a little different. The story is smack dab in the middle of my comfort zone. The mystery is made up, but much of the rest is loosely based on my recollections* of gay life in 1982 Lexington, Kentucky. Any resemblance to real people or places is entirely coincidental. …

Sep 25, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Picture It: Lexington Ky, 1982

My fifth novel, The Case of the Missing Drag Queen, is set in Lexington, Kentucky and takes place in the fall of 1982. It’s my first story set in the city where I grew up, came out, and spent my salad days. Writing it has been a walk down memory lane. I chose the year on purpose. By 1979 when I came out, gay bars were the center of the homosexual universe. Thanks to the 1969 Stonewall uprising, police raids of gay bars had become increasingly rare. Outside of the bar, life could be rough, but inside, we could dance, flirt, make-out, and sometimes, fall in love. In September of 1982, the Centers for Disease Control identified Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome …

Sep 11, 2017
By Michael Rupured

My Gypsy Curse

A month ago, I blogged about my horrible, no good, very bad week. Since then, my run of bad luck has continued, unabated. I strongly suspect a gypsy curse… To refresh your memory, my air-conditioning went out ($300), I got sick, Toodles had to go the vet twice ($600), and to top it all off, a pizza delivery driver pushed my garage door into the back end of my car and then drove off without saying anything about it. My car was trapped in the garage for three days. I had to get a new garage door ($732) and paid another $150 to find out the rear bumper had not been damaged. I got a copy of the police report …

Aug 28, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Update: Case of the Missing Drag Queen

My fifth novel, The Case of the Missing Drag Queen, continues to progress at a record-breaking pace. With 41,000 words in 24 finished chapters, I’m well past the midpoint. If all goes well, I should reach “The End” sometime in September. For me to get so far, so fast, is unprecedented. I usually hit a wall somewhere around 20,000 words. Sometimes, I break through and finish, but with a half dozen abandoned manuscripts, I did not. Thanks in no small part to the three-act structure and my epiphany about the role of the main character, I’ve so far avoided the wall with my fifth novel. I’m having fun too. My fear that something would get lost by planning so much …

Aug 14, 2017
By Michael Rupured

My Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

A week ago last Saturday (August 5), my air-conditioning quit working a few minutes after six in the evening. In Georgia. In August. I called the folks I have a service agreement with, but it was too late for emergency service that day. I decided to  tough it out until an already-scheduled service call Monday afternoon. I wussed out Sunday morning when I woke up and the house was eighty degrees. The service call cost me $300. Perhaps from sleeping with the windows open and a fan blowing on me, I picked up a bug. It started with a scratchy throat and a cough, but by Sunday night, had acquired various other symptoms that left me feeling like shit. I …

Jul 31, 2017
By Michael Rupured

Progress!

Each of my first four books took about a year to write. This past weekend, I hit 30,000 words — roughly the midpoint of the novel I started writing six weeks ago. At this rate, I’ll reach the end sometime in September. Finishing in three months rather than the usual twelve is amazing. That’s like trimming my time to run a mile from twelve minutes to a world-record-breaking three minutes. Why has The Case of the Missing Drag Queen come together so much faster? 1) It’s my first story centered around the transformation of the main character. My first four novels are more about gay life at particular points in time than the journey of any one character. I’m too thrilled to …

Jul 24, 2017
By Michael Rupured

A Glimpse of the Future

I haven’t taken more than a few days off from the day job for years. Nobody fills in when I’m out. An overwhelming quantity of emails, phone messages, and snail mail waiting when I return offset the benefits of getting away. I use vacation days a few at a time for long weekends throughout the year. I went into work on June 26 and, after checking my calendar, decided on a whim to take off until July 10. For thirteen glorious days, I hardly left the house. I did check my work email regularly and ended up having to go to the office once. But the rest of the time, I did exactly what I wanted to do. Not long …

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