The Crotchety Old Man

Jan 20, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Revisions: Round Two

Today I spent a few hours working on revisions to Glass Houses. Having completed line edits, I’m now reading every word from the beginning again, and thinking more about how it all fits together. It’s a complete immersion process–the kind of task that requires focus and concentration. Once I get rolling, revisiting the manuscript is quite enjoyable. When I finished writing the initial draft nearly a year ago, the idea of fixing all the issues, both major and minor, was frankly overwhelming. The manuscript and the time period covered were too big for me to wrap my head around. So to be enjoying the revision process is a welcome surprise. My tendency in writing Glass Houses, since it’s a memoir, …

Jan 18, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Just Doing It

The long break between Christmas and New Year’s seriously messed with my training regimen. Except for my thrice weekly Zumba classes, I quit working out, stopped running, and gained fifteen pounds. Going into the break, I thought the time off from work would enable me to exercise more. Instead, I lost all momentum and spent the majority of my time off on the sofa watching television. After Christmas,the idea of the 5K I’ve signed up to run ten days from today filled me with dread–similar to what I felt a couple of years ago in anticipation of rectal surgery I had to have. I thought about giving up, but had already spent my $23.95 to register for the race. I’m …

Jan 17, 2012
By Michael Rupured

The Longest Year

The older I get, the more quickly each year seems to pass. Unless of course, it’s an election year. It’s a long, long, time until November, and between now and then, we’re going to be inundated with nasty and mostly untrue attack ads. Liberal and conservative are not just names hurled from one end of the political spectrum to the other. They represent different points of view about how to solve problems and move our country forward. There are real and significant differences between these opposing points of view. Neither end of the continuum is always right or always wrong. Real problems require solutions that draw upon the best ideas from both ends. Compromise is an essential ingredient to solving …

Jan 16, 2012
By Michael Rupured
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Learning Curve

I bought my first personal computer back in the mid 1990s. The only software I used was America Online for e-mail and internet access, and because it came preloaded, Microsoft Money. At the time, I questioned whether or not the purchase was worth the money or the space the set-up required in my little Washington DC apartment. By the time it died a few years later, I could no longer live without a computer at home. I ran out and bought another desktop, and when it bit the dust, another. I dropped AOL when I got internet access via my cable provider. For the most part, I still only used the Microsoft Money and the internet. I spent huge percentages …

Jan 15, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Progress!

I spent the better part of last year writing Addicted, my first novel. For much of that time, a freelance editor was working her magic on my memoir, Glass Houses. Though she sent me her recommendations and suggestions back in November, I decided to finish the novel before turning my attention to revising the memoir. The writer’s group reviewed the last section of Addicted on December 17th. I spent a few days making revisions before sticking a fork in it, calling it done, and shipping it off to the same editor who worked on the memoir. At long last, I was ready to tackle revisions to Glass Houses. The first step was to review everything I got back from the …

Jan 12, 2012
By Michael Rupured
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Experience: The Second Best Teacher

I recently sent Addicted (my first novel) to someone who’d read Glass Houses (my first book–a memoir). In the accompanying email message, I said she would likely notice a big improvement in my writing because of what my great friends in the Athens Writers Workshop have taught me about writing.  She replied that she’d love to know more about what I’d learned. This got me to thinking about everything I’ve learned since I joined the group ten months ago.  Sure, just the experience of writing a novel taught me quite a bit. But the real education came from comments and suggestions the other writers made about what I had written.  Here are a few of the more important things they …

Jan 09, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Potty Mouth

The use of colorful language is not foreign to me. In certain settings I may occasionally use words that would, were I fifty years younger, result in certain punishment.  My parents were more likely to spank me and send me to my room for an extended time-out than to wash my mouth out with soap. Mostly this taught me not to cuss in front of them. Using foul language is rarely attractive. I say rarely because I learned a long time ago never to say never. In certain circumstances, cussing can make a difference. When you stub your toe really hard, blurting out a nasty word somehow lessens the pain. Otherwise, gutter talk reflects poorly on the speaker. When I …

Jan 06, 2012
By Michael Rupured

A Welcome Sight

Winter is the time of year I most appreciate living in the Deep South.  Today the temperature was in the upper sixties. The forecast calls for similar highs well into next week with lows only in the middle forties. It’s the one time of year I don’t mind temperatures here being twenty degrees warmer than much of the rest of the country. When I lived in Kentucky, crocus were typically the first flowers of the season. Snow crocus typically bloomed in mid- to late-February, but sometimes bloomed as early as late January. They were followed a few weeks later by giant crocus, which preceded the bright yellow blooms of daffodils. Daffodils bloom weeks–sometimes even months–before crocus here in Athens. Last …

Jan 01, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Out With the Old, In With the New

Resolutions have never really worked for me.  If you were to read entries from late December and early January in the journals I’ve kept for thirty years, you’d see me resolving to give up essentially the same bad habits every year. The amusing part is my certainty, each and every year, that THIS year I’ll finally keep my resolutions. I like the idea of resolutions.  Coming up with them is like doing a performance appraisal on myself and my ability to handle life.  Resolutions are things I need to do differently or areas in need of improvement. Despite my lack of success in keeping them, I make resolutions every year. Sometimes I call them priorities instead of resolutions.  Changing what …

Dec 28, 2011
By Michael Rupured
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White Bread

Having gained nearly 25 pounds between us over the last two weeks, my partner and I decided to keep Christmas dinner simple this year. We didn’t have any dressing, vegetables with cheese sauce, sweet potato casserole, corn pudding, scalloped oysters, yeast rolls, mashed potatoes or gravy.  Nope. Just roasted turkey breast, cranberry sauce, and green beans, lightly seasoned straight out of the can. The best thing about roasting a turkey is having enough leftover for sandwiches.  I prefer mostly white meat, plenty of mayo, and an optional leaf of iceberg lettuce on white bread.  On occasion, I enjoy a healthier version with cranberry sauce instead of the mayo. White bread was an early casualty of our healthy lifestyle. We switched …

Dec 23, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Wooomp…There it is!

The weeks since Thanksgiving have been chocked full of celebrations. Each and every get together has tested my commitment to a healthy lifestyle.  With just a few more days of the season remaining, healthy living is way behind in the polls. I started the season strong. The week of Thanksgiving I ran three times, hit Zumba on the days I didn’t run, and worked out with weight machines two or three times a week.  Even with the big holiday dinner and all the leftovers, I lost .6 pounds. The night after I ran my first 5K, we went to a friend’s house for a dinner to celebrate a birthday. The food was awesome. I was especially taken with the sausage-stuffed …

Dec 21, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Zumba Challengers

I’ve been hitting Zumba classes with the girls three or four times a week for several months now. Yeah, my partner comes to class with me. And a little old man showed up for one of the Zumbathons. Otherwise, the only men around mostly crowd around the windows to watch. I figured they were watching me and laughing. When I said so, my partner suggested they were more likely watching the women doing mildly suggestive dance moves. Oh. Another item for the list of things that wasn’t about me at all. The guy who hooked me up with my gym membership came to Zumba last week. We’ve been teasing him about coming to Zumba for months.  He adamantly insisted Zumba …

Dec 21, 2011
By Michael Rupured
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Our One-Woman Neighborhood Association

For most of the last fourteen years, our neighborhood association didn’t do much. Newsletters showed up in my mailbox a couple of times a year with contact information for the current officers, a plea for volunteers to chair one of several committees, and of course, a gentle reminder that paying membership fees (a minimal $10 to $25 per year) was not optional. Life was good. Then the association started hosting potluck cook-outs several times a year. We went for a while. Hated it. Don’t get me wrong–I like my neighbors, especially those I never see or hear. What’s his name and his wife seem nice. I wave when we pass each other on the street. Stopping to catch up on …

Dec 18, 2011
By Michael Rupured
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Finished…Mostly

Ten months ago, I started submitting 5,000 word chunks of my first novel to my writers group. As a novice writer, I was eager for the feedback of more experienced writers. Their numerous suggestions continue to help me to be the best  writer I can be. Tonight the group critiqued the last six chapters of Addicted. Rather than the usual 5K, I submitted two additional chapters (an extra 2,500 words) so everyone could see how the book ends. The ending came hard for me and I was anxious to hear what everyone had to say. Writing Glass Houses was easy. I’d lived the story.  I just needed to tell it in an interesting and entertaining way. My only constraint was …

Dec 14, 2011
By Michael Rupured
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An Avalanche of Catalogs

Since Thanksgiving, the mailman has deposited forty-nine copies of thirty different catalogs in our mailbox with more arriving every day. I was going to wait until Christmas Eve to blog about them, but my partner had a sudden attack of “clean this damn place up” and tossed them in the recycling bin. I take that to mean today is the day and dug them back out to write this post. We received one copy of eighteen different catalogs.  Some of these, like American Girl, Mindware, and Catalog Classics we ordered from last year. Or maybe it was Catalog Favorites. Having recently made purchases from these companies, I can understand why they would send me a copy of this year’s catalog. …