Construction Barrel MonsterI’m tinkering around with the site design this weekend. Hopefully it’ll be a stable site come Monday. Not that it’ll stay wherever it lands, just that I’ll be through tinkering for the moment.

Stay tuned…

Mood Music

EarbudsSometimes while people watching, I catch people bobbing along to a tune. Earbuds lodged in place, there’s no way of telling what they’re listening to. So I try to guess.

First instincts go straight to stereotypes. Teeny boppers and top 40. Punk, rock, or heavy metal depending on the severity of tattoos and piercings.The level of hardcore rap gauged by the droopiness of their pants.

Then I thought back on my youth and what I looked like compared to what I listened to. I looked like a band geek (probably because I was). One might guess me to be on the Academic Decathlon (they’d be right). But what was in my Walkman? Rock and heavy metal (well, what was considered heavy metal at the time).

Back to people watching. It’s more fun to brake past stereotypes. That guy with the two foot mohawk? A Disney Princess soundtrack. That lady in the smart pant suit? Thrash metal. That gaggle of grandmas power walking? Snoop Dog. Yes, much better.

Now a days I listen to tunes that cause spontaneous toe tapping. Things that bring smiles and not glowers to my mug. This is my current go-to playlist:

It’s an evolving list. As I get tired of a song I’ll delete it, and add new ones as I find them.

I’m also a fan of Ska/Punk. In particular, I love a good Ska/Punk cover tune. And whadda ya know, Spotify already had an extensive playlist for me. Check it out:

That’s just a taste of the playlists I have saved. I have playlists to pull me from from a gloomy mood. I have playlists to put me in mind of a character I’m about to write. Playlists to wake up to, and playlist to laugh at. They’re so much easier to make than a mixed tape. Twenty points to those who get that and how hard they were to make.

Do you have a playlist? Share them in the comments. The less stereotypical, the better.

Why I’m Here

I started this blog a little over seven years ago. At the time I didn’t quite know what the focus of it should be. Most definitely it would cover my writing life. You see, I aspire to become a published author. The dream’s still the same, but I no longer have the delusion that it’ll happen over night.

Over the course of this blog’s life, the focus has changed. More accurately, it’s lost all focus. So here I am attempting to correct that.

There are three aspects of my life I want to bring into balance:

Mind, Body, and Spirit

What are the things I’m doing to stimulate my mind, to stretch its learning? How am I keeping my body healthy? And how do I acknowledge and commune with what I feel is bigger than me?

It sounds deep, and sometimes it might be. Many times, though, I’m more inline with Jack Handy’s Deep Thoughts than anything deeply devotional.

I want to share my journey in each aspect. Where I’m succeeding. Where I can improve. And never in a manner that makes it sound like I’m preaching or an all-knowing authority on anything.

My opinions are just that, mine. If you agree, great! Let’s talk about it. If you disagree, great! Let’s talk about it. In either case, I’m putting it out there for whoever to see.

This should bring better focus to The Shadowed Quill. And once it clears up, who knows what we’ll find. Maybe something cool, or maybe just the ravings of a lunatic. Should be fun either way!

First book!

S. C. Green:

A most sincere, heart-felt thank you from a most sincere, heart-felt writer. My congratulations can’t compare.

Originally posted on Unbound Leaves:

About two weeks ago, I got some news that I was asked to keep quiet until it could be announced officially, but it’s officially official now: My story collection, WHEN ARE YOU COMING HOME?, won the 2014 Prairie Schooner Book Prize and will be published by the University of Nebraska Press.

Um, that prize. The Prairie Schooner. The University of Nebraska Press.


I am still stunned and elated and teary and grateful and holy smokes and pinching self and pinching others and oh-where-did-I-put-my-keys? and and and —

I’m a little bit of a mess, actually. More so than usual, I mean.

I found out while I was on the mountain in Sewanee, TN, teaching for the first time at the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference (a wonderful time all on its own merit!). After a dropped call and frenetic redialing, I sat under a tree outside the dining hall…

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Me Incognito

Does This Look Like the Face of a Liar?

Me IncognitoI mean, seriously. How can you not trust a face like that?

Well, there’s at least one lady out there that doesn’t. We’ll get to that, but first let me take you back to early February. I was driving home, minding my own business, when an accident decided to happen right in front of me. Literally (and I use the term correctly) an inch in front of me. I’m in the right lane and the car on my left decides my lane would be better for her car. Fuck all if another car is occupying it. With ninja-like reflexes and new tires, I was able to avoid the collision.

Rather unsatisfied in missing my car, she clobbers the car in front of her which had stopped unexpectedly. I can still see the shattering plastic and glass flying past like confetti in a ticker tape parade.

In short, the paramedics come and haul Ms. Speed Racer off on a stretcher. The police come and take my statement. I go home.

So you can imagine my surprise when I get a subpoena to appear in court to testify on behalf of the state. Like there’s any way it could be contested that this lady was a crappy driver.

Fast forward to today.

While waiting for the judge to enter, I caught up with the officer that took my statement and the girl who got hit. He filled me in on what happened after I left. Apparently when he went to the hospital to give this lady her ticket for lousy driving, she refused to sign it, claimed she wasn’t speeding. It wasn’t her fault. He ended up having to drop the ticket on her hospital bed, “You’ve been served.”

Fifteen minutes after the assigned court time, she speed races into he courtroom. Mere seconds before the judge was going to give a default judgement. So we begin.

From the get-go it’s obvious she doesn’t have a full grasp of the English language. Just enough to choke on her own tongue. If she was at least Hispanic, I’m sure more than half the room could have translated for her. I don’t know where she was from and won’t try to guess at the chance of being mistaken as racist.

Before the officer can complete his details of the event, she has already tried to testify on her behalf three times. To the judge’s credit, he was patient with her and did his best to explain what she was doing, and why she couldn’t do that yet. After that she held her tongue.

Then the girl who was hit told her side of the event.

Ms. Speed Racer held her tongue.

Then it was my turn. I told my version of the accident just as I stated above, but without the swearing and all the courtesy owed the court (I’m no idiot). That’s when Ms. Speed Racer yells out, “He’s a liar!”

When asked to give her side of it, she obviously didn’t understand what I was saying. But she sure as hell knew the word liar and used it as often as she could with plenty of gratuitous finger-pointing. “I don’t know why he lies! He lies! I saw! He’s a liar!”

A diagram was emitted into evidence, showing the positions of the cars in the accident.with all of us standing in front of the judge he asked if Ms. Speed Racer objected to it being submitted as evidence. She said, “Yes.”

We all stood and stared at her. The judge took another tack. “Is it okay if I look at this for this case?”

As if he didn’t understand her the first time, she said, “Yes.”

Since I wasn’t actually in the accident, my car wasn’t depicted. Being sympathetic to the language barrier, I asked if I could show where my car was in relation to the accident to help clarify my account. I did, and everyone agreed my account was sound in what actually happened.

Except for her.

Thankfully it didn’t go much further than that. I think the last thing she said on her behalf was “…but I don’t know why he lies.”

Seeing that communication was an issue here, he didn’t fine her more than the original ticket (and court costs). We were excused out one door while Ms. Speed Racer was pointed to another door to settle up.

It’s been almost three hours, and I’m still in shock. Well, mild amusement, maybe. That is until I get another subpoena for the appeal based on a “liar’s” testimony.

Mustache on a Stick