Sunday, May 01, 2016
Well, it’s been quite some time since I wrote anything here. Again. And that’s a good thing. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. You see, I’m entering a new phase of this little project; a phase that includes the possible participation of a professional literary agency in handling my debut novel. That’s the good thing. Everything I’ve worked on thus far over the past twelve years has been purely amateur hour. I mean that in the best possible sense, literally: unpaid artistic venture. And now there is the potential to take it to the next level. I couldn’t be more excited. And I couldn’t be less busy.

For those of you who are reading this that have no knowledge of this project, I refer to it as the Station 12 project, or Station 12 for short. Clever, right? It began in 2004 as a universe-building project with the idea of creating a computer adventure game. Infinite City Studio was born in the heart of New York City and grew to a whopping nine unpaid volunteers, all helping to create something out of nothing. And you know what we got? That’s right. A lot of nothing. I did say unpaid, right? The project came and went and we literally had nothing to show for it. Zero assets to carry over to the next incarnation. But what a great experience. /rollseyes

But I got enough accomplished on the universe-building part that I thought the project could continue and so I kept a relationship going with the other two writers on our little project and we set off on a course of writing a joint novel. What, you never heard of that? Neither had they. Neither had I. And there’s a reason for that. But everyone produced some good work and the skeleton of the story was interesting to me. Now I swear I don’t know what happened to this aspect of the project to cause it to fizzle out other than it was a bad idea. I don’t know if my mind wandered, or if my co-workers saw the light and moved on, I really don’t remember. Let’s just say that phase of the project came to an end. I commend my co-writers for sticking with me as long as they did, and I even thanked them in the first printing of my novel. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So it was around this time that I was getting itchy to really do something with this new world I created. (At this point my wife and I relocated from New York City back to our old homestead of Hartford, CT. Come to think of it, that might have been what ended the previous iteration of the project.) And since I had a passion for making movies (in my mind), I thought it was time to turn Station 12 into something visual. I had plenty of story material…and a Sony Handicam!! What else did I need? You see where I’m going with this? Again, things start to get fuzzy in my memory when I’m to blame for not getting things done that I set out to do. I don’t know if I was desperate to work with friends and colleagues, or if I was simply desperate not to work alone. Long story short: Despite six decent scripts and a devoted camera man, it was not going to happen without money and a professional crew. Amateur hour. Ridiculous, really, I was about twenty-five years too old for that kind of youthful enthusiasm, that kind of idealism, so it was finally time to get real. That’s why I began my master plan to create a multi-million dollar entertainment franchise.

Wait! Hear me out! I’m trying to tell you about the horrible silence of revision, that gap in communication between the artist and his/her audience, and why it will all be worth it in the end.

So once I faced the reality of how much work it would take to make movies of any merit, I decided it was time to go back to the novel. Only this time it would be a solo effort, and I would sequester myself for as long as it took until I had a finished product. That took a few years and a lot of rewrites. A lot. About halfway through the novel-writing process, I decided I was going to self-publish. It had nothing whatsoever to do with a fear of rejection. I generally don’t have issues with that kind of thing since most of what I do is for me. If I’m happy with it, I’m happy. (That’s great for peace of mind, but not necessarily great for the bank account.) No, I wanted to self-publish because I didn’t want the next step of legitimate publication to hinder my sense of accomplishment and closure. I’d worked for many years on finally finishing something and I didn’t want the process (whatever it was) or outright rejection to stall my arrival to the finish line.

As I reached the last year of my work on the novel, Station 12: The Lantern Society, things really started to heat up for me. Busy, busy, busy. I had a lot of reading to do when it came to self-publishing. Ultimately, I chose Amazon’s CreateSpace environment to work in, figuring they’d been at it for a long time, and it had the possibility of being the easiest to use. While I worked diligently toward that end, I acquired software for building my own website, using a domain I’d owned for many years. I constructed the website while continuing my rewrites and studying up on self-publishing. But wait! There’s more! Facebook, of course! In my pursuit of self-publishing knowledge, I came across a lot of information about marketing using social networking. So I started working feverishly on creating a halfway decent FB page for Station 12. It involved a lot of Photoshopping and sharing what news I had…all the while keeping my new website up to date, learning Twitter (useless. Still not getting it), and making sure the novel was everything I wanted it to be before pulling the trigger on publication. I mean, everything was totally go, man. I was one busy bee.

I published the book. Sold a few copies. Then resigned myself to the arduous task of marketing. Not something I was looking forward to. And while this was all happening, I sent my manuscript off to a literary agency a friend told me about. And you know what? They didn’t say ‘no, thank you.’ They seemed a little interested in the property. I didn’t expect that. Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t, ‘we love it, come on in and let’s talk about it.’ It was more, ‘we like what you have here but we think you’d benefit from a professional edit. And we can help you with that for a fee.’ Now it’s obvious what a skeptic might say to that. ‘Sounds like a racket.’ I did some research and there were quite a few people who said that very thing. But the fact of the matter is, they are a literary agency, they have made deals on behalf of many authors, and most importantly…I knew my book WOULD benefit from a professional edit.

As I later explained to my wife, if I was going to do this thing, I would have to go all in. I wasn’t going to fork over my hard-earned money and then sweat the legitimacy of the venture. I was going to make the appropriate changes to my manuscript so that I’d get that invite. And together we would make preparations for professional publication. And we’d get that contract for the sequel. And I would become a professional writer.

This is when the silence started. Once the agency expressed their interest (they still look forward to reading the revised manuscript. I keep in touch), all other aspects of the project came to a halt. Professional representation would be a game-changer. So social media stopped, additions to the website stopped, marketing research sure as hell stopped, and all my focus returned to my manuscript. It was really strange, like somehow I had taken a backward step. I knew I hadn’t, just the opposite. But I was so wrapped up in the business of self, I didn’t know what to make of this next step toward possible “success”. If the agency picks me up as a client, and if they’re able to pair me with a publishing house, everything will change. I’m not saying I’ll be able to quit my day job (lolol….um, yeah), but it will open me up to a lot more possibilities. And all that work that I did in the past, all those failed attempts at working with others will not have been for naught. They were just practice runs for this new dynamic. And maybe I’ll get paid.

But while I revise, revise, revise, the silence drags on. And I have to keep telling myself, stay the course. You’re almost there.

Crossing Over
Friday, November 20, 2015
It’s been quiet here at the blog. Why is that? It’s not like I’ve achieved my goal of building a multimedia entertainment franchise. In fact, I’ve only just begun. Truthfully, looking at the big picture, I’ve barely started. So, what’s the deal? Why aren’t I churning out posts by the fistful of all the things I’m putting in motion to make it all happen? Because, my friends, there’s a very deep trench between creative vision and the labor involved in making it happen. And I am what you would call a sloooow bridge builder. (Perhaps we’ll look at the why’s of that some day.)

Okay, so my first novel is published. Okay…now what? The list of things to do is so monumentally huge, it becomes an abstract; a general mish-mash of responsibility that far outweighs any minuscule income from publication. I guess the smart thing to do would be to create a task list, each task being a plank toward building that bridge. How hard can that be? Riiiiight. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’m not whining about all the work I’ve done, or all the work ahead of me. I’m learning. (You know, it’s never too late to learn.) This is all about learning and crossing over to a place I’ve never been exposed to before.

So there’s the marketing I still have to launch for the book. I’ve exhausted the friends and family route, and now it’s time to cross over. By that I mean, it’s time I start reaching out to the public at large. It’s a daunting task. Why? Well, if only 25% of my friends and family (purely guesswork, surely less) bought the book, what should my expectations be for the general public? Then again, if I sold my book to 25% of the nation, never mind the world, I suppose I would be a millionaire many times over. That’s not too shabby.

But even if I only want to sell 100,000 copies of my novel, I’ve got to get working on that marketing scheme. (Have I ever mentioned that I hate the business side of my creative life? Cuz I do.) So, I took another step recently to cross over: I sent a submission to a big time literary agent (purely guesswork, how would I know?) here in New York City. It’s kind of bass-ackwards to publish first, but I didn’t want my lack of representation to be a barrier to my story living out in the world.

I suppose that’s another type of crossing over right there. Publishing work, taking years of writing and handing it over to the readers of the world. In some ways it legitimizes the effort. It opens it up to criticism and praise. It shares your vision and thoughts and feelings with an audience beyond your reflection in the monitor.

But, not really. As mentioned above, my current audience consists of the few members of my family and friends who purchased the book (and for that, I thank you all!). Right now it feels a little like a private book club created for those who know me. It’s an awesome start, but that’s just what it is, a start. Did I mention it’s time to cross over?

If their website is accurate, I won’t hear back from the agency for a month or two. Obviously there’s no guarantee they’ll take me on as a client. But either way, I hope this attempt at a professional relationship is the start of me seeing past what for now is a closed world. I hope phase two of my reading audience is just around the corner. I hope I can find the motivation to grind through the marketing efforts to make this book more than what it is today. I’m already proud of my accomplishment, but a great aria sung in the shower benefits no one but the singer. It’s time to cross over.

I Now Pronounce You Art and Commerce
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Okay, my novel is done and out the door. My current focus is on completing a standalone website to promote it as well as future books and video. Once completed, I will follow up with a marketing campaign both print and virtual. While this is all happening, I’m going to try and pay a little more attention to this blog. We’ll see how it goes.

Let me reiterate the purpose of this repository: to follow my progress in taking a single creative idea and turning it into an entertainment franchise. Maybe not Marvel big, and certainly not Star Wars big, but something along those lines, where I can tell my story in a multitude of media, make a living, and set my wife up with a decent retirement.

Speaking of my wife and entertainment franchises…that takes me to today’s subject.

Whenever one of these big tentpole movies comes around to the theater, I end up missing it or going by myself. They just don’t do it for her. She’s not a big fan of escapist fiction unless it challenges or captivates the intellectual part of her brain. The eye candy is simply not enough to engage her. There aren’t enough explosions (rather too many), fight scenes, gunfire, space ships, et cetera, to get her to plunk down $15. Even when the story has her attention, the previously mentioned visuals only seem to distract her from the tale that’s being told. There are a million variations of how a blockbuster can go bad for a non-blockbuster audience, but really there are just a few that can turn it around for the non-believers. Maybe even just one…

Character, character, character.

Let me shift the focus from my wife to myself, because in truth, we share very similar sensibilities when it comes to this topic. I just happen to be more forgiving because I generally lower my expectations to the point of assuming the worst prior to plunking. And it would be a terrible mistake on my part to think that I can speak for my wife.

What I’m attempting to do in my quest to create a new story-telling behemoth is to introduce characters people will care about in the course of telling a really HUGE story. Maybe the biggest, I shit you not. When all is said and done, I will determine the fate of all mankind and various realities, showcase the final war on Earth, and present an iteration of God that will end religious squabbles and righteousness and who will bestow a truth and understanding upon every living creature everywhere. And through it all, I will be focusing a lot of attention on certain characters so that we really care about them, and really know them, as the larger story plays out.

Let me be clear: I’m not professing that I invented this approach. Not by a long shot. In fact, I only have one hero in the field of creativity, and that’s Damon Lindelof. What he and Carlton Cuse tried to do (and I would say succeeded) with the television show Lost was a big inspiration to me. I can only imagine what that show would have been if every flashback and flash sideways had been eliminated; a bunch of people running around where the island was the star and the people were simply victims of its purpose. It would have been a lot shorter, for one. And we wouldn’t have cared nearly as much about them when it ended. And most important, we wouldn’t have understood anyone’s motivation to do the things they did to get off the island and back on again. Finally, the (arguably frustrating) finale simply wouldn’t have worked for anyone. I daresay we never got to know any television characters so intimately as we did on Lost. That is a beautiful, artistic legacy to leave behind.

The problem I have with these big pictures, these tentpole features, is for me (and probably my wife, I couldn’t say with any certainty) they leave nothing behind. They start to fade in about the time it takes to walk to the car after the movie (or in my case the walk to the subway). They aren’t really thought of again, and perhaps more importantly, they are never seen again. (Obviously not never.) They may have been fun at the time, but many of them have no lasting value.

Some of you may have just said, so what’s wrong with a good, old fashioned popcorn movie to take our minds off our troubles? Isn’t that what the movies are all about? To this, I say nothing is wrong with that in the least. But it’s not what all movies are about. And again, this blog is meant to capture my personal journey, and I love the idea that people might discuss my story past that fifteen minute mark. And I love the idea that my book or movie might prompt a re-read or repeat viewing. I love the idea of my art transcending the moment. Intellectualizing the popcorn movie is overstating my desire. I just believe if you’re going to create something incredible, populate it with credible characters the audience can get behind. Trade some of that epic battle for epic revelation. Nothing beats the ‘aha’ moment when we identify with the characters we’re watching. I mean really, what would you do if you found out the world you lived in had been completely rewritten on more than one occasion by all-powerful beings from another dimension and you couldn’t shoot your way out and no super-heroes were going to fly in and save the day? What are the events that shaped your life, and how did the people in your life influence you to make the decisions you do in a crisis?

It's Up To Me Now
Friday, September 03, 2010
Oh, my goodness, this is crazy!

I am now learning the vast difference between writing a novel and revising one. Especially in regards to a first novel. When one sets out to write a novel, and by ‘one’, I mean me, there is a semi-transparent goal in play. That is to say, the goal is to begin and end the writing process until there’s a completed manuscript to show for it. But, the timeframe for completion is a bit fuzzy. There are good days and bad days during that stage of the writing. Sometimes you get on a tear and you’re just typing away (and by you, I mean me), filling the pages, and before you know it a chapter is done. It’s a good feeling. But, just as often, you get nothing. More to the point, you do nothing. Hey, what are ya gonna do? Sometimes there are PC games to play or movies to watch or other people’s books to read. It’ll get done eventually. It’s not like I’m getting paid. (We’ll get into art vs commerce some other time.)

Then something odd happens, something wonderful and, frankly, unexpected: you type The End on the final page. That’s it, complete, finito. And just as you get comfortable with the elation of a job well done, it’s ruined with thoughts of publication and success. As soon as you place that last page of the manuscript into your paid-too-much-for-wooden-inbox, you start imagining the artwork of your limited edition hardcover novel. You think about your dedication page and your grateful acknowledgments. At the very least, you think about the compliments and back pats from your new agent. (I realize there are some aspiring writers who think opposite thoughts about how crappy their work is and how sure they are about its impending rejection. I’ve never been one of those people. Besides, who would want to read that blog?)

Now, here’s the big difference between writing and revising: Where the writing is an endeavor of abstract thinking, what if’s, could be’s, and maybes, the completed manuscript is a tactile reality, an object, it’s that thing you’ve always dreamed about but never finished….finished. Oh, boy, now what? I’ll tell you what; Now, you get yourself an agent, who gets you a publisher, who publishes your book and it becomes a best seller. Oh, wait, there’s just one problem…the book sucks!

I exaggerate to make a point. I hope. But, the reality of your novel is now sitting on your desk as a constant reminder that the only thing between you and publishing success, at least at this stage, is you and your red pen. (I actually use blue.) That fuzzy timeframe isn’t so fuzzy anymore. Every minute you’re not working on the revisions is a minute wasted. You’re so close to the end you can taste it. Your whole life could change with the publication of this novel and you’re not sitting at your desk day and night? Your eyes aren’t glued to your 22″ monitor round the clock? You’re not taking your manuscript into the bathroom with you? Don’t you take yourself at all seriously as a writer? Come on!

I guess what I’m saying here is that it’s difficult to complete your revisions when one decides to move oneself from Hartford, Connecticut to Seattle, Washington. It slows the process down somewhat. If you don’t believe me, try it yourself. Write a novel and then, during your revisions, move across the country. Tricky, right? I told you!

But, still, I managed to put that nasty chapter two behind me and jump in head first into chapter three. And I thought chapter two was bad. Yikes. I’ve got so much rewriting going on my pages look almost solid black. I get so mired in my edits I often have to stop and update the manuscript in Word just so I can print a clean, updated copy to work from. But, really, I feel good about the process. It’s going to take a little longer than paragraph three suggests but that’s okay. I’m good with it. And by ‘I’, I mean me.

Death and Life
Saturday, August 28, 2010
I owe a huge debt to Rand Miller and Cyan Worlds , and to all those who contributed to an ill-fated MMO computer game called Uru, for setting me on the path to creating a fictional universe of my own. Released in 2003, Uru was both genius and flawed. The genius was all Cyan Worlds. The flaws may have been due to the itchy trigger fingers of their then publisher. For some reason, they wanted a return on their sizable investment after a considerable amount of production time had passed. I’m tellin’ ya, it’s killer out there in the business world. The point is, Uru didn’t make it that first time around and by February of 2004 it was all over and for many of us who had participated, it was a devastating loss.

What’s important here is that I felt I’d had the rug pulled out from underneath me. This was true both from a game-playing perspective as well as a social interaction perspective. I was infatuated with the D’ni universe, its rich history, its epic storyline (it’s directly related to the highly successful Myst series of PC games), and I wasn’t ready to give it up. In addition, I met some fantastic people in that virtual world and developed some friendships that continue to this day. Uru was my first MMO so it had left a great impression on me in many ways.

Enter “Uru: The Gathering”. This was a massive project begun by me in the Spring of 2004. I no longer remember all of the details about the project but I know it was going to recap some of the ‘story’ that had taken place in the mythical Cavern of the D’ni people as well as provide additional insight into the fringes of the game’s story telling. It was also going to semi-document how many of those virtual relationships were formed. But, let me stop right here before I derail this article with tedious, unrelated factoids. The bottom line is I spent the entire spring and summer of that year, writing, compiling resources (I ended up with two very thick resource guides), and Photoshopping, and all what not. It became a full time job.

And then it hit me. What was I doing? Why was I working so hard? It’s fun to play in someone else’s sandbox now and again but come on. And then another thought….I’ll make a computer game of my own! And I could make millions! Yeah, that’s it! Genius!

Cue the choir and the heavenly light.

By the autumn of 2004, I was taking classes at New School University in New York City for 3-D modeling, web design, and basic code writing. I was having fun and meeting some nice people. I would also meet a couple of people who would help propel my newly imagined Station 12 universe from something rattling around in my brain to something a little more concrete, if only briefly.

Next chapter: Infinite City Studio is (still)born! Here we get into the meat and potatoes or world-building and witness the start of a circuitous route to a finished novel.

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Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Saturday, August 28, 2010
This has been crazy week. Revisions continued apace when possible and when I say continued, I mean I continued to wrestle with chapter two. Man, was that an ugly piece of writing. And guess what? Chapter three was spawned from the same misbegotten parent. And by that, I mean me, I wrote it and it’s…not so good. The good news, though, is it’s only going to get easier because the further along I got in the book, the more aware I became of what I wanted to have happen. Early on, I had a halfway decent idea of who the players were, and how I wanted them to behave, but not a clear idea of how everything was going to turn out. Hence, the slash and burn of the beginning in order to conform to what comes later.

My crazy week consisted of taking a little trip to Rhode Island on Tuesday to say goodbye to the Atlantic Ocean for awhile and for my wife and I to say so long to a departed loved one. It was cold and windy at the beach and almost 100% deserted. In other words, perfect. Though I would have liked to swim, honestly. Monday and Wednesday were normal work days. But, Thursday I flew out to Seattle to find us a new place to live, which I accomplished today. I’m writing this little entry from my bunk in the Green Tortoise Hostel waiting for my seven roommates to arrive. I feel so artsy fartsy here. Anyway, it’s back to Connecticut on Monday where the real preparations begin for this crazy, lunatic relocation.

So, not much to report this week. But, as soon as I finish uploading this article, I’ll begin my multi-part look back at 2004 when this project began. It’s interesting how many variations of this project there were and what was accomplished (or not) to get where I am now.

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Let the Rewriting Begin!
Friday, August 20, 2010
It’s been about two weeks since I completed the first draft of my book. It was very exciting…for about two days. That’s when I started the revision process and realized how much work was still ahead of me. But, those two days were glorious. Dreams of the perfect query letter floated in my head. (The query letter is a one page pitch of your novel to agents and/or publishing houses.) Within a reasonable timeframe, I would then hook up with the perfect literary agent who embraced my vision completely and who understood “where I was coming from and where I wanted to go”. He or she would then marry me to the perfect publishing house which embraced my vision completely and understood “where I was coming from and where I wanted to go”. And so the adventure would begin. Until I read my chapter two. God, what a mess.

It’s truly an amazing process to put your thoughts and ideas down on paper and watch them change into something else. If you didn’t understand that sentence, welcome to the process. If you did, you might enjoy my book. Seriously, rereading your own written work is a trip. In many ways, it’s like reading someone else’s material, which in the case of revision is a good thing. I guess.

“Station 12: Novus Vera” is basically a literary tale with science fiction elements. People who will read this story will probably transpose that description but I don’t know yet how far I’m willing to commit to the sci-fi genre publically. As a novel, I want it taken seriously but as a potential movie…Boffo! But, for now, I’m trying to bestow some big ideas and I don’t want it diluted by the fantastic. On the other hand, the fantastic is truly fantastic and big fun. Ultimately, such distinctions will be up to the readers. But, no matter how fantastic the tale, I’m trying to root it in the reality we know which is actually kind of a challenge for me. Particularly in the area of dialogue. It makes me laugh to reread a lot of my dialogue because people just don’t talk like that! Now, this could be a good thing in some cases but not all. Or, it could be a question of style. Ah, now there’s an interesting statement. What’s my style, I wonder? Do I have one? Am I forming one as I write? Only time will tell.

Anyway, I’m a little ways off from writing that perfect query letter and I’m glad you’ll be along for the ride. The book is twelve chapters long plus a Prologue and I’m now diving into chapter three. It’s a complicated story in terms of the compact timeframe, the number of characters, and the intricate plotting and surprise reveals. Reaching the end of the manuscript was a milestone but it also impacted greatly the writing that came before. Fortunately, that impact shined a light on the problems of the earlier chapters and the revisions are coming fast and easy. (Did I just say easy?)

I plan on updating this blog every Friday or any day I’ve completed a milestone. The first milestone is behind me; I’ve completed the first draft. That version has been boxed and archived. The next milestone will be the query letter I send to the literary agents. As soon as I’m comfortable with the revision, that letter is going out immediately (pending its creation). Next Friday I’m going to delve into the history of this project (and when I say project, I’m not just referring to this novel) which dates back to the autumn of 2004. Believe me when I tell you, it’s an interesting tale.

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It's a Launch!
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Welcome! Well, this is it, the official launch of a personal blog that’s been created specifically to track my progress in building a multimedia franchise from the ground up. It’s a lofty goal, yes? I’m nothing if not a dreamer. Unfortunately, I’m not particularly ambitious and that tends to slow projects of this magnitude down a wee bit.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Of immediate concern is the publication of my first novel, “Station 12: Novus Vera”. After six years of behind-the-scenes world-building, building up and tearing down a small computer game project in record time, starting a related novel and stopping, and writing scripts for a series of short Internet films and creating only a trailer, the universe of Station 12 will finally see the light of day. That is, if I can land an agent and convince a publishing house that we’re sitting on the next best-selling book series which would lead to the production of summer tent pole films, comic book offshoots, a TV series, and of course, lunch boxes. In other words, sliced bread.

Here’s where we stand: The first draft of the manuscript is complete. For an extremely brief synopsis of the story, visit my web page at [link no valid]. I’ll eventually elaborate on the story either here or at the site for you early adopters. For now, let’s just call it a literary, genre-bending novel and leave it at that, m’kay? Currently, the book runs 410 manuscript pages but that will increase when I adjust the margins (you learn something new everyday) and again when I complete the revisions (goodbye summer).

The number one goal of this blog is to allow interested parties to follow along, observing the process of having a book published. This, of course, is risky because I may not know how to write one. But, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Assume let’s that I can and press on. The number two goal is to get feedback and advice from those who wish to provide it. I’m always ready to learn and to shoot down any ideas that take me out of my comfort zone. So, have at it! In the words of Frazier Crane, I’m listening. And finally, and very obviously, I’m trying to build grass roots support for my project. Share and Subscribe is the mantra I’ll be pushing. I have two sub-reasons for this point: First is to garner mass support for the project and gain the attention of would-be publishers. (Duh!) They like to know that a  project has a built-in platform. Second, I really want to see first hand how these viral marketing schemes take off on their own. Should I have used the word scheme?

There are a lot of blogs in the world. Why should you read mine? Because I really check for typos. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any distracting spelling errors in my work. It’s a pet peeve of mine.

So, again, welcome! It’s nice to have you here. There’s lots more to come. I hope to post every week with a combination of progress updates, historical look-backs at how the project came to be, and various supposin’s. Always feel free to comment, I like a good conversation.


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