Update on Civil War, writing and “The Avengers”

Rain drop and branches

Random pretty picture I took last year.


Last Wednesday, the 26th, I was working on the next Civil War post and the Internet connection disappeared. The soonest they could get a repair person out was today, so I not only fell further behind on the Civil War weekly series but also lost a lot of transcription money.

It wasn’t a total loss, though.

I did write up a complete first draft of the supervolcanoes article for Cracked (see below) and worked through a few ideas for a professional WordPress site (more on that in a future post).

Cracked and the supervolcanoes article

Work on this pitch has been quite a saga going on the background. A while back, after getting stuck, I added a post to my pitch saying that I didn’t think I could write this in the Cracked voice.

Those moderators are great. Someone posted encouraging words, and I thanked them and gave it another try, this time reformatting the pitch – it worked and now is “7 Important Things We Accidentally Built Near a Supervolcano.”

There really are supervolcanoes seemingly all over the place (though none mentioned in my pitch compares to Yellowstone, which is insanely huge); they even occur in series, though I didn’t get into that in the pitch – it would be too much. The closest I got was brief mention of the Taupo Volcanic Zone while focusing on Taupo caldera.

The Net outage kept me from following up until today. Another moderator has marked it ready for editorial, where they’ll make a final decision on it. This moderator also said (paraphrasing), ‘Any really good idea you come up with is going to make you feel inadequate, like you can’t do it. Don’t listen to the negative thoughts. Write.’

That meant so much to me. I’ll pay it forward, too.

I’m so glad I signed up for that workshop!

Flag in the fog

More random beauty.

The Civil War posts

This was a setback, but I’m just going to keep plugging away (working on August 20-26 now).

That works better, going sequentially, than trying to jump back and forth between October and August. There was so much going on in 1862. Also, my basic idea isn’t primarily to do a series – it’s to try to understand what happened.

Oddly enough, I’ve warmed up a bit to George McClellan, even though he seems to have been the stereotypical “difficult person.” More on that in the end-of-year round-up, though.

Also, after reading of the actual Confederate cavalry exploits in 1862 (before the North got its act on horseback together, which it most certainly did and well; McPherson notes that the Southern boys just had a head start on riding before the war), the cavalry charge in Gods and Generals seems way too tame. Safety, of course. The actual thing must have been pretty scary – you’re a foot soldier, and suddenly there’s a huge, horse-shaped tank with flying hooves in your face, and a lunatic riding it, shooting and waving a very sharp saber at you purposefully. Aaagh!

This is why the brave stand 20 Indiana men did in August as a furious John Hunt Morgan and his cavalry rode down on them, trying to free some civilian captives, is just breathtaking – they held the Confederates off.

Such dramatic moments aside, these posts are probably pretty thick going, but they’re note taking for me, getting as many salient details of the thing as possible into one broad outline. After this series finishes in 2015, then I can start Shelby Foote’s works.

Other stuff

Besides writing, I did odds and ends during the off time from work, and then figured Sunday (yesterday) I’d do fall cleaning. This is only a very small apartment, after all – one day ought to do it.

Ha! I got exactly one room done, and the others are in total chaos. I won’t mention the closets.

That’s okay, though. Got perspective – my Netflix movie came. The Avengers is now out on DVD. I just ignored the mess, set everything else aside today after work and watched that.

It was pretty good, but I felt a little disappointed and not just because of what happened to one of my favorite characters (avoiding spoilers here – if you comment, please don’t ruin it). I think it was the trademark Whedon smart cracks. That works so well with Tony Stark and was consistent with the previous two Iron Man films, but it seemed kind of out of place with a man from the 1940s (I treasured the “only one God” remark, though!) and especially the two Norse demigods. The movie Thor was wonderfully operatic, and Thor’s pseudo-archaic way of thinking and speaking contrasted nicely with that of the regular humans he came in contact with. That’s missing here – just one-liners like “Watch who you’re talking about – he’s my brother” to “He’s adopted.” Funny, but kind of superficial.

That was probably unavoidable, though, with the whole group together. And this is the first comic book movie that really felt like reading a comic book. They got that perfectly.

Well, enough. I’m beat and can’t finish up the Civil War post tonight. Tomorrow will do.

The Cracked editors meet tomorrow, and maybe there will be feedback later in the day. I’ll spend my break time midday in finishing that post and maybe getting started on the kitchen cleaning, and then find out later on how fares the pitch.

Thanks very much for your continued interest and likes, all!

Categories: American Civil War, Writing

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