Archive for the ‘Off-Topic’ Category

This week in writing history: The Catcher in the Rye

In O'Pinions, Off-Topic on July 16, 2014 at 11:22 pm


On July 16, 1951, J.D. Salinger published a book that just about everyone (in this country, at least) has had to read at one point or another: The Catcher in the Rye. Some people love it, and some people (maybe more people) love to hate it—but others, myself included, just shrug and say, “Yeah, it was alright.”

This is actually something of a source of contention in my house. My fiancée hates Holden Caulfield with a vigorous passion; after all, he’s whiney and spends 200+ pages doing, well, basically nothing. I, on the other hand, think the book actually has some merits (and if I ever want to lose my fiancée, all I have to do is expound upon some of those merits aloud).

So it’s at great risk to my personal life (and possibly my blog followership) that I expound upon them here, if only silently: Read the rest of this entry »



In Fiction, Travel on March 24, 2014 at 11:27 am


Glittering azure
Crystal-cool and comfortable
Bright fish swimming
Scales tickled with light

And below

Caverns, endless
Blue to green to inky black
Pressure and darkness

Nameless mystery
Crushing truth

Dive Read the rest of this entry »

How Literacy Has Made the World a Better Place (And Can Again)

In O'Pinions, Off-Topic on June 19, 2013 at 9:08 pm


I was clicking through YouTube last week, procrastinating (that’s redundant, right?), when somehow my eye strayed from the cat videos long enough to be caught by some slightly more serious videos featuring John Cleese and Neil deGrasse Tyson. They weren’t in the videos together, mind you, but they were discussing some of the same things: how religion, when followed too rigidly and taken too literally, can become a danger to scientific progress and society as a whole.

Specifically, John (we’re on a first name basis, you know) had this to say:

“I think that the central problem of any religion is that the founders of religions are always extraordinarily intelligent people, and what you notice as you get older is extraordinarily intelligent people are not literal minded. And the great problem of religion is when what is said by the founder of the religion, which is supposed to be taken metaphorically, is taken literally.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Social Media for Writers

In Off-Topic on May 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm

I’ll be the first to admit: I’ve been a little slow on the uptake with using platforms like Twitter and Facebook to get my writing out there. First, it felt a little presumptuous to create a fan page for myself when I haven’t actually published anything yet; then it just seemed like I could never have enough to say to fill up a Twitter feed or timeline.

But I’ve been chipping away at it, so as a service to the other writers out there who feel the same way, I thought I’d share some of the resources I’ve stumbled across in my searches. After all, it’s never too late to learn!

The Book Doctors Present: As You Like It, Or the Power of Facebook for Authors

7 Essential Elements for an Author’s Facebook Page

Facebook for Authors: How to get Started

Facebook Strategy for Authors: In-Depth Discussion

Read the rest of this entry »

Short Story Contests: May

In Off-Topic, Writing on May 2, 2013 at 6:19 pm

I’ve been bad, reader friends, and waited too long to get my list of May short stories together. Consequently, the May 1st deadlines are out the door. My apologies!

There are still a few chances to submit though, so let me lay the sweetness on you:

Crab Orchard Review Dyer Fiction Prize
  • Deadline: May 4
  • Guidelines: 6,000 words or fewer
  • Entry fee: $20 (by mail) $22.50 (online)
  • First prize: $2,000
Writer’s Digest Annual Competition
  • Deadline: May 6 (early bird deadline)
  • Guidelines: Dependent upon category
  • Entry fee: $27
  • First prize: $3,000 (grand prize) or $1,000 (first prize)
Carve Magazine Raymond Carver Short Story Contest
  • Deadline: May 15
  • Guidelines: 6,000 words or fewer
  • Entry fee: $17
  • First prize: $1,000
E.M. Koeppel Short Fiction Award
  • Deadline: May 15
  • Guidelines: 3,000 words or fewer
  • Entry fee: $15 (additional stories $10 each)
  • First prize: $1,100 Read the rest of this entry »

Pinionpost Turns 1

In Off-Topic on April 4, 2013 at 11:33 am

Birthday cake, photo by Will Clayton

Pinionpost Turns 1

Grab the confetti, slice the cake and call up the petting zoo: pinionpost is one year old today.

It’s amazing how quickly the time has gone and how much has changed—a new city, a new job—but I’m still going and don’t plan on stopping just yet.

So what does one year look like?

The number of countries represented by my visitors

The number of posts I’ve posted

The number of people brave enough (or foolish enough) to actually subscribe to these posts Read the rest of this entry »

Socially Unacceptable

In Off-Topic on March 28, 2013 at 5:44 pm

FB Banner2

What’s Unacceptable? Well, for starters the fact that I haven’t had a Facebook page until now.

But as of this instant the pinionpost Facebook page is available for you to like (it’s actually available for you to love, if you please) at

It’ll be a place to find my stories, links, but also a place where I’ll share all the great stories and prompts and writing contests I find around the interweb.

I’ve been at this blogging thing for nearly a year now, so it’s about time. Now let’s see if I can get it off the ground!

If you’re really feeling particularly lovey toward me today, why not follow me on twitter, too? @pinionpost

Westward, yo!

In Off-Topic, Travel on February 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Howdy everyone and happy weekend!

First, please allow me to apologize for my absence. But  (as is generally the case with my disappearances from the interweb) my excuse is that I emerged, instead, in the actual world.


I’ve been on vacation in the great state of California with my amazing girlfriend – sipping wine in Napa Valley, climbing steep hills in San Francisco, and dodging hungry wildlife in the Muir Woods.

Anyway, before I get back to your regularly scheduled programming, I thought I’d leave you with a few pictures (the internet equivalent of the slideshow your neighbors force you to sit through when they come back from their… thimble collecting trip… to… Yugoslavia). Read the rest of this entry »

NaNo-Scale Failure

In Off-Topic on December 3, 2012 at 1:03 pm

November has come and gone and, with it, so has NaNoWriMo. I started the month with a lot of hope and some pretty lofty goals but, alas, I am forced to now report that I have… failed.

nanowrimo banner

It turns out working, blogging and drafting a novel just wasn’t possible if I valued things like time with my girlfriend and basic hygiene (and it turns out I do).

But Don’t Despair!

As I see it, I’ve still managed to write the first five chapters of a book that, until now, has been floating in that perilous space between brain cells. NaNoWriMo forced me to get concrete about my characters and my plot, and because of that I think I’ve gotten a pretty well-distilled version of things ready to go – it’ll just go more at my pace. Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s Do This

In Off-Topic on October 30, 2012 at 9:49 am

I’m doing this thing. NaNoWriMo I mean. I’ve been on the fence about it, mostly because I think I should be focusing on the novel that I’ve already written, editing it and getting it ready, but also because it has the potential to slow down my regular posts.

But as I see it, I’ve already stalled on the editing of Alberija and I could probably use a break from it. Meanwhile, I’ve had this other idea for a story kicking around in my head for long enough that I think it’s ready to be written out as a draft.

When it’s all over, I’ll put that draft away for a bit and go back to Alberija with fresh eyes – but for the next month, it’s going to be on in a way that is very much similar to Donky Kong. Read the rest of this entry »