Saturday, November 5, 2016

Cubs Win and NaNoWriMo is Here!

Hi All,

My beloved Chicago Cubs won the World Series a few days ago and it is a marvelous thing to be a Cubs fan right now.  I only wish I had been in Chicago standing with all the other Cubs fans outside Wrigley watching the marquee change. I had to watch the festivities from afar but thanks to the many people who posted videos online it felt like I was there. Thankfully, WGN-TV streamed the parade and rally on Friday so even though I was at work I could listen in. 

Watching the games was edge of your seat baseball and while at one point in Game 7 I was having '80's flashbacks to when Lee Smith was our closer I must say I was watching with eyes covered.  Lee Smith was a hell of a closer back in the day but as a Cubs fan you had to hug a pillow or someone else in the hopes we'd still have the win when the game was over.

Watching the 2016 Cubs celebrate made me think of my favorite player Ryne Sandberg, it made me think of a young pitcher named Greg Maddux take the mound in 1986, I thought of Leon Durham, Andre Dawson, Shawon Dunston, Mark Grace, Rick Sutcliff, Gary Matthews Jr., Jim Frey, Bobby Dernier, Jody Davis, Mickey Morandini, Kerry Wood, Kyle Farnsworth and Matt Clement and somewhere along the way was a catcher by the name of Steve Christmas who had a sister named Mary.  The thing is I remember that tidbit but I can't remember much else about the guy.  I remember the banter between Harry Caray and Steve Stone and eventually Chip taking the seat that his grandfather once had.

I remember my first Cubs game up in the rafters on the third base side.  The New York Mets were in town and the Cubs beat them 11-2. I remember my uncle grumbling about even being at Wrigley (he was a Sox fan) but we had a blast. It was a beautiful day in April of 1984.  That was the year I became a Cubs fan and it all had to do with a guy named Ryne Sandberg.

I've only been to Wrigley Field three times in my life.  The first time was with my uncle and the next two times were with my aunt.  While my dad's family grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, it was the South Side and as a kid from Vermont - crosstown rivalries didn't mean anything to me.  But boy did I learn quick.  My second Cubs game was a June 1996 game where we froze our butts off.  It was so foggy that you couldn't see the bleachers let alone the players in the outfield. I remember my aunt drinking hot chocolate.  That game I saw Ryne Sandberg hit a home run - it would be the last time I'd see him play as he retired at the end of the season.  This was his second stint with the Cubs.  He had retired years earlier and then came back before retiring for good. I was happy that I got to see him play one last time.  My third trip to Wrigley was a night game.  My aunt and I were down the third base side close to the bleacher area in the corner.  You could barely see anything. 

This was the season of frustration because by this point I was a fan of Mickey Morandini who was our 2nd baseman but Riggleman hadn't been playing him but lo and behold he put him in near the end of the game. I think Morandini was the last out but the memory is a little foggy. Couldn't even tell you the score but it was Sept 20, 1999 and the Cardinals were in town. I still have the ticket stub. Sammy Sosa was going at it again with the home run record that year, he hit #61 the night before. I missed seeing a Sosa homer by 1 night but at least I can say I've eaten a box of Sammy Sosa corn flakes.

As the wild antics of games 6 and 7 were occupying many lives, NaNoWriMo took a backseat. It is day 5 in the annual event of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. The last couple of years I was finished in under 20 days.  Last year I did it record time, I think it was day 10 or so that I was done.  This year I won't be accomplishing such a feat.  I have written a little but I may just take this year off and work on the story I do have at my leisure.  We'll see how this weekend goes.

For those of you that have stored up on food and large amounts of caffeine for NaNoWriMo, I'm going to share something I've learned over the course of 10 years doing this wonderful event. At the end of the first weekend your word total should be between 20,000-25,000. If it's more than that - great!  You're probably freaking out by those numbers but relax there's a good reason for this.  You see, if you can by the end of the weekend have that many words, you can relax for the rest of the month.  The pressure on you to hit the 50,000 words by November 30th isn't as stressful.   Not only that but your daily word count if you keep on track is not as high. 

Not everyone can do this but if the opportunity comes your way - take it.

Alright, that's in for me.

Rock on!
~Maynard








Saturday, May 28, 2016

Writing, Reading and Exploring

Hey All,

I'm been writing bits and pieces here and there.  In fact I've been trying a new style of writing just for fun.  By this time of the year I'm usually coming up with new story ideas but the creativity muse had not quite struck me yet.

On the musical front, a former co-worker of mine introduced me to several new blues artists. Some of them I've heard of before and others brand new. Expanding my musical horizons is always a plus. I never know what piece of music might set off a creativity explosion in me. Music is very much ingrained in my creative process.  Most of the pieces I write are written with music in the background and most chapters in my stories will give a nod to the piece of music currently playing or was playing.  I like sharing music with readers in that form and also it allows readers to explore their musical horizons should they wish.  It's one way to share music with others.

In the past week I saw a grey barred owl and it's baby.  I've never seen an owl in my area even though they live in the forest behind my house so it was a super treat to final see one. I was lucky to see an Indigo Bunting as well which is rare to see where I live.  I've manage to enjoy seeing an Eastern Phoebe, Catbird, Blue Jay, Cardinal, Chickadees, Yellow Finch and lots of other birds

Our two rabbits are running around the back yard at night along with seven chipmunks and unfortunately the same amount of squirrels.  There is one squirrel who I call "Fat Squirrel" who has one heck of a beer belly on him that had the nerve to steal my birdfeeder off the line and drag it away.  I have yet to find the feeder.

I apologize for the short post but it's 90 degrees out even though it's nearly 7 pm. I have no air conditioning so I'm slightly melting.

I hope all of you are well and keep up with your writing.  Camp NaNoWriMo is starting soon again so do check it out and get your summer writing on!

Rock on!
~Maynard




Friday, April 29, 2016

I'm Alive

Hi All,

I'm still alive. Since my last post, I rolled right into NaNoWriMo, had family issues in December and have dealt with the notice of my radio station being silenced as the network it was on closed down. I have spent the past few months trying to get things feeling normal again - for me.

I have put aside reading books for now and have moved to working on various crafts. I have been doing small pieces of writing here and there but nothing substantial. I might crank out a 10,000 word story or do scenes it's nothing that is being used for a bigger story at the moment plus my mind has been on the NHL playoffs.

Admittedly, my team, the Chicago Blackhawks were eliminated in the first round so I'm bummed but not too much.  I think because I have been a Cubs fan since I was 12 that the "there's always next year" mentality fits here. There is always next year to try and win a Stanley Cup. (Dear Hockey Gods, Please don't let them trade Andrew Shaw!)  My Cubbies are doing well right now but I'm not paying a lot of attention to them at the moment.  I won't really start paying attention to them until July because once the All-Star Game hits it's a totally different season of baseball through October.

I apologize for the lack of updates on the site and it as much as I would like to update my website I'm having issues with the editor.  I will tell you that I recently finished reading Patrick O'Sullivan's book Breaking Away. It was hard to read in some places, I cried, I screamed and I got angry. I would recommend people give it a read. You don't have to be a hockey fan to read it.

All right, that's my update folks. I hope to have my website updated soon. I leave you with Jonathan Toews, Captain of the Chicago Blackhawks telling a funny story.

Rock on,
~Maynard