Morning Pages 10/16/19

The headlights from the car drew nearer as the ferry pulled itself across the short span of water.
The ferryman rocked back and forth with the buck of the waves on the uneven surface, just as the ferry itself did. He didn’t fight it but swayed back and forth and before long the winches and heavy chain had guided the ferry directly into the small dock on the southern side of the river.
Outside, the rain whipped about him and tugged upon his jacket hood. He stepped carefully down the corrugated steps and down to the dock.
He bypassed around the ferry gate and walked up to the car. The engine was still running.
When he came to stand at the driver’s side the window rolled down and even though it was dark, the light of the lone lamp overhead gave the ferryman a moderate view of the driver’s face.
He was young and handsome. Clean-shaven and respectable with wireframe glasses on. Beside him sat a woman who was presumably of a similar age and likely his wife, as a little girl of maybe 5 or 7 sat in the back seat.
“Hello,” said the man, in an English accent.
“Yes?” asked the ferryman.
“We’ve got reservations across the river. I apologize for the lateness.”
The ferryman shrugged. “S’okay. But,” and he bent down to take a closer look at the family.
The woman had long dark hair, tied up in a bun, and the little girl was sleeping, clutching a stuffed lion.
…”I can’t take you across,” finished the ferryman.
“What?” the man’s voice was strained now. With good reason. He had no idea what he’d gotten his family into. The ferryman would put a stop to it. “Isn’t this the ferry to Hilde Svend?”
The ferryman nodded, but it was an action that was more in agreement that the town’s name was the correct one, not that the ferry necessarily led to said town. He took a breath and looked up into the sky, letting some raindrops land on his face. He took a deep breath and shook his head and turned back to the English family.
“You’re on holiday?” he asked them.
The driver nodded. “That’s right.”
“Did we take a wrong turn?” asked the wife. “Is this the wrong ferry?”
“No, Darlene, I’m sure it’s correct,” said the Englishman.
The ferryman regarded him. Then said, “Might have been on a different night, under other stars.”
The man in the car squinted at the ferryman. Then pointed to the sky. “It’s raining.”
“Oh, don’t think they aren’t up there,” said the ferryman. “And those constellations aren’t ones you’d know. You’ll have to wait ’til morning.”

Summer Writing Project Now Live

Hello! I’m happy to announce that the first two chapters of my novella, The Night Sputnik Flew are now available to read on as part of the Summer Writing Project. I’m hoping to publish once every-other day or so. Each post is a new chapter/minichapter of my novella. Readers are encouraged to comment, critique, ask questions about the story, and more. I’m all for constructive criticism, so lay it on thick if you have the time/chance to do so. I have thick skin. If you do enjoy the piece, please leave a +1 behind and a comment as well. I don’t know what that accomplishes exactly, but whoever is picked by Jukepop and 1888 Center (a publisher) at the end of August, will have their novella published as a paperback. I don’t expect to be picked, but I’d love to have some exposure and if you like the piece please pass the word on to friends.

Here’s a little synopsis of what The Night Sputnik Flew is about:

The first night Sputnik flew, Sadie lost her faith. Now 18, she stands her ground against the only person she has left, her father, Michael. However, Michael is an old man from an old world–technology is an frontier he’s unprepared for. The confrontation reopens old wounds and as the past and present meld, both Sadie and Michael stand on the brink of the future, an oblivion neither of them are ready for.

Sure–that’s a bullshit synopsis, but it sounds alright–it’s got a nice flow, maybe. So, anyway, please do check it out if you have the time. Just click this link here, vote for me (pretty please) and pass along the word–Oh, and comment, let me know if you have a piece up for the Summer Writing Project also, so I can vote up your story as well.

It’s good to be back at the writer’s desk–I have some big news, or at least good news on its way tomorrow, so stay tuned.


5/5/15 On Grooveshark and Music

A couple days ago my favorite music streaming website was shut down. Grooveshark had been providing free streaming music for years. It was the only free and legit website that you could stream full albums from. Sadly, a 6 year lawsuit between Grooveshark and major record companies came to a conclusion earlier this month and saw Grooveshark turn off the music forever. Now, there is no doubt that artists should be paid for their endeavours, but is restricting free music sites making the industry money in the long run? I’m not sure.

While the record companies clamour to suppress anyone who tries to make music more available, they are actively hurting their own sales. There is little debate when it comes to intellectual property and how it becomes distributed among the masses in terms of availability. Or, lets put it this way: free ideas and content spread faster than ideas and content that have a price tag. A wonderful documentary about this is Press, Pause, Play. Now, if you click the link, you’ll see that there are four different options on how to get this film. You can download two different versions of it for free, an interactive version and the normal version, or you can buy it from itunes or amazon. You might ask yourself, why would I pay for it if I can get it for free? The answer is more simply than you might think. When it comes to art and ideas people REALLY enjoy they are willing to pay for them, even if the art or ideas can be found for free. Furthermore, the more an idea spreads, the more media spreads the more likely you are to have success in making money with it. For example, take the SmarterEveryDay youtube channel, where a man named Destin has made a living by exploring different scientific principles on youtube. Destin’s videos, like all videos on youtube are free, and because of this many of his videos have garnered millions of views. But it isn’t because they’re free, it’s because his ideas are worth spreading, and because of this he has drawn sponsors, whom he plugs into his videos for about 30 seconds. See, whether you’re being paid by consumers or plugging adds, doesn’t really matter. The point is that ideas that are free–and I think music, literature, visual art, are ideas–spread and attract attention which ultimately translates into some form of monetary compensation.

So, are the record companies right to force Grooveshark to shut down? Under intellectual property laws, I don’t think there is any doubt of that. However, there were many artists I discovered on Grooveshark that I’d never have found without the freeness. I simply don’t have the means to pay for all the music that is out there, however, I do have the funds to pay for the music I really enjoy–and so in the end, I think the record company are hurting their sales opportunities perhaps more than they are helping: with a free service I am more likely to discover new music and so more likely to go to shows, to buy the merch, to spend money on the digital downloads, so I can take the music anywhere I want. But instead I’ll never hear about the next band I’ll fall in love with. So Grooveshark, rest in peace, and please, please don’t apologize.