Monday, February 3, 2014

Good morning Seahawks fans, Vultureheads, Cigar Lovers and Artists of all Kinds

It's a brand new day.

February 3rd marks a new era in my career as a writer and a new start for the 86 the Poet blog.  First of all, more stuff.

I'll be doing my best to post daily.  This week, I'll be doing more than that.  I have my Seahawks Super Bowl reaction piece coming soon.  More in-depth analysis coming later.

This blog used to be about what I was up to as a writer.  You could find links to everything I was doing and examples of my work, plus the occasional post about my thoughts and activities.  While work, family, The Penalty Flag and Bright Hub kept me busy, my posting became less frequent.  It got down to once every month or two.

TPF and Bright Hub made 2013 a notable year for me.  TPF made me more involved in the NFL than I ever had been.  I was always a fan, but now I was looking wider and deeper into the game than ever before.  Also, at a point I was reaching more readers.  I had an article reach 12,000 in half a day. It popped up on and was discussed in various chatrooms around the web.  I was a bit hot during the fall.  Almost everything I wrote about the Seahawks grabbed a couple thousand page views in the first day.  My fantasy football writing was not as popular, but I was writing weekly about that too.

Then, for who-knows-what reasons, TPF's views dwindled.  It's difficult keeping a site together when it's mostly one guy doing it all.  A guy with integrity and guts, by the way, so I'll accentuate the positive.  I was made leader and editor over the AFC West and NFC West divisions for the second half of the season.

Bright Hub continued to give me between two and six assignments a month.  Topics ranged from specific writing styles to dead poets to history.  Lately I've been writing about the modern state of education, including technology in the classroom and the changing environment.  I never get a good feel about who's reading what I do, but they pay me and keep asking for more.

The dark side, however, is that I wrote almost nothing for myself in 2013.  I did publish The Cheshire House on Valentine's Day, but that was completed by Halloween the year before.  I did compile Growing at the Sun, but the words in that were written between 2012 and (damn) 1993, I guess.  I did write In the Toaster and a couple spoken word pieces last year, so it wasn't a complete desert.

So in 2014 I'm getting back to being me.  Or being Eighty Six.  Everything I wrote for TPF was as David Klenda.  So was all my Bright Hub stuff.  I just asked them to change that.  My most recent articles have "Eighty Six" as the byline, and it's pretty to see.

I'm getting back to creative writing and being myself.  I'm doing it for me, my wife, my kids and our future.  Another child coming in July, by the way.  I learned a lot at TPF but I think I achieved all I could.  I never made much money compared to the work I did.  I didn't have all the control I wanted.

So that brings me back to today.  This has never truly been a blog.  A blog, in order to be successful, needs to have a focus and post content routinely.  Until today, this has been what I called "digital office-space".  This was where you could find me.  I might not be here, but feel free to look around.

But now, it's a blog.  I've mentioned my 5 Fingers of Death on Twitter.  It's a dramatic old Kung Fu movie reference.  Maybe too violent.  Perhaps I should borrow a Gary "the Glove" Payton image.  He's the point guard who brought five players together as one for the Seattle Supersonics.

So here are my 5 Fingers of Death, 5 Fingers on the Glove, 5 Toes of my Ass-Kicking Foot. Whatever.  The five things I'm writing about every week: my wife's art, my writing, football, cigars and food.

Jajamilevska, or My Gorgeous Illustrator, is talented with pencils, ink and paint.  She has produced a couple of abstract pieces in our house and all my book covers.  As a mother, she lacks time to submerge herself into the craft.  But primarily, she lacks the confidence.  She looks at what she does and sees what it isn't.  I see what it is and always want more.  As readers, you can help me do one thing: encourage her to work more. Don't worry about my confidence.  In my mind I have a black and gold "86" shield on my chest.  But my wife needs a nudge.

I said we have another baby coming in July.  So anything I really want done I should do by June.  I want to write another creative piece.  I've been thinking about a mystery series.  Some of the most popular collections of stories and most loved characters have come from mysteries.  Look at most of the dramas on TV: one hour of crime-solving.  Problem in, I've never really written a mystery.

I'm good with character, at least on a shallow level.  I'm good at setting and color and snappy bits of dialogue.  So picture this: on a beautiful but troubled Caribbean island, a charter fisherman and dive-guide of unknown origin also solves problems for the local police and citizens.  His name is Marcel, or at least that's what he goes by sometimes.  He speaks French, English, Spanish and the local Antilles-Creole dialect.  He lives on his boat and makes a living from the tourists.  He keeps a low-profile to avoid trouble from his past.  His sleuthing is primarily to keep the local government happy so they don't hand him over to anyone asking about him.

So I'm putting the first story together.  I'm building it here.  I'll be posting a chunk weekly.  We'll see where it goes.  Maybe every week will be about Marcel, maybe not.  I'll stay fluid like the transparent waters of the Caribbean Sea.

I'll keep writing about football, with an emphasis on the Seahawks and fantasy football as the season approaches.

I'll write about cigar collecting.  An article on getting started by selecting the right humidor is coming soon.  Already I've been posting occasional deals.  The key to getting cigars at good prices is to take advantage of short-term sales.  Things go on discount for days or hours.  I'll try to keep you from missing out.

I'll write about food, both cooking and my experience in the F&B business.  My BBQ rub is central to most of what I make.  That recipe will be coming soon.

What?  There are seven days in the week?  So I need two more.  OK.  Got it.  So here's my weekly schedule until I change it:

Monday: What I'm up to.  Recap of the week.

Tuesday: Recipes and restaurant stories.
Wednesday: My writing.  A story, poem or a story about a poem.
Thursday: My Gorgeous Illustrator.
Friday: The Oscuro Corner.  (Oscuro is a dark, earthy cigar wrapper.  My favorite kind.)
Saturday: Video of me reading something.
Sunday: Football.
All posts at 10am PST.

So that's the way it is and it's like that.  Stay tuned.  Please share and give feedback.