Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Another Year on The Blue Marble

It's crazy to think that not too long ago my future on this planet was in serious jeopardy.  I guess that's not entirely accurate.  I'd still be on the planet, just not hanging out and rocking my jam as usual.  And if I was, then you should run.  Fast.  Because I'd be a zombie and your brains would for sure become my breakfast.  For sure.

For those of you following along at home, I recently had one of those birthday thangz all the cool kids are getting into.  They seem to be almost unavoidable these days.  No matter where you look, people are always having birthdays.  Some people have so many birthdays that you have to wonder just who they think they are.  I once wrote that you should always be glad to have another birthday.  That you shouldn't fret growing older, because every new day was a gift.  I don't know from where, or from whom, but the gist was that you should appreciate the time that you have.  Since I'm a regular human person like anyone else, my thought patterns and opinions wax and wane like a desert moon orbiting a lonely rock at the outskirts of the galaxy.  I don't know exactly what I believe about birthdays anymore, or even about existence, or about appreciating the gift of tomorrow.  Is it really a gift?  Some people's tomorrows will be unquestioningly awful.
There are those in this life whose tomorrows are always filled with very sad things.  Suffering, disappointment, hardships.  Some people will never have a chance at a normal life -- they'll never have a shot at the best things this place has to offer.  And, according to the credo to which you choose to adhere, it's entirely possible that they won't get another chance to try again.  I'm not elevating my experiences to rival those of what could only be described as an earthly prison -- not at all.  I have a great time, as a general rule.  Because, if I'm not enjoying myself, then I strongly feel that I should move over and make space for someone else who will.  I think I'm just suddenly unsure about how to take my ongoing survival.

I used to have plenty of questions related to surviving cancer.  "Why me?" is a trusty standard.  I used to have zillions of feelings and micro feelings relating as well.  And then, after a while, it all kind of just stopped.  And I was allowed to be normal again.  Only I didn't know how.  And to some extent, the normal I've chosen is someone I don't recognize when I really stop to look.  I suppose the bottom line is; I don't know who I am anymore, or who I want to be.  I don't know exactly what almost dying and suddenly having more birthdays has done to me.  And I think I'd better figure it out if I want to justify the potential gift of being granted even more birthdays.  I owe it to myself, and the people who are taking for granted that I'm always going to be here.

Photo credits: Top -- Cover art for Metastatic Memories© 2014 Kevin Lankes and TheCatchMode

Monday, September 22, 2014

Life Emulates Art, and Emulators Emulate in my Bedroom

In the past week I have downloaded an NES emulator, as well as a Super Nintendo emulator, and I have close to 2,000 classic games from my childhood to work through.  Though it won't be much work -- not in the traditional sense of the word, anyway.

Lately, I've been easing through my normal routine.  After I finish a major project, I wander aimlessly for a while, picking at new ideas like they were scabs in the recesses of my brain (brain scabs are nasty).  While I do this, I need to keep my mind occupied with fresh material and concepts.  So I consume.  A lot.  Any creative input will due.  Emulators are at the top of the queue at present.

The most eagerly-tackled game in the bunch, by far, was the original, the classic, the most awesomely awesome, "The Legend of Zelda."

Hear that Overworld theme playing in your head.  Relish it.  Bathe in its epic tonal quality.  Now do some more relishing.  Mmmm.  
I admit that I'm using a walkthrough for this one.  Because, even though I played it incessantly as a kid, I'm not entirely convinced I ever really knew what I was doing.  And therefore, I can't be sure I ever actually beat it.  And I really, really want to.  The sequels, and games I can reasonably figure out on my own (things are mostly handed to modern gamers these days, or at the very least, are extremely intuitive), I'll play through without any extra help.

Like this one.  I'm already a decent way through it.  And things are coming along well.  It's amazing what you remember from when you were seven (in cases that aren't Zelda).  
The cool thing about emulators is save states.  So you don't ever have to lose your place in a Nintendo game again and start all over.  Unless you mess with the F keys by accident... I still haven't figured out how to fix that mistake.  Oh well.  Project nostalgia is well underway, with zillions of classic titles poised to meet the sweet bioelectric feedback from the tips of my gaming thumbs.  This on the heels of the 125th anniversary of the founding of Nintendo.  I'd say that's an awfully cool coincidence.

Anway, I hope you all have a successful writing routine (or general work routine) that works for you.  Something that helps you optimize production.  And, something that's just plain fun.  Takes the stress out of life for a while, and helps to further your goals at the same time.  So, to this point, I say emphatically, happy birthday Nintendo.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

It's Been a Busy June

The lady friend and I signed a lease last night.  We'll be moving in together in August.  That sort of thing is a little scary, of course, but ultimately in life it's important to choose to be around the people who make you happy.  It's a simple thing, and it makes going through all the other superfluities of life so much more tolerable.  I will remember I said this when she eats the last of the Ghirardelli chocolate chips and I want to rage.

In other news, I'm on chapter 24 of my novel, and I'm aiming for about 30 total chapters.  So the first draft will be done soon, and after a round of editing I'll be looking for beta readers.  I'll post more on that soon, but get in touch with me if you'd like to help -- I'm looking for people who have opinions about things.  If you do some honest self-analysis and find that you genuinely don't have opinions, this is probably a serious medical condition and you should be evaluated by your physician.

"Oh, I remember back when I first read a book by Kevin Lankes.  ....It was yesterday.  We just threw on an old-timey filter like the kids do on the Instagram.  Ahem."
I have some upcoming new freelance writing contracts for July, which is great, because otherwise the above two points wouldn't be going so well if I didn't have the means to fund them.  That being said, I could always use more clients.  If you or anyone you know has a writing or editing project, check out the fee schedule on my website, or get in touch with me to discuss the details.

Otherwise, the month of June has been spent finally tackling Latin, which has been a long-standing interest of mine.  Last Christmas, my girlfriend bought me an immersion-style coursebook written entirely in Latin that I've begun to steadily work through.  Also, failing to avoid heated facebook arguments has become a favored pastime of mine in the month of June (not that it ever wasn't).  I've become quite addicted to reading facebook and article comments, especially when the subject matter is controversial.  The level to which people can be unreasonable is fascinating.

My sincerely held beliefs require me to write exclusively in cursive Latin from now on.
So, the year moves on and Time cuts down another month.  I'm excited to finish this novel in the upcoming days and get to finalizing it and sending it out.  I'm probably more excited about this project than I've ever been about anything.  But a reasonable excitement -- one that says, "You know, I think I pretty much got this right on."  And there's a sense of satisfaction that goes with that, a level-headed contentment that makes me feel like this really could be something special.  And with that, I'll keep clicking the Chiclets until it's done, and keep pounding Latin vocab into my head (some of which are English words that mean completely different things, like "it"), and keep funding the lifestyle that allows me to achieve the goals I've set.

Tonight I'm traveling to PA to be with family for the holiday weekend.  I hope everyone's 4th of July is filled with an abundance of fun.  Until next time.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Every Book Has a Soundtrack. What's the Soundtrack to Your Book?

Music is hella great.  I've known this my whole life -- I've been performing music since the summer before fifth grade, when I picked up a trumpet for the first time under the watchful eye of my teacher, the late Ray Detweiler.  He molded me into quite the musician, capable of living comfortably in an expansive, magical new world.  Because music is magical.  It brings out emotional responses like nothing else.  It can be inspiring, uplifting, even terrifying.

A lot of people are terrified when they see things like this.  #TabCulture
Image Credit: melintelinas via deviantart
Currently, the novel I'm writing has no soundtrack.  This makes me terribly sad.  I plan to remedy this in the near future, so that I can increase my odds of crafting it into the killer story I know it so rightfully is.  My next novel, however, has such an epic soundtrack that has never before been heard by man nor angel.  It's a combination of Sir Christopher Lee's first operatic metal album (yes, this is a thing), and assorted music from Two Steps From Hell.  This particular lineup is what you call a surplus of epic.

Music is so influential that it even has the ability to irritate the shit out of us, as is the case with my upstairs neighbors producing a criminally monotonous, half-baked rap album above my head as I write this.  The most powerful part of music, however, is that it inspires other art.  It can also be inspired by other media as well, but the quality of art created while under the influence of music is powerfully profound.  And remember, if you or someone you love is under the influence of music, and can't seem to find their way back to a normal life, I have a twelve-step program to sell you.  It involves buying my books.

For now, I'll continue to search for an appropriate soundtrack to my current project.  It must needs be inspirational, hopeful, tragic, but with an air of uncovering a new dawn.  Recommendations are welcome.  Do you have a soundtrack for your book or other art?  If so, what is it?  And how did you come by it?