Keyboards, Offices, and the Next Story

Where has the time gone?

I sat down to write a blog post about a fancy new keyboard I built for myself. It has a 3D printed base, Gateron brown switches, and it’s all hand-wired and soldered. I found some resources and guidance for how to do it, and then I did it. I’m using this fancy keyboard right now to type this post.

In the picture, it looks like the keyboard is missing a couple of keys. All of the keycaps are present now. I had to be a little bit creative to get some of them to fit.

I wanted to dedicate an entire post to talking about this thing I made, because it’s awesome! I did a thing! And it works, and I love it!

As I was writing that post, Melissa got a call from her Mom. She asked, “Is there anything keeping you from going away for a couple of days?”

I started to answer the question before I realized she was nearly in tears.

That was the night her Dad died. I packed up some stuff and we drove to Oregon that night, and I didn’t think about that post or my blog or anything for a long while.

Melissa is doing better now. She and her Mom are driving around the country, visiting family for the next month. It’s been hard, but Melissa is going to be okay.

So now, after some time getting our lives back in some semblance of order, I’m writing blog posts again, and talking about the things I’ve been working on.

I learned a ton making that first keyboard. I learned enough to launch into a new keyboard for Michael, for his 50th birthday. His keyboard came out even better in terms of aesthetics, though it seems to have some reliability issues. A few keys fire too often. When we both have some time, we’re going to get together and I’ll fix it with him. We’ll have some friends over and play some board games and make an evening of it.

I have plans of making another keyboard, which I’ll donate to the Writing Excuses Retreat so they can give it away. I bought the PLA for it and I have the controller board. Once I’m done with my next project, I’ll start printing the parts and put it together.

What’s the next project? It’s my new office!

We helped Bryanna get into her own apartment a couple of weeks ago, which means I’ll finally be able to come in from the garage. I’ve repaired and repainted the walls, ripped out the carpet, and I’ve prepared the floor for receiving new wood-laminate. It’s going to look great and feel comfortable.

A lot of this renovation is a trial for some of the work we’re going to do through the rest of the house. After a couple of rambunctious kids and incontinent cats, the carpet is in bad shape throughout the house. If the office turns out nice, we’ll start doing the same sort of thing in other rooms.

Finally, let’s talk about writing. My critique group finished Spin City after 20 months of submissions. Whew! It’s quite a milestone for the group, and I think they genuinely liked it. The ending is really strong. It probably would have hit even better if we hadn’t taken quite so long to get through the whole thing, but that’s okay.

I finished the first revision of Synthetic Dreams and I started reading it to Melissa. She’s enjoying it. I truly believe Synthetic Dreams is the best thing I’ve ever written. I have no idea how I’m going to query it, or what comp titles I’ll use for it. I don’t think it’s quite like anything else I’ve read or seen.

With revisions done for those two novels, I want to work on something new. I’ve had a hankering for a cyberpunk story for a while. At first, I wanted to run a cyberpunk game. Now I think I want to write a cyberpunk story, using this fancy new keyboard I made with my own hands.

I have ideas for it. There’s some imagery in mind, and I have a page and a half of notes regarding themes I want to consider including in the story. Technically, I’ve started an outline, but there isn’t much in it yet.

The trouble is that I have this fear around starting something new. I don’t want to have yet another novel completed that I’m in love with, that I have no way of getting out in front of an audience. It’s an emotional weight that interferes with the excitement and creativity I need in order to launch into a brand new draft.

I need a critique partner. Someone that is hungry for my stories. Someone that writes stories that delight me, too. With a solid critique partner, it would feel less like I’m trying to do this all on my own.