The Accidental Podcaster: Chapters
I don't remember a time when I didn't write stories. Somewhere tucked away in the attic of my grandmother's house is a plastic bin filled with crumbling sheets of cheap drawing paper, bound with either yarn ties or staples set so perfectly straight that you'd swear there was a ruler involved. Some were stories about talking animals, others about mad scientists or princesses with swords (my princesses saved themselves, thank you very much). Whatever topic occupied my grade-school-aged mind usually ended up in a very limited print run on my grandmother’s kitchen table, sometimes autographed so that when I won my Pulitzer in the decades to come, she would be able to say her copies were worth more. I wrote and illustrated, made covers and bindings, carefully drew my own publishing imprints in each one (Rainbow Press, after my teddy bear and one constant companion). And in what would become a theme in my life, I generally chronicled scenes and anecdotes the way I wanted them to be more than how they might actually have been.

As I got older, I became increasingly selective about the people with whom I would share my stories. After a few unfortunate incidents, I took to writing and leaving out decoy notebooks of fake projects; one of my more ambitious projects was a faked diary with fictitious teenager problems and more than a few fake teenagers, "hidden" in a fairly obvious spot to take the attention away from where the real one was stashed. Trust had to be earned before one was permitted to enter my writing universe; even my numerous online blogs would last only a year or so for a specific readership, and when those relationships changed, so did the host where I'd secretly start a new blog with new readers and new intent. I can honestly say I have more ex-blogs than I have ex-boyfriends, which should tell you something about me.

The last of these blogs, The Fourth Castle, started as a place for me to hone my skills for a public audience again after I got pissed off one night by a snarky email from an indy publisher and decided things needed to change.

Why The Fourth Castle?

"When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that's what you're going to get, Lad, the strongest castle in all of England." -The Swamp King, Monty Python and the Holy Grail

That should tell you pretty much everything you need to know about me: I try things, I fail stupendously, I keep trying again and again until finally by some miracle it works.

Last weekend, I took another step forward and finally got around to registering a website to house my little extension projects and act as a learning platform for me to tinker and be able to understand the under-the-digital-hood things better. As with most things, I have my own unique way of learning (read, commit, panic/freak out, be tsk’d at, tinker, level up), so I spent a good portion of time playing with crappy code frameworks first to get a feel for what I should hate before moving on to a more articulate “this is what I need, let’s build this instead.†The ultimate goals are to 1. build a comprehensive, encyclopaedic guide for my ever-expanding fiction universe1, and 2. build an indexed catalogue of ghost stories in print2. The latter stems from my childhood dream of one day amassing and curating a library of the largest collection of ghost stories in the world - yes, I’m weird, but I’m also incredibly meticulous when it comes to building databases and systems for organizing information.

This is an important chapter for me, as it’s the next step along my journey and one I’m not undertaking entirely on my own. The site in and of itself isn’t that important - it’s not meant to be a hub or community place like the RivalCast site is, but rather a tool for helping the other projects along. What is important is the idea behind it - taking a dream, building that castle, watching the various iterations of said castle sink repeatedly into the swamp of experience until finally - FINALLY - you get that proverbial fourth castle that STAYS THE F--- UP.

Because that’s what you’re getting, lads.

The strongest me there’s been yet.


WHAT I’M CURRENTLY READING: Thomas Vinciguerra, Cast of Characters: Wolcott Gibbs, E.B. White, James Thurber, and the Golden Age of The New Yorker
THREE THINGS I’M LISTENING TO ON REPEAT: Escala, Feeling Good; The Starting Line, Best of Me; Franz Ferdinand, Take Me Out (just the beginning, though)

1: This will eventually go to the RCM site, but I want to tinker first and experiment to get something I like before I put it in a public area.
2: This, on the other hand, will need its own site, which is the other reason for finally registering one.
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