Where do you start unstucking the bus?

Is your bus also broken down somewhere between Never-been-there and Even-the-rats-are-lost?

Old cover for Grizzle & Bone
Old cover for Grizzle & Bone under nom de plume Gerhi Feuren soon to be re-published as Gerhi Janse van Vuuren

I got something cool going a fair number of years ago and really put a good effort into it and then time; money; got to eat; kids have to have clothes for school and what could’a/should’a grown ended up in a ditch covered in bird poop and sludge and the little brittle wings of the dead fairies of hope and smiles.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite a bus. Maybe it was more a bicycle, with training wheels. But it is still rusted and stuck and I’m trying to push it out. It is slow going.

Where are you stuck?

Do you like your name?

Or is there another reason why you use some generic version of a film star name crossed with a obscure toadstool class description?

Domain registration expired notice
This is not the name I’m going under any more

I have been nom de pluming since I published my first short story because I thought I needed something short and snazzy. I have decided since to write and publish and make using the name I use for most else and be damn the rest of the world if it is long, unwieldy, unpronounceable and long.

That’s why I’m letting a url (gerhifeuren.com) go, floating away in the aether like a pink bottle with no message in it. Goodbye you pretentious and even more unpronounceable but short and punchy moniker.

What name do you use when you commit stuff?

Three birds at the front door

I like it when things happen on top of each other. A kind of synchronicity to things. Rain starting at the same time as an exam. Light turning green just as you down-gear. Ideas bubbling up when work is at the most hectic.

Normal stuff sort of. Stuff that happens randomly if you don’t connect the dots. With divine plan if you storify the whole thing in hindsight.

wooden birds

Random picture for today. The wooden birds that hang at our front door. They were there when we moved in and will probably stay there when we move out. We are renting. Renting a place we got through divine providence.

Or accident. Your choice.

If not here, where? If not now, when?

Another cryptic heading because I am not intending to tax myself with trying to create things with phrases that Google might like or some other arbitrary hamster driven reason. This is my blog where I want to post things that I write firstly for the reason of having somewhere to post it. If somebody might find it and read it, bonus.

Which is why I am firstly simplifying a lot of what is happening here. I’m taking away categories for instance. And I’ve removed the newsletter subscription form. I have no desire to start a newsletter so I’m not even entertaining the idea with trying to entice people to sign up. If you want to get notices via email to can sign up to updates direct from the site. Automated and easy and I don’t have to do squat.

So, what now?

I intend to revive my blog. Meaning that I want to use it to its full extent, as a blog. Possibly and aiming to post daily. Please not that I do not say write daily, I said post daily. Meaning that sometimes I will write and post as I go, like this post that is going to be posted just after I’ve written it, with a slight time delay.

Or, I am going to dig stuff I have written and have posted on other blogs and previous incarnations of this blog, dust of those posts and post them, on a scheduled basis.

Or, I am going to sit down for a day and write a bunch of posts and schedule them ahead.

Or, I am going to use some secret formula to pull posts out of thin air and then have them magically appear on my site. This requires ginger, battery acid and a skinny cat and at the moment our cat is too fat.

But what I am going to do to fill out the daily schedule is to take whatever I write and schedule it on a specific day of the week some time in the future for the next twenty weeks. Then I’m going to, when I get to this again, take another day of the week and schedule posts for that day, ten weeks into the future. Rinse and repeat until I have a post every day for ten weeks into the future and then let’s see what happens.

So, why am I telling you this?

I’m not. I’m telling it to myself because what my blog firstly is for is to put my thinking outside myself that I can have a look at it. And some of that thinking is wishful thinking in terms of what I am able to do. Or, in other words, planning and goal setting.

In summary then, this blog is my writing/thinking space. Your welcome to tag along but I’m not doing this specifically to build a readership, blog a book or sell anything. I am just thinking out loud.

First 5 Words of Toujours Voir

“Folks!” the bodyguard announced. “In…”

David Brin — Toujours Voir from The River of Time

I quote only five words from this short story because as a precision short story it is only 250 words long. Quoting 50 words would therefore be quoting a disproportionate amount of the story.

David Brin describes a precision story as “a fable written to very exacting standards.”

This 250 word version is one such fable, something that can also be called flash fiction and also constrained writing. I don’t much care for flash fiction, which sometimes seems pointless, but I do like constrained writing and I might try this version someday.

How I increased my email subscriber list a 100% with just one click

What, you don’t believe that that is possible? How can you increase your subscribers with just one click. This is a hoax. A foolish prank and just plain nonsense.

Well refuse to believe it if you want to because it is true and I will tell you exactly how to do it. First you create a completely new mailing list. And then you subscribe to your own list which means with one click you have increased your subscribers with 100%.

Okay, admit, it is a bit funny.

But seriously, what is this about? A couple of things to be sure.

Firstly, I have created a mailing list and I have put a new sign-up form here. It is at the bottom of the right column if you are on a normal screen. I would of course like you to click there and sign-up. I mean, why else would I put it up here?

Screenshot of mailing list sign-up form
This is what the mailing list sign-up looks like, but this is not it – this is just a picture of it.

Which brings us to secondly and that is that everybody and their cat says that you need an email list. Because that is the only way to make a real difference. No, don’t ask me for proof. I don’t have it. As far as I am concerned it is all hearsay but I am willing to give it a try. The try being having a mailing list and seeing what that does.

And that is the third, getting people to sign up for the mailing list. Well it is like Twitter followers or any other media. By the way I have re-activated my second Twitter account and will be building the group there as well so you can sign up as a Twitter follower as well.

Again, why?

Because talking in the echo chamber is beginning to make my ears hurt. And because I would like to figure out how to build a list. And when I do I might write something about it. Or not.

Who knows, I might even send you an email telling you about my amazing findings. But then you would have to be on the list. And that is just to the right of this on the bottom of the column.

Try it, I promise you will make a phenomenal difference to my subscriber list.

Stop Re-inventing the Wheel

We have become so enamoured with innovation and originality that it has become a punishment to do any task. In stead of stealing and borrowing ideas and parts from anywhere we would rather go and figure out the core purpose and re-invent the thing from the ground up.

Tricycle chained to pole
We’re not going anywhere today
This has to stop.

Why?

Because trying to be innovative and original on every single task is daft. It is like trying to re-invent walking every morning before you get out of bed. You are not going to get very far.

Case in point. I have to set a test. The work to be covered are well circumscribed by the curriculum. The weight of the marks and the level of questioning as well. I have been testing this section for a number of years, so has other teachers.

What would be easier? Trying to develop completely original questions or cutting and pasting more or less from a number of previous papers?

Had you asked me a year ago I would have said that you have to work out your own questions, from scratch. But even that is not possible. Because scratch do not exist. And if I did it would be a colossal waste of time.

No, I’m cutting and pasting (and editing for flow), and spending more of my energy and time teaching rather that trying to reinvent the track.

Nothing original going on here.