Category Archives: The Adventures of Mitch Wagner


October 13, 2016

Today’s creative writing: 112 new words, 17,680 words total, on “The Reluctant Magician.” I just spent a few minutes on creative writing tonight. It’s been a long day.


October 13, 2016

I got some sad news this morning about someone I knew. Frankly, it’s not someone I knew well. But I did like and respect the guy. And so I get a lump of sadness when I think about this news.

While the news is sad for me, it’s devastating to this other person, and the people close to him.

This event gets me thinking we should be kind to one another, because we don’t know what kind of burden the other person is carrying. And if that other person is sometimes difficult to deal with, well, maybe it’s because their burden is extremely heavy, and they are in greater need of kindness.


October 11, 2016

Today’s creative writing: 376 words, 17,415 total

My heart hasn’t been in it the past couple of days. I think tomorrow I’ll review the outline again. I think maybe I’ve gone astray.

Got to cut back on politics every once in a while or it will make you nuts

I’ve been feeling depressed and stressed all weekend. It’s no big deal. I wrestle with moderate depression and this was one of the bad times.

This morning, I went out walking with Minnie first thing to beat the heat. I don’t like exercising first thing in the morning but it’s necessary when it’s hot out, particularly with Minnie. And I do like being done with exercising first thing.

I got back home showered, got my and Minnie’s breakfast together, and hit my desk to read the news. I read a couple of articles about the election and lifted my hands to blog about them–

— and then I said screw it, the world can do without my election insights today.

And suddenly my mood lightened.

Disclosure: I did end up doing one political post today, and a comment on someone else’s political post. But too much thinking about politics just grinds you down. And it alienates you from people you might otherwise like just fine.

P.S. Lately, Minnie is in the habit of picking up trash on the way back and carrying it in her mouth, often the whole way home. Today’s treasure was a transparent Starbucks cold drinks cup. She got it about three houses down from home and then put it down, and couldn’t seem to figure out a good way to pick it up again, even though she’d already done it twice. I picked it up and carried it home and deposited it in our trash. My thumb rule is that if she gets trash back to our street it is my responsibility, but until then if she drops it I just leave it where it is, figuring it was ALREADY litter before she picked it up.


October 10, 2016

Today’s creative writing: 518 words, 17,039 words total.

I’m coming up on a difficult stretch here, feeling like the section I’m writing is plodding and dull. But I feel like sometimes I need to write the plodding and dull stuff to figure out where it is I need the characters to go. And sometimes it’s not dull once it’s done. So I need to keep going, even though it’s uphill.


October 8, 2016

Today’s creative writing: 782 new words, 15,953 words total, on “The Reluctant Magician.”

I had another one of those days where I had to talk myself into doing any writing at all, but once I sat down it flowed.

I’m in the middle of a section of wiseguy banter now. Those are always fun to write. Next: A fight scene. Also fun to write.


October 8, 2016

When ordering flowers for Julie, I cannot bring myself to dictate endearments to a call center for the card. That’s a big nope.


Dave Winer: Less Facebook is OK

Dave is my blogging spirit animal. I like blogging, and I like sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, and Medium. Of those platforms, I get the most return from Facebook. But blogging AND sharing to Facebook and Google+ are just too much work. So I’m going to start focusing mainly on the blog, and just automatically share links to Google+ and Facebook, until those platforms become easier to deal with in conjunction with a blog.

I’m working on figuring out a way I can share short updates directly to those services and to the blog simultaneously. This will involve automated email and plenty of duck tape.

You’re welcome to leave comments here, or on Facebook or Google+. Or just stop reading, even if you’re a close friend or member of my immediate family. I do not require other people to participate in my peculiar hobby.

I will revisit this decision when it doesn’t seem to be working for me, or when the tools for sharing blog content to social media get easier to work with.

I’ll keep mirroring my posts to Tumblr and Medium because that’s easy.

And I’m still trying to figure out what to do about Twitter.


October 4, 2016

That moment when you’re at a conference and you’ve had just the perfect amount of coffee, so you go and get more coffee.

Today’s creative writing: 503 words, 14,628 words total on “The Reluctant Magician”

Once again, momentum FTW. I wasn’t going to write at all because it was late and I’m traveling for business and I have to get an early start tomorrow. “Just write something,” I said to myself. “Three words. That’s all you have to do.”

But once I got started I was rolling and before I knew it the word goal on Ulysses went from gray to green and I was done.

A business associate today asked me about my creative writing — which is I think the first time that’s happened; usually my worlds are compartmentalized. I commented to him that these progress reports are surprisingly helpful. I don’t kid myself that you are fascinated by them — you have your own lives, and I expect if I stopped writing today, you’d virtually not notice at all. In about two or three years one of you might say, “Hey, did you used to do creative writing? Whatever happened to that?” But I would know if I miss even one day, and it matters.


October 3, 2016

TMW when you’re struggling to open a bag of airline peanuts and it explodes all over your laptop keyboard. #ThanksObama

Advice to my brother, who has just adopted his first dog, a 7-week-old puppy

As children, my brothers and I never had dogs or cats. Now, as adults, we all have dogs, and Julie and I have cats too. My middle brother was the last to convert; he and his new family just adopted his first dog a week ago.

I advised my brother from the vantage point of my three years’ greater experience. I said:

Several times over the course of the next few months you will feel like an abject failure, like you have been unable to succeed at this simple thing — raising a dog — that any moron can accomplish. You will feel that you did the dog a disservice by adopting her. You will feel utterly worthless as a human being, like the lowest slime that ever climbed out of a toxic waste dump.

This is normal. Nothing to worry about!


October 1, 2016

Today’s creative writing: 556 new words, 13,647 total, on “The Reluctant Magician.” Back in the groove.

This joke reminds me of a thing that really happened

When my wife left, I was sad, upset and lonely from Jokes

Soon after Julie and I first married, I went into work one Monday morning. As I was pouring my first cup of coffee of the day, I encountered a woman co-worker in the breakroom.

ME: “How was your weekend?”
WOMAN: “Good. Yours?”
ME: “Good! My wife left and she stocked up the freezer with my favorite frozen dinners. Wasn’t that nice of her?”
WOMAN (shocked): “Your w-w-w-w-w-ife left? I’m so sorry!”
ME: baffled
WOMAN: baffled
ME: the light dawns “She’s visiting her family in Ohio. She’s coming back a week from today.”


September 30, 2016

Today’s creative writing: 105 new words, 13,091 words total, on “The Reluctant Magician.”

I’ve been stuck the last few days, having trouble getting started with the next scene, which introduces a new major character. I was having difficulty visualizing the character in ways that didn’t seem sickly sweet. This afternoon I realized I need to combine that character with an existing character and rewrite two of the scenes I’ve already written.

Tonight I deleted a few hundred words of material that went down a wrong road. I wrote notes on the scenes I need to revise. I did a few paragraphs of new material. And then I deleted those few paragraphs and started again.

So I’m making forward progress, but lots of backtracking going with it.