Well, it's been an interesting couple of weeks. Let's see what I've learned.

1. Gout sucks. Actually it hurts. Bad. The comedianne Carol Burnett once remarked that giving birth was like taking your bottom lip and pulling it over your head. Well, gout in your foot is like taking your big toe and touching it to the little tow on the same foot...via round the Achilles tendon. Mercifully, the pain is only bad for a couple of days. Satan can go chew on someone else's metatarsals for a change.

2. My crumbling abode is crumbling less and less every month as I get more of the remodeling completed. During the process, I've discovered I don't like living on plywood and concrete floors. I've also discovered that my kids don't seem to mind. Being a kid is great. When you become an adult, your mind becomes consumed with stupid concerns that have no real relevance in relation to your place in the universe.

3. How ironic that only a few days after my last blog post where I rambled on about avoiding unnecessary distractions, do I find myself not writing due to unnecessary distractions. Granted, home repair and gout attacks may be reasonable excuses, but they only account for part of my ineptitude with both this blog and my prose. If your wife or husband says the words: "I'm going to re-install Skyrim on the computer", you need to run away. Far away. I have spent far too many recent nights running around the lands of Tamriel bashing in the skulls of skeletons and putting arrows betwixt the eyes of countryside bandits and cave trolls..But hey, where else can you eat 47 cabbages and drink 18 bottle of mead in the middle of a sword fight? I think I deserved the mental vacation, but now it's time to get back to business.

4. If I make a smoothie and use roughy in the ingredients, does it make it a Rough Smoothie or a Smooth Roughy? My wife almost hit me for that one.

5. I wish I thought of the plot for 'Nightmare at 20,000 Feet' first. I love that Twilight Zone episode, both the Shatner version and the Lithgow version. Speaking of short stories, Kipling's 'The Man Who Would Be King' is probably the best I've ever read. The movie is great as well as a surprisingly faithful adaption. Whatever your genre of choice, read some Kipling.

6. The most important thing when writing is to have fun. Don't be an angst-ridden cliche. You have to whisk yourself away to other lands in time and space before you can take your readers there. Make the maps, take the pictures. See the sights. Eat the food. Try new things every time you sit down to write. Write something that takes place in Imperial Rome one day and on a ship rocketing across the Andromeda Galaxy the next.

7. Listen to music as you write. If you don't love music, you can't be a writer. Five essential soundtracks to play while writing: Conan the Barbarian (1984), Braveheart, Star Trek The Motion Picture, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Gladiator. I could easily list twenty more, but I come back to these five more than anything...except perhaps Holst's The Planets, which is incomparable in regards to setting mood.

Have a great week, everyone.