Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for the 'Writing' Category

Twas the Night Before the Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before the night before Christmas and all through the land,
People scurried and hurried with bags in their hands.
The stockings were piled in a mess on the floor,
While shoppers threw hipchecks in aisles at stores.

But I’ve bought all my gifts and they’re all neatly wrapped,
I just need to bake buns and then have a short nap.
The office is empty and I’m surfing the net,
I think my desk phone is broken; it hasn’t rung yet.

If you’re out and about on this busy shopping day,
I wish you good luck as you spend, fight and pray.
May you win all your battles for last second deals,
And may you find all the vittles for your holiday meals.

Keep your wits and your patience with all of your powers,
It’s going to be worth it in 48 hours.
Good luck, God speed and believe me when I say,
It’ll be even worse on Christmas Eve day.

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Validate my Latest Crazy Idea, Please

I think that after being away for far too long, I finally have a fresh idea for a series of short fiction pieces for SilentTalkie, but I wanted to run it past you first.  It came to me last night while I was struggling to fall asleep with a bunch of stuff on my mind.

Who wouldn’t want to read a series of stories where in each one, the protagonist quits his or her job in creative and bridge-burning ways?  It’s exactly the type of thing that youv’e always wanted to do, but common sense has stopped you cold in your tracks. That’s why fiction is great.

Weird, right?  I probably should’ve started this post off with a caveat that I had a really late night last night and really early morning this morning, so I’m a wee tad short on sleep.  Hence all the weirdness and me wanting to run this idea past some normal people before I go running off with it.

So, your thoughts?


Words Arise From the Cacophony of Musical Notes

I’m taking a day off today to visit and old and dear friend who was hijacked by pirates of the radio kind.  Ladies and gentlemen, courtesy of SilentTalkie, I give you its first Top Ten List in at least a year.


It’s far from being one of my greatest writing efforts, but it’s also far from being my worst.  Ergo, the amount of effort and time you put into writing is usually proportional to the quality you get out of it in the end.

However, this little writing burp did prove that I still have all my proper login information for SilentTalkie, so I should probably pop in from time to time to disrupt all the podcasting nonsense to enlighten those pirates with the glory of the written word.


Reminder: Books are Not Real Life. Got it?

Right now, I’m reading and enjoying “The Water-Method Man”, which was the first book written by one of my favourite authors, John Irving (“The World According to Garp” and “The Cider House Rules”).  I find his characters VERY engaging, either in spite of, or as a direct result of their many faults.

I think part of his skill as a writer is creating characters who are just enough like you, or someone you know, that you can get inside their head easily and accept them, which also means you accept the more odd and possibly unbelievable parts of who they are.  In the case of this book, I found myself identifying with the main character quite closely, and as he quickly becomes more anxious about life, I find myself doing the same.  It’s all very “The Neverending Story”.

Late last night, I found I couldn’t sleep and curled up with the book under a blanket, reading by a dim lamp in our living room.  I realized just how much the setting resembled “The Neverending Story”, and fully expected The Nothing to swallow up my house. Alas, no Nothing showed up and I eventually got sleepy and went to bed.

I think I need to hurry up and finish this book so I can have my mind all to myself and not have to share it with Fred “Bogus” Thumper anymore.  I think he’s putting me on edge.

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All the ____ That’s Fit to Print

Being able to write well in an office that’s not chock full of “writers” is a lot like having some minor computer skills when you visit your parents’ house.  Little things that you think are pretty common sense and easy to do off-the-cuff are often lauded as herculean achievements, and you get a pretty significant ego boost that, although you know is undeserved for the minimal effort on your part, feels pretty awesome.

Despite not having a formal writing role in my office (as a budget and analysis guy, for some reason), rumours of my passion for writing in all its forms have started to spread, and with that office being an advertising department, that can mean some pretty interesting things come my way.

For the last few months, I’ve been helping write up headlines and copy for ads that appear in trade-specific publications for various industries; the likes unseen by most people.  More recently, I’ve had a hand in creating and updating ads for events sponsorships across Canada.  Well, not long ago I found out that an ad I’d written will soon be appearing in the hallowed sheets of The Globe and Mail, and I’m pretty excited.

Although there will be absolutely nothing about the ad that will mention me, it’ll be pretty exciting to see something I created being put out in the world in such a public way, and I hope it’s just the beginning.  SilentTalkie and this blog aside, the sense of professional satisfaction that comes from knowing a large audience is reading my work is a bit greater than that of configuring my parents’ home network.

All that being said, writing ads isn’t the most creative work in the world, so I’m still very happy to write both here and on SilentTalkie, even if they aren’t as widely read as The Globe and Mail… for now.

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Radio Killed the Literacy Star

Are you looking to kill some time today?  Well, look no further, for I bring good tidings of great joy.  SilentTalkie has new content to fill your eys and ears!

Squids and Bears and Art, OH MY!

Squids and Bears and Art, OH MY!

Getting the old gal into shape has been keeping us busy, but she’s now pretty enough to be taken out in public, and the two newest articles might just be enough to keep you coming back.

One is an in-depth research paper into how the internet has essentially rendered our own memories completely useless and was written by yours truly (you can read it here).

The second, and more exciting post is the ressurection of a much-loved and oft-missed radio show in podcast form called “The Brown Couch of Leisure” (or BCOL for short).  It’s the first post in our new feature section called “STRadio” which is available for podcast, in-browser listening, download or anything else you could ever want to do with it.  The BCOL will become a regular feature on STRadio, along with other delicious audio content.  You can listen to the first STRadio show and get the full track-listing courtesy of the BCOL here.

As always, if you’d like to contribute articles, radio shows or ideas, or if you just want to get invovled in any way, check out any one of the ways to Contact Us.  And don’t forget to tell your friends and share the link-love.

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SilentTalkie: Reluctantly Crouched at the Starting Line

In spite of some minor technical and logistical setbacks, all that is SilentTalkie is now back online and ready for action.  Every article ever written and published in the magazine’s former format is now accessible on the main site, which means you can re-live all your favourite (or not-so-favourite)articles in their former glory.

New content is coming soon, and this time it will come without the guilt-trip of asking repeatedly for submissions.  This time around, publication deadlines won’t be as fixed, so we’ll just update as we please with whatever content we have.  However, as always, submissions are always open for new content of any kind.

As a change, we have new venues of staying in touch with the ‘Talkie:

  • Twitter users can keep up with SilentTalkie’s tweets and even choose to follow her (which she’ll gladly reciprocate)
  • Facebook users can become a fan on SilentTalkie’s fanpage and join discussions, access articles by RSS, post or view photos and share their thoughts on our new format
  • Instant Message (IM) users can sign up for a new service offered by Big Time Design called Big Time Announce (it’s also available for this blog in the menu on the right).  Once signed up, you can receive special offers, announcements or new content as alerts through your instant messaging program.  It’s the new future of content delivery and it’s the bee’s knees
  • Fans of RSS can subscribe to the SilentTalkie RSS Feed and get content to their reader as it gets published.  To take full advantage of our format and features, I recommend having your reader open new posts on the SilentTalkie site

We’re really excited about the future of SilentTalkie, and hopefully you will be too.

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A Sneak Peek at the Internet’s Best-kept Ssssecret

In just over a month, a favouite pet project of mine (going back to 2006) will be reappearing on the internet scene after a long hiatus.  Long-time readers will no doubt recall my sometimes violent demands for content, comments and contributions to the online arts magazine Silenttalkie.  Well, the demands are no more, but the magazine is back (almost)… and in blog form!

Still awesome after all these years

Still awesome after all these years

The ‘talkie has had its share of sadness since it was last online.  We allowed the domain name to lapse (and fortunately it wasn’t picked up and farmed out for a high price), our previous magazine layout system has since been found to have egregious flaws that allow ‘hackers’ to violate it in unspeakable ways, and the comments system was hacked by spammers and filled with offers of generic prescription drugs, online poker sites and various enlargers and stiffeners of the penile kind.

For now, the site has soft-launched as a WordPress blog at our old (and original URL) which makes it much easier for aspriring writers, designers and artists to contribute, but given the response to our strong-arm tactics in the past, we’ll go for a much more laid-back approach this time around.  For the next few weeks, we’ll be uploading all our old content into the archives, tweaking the site to make sure everything works A-OK and soliciting new content from whomever might want to pitch in.

Its sink or swim this time around

It's sink or swim this time around

I encourage you to consider becoming a contributor to SilentTalkie, and if you’re wondering what it takes, the answer is simple.  Not much.  Just cobble together an article, submit some photos or original artwork, maybe sketch out a cartoon or submit a list of some cool sites that you’ve been enjoying lately.  We’re not looking for Pulitzer Prize-winning articles, just interesting reading.

As we approach the official launch date (which will include lots of new content and a fully functional site), I’ll write again with more details on how to get involved, but in the meantime, take a little tour around the site and let me know what you think.  If you’re a blogger, maybe think about writing up on the ‘talkie for a future post around our official launch, and if you have a website, how’s about adding a link to spread the good news.  We’ll return the favour.  At Silenttalkie, we’re nothing if not appreciative.

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