My 100th Blog Post: Faceintheblue, 100,000 Readers and Counting

Hello everyone,

I started this blog on October 24, 2009, at the urging of a friend who has also dragged my reluctant self kicking and screaming into an appreciation of hip hop, Twitter, and e-publishing. Apparently, I owe him a great deal of thanks for his well-meant browbeating: This is my 100th post in a little over two years, and sometime early next week I can expect to welcome my 100,000th reader.

It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable ride so far. I am still impressed with the number of people who run a Google search for ‘Guns used during the Great Depression.’  I remain less enthused at the lack of interest in my long and rambling annecdotes, but as those are the bread and butter of a personal blog I’ll keep putting them up as the spirit moves me. One day, someone is bound to enjoy them half as much as I do.

I marvel at some of the people I have met through this site. Thanks to my post about one of my ancestors founding the town of Kenmore, Ontario, I got in touch with a 102-year-old fourth-cousin four-times removed who helped me trace one branch of my family tree back to 1720s Scotland. My deep and abiding appreciation for the Beatles on Ukulele project has put me in contact with the organizers and some of the artists. I’m long overdue for a new post on that site, and I suppose I’ll have to set aside a Saturday this December to do it justice. I’ve also connected with several people whose fathers and grandfathers served with my grandfather, Murray Anderson, on the HMCS Drumheller during the Second World War.

There are a number of things I’ve been proud to share with you all over the last couple of years: My grandfather’s eulogy, the publishing of my first novel, my love of notable quotes, everything I know about dancing, how men feel about barbers, and just about anything I have to say about poetry. Your positive feedback has meant a great deal to me, and  I would like to encourage you all to add your comments whenever you like. I write for me, but I’m also writing for you, and I’m happy to produce more of what speaks to you, whether that’s Canadian history or Russian art or things I’ve eaten with my fingers. I’ll do what I can to give value for your visits.

Anyway, that’s the update from FaceInTheBlue 25 months in. It’s been fun so far. Thank you all for reading. As I said in my 1000th Tweet, “Without you, I’m just whistling in the dark.”

My Top 10 Twitter Tweets of 2010

Hello everyone!

I wish I had posted more this month: I’m afraid between my recent move into a glorious new apartment and killing my last netbook with a careless spill, this hasn’t been a blog-friendly December. Still, I have recently joined the 21st Century in acquiring a smartphone and creating a Twitter account. This foray into microblogging has been even more fun than I was told, so I thought I might mark the last day of 2010 with my Top 10 Tweets, out of a total of 260 so far.

To qualify, a post has to not be a retweet and not directed at any particular individual. I also narrowed down the finalists to cover all four months of my participation. I imagine this will be a much more difficult process in the future, and so you can look forward to a ‘Top 11 of 2011’ and a ‘Top 12 of 2012’ and so on until either this blog or my involvement in Twitter dies out.


Continue reading “My Top 10 Twitter Tweets of 2010”

I’ll be trying my hand at NaNoWriMo this year

Hello everyone,

As part of my endeavours to get back into the habit of writing regularly, I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. It’s an internet community project where thousands of people around the world try to write a 50,000-word manuscript between November 1st and November 30th. Last year’s contest saw 165,000 participants, more than 30,000 of whom succeeded in crossing the word count threshold by midnight at the end of the month.

Because of the limited time frame, the emphasis is on getting words onto (virtual) paper, rather than polishing a well-rounded, carefully editing work. The idea is to inspire creativity, without worrying about the end result. I expect to write tens of thousands of words of dreck, but I’ll have fun doing it, and that’s the main thing. Normally my genre is historical fiction, but in a format like this I hope a stream-of-conscious approach inspired by Kurt Vonnegut might see me through to the end. I don’t want to give away too much at this point, but I have a hazy idea for a plot involving a man who has been alive since the last ice age meeting and falling in love with a physical incarnation of death. It will definitely be a departure from anything I’ve done before, but it should be an enjoyable experience all the same.

Wrimos, as we are apparently called, keep in touch through the website, blogs, and hopefully meet up in early December at bars all over the world to commiserate and swap war stories. In that spirit, a friend of mine has set up a blog, Stranger Than Truth, and I’ll be submitting my content there, here, and hopefully on the NaNoWriMo website as well. My profile on the site is also called Faceintheblue, so I should be easy to track down; I encourage anyone reading this who is also doing NaNoWriMo to add me as a buddy. A community is only as rich as its members, after all.

I also encourage you to follow me on twitter here, as I’m bound to complain heartily over the course of the month, and everyone likes to hear colourful rhetoric in the place of thoughtful prose from time to time.

For anyone who’s interested but not already involved, you can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Perhaps we’ll fail spectacularly together, but I suspect we’re going to have a lot of fun doing it.

Good luck to you, to me, and to all of this year’s Wrimos. Cheers!

Summer’s Ending: Time to Shake Things Up

Hello everyone!

Those of you who count yourselves as semi-frequent visitors have probably noticed that I haven’t been updating this blog regularly in a long while. There are a few reasons for that, and I might as well discuss the issues before I set the wheels in motion to remedy them.

First, this has been a wonderful summer, and I’ve been doing my best to make the most of it. That has taken up a pleasantly large portion of my free time, and if I could have these last few months a hundred times over I doubt I would do anything differently. Adding to the usual distractions falling under the nebulous description of  ‘making the most of my summer,’ I’ve gone to three different and wonderful weddings in the last three months, I was without internet for more than a week, and my new job is engrossing, engaging, and enjoyable. When all those factors are put together, I just haven’t been setting aside the time for blogging that I was willing to commit in the winter or spring.

Second –and as a result of the first– I’ve caught myself viewing this blog as a chore from time to time rather than a pleasure. The fault lies with me, as I’ve largely painted myself into a corner: My posts so far have often leaned towards the long and rambling, and as a result I’ve started ballparking how long it will take me to put together a couple of thousand coherent words before I begin to write it; I then give up the effort before I begin, and that is a poor way to build anything of worth or merit.

Third –and this one surprises me more than I would like to admit– I’ve found myself growing bashful. I’ve never had a problem sharing my thoughts with friends, family, and all you loveable strangers out there, but over the last couple of months I’ve picked up a few regular readers whose opinion matters a great deal to me: My girlfriend’s family have googled me, and they’ve been working through my blog’s backlist with a will. Recently they have even gone so far as to ask her to ask me to write more.

(Just a quick aside: Hello, Jim! I look forward to meeting you this September. I’m told we’re going to get along famously. Your daughters humour my interest in most of the same things they humour you about, and I seem to have scored major points with them on your behalf for understanding what a gabion basket is without prompting. I probably know as much about you as you know about me at this point, so here’s hoping we can skip the awkwardness of first meetings and just start off as friends.)

– – –

ADDITION FROM SEPT 15: Fun fact, the above paragraph was not well received. I was asked to remove this paragraph from the original post in strong terms, which I did, but it set in motion a series of events that led to the end of a promising relationship. I will never meet the man now. It’s been bothering me for weeks that I took this paragraph out, and so I’m putting it back in now that it doesn’t make any difference. If I made an error, it was coming from a good place, and I will stand behind it. Anyway, I’ll let you return to what is otherwise a very dull post.

– – –

After some careful thought, I’ve decided to overcome these three challenges as this blog moves forward towards its first anniversary this October. The first issue is largely a given: Summer is ending, and I have always had more free time when the sun doesn’t shine so much. Time will also be less of a factor given my solution to the second issue: While there will always be a place on this blog for my lengthy essays, stories, and anecdotes, I’m also going to start introducing new categories whose content will be suited to just a couple of hundred words per submission. To my mind it makes good sense to post something every day or two, rather than waiting a week or more to find the time and the topic worthy of something that would require a staple in hardcopy format.

Summers come and go. This blog will be around for a long while, and I’m going to shake things up in the coming weeks to keep it fresh and new and enjoyable for all my readers, be they family, friend, stranger, or people in the process of transitioning between those categories. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope you enjoy it too.



Update on My Novels, and How to Write a Query Letter

Hello everyone,

Many of you know that I’ve written two novels, both historical fiction. One is about the decline and fall of the Inca Empire, told from their own perspective, and the second is about the Zulu Kingdom in the latter half of the 19th Century. For almost two years I have had a literary agent representing me, but in the end it didn’t amount to much: I have a number of lovely personalized rejection letters for my Inca book, but no book deal.

I rewrote my earlier Zulu book, pretty much line by line, but when I recently gave my agent the manuscript to try and sell in addition to the Inca novel, he admitted he just couldn’t get my work published: His clientele is predominately non-fiction –as is most of the publishing industry– and while he was trying to expand his still young practice into fiction through my work, in the end the combination of the poor economic climate in the publishing industry and his own lack of contacts hampered our ability to get my manuscripts into print.

I am not discouraged. Honestly, this is probably the kick in the pants I need to get my work into the right hands to move it forward. It’s true, I would have preferred to give my former agent more time to see what he could do with two very long and difficult to publish first novels instead of one, but I can see where he had run out of steam. He wasn’t ever going to make any commission from my work, so he let me go. That’s fine.

If I am to move on to greener pastures, this time I’m going to make sure my new agent deals predominately with fiction and has a special passion for historical works. I’m happy to say as of my writing this blog post that my Inca book is already under consideration by an agency representing my favourite living novelist. I’ll be sure to update you all as to how that progresses.

So how does one find an agent? Why do you even need an agent? I’m asked that a lot, and as I’m going through the process again right now, I thought I might as well blog about it.
Continue reading “Update on My Novels, and How to Write a Query Letter”

Update: The Blog So Far

Hello Everyone,

It’s been seven months, fifty-four posts and sixteen thousand views since I started this blog, and I’ve learned quite a bit so far. First of all, there are a surprising number of people who google ‘Guns used during the Great Depression.‘ Second, if you have a nifty stock image on one of your pages, there are people who will look at that to the exclusion of everything else you post. Third, people are much less interested in my rambling annecdotes than I am, but –as it is my blog– you can expect a lot more of those in the future.

I’ve had a number of pleasant surprises to date. Thanks to my post about one of my ancestors founding the town of Kenmore, Ontario, I got in touch with a 102-year-old fourth-cousin four-times removed who’s helping me untangle some of my family tree. My deep appreciation for the Beatles on Ukulele project has actually put me in contact with the organizers and some of the artists. Finally, people love to read about a white guy dancing.

I’ve also learned a couple of things about my own writing habits. If I don’t sit down and write whatever took my fancy in that exact moment, the post never makes it to the blog. That’s why this site has fifty-four posts and not two hundred. Also, no matter how many times I proof something, I will catch a mistake (usually a missing word or a ‘to’ instead of a ‘the’) in every single article I read. I can only beg your patience with newer posts. I discover and correct my typos in due time.

There will be a new facet coming soon to this website: I’m about to start an exciting new job, that will soon include regular travel throughout Canada. Aside from killing time in various airports and hotels with blogging, I expect I’ll start writing a bit about where I go and what I see. I can’t make any promises as to the regularity or content of those posts, but I can guarantee they will continue to be held up to my own high standards of, “Well, this is vaguely interesting or amusing to me.”

A lot of the feedback I have gotten to date has been positive. A good chunk of it may well be spammers giving generic compliments so they embed a link. I’m still figuring that out. I would like to encourage anyone –and especially repeat readers– to add a comment whenever the spirit moves you. I can tailor some of my future content towards what is well received, and I can do my best to filter out that which people find dull or tedious. This blog may be my outlet, but as it’s an outlet for your appreciation, I’ll do what I can to give value for your visits.

Anyway, that’s the update from FaceInTheBlue seven months in. It’s been fun so far. Thanks for reading!


headshot-blueWelcome to my blog. My name is Geoff Micks, and, like many would-be bloggers, I toyed with the idea of doing this for a long time. I worried that I’d run out of things to say, or that I wouldn’t stick with it, but for the last several months I’ve caught myself thinking, ‘That’s something I could put on a blog.’ So here it is: Face in the Blue, because I hope to write regularly and often until I am metaphorically blue in the face.

I’m not going to make any lofty promises to be insightful. I’m not trying to change peoples minds on any given issue. I hope to publish anecdotes, stories, thoughts and anything else that catches my interest. That’s my goal for this site: To share what I find interesting, in the hopes that you’ll find it interesting too.

I’m happy to have comments. I look forward to them, actually, because it means people are visiting the site. I’ll remove spam or profanity, but the rest can stay and add to readers’ experience.

These are early days, and I know in time I’ll build this site into something personal, something I can take pride in. Thanks for reading. Cheers!