Almost Famous or He’s Finally Exhausted?

I am a perpetual, creative motion man. If I didn’t have a wife to spend time with and to let know that she’s important to me, I would probably write, make music, and code non-stop. It’s part of my bipolar disorder, but it’s also one of my innate qualities.

I’ve been in an intensive collaborative creative project for the last few months and will continue for a few months more. I am writing a podcast musical with a couple of songwriters. We just put out the first episode. It’s at the bottom of this post if you’d like to hear it. I did all the writing and the marketing and this Saturday I told my wife I was exhausted and in need of a break. Later that day, my wife got off the phone with her mother and said, “I was telling my mom about your project and that you were exhausted. She said, ‘He’s finally exhausted? I never thought that would happen!'”

It struck me as funny. I laughed at it. She’s a wonderful mother-in-law and likes to give a good ribbing from time to time, but it left me thinking. I know I’m exhausted, but am I exhaustING to other people? Is my perpetual motion a perpetual nuisance?

As someone who handles most of his own marketing, this is often a concern of mine. Are my friends just sick of it? Maybe less than I think, but I do think I can be a lot to take.

And what is at the core of all this nearly inexhaustible work ethic? Well, of course, I love writing; otherwise, I wouldn’t do it. I also believe in my writing. I think it’s worth reading, and I believe with the right visibility, my writing could catch on. I truly believe that it is a matter of time. This musical could be the lucky break. It’s a unique project that is getting a lot of play–much more than anything else I’ve written.

But I’m gonna be transparent with you. Deep down. What is this drive? I’m not even sure I know myself, but I often think about a party I attended in my twenties. My wife and I had formed a tight bond with a group of young couples from church. We called ourselves the DINKs (Double Income No Kids). It was such a fun group and was such a formative time for us all. At this party, a Cuban-born friend started doing a party trick: palm reading–something he’d learned from his abuela in Cuba.

With great interest, I watched him read a few palms. It was very entertaining and he frequently assured us that it was just a fun party trick and to not take it seriously. My wife went first. The only thing I remember is that her palm indicated that she would have a couple of other husbands on down the road. It’s been 27 years, and so far it’s just been me. Then it was my turn.

The party was starting to get boisterous. We were enjoying cocktails and munchies and had split into groups: the living room group, the kitchen group, and the palm reading group in the den. The lights were low and we were laughing and enjoying each other’s forecasts. My wife left her seat on the ottoman next to the chair Carlos was working from. He was a big man–tall, full-bodied–with a very neatly trimmed beard and a snappy haircut. He was a good speaker–quick-witted, engaging, smart.

He offered my hand and he put it in the palm of his own hand. The only light in the room was the lamp next to his chair. He turned my hand to the light and began tracing the lines of my palm–occasionally making sounds like “hmmm.” Every reading I’d watched was about relationships, children, and careers, but not mine.

He said, “Wow, David. This is really interesting. I’ve never seen anything quite like this.”

If my wife didn’t say it, I’m sure she thought it, “Heeeeeerrrrre we go. There is nothing ordinary about this man.”

He pointed to a longish line and said, “See this line? This is your fame line. David, in all the times I’ve been doing this yours is the longest fame line I’ve ever seen.”

I said, “Wow, really? You think I’m gonna be famous?”

He examined it a little closer and said, “Nope, but you’re going to be almost be famous.”

“What? What do you mean?”

“I couldn’t tell you, but I think that you’re gonna get very close several times.”

Jesus. Almost famous. That seems worse than not ever getting close to famous! I’m almost going to be famous?!

I think that on some level, that sparked a desire in me; a desire to conquer Fate. Doomed to be almost famous, and so far, my palm has not lied. In my musical and writing endeavors, I’ve been close to success—especially with writing. I believe that I am close to a hit blog, a hit book, or a hit musical. So close! Almost famous!!! ARRRRRRRGGGG!!!!

I can hear my wife saying, “Why does it matter? Just enjoy it. Why do you have to be famous?”

My answer is, “Well, I don’t have to be famous. I just want to be successful. I want my work to be acknowledged, read, enjoyed, and profitable.”

But to be totally honest? I wouldn’t turn down a little fame either.

E-Vatar Episode 3 – THIS IS E-BODY! E-VATAR – A Podcast Musical

Episode 3 – "This is E-Body!"  – In their E-Vatar, Taylen joins a new friend, Clarke, for a trip to the club exclusively for E-Vatars.In order of appearance:Narrator/Peyton – Sean RooneyTaylen – Thomas Farnan-WilliamsClarke – Sam BriggsMusic and Lyrics by Brian Eads and Gregg StandridgeBook by David Wilson-BurnsDirected by John Burns
  1. E-Vatar Episode 3 – THIS IS E-BODY!
  2. E-Vatar Episode 2 – A New World
  3. E-Vatar Episode 1 – Peyton, I'm Coming Home to You
  4. E-Vatar Season 1 Trailer

Published!!!

I am so excited to announce the publication of my book, “A Whiff of Life and Death” with Kentstead Media!  I know that you will enjoy it!  It also makes me happy that $2 of every sale goes to shelter the homeless. This is what Kentstead has to say:


“This book by David Wilson-Burns is sure to engage your imagination, entertain your senses, tug at your heartstrings, and leave you with a tear in your eye and a smile on your face. David is gifted at character-driven stories, and you’ll no doubt finish this book a little in love with the very odd, very quirky Jim Bronson.”

A Whiff of Life and Death – PRE-ORDER – Kentstead Media (kentstead-media.shop)

whiff book cover.jpg

Bay City Runaway – The Web Serial

Bay City Runaway (1)As I navigate my way through the beginnings of a writing career, my number one goal is to be read. I have a publisher for one of my books, but my latest book is still unsigned: Bay City Runaway. I’ve published it myself on Amazon and a number of people have read it. But as is often the case with self-publishing, sales have dwindled to nothing. I could blow some money on a large marketing campaign to boost sales, but at this point, I just want readers.

I feel good about the book. I think it has an audience, but Amazon is the largest pond in the book world, so I’m going to do what I’ve done before and share my writing for free on various smaller platforms to raise readership.

My publisher is looking at this book and has no problem with me doing what I want with it in the meantime while they work on my current project. When/if the time comes to hand it over to them, I will take the book offline and give them exclusive rights to it.

You can read this book as a daily serial at the following websites including my own.

Bay City Runaway

Royal Road

Wattpad

Synopsis

David Wilson-Burns offers his gritty and emotionally potent debut novel, Bay City Runaway, a story of two runaways finding each other in their escape from abuse and tragedy.

James, a thirty-something software wiz with a drinking problem, runs away to San Francisco to escape a tragedy in his home state of Oklahoma. In front of his favorite pub one night, a teenage girl with a nasty bruise on her face asks for a cigarette. He sees her several more times and gives her food and smokes. She appears to be living on the street, running away from abuse. Late one night, the frantic teen, Amy, shows up at his China Town apartment. Having nowhere else to go, she seeks shelter and protection from her abuser, who could show up at any time. They form an unlikely and complicated friendship.Wilson-Burns’ moving and engaging novel brings to vivid life the struggling, lonely alcoholic, the precocious, street-wise teenager, and the sexually-charged complication of a would-be girlfriend, Kyra, as their lives become intertwined.

He also captures 1990s college life as he tells the story of how a new friend, Zach, helps James win back the girl he will marry, leading up to the tightly kept secret of the tragedy that puts him on a plane to San Francisco in 2007.

In gripping detail, Wilson-Burns delves deeply into how alcoholism can grow from little seeds into a tragic and disastrous bloom.

Wilson-Burns uses his expressive, straightforward writing style to create an emotional experience for the reader and brings a deep sense of redemption and faith in humanity into his characters and story. Those who have experienced alcoholism in their lives will identify powerfully with James and Amy’s struggles. He shows how love, friendship, and faith can redeem the running, lost, and hurting.

Fake Cigarette

s-l300I believe it’s accurate to say that I had a reputation for being straight-laced in high school.  If I showed up at your party (rare), and you were thinking of bringing out booze or some illicit substance, you might ask your friend,

“Do you know that guy?”

“Who? Oh, that Burns twin? David?”

“Will he be cool if I bring this out?”

“David? Uhhhhh…better wait until he’s gone.”

Continue reading

Computer Programmer’s Perspective on The Oxford Comma

In English language punctuation, a serial comma or series comma (also called Oxford comma and Harvard comma) is a comma placed immediately before the coordinating conjunction (usually and, or, or nor) in a series of three or more terms.

In programming, the way we group things profoundly affects what a program communicates to the computer.  In writing, grouping is just as important for clear communicate to the reader.  That is why the way we use commas is important.

With the following two sentences, I will demonstrate the difference in the results of grouping with a comma:

1.)  If he is dressed in a yellow clown costume, handing out hamburgers with clown makeup, wearing a red wig or wearing big red shoes, he is Ronald McDonald.

2. If he is dressed in a yellow clown costume, handing out hamburgers with clown makeup, wearing a red wig, or wearing big red shoes, he is Ronald McDonald.

In code, these sentences are drastically different.

Sentence 1.)  Without the comma,  the list can be “ands”until the end when there is an “either or”.  It reads (this) (this) (this or this) This is the controversial part, I realize, but in code this is definitely the case.  So he doesn’t have to be wearing both a red wig  and big shoes to be Ronald.

var yellowClownCostumer = true;
var burgersMakeup  = true;
var redWig = true;
var bigShoes = false;

var isRonaldMcDonald = false;

If(yellowClownCostumer = true AND burgersMakeup = true AND (redWig = true OR bigShoes = true)
{

isRonaldMcDonald = true;
}

Sentence 2.)  With the Oxford comma, the “or” applies to every clause, not just the last one.  It reads this or this or this or this.   If just one of the clauses is true, then he’s Ronald.

var yellowClownCostumer = true;
var burgersMakeup  = false;
var redWig = false;
var bigShoes = false;

var isRonaldMcDonald = false;

If(yellowClownCostumer = true OR burgersMakeup = true OR redWig = true OR bigShoes = true)
{

isRonaldMcDonald = true;
}

Of course this is up to interpretation, but that’s what is going on in my head when someone leaves out the last comma.

What is it like to be normal?