The World’s First Free Daily Serialized Coffee Break Novel and the Onslaught of Time

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OK, so novels have been serialized in the past, most notably Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers, but not specifically for coffee breaks. The Weekly Man will be published every day for two and a half months starting September 8 with just enough reading to last for a coffee break.

I did something similar to his in 2014 with my photography. Each day for the month of October (and wouldn’t you know, it would be a month with 31 days) I posted a picture I took that day along with a story about the picture or something inspired by the picture. I thought this would be a breeze, given that I’m a photographer and a writer…just marry the two and toss out some magic.

Yeah, sure.

There’s something about needing a picture at a certain time for a certain purpose that makes that picture almost impossible to find. And there’s something about finding that picture, taking it and processing it, and then trying to write intelligently about it that seems to lodge the words somewhere deep inside your head where you can’t see them.

It wasn’t so bad for the first couple of weeks. I ventured out after work, during lunch hours and on weekends. But I had very specific rules that were meant to make this exercise something that would help me learn about both photography and writing in terms of starting with a specific objective and meeting a deadline. One of those rules was that I couldn’t take a dozen pictures on Saturday and do the writing on Sunday and have them ready to post anytime I wanted. I had to take the picture the same day it was to be posted and do the writing the same day.

I think the main lesson was never to do anything like this again…obviously a lesson I didn’t learn because here I am, doing it again, this time with my writing…and for more than double the time.

The photo gig almost drove me nuts during the last week and a few times before. There were times when I entered the last word in the blog seconds before midnight. That was one of the rules: it had to be posted before midnight each day, every day. I was astounded when I began to realize how all the little things in life can suddenly crop up to sabotage a project that has iron-clad rules.

Out of the blue, friends and family had problems that only I could solve (or listen to). I needed my car to travel to sites for the pictures. My car suddenly developed car problems. Nothing expensive, but problem enough that it ate up valuable time.

Time. I think that was the only real lesson I learned. Time seems to move slowly when you don’t need it; faster, when you need it. And it never stops. It moves forward, relentlessly, testing your ability to keep up to it.

But there were some purely magical moments, like when I walked down a road beside a river in the fall with the leaves in full color and the sun shining down. I focused down the road to capture the color and noticed that someone was on the road, walking toward me. It was a woman in black slacks and white top. I thought, great…add some human interest. I took the shot.

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As she walked nearer, I realized that I knew her, Rhonda, an enthusiastic kayaker and canoeist that I hadn’t seen in ages. There were a few surprises like that.

It also gave me a chance to do some cool portraits of artists friends, like Marilyn Masserole…in her studio, sitting on the floor in front of her, being the hippie artist that she’s been since the 60s.

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I started to realize how easy it is to find beauty all around me…if I was looking for it…even in trees without leaves.

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And I took my first horse picture ever…

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So yes, it had its ups and down, enough of both that there were moments of joy and wonder and also moments of quiet thoughts of never venturing into a project like this again.

I promise this to those who read The Weekly Man: I will have each episode published every day for 76 days and ready for your daily coffee break…even if it drives me crazy.

 

 

 

Welcome to The Weekly Man

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Hi,

This is where The Weekly Man will be serialized starting September 8 (that’s a Sunday) and continue until mid-November. The Weekly Man is about 7 people whose lives are overshadowed by a mystery leading back to their childhoods.

The introductory episode will start on a Sunday and the novel proper the following day. There’s a reason for this, but I can’t tell you what it is…yet.

Each daily episode is just enough to get you through your morning coffee break (as opposed to getting depressed reading newspapers or online news services) with, hopefully, a laugh or two…except when a tear is in order (don’t you hate it when you post bad news on Facebook and you get a dozen Likes?).

If you’re reading this on your phone, you’ll notice that it’s not exactly a smartphone-happy site. So, the story will be mirrored for smartphones on my biffmitchell.com site here. I’ll also be posting a chronological order page for people who’ve just started reading the novel (so that they won’t have to scroll to the end to get to the beginning), but I won’t be starting that until the novel is a week or two in progress.

BTW, The Weekly Man is a sort of family story, but not really…it’s more of a mystery, but not really that either, so maybe it’s humor, but, no, not that. There’s a term that describes stories that appear to be something on the surface, but are actually something else at the core…and this something else is likely to be the most improbable thing you can imagine. It’s called Magical Realism. I guess that’s what you would call The Weekly Man.

BTW,  you can download a printable list of the novel’s characters here. They all have similar names, which confuses me…so I made a list. And the list is kind of a window into what you’ll be spending two and a half months reading beginning September 8.

Character Guide for The Weekly Man

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So, The Weekly Man has more than one main character. A few more. But they’re all necessary to telling the story. But, um, there’s this other thing. Their names are a bit on the similar side, so sometimes while you’re reading the story, you might become addled.

I don’t want to addle you, so I’ve created a printable (PDF) guide to the characters. It’s just a list as you can see from the image of each of the main characters and what they do.

Click here for a smartphone version. You may have to scroll down a bit.

Click the link below to download a printable PDF.

Characters

 

New Date for The Weekly Man Release – September 8

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So…I’ve received emails, Facebook messages and many death threats. Apparently, there are people out there who would rather go on vacation, lay in the sun, relax under palm trees, hit the road for summer adventures, spend days drinking beer, barbequing and dozing off on beaches…they would rather do these frivolous things than sit in a stuffy office, drinking coffee and reading the daily installment of The Weekly Man.

After long hours of painful thought, it occurred to me: They might just have a point. Maybe sun and fun might be a good thing. Spending time with loved ones while roasting marshmallows over a campfire every day for a couple of weeks might actually be good for the head and the spirit. These images reminded me of my youth, when I had a life and wasn’t the grumpy ball of meanness that I am today.

In light of this realization, I decided to change the release date from July 5 to September 8. OK…so that’s a Sunday, but there’s a very mysterious reason why it has to be Sunday. This will become apparent as the story unfolds. And, in fact, you can miss the September 8 installment altogether and still follow the storyline. It belongs in the story, but it doesn’t make any sense until the middle of the novel. And it’s not humorous. I wish I’d never written that installment, but I did. And now there’s no way to get rid of it.

On the other hand, if you’re a fast reader, you can read two installments on Monday. Just explain the situation to your boss and blame it all on me.

 

The Weekly Man – UPDATE

UPDATE: The release date has been changed to September 8 due to requests and death threats. 

Hi, This is the blog for The Weekly Man, a serialized novel with just enough reading to get you through your morning coffee break. For more about this, see the About page.

The introductory chapter will be posted on Friday, July 5 and the real stuff will start on Monday, July 8.  If you have any questions, see the Contact page.

The Weekly Man is speculative fiction in the magical realism arena. Everything seems normal, but…something’s not quite right. The first half of the novel will keep you guessing; the second half will make you wonder how the hell they’re going to work it out.

The novel contains some foul language. I teach a writing workshop called Writing Hurts Like Hell. I tell my students to write the way the character would talk. Some of the characters in The Weekly Man swear.

There’s not a lot of sex, but one of the characters is a little bit…well…you’ll see. Oh, and there’s a huge dose of humour. I love humour. It makes me smile. I hope it makes you smile as well.

If you’re interested in reading The Weekly Man, I suggest you bookmark this page and maybe even come back before July 5. I’m sure I’ll have more to say before we get into it.