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I had hoped to start posting more of those wacky polls, but sadly that's not going to happen; I'm having to let my paid account expire due to being broke. Instead I'll, I don't know, finish writing this novel or something.
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I think it's time that I admit to myself that I don't enjoy horror movies.

The problem with that statement, of course, is that "horror" is too imprecise a term. Is "Alien" horror? Is "Evil Dead 2," or "Scream"? Is "Silence of the Lambs," or even "The Talented Mr. Ripley"? I enjoy all of those films. But ED2 and "Scream" are really comedies, and the latter two lack the unpredictability of a supernatural or SF element. I'm not sure why "Alien" is an exception for me--maybe because I've seen it enough times now that I don't get tense watching it.

'Cause that's primarily the trouble. Scary movies make me tense and worried, and I don't enjoy that. That's more or less my default setting, anyway, and these films just make it worse. I like suspense, but I don't like going into a film knowing that people are going to get splattered and just waiting for it to happen. (And yet I'm not nearly as bothered by shoot-em-up flicks, so go figure.) There's also the fact that a lot of horror movies rely on slimy, oozy, dripping things, and I dislike those things enough that I'm always worried I'm going to puke. I haven't, to date--the closest I came was after the bit in "RoboCop" (not a horror movie) where the guy gets the barrel of toxic waste dumped over him and then splashes apart when the car hits him--but I'm always sitting there worrying that this is going to be the one that makes me hurl.

I watched "Slither" the other night, and it's a great movie, really funny, smart, excellent cast, really well done. But I didn't really enjoy it. I couldn't relax. Slugs, people. Ish. I spent the whole time clenched up on the edge of the couch. It was the same with "The Descent" (except for the slugs), which is objectively an incredible film, and one that I don't think I'd ever watch again. (The fact that I'm mildly claustrophobic may have something to do with this.) These are both good horror movies, I think, and I failed to get much enjoyment out of them. I think they're good, though, because they had me scared; the horror movies that don't scare me mostly feel like a waste of my time. That's how I felt about "The Ring" (the Japanese original), which I saw recently; I was intrigued, and mildly creeped out at the end, but ultimately felt like there wasn't much point to it. The only exception that's coming to mind right now is "Let the Right One In" (the original Swedish version), which was a well-made horror film that I really enjoyed and would definitely watch again. It's pretty up-front about what it is, though, and it's not gross (I guess movie blood doesn't bother me much). Again, I don't know how useful a term "horror" really is.

Maybe this is like Lovecraft; they say that if you read him at around age 14 you'll be a fan of his forever, and if you miss that window you'll never get it. I didn't read Lovecraft until my 20s, and I must have missed my window for horror flicks, too; I guess I was about 12 when I got too scared by "An American Werewolf in London" to watch the whole thing, and I kind of missed that whole '80s horror boom. I went back to watch some of them later--I sort of like "Halloween," because it's a really technically smart film--but most of them do nothing for me except wind me up and leave me wondering what the point is.

I guess the reason I care is that my experiences with "Slither" and "The Descent" are proof that there are really good horror movies of that type, but I don't know if I'll ever be able to enjoy them. Maybe if I got really drunk? That would seem to increase the danger of puking, though. Do y'all enjoy being scared by these things? Do I just need to medicate, or what?


Sep. 1st, 2010 08:34 pm
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- I finally saw "Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World." For about the first half I was gleeful; by the second half I was still gleeful, but I was also distracted by the things that had come out of the story in order to pack six volumes into one film that still felt a tad long. Good: The 8-Bit touches that they kept were great. Kim Pine was PERFECT. Also Wallace, and Gideon--pretty much all of the evil exes were great except the Katayanagi twins, who sucked. I'm sorry, but they did. This is related to the fact that my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE SCENE IN ALL OF THE COMICS was cut. That would be the one where Scott fights the Katayanagis' robot (which is of course named Robot-O1) at the Day of the Dead party but all of Scott's friends are so over his crap that the fight takes place almost entirely offstage while they bitch about him. I'm telling you, that should have been in the movie. I guess I'm sort of over Cera, too, which makes me a little sad because it seemed like I was the only person alive who still liked him. I still loved the movie and want to see it again; it's just that adaptations are always a horrible gloppy sad mess and it frustrates me. OH BUT I think I did figure out why I like the comics so much. It's because basically it's a story about my twenties, except that I was never Scott--maybe some amalgamation of Wallace and Young Neil, but playing lots of video games, reading lots of comics, mooning unproductively over various girls and hanging out at clubs listening to bands that seemed all that much better because almost nobody had ever heard of them. And I was hanging out with some people whom I was not exactly friends with, some of whom may have actually despised me, and yet we were all part of this Sphere of Tolerance that created a weird social cohesion. Which is an entirely idiosyncratic reason to enjoy something and I don't expect that most of you will relate to that at all. If you do, I sort of pity you. (Us.)

Today (Cont.):

- I went to the State Fair and saw robots, a gigantic knitted fish, a huge elephant made out of straw, an impressionist Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox that my friend Steve made out of tiny Post-Its, a bag of Tom Thumb mini-donuts for a brief time before they went into my face, Princess Kay of the Milky Way and a butter sculpture of same, my dad (who works at one of the admissions gates), a Native American drummer, a bottomless cup of chocolate milk WHICH I DRANK, an awesome Hmong-craft dragon WHICH I BOUGHT, sheep, chickens, ducks, horses, cows, pigs, and piglets--WHICH I HAVE DECIDED ARE THE MOST PERFECT FORM OF LIFE--at the Miracle of Birth building.

Today (Concluded):

- Is three weeks to the day until I turn 40. I do not normally get much worked up about birthdays--to the point where I often fail to celebrate them at all--but this one feels Big and has caused me some anxiety. Anyway I know that many of you will see it on Facebook when it comes around and leave the ritual wall posting, but I am telling you now because something. I dunno. You could get me something if you wanted, but I think it's more about wanting some sort of weird acknowledgment for being half dead. I don't know what that would be; I suppose you could stab me or something to remind me that I'm still alive. Or perhaps something more convenient for those of you who do not live nearby. If I figure it out I'll let you know.
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Finished a story, the first thing in several months. The ending is broken, but I've done all I can with it at this point; it's for a workshop, and I don't think I can make it any prettier in the next ten days.

I need to start something new, but 1. the short story idea I'm thinking about is very conceptual and I have no entry point into it yet and 2. I want to read at least one more book and wait until after the workshop to start the next novel. There will be a lot more research on the novel as it is being written, but I think I need to start it so as not to be using "More research!" as an excuse not to. I am looking at this novel as something I am not sure I am good enough to write, which is both good and bad.

Perhaps I will use this limbo-time to noodle around with some comics scripts, as I am not happy with what I've been able to come up with in that department. Or perhaps I will just take a lot of naps.
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Friday: I am up early, not because my flight is early, but because I cannot help it. On the flight to Denver the man next to me is reading McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales, and I am tempted to start a conversation about it, except that I fear I will be unable to suppress the urge to rant about how much better most of the stories by genre writers are than the ones by the literary writers who seemed to view writing genre as a chance to do lazy work. On the Denver-to-L.A. flight I try to get some work done, but typing into the laptop from scribbled notes proves challenging. The man in the next seat offers me his tray table as a workspace. It turns out he is a writer too. Everyone I meet on this trip, it seems, is a writer.

This includes my friend Derrick, although he hasn't had any time to write since his second daughter Serena was born. He picks me up at the airport with Serena's older sister, Jordan, who at 2 1/2 is very shy and responds to all my attempts at conversation with a worried "Daddy?" I haven't seen Derrick since a flyby afternoon in Chicago three or four years ago; before that it was for his wedding up in San Francisco, which was memorable for a wicked sunburn, my first tuxedo, and my first (and so far only) visit to a strip club, for the bachelor party. Derrick and I were roommates in college--our first year, in the dorms, he lived next door to me and would walk into my room while I was playing music, dance an ironic dance, and then walk out.

Fatherhood has not changed him all that much. We drive aimlessly around L.A. for a bit--D's parents moved here when he went away to school, and though he is here for a visit with them, he does not know the city, and I have failed to provide directions. Also I have decided at the last minute that I need black Chuck Taylors to complete my ensemble for the banquet. Plans for the Museum of Jurassic Technology are abandoned, and we head up to Santa Monica for a quick shopping stop and a visit to the pier. I haven't been to L.A. (except the airport) since I was ten. The main culture shock is not the sun (although I keep my hood up most of the time so as not to horribly burn my bald head again) but the preponderance of outdoor malls, open lobbies, terraces, etc. These things exist in Minnesota but not in such numbers, as they are impractical for one-half to two-thirds of the year.

We are at a sushi restaurant near UCLA when my agent Shana texts me to ask where I am, as there is a reception about to start and I am supposed to be receiving a certificate and a pin. This is news to me, and there is no way we are going to get there now. Jordan spills OJ on herself and all three of us gorge ourselves on sushi, and then I say goodbye to D and his little girl and hand myself off to [ profile] jennreese. Jenn and her boyfriend Chris have graciously agreed to put me up for the night so that I won't bankrupt myself staying at the hotel. I've known Jenn for a while, but primarily in online- and convention-space, so it's a pleasure to talk to her about fiction and TV (Jenn writes both), watch some "Dollhouse" (dissecting it along the way), and get a little better acquainted.

Saturday: After a bit of "Twin Peaks" on cable, during which Chris and I bond over some shared TV favorites, Jenn and Chris take me to their favorite breakfast place, More Than Waffles, where I wolf down an omelette, two Belgian waffles, a side of bacon, tea and tomato juice. It's a good thing I ate like a pig, because lunch just never happens. Jenn and Chris drop me at the hotel, where I'm able to check in early, and then I head over to the Luxe for the WGA brunch. There I find a crowd of folks, among them [ profile] shsilver, Shana, John Kessel, Jim Kelly, Sheila Williams, Mary Robinette Kowal, Gary Wolfe, and Amelia Beamer. I chat with Shana and hang out at the brunch for a while before heading off to be interviewed by Gary and Amelia. This turns out to be relatively painless, basically just a conversation about writing; I don't think I embarrass myself, but time will tell. Then it's picture time, where I try to smile my pasty best.

Next up, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. I have a signing at the Mysterious Galaxy booth at 4, and I'm going to hang out with [ profile] castellucci until then. Cecil is hugely generous with her time, and seems to know everyone in the author's Green Room. Randomly, we run into [ profile] pgtremblay, at the festival to promote The Little Sleep. We talk for a bit, and then I have to find the MG booth. The staff over there are awesome; I chat with them between trying to sell books (I am making an effort to be "on" all weekend, and it's starting to tire me out), as well as the other writers. This place is huge. They say 125,000 people attended last year, and I believe it. The UCLA campus is like a city in itself. They also say that it was 95 degrees earlier in the week, and I am grateful that it is a much more comfortable temperature today.

Then it's time to find a shuttle, get back to the hotel, take a quick shower, and glam up. I'm wearing a fancy black t-shirt, black pants, black Chucks, and a sort of sand-colored sport coat. Also my Nebula nominee pin, which completes the ensemble. I think I look OK, but the main thing is that I am not going to spend the evening hating my shoes. I think I will never wear dress shoes again.

Doselle picks Shana and I up for the awards. There's some confusion getting there, as we need to drive to one part of the UCLA campus and get a permit, drive back and park, and then find our way to something called the Commons. We end up wandering into the banquet via the service entrance, a bit late. I chat a bit with Jim Kelly before we head in for dinner, and say hello to Paul Melko and his wife. Maryelizabeth Hart, the head of publicity for Mysterious Galaxy who set up the signing, is at our table, along with Mary E. Pearson, her husband, her film agent, and a regional rep for a publisher, I've forgotten which. Doselle tries to start up a drinking game based around certain science fiction keywords ("singularity" would have been a good one), but I am wary of drinking much lest I have to deliver [ profile] yswilce's speech. I have not written a speech for myself, as I do not expect to need one.

Janis Ian sings a version of "Seventeen" that is about finding a home in science fiction, and while I usually don't care for this sort of thing I find it funny and somewhat moving. Chuck Lorre also talks about his love for SF. The Norton is announced early on, and I'm glad I stayed sober because I end up having to give Ysa's speech. This goes fine, although apparently I have been pronouncing SFWA wrong forever, and do so again. Ysa's award is gorgeous, although they could not fit her entire title on it. (Yay Ysa!)

More awards are given--Grand Master, Solstice and Emeritus awards. Tim Powers presents a Solstice, posthumously, to Algis Budrys. Later on I will tell Tim about how I used to send all my stuff to Budrys at Tomorrow Magazine, and how he would send me encouraging and instructive rejections. ("Your formatting is all wrong." "Well written, but didn't find the characters convincing.") Tim will say he was an unpaid editor, and that Lester Del Rey used to do the same thing for him, rejecting his manuscripts but pointing out all the things he needed to fix.

Back at the ceremony, more awards. I don't realize Jane Espenson is there until she presents the Bradbury for Joss, whose speech is pretty funny. Wil Wheaton, Shana points out, is at the table in front of us. John Kessel wins for "Pride and Prometheus," which makes me very happy. Then they are about to announce Best Novel. I am not nervous, I realize suddenly; I am terrified. Being nominated for a Nebula is a thrill and an honor in ways I can't express, but winning one at this stage in my career, for my first novel, is the most frightening thing I can imagine at this moment. I am, I confess, relieved when it does not happen. As I've said already, I can't think of anyone I'd rather lose to than Ms. Le Guin.

Before I can process anything we are back at the hotel, and Tim Powers is buying me a drink. This is a this-can't-be-happening sort of thing on a par with my being here at all, which I suppose is fitting. It gets weirder, as I have a long talk with Sheila Williams about short fiction and Tim Powers and I brainstorm '50s SF books and stories for Gary Wolfe to pitch for a project.

Eventually it is late, and despite the awesome people I've hung out with I am suddenly lonesome for my peeps. I head back to the hotel and try to sleep.

Sunday: I catch a Super Shuttle to the airport. The security line at LAX runs out of the airport and up the sidewalk halfway to the next terminal, but it moves pretty quickly. I have a window seat on the way to Phoenix, this time. It's a short flight. I read, and in the Phoenix airport I finish Bridge of Birds, which is lovely. I keep my head down so the other people in the food court won't realize I'm weeping as I finish it.

The flight to Minneapolis is the only one of the four flights that sucks, for multiple reasons: they make me check my carry-on, which has been fine on three flights so far; there is considerable turbulence all the way through; I am tired and cranky; and I am seated next to the most annoying woman in the world. I survive. Life is good. It's not perfect, but it's good.
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So I've been writing again, in case any of you were aware I wasn't. For about 3 1/2 months I didn't write a word. This was supremely frustrating but also, I think, necessary. It's the first significant time I've spent not writing since 1997, so it was probably overdue.

What I'm interested in now is figuring out how my writing has changed due to this gap. I'm sure it won't be anything too dramatic, but it definitely feels different. One thing is that I think, despite the fact that I feel pressure to produce quickly, I am learning to be more patient.

Structurally I tend to work in one of two ways: flaky and semi-rigid. Think baklava* and aluminum sheeting. The aluminum sheeting stories have definite agendas, either thematically or structurally or both, and nearly everything that goes into them is intended to support those agendas. They're built on specific ideas and have definite goals. I usually know what the ending's going to be without knowing exactly how I'm going to get there. The Sun Inside is like this. (The dinosaurs are ballast. Or something.) Sometimes I worry that they are didactic.

The baklava stories, like Escape to Bird Island and the one I'm working on now, are usually built more on images and off-the-wall scenarios than on specific ideas. I don't have a goal in mind when I start them and I usually don't know what the ending will be. I don't start them until I feel like I have enough dots to connect. These are more scene-by-scene constructions; I have to stop often to think about what happens next, and gradually plot points start to stick together until an ending takes shape. These are more dreamlike stories, without specific foundational arguments. Sometimes I worry that they are indulgent.

I tend to think of the flaky stories as writing from my subconscious (which is why they are flaky), and my brain is not always in a hurry to tell me what it's up to. Some days I get a couple of lines; some days I get nothing. Partly this has to do with getting back into the habit of writing, or struggling with same, but another reason is that if I am too quick to write down the next line it is not always the right one. The right one might come to me ten minutes after I've put down the pen, and I'll be glad that I waited.

The other thing I'm excited about right now is firmly in the semi-rigid category: a novel that plays with the history and demographics of St. Paul, the town where I was born and live now. But here, too, I'm having to be patient. I've done a lot of research and I have a lot more to do; it may be months before I feel grounded enough with the characters and their settings to start this thing. It needs more in the way of structural work because there are many more ways to go with it, and I need to widen my base of knowledge in order to narrow my focus. (Or focuses. Focii.) With Superpowers it was easy, because I knew about superheroes and I knew contemporary Madison, Wisconsin, the United States. It wasn't difficult for me to ground that book. This one is going to take a lot of time, and while I have moments of frustration about this, I am learning to be patient.

I used to work really fast. I used to write short stories in a day or two, never longer than a month. (The revisions usually took quite a bit longer.) I always thought I'd be turning out a novel a year, at least. But if it's going to take longer for me to produce something that really challenges me, something that I feel really good about it, then I'm OK with that. So much of this business is waiting anyway, I may as well get used to waiting for myself.

* I could have said "croissant" but baklava comes in pans so there's more room to move around. Also I prefer croissants because baklava is usually so sweet it gives me a headache. None of this has anything to do with writing.
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I could have spent my unexpected afternoon off being productive, but what fun would that be?

This meme went around a while ago but I was not feeling as brave then as I am now. SO DO YOUR WORST.

- Describe me in one word--just one single word. Positive or negative.

- Leave your word in a comment, before looking at what words others have used.

- Copy and paste the meme to your journal to find out how people describe you when limited to one word.
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. . . but I'm pretty OK with it, actually:

"Imagine if Syndrome from The Incredibles decided to write a novel about Supers, and you've got Superpowers."

I ain't telling you where I found it.
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My Personality
Openness to Experience
You do not experience strong, irresistible cravings and consequently do not find yourself tempted to overindulge, however you are sensitive about what others think of you. Your concern about rejection and ridicule cause you to feel shy and uncomfortable around others. You are easily embarrassed and often feel ashamed. Your fears that others will criticize or make fun of you are exaggerated and unrealistic, but your awkwardness and discomfort may make these fears a self-fulfilling prophecy. You tend to feel overwhelmed by, and therefore actively avoid, large crowds. You often need privacy and time for yourself. You enjoy a certain amount of debate or intellectual thought, but sometimes get bored with too much. You dislike confrontations and are perfectly willing to compromise or to deny your own needs in order to get along with others, however you generally see others as selfish, devious, and sometimes potentially dangerous. You take your time when making decisions and will deliberate on all the possible consequences and alternatives.

Take a Personality Test now or view the full Personality Report.

I think I've taken this test before. It always makes me sound like an asshole.

Via [ profile] silk_noir
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Things I have not posted about on account of being busy and scatterbrained:

Yes, that is me in the latest issue of Writer's Digest. Jordan Rosenfeld interviewed me for the "First Impressions" column, which features first-time novelists. I sure make it sound easy. And, thanks to the lies of photography, I look good doing it.

Comics: Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction are leaving Immortal Iron Fist. Wah! For serious, their run has been incredible; retro-pulp updated for the modern day, with the glorious feel of grainy, badly-dubbed kung fu flicks. This, combined with John Rogers leaving the sadly underselling Blue Beetle (Seriously, do people not want their superhero comics to be good?), is going to cut down my comics reading considerably.

DVDs: I gave up on The L Word, finally, because I can't stand Mia Kirschner or her character or the way that the writers apparently view writing on that show. So. Grating. Like, Baltar-and-Six grating. (Them being the reason I can't watch BSG.) I started on Weeds, which is pretty great so far. Also started on Season 1 of the new Doctor Who, which is . . . cute? I can appreciate that it's all about the fun, and they're aiming at kids, but man is the plotting preposterous. Yes, Rose is wonderful, and the show is funny ("Harriet Jones, MP Flydale North"), but I'm not sure I'm going to last with it. I finally saw "Network," and I'm sorry I waited so long. Genius. Also saw "A Streetcar Named Desire." (Yes, I have many gaps.) Brando was amazing, as usual, but it took a long time for Vivien Leigh's performance to work for me. There's a particular definition of "feminine" in Streetcar that I find extremely off-putting in fiction as well as in life. Which may actually be part of the point of the play, and may be why it works in the end. Obviously I haven't decided.

Books: Am reading Liberty: The Lives and Times of Six Women In Revolutionary France, by Lucy Moore. This was recommended to me by [ profile] stephanieburgis, and man am I grateful. Really evocative, and sad, and inspiring. Also reading Lost White Tribes: The End of Privilege and the Last Colonials in Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Brazil, Haiti, Namibia, and Guadeloupe by Riccardo Orizio, which sounds a lot more awesome than it is. It's more a travelogue than anything, neither historical nor anthropological in focus; a disappointingly shallow look at a potentially rich subject.

Baseball: Bit of a rocky start for the Twins, not unexpectedly. Liriano's shaky, and the offense is unreliable; but Hernandez is a rock, and Bonser seems to have matured nicely. Not to mention that Carlos Gomez is as much fun to watch as Torii ever was. Dropping two to the Tigers = not cool, but it's early yet. (If you catch me saying that in August, I give you permission to smack me upside the head.)
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So I am beginning to notice that people ask a lot of the same questions when they hear that I have a book coming out. (One of those is, "Can I buy it at Barnes & Noble?" to which the answer is both yes-but-do-it-early and WTF? Is that the only bookstore you will enter? Are you perhaps afraid that other bookstores do not have standards high enough to keep the carnivorous bookshelves from their stock?)

Some of these questions that keep coming up might perhaps be interesting to some of you folks. So here goes:

When did you write the book? Most of Superpowers was written in early 2002. The last chunk of it, though, which deals with some heavy stuff, I put off finishing until mid/late 2003.

What were the revisions like? I revised the original manuscript a couple of times on my own in 2005, after I had signed with my agent. She liked it, but even so we went back and forth through three revisions before she was ready to send it around. After it sold (in fall 2006), I went through two rounds of edits with Three Rivers, and I just finished a second round with the page proofs. (Page proofs = Not Fun.) So that's nine times (or more, depending on your math) through the manuscript before the public sees it. I consider the fact that I still like the book to be a small miracle. (If you'd asked me whether I still liked it during my first round of page proofs, though, I'd probably have made a face and grunted.)

Is this your first book? First book sold, sure. It's actually the third book I wrote, of four so far. When there is news to report about any of them, I'll let you know :-)

Are your other books related to this one? Nope. None of my books are related, so far. Succession may potentially become two books depending on how I revise it, and if I had the choice I'd do a series of stand-alone books set in the same world as Goblin Market. But so far, the series bug hasn't bit me in a big way.

How did you get your agent? I got lucky. Basically, she found me, which is not the usual way that these things happen. So I don't really have a lot of helpful advice about pursuing representation. I did some querying, and badly, before Shana got in touch with me, but I found it a hugely frustrating process. What would I suggest? Go read the archives over at Miss Snark's blog, and do what she tells you.

When do you find time to write? Actually, few people have asked me this, I think because most of the people asking the above questions have not been writers. To non-writers, writing looks pretty easy. You just sit down at the computer and make shit up. EASY. Especially if, say, you've got a full-time job, a commute longer than ten minutes, a pet, a spouse, a child, or multiples of any of those last three. Because then it's easy to get home from your job, quickly make a meal, and lock yourself in your conveniently provided office which comes standard with each dwelling-place. And then, as all writers know, the words just flow right out of your fingers and snap into place. Like Legos!

(No, that's not my answer.)

When I wrote Superpowers I was working as a bartender. I'd work from 4 PM to anywhere between 10:30 and 2 AM, maybe watch some TV if I'd taped anything, and then write until 4 or 5 or 6. On nights I didn't work, I'd write for 4-6 hours, I'd estimate. I was about the most disciplined I've ever been, but the reason I was able to work that way was that I had no life. Sure, I'd hang out after hours with my co-workers once a week or so, get drunk and act stupid, but that was about it. Oh yeah, and I was living with my parents. In other words, I had it easy.

Writing with a full-time job is hard. Writing with a full-time job and people in your life who demand and deserve your time is even harder. Writing with kids . . . I honestly don't know how those of you who are parents manage it. It's not just the time, it's the headspace to work through story stuff in your mind. But then, I am one of those shy introverts who needs to be alone (or at least ensconced in headphones) to get anything done, so YMMV.

The short answer is that I find time to write whenever I can, because it's the most important thing to me. That doesn't mean it should be the most important thing to anyone else, and it's probably healthier if it isn't. If and when something else comes into my life that matters more, that's going to be an interesting adjustment.

Got any other questions? WELL DO YA?!?
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. . . 'cause then I might have seen this a little sooner.

All I can say is I didn't expect the evil twin to be unmasked quite so soon.

Thanks to [ profile] calico_reaction for the heads-up!
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What I Came Home To Find
Originally uploaded by Snurri
Uncorrected Proofs - Not For Sale

I might have to figure out a giveaway contest, though :-)

Nothing makes it more real than holding one of these in my hands, folks. My neighbors are probably concerned about all the shouting and jumping around.

I made a book. Holy fucking shit.
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Yesterday, while you were all at your wild, all-day George Washington parties and I was at work (NOT THAT I AM A RESENTFUL PERSON*), I posted about blogs that cover future urban concepts, one of my personal manias. I also posted the shiny trailer and banner for the upcoming Paper Cities antho, which Jeff VanderMeer (among others) has said very nice things about. (Scroll all the way down for the review.)

The Minnesota Roller Girls are at Roy Wilkins this Sunday. Locals: anybody going? Anybody want to? My planned companion has flaked on me discovered a scheduling conflict. I am in the mood to watch tattooed girls in fishnets shove each other around.** I'll go alone if I have to, but it won't be pretty. (Well, I won't be pretty. But then I rarely am.)

Things that are awesome: Chris Sims kicks off his "Bring It On" week with the 30-second recap. If you have not seen "Bring It On," you might be under the impression that a movie about cheerleaders cannot be awesome. You are sadly mistaken. Of course, Sims does his best to amp up the awesome with his stick-figures*** and Shakespearean dialog.

Finally, it has come to my attention that I am a cipher wrapped in an enigma, smothered with secret sauce. No, I am not Jimmy James. But being as this is a personal blog where I tend to skirt around the personal, when I actually do talk about something that's very personal--like, say, my recent tirades about Valentine's Day--apparently people aren't quite sure what to make of it. So, inspired in part by [ profile] mrissa, I'm opening the floor. Ask me anything. Yes, anything.**** I will make an effort to be forthcoming, even if it's personal. If, on the other hand, you'd rather just trade smartass quips, I can do that too. It's kind of where I live.

* This is a lie.
** I am almost always in the mood for this.
*** Stick figures + Spirit fingers = Fail
**** Except THAT.
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Originally uploaded by Snurri
Picture taken by Heidi Ehalt. I rarely like pictures of myself, but this one may end up being the author photo for all the book stuff.
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So, my news is simply this: I'm moving back to St. Paul. Like, in a week. For some reason I tend to play these things very close to the vest, but now the truck is reserved, the boxes are . . . here, and the lease is signed and all that.

Chicago has been pretty good to me, overall. But I have to say that it's never quite felt like home. And there's the money aspect. As Gavin once said about living in a big hip city without having lots of money, "You're missing something cool every night." Yeah. An illustrative point on the economics of St. Paul vs. Chicago; the place I'll be moving into is $40 cheaper per month, and has one bedroom more (for a total of one). And it's in a great neighborhood with lots of stuff in walking distance, and public transit, and a three-mile bike ride to my folks' place. Which brings us to the second big reason for the move, which is family; most of them are in the Twin Cities or at least nearby, and I'm at a point where I'd like to be able to see them more.

Things I will miss about Chicago? Friends. My writing group, the Semi-Omniscients; great people all around, who've really pushed me to write better. The Art Institute. The trains, although that's more for the way they were a year or so ago than the way they are now. The Lakeshore Path. The Hideout; actually, the music scene in general. If I weren't so stuffed-in-the-head I could perhaps think of more things.

I'll be crashing with my folks for a month until my lease kicks in; I'll post the addresses as they change. My phone will hopefully stay the same. Now I am off to kill this cold.

*Apologies for the bad John Prine reference.
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I am so annoyed at myself. I totally spaced the 200th anniversary of my blog! I mean, clearly I haven't had this particular blog for 200 years (LJ's only been around for, what? Seven years? And Blogger since 1926 or so, I think . . .), and while I could give you a URL to the archives of my then-blog (with the rather inflated title of "Dispatches From the Life of a Freelance Quartermaster's Assistant"), you'd get nothing but 404s on account of all the Prussian domain names having been wiped out. But I have the hard copy which it was transcribed from at the time (I keep it in fourteen 40-pound boxes), so I can quote to you the entire first entry, from February 1 1807:

Damn agency has placed me with Lestocq's unit. Told them after Jena-Auerstedt that I didn't want to work with any more Prussians. Barely got out of there alive, and left a really good ergonomic desk chair behind. Plus, seriously, it's all or nothing with these people. Before they were convinced they couldn't be beaten, now it's all "Oh poor us we're doomed." Annoying. Should go back to cleaning fish.

OK, I know that's not all that sexy. But the one from a few days later (February 8) is a little more exciting:

Fighting today. Everyone freaking out about ammunition. Personally, I'm a lot more annoyed about the shortage of those little notebooks I like. Snuck away from camp to ask around for some--wasn't supposed to, but screw Klaus anyway. Sanctimonious little jerk. Today he was crying at his desk about "the little princes." He has a picture of them in his cube; CREE-PEE. When they evacuated Berlin I thought he was going to ascend, he was so relieved. Anyway, I'd been stealing the little notebooks from stock (don't tell anyone), and then we ran out. I was working on that story, the one about Aaron Burr's steamboat empire? I have no idea where to submit it. There really won't be any fiction magazines around for another decade or so.

Anyway, no one at the farms had any of the little notebooks. Most of them had run away. (The farmers, not the notebooks. Heh.) Got back late. (Am STILL sleeping in my cube, not even a cot. Wrote to temp agency, no word so far. What a load of crap! All this for a Pfennige a day.) Started marching early. I thought we'd get there too late for any fighting today, but NOOO. Four o'clock in the afternoon, Lestocq gets all gung-ho. Klaus started weeping. Now we've got all these Russian stragglers joining up and asking for supplies. Man, I lied about speaking German to get this job; I don't understand a word these new guys say. Anyway. Didn't die today. Can't wait for weekend. Hope Napoleon's bed is lumpy.

I wonder what Klaus is up to now?
snurri: (Playing Dead)
I took the weekend completely off from writing, which was crazy but it worked out well because it gave me time to figure out that my plan for the next chapter was Bunk. Basically the plot was originally supposed to focus more on a certain group of characters whose twists and turns have become rather vestigial, and I had to prune one out that I hadn't really thought about. Full speed ahead, now; one chapter yesterday, one and a half today, and I know where the next four are coming from. Between this week and next, when I will be taking a writing vacation with some lovely folks, I hope to push through to chapter 50 or so; I expect to wrap it up in 60 or less. The timing is good because, as some may have noted, I've had a shuffling of editors, and we've yet to start editing Superpowers; if I can get this first draft done by April or so then I can concentrate on revisions for the sold book without having back-of-the-mind anxieties about finishing this not-yet-sold one.

In an effort to make sense of this full-time writing life, however temporary that turns out to be, I've put myself on a schedule. At least, I've put a cap on my writing day; no new stuff after 5:30, no computer after 7. Typing scribbles into the computer between the hours of 5:30 and 7 is acceptable. This may be a temporary measure, but so far it's been good. Making the shift from having all my spare time be potential writing time to having ALL my time be potential writing time was kind of disorienting. Structure, good.

That's really it, I'm afraid. Told you it was boring.


Feb. 9th, 2007 06:44 pm
snurri: (Default)
From: Me

To: Universe

Please stop f&%$ing with me.



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