Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Last Post!

Of the year, of course!

December has been rather unkind. Illness has plagued my footsteps, mostly of the "breathing sucks" variety. I've also gotten a temporary boost in hours at the bookstore (and am also running the store's Facebook page), which means more money, but less time to do stuff such as write. Now that the holiday season is over, my hours will magically be reduced, which means more time to write. I've managed to scribble my Forces of Geek columns, and do a bit of short story writing, but that's been it. I had really hoped to have my wacky take on the Four Horsemen ready by, well, today, but sadly the tale is unfinished. I will still finish it, because I'm enjoying the ideas that are coming up as I write it.

My New Year's resolution is a simple one: create more, consume less. I want to write more, improve my health, and make my life fuller and richer. I want to buy less stuff, own less stuff, and take in less bullshit. I think that is both an encompassing and simple goal for the coming year.

I wrote my latest Forces of Geek column on "13 Books for Doing Your Thinking About SF". It's not as in-depth as some of my other columns, but I wanted to respond to all of the "Best Of" lists coming out right now . I've thought about doing a "Best Of The Year" or "Decade" post here, but it seems so trite. I'd rather do something else to reflect on the decade, something that jibes more with the idea of "doing your thinking."

This idea comes from my college mentor, Dr. Thomas Buckley, who wrote an article with that title for Parabola some years back and gave it to us to read in a Native American religions course. It is essentially the notion that you need to combine appreciation, analysis, meditation, and reflection to not just critique an idea or a subject, but to understand it as fully as possible. He wrote about it in his excellent book on Yurok spirituality also. This is an idea that is about creating good thought and good action, not just consuming information. It is about learning all of the time, not just taking in and spitting out data. I'd like to enact this idea more in the coming year as well.

Happy New Year to all!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


My new column for Forces of Geek is up:

We have a sick child, so no more writing tonight. Until she falls asleep, at least :-).

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Exit Light, Enter Night

The week went by too swiftly. Just. . . far too quickly. One reason for that is that I've been working a full 40-hour week to help out an ailing co-worker. Which means that other commitments have been taking up my writing time. Dang it.

I've made a little progress this week on "Skull-face. . . ." I added another 500 words to it and I have a better grasp of what I want it to say. I also re-read "A Fine Day to Watch the Dragons Die," and finally got a few folks to beta-read it for me. Good responses, but it needs some serious redrafting. I was thinking of sending it out this week, but given what my readers have told me, it needs more work before I do that.

I was quite inspired by a long discussion over on John Scalzi's blog WHATEVER. The discussion was explicitly about payment for writing, but I found the ideas underneath that theme worth analyzing. I think Scalzi's idea of "Aspiring Writer Stockholm Syndrome" makes a lot of sense. I certainly suffered from that the first time I tried writing, and it helped make my writing suck even more.

The conversation got me to thinking about how I view myself as a writer, and what I think I am capable of as an artist. It first off reminds me that I need to think of myself as an artist. That is odd to me. There isn't a good reason why it is odd, but I find it hard to declare myself an artist out in the open. Maybe because I don't have a sufficient body of work, or don't feel I deserve the appellation. But after reading this blog conversation, I felt much more secure about calling myself an artist, and about demanding sufficient respect and recompense for what I do. If you don't do that, you get nowhere. If you do not respect yourself AS an artist, you are not only at a disadvantage as a writer, but you do a disservice to yourself and what you produce.

More on this later.