December 2, 2016
That was just one of the many great things Henry Rollins said last night at the Boulder Theater. I wasn’t going to go. I’ve come down with a wretched cold, and I’m feeling even more introverted than usual. But a friend had an extra ticket and invited me, and I went, and I’m glad I did because Rollins said a bunch of things I needed to hear, some catharsis after the election, creative inspiration, and just awesome stories about being a type-A personality punk with social anxiety bumping into folk like David Bowie and Ru Paul.
Mostly, for me, was the way he said it. He talked for two and a half hours straight, barely pausing to breathe, not stopping for water, the flow jumping from topic to topic to topic while somehow still being relevant.
If you’ve ever been to one of my Q&A’s or readings, you’ll recognize this pattern, because it’s pretty much what I do. I get one question, and forty minutes later I finally come up for air, chagrined that I’ve rambled on for so long and probably bored my audience to tears and WTF is wrong with me. But after seeing Rollins hold court and be riveting and inspiring, I realized that, Hey, maybe that technique is just fine. Fun, even. Fascinating, seeing all this stuff pour from one person’s brain. I’m not as good or practiced a public speaker as Rollins is, I could use some polish and refinement. But hey, I don’t think I’m going to worry about my 40 minute on-stage rambling jags anymore.
November 23, 2016
Now more than ever, it’s helpful to count blessings and look at the good things in the world. Doing so provides energy and inspiration for the battles ahead. As ever, I’m grateful for my family, my friends, my nest, the ability to travel and do fun things, and all the good books and art in the world. And I’m very grateful for my career. For that I thank all of you, my readers, for helping make it possible.
November 11, 2016
Been working on baby steps. Lending support where it’s needed and making sure my own little world keeps moving. And that means getting back to work, the to-do list, the pile of projects.
Tomorrow, Saturday, I’ll be attending the book launch party for the Colorado Springs Fiction Writers Group’s 3rd Anthology, Colorado State of Mind. They’ve reprinted one of my earlier stories, “Marrying In.” The event’s at Rosco’s Coffee House on Bijou, 5-9 pm. Here’s the Facebook Event link for more info.
And then Leonard Cohen and actor Robert Vaughn pass away and it’s just, like, enough enough enough. Stay safe, everyone.
November 4, 2016
When I was going over the galleys for Martians Abroad a little while back, I laughed at this scene, because I always laugh at this scene, because it makes me really happy.
Trouble is, I’m not sure anyone else is going to think it’s all that funny.
But you know what? I don’t really care. Sometimes we put stuff in books because we want to, and not for any other reason.
If I tried to ask him what he was doing or how long it was going to take, he’d only get more inscrutable, so instead I asked, “How was the play?”
“What?” Charles looked up, blinking.
“The play that I didn’t get to see. How was it?”
“It was okay,” Ethan said.
Charles surprised me by looking thoughtful— pleased, even. “Not bad. It was vintage, first performed in the early days of the original theater district. About gangsters and a floating craps game. Everybody sang songs when they got emotional.”
Had Charles actually enjoyed it? I thought theater would have been beneath him. “And what is a floating craps game?”
“I think it’s a metaphor. Can we talk about that later?” He keyed in more commands and studied the handheld’s screen intently.
Book’s due out in January. Just a couple more months…
October 31, 2016
Got home from the convention last night and ended up on the sofa, in pj’s, eating a bowl of chili, and that turned out to be the perfect way to unwind. I don’t know why I’m still surprised at how exhausted I get after conventions.
Which is not to say conventions aren’t fun. I like them a lot. I like catching up with people and seeing what new things are out (I picked up a copy of Connie Willis’s new novel Crosstalk). My favorite Italian restaurant (Fiocchi’s) is near the convention hotel, and I got a group to go to dinner with me.
This particular convention: I was only on three panels, but they were some of the best panels I’ve ever been on/participated in. Packed rooms, great audiences, engaged discussions. I think the best panels are ones where the panelists have conversations with each other, are super-engaged with the topic, and aren’t afraid to express their enthusiasm. Every single panelist I shared the stage with this weekend understood that being on a panel isn’t about self-promotion, holding up your own work and trying to sell it. It’s about entertaining and informing the audience. If you are entertaining and informative, audience members will want to seek out your work. (In fact, I first started reading Connie Willis after seeing her on a panel and being so impressed with her wit and enthusiasm.) But if all you can talk about is your own work — that’s actually off-putting.
In the best panels, it’s delightful getting to share in the knowledge and enthusiasm of my fellow panelists. All well-read and insightful about the topics, each bringing their own perspective to the table. It turns out, excellent writers are also excellent readers. I’m not sure anyone can be a good writer without having an ingrained love of reading — and a love of talking about what they’ve read/experienced.
And I will be forever grateful to Van Aaron Hughes for introducing me to the existence of Attar the Merman, a series of men’s adventure books written by Joe Haldeman under a pseudonym. It appears to be James Bond meets Aquaman. I am intrigued.
October 26, 2016
The schedule for Mile Hi Con is up. Here’s mine, along with a couple of signings that didn’t make the master schedule for some reason.
Friday: 4 pm, Podcast Triptych (in which I am interviewed, I believe).
Saturday: 2 pm, David Bowie and SF (in which I will likely gush about a certain Goblin King and cannot guarantee no crying).
Saturday 4 pm, mass autographing
Saturday 8 pm, Guilty Pleasures: the Best Bad Stuff. (In which I hope to talk about Troll and Xanadu.)
Sunday 11 am, autographing
Sunday 4 pm, Short Stories: Lifeblood and Experimental Laboratory of the Genre World.
And that’s it!
Oh, and also: Saturday, Nov. 12 at 5 pm, I’ll be attending the Colorado Springs Fiction Writers Group anthology launch at Rosco’s Coffeehouse on Bijou in Colo. Springs.
And I believe that’s all my events for the rest of the year. But I’ve got some stuff scheduled for January for the release of Martians Abroad, and I’ll post those soon.
October 17, 2016
This Halloween my niece wants to be Mary Poppins, so I’m making the outer layer of her costume (hat, coat, etc.). I actually found a parrot-head umbrella so I won’t be embarking on adventures in Sculpey this time around. But the coat. Heh. I can tell I’m a real costumer now because I looked for a coat and couldn’t find anything that worked. I hit up thrift stores. I searched online. And all the coats for little girls were too frilly, too cute, or too pink. I needed a nice somber, tailored, governess’s coat, right? I checked “how to make a Mary Poppins costume” websites and they’re all like, “Just take a jacket out of your closet!” But they don’t look right. So I made one from scratch, and I’m quite pleased with it. All I have left are buttons and buttonholes, and then it goes off to the kid. I’ll show you when I get pictures of the complete ensemble.
Mr. Robot, second season: I’m through episode 8. This show. THIS SHOW. Taking unreliable narrators to a whole new level. It’s kicking my ass and I’m loving it so much, and it’s still so cyberpunk, without being actual cyberpunk. I am all amazement.
I have a story to wrap up and send to an editor, another to revise and send back, a new novel to start, a critique to finish up. I bet I can get it all done this week and I’ll feel so accomplished. Oh yes. Must hang on to that feeling, it doesn’t come around very often…