Happy Saturday, y'all. I love weekends, I live for weekends, they're the crests that help me through the trough of my workweek. Actually, I like my evenings, too, reading and writing and drinking coffee and exercising.
I guess it's just all that sitting at a cubicle five days a week that gets to me... My days don't go by so quickly anymore, for some reason.
Still, I'm lucky to have the job I do. I toured a wrench factory this week, the idea being that if I know how the things are made I'll be better able to advertise them. I didn't get much out of it, since I couldn't hear anything the guy leading the tour said. The pounding of 800-ton hydraulic presses sort of drowned him out. The experience made me appreciate my job, though. If I had to come into a dark, dirty building and handle red hot metal and duct-tape-patched heavy machinery for eight hours a day, I think my higher faculties would shut down, I'd become a work-eat-sleep machine.
Perspective is everything; I consciously appreciated my job for a whole two days after that tour...
Spring is good for my ego. My eyes are blue, and they change somewhat with the seasons, getting grayish in the winter but becoming very bright in spring and summer. Usually by the time the wildflowers are blooming I start to receive the occasional compliment from strangers on my eyes-- most recently a dark-haired beauty with a nose ring said they were the color of a tropical ocean.
Granted, I don't have anything to do with what my eyes look like. Having pretty eyes is no great accomplishment.
But. It makes me feel happy.
Bookwise, I'm reading Fools by Pat Cadigan. It's a clever, twisty book, but for some reason it's not engaging me very emotionally... I'm also reading Pat Murphy's The Falling Woman, and it definitely has hold of me. It may even be better than The City, Not Long After, the other (brilliant) Murphy novel I've read. I'm also reading short stories. I picked up some cheap 70's paperback anthologies today, 50 cents apiece. There are a couple of James Sallis stories in one of them, and they aren't very good. I often really like Sallis-- the first story I ever sold (for the mighty sum of $20) was titled "53rd Annual Mantis Homecoming Dance," an homage to "53rd American Dream" by Sallis. Sometimes he's just too self-consciously literary, though, obscurity ad infinitum... Sort of a bummer. But there are some George Alec Effinger stories I've never read in these anthologies too, and he almost always satisfies...
I read a lot, don't I? But I try to live a lot, too...
On the writing front, I'm now engaged in two short stories, the one I mentioned in the last entry and a new, altogether darker one about how lives can corrode and, sometimes, vanish in a shriek of wreckage. Can anything new be built on the ruins of the old? Sure, if you have the will... I don't know if either of these stories will come to anything, but if they don't, that's okay. I've started thinking about stories again, and the floodgates are open. I've filled several pages with notes and notions about possible tales... like Connie Willis says, asking where a writer gets his ideas is like asking Bogart in The African Queen where he gets his leeches-- you don't get ideas, ideas get you. It's just a question of which ones hang on most tenaciously...
I've also discovered that writing a novel synopsis isn't as hard as I'd feared.
Oh, it's damned hard, for me at least, but it's not skull-crackingly impossible. Writing a synopsis is actually helping me. Looking at my novel in terms of the essentials is instructive, and I'm tentatively pleased with what I have so far. I think my book sounds pretty interestin'.
For those of you who are number-oriented, as of today I have:
21 stories in circulation (most of them to pro mags or anthologies, so don't expect a slew of sales);
0 poems in circulation (that should change, by next weekend-- I should have submissions to half a dozen places by then);
0 novels in circulation (which will change within the next couple of weeks, when I finally get this sub out to the Warner contest).
I'm glad to have the stories out, but I really should get cracking on the poetry, and there's another novel that needs to be sent out in addition to the one for the contest... There's never enough time to read and write and market and love and drink and play and frolic and travel...
Yeah, I know. Bitch, bitch, bitch. I'll stop.
I was reading Diane Patterson's pages the other day, including her wonderful essays on Why Web Journals Suck and her thoughts on keeping diaries. If you're interested in introspection or the process of journalling, give her a read. Diane is one of our most venerable and talented web journallers (she's been doing it for years, quite remarkable considering the high incidence of journals with mayfly lifespans), and I was flattered to find that she'd linked to my pages in one of her entries...
Like Diane, I keep a handwritten-in-ink hardback journal (that's where I put all the stuff I'm not willing for whatever reason to put here). Unlike Diane, I don't write with a flowy pen (my words get away from me frequently enough without ink that spreads, though I appreciate the romance), and also unlike her I read my old entries. Not often, true, but sometimes it's nice to see where I was a long time ago... More than once I've felt overwhelmed, stressed out and unable to cope, only to be reassured by reading an old journal entry-- "Oh," I think, "A year ago I was just as freaked out as I am now, and I came through that just fine, didn't I?"
I generally come through just fine. In the end, everything resolves. Or unravels.
I could write a lot more, all sorts of thoughts and observations and mumblings come to mind, but I'll save them for another entry, and spare you a further dog's dinner of an entry...
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