I made a mistake. Not career-ending or soul-crushing, but just an idea that didn’t work out. See, as some who follow this blog know, I’m a student guitar player. By which I mean I’m not good enough to just say “I’m a guitar player,” because that would be a lie. It can hardly be said that what I’m doing is playing the guitar. More of playing “at” it, so that sometimes it vaguely sounds like music. A lot of the time it doesn’t. Regardless, getting to the mistake—not too long ago I bought a parlor size guitar because I liked the idea of keeping one downstairs so I could practice or just noodle about whenever the mood struck me (and needless to say, my wife is a very patient woman), but there was a problem—a parlor size guitar is just too small for me. Now, in some ways it was good practice, because it made me be super-precise in my left hand fretting, since the strings were so close together that I’d mute adjacent strings unless my fingers were exactly perpendicular—and sometimes even then. In short, the guitar was unforgiving, and in this stage of my development, I could really do with a bit of forgiveness. Continue reading
Stories, that is. You have this flash of an image, or a snip of dialogue, or whatever seed corn works for you that gets a story started, and you’re off. The words flow, one scene follows another and…
Nothing. You got nothing.
This isn’t writer’s block, or something of that sort. Nope. The story just died on you. Whatever you thought was there, that spark you were following through the scene like the will-o-wisp it was, vanishes. It’s not even that you can’t write the story. So far as you can tell there’s no story to write. We hate when that happens. It’s a bad thing. But it’s a long way from the worst.
You’re kidding, right? You just lost a promising story. You wasted…what? Two days? More? Of precious writing time that you’re never going to get back. What could be worse than that? Continue reading
Third time refers to one more medical incident I won’t go into detail about and yes, I’m fine, but I am so over 2016. Far too many people passed whose work had meant a lot to me and that hurt. Too many people in this country have apparently lost their minds and that also hurts. I hope 2017 is a better year, but there is a chance, if for no other reason than the bar is so low.
Considering how things were going, it seemed very prudent for me to finally get that $#%# story finished and sent out. I had almost forgotten how freeing it feels to get a story out into the world. Once it leaves your hands you’re no longer bound to examine and second-guess yourself and what you did or should have done. It’s time to move on to the next project, and progress is always a potential in the next thing you do, never in what you’ve already done. That’s how progress works. Proud as I am of the work I’ve produced over the last few years—and I do think the story turned out well–the work I’m mostly excited about is what I’m going to do next, and that is the way it should always be, for all of us.
Interesting times are ahead, but then we’re interesting people. So buckle up, and don’t forget to tell your stories.
“She pulled a white shirt out of her basket. Or rather, it had once been white, I judged. Now it was covered in blood.
You might be wondering, about now, why I didn’t very quickly slip out of the 4th Street Laundry and call the cops. Seems obvious, right? She’s killed someone, probably a boyfriend or girlfriend, and is cleaning up the evidence. That’s what anyone would think, but then I’m not anyone. She saw me, and very few people can. That proved she wasn’t just anyone, either. The final proof came when she produced gold coins when it came time to feed the machines. Large, antique-looking coins that should never have fit in those dinky quarter slots, and yet somehow became whatever the machine, in its low-level mechanical understanding, expected.
I just finished a new story. I would be prouder of this if it hadn’t taken almost three months, which for its length is about two and half months longer than it should have. There are reasons, of course, not even counting the medical incident. There are always reasons to keep you from getting your work done, and few aside from your own will and drive to counter them. So I’m not especially proud of myself. I could have done better sooner. However, at least I did get the story done. In rough, but that’s more than half the battle. Rewriting/editing is merely painful by comparison.
So, what to do with it? Haven’t a clue at the moment. It’s the sort of thing Shawna McCarthy might have bought for ROF (or will be, once I get it cleaned up properly), but that’s in the past, so there’s no point looking there. I’m just not sure where the future is at the moment. I can only hope that there is one. I have to find it, though. It’s the kind of thing we all have to do, at some point. The path that was clear suddenly isn’t. A hope gets dashed, or you simply get turned away from one direction toward another. Life always intervenes and plans gang oft agley. Just ask the mouse. Doesn’t matter. All you can do is keep working.
Regardless, as has been said in many other contexts—you can’t win if you don’t play.
Surprise package in the mail last week, from my publisher’s agent—physical copies of the The Emperor in Shadow audiobook. Just the thing for those long drives in vehicles that still have those, what were they called? Oh, right. CD players. I’m sure there are a few around…other than mine.
I wonder if I should preface this next section with SPOILER ALERT, or some such, but for those who don’t know, The Emperor in Shadow is the concluding volume in the Yamada Monogatari series. I’m not going to say that I’ll never write another Yamada story, because I don’t know that (he also has another sister we still haven’t met), but the main story arc is completed, since the series always had an endpoint and my only uncertainty was if I’d get it there in a reasonable time frame. The answer turned out to be yes. The publisher plans an omnibus volume which will gather all the Yamada stories, plus three stories not yet collected, plus the three novels. That is likely not to be out until 2018. After that, well I plan to be doing something else. I hope some of you are willing to stick around for that. More details when there are any to share.