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January 11th, 2008

The Usual for the Usual

Every now and then, I wake up and I wonder if this is the best gig for me. Usually it's because I've had a bad day, heard some news I could do without, realised I need some money for something I don't particularly want to spend money on, that kind of thing.

It's regular shit, though. I mean, the list is specific to me and my situation, but if you remove the details, the generalities are things that happen to everyone. No financial security. Something not going to way you want. Someone taking what you said the wrong way. Finding yourself involved in a project you couldn't give a shit about. When you reduce it to that, you feel a little ripped off, though, because Art--with the capital A--was suppose to take you away from that nine to five shit. But it doesn't. Art, nine to five, whatever: it involves people, and the human condition isn't a hugely varied one when it's stripped back of the details. At least that's my opinion.

Anyhow, this is my way of saying I've had one of those days, recently.

2007 was one of those varied years for this gig for me, and at times it felt like steps forward, steps back, spin in a circle. I'll spare you the list, but as an example, I got a lot more interest in Black Sheep than I expected, and the reviews have been very open and supportive of it. Of course, the other side is that it's simply not being read by a whole lot of people, and those reviews don't add up beyond a handful (though it's more when you add interviews, invites to things, and so forth, so that evens out). Maybe it'll change, but that's a time issue, and whatever it does sell, there's a theoretical roof on what people expect POD to sell, and it's nothing huge. It doesn't get bigger, either, when you hear of people going into stores to buy the book and being told it's not being carried. Now, I got no issue with that whole thing, the reception of the book, the selling of the book, whatever: the situation is what it is, and nothing I do now will change that, so I've just got to work with what there is and try and make it work. Also, in comparison to others, I've done okay, and it pays to remember that.

But, in addition, of late I've had a little thought that makes me wonder if I'm pushing the right publication/areas for what I do. Some of it, yeah, sure. Some of it, I'm not sure. I'm starting to think that I'm just drifting out of what'll be embraced by speculative fiction audiences in that natural progression you make, and that this book I'm writing now, this Red Sun book, is the last real play with the hardcore elements of speculative fiction for me. I'm talking that hard core world building stuff--you know, skies made from red, ash in the air, wind mills that power steam punk cities. It's all fine, but it feels, at the point I'm at, like I don't need to do this again, that I'm done and said. Next I want to write about girls driving to abortion clinics, and after that, a comedy, and maybe a detective novel, and then who knows--that's six years if I follow the pattern of writing a book every two years, and if I sell them, neither of which is assured. That, however, of course brings up a good financial point of looking around and wondering if you're in the right place, because, of course, to go somewhere new is to start from the bottom and work your way through again.

Or, perhaps, it'll just be a thought that passes, and it's nothing but part of a chain.

I don't know how it is for most people in this gig, but when I started out, when I was a kid sitting in my room writing, when I was making it up in my head, there was this purity to what I was doing. That started to get altered when I started publishing, when I started meeting people, and when I started to learn how things went--but again, that's nothing new. Any job, any situation. That's just learning the reality of a situation. But, and I was talking about this a week or so ago, which may have triggered my original melancholic thoughts, but you got to fight to keep that purity in you, if you want to keep it. If you want to keep that simple pleasure it gave you at the start, you got to fight for it. I'm not sure, exactly, how you do that. Me, I do it in my own way, and I'm not feeling real insightful on the topic, so who knows what that is, except that I tend to think people are half the problem, and that writers are the biggest part of that half.

This stuff isn't an issue for me right now, however: the thoughts came and went and I dealt with them, at least for the time being, in part by simply accepting them. There's not much you can do, like I said, and you deal with what you got and you make what you got work for you.

Whatever it is.

Tunes



Listening to Low's Drums and Guns. It's mellow, real mellow--bordering on that ambient distorted line Radiohead has, but with a stripped back minimalism. I dig it.

Sure looks like he's struggling at the end of this video, though, doesn't he?