My Temper, and Linkspam

Have blown out three electrical appliances in the last two days. (Temper, my besetting sin.) And today I’m not going to be slowing down for anything until dinnertime (and maybe not even then) so here are some links in lieu of a post:

* The Return of the REAL King, a review of a new book on Elvis. I am pretty fascinated by the ongoing worship of all things Presley, and this book seems to focus on a little-mined subject: the actual making of the music instead of the messy personal life.

* A fascinating look at Russian television.

* Waterloo teeth. This is one of the reasons why I don’t get when people say history is boring. It’s juicy and fabulous and utterly weird.

* Chuck Wendig’s utterly hilarious take on why you don’t want to be a writer. I laughed until I cried, holding onto both sides of my desk, sides heaving and tears rolling down my cheeks.

* Monica Valentinelli on a writer’s hidden enemy.

And with that, I’m outie. Got to work while the iron’s hot, and there’s errands today besides. See you.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

Brain Needs Solids, Thanks

Today is warm and rainy. I didn’t need four layers, gloves, and hat to venture out to the bus stop this morning, and I’m not shivering as I sit in my writing chair. This is a lovely change.

I want to once again thank everyone who has sent me letters, emails, and messages of support the last few days. I appreciate it more than I can say. Several of you sent varying versions of, “You probably hear more from the nasty people, and the ones who appreciate your message are probably quieter, so I thought I’d send this little message of support,” which was just about the most beautiful thing ever. I did mist up a couple times. Yesterday was a very damp day.

I have a short story cooking, so even though the first round revisions on the final Strange Angels book are sent back to the editor, this does not mean a rest in any way. Which is pretty much okay, since my brain is in one of those cycles where if I don’t give it something solid to chew on, it will start trying to eat itself. This is just about as pleasant as it sounds.

The only other thing I have to report is…something rather odd happening in the road. I am taking my morning run before dawn now as a matter of habit, so if the squirrels are up to shenanigans at 8AM I’m not seeing it, since I’m usually hard at work by that time instead of on the treadmill. But my writing area looks out onto my driveway and the road, and the squirrels are…well. It’s weird. They will scamper out to this one particular place in the middle of the road and spend a good five minutes looking back and forth, glancing up and down the street, twitching their little whiskers. If a car comes, they dash out of the way at the last second, then return to their spot as soon as possible.

None of them are Neo. They’re all too small, juveniles instead of full-grown ninja Terminator squirrels. I’m mystified. Is this some sort of teenage squirrel ritual? Are they waiting for the squirrel version of UFOs or playing chicken? Is there something buried under the concrete they wish to alert someone to? Are they trying to warn the monkeys about some dire apocalypse looming?

I’ll keep you posted. And sooner or later I’m going to have to tell you about the possums, too…

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

WhackAMole

So, it’s the Monday after New Year’s. Which means the kids are back in school, the house is quiet…and I had to get up at an ungodly hour to get my morning run out of the way before embarking on a chaotic mix of errands and writing that is my day today. I think, perhaps, the problem is that I’m not running enough–I put in six and a half miles this morning, with no nosebleed.

Yeah, we’ll put that in the “things you didn’t want to know” column.

I’m a little nervous about tomorrow, even though there’s really nothing I need to do except sign a paper and wait for the news. *crosses fingers* Anyway.

I’ve got the new Duffy CD in, and I have to say, when she’s belting out angry she’s much better than this pop stuff they’re trying to get her to sing. She’s like Amy Winehouse without the trainwreck; but also without that razor edge. All in all, eh. I’ll stick to the Rockferry album.

It’s taken me about a half-hour to write this, because other things keep popping up and I keep bashing them on the head. My days are an endlessly-revolving parade of Whack-A-Mole. Who knew going back to work would be this much fun? Hopefully I’ll be less scattered tomorrow.

There’s always hope.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

Snapback

When something takes years of effort, and it’s finally done, there’s a certain amount of emotional snapback. Which is pretty much where I am right now–brain is very mooshy, I’m tired, and as soon as I have lunch I’m ready to go back to bed. It’s not a question of having the energy–honestly, I’ve never had so much energy in my life, which is a good thing, because I’m juggling several chainsaws–but of wanting to retreat and curl up for a while.

When one adds the emotional snapback of sending off the first draft of the last in a series, it just gets compounded. Which is all a very roundabout way of saying I’m as close to zombie as I’ve ever been, the past couple days. I’m not watching movies or even listening to music–that sort of freaks the kids out, because I have music going all the time, normally. But I just can’t handle the sensory overload.

So what am I doing? Reading military history. Poking at a trunk novel that makes me happy, even if it is a gawdawful beast and I’m only adding a hundred words at a time, if that. Making cookies to take into the climbing wall. Feeding the next book I’m going to be working on, which is starting to bubble and ferment in a most interesting way in the back of my head. Wandering away from tasks halfway (it’s taking me a long time to write this post, FFS). And just generally sticking close to home and not wanting to do anything else.

It’s important, when you’ve been running the emotional engine high, hard, and hot for a long time, to let it cool down once the pressure’s off. I liken it to a flywheel spinning down, and part of that flywheel is the adrenaline-twitchy OMG KEEP MOVING KEEP MOVING LIONS TIGERS ZOMBIES ARGH! You get to where the itching under your skin to move is overwhelming, but if you move you’re just going to tire yourself out with fruitless thrashing. I’ve learned (at least, I’ve tried to learn) how to clamp down on some of that, so that I can let the rubber band relax instead of yanking it until it breaks.

And so…updates here will be spotty until the first of the year. By then I suspect I’ll have good news to share, and I’ll be ready to hit the ground running.

See you ’round.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

A Few Things Make A Post

Monday I drove out to the wilds of Tigard to get a new author photo taken. I loathe being photographed–it stresses me out like you wouldn’t believe, for a set of reasons that have everything to do with my childhood and almost nothing to do with whoever is pointing the camera at me. However, the photographer came highly recommended, and his work is gorgeous. If anyone can make me look decent, he probably can. Heh.

Yesterday evening I got this sudden urge to listen to Wham! I ended up dancing around my living room to old videos, especially this one. Oh, and this one. (God bless YouTube.) That, of course, led me to one of the few Christmas songs I like. (I’m also fond of Carol of the Bells, especially when the Muppets do it, and Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.) Oh, the scarves! The smouldering angst! THE FEATHERED HAIR!

Incidentally, I was also just introduced to Robert Earl Keene’s Merry Christmas From The Family, which I found hilarious and oddly touching.

Hmm, what else today? Laura Anne Gilman on epirates. I’ll just point and say, “what she said.” Sometimes I wish my work wasn’t in ebook format, because of the sheer effrontery of the jackasses who STEAL it, then get snitty with me when I ask them politely and publicly not to, you know, STEAL.

Tomorrow is when I do a final round of the grocery store for the little things I must have on hand for the foodathon of the Eve and the Big Day. (The children were scandalised at the thought that they could open one or two presents for Yule, so they’re waiting until the 25th, the hidebound little dears.) I plan on using the self-checkout, since that way I don’t have to talk to anyone. Apparently the little sign on my forehead that says, “Please tell me about all your troubles and every embarrassing thing in your life RIGHT NOW WHILE WE’RE IN LINE” lights up in neon during the holidays. You would not believe the sh!t I get told in lines between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. It’s not that I begrudge a little listening, it’s just that I don’t have the emotional energy to try to fix the things strangers tell me.

My solstice passed quietly and without a lot of comment, which is getting to be just the way I like it. Someday when the kids are older and I’m back to my normal nocturnal habits I’ll get back into holding vigil on the solstices again. But for right now, the gods know I need sleep to be an effective human being. If they have a problem with that, they shouldn’t have designed life this way. :P

Anyway, that brings the random catchall to a close. Something is banging about my chimney, and I think it may be a squirrel. It certainly isn’t Santa. I’m going to go check.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

Got My Fire Back

If you’ve sent me an interview request and haven’t heard from me, it’s because I’m snowed under. Deadline Hell proceedeth apace, and between that and Christmas, I haven’t been able to take a deep breath. I probably won’t until January 1. So, please be patient. If you’ve heard from me and sent me interview questions, and I haven’t returned them, please gently ping me through email. If you sent an interview request and don’t hear from me before the end of the year, please ping me–again, gently–through email. I do try to at least answer requests, even if I can’t spend the time on in-depth interviews.

I did manage to bash the proof pages into submission. They fought back, but my strength was greater–barely, but greater. Now it’s revisions on short stories and finishing the process of getting Angel Town into first-draft shape. I have to make sure the ends are tucked under and everything’s all squared. It’s going to be incredibly difficult to say goodbye to Jill. I don’t know if I’m ready, but…life moves on, whether one’s ready or not.

I’m in a somewhat philosophical mood today, mostly because I was on the treadmill this morning thinking about the past year. I did everything I set out to do, which is a good feeling. 2009 was utterly terrible, but 2010′s been a year I can feel good about. I went back over my checklist of goals-not-resolutions, and I was amazed that I’d pretty much done every one. (I haven’t had time to go back to Latin yet, but I’m working on it.) What was also amazing was how the tiny baby steps I’ve taken all through the year have let me arrive here, stunned by the fact that another year’s ending but pretty much okay.

Well, not pretty much okay. Pretty much fabulous.

So I’ll take the deadline hell and the agony of proofs and the days where I can’t even catch my breath. It’s better than 2009, which is probably my benchmark for “worst year of my adult life” so far. It didn’t quite reach the level of suck I endured while younger, but it tried pretty hard. (Gets an A for effort, that year does.) But it failed to put me down, and as Ellen Foster so memorably said, “I got my fire back in me now.”

It’s good to be back.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.