February 22nd, 2005

there!, Hello

Overworked from the Long Weekend

So, I've got four deadlines coming up. I've got three seperate stories in good shape, with all luck and tough love they will be in out the door shape come Friday. Blah.

So, what else have I been up to? Well, the group got together to play Mage on Saturday. I was very slow. I was quite dissatisfied with my part in it come Sunday, and am looking to do an overhaul on my end, to get back on track... Will the players notice? Maybe, maybe not. But right now it is weak.

Kat's going to Boston this week, and will be back on Saturday. Hopefully the weather clears up. We've been getting some nasty snow of late. Good for me to stay in and write, but I'm getting a little cabin fever. Yesterday was especially lonely. Sometimes I think I've chosen the wrong profession. Then, I get a story that I'm damn proud of and wondering what the hell else I could possibly do that instills in me the same level of delight... I've tried the corporate sector and found it not to my liking -- too much bullpuckey, too little actual accomplishment. I've tried the science sector, and it's great to know I'm helping the world, but much of the time, I feel lost amidst the mire of inflated egos (then again, there are several writerly types who exhibit inflated ego syndrome) and information overload. I was a substitute teacher for a time, and I hated it. I cleaned dishes for Dennys on the night shift and hated it. Nope, writing floats my boat. Now, if I could just make a living at it! :)

Got the galleys for the Ghostbreakers antho, this weekend. My story is still a fun little read. At least, I have fun with it. Fond memories and warm glow on my cheeks.

What I've been reading:
Peter Straub's In the Night Room and short as it is is delightful. It got the juices flowing. As I was reading, I was struck by several references (including Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author) this is a book with an awareness of its literary history. A playful horror novel. Five stars, and I look forward to reading it, again.

Graveyard Rats and Other Stories by Robert E. Howard. You know, these stories are structured rather formulaically. Hell, several of them echo the content of others (repeating names, though for different characters/groups). Is this forgivable, given the lightning pace with which Howard produced them? Debatable. What to make of the racial stereotyping? A product of the times, certainly (these stories all date from 1933-1934), and yet reading the volume as a whole allows one to see the shades of gray, the depth of vision. Howard does not present only "The Yellow Menace" aspect of Chinese culture, which I first expected. There are an equal number of victims, heroes, allies and antagonists. Are these stories great fiction? Nope. Are they interesting/fun reads? Yep. In a nutshell, these six tales compose the entire output of Howard's forays into detective fiction. They are hard boiled action stories, with Howard's typically electric pacing. Often, they feature a nearly weird element, ultimately explained. When I read the first volume of Conan stories, I saw a lot of where Tolkein would come. As I read these stories, I saw the foundations for several of Dean Koontz's characters and situations. Delightful reading.

Aloud, I've been oscillating between reading Peter Straub's Ghost Story and Dean R. Koontz's The Bad Place (from his far better "middle initial" period of writing).

So, in a recent newsletter, Doug Clegg (everyone who likes dark fiction should read his books, they are marvels of the macabre. I suggest starting with The Hour Before Dark and venturing into his other works. I've yet to be disappointed) asked if readers would follow a writer to other genres. Answering for both Trista and I, I said, yepperdo (since it's true), that we first read for The Power of Story (Trista's terminology, which I happily adopted) and we read for genre second. I went on to state that in fact, instead of only reading IN genres, T and I typically only avoid ONE genre (and that would be Romance fiction). I have begun to wonder if this was a fair statement. Well, the statement is true, but is the frame of mind BEHIND the statement a valid one? Obviously, "There are no bad genres, just lousy writers" (to quote Mr. Joe 'Genre Blender' Lansdale, hisownself). So, are there any good Romance novels in the world? Anything you'd recommend?
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