November 17th, 2006

problem cat

Raggy bears, shaggy bears, saggy bears, too.


Not only am I sort of moderately ill, which, combined with the rain, has derailed many of my brilliant plans for the week, but I appear to have a case of post-novel ennui like you would not believe.

Writing books really empties out your brain.

This is a bit of a problem, as I still have the whole climax and resolution of New Amsterdam to go, and it's due Dec. 31.

Yanno what? I'm declaring a vacation until after Thanksgiving. My brain is empty and I am stupid and full of suck. Then I will write the two brief articles I have due in the first week of December, and then I will revise "Chatoyant and write "Lumière" (aka the end of New Amsterdam) and if I can't get excited about les loups de Paris and la bête du Gévaudan, dirigibles and treachery, it's time to hang up my hat.

After that, it's the Dust proposal by January 15th, and then the All the Windwracked Stars rewrite and a gonzo space opera novella by April 1.

If anybody told you the life of a freelance artist was all bonbons and games...

...she lied.

But it sure is fun.

bear by san

Well, go ahead

Introduce yourselves!

There's a ten-weird-things-about-me meme going around, and every time I try to answer it, I stall. Am I weird? I don't think I'm weird. But it's probably time I should do another ten-things list.

Ten things that were weirder than they oughta have been? Ten things that I do successfully that appear on "Things Writers Should Never Do" lists? Ten things I like to eat? I dunno.

I'm just not as weird as jaylake. He likes his writing sweaty. Uh, yeah, I would be the guy who does in fact try to do that with every scene. Okay, no, I lie. There are the big setpiece scenes. But I do try very hard to bring tension and conflict into every scene, to change something in every scene, to make the language as taut as possible. I don't always manage, and often, the tension that interests me most is the internal, ethical tension between two wrong answers. That's my kink, really: the court of honor.

It's easy to set up a situation where the characters have one obviously right choice, and I think it's a failing of the speculative fiction genre that it happens so often. It's easy. Being assured of being the good guys is easy. It's binary and dualistic and unrealistic and I don't like it. More precisely, I would have to say It chaps my ass.

I'll tell you what is weird. Sometimes this writing gig is really weird. I wonder if there will come a time when I stop waking up in the morning and going "Whoa, this is my *job.* How weird is that?" You work on something for two decades, give or take, and wake up one morning and there you are. I'm still trying to get it to sink in that I'm actually pretty successful. It takes a while.

(I was just asked to blurb a Walter Jon Williams book. The Night Shade reprint of Hardwired, in fact, which I thought was hysterical, because, um, if you don't see the Williams influence all over the Jenny books, well, I do. I got to tell him about that at WFC, and how ridiculous I thought it was. Set above my place, indeed. And he told me a story about being asked to blurb Gene Wolfe. The surreal never stops.

I am not worthy. I am not worthy. Didn't stop me from blurbing the book, though. And if you have not read it, do.)

So here I am. I have six books in print (!) and they're doing okay; I have six more sold and five of those delivered. I have a collection to finish, a proposal I need to write post-haste, and another one to write after that, because I have three large-press and two independent publishers to keep happy. It's like polyamory, I guess. Who has time for anything but maintaining relationships?

I have been working my butt off, nonstop, since 2001, and I was working intermittently, but seriously, on learning my trade since grammar school. Which I think is why it all feels so surreal. I was an unpublished writer for a heck of a lot longer than I've been a published writer, and that's why it's awfully weird to me to find people talking about me (as one occasionally does) in back corners of the Internets.

And then I realize they're not talking about me. They're talking about Elizabeth Bear, the author. The authorial construct. The person they assume writes my books. It's enlightening. As enlightening, sometimes, as seeing the sorts of things that people say about the books. (After a while, by the way, one does stop taking it personally. In part because they're talking about my fifth novel, say, and I'm currently working on the sixteenth and have almost forgotten what the fifth one was about, at this point, and in part because, well, you start realizing how much of what makes yourself like a book is internal and personal and squiddy.)

So, yeah. The wheels of publishing grind slow. Until everything is suddenly happening terrifyingly fast, SHLOOMP! And there you are, up to your neck and swimming like hell.

Which sure beats the alternative.
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bear by san

cognitive. dissonance.

...suddenly, I am listening to a lot of bands with one-word names modified by a direct article, and two-word names beginning with "Dead" or "Violent" or "English."

You would think I was back in high school.

Good lord, would you believe that all my Plasmatics and Dead Kennedys stuff is on cassette tape? Eee. Am I desperate enough to go dig it out and see how badly decayed it's become? Somehow, I bet that stuff is hard to find on CD. *g* Patti Smith might be easier, though. And the Sex Pistols.

Man, I remember when this stuff sounded hard. But then, I remember when AC/DC sounded hard, rather than like the nice little electric blues band they turned out to be after all.

I am old.**

And something is very, very wrong when punk makes you feel old.*

*Even better, the CD folder that has all the Screaming Blue Messiahs and The Clash and the New Wave stuff (such as the Talking Heads, natch), also has Kim Carnes in it. And the Dave Matthews Band. And Ella Fitzgerald.

Okay, maybe I am weird.

**Hmm. And now for the difficult questions, like, do the BossTones and Nine Inch Nails belong on a punk playlist, or is that stretching the definition too far? I mean, we're definitely sneaking into Ska and Industrial and points south....

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