August 21st, 2010

criminal minds fate

he wants nothing less than to wear a little dress

The best thing about Jukido is that as a white belt I am allowed--expected!--to be a complete INCOMPETENT. It is so relaxing to be allowed to suck. I am expected to know nothing, to do everything wrong, to fail constantly. When I actually get something right, and earn a crumb of praise, I feel like I've done something huge.

I imagine if I keep up at this, in a year, I will actually have a set of criteria and standards in place, and I will be beating myself up every time I don't get my feet at the right angle--but for now, I am content to suck.

It's so refreshing.

Guitar fills this niche for me, too. I am, let's be honest, one fucking incompetent guitarist. (I sing okay, if you can tolerate a dog-whistle soprano. Hey, it's not the voice I signed up for, but it's the one I got.)

But the thing--well, yanno. My day job. This writing gig. The thing about it is that no matter how hard you work, you can never do it well enough. Something is always flawed, not good enough for somebody. No matter how much effort and concentration and heart's-blood I pour into any story, there will always be readers for whom it does not work, or worse, is offensive.

I can't do anything about that.

And if you think that inadequacy doesn't register for every writer ever published... well, I'm pretty sure the ones who have never looked at the response to their work and thought, "Maybe I should just swallow a bullet?" are deep in denial.

I think it's like this for every creative artist. People invest so much of themselves in the art. I mean, my god. I could make a better living as a secretary. And yet here I am, trying to tell stories that reveal pretty much every terror and aspiration and torment I've ever experienced so some guy who spent two hours reading them can shred them on the internet because he's allergic to gay people, so somebody can bitch about how I'm smug, self-righteous, and intentionally obscure because I accidentally pushed her buttons and made her feel intelectually inferior when I was in all actuality working my ass off to be as transparent as I knew how--

Yeah. I'm a lousy writer.

So is everybody else. Writing is too hard to do well.

And yet it is too important to do poorly. And people take it very personally when you don't do what they wanted, even when you are working your ass off to do what you hoped--

See, there's a thing. To write at all well, you have to be willing to show your throat. And if you're like me, and you have learned far too well that any vulnerability you show will be used against you, that vulnerability becomes a kind of horror show.

But that's art. Nothing you do will ever be good enough.

spies mfu sleeps on planes

everyone is king when there's no one left to pawn

La Datlow has confirmed the TOCs of two forthcoming anthologies, both of which will contain stories from me:

Blood & Other Cravings edited by Ellen Datlow; Tor 2011

All You Can Do is Breathe by Kaaron Warren
Needles by Elizabeth Bear
Baskerville’s Midgets by Reggie Oliver
Blood Yesterday, Blood Tomorrow by Richard Bowes
X For Demetrious by Steve Duffy
Keeping Corky by Melanie Tem
Shelf-Life by Lisa Tuttle
Caius by Barry N. Malzberg & Bill Pronzini
Sweet Sorrow by Barbara Roden
First Breath by Nicole J. LeBoeuf
Toujours by Kathe Koja
Miri by Steve Rasnic Tem
Mrs. Jones by Carol Emshwiller
Bread and Water by Michael Cisco
Mulberry Boys by Margo Lanagan
The Third Always Beside You by John Langan
The Siphon by Laird Barron

Supernatural Noir edited by Ellen Datlow; Dark Horse 2011

The Dingus by Gregory Frost
The Getaway by Paul G. Tremblay
Mortal Bait by Richard Bowes
Little Shit by Melanie Tem
Ditch Witch by Lucius Shepard
The Last Triangle by Jeffrey Ford
The Carrion Gods in Their Heaven by Laird Barron
The Romance by Elizabeth Bear
Dead Sister by Joe R. Lansdale
Comfortable in Her Skin by Lee Thomas
But For Scars by Tom Piccirilli
The Blisters on My Heart by Nate Southard
The Absent Eye by Brian Evenson
The Maltese Unicorn by Caitlín R. Kiernan
Dreamer of the Day by Nick Mamatas
In Paris, In the Mouth of Kronos by John Langan

From this we learn, if we did not already know, that Laird Barron is good at story titles.

And now, if I can pry myself out of bed into the deliciously cool morning, I have to go do my work shift at the farm share, where I will be pulling and braiding garlic.

It's 54 degrees out. It'll probably be hot and gross later, but for now--thank you, New England, for the gift of a beautiful day.

bear by san

grim as the reaper with a heart like hell

Today I:

  • Got up at 5:30 am to drive to Amherst to put in my work day for the CSA I belong to.
  • Discovered I had to be there at 9, not 8.
  • Stopped and ate oatmeal at a truck stop in Holyoke.
  • Stopped at a car wash and cleaned out and vacuumed the Moby Smurfberry.
  • Spent four hours harvesting onions.
  • Had a very nice pot luck lunch.
  • Picked some tomatillos and chili peppers.
  • Drove home.
  • Cut up the tomatillos and chili peppers.
  • Went kayaking on the (very low water of the) Hockanum River with The Jeff.
  • Made dinner (pesto past and garlic tomato cheese bread: The Jeff made the salad) for The Jeff and TBRE.
  • Turned the tomatillos and chili peppers into six pints of jam: three spicy, three with lemon peel and ginger. Hard to say which is better. They're both kind of AWESOME.
  • Processed the jars of jam.

  • And now I'm going to go upstairs and write until I fall asleep.

This is not an atypical day.

Why is it that I feel so damned tired again?