PeterMBall

Friday Youtubery

I’d kinda made a promise to myself that I’d stop posting Amanda Palmer/Dresden Dolls clips on Fridays, since I’m aware that I do it quite a bit. It isn’t really intentional so much as a reflection of my tendency to be very focused on one band for a few years – there’s a period in my late teens where I had the same kind of thing going with REM and the Cure, a time in my early twenties where there was ungodly amounts of Primus and Korn*, and now I seem to have caught the Dresden Doll’s bug (although it may yet turn into a long-term obsession, in much the same way that I never quite lost my obsessive fanboyishness of Nick Cave).

Anyway, yes, I keep telling myself to hold back on the Amanda Palmer clips. I think, by now, you’ve all more-or-less caught onto the fact that I regard the band as awesome wrapped in greatness and delivered with a side of awesomesauce. That said, I picked up the Live at the Paradise DVD this week and stumbled over this cover and lets face it, Amanda Palmer + Black Sabbath Covers = Full of Squee and Win!

*And yes, you can laugh at me for obsessive Korn fan, but I promise it made much more sense when I was twenty-one.

The Jams? I have kicked them. Yes, finally.

There has been actual progress on the Claw draft over the last twenty-four hours, alongside more mundane acts of not-sucking such as finishing short stories (two!) and doing the washing up. Hell, I even walked over to the local Indian take-away to pick up dinner in the interests of getting some exercise.

Claw Draft
Projected Total: 25000
Total Words to Date: 2893
Words Done in Prior 24-hour Period: 1,432 (not to shabby, considering this mostly came together around 8 PM last night and I’ve done other stuff today)
Deadline: April 30th
Reasons to Squee*: Chapter one is done, after a good nine or ten weeks of being unable to figure out who to move from the set-up I wanted to the story I wanted. Plus the fix makes for a logical reason to keep the possessed Russian Blue feline in the narrative for all ten chapters.
Reasons to Wail: Still got nine chapters to go, and I seem to have put in a car chase. Why in hell is there a car chase? I’m so not a car chase kind of guy…
Reasons to go hmmm: Miriam Aster is apparently okay with the existence of fairies, and psychics, and possessed cats, but still a bit iffy on the concept of gods.

That last point’s actually been something of a sticking point for me in coming at this draft, since I’m largely feeling my way through the writing-of-a-sequel idea and wondering how far I can push the world that’s set up in book one.  Horn is all about fey with very little suggestion of what the world’s like outside that, and all the big events in the protagonist’s life revolve around the fey because I never really expect the first book to get published, let alone think about what happens after that. Claw is proving to be a little more human in tone, and I seem to be letting my love of B-grade television shows and pulp-style Egyptian mythology filter in along with the psychic cat.

(*Incidently, how freaking cool is it that the spellcheck on wordpress actually has Squee pre-loaded into it?)

Red Planet Squee

Given my weebling joy of the Flash Gordon marathon I posted about a week or two ago, you may be inclined to speculate that I’m something of a fan of these planetary romance/sword-and-ray-gun genres wherein heroes from earth are plucked up and cast across the universe by various means. You would, of course, be correct – and thus be able to predict the gibbering joy that filled my office this morning when I discovered that there is a John Carter of Mars film in the works, with Michael Chabon working on the script. It’s still a long way off, to be sure, but I shall remain quietly excited about the possibility that it may manifest and be good viewing.

I’m now going to head off to the computer without the internet to get some work done, in the hopes that yesterday’s burst of productivity can be maintained.

Drinks

Today was full of busy-work: sending of short-story contracts; making a trip to the bank; doing some spot cleaning around the house (a futile effort); booking flights to Adelaide in June; putting together the final touches on a job application; followed by heading off for drinks this evening with the ever-awesome Angela Slatter and the mighty Jason Nahrung, upon which time there was discussion on the matter of writing, not writing, what might be written, not having time to read, procrastination, and other topics which tend to crop up when writer’s gather in one place. All in all, a fine day, albeit not the kind of day from which great blog posts are made; nor, for that matter, the kind of day that results in a satisfied writerly glow of contentment that comes from knowing one has done what’s necessary to produce words and such. Fortunately I felt so lazy after said chat that I came home and had a short burst of work (albeit of the editing, flensing and market-research variety; actual writing comes later).

I keep wanting to do a longer post about the role downtime, busy-work, procrastination and outright laziness play in the creative process, but I find it difficult to conceptualise them in such a way that won’t me sound like a) a complete pillock, or b) someone in need rescuing or reassurance. Thus I set it aside, confident that it will either work itself out later (or that I have nothing really noteworthy to say on the matter).

I am still going to note that going out for drinks seems to have become a very strange experience. I seem to have stopped drinking, socially or otherwise, sometime in my mid-twenties and it always catches me off-guard when I’m suddenly in a bar and ordering something. It seems vaguely wrong to say that I miss the whole process of going out and having a drink, and yet I do. I’m extraordinarily fond of bars, really. Probably due to too much Kerouac and poetry in my twenties…

Friday Youtubery

Because it’s been a Flash Gordon kind of week, this week. Rewatched the movie, watched the Sci-Fi channel series from last year (so by-the-numbers it hurts, but watchable regardless), and re-read some comic collections I had around the house.

Also because Autumn is coming, and Queen’s bass player reminds us all of the horrible crimes committed when one picks the wrong sweater in the morning.

Horn update

Coming in June 2009 from Twelfth Planet Press
Horn
by Peter M Ball

http://www.twelfthplanetpress.com


There’s a dead girl in a dumpster and a unicorn on the loose – and no-one knows how bad that combination can get better than Miriam Aster. What starts as a consulting job for city homicide quickly becomes a tangled knot of unexpected questions, and working out the link between the dead girl and the unicorn will draw Aster back into the world of the exiled fey she thought she’d left behind ten years ago. All in all, Miriam Aster isn’t happy. The last time she worked a case like this it cost her a badge, a partner, and her life.

This time things are going to get much, much worse.

(Via Girliejones. And Angela, who noticed this before me)

The demoralizing effect of having your self-image shattered

I am in two minds today. One part of me notes the general exhaustion that follows the Monday-of-Doom (aka the day I teach seven straight hours of classes, pacing like a maniac the entire time) and says “Seriously, man, just post something and worry about content tomorrow.” The other part of me looks at the long string of blog posts about nothing in particular and thinks it’s probably worth holding off until I’ve got something worthwhile to say.

Given that I thought “shit, I look old today” when I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror a few minutes back, I think  the first impulse is going to win. I am, however, going to go away and start putting together a more meaningful post for later 🙂

Friday Youtubery

I was seventeen or eighteen when this came out, and sufficiently into the works of William Burroughs to be overly affectionate towards any song that made use of the Wild Boys and mugwump jism in their lyrics. If I remember correctly, this came out the same year I traumatized my mother by asking for copies of Junky and Queer for Christmas, forcing her to go from bookshop to bookshop asking for them without context. To her credit, she found them – this wasn’t an easy feat on the Gold Coast at the time, and probably still isn’t today (though I hear they’ve put in a borders now, which may make things easier).

The stories, they are not working today

I’m spending a lot of time with old stories this week, and I’ve noticed that towards the end of last year I’d broken out this alarming tendency towards using framing stories. I’m not sure why I did that – as a general rule I’m not a fan – but I think I’d talked myself into believing that they were merely examples of discontinuous or contrasting narrative rather than a frame. I’ve cut the opening and final scenes of the last two stories I’ve opened and felt pretty good about it both times. That said, the bulking up of the story that remains is proving a frustrating thing. This isn’t unexpected – I’m so rusty at the writing thing that I practically creak when I sit down at the keyboard – but it is frustrating and it’s proving difficult to force myself to stay in the chair and keep working. Discipline is an easy thing when you’re in practice, but there’s a big part of my subconscious that doesn’t like being forced to do things it’s not good at and I constantly find myself giving into distraction (coffee, futzing about with CD’s, etc).

Claw Draft
Projected Total: 25000
Total Words to Date: 1744
Words Needed Today: 500 (+ continued revising)
Deadline:April 30th
Reasons to Like the MS: Hardboiled interrogatory dialogue between Miriam Aster and a possessed Russian Blue cat.
Reasons to Dislike the MS: Transition issues in the middle of the first scene due to not having the plot sufficiently in place.

Not so much kicking the jams out as nudging them with a toe and asking politely if they’d mind leaving…

It’s been an inauspicious start to my April of getting things done – slept through the alarm this morning, managed to fritter away two hours without getting started on the (very low-key) to-do list of writing and cleaning-projects needed to make the house ready for the Dungeons and Dragons game on Sunday.  Not a surprise, really – both brain and body are used to an afternoon start at the moment, working late into the evening, but I’m trying to break that habit over the coming month. Still, there is a list of six things that need doing today, and I have managed but one (and that one was basically checking a website). I will be rectifying that…well, not shortly, but sometime after 2 PM when I get back from renewing the lease on my flat, paying bills, and feeding a friend’s cats.