Thursday Linkfest

  • Jay Lake says sensible things about writers and psychotic dedication.
  • ASIF has posted their recommended reading list for 2008, with much love thrown in the direction of the ever-awesome Angela Slatter.
  • The 2007 Clarion Blog Nostalgia Extravaganza continues over at Lee Battersby’s site, with entries by clarion peeps Michael Greenhut and Helen Venn.
  • A photo-series on dead Asian themeparks. (snurched from Elizabeth Bear’s livejournal).
  • Gen Con Australia and  my former/sometimes current boss Hooly talks candidly about the 2009 convention (I am, for the record, involved in the con this year, but at a greatly reduced capacity – hence he’s only an intermittent boss these days)
  • If you’re in Brisbane and an aspiring writer-type trying to figure out what happens next, I’d recommend signing up for Marianne de Pierres workshop at Sunnybank library. It’s free and I can say from experience that Marianne’s workshops tend to be both informative and eye-opening.
  • And for the more artistic types – Small Beer Press is holding an open-call to find the cover-image for the next Interfictions anthology.
  • Sean Williams pokes people with a stick regarding the Australian Natcon in Adelaide and the ‘sploding comments thread of doom reminds me of why I’m booking flights to Adelaide regardless (That I’ve been part of a con that had similar public-communications issues and still managed a to hit a level of awesome on the day helps as well;).
  • Jeff Vandermeer talks about the genesis of Shriek: An Afterword complete with scans of annotated manuscript pages; my inner fascination with how other people work kicked in immediately.

Oh baby, here comes the fear again

It starts with what may well be the most dangerous question in the world right now: “So Peter, what happens after you finish your thesis?” 

Were I the melodramatic type, or at least the type in the mood for a different kind of melodrama than I’m running on right now, today’s entry would consist entirely of a you-tube clip of Pulp singing The Fear in answer to the question. It may yet come down to that – it’s been that kind of day, and The Fear is feeling very soundtrack-of-my-life right now, but with brave abandon I’m going to press on and risk letting some of the gloopy inner workings of my paranoia seep onto the web.

The answer: I don’t know. It scares the hell out of me. That’s probably why I’m procrastinating.

It’s not entirely true – I know, more or less, what I plan to start writing the day the thesis is off the plate. Hell, I know what I plan on writing for the next five years. The problem lies in my inability to conceptualise some form of support mechanism around the writing (since having a writing support system is actually one of the attractive qualities of doing a PhD). Today I’ve been distracting myself with paranoia over where I’m going to live, flitting between pleasant day-dreams about moving away from Brisbane and desperately cataloging things that can be thrown out should I find myself needing to go the cheaper option of renting someones spare room rather than keeping up a lease of my own. This has distracted me for hours. I find myself missing the relative plethora of folks willing to share a house that were around in my twenties.

In short, someone needs to ship me some torpedoes, if only so I can damn them and get on with things.

rain, dammit

When I woke up this morning there was rain – a nice, pleasant kind of rain that looked like it had some longevity to and spoke of a pleasant day getting words down and reading on the couch. It was a writerly kind of rain, if you will, and I immediately celebrated its presence by banging out a hatfull of words and finishing off the novel I started reading over the weekend. Sadly, it was not to last, and now it’s lunch-time and the day is muggy and the computer is not my favourite place to be. Even reading isn’t all that pleasant – the muggy heat is watching-TV kind of weather, encouraging neither concentration or movement, and I force myself to remain at the keyboard only through an act of will.

Now off to read through lecture notes before the meeting tomorrow, so I don’t get any surprises when I say “sure, I can do that week’s lecture” without knowing if, in fact, I know a damn thing about what we’re discussing.

January is almost done

Congratulations to Elena Gleason, whose story Erased picked up the chocolate in Fantasy Magazine’s  best story of 2008 reader poll. Congrats also to my Clarion South peep Michael Greenhut, whose story Watermark finished in the top-five, and thanks also to everyone who put in a vote for On the Finding of Photographs of My Former Loves – to my surprise, it snuck into the top five as well.

The temperature seems to have dropped to reasonable levels here in Brisbane – today I walked into my office and saw the temperature was below 30 degrees for the first time in weeks. That probably explains why the last twenty-four hours have been more productive than usual, although that could also be because I’m now loaded up with projects again after giving up January to the thesis exclusively (I suspect I’m just not built for the singular focus approach, especially not when I’m fretting about the things I’m not doing. There is still thesis work to do, quite a bit of it, but I’ve hit the point where I can’t put off other stuff anymore. There is rent to pay, if nothing else, and one can only put that off for so long).

With that, I return to work, but before I go I’m going to suggest heading over to SF Signal’s recent Mind Meld featuring Advice for Writers if you haven’t seen it already. It’s a solid read, chock-full of useful things to know.

A good reason to be in Adelaide in June…

Twelfth Planet Press has announced their 2009 Publishing Schedule over on GirlieJones’s livejournal. While there’s a bunch of fine-looking publications on that list (many of which will inevitably be showing up on my bookshelves once launched) there’s one announcement you might be particularly interested in:

Horn, by Peter M Ball – the second in our novella series. This book is currently scheduled to be launched at Conjecture: the 2009 Natcon in Adelaide, June 5-8.
Horn is a hardboiled urban fantasy detective story which may contain unicorns and a formerly dead person. Read about the conception of this story from the writer himself

I am 1) excited by this, 2) slightly terrified that people looking forward to seeing the book, and 3) definitely not getting naked at the launch, no matter how many people call for it (if for no other reason than I’ve been quietly laying away unicorn t-shirts to wear for the entire con).