Friday Youtubery

Because I can’t help myself, and wish to share the awesome – The Dresden Doll’s Amanda Palmer doing a cover of the Sesame Street version of Feist’s 1-2-3-4:

-sigh-

Apparently Palmer hits Brisbane on the first of March. I can afford neither ticket nor the time to head along, but I’m tempted to go anyway. Anyone interested in coming along?

Latest from the wordmines…

Now that the TOC has been made public over on Delia Sherman’s LJ we’ve been told we can go crazy with the blog announcements: I sold my story, Black Dog: A Biography, to Interfictions 2.

The complete Table of Contents looks something like this:

Jeffrey Ford, “The War Between Heaven and Hell Wallpaper”
M. Rickert, “Beautiful Feast”
Will Ludwigsen, “Remembrance is Something Like a House”
Cecil Castelucci, “The Long and the Short of Long-Term Memory”
Alaya Johnson, “The Score”
Ray Vukcevich, “The Two of Me”
Carlos Hernandez, “The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria”
Lavie Tidhar, “Shoes”
B. F. Slattery, “Interviews After the Revolution”
Elizabeth Ziemska, “Count Poniatowski and the Beautiful Chicken”
Peter M. Ball, “Black Dog: A Biography”
Camilla Bruce, “Berry Moon”
Amelia Beamer, “Morton Goes to the Hospital”
William Alexander, “After Verona”
Alan DeNiro, “(*_*) ~~~ (-_-): The Warp and the Woof”
Nin Andrews, “The Marriage”
Theodora Goss, “Child-Empress of Mars”
Lionel Davoust, “L’Ile Close” (“The Enclosed Island” or “No-Exit Island” or something else we haven’t thought of yet)
Stephanie Shaw, “Afterbirth”
David J. Schwartz, “The 121”

<Insert a long sequence of joyful stammering and nervous hyperventilating here>

Thursday Linkfest

  • To kick it off, some members of WA fandom are putting to together a fanzine, Hope, to raise funds for the Bushfire victims in Victoria. A bunch of talented folks have already volunteered work, so much so that there will now be more than one issue. Worth keeping an eye on, all up.
  • With all the doom and gloom surrounding small press publishing, there is at least a glimmer of hope that the recently deceased Realms of Fantasy may come back courtesy of a buy-out of the magazine/brand. Until then, a farewell by the RoF Sushmaster that includes a list of the accepted stories we won’t get a chance to see (With commiserations to my friend Ben Francisco, who unfortunately has a very fine story caught on that list).
  • Something Positive on the tendency among American reviewers to associate the stop-motion film Coraline with Tim Burton.
  • Speaking of webcomics, XKCD addresses an issue that does actually bother me.
  • My old friend Villainous_mog, now lost to the wilds of London forever, posts about the subject lines of Lost Property e-mails at his workplace. (Yes, random, but I find it interesting and I keep misreading the 5th one as “a frothing, whizzing gadget found on the kitchen floor” and thinking it sounds like the start to a story)
  • Speaking of Laura Goodin (We weren’t, you say? Ah well, we should be), here’s some fun stuff snurched from her blog this week: Shakespeare doing the facebook 25 things meme & steampunk cake!
  • The Australian Horror Writers Mentorship program is open for applications. As mentorship programs go, this is one of those insane-good-value deals if you’re an aspiring writer looking to make the next step.
  • Chris Lynch’s Clarion South 2007 Bibliography, now updated, charting the various achievements of my Clarion peeps over the last two years.
  • Chris Lynch is also over on the Battersblog, talking about the week 4 experience at Clarion South 2007.
  • Jay Lake on a subject near and dear to my heart after the trauma of losing everything a few years back – backing up your fiction like a pro.
  • 10 Privacy settings every facebook user should know – because facebook is actually evil.

In which I am trivial and know it…

I think my office may be under some kind of curse. I say this because I’ve just lost my second office chair in the space of a few months to breakage and this one was brand new (unlike the previous chair, which was a mega-comfy seventies steel-and-vinyl job that I’m pretty sure my parents liberated from a staffroom two decades ago).  I’m less than impressed with this, especially since I can’t find my receipt to go return the chair to officeworks and get a repalcement. Not that I was a fan of the new chair – I dislike office chairs at the best of times and really mourn the loss of the old-school desk-chair I had – but I kinda need something to sit on here. On the plus side, it’ll force me to work on the laptop (away from the internets) for the majority of the day since I’m officially out of chairs to sit on while at the desk.

On diving well and failing to swim

So Chris Lynch has posted a more-or-less up-to-date bibliography of things achieved by our Clarion South class since the 2007 workshop. He’s put this together, along with some thoughts, because the two of us are scheduled to go have a chat with the current crop of Clarion South participants about what it’s like to finish the workshop and go back to the real world. I have to admit that my first response to Chris’s bibliography was a panicked that can’t be right, but it is. The only thing he’s missed is the 100 word story I had in Brimstone Press’s Black Box e-anthology, although I start to feel a little better when I factor in the three forthcoming stories that don’t appear on Chris’s summary. Even taking into account the kind of low-key achievements that occurred around the publications, it seems like so little for two years of work once it’s listed like that, and its started me thinking about the difference between 2007 and 2008.

2007 was a year that’s been very good to me. It kicked off with Clarion, followed up with nearly twelve months of work-ethic and productivity, then ended strong with the Gauntlet run of crazy rewriting and submission with Jason Fisher (and others, but Jasoni remains my coach on the Gauntlet front) that saw both of us pick up our game and focus on what needed doing. At Clarion we spent a lot of time talking about the possibility of Clarion Burnout with various tutors, and I spent a lot of time making sure that I wasn’t going to let the real-life difficulties get in the way of capitalizing on the opportunities Clarion brought about.

2008 actually looks like a good year for writing on paper, but I suspect that a lot of that comes down to the carry-on effect of 2007. To borrow a metaphor, think of it like diving off a springboard at the beginning of swim – 2007 was a good dive, so I didn’t actually have to paddle that hard in 2008 to get to the other side. There were some good flurries of movement in there (Horn drafted and submitted, PhD creative project finished, stories sold in 2007 hitting publication) but overall I just kind of dog-paddled around and didn’t achieve much. 2007 was were all the work happened, but by 2008 the work-ethic was shot and I allowed myself to prioritize other things over writing. If 2007 was a year where I fought against the possibility of Clarion Burnout, I’d suggest that 2008 is the year that it snuck up behind me and stole my wallet.

Thus far, 2009 is feeling like the year I’ve given up on work-ethic altogether. That worries me. I’ve been fumbling towards the realisation for a few weeks now, but I think it’s finally sunk in that the little voice in the back of my skull that says “you suck, do more” has stopped being self-doubt or a goad to action and started being an actual instruction. Time to fix that, I think.

Today I write 2,500 words. I don’t sleep until that’s done. Lets have at it.

Claw

The problem with writing a thesis is that it’s just no fun to talk about. The novella, on the other hand, creates the kinds of problems that I find interesting . And thus there is nattering on about it on the blog.

The nifty thing about getting back to this story is that I’ve had the first scene in my head for a long while now – Miriam Aster holding a gun to a cat’s head, threatening it for information on the sly while the owner is off in the kitchen making some tea. The details around that image have shifted a bit since I first came up with it – originally she’d gone there looking for the cat, forcing her to bluff her way past the owner, but now seeing the cat is a by-product of showing up to talk to someone else. On the whole it’s lots of fun – both because Aster is the kind of character who takes threatening a feline in her stride and because the cat is becoming increasingly creepy and unpleasant as I go along – but it’s also trading an aweful lot on backstory that’s hard to drop in on the fly. And, since I’m fond of over-complicating things, this backstory is completely divorced from the “book 2 with the same characters and setting” kind of backstory I was struggling with yesterday.

At present the plan is to continue forward and see how much I can get away with – explaining Aster and the Cat is actually pretty easy to do without disrupting the flow, but now that the third character has entered the scene it’s getting harder to hint at backstory without disrupting the rhythm of the scene. The easy solution is to start the scene a little earlier than it does, providing context for everything that follows, but I suspect this will make me sad because I kinda like the immediacy of Aster with a gun pointed at a Russian Blue’s forehead.

Not that there’s any real point to sharing this, it’s just my brain bubbling over because it’s been permitted to work on a story again.