We’re waiting on rain here in Brisbane, which means the humidity today was high enough that even running the air-conditioner did little to diminish the raging temperatures of my study. I officially gave up on being productive about two hours ago when I started leaving sweaty fingerprints on any book I found. Now my plan’s to just lie on the floor, drink plenty of fluids, and nap sleep until I hear rain on the roof.
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The university library has a mold problem. A significant mold problem that’s led to the closing down of the stacks in the library where most of the books I need are located. Couple this with the library’s odd opening hours until the semester starts and you probably get some idea of where my time went over the weekend – it took three trips, some net-time, and some odd conversations with the librarians as I tried to explain that I didn’t know what the call numbers of the books where because I’m used to just *going there and finding them* after all these years, but I finally got about two-thirds of the texts I wanted this afternoon. The rest at basically MIA, which isn’t going to change until the mold is done with and the library returns to life.
The rest of the weekend was non-productive, but fun. Eberron game on Saturday, lunch with Angela and her fellow clarionite Lisa Hannett on Sunday where we discussed writer-type things, then far to little sleep as I fretted about what I’m going to do if this library situation continues the way it’s going (probably make weekly drives to the Gold Coast, but that’s not ideal…). Now I’m fretting about being behind on the word-count again, but the situation isn’t yet untenable so I should probably stop.
Yesterday was not good on the writing front. It basically consisted of one long, mild tantrum; a break in the middle for present wrapping and my mum’s birthday dinner; then another long tantrum that escalated as I got tired, until I hit the point where I was tempted to throw my laptop through a wall. Sometime around four a.m. I closed a file containing my exegesis draft, now another thousand words shorter than I started with, and went to bed to not-sleep for about six hours. Not, overall, my finest hour. Or sequence of hours.
On the plus side, I have new shoes. Very, very green sneakers. And some rather nice charcoal sneakers for back-up.
The challenge for today? Resist shiny things. Not easy, as just about everything is shiny at present. The Id has taken over the thought process and my brain would rather be doing just about anything rather than continuing to work on this frustrating, shitty morass of thesis, so the temptation to waste time is high (yes, I know, I’m blogging and wasting time; shut up. Right now I’m angry with myself and my thesis – it’s the kind of mood that leads to beating people to death with their own shoes if they give me another outlet for the rage…). And I’m wondering if another trip to the library is in order, now that they’ve re-opened from the summer hiatus…
So last night I ran down the list:
– Feeling like there’s too much to do, yet doing nothing of note? Check.
– Spawning new projects I just have to do because “they’re so damn cool” instead of finishing old projects? Check
– Not sleeping? Check.
– Avoiding blog-posting? Check.
– Resurgence of interest in both wrestling and gaming, with a hyper-focus on my favourite wrestling-sim that often supersedes sleep and food*? Yeah, that’s there too; check.
Yep, all the signs are there and my customary ambivalence in the face of things that stress me out remains ineffective. It’s time to hit the big old mental reset button and start reworking my to-do list from the ground up. I’ve given myself permission to do nothing but get my life in order for the next four or five days, ransacking the house room-by-room and establishing a workable model for getting done all the stuff I want done. A physical and mental sorting of stuff, if you will. It’s already underway, and it’s starting to frighten me, just a little.
Allow me to introduce you too the big ol’ pile of stuff that wasn’t in the right place and now takes up half my office – it mostly consists of unfiled papers, books that have crept off bookshelves, shoes and unusable computer gear. If you need a sense of scale, that gray thing on the top-left of the screen is the plastic bag full of dead ink cartridges that hangs off my doorknob. There are parts of this pile that sit around waist high, and I’m pretty sure every room in the house will have an equivalent pile (except, maybe, the bathroom, where I’ll probably just deal with unsorted junk that comes up to knee height instead). I shudder to think that it might serve as a decent-ish metaphor for my subconscious approach to what I’m meant to be doing of late, but it’s probably close enough.
So today I conquer the study and the unsorted projects my subconscious associates with the room (novel; thesis; wrestling). Tomorrow I deal with the bedroom and the projects that live there, mentally speaking (reading; short fiction; DnD). And so on and so forth the day after that, until I’ve got a good grasp on exactly what it is I’m doing again. Which, yes, I acknowledge is a form of procrastination, but it’s a form of procrastination that works for me in the long run, unlike 72 hours of obsessive wrestling consumption and computer games.*This, for the record, is the reason I will never go *near* World of Warcraft or anything similar. I lost three days over the weekend to a simple data-base run wrestling simulation; WoW would devour me whole the first time I started to stress out. People would have to come and find my dissicated corpse after I starved to death beside my computer, or exploded after eating too much take-away pizza.
At the QWC online promotion seminar, which is very cool but hitting a lull now that folks are learning to set-up wordpress and I already know. After lunch we return to the learning off stuff, but until then:
- A belated public congratulations to the most awesome Jason Fischer (he of the zombie camels and much other coolness) whose newborn son has arrived in the wide world of late.
- Do not discover the Middleman series the day before you have to get up at seven am to go to a workshop. It virtually guarantees you’ll get no sleep. That said, I’ve not been this eager to see the next episode of something since, oh, Season Two of the new Doctor Who. Or Buffy.
- No writing of note lately; it’s too damn hot. But I heard back from the supervisor, who says very complimentary things about the first story in the thesis collection
- And since it needs to go here somewhere, it appears I now have a Technorati Claim. It doesn’t actually do anything visible, but apparently it’s important.
2013 Update: I Need Your Help
If you’re reading this in your RSS feed, please let me know in the comments. It’d also be really helpful if you could let me know which RSS reader you’re using and/or which RSS for the site you’re following – it seems my attempts to spring-clean some old posts have resulted in said posts going out as if they’re new, and I’m trying to rectify the problem.
Also, for the record, Laura Goodin’s Peanut Butter Soup Recipe is still awesome five years on, and she posted it on her blog a few years back. I figured that, if anything, was sufficient reason to use an edit this post as a means of doing this test.
Thanks in advance, folks, and I now return you to the thoughts of Peter M. Ball from 2008…
Yesterday I thought I was meant to be at a QWC workshop, only to discover that I had the dates mixed up and the workshop is sitll a week away. Totally threw me, since I’d more-or-less planned my day around that. Hence yesterday was a terribly non-productive thing, full of out-of-the-house errands and wrestling sims and pizza-ordering sloth. Then, around eleven at night, it wasn’t. The not-writing was getting to me, so I decided to pull out the laptop and do some revision before bed. By the time I went to sleep I’d managed to revise myself about 1200 new words.
Today I have to go to the library and make peanut butter soup (recipe courtesy of Laura) to get rid of some sweet potato before it goes off. At some point I shall count some words.
My life, oh yes, the excitement 🙂
There is a very peculiar quality to the light outside my study window today. Very white, a little too midday for this early morning hour, and it leaves the view (such as it is) a little bleached out. And although it’s cool and pleasant in my house there’s a very nifty heat-haze rising up off the corrugated iron roof of the neighbor’s place. Soon the cloud cover will shift a little and it’ll all disappear, but right now I’m amusing myself with looking out the window and taking notes.
Junked the Black Candy draft last night after long hours of debating its various merits against its various elements of wrongness. This flies in the face of conventional wisdom for new novel writers and will probably come back to haunt me in the near future, but I’m more-or-less convinced it was the right call – I have a novella that shows my love of The Big Sleep already, I don’t actually need an SF novel that shows the same love in the same way, albeit with different window dressing. Especially when the thing on the plan after this is another noir novella that draws influences from Raymond Chandler and talking cat stories.
Now I’m off to start over and validate last night’s decision by getting a lot of stuff done.
1. Flotsam Trilogy Omnibus – Apocalypse Ink Productions (November, 2015)
5. Crusade (Apocalypse Ink Productions, 2015)
4. Frost (Apocalypse Ink Productions, 2014)
3. Exile (Apocalypse Ink Productions, 2014)
2. Bleed (Twelfth Planet Press, 2010)
1. Horn (Twelfth Planet Press, 2009)
40. Counting Down – Daily Science Fiction (March 2017)
39. Hornets Attack Your Best Friend Victor and Other Things We Called The Band – at Speculate, Evil Girlfriend Media (Feb 2017)
38. Deadbeats – And Then: The Great Big Book of Adventure Tales, Vol 1. Clan Destine Press (December 2016)
37. The Things You Do When the War Breaks Out – Daily Science Fiction (December 2016)
36. On Discovering a Ghost in the Five Star – Daily Science Fiction (June 2016)
35. The Place Beyond the Brambles – Daily Science Fiction (November, 2015)
34. Rule 42 – Gods, Memes, and Monsters, Stoneskin Press (May, 2015)
33. Love is the Roar of a Chainsaw, Cutting Flesh in the Night – Cry Havoc Games (November, 2014)
32. The Seventeen Executions of Signore Don Vashta – Daily Science Fiction (February, 2014)
31. From Tuesday to Tuesday – Daily Science Fiction (November, 2013)
30. Tithes – Coins of Chaos (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy, September, 2013)
29. On the Arrival of the Paddle-Steamer on the Docks of V—” – Eclipse Online (February, 2013)
28. The Minotaur & The Signal Ghosts – The Lion & The Aardvark, Stone Skin Press (July, 2012)
27. Dying Young – Eclipse 4, ed. Jonathan Stahan (May, 2011)
— Reprinted in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Ninth Annual Collection, ed. Gardner Dozois, (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2012)
26. Visitors – After the Rain (April, 2011)
25. The Last March of the Silent Militia – Weird Tales (Spring, 2011)
24. Say Zucchini, and Mean It – Daily Science Fiction (May 2011)
23. The Birdcage Heart – Daily Science Fiction (February, 2011)
22. Memories of Chalice – Electric Velocipede #21/22 (February, 2011)
21. Briar Day – Moonlight Tuber #2 (January, 2011)
20. The Mike and Carly Story, Without the Gossip – Shimmer #12 (October 2010)
19. L’esprit de L’Escaleir – Apex Magazine #16 (September 2010)
18. One Saturday Night, With Angel – Sprawl, Twelfth Planet Press (August, 2010)
17. The Peanut Guy – Moonlight Tuber #1 (May, 2010)
16. The Clockwork Goat and the Smokestack Magi – Shimmer #11 (The Clockwork Junglebook) (January 2010)
15. Black Dog: A Biography – Interfictions II (November, 2009)
14. To Dream of Stars: An Astronomer’s Lament – Apex Magazine (October, 2009)
— reprinted in DESCENDED FROM DARKNESS: APEX MAGAZINE VOL. 2, Apex Books
13. On the Destruction of Copenhagen by the War Machines of the Merfolk – Strange Horizons (June, 2009)
— reprinted in Years Best SF #15, ed. David Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer, Eos Books
12. Clockwork, Patchwork, and Ravens – Apex Magazine (May, 2009)
— Reprinted in DESCENDED FROM DARKNESS: APEX MAGAZINE VOL. I, Apex Books
— Winner, Best Science Fiction Short Story, Aurealis Awards 2009
11. The Dragonkeeper’s Wife – Black Dragon, White Dragon (December, 2008)
10. The Warhol-Sleeping Quartet – Dog Versus Sandwich (September, 2008)
9. The Last Great House of Isla Tortuga – Dreaming Again (August, 2008)
8. Scene From Café Retro – Dog Versus Sandwich (April, 2008)
7. On the Finding of Photographs of My Former Loves – Fantasy Magazine (June, 2008)
6. Avenue D: Prayer – Antipodean SF #117 (Feb-Mar, 2008)
5. Midnight on Avenue D – Dark Recesses #8 (January, 2008)
4. Avenue D: The Tankboy’s Ride – Antipodean SF #107 (Apr-May, 2007)
3. The Year the Zombies Came for Christmas – Antipodean SF #105 (Feb-Mar, 2007)
2. Avenue D: The Normal Guy – Antipodean SF #102 (Nov-Dec, 2006)
1. Night, Morning, Story – Ideation, ed. S. Dennis, K. McMahon, A. Wechter, (October, 2002)
1. Flotsam, Edge of Propinquity, 2011 (Read It Online)
Part 1: Paradise City, January 2011
Part 2: Warnings, February 2011
Part 3: Local Hero, March 2011
Part 4: Underpass, April 2011
Part 5: Sabbath, May 2011
Part 6: Crusade, June 2011
Part 7: Deals with the Devil, July 2011
Part 8: Destinies, August 2011
Part 9: Coil, September 2011
Part 10: Sunlight, October 2011
Part 11: Fimbulwinter, November 2011
Part 12: Aftermath, December 2011
- “Al Snow’s Advice for SF Writers” in Apex Magazine
- “Space and Cyberspace: Some Thoughts on Online Communities,” in Writing Queensland 188, September 2009
“Argument,” Rave Young Writers Page, July 1999
“Beautiful” Poetrysuperhighway.com, December 1998
“Crazy Crabs” Poetrysuperhighway.com, December 1998
“Drowning Ephemeral,” Overland #163, Winter 2001
“Eyes Nailed Shut,” SideWalk #7/8, March 2001
“Gold Coast Postcards,” Overland #162, Autumn 2001
“Headspace,” Poetrysuperhighway.com, December 1998
“Johnston Street, Southport, 9:27 PM,” Redoubt #29, 2001
“Neon,” Papertiger: New World Poetry #1, 2001
“Only 19,” Verso/Time-Off, July 2000
“Argument,” Rave Young Writer’s Page, July 7, 1999
EN Arsenal: Pistols, EN Publishing, 2005
Tournaments, Fairs and Taverns(Co-Authored with Ryan Nock, Russel Morrisey, and the Enworld Community); Natural 20 Press, 2002
“Spellcraft: Visions of Fear,” Dragon #333
“The Adventuer’s Guide ot Surviving Almost Anything 1-6,” Enworld Gamer/The Enworld Players Journal (co-authored with Ryan Nock)