Thursday, December 6, 2012

November: It Happened. Get Over It (plus book recommendations)

Hello! I was pleased with myself for writing a summary of things I did in October, so I'm back to tell you all about my November.

For most of the non-holiday part of last month, I worked on two things:

1. My interview with amazing artist Todd Lockwood that is now part of the December issue of Clarkesworld Magazine.

2. A short story called "Quintuple-A." I wrote it for an invitation-only anthology, but it'll be a couple of months before I find out if the story will be included or not. I will let you know about that, of course. My first readers said the story was "Terrific!" and "FUN!" Luckily, I was aiming for terrific fun. :)

I read some great books:

  • Mother Aegypt - Kage Baker (re-read)
  • More Than Human - Theodore Sturgeon (re-read)
  • At the Mouth of the River of Bees - Kij Johnson
  • 500 Ways to Tell a Better Story - Chuck Wendig
  • 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love - Rachel Aaron
  • I have to say that Kij Johnson's story collection, At the Mouth of the River of Bees, should be required reading from now until human beings either go extinct or evolve into something else, and possibly after that, too. The link goes to the paperback version, but it's also available as an ebook. The only thing I'll get out of this recommendation is the hope that more people will read this book!

    I've been doing a lot of re-reading lately. The idea to do that came from my realization that many books I had read and loved were not doing me much good just sitting on a shelf in my house, and that furthermore, I had forgotten the details about why I loved many of them in the first place. I'd rather be familiar with a few great books than just barely acquainted with hundreds of merely-good ones, but at the same time I don't want to stop discovering new books altogether. My plan is to do a combination of re-reading and new-to-me book discovery.

    On to other entertainment! Last month I went to my second Amanda Palmer show, this one in Milwaukee. I loved seeing the way the band performed a similar set of songs in a different venue, under different circumstances. This time Amanda was dealing with the effects of bronchitis, but she was amazingly energetic, anyway, and I loved the show. The one in Minneapolis was more polished, but the one in Milwaukee was friendlier, I thought. This one guy in the audience kept yelling "Brian!" after every song, referring to the drummer from Amanda's other band, the Dresden Dolls, and eventually she brought the guy up to the stage to have a talk with him about living in the now. The band played some different songs this time, too, including one by the drummer's other band, The Few Moments, called "Magicfuturebox;" that has become one of my new favorite songs. You can play it, and the others on his new album, if you click the band link.

    I watched a few movies in November, too. Safety Not Guaranteed is an adorable, quirky film about a journalist and two interns investigating a classified ad from someone seeking a partner for time travel. I saw Life of Pi in 3D. I recommend 3D if you're going to see it, because the movie's appearance was my favorite thing about it. I haven't read the novel (I hear that it's excellent), and I went into the theater with no idea what to expect. There were some powerful moments, but there were stretches when I fidgeted and wondered how much longer the movie would go on. I'm not sorry that I saw it, but I'm too ambivalent to really recommend it. The other movie I saw was an older one: Farewell, My Lovely (1975), a mystery thriller starring Robert Mitchum and Charlotte Rampling. I thought the dialogue was great, and the historical setting was done well. I'd watch it again.

    This month I'm finishing a science fiction story I started to write a few years ago as part of a speed-writing exercise. It was interesting, but at the time I had other things to work on, so I set it aside. Now I have a promising outline, but I still need to decide how it will end. And there will be a long holiday for my sons at the end of the month, so I think that's all the fiction I'll write until next year.

    There's always the chance that I'll blog again before another month goes by, but I'm going to go ahead and say "Happy Holidays!" right now. If you're someone who feels down around this time of year for any reason, know that I'm hoping good things for you!