So, a co-worker today asked me how my weekend had been. I confessed that while I had made progress, I hadn’t gotten as much writing done as I had hoped to, which is sort of always the case, really.
She stared at me. “Are you writing another book?”
Well, yeah; that’s what I do.
“When’s it due?”
“Do you feel under pressure?”
Not so much pressure as I would just like to get the damn’ draft done so I can see what I have and what I don’t have. Right now, it’s all sorta roiling around in my head and I can’t really see what’s missing.
“How do you do that? Write, I mean. Do you just make it up?”
Well, mostly. I mean, the characters have history, and you have to respect that, plus it’s a complex book because it’s the elbow book that joins two parallel tracks of story. Some of the setting’s been used in a previous book, so I need remember where things are, and I have an idea of where it’s all going to wind up, but most of the time I’m wrong about that, so I expect that’s the case this time, too. . .
“But I mean, how do you do it?”
Damned if I know. How do you not do it?
She laughed, and I did and we got on with the day.
But that got me thinking about all those things that other people seem to master so easily, which make no sense whatsoever to me.
Minesweeper, for instance.
Sudoku, for another.
Any arithmetical function higher than simple bookkeeping.
How to figure out how much will fit in what space. And how.
There are more, but you get the idea.
It occurs to me that everybody must have these mental twitches; these easy, everday things that make no sense.
Asyouknowbob, Steve and I will be Writer Guests of Honor at Oasis 23 in Orlando, from May 28 to 30, which we’re really looking forward to, and if you’re in the area, or close to in the area, you should come on by. We get south so seldom, and we want to meet everybody!
In an excess of optimism, we scheduled several days in town after the convention in order to do things like booksignings and/or library talks, as is our pleasant habit, and also to play the tourist a little.
Alas, the store that seemed most likely to host a book-signing — Urban Think — is going out of business at the end of this month (*mourns the loss of yet another independent bookstore*). The Orlando area seems to be well-served by used bookstores, but if there’s a new bookstore inside the city limits, I don’t find them.
So — appeal Number One for on-the-ground assistance. Anybody local have a favorite bookstore we could contact in hopes of setting up a signing?
Appeal Number One, part A: Anybody have contact with a local public library? We like to talk at libraries.
Appeal Number Two: There is so dern much to do in Orlando that I can’t figure out a way to filter it. I very much doubt that Magic Mouse Land is my cup of tea, but Epcot Center seems like it would be interesting. People who have been there — and you are legion! — what’s to do in Orlando for two middle-aged fuddy-duddies who will be in from Maine and doubtless wilting with the heat? We don’t have much money, but it would be a shame to spend what’s likely to be my one and only visit to Florida in a hotel room.
This may well be worth your while: SRM Publisher is having a no-coupon sale on such literary gems as: Liaden Universe® Companion, Volume II hardcover; Partners in Necessity; half off selected chapbooks, and, and. . .
. . .and, well, really — go see for yourself! Or head direct to the SRM catalog page — the price you see is the price you pay!
Mozart and I have this thing that we do every morning.
We read the comics together.
Yeah, that’s right, the comics. I’ll go into my office and start the serial download of the strips we follow, skim the New York Times, help Mozart to the top of the table (he’s reached the point in his career where the elevator is appreciated, especially since I insist on keeping stuff on the rolling file cabinet that he can, and sometimes still does, use as an intermediary jumping-on place), and together, like I said, we read the comics, and look Weather Underground, and sometimes the day-job email, though that’s a habit I’m trying to break.
It will surprise no one, I hope, to learn that Mozart has his favorites among the daily comic run. Girl Genius, of course, and Narbonic. He’s a big fan of Didi’s, from Menage a 3 — yes, he does appear to have a thing for women with holdings. This is fortunate.
…and please note that some of these comics are not always work-safe.
He likes to keep up with Ludwig in Arlo and Janis. 9 Chickweed Lane and Stone Soup pretty much leave him cold, but he has an avuncular interest in the characters residing within Questionable Content. He likes Hannelore, despite her deficiency of holdings, and worries that she’ll never find a cat of her own. Looking at pictures of pretty kittens on the internet just isn’t the same.
So, this morning, we’re looking at the comics, Mozart and me — it’s Tuesday, so “Menage a 3” has updated, and Mozart’s pretty interested in how the whole play thing is, um, going to play out and whether Gary will be able to make his case with Yuki, or be doomed to go home with the guy from the comics store. I’m kinda interested in that outcome, myself, though I’m thinking more along the lines of a fight over Zii, Didi and the redhaired girl making a pair, and Gary going home with Dinah and Making Dillon Sorry. . .
Where was I?
Right. Reading the comics. Finished up; Mozart is lounging with his head on the edge of my keyboard. I obliged him with some whisker-twizzling and ear-rubbing, then zipped over to Weather Underground to see exactly how wet I could expect to get today. Mozart takes this opportunity to pitch a nap and a day at home. I manage, just, to resist this.
It turns out that I can expect to get pretty comprehensively damp, and remain that way throughout the day. Also? There’s news!
“Look, Mozart!” I say, running the screen up so he can see the red letters. “There’s a flood watch!”
Immediately, he sits up, and directs his attention at the screen. A flood watch! How exciting. On the spot, he revises his plans for the day to include the viewing of floods.
Having taken this decision, Mozart is energized. He makes a wide turn, making sure to brush his tail across the screen, and sits down with his back to me, and glances down to where there is a small stack of invoices awaiting disposition.
“Don’t you dare,” I say to him.
He glances over his shoulder at me. Smiles.
And deliberately turns back, bending his head so that he can delicately nudge the entire pile off the table and onto the floor. Some of the pages flutter before they hit. Of course, the whole is now a disordered mess requiring somebody with thumbs to order.
That, would be me.
His work done, Mozart leaps from the table and strolls out, down the hall and to the kitchen, for a well-earned bite of breakfast.
Here’s a picture of Mozart at work, taken on March 1, his twelfth birthday: