Lost in the Woods

darkforesthumbThere comes a point during the writing of a book when you look around and have no idea where you are.  Your beginning is no longer visible, it’s back in the foggy distance somewhere behind you, and your ending is nowhere in sight yet.  And you’re sitting there writing scene after scene with no clear idea of where you’re taking yourself.

It has happened with every book I’ve written and it never ceases to fluster and scare me. I also, for some reason, always refer to this part using some sort of forest metaphor.

At any rate, Part 2 is winding down and I’m terrified that anyone who reads this will stop at page 30 and say, “Why on earth am I wasting my time with this?”

I’d be even more scared if I hadn’t been here before.

The answer, of course, is sex and violence.

Maybe I’ll put some of that into the book as well.

Ever onwards, brave adventurers, ever onwards through this dark forest.

August’s August Contest Closed

ClosedThe word august is funny.

And August’s contest is now closed. It was a silly contest, basically all luck, somewhat half-assed and ending early due to my not being sure how to even things out. Silly and half-assed, much like August itself. Which isn’t very august.

In one week we’ll see what my word count actually ends up being and who wins. I’ll seal off all the entries without looking at them so as to not subconsciously allow myself to stop at some number that I’ve seen already…or something.

Right. Back to the book.

A Conversation About Mad Men

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(The following text exchange took place between myself and a Very Good Friend the other day concerning Season 3 of Mad Men.)

Me: [2:27 PM] Whoohooo! Mad Men starts tonight.

Very Good Friend: [2:27 PM] Are you going to watch live?

Me: [2:29 PM] I’ll probably start with a delay so I can move through the ads. I don’t think I can handle them. I haven’t watched a show with ads in it in roughly six years.

VGF: [2:30 PM] A little ironic.

Me: [6:32 PM] I just got that.

High on life…and paint fumes

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My apartment was painted today.  This resulted in the odd scenario of me having to not be in my apartment while remaining nearby so that I could check in on the painters every so often.  So I couldn’t really go anywhere to do anything interesting and had to sort of linger over breakfast and lunch and read a lot in the park.  Which was fun as it was roughly 145 degrees out today.

I got a lot of the thinky/daydreamy kind of work done but not a lot of the typy/writey kind of work.

Technically, as the painting is over and it’s early-ish on Monday night, I could maybe get some writing done.  On the other hand, I’ve spent hours trying to get all my stuff back to where it was before I stashed it in my closet to get it out of the painters’ way, not to mention getting my computer set back up, all the while sucking down the paint fumes that are lingering in my apartment so I’m not sure I’m going to write tonight.  Also this talking tennis ball is chewing on my arm and everything feels sort of hedgehog right now.

A Conversation About “Freaks and Geeks”

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(The following text exchange took place between myself and a Very Good Friend the other day when I started watching Freaks and Geeks.)

Me: [6:17 PM] I finally started Freaks and Geeks.  Is that the guy from Knocked Up?

Me: [6:18 PM] That is the guy from Knocked Up.

Me: [6:19  PM] Holy shit is that Darth Vader? What is Hayden Christensen doing here?

Me: [6:21 PM] Oh wait, that’s not Hayden Christensen.  It’s that other guy from the smoking movie with the Knocked Up guy.

Me: [6:23 PM] Franco.  His name is Franco.

Me: [6:24 PM] He was in Spiderman.

Me: [6:25 PM] That’s not the girl from Juno right? It can’t be this was like ten years ago. It doesn’t even look like her. It just kind of looks like her.

Me: [6:27 PM] It’s not her. It’s some other girl who wasn’t in Juno.

Me: [6:28 PM] I’ll stop now.

Very Good Friend: [10:24 PM] Good talk.

John Hughes – The Tribute I Wish I Had Seen

Those Aren't Pillows!!I’ve had a few days now to ponder the passing of John Hughes.  There have been a bunch of specials and tributes and that sort of thing, which we’ve all gotten freakishly used to over the course of this summer (Did you know Michael Jackson died?).

For me, though, I like to focus on exactly what all the tributes I’ve seen don’t focus on.  They always talk about how his movies impacted teenage blah blah and how he fit into the 80’s and what he was like as a man and his life’s story.  Which I suppose serves a purpose but it seems sort of empty to me.  He was an artist, a storyteller, and for me it’s his characters and stories that we should be focusing on since his passing.  More importantly his impact on us as individuals.  For me that’s what being an artist of any sort is all about. It’s about me (and you but I can’t tell your stories) literally dropping my backpack on the ground in my college apartment and deciding that class wasn’t necessary that day because Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was on HBO.  It’s about how I can look at any number of people in my life at almost any given moment and shout, “You’re going the wrong way,” and get a, “Oh, you’re drunk. How would you know where we’re going?” in return.  It’s about how Bender’s fist pump from the end of The Breakfast Club went from awesome upon first viewing, to sort of corny by the tenth viewing years later, then right back to awesome again to something I’ll actually do nowadays whenever a small victory sneaks its way into my life (whether that’s awesome or corny I’ve long since stopped caring).

These are the things I want to see and hear about whenever an artist passes.  And, yes, I get that NBC probably doesn’t care to interview my college roommates for their take on John Hughes but you get my point.

I have no problem talking about John Hughes the man (though as an author the notion that people will focus on me and not my stories after I’m gone does seem a bit like some fresh slice of hell…I mean my god I gave you Epp, let me fuck up my life in peace thank you) but it doesn’t do as much for me as the personal memories of how his characters have bounced around in my own little world.  That for me is what’s important and that seems to get lost somehow the larger the tribute to someone becomes.

Anyway.  I’ll leave off with a clever little montage of John Hughes films set to Baba O’Riley that someone sent to me. Enjoy:

A Trip Down Memory Lane…via Amazon?

memoriesthumbI went to purchase some books at amazon this morning and for some reason an old address appeared when I went to check out.  Confused, I clicked the little “Different Address” button and was presented with the strangest list of addresses imaginable.  Every place I had ever sent a gift or book in the lifetime of my amazon account was suddenly staring out at me from my computer screen.  Old friends, girlfriends long gone, every apartment I’ve ever lived in, all of them flashing before my eyes like some weird Ghosts of Christmases Past.

I heartily encourage such a trip for any of you who have been dumping addresses into any online account like that with no regard for editing or trimming.

It was quite surreal and heartwarming.

Then again I also get thrown for a nostalgic loop whenever I think about Duck Tales so maybe this says more about me than anything else.

New Contest for August

word-countthumbAugust is here and that means it’s time for a new contest.

Down in the lower right of my page, underneath the “Most Popular Stories” box, is a box that I update after every writing session which contains the current word count for my next book.  All you have to do is guess what the word count will be at midnight on August 31st.

Now, in order to keep people from waiting until 11:59 on August 31st to enter I’m going to stop taking entries a week earlier on August 24th.  I was trying to figure out a way to give people who entered earlier some sort of bonus for doing so (much harder to take a guess on August 1st than on August 21st) but I had little luck figuring that out so we’re just going with the one week delay. That should put everyone in a pretty similar boat as far as difficulty goes.

Good luck and have fun!