My Contract With My Book

signatureDear Book,

I love you, I truly do even though I, as of yet, do not know you fully. I love your curves as you move through time, I love your heart as you show me the humanity of the most despicable characters, I love your brain as you teach me about Ancient Rome and the origins of wool.

But we need to talk.

I’ve been through this with some of your siblings before, five of them to be exact, and each of the books that came before you broke my fucking head apart once the honeymoon part of the relationship had ended.

I know you want this to be the whirlwind romance that is needed to write those giddy, mind-blowing scenes that we both sense are coming…but I’m sorry. As an older, wiser, author, I have to insist on some things up front.

1. When I am not working on you, as in not sitting directly at my desk with your Word document open, you are not allowed to gnaw at my brain. When not at my desk I will happily push ideas back and forth with you, or take in landscapes that I drive past and dialogue that I overhear and file them away for you to feast on later. But you do not get to drive my brain while I am off-duty. That is my time. If I want to play video games and drink beer, I will do that and not feel bad about it. You will always be with me, but that does not mean that you get to always haunt me.

Calibration weights

2. You do not get to sit on my shoulders, compressing them with stress, yelling at me that you’re not finished yet and why aren’t you finished yet and you should be finished by now!!!! I have started five books in my life. Do you know how many I have finished? Five.

You will get done. I promise you that. I will work on you until you are done. But you are not allowed to put arbitrary time-frames into my head as to when “done” will be. That’s like trying to predict who will be standing next to me a year from now on the bus. It’s just impossible. You have my vow, though: you are officially a Joseph Devon product. You will get finished. But get off of my fucking shoulders.

3. You will be a good book. I’m not even going to acknowledge your sinkhole of doubt regarding whether people will like you or not. You will be good. You will have the fullest devotion of my talent and head and heart while I am at work on you. Your knots will be unravelled. Your mysteries will be revealed. Your problems will be solved.

And, you know what? I have a new tool that I am ready to acknowledge as a major part of the process now: rewriting. You will remember that I am a rewriting machine. You will not freak out because your first draft is a mess.

Don’t believe me? Here. I can show you the first printed version of Persistent Illusions. I had actually ordered a proof copy already because the process was so close to being finished. See the ending? See there? See how it’s still a clusterfuck of a mess even at that late date? But guess what? I rewrote it. And I rewrote it well. And it is now one of my proudest acheivements and one loved by my readers.

I will not quit on you. I will not let you be second-rate. What I mess up the first time through I will work out with sweat and toil during my rewrites. You will be good.

Those are the rules. That is the deal. You have my all, but you do not get to own me.


Shake on it?



Now let’s get to work…

I Think It’s Time to Start Book Three

Oh god I can’t believe I just wrote that blog title. I have so much more research I need to do. Currently I’m halfway through a book on the history of textiles and sewing methods. I have no idea when the book was published, I grabbed it for my Kindle without checking, but it discusses at length how you shouldn’t store your thread next to a fire or heating stove because that can make your thread brittle. So I don’t think it’s the most modern book ever. Nor is it the most exciting. But it’s helped a lot and given me some sense of clothing and its creation that I didn’t have before.

Before that I read a few books about Roman history.

And after I’m done with clothes I want to read about Australian history.

And then something about Romania.

And…on and on and on.

It’d be great if I could read everything about everything before I started writing but, for obvious reasons, I can’t.

And to be honest that really doesn’t matter. Truth is I don’t need to be an expert in a subject in order to write fiction incorporating said subject. I just need to know enough to fake it.

Plus there’s the fact that writing a book isn’t like telling a story.

Telling a story implies that the story is already written. You just have to add your tone, your angles, maybe give the evil witch a spooky voice so that your audience shrieks with delight, but with storytelling you know where you’re going and how you’re getting there.

Writing a book is more like excavating an ancient ruin. You have no idea what you’re going to find. You start digging and when you hit something interesting you slow down and treat it delicately and try to let it lead you to the larger picture that’s still buried.

David (Michelangelo) by Andrea Scollo from FlickrOr sculpting. I imagine sculpting is pretty similar, too. Every sculptor I’ve read about has mentioned that they don’t turn a piece of stone into a statue, they expose the statue that already existed inside the stone.

Anyway, all the research in the world can’t prepare me for the first, “Woah, where did THAT come from,” moment that I’ll hit in book three. And after that first moment hits, all my best laid plans get tossed and it’s hard to say who is in charge anymore, me or the story.

A lot of writers express joy when they get an idea for a new work. But this is my fifth or so book and I know that this isn’t a relationship which will remain in its halcyon honeymoon stage forever.

No. Writing a book is more like shackling myself to a madman for a year in an agreement to follow wherever he goes. Except my agreement doesn’t mean anything because, you know, the shackles are in place regardless.

I am worried about the amount of story that I want to get into this book. It hit me in the shower the other morning how much I’m going to try and tell and I grew afraid.

We won’t be staying in the present, not for the whole thing, that’s for sure. I didn’t read up on Roman history to add background flavor.

And we’ll be revisiting some of the more brushed over bits of tester history. Gregor, for instance, will have his story told in more detail.

And then I have to, you know, close out the entire trilogy in a suitable fashion all the while continuing with my marketing work in a field where there’s no prior models which don’t resemble roulette wheels to me.


I’m utterly terrified.

How’s your Wednesday going?

We’re Going to the Big Screen!

View of PragueI just wanted to quickly share an email I received from a fan a few days ago.

This is from Roma Raju:

I’m originally from India, but I live in a small south bohemian town in Czech Republic, not far from Prague.

I’m supposed to be making a film this semester. But if you ask me, I think nobody should make a film or create any piece of art if they don’t have anything worthwhile to say. Well, that was before I read your short story online, Private Showing.

I loved it! Its very “Visual.” A beautiful story, well-told. I would like to make a short film based on it, if you allow me.

I’ve mentioned a bunch how cool it is to have readers all over the world, but this one really made my day.

I obviously told Roma to go ahead with this project (all of my short stories are open for this sort of thing under their Creative Commons license) and I was promised a peek at the final filmwhen it was finished.

If you don’t remember, this is Private Showing, truly a popcorn worthy short story if I’ve ever seen one.

In other news, the virtual tour is moving along and I’ll be recapping fully when it’s done, plus I’m posting links all over Facebook and Twitter.

Here’s the latest review if you can’t wait for the recap:

Probability Angels turned out to be, quite possibly, one of the most original additions to the theme that I’ve read in many years.


Why I Hate George Lucas

Over this past weekend, for some reason, Spike TV was on constantly in my apartment. They were airing the entire Star Wars saga over and over again in a continuous loop. I’d head out for errands and come back to watch Luke get de-handed. After a late dinner I watched some Jar Jar. On Sunday I watched the finale of the original while texting with a friend.

It was during this text conversation that we realized that all of the movies would be trotted out, once again, starting this spring…only now in 3-D!

My friend had one thing to say: “I hate George Lucas.”

I agreed.

But over the past few days I’ve come to realize what a strong phrase that is, “I hate George Lucas,” and I began to wonder why a guy obsessed with puppets and magic could bring such strong emotion out of me. Oh, I know there are plenty of reason to hate the prequels (ChefElf covers those far better than I ever could). I have long since downgraded all of them to “Crap.”

But it wasn’t the prequels my friend and I were watching when our issuance of hatred arose. It was the originals. The new originals. The ones packed full of just utterly absurd changes that serve no purpose. In A New Hope we get to see Jabba! Hooray! And he’s presented in a way that makes absolutely no sense and as if fucking up his physical appearance wasn’t enough, we now get a scene where Han Solo steps on the tail of the most feared crime leader in the system and nobody cares. It’s played for laughs in fact. Ha. Ha.

In Empire, R2 gets eaten by a swamp monster and spat back out. Luke, in the original, wipes mud off of R2 and says: “You’re lucky you don’t taste very good.” Now, through the magic of editing, he says: “You were lucky to get out of there.” Awesome!

And this goes on. And on. And on. It’s like a madman is at the wheel of my childhood, and instead of passing by all my favorite memories he’s randomly making right-hand turns to see things no one cares about and tell fart jokes.

And yet still, I’m not sure that’s where my hate comes from, though mucking about in my childhood memories is not a good thing, to be sure.

No. I think I hate George Lucas because the prequels manage to make THE ENTIRE FIRST THREE MOVIES MAKE NO SENSE. Obie-Wan ages forty years in the time it takes Luke to grow into a teenager. Chewbacca, who fought at Yoda’s side during the Clone Wars (apparently), never once pipes up with the slightest bit of information. Vader doesn’t bother to look for his children or old master in his hometown. Oh, and also, nobody remembers or cares or believes in the Jedi, who less than twenty years ago were a major part of the Imperial whatever the hell it was called.

And I know, these things are somehow explained in the books. I get told that a lot.

But I don’t care about the books. People are constantly plugging up plot holes using a jury-rigged explanation from material that doesn’t exist in the movies. I get angry when fans defend the existence of cities that make zero sense by conjuring up some bizarre native cultural belief that is not addressed in the films. Or how I get assured that scenes of complete nonsense are actually perfectly explainable if I know the back-stories of the characters that got made up to explain the nonsensical scenes in question. In short, I get angry when anything outside of the movies needs to be brought in to explain the movies.

Because that is crap.

Pure and utter crap. You don’t get to have legions of fans and gh0st writers scramble to cover up the mistakes you were too lazy or too blind to see, Mister Lucas. You are not a writer, if you do so. You are not a creator. You are not giving anything to your art and you are not respecting your craft.

And that is why I hate you.

Look. Here. These are some notes I wrote trying to piece together one set of scenes for Persistent Illusions (warning: there might be spoilers in here assuming you can read my handwriting):

Notes from Persistent Illusions

That’s a sequence of maybe four scenes. I wanted to make sure that my time-lines made sense. I wanted to make sure, since my characters are all over the world, that I had sunrises and sunsets occurring at the right time in the right places. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t accidentally skip too far ahead or give a character knowledge they couldn’t possibly have. I wanted to make sure that emotional responses had time to build, that fights had back stories, that breakdowns had build-ups.

I wanted to put together the best possible product I could for my readers.

I’m sure I made mistakes. And I know I fudged some things. Artists do that. But I thought long and hard about everything I fudged, everything I did that pushed the unspoken agreement between me and my readers that I’m going to be a good guide for them. And I tried as hard as I could to dim those down and I tried my damnedest to eliminate all my mistakes.

I’m not sure when George Lucas stopped caring, or if he ever did. Maybe he just got lucky in the originals. But I know that the minute you stop caring, the second you shrug and give no thought to putting your name on something you haven’t sweat for, that’s when you stop being an artist.

And to do that with your biggest project? To do that and manage to ruin your previous projects in the same motion?


Just no.

I’ll never join you, Lucas.


A Poem for NaNoWriMo

It’s November, which means it’s also National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo for short. During this time hundreds of thousands of wonderful lunatic take on the task of writing an entire novel in one month. I have never participated in this event…because it’s freaking nuts. But I do love to support all those taking on this challenge and pursuing their dreams. I usually write a little pep talk each year but this year I did something different. I wrote a poem, in the style of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven.” Because that seemed like a good idea late last night.

Good luck to all you NaNoWriMo’s, this is for you:

Joseph Devon


As you sit there never sleeping, at your keyboard often weeping,
Piling up your word count like a Herculean chore,
Late at night your face is scowling, while empty stomach it is growling,
You might sense something prowling, prowling at your cranium’s fore.
“My lack of sleep,” you’ll say, “is causing pain upon my cranium’s fore-
Only this, and nothing more.”

Ah, what madness is November, every NaNoWri club member,
Lumbering like zombies as more coffee they do pour.
Wishing that the month was through, insanely they do all pursue,
A novel’s word count to accrue, accrue it in one month’s time and no more.
For all you at this task for just one month and then no more,
Please, closely heed verse five and four.

Late at night your tale grows stronger, while your face it does grow longer,
Fingers typing cross the laptop from your computer store.
As I mentioned, while you’re clacking, at the keys so madly tapping,
You might feel a distant rapping, rapping at your cranium’s fore.
Preying on your weakness as it raps upon your cranium’s fore,
There comes a monster with fearsome roar.

A word-count halting terror. Your project’s grim pall bearer,
Snorting and laughing at the plot holes you ignore.
Quickly moves this horrid beast, neither fettered nor policed,
Till your dreams lie there deceased, deceased and turned to ash upon the floor.
Your heart and dreams and vision turned to ashes on the floor.
The beast has fed, you’ll write no more.

Do take heed this warm advice, I’m trying quite hard to be nice,
Though I scare you with this monster slavering at your door.
You’re not alone here is my point, and this beast should not disjoint,
In fact he does anoint, anoint you to the club of writers all through yore.
This beast has crushed the spirits of every writer heretofore,
Its name is “Doubt” (we’ve met before).

So I demand that you take heart, as you practice at your art,
Wringing out your story like a soldier gone to war.
Proudly steel your trembling jaws, as you take on Doubt’s cruel claws,
Knowing that he gnaws, gnaws on you as well as all who came before.
Face him down, it is your right, not a task to be deplored.
Trust in yourself, and let your artwork soar.

5 Tricks Every Writer Needs To Know

Over the course of almost a decade of writing I’ve come across a few tips that I felt like sharing with other writers. These are pretty simple and should help you on your collective creative journeys.

So let’s get started.

My 5 Tricks For Every Writer:

1. Write: This is the really annoying one. This is the one I trip up on most. I look up articles on writing and read blogs about writing or remember books I loved that made me want to write…but all the while I’m not writing anything.

One simple fact should rule every author’s brain: no one else is going to sit at your keyboard and write your story, so start typing.

2. Write: So you hate your manuscript, all your characters are stupid, and you don’t want to write anymore? So you’re sitting with your Word doc open and can’t think of any reason why you should continue with a story you’re not “into” anymore? Guess what the answer is?



The beginning of a book is a wonderful rush of creativity and endorphins. It’s a romance that seems like it will never end. But then it does. And you still have to write. This is what I call “Writing after the high is gone,” and every author has to do it. Books get written over the course of years and there is no way that you’re going to sit down with all the pep in the world every day when it’s time to work. It just won’t happen like that. But if you don’t want to wind up with yet another first-80-pages-of-a-manuscript collecting dust somewhere you have to learn write even after the high is gone, even if you’re not feeling it, even if you think what you’re writing is useless crap. It sucks but it’s necessary. I’ve actually hit my word count while swearing through my teeth the entire time.

But maybe that sounds too harsh. That’s okay, there’s a more pleasant way of phrasing this: Your writing talent is a group of muscles, and you’ve been working those muscles for awhile now. Believe it or not, even at your lowest, most self-loathing moments, your muscles and all your training are still with you. You’ll be shocked how much crap you’ll write that, during rewrites, turns out to not need nearly as much fixing as you thought it would.

Have faith in the talents you’ve been training all this time and learn to write after the high is gone.

3. Write: I can remember back when I was a young lad, eighty billion years ago, when I lived and died by every sentence I wrote. Every story was the most important thing I would ever do in my existence and every review, even a brief nod from a friend while reading, was analyzed and agonized over to wring it of all possible information.

Boy that sucked.

And I’m happy to say it is not a mindset that stuck with me. Which is not to say that putting some pressure on yourself to achieve and listening to criticism is a bad thing, but back in the beginning it wasn’t constructive so much as super-crazy-stressful.

But, again, it passes. How? With more writing. After a few stories, after a bunch of reviews, after you’ve hit “The End” a number of times you gain some perspective. You get a firm foundation that you can feel comfortable with and are no longer swayed quite so hard by each review, you no longer stress every story to the point that it becomes counterproductive. You learn, even, that maybe some blasphemy at the alter of writing can be a good thing, that being silly or trying to write a totally different genre for kicks or even intentionally trying to write poorly can be educational, enjoyable, and, oddly enough, result in some fine work. “The Donkey of Vincento” is a story of mine that I have declared to be, “the stupidest thing I have ever written.” And yet it is also a favorite of some readers. I’ve never understood that.

This craft is a weird place to inhabit at the best of times, and that’s a good thing because it means you don’t always have to stress the rules, you don’t always have to shackle your self to perfection, you can have some fun with it.

Just keep writing, you’ll relax more.

4. Write: Okay. So maybe when you sit down and touch your fingers to the keys you get a jolt of psychic-electricity of shame and worthlessness that sends you reeling away from your work in progress to go do some cleaning. We’ve all been there. Something isn’t right in your story but you can’t figure out what and all attempts at moving forward are useless. It’s like walking face-first into a brick wall over and over again. Sure, the wall might give in a thousand or so years, but you’ll have been beaten to a pulp by then.

So what’s the answer?


Just, maybe, don’t try and write anything in your current work in progress. I actually had a chat a few days ago with @Albert_Berg about my favorite word-pressure-release valve, which is free writing. I take out my notebook of college ruled paper, take out my favorite pen, set the pen to the page and then write. And I don’t stop. Not for edits, not for thoughts, not for smudges, not for anything. I do this for an entire page which, in my handwriting, is a fair amount of writing. And I write all of this with the tacit agreement that what I’m writing will never be read by anyone. I force a page out with no pauses, and if I want more I write more.

It is shocking how much gets lined up in your head, how many breakthroughs you have, how many new avenues will open up by doing this exercise. And you’d be a little stunned at how many notebooks I have filled up with deranged, endless scribbles that I’ve never looked at once.

I can’t quite explain it, but the combination of complete anonymity and ZERO stops greases the wheels somehow.

And, once you’ve tried this trick for awhile, you can start to get creative with your free writing. I’ve done pages of just one character’s thoughts as well as nothing but pure setting description. I’ve also done nothing but insane rants about how much my back hurts.

It all helps.

5. Write: Write. Always.

That was the advice I always got growing up. I was in some movie somewhere, “A writer writes…always.”

I hate that stupid line. I hate that stupid line and I’m the guy writing this post about constantly writing.

You know what? Sometimes not writing is the right answer. Sometimes getting away and going for a walk is the right answer. You have to teach yourself discipline but along with that comes the fact that you have to teach yourself moderation as well. You are your own boss and it’s quite possible to wear yourself out.

So, some days, I don’t write.

Or, to be more exact, I don’t type.

But I’m always writing. And this is some of my favorite training because you can do it anywhere.

Read billboards and then think about how you’d rewrite them to better effect.

Look at something, anything, and ponder how you’d paint it with words.

Pause now and then and check your feelings and give some thought to how’d you describe them.

Taste new foods and come up with words for what’s happening on your tongue.

Describe smells.

Always remember that this is what the whole point is, capturing reality with the written word. It’s easy to lose track of what your core goal is when you have two deadlines and a day job screaming at you.

That’s why this fifth one is so important. Taking the world around you, the emotions in your heart, and the impulses in your head and crystallizing them into words is everything.

Some days it’s best to just head to a crowded restaurant and stare around and devour everything you see with your eyes.

Just, you know, try not to freak people out.

Too much.

Writing Urban Fantasy or No I Don’t Write Porn

During the course of an average conversation with someone I’ve just met, the fact that I write books usually comes up. This is always followed by the question, “Oh? What do you write?”

I always respond, “Urban fantasy.”

Why do I respond in that way? Because that’s what I write. Urban fantasy. Here is the definition straight off of wikipedia:

Urban fantasy describes a work that is set primarily in a city and contains aspects of fantasy. These matters may involve…coexistence between humans and paranormal beings.

That’s Matthew and Epp for certain, and I’m so used to clicking off that box in the hundreds of forms I’ve filled out over the years, marketing and publishing these books, that I no longer think twice about it.

At least not until the words come out of my mouth during one of these conversations and something flickers through the other person’s eyes. Something fleeting, a little giggly, and absurdly skeptical of what I’ve just disclosed.

Then I remember. For the vast majority of people, the phrase “urban fantasy” means “porn.” Or at least “porn with ghosts.”

Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the covers of some of the best selling urban fantasies going today.

Urban Fantasy Cover

We can assume that this is set in a city…I guess. I mean there’s a treasure chest so surely there’s a town somewhere and, yes, there are demons and they apparently prefer blonds. So check and check, urban fantasy.

The little teaser paragraph on that one is truly amazing, managing to borrow those old Mastercard ads as well as get across that our main character pays a sufficient amount for her haircuts so that we know she’s not boring or poor or anything.

Moving on.

Urban Fantasy Cover 2

At first this one seems deceiving. There are woods in the background! This can’t be taking place in a city! However, were these two out camping they would probably need some sort of protection from the elements. Like clothes. Thus, we can infer that they are merely out sunbathing with their automatic weapons and that their apartments where they keep their clothing, and therefore a city, are nearby.

Plus…oh fuck it that one just makes fun of itself.

Urban Fantasy Cover 3

Now…this one is…there’s a city…is that dude wearing make up?

And is the chick a vampire too?  Those look like fangs.

So basically this is vampire sex? And even if we presume the chick was human, I don’t think I’d label her as scared by this encounter. Granted, dating back to the earliest legends, the notion of vampires has often been interpreted with sexual overtones.

But this is just sex. Sex with biting. Which some would say is the only kind of sex worth…you know what let’s just move on shall we?

Here we’ve got a little something for the ladies.

Urban Fantasy Cover 4

Now, I know what you’re thinking (god help me). You’re thinking, “There isn’t a single thing in this cover anywhere that’s fantastical or urban.”

Well as for the urban part, we can assume that the ship in the background, being a small vessel, is unable to travel very far from port, so there’s a city around here somewhere.

And the fantastical part? One word: merman.

Now check out this one.

What? Am I supposed to be talking?

I really like green eyes (note to self, add Green-Eyed Envy to Amazon wishlist).

At any rate, I’m not entirely sure how this happened to my genre or when it happened. Maybe porn with ghosts came first and then the genre urban fantasy was defined and *I’m* the newcomer here. Or maybe urban fantasy was defined as a genre and for some reason it happened to draw in a lot of porn writers…it does sort of sound dirty. Or maybe these books are all literary masterpieces that are just trying to be heard in a crowded market by putting some eye candy on their covers.

All I know is, right after the words, “I write urban fantasy,” come out of my mouth, I immedietly follow it up with, “that means it takes place in an urban landscape, like New York, but has fantastical elements in it.”

Or something.

Whatever I’m going to stare at that green-eyed one again.


I’m a Genius

So I have about five artists reading through rough drafts of the first two parts of the new book, all of them picking out scenes to draw up. This is stupid amounts of fun and I’m quite glad I thought it up. Frankly it’s getting harder and harder to sit on this stuff and not share with you all. But, my desire to host a little countdown is outweighed by my desire to say, “Checkthisoutthisissocool!”

Though not by much.

Plus it’s late August and the world is on vacation and I think I’d rather show the work of these artists to you when your brains are actually turned on.

So I’ll just continue to sit on my ever growing pile of super awesome mystery pictures from the coolest fans ever.

No problem.

So…how do ya’ll want to run this?

Part 1 has now been edited. It isn’t done by any means,I like to read things a LOT of times before I call them done. That being said I’ve been sitting on these damn words for so long that, now that I’ve given them the first once-over, some cracks are starting to appear in my facade of silence. It’s possible that some very large chunks of text have been emailed to some longtime readers. And it’s possible that this trend shall continue.

The cat is very slowly being let out of the bag. What this means is that I need to start figuring out exactly how I’m going to go about releasing this book.

Normally a book is picked over by dozens of people before its release, like reviewers to editors, and then it becomes available for large scale sale on a certain date.  The thing is, you are my reviewers and editors and I’m sort of inclined to invite some of you into the process because I think that’s fun…and also because I need help finding those damned typos. They’re like cockroaches they are.

On the other hand I also want to have a big opening day release for my book because that also sounds like fun, my book deserves a proper birthday party, and I think that starting everyone off at the same time helps build buzz. Maybe. We tend to aim for slow builds as far as marketing goes here at Joseph Devon Industries. We’re like the mother fucking Ravel’s Bolero of this business.


Sooooo…yeah. I’m going to need some readers in the near future.

Think that over and get back to me.

I’ve Missed Rewriting Like This

Rewrites continue and I continue to enjoy them.

Most people have forgotten, or never knew, that Probability Angels was written in serial format. It was part of an experiment called 26 Stories in 52 Weeks. The Matthew and Epp stories, as they were known back then, were written section by section, once a month give or take, all within their own separate two week deadline.  This means that over the course of fourteen days each part was conceived, written and rewritten before being published online.

This book has sat unread by me for over a year. The difference between those two rewriting processes is large. When you only wrote something a week ago and need to rewrite it your head is filled with the images and dialogue and characters to the point where it becomes very hard to see what words are actually there instead of the words you want to be there. It’s like listening to a song that you’ve listened to a billion times and trying to hear it new. The song takes up so much space in your psyche that the task is difficult, to say the least. Some songs you can hear so many times that you aren’t even listening to the same song anymore, you start to pick up new sounds and nuances and what have you. These are the sorts of songs that you can sing along to and you’re not only singing the words but you have every breath from the singer memorized and you know all the drum strokes and every warble of the guitar. I know parts of “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Rosalita” that should, by all means, be merely background noise. Getting distance from something you know backwards and forward is very odd, and getting distance is what rewriting is all about.

The words I’m going over now are entirely unfresh in  my mind and it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to see my own mistakes clearly, to not hit a muddy sentence and still sort of know what I was going for but, instead, immediately know it should be dismissed.

Not to mention I don’t quite remember a lot of these scenes way back in the beginning so it’s almost like I’m reading it for the first time.


Reading something I’ve written for the first time is something I never get to do. Because, you know, I’m the one that wrote it, so even on my first read through I still know what’s coming. It’s like a magician being amazed at his own trick.

It just never happens.