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Archive for February, 2007

Publish or perish

This is gonna be brief — maybe more later today. Met up with David this morning and we went over to Bantam for breakfast with Her Royal Kateness. It was good to see her, but the meal was pretty much dulled by a) my lack of sleep and b) the lack of good news about all things publishing.

Depressing numbers, depressing news.

At first blush, it makes me wonder why I bother — I mean, if I’m writing the stories and nobody’s reading them, then what the hell is the point anyway?

But then the second blush comes, and I realize — as I inevitably always do — that frankly, none of that matters. I write what I write because if I don’t, I’m miserable. Simple as that. Even if the material was being published on toilet paper to be used as the same, I’d still be publishing it, or at least I’d be trying to. I’m a writer, I write, and at the end of the day, I suppose, that’s all there is to say about that.

More later….

That’s cold

Apparently the high in Manhattan today was 28 degrees. If that’s accurate — and I’m not sure it is — then I’m presuming it’s 28 degrees without wind-chill.

The day, such as I’ve had one, consisted of meeting my Webmaven-slash-Publicist Maggie Griffen at Partners & Crime and buying a bunch of books that I really should’ve already read. This is my secret shame of the last several years — I’ve all-but forgotten how to read for pleasure, and reading ‘in genre,’ for lack of a better phrase, has been excruciatingly difficult. I’ve been working since the first of the year on relearning the art, on attempting to rediscover the joy of reading for the sake of reading, for the pleasure of the story.

The problem is that most of what I read, I can’t stand. Seriously. It’s like the line about the sausages; some things it’s better off not knowing how they make ‘em. Books. Comics. Sausages.

It’s not strictly analogous, I know, which is why I’m working so damn hard to correct it. My Better Half and I have resolved to work on correcting the problem together, which, thus far, has resulted in each of us reading The Forever War by Joe Haldeman so we could each discuss the book after. It’s a tremendous novel, as far as that goes, and I highly recommend it. You can read a review of it if by someone else if you don’t want to take my word for it.

Bought my books, then met my dear friend Alex who I hadn’t seen in two years. Alex and I got back to college days, and since I graduated we’ve each fallen out of contact with the other several times, and each time, when we reconnect, we do so with remarkable ease. He’s a dear friend who somehow always seems to remain on an even keel.

So we wandered in the cold, spent some time in the Village, got coffee and some pastry, then headed back to midtown. Parted company around five so I could get back to the room and work.

Work, in this instance, is Outsiders #47, which I am co-writing with Judd Winick. Judd uses a screen-writing program called Final Draft for his scripting; I use Microsoft Word. Comics do not have a standardized script format. This means that when I get a script from Judd, or when he gets one from me, we each have used a radically different format from the other. This is leading to minor headaches and aggravation and — at least in my case — the need to reformat the entire document each time I receive it.

All that being said, it’s a fun project, because Judd is such a different storyteller than I am; he’s much more bombastic, and much more energetic, I think. Working together is allowing me to make the story bigger in a way that I think I wouldn’t do were I working alone. We’ll see how the final product looks when all’s said and done, but for now, at least, it’s a pleasure to be collaborating.

The thing about travel is…

SFO. On the way to NYC. Annoying television show with desperately sincere man trying to warn me about identity fraud. Vaguely racist subtext, as well, very much a “those dark-skinned immigrants are going to rob you blind.”

Was mistaken for a Federal Air Marshal on the flight down from Portland, no kidding. Waiting to get on the plane and I was called up to the podium, my ticket swapped, and then told to board. This was pre-pre-boarding. I ask what’s going on, the woman at the podium says that I’ve got a “friend on board, he’s taking care of my seat.” Bewildered – not to mention a little nervous (I’ve got a friend on board? Who? Someone I know? Good God, I hope it’s someone I like…) – I go aboard, head to my seat, and there are three flight attendants watching me and a guy in plainclothes, and literally you wouldn’t have looked at him twice.

“6-B,” I say. “Previously 2-A.”

Flight Attendant A smiles and says, “Ah, there you go. Have a seat.”

So I’m looking for the person who’s my “friend,” and I don’t see anyone I recognize. Everyone’s acting like this is perfectly normal. I sit down. We fly. Before we begin our descent I’m asking another attendant what the deal was with changing my seat, because now I’m curious and I want to know. And I’m also a little annoyed, frankly, because I was in a window seat prior, and when they moved me I ended up in an aisle seat, with Jackass A and his Wife seated across from me, and even that would’ve been fine, except Jackass A had a Friend whom we shall call Jackass B, and Jackass B weighed at least 250 lb; further, Jackass B had decided that the way he was going to pass the time was by standing in said aisle with his ASS IN MY FACE so he could talk to Jackass A and his Wife.

So I was understandably curious why I’d been moved, as I said.

And the attendant has no answer for me, so I grumpily go back to my seat, and then a different attendant whome we shall call Elegant Flight Attendant because she was quite stately, frankly, whispers to me that if I can wait 10 minutes after we land, she’ll explain what’s going on.

(Which, when she said it, didn’t sound that strange, frankly, but when you write it down while calling her Elegant Flight Attendant it begins to veer a bit towards Penthouse Forum. Or is that just me?)

I get off the plane, I wait, Elegant Flight Attendant comes off the plane, we step off to the side to talk. She explains, in brief – very brief, I should say, because there are obvious security concerns at work – that I was mistaken for an Air Marshal.

I’m trying not to laugh, and then she adds, quite seriously, “Well, you looked like one, the way you’re dressed and all of that. You understand, it’s an easy mistake to make.”

To which I’m not sure if I should be flattered or not.

Now it’s almost 2 in the morning in New York and I’m posting this, which means it’s too late for me to write anything about the Coughing Madman who drove me in from JFK this evening. Maybe I’ll save that for tomorrow.

Oooh, linky!

Because I spent the day 1) writing, and 2) getting the kids off to California so my parents can enjoy them for a couple of days, I’ve got very little to offer today.

So I’m going to do what real bloggers do. I’m going to provide a gimmick.

Star Wars Horoscope for Sagittarius

You are superbly wise and have been known to spread your wisdom widely.
You are impatient and pushy when people take your teachings too lightly.
And your philosophical side always peeks through.

Star wars character you are most like: Yoda

What Is Your Star Wars Horoscope?

And much as I would like to think of myself as supremely wise, even I have to doubt that.

Though I’m down with the second part.

[edited to add: no idea how to get the spacing to look at least marginally inoffensive, here. Sorry it's so cramped.]

I remember this…

Back to Q&C today, scripting #32. Samnee has been a damn saint, waiting on me for as long as he has. The problem (one of the problems) with 52 was the stunning drain of energy the project caused. Literally like having someone stick a tap into the side of my creativity and open it to “floodgate.”


So I’m re-reading 29-31, trying to remember all of the pieces I had in play, and I’m going over my notes, trying to remember just what it was I wanted to accomplish in this last issue of the arc. I always approach Queen & Country with a little trepidation; the subject matter, the characters, the “realistic” nature of the story, all of these things make me apprehensive, at least until I start the actual writing. Then the focus narrows, and it becomes about serving the story.

Working in the coffee room at Powell’s bookstore, today. Started working here when I was doing the copy edit of Patriot Acts, and I found the environment surprisingly comfortable. We’ll see if it continues to work well for me.

I am so clearly not made for blogging

I’m finished with 52.

Pretty much.

There’s still the reviewing of the art and the checking of dialogue and the proofing and all of that good stuff, but in the main, it’s done, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s been exhausting. I’m very much looking forward to getting my keyboard back.