September 30, 2011 Progress Notes:

Light (bad working title)

Words today: 300.
Words total: 3025.  Trashed some leftovers out of the file again, so no, this won't match from last time.
Reason for stopping: Sleeepy. And cold, besides.

Darling du Jour: The breath caught between his teeth worked itself slowly loose.
Mean Things: Not knowing how much you're actually missing. The past-catching-up-with-you false alarm.

Research Roundup: History of the Don River; finally figuring out what that building in the park next to my first apartment is.
Books in progress: Evan Munday, The Dead Kids Detective Agency; Charles Yu, How to Live Safely in a Science-Fictional Universe.

The grant application is finished, and mailed as of last night, and I feel infinitely better about all that if a little weirdly spent: I worked up a whole synopsis for this, and it's actually a plausible one.  It has the normal hole in the last third, but hey.  It might well resemble the book I actually write.  Now, to get this up to 30+ pages for the next grant application, due mid-month.

Spates of wound-up, unhappy people continue.  In fact, they have worsened.  It may well just be That Week (tm).

Tonight, however, was the annual Counting of the Bookstore (aka inventory), and was spent with friends, eating pizza and counting books.  It wasn't the kind of record finish we've had in previous years, but [ profile] dolphin__girl and I quite humbly kicked some ass and took a few names.  It's nice to know that being able to inventory a bookstore the fastest will go down as one of my skills on the eventual headstone.

One wonders how it got to be October.
I was by the bookstore today after work, and one of the upshots of that visit is that both Clockwork Phoenix and Clockwork Phoenix 2 are available there now. Both have stories from me, "Bell, Book and Candle", and "Six" respectively, and the second anthology also has fiction from local heroes [ profile] handful_ofdust and Stephen Barringer and less-local-but-still-Canadian hero Claude Lalumiere.

One of the other upshots of the visit is that I have The City and the City, Eyes Like Stars, and Spook Country in my bag. This is probably neither here nor there for you, though, unless you're [ profile] lisamantchev, in which case I can has your book.

More after supper!
October 24, 2008 Progress Notes:


Pages today: 3.
Pages total: 240/264.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
240 / 264

Reason for stopping: Ripped this whole scene out and rewrote it. And will have to do the same to the next, and it is one in the morning.

Munchies: Buttered toast and caramel cream rooibos.
Books in progress: Geoff Ryman, The Child Garden.
The glamour: Dayjobbery and the acquisition of some Lush shampoo bars so I can stop dirtying the planet with shampoo bottles. Wither, carbon footprint! Die!

Yes, that is three pages of print draft there. But it's also about 1300 words of new/stripped down/altered/disfigured/mutated stuff, so. And I suspect I will have to do similar to the next scene to eradicate the odour of ass from this draft. Pass me my suck-vacuum and my ass-Febreeze.

Will be spending the better part of tomorrow at the IFOA, selling books on behalf of the bookstore, where you can quit any time you like, but you can never leave. As this involves lots of downtime (there's rushes of business before and after readings and interviews, and it's very quiet during the events), I may drag the faithful Coyote along and tackle the next scene. That is, if there's a good outlet close by. O, for a muse of fire laptop battery that holds a charge more than 90 seconds (first world problem).

With that, the ends of my tea and bed.
September 29, 2008 Progress Notes:


Pages today: 36.
Pages total: 115/264.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
115 / 264

Reason for stopping: End of chapter five.

Munchies: Toffee pudding ice cream and water.
Books in progress: Patricia McKillip, The Bell at Sealey Head.
The glamour: Not really a lot today. Today involved a lot of time used suboptimally.

I'm pretty sure pushing for the week off (which turned into the week and a half off) before starting the new job was the right decision. By next Monday I will be so bored out of my tree I will leap at the chance to use eight hours of my day elsewhere. Granted, I am still having the achy/blank/tireds. We'll see if it clears up tomorrow or the day after. If not, I will chalk it up to the daylight shrinking and we start actively taking walks in the afternoon.

This is the part of fall I'm not that keen on. The light gets shorter and shorter, but the trees are hanging on, so when I walk through the much-too-early twilight I don't even get that smell of leaves coming up from the ground.

Chapter six tomorrow, and inventory at the bookstore as well. So if you're local and you want a book, buy it tomorrow so I don't have to count it. I will consider this a public service.


Aug. 23rd, 2008 11:42 am
Have arrived at work today to find -- well, that the keyboard wasn't working, which resulted in thirty minutes of swearing and grubbing with wires and one tech support call to [ profile] msagara -- but, more pertinently, that The Mammoth Book of Extreme Fantasy is out in Canada. Because it is here.

(Confidential to [ profile] monkeyman: this means your special order is aside.)

Read! Enjoy! Marvel at the rendering of Robert Smith on the cover!*

*Elric of Melnibone is having you for dinner tonight.
August 22, 2008 Progress Notes:


Pages today: 38.
Pages total: 169/264.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
169 / 264

Reason for stopping: It is muggy out and I was getting et by mosquitoes (who come to suck your blood, leave you there all alone, just skin and bone).

Munchies: Chocolate cake, iffy red wine.
Books in progress: Michael Moorcock, Behold the Man.
The glamour: Today was glamour central. I spent most of it hanging scarves on little hangers.

I was planning on tonight being an In Night (I have discovered that dayjobbing means there is no pleasure like the In Night, especially when your bathroom looks like mine right now) but I got a call involving forgotten keys and rescue around 8:30. So while I was out performing the rescuing, I decided to go to Just Desserts for cake and middling red wine and work on the book.

As is traditional, I bought the dessert and the book put out. :p

That isn't all tonight, though. About a dozen pages are from the bits and snatches I get done on the morning commute, if I deem myself awake enough to operate heavy machinery or revisions. I don't do as well on the subway, though; I can't let go of the time. So I might have to go over those pages again, or extra hard, when I put all this into the computer for the second draft.

The To Do List isn't hugely onerous this weekend. Or it's things that mean waiting, like...canning pears, say. I'm hoping for another 20 pages or so on Sunday.

Tangential to all this, tomorrow is my last shift at [ profile] bakkaphoenix. Yes, this sucks. If you're inclined and local, drop by and keep company, because I'm already missing it.
May 17, 2008 Progress Notes:


Words today: 650.
Words total: 37,300 MS Word.
Reason for stopping: Bed!
Liquid Refreshment: Water and a bit of scotch.
Munchies: Cheese and apricots.

Darling du Jour: Again I am darlingless. This scene has come down to the sloggy bits.
Words Matthew Won't Admit to Knowing: anonymous and ultimatum. Four syllables bad! Two syllables good!
Mean Things: Oh, Evil Asylum, why can't I quit you?
Research Roundup: N/A
Books in progress: Jeffrey Ford, The Physiognomy, textbooks.
The glamour: Book Mines for most of the afternoon, wherein I had to herd/capture not one but two sparrows who had flown in the door and weren't figuring out that windows are solid thing to get them back outside. Sparrows...can take a frightening amount of blunt force. I winced every time they took a damned header into our nice big glass front window.

Thankfully, I came home to do garden stuff, which was considerably less stressful.

Saturnalia is really turning up the heat here. It has a soundtrack and it's going to beat me with it in loving and gentle concern until I leave that book that's being so bad to me and come shack up with it, as it will of course always treat me with affection and respect and never put my bare feet and gravid uterus in the vicinity of any kitchens or bottles of Bud.

Its latest offer is not!Trent Reznor in a frock coat like in The Perfect Drug, hunched over and sexy in that tubercular way, feeding emo kids to the roaring furnaces of the machine at the heart of the city.

All this will be mine, if I will fall down and worship start writing it.

Only half the current book to go. :p
I am leaving shortly for Ad Astra, where they will keep me behind a small table and force me to sell books to the masses both Friday and Sunday (Saturday I'm holding down the store).

Drop by and say hi if you'll be there.

If not, back Sunday!
So last Friday I spent most of my workday putting up a new window for the bookstore*. We ran a little think tank over at [ profile] bakkaphoenix looking for good anti-Valentine's window ideas, and settled on a mix of two: Black History Month and Chinese New Year. I have privately named it The Stuff That Also Happens In February While You're Angsting About Your Weight. :p

I had really no problem finding good books for the Black History Month side of the window: black authors, black characters (as in A Wizard of Earthsea), stuff I'm not hesitant to put in a reader's hand. Easy.

Chinese New Year, on the other hand?

Damn. Y'know, I scoured the place. And I'd already cut out the letters, and I'm stubborn that way, so it was going to happen or else.

It turns out that thing a few years back where everyone was all "ooh, Asian fantasy!" really meant Japanese fantasy. And that thing where you have hot futuristic Asian cyberpunk settings really means Japanese settings. I can think of the odd book that has Korean characters, but otherwise...I sort of had to stretch, and have more books with just secondary Chinese settings or characters -- and by non-Chinese-identifying authors -- than I'd really like. The point was to point out the diversity of the genre. Which...apparently isn't so much.

(There's a point here to be made about cultural transfer springing out of imperialist history, politics influencing national and ethnic portrayals, and the fetishization of certain cultures by other certain cultures to the point where their portrayal is turning into more of a narrative kink than anything that resembles reality. Just fill that in like I wrote it down here.)

So. There's a hole in the market, guys.

Please fill by next year's window.

*A conversation may have happened that went like: "Leah, do you have the right books to make this window work?" and then "Well, I've spent the last &#$^% hour cutting the signage letters out of construction paper, so it damn well better work.**

**Yes, we are low-tech in the sexy glamourous indie bookstore business.
(Yes, I'm still sick. No, I'm not officially a person again yet. I'll say when.)

We in SF -- the writers, the readers, the fans -- have a funny relationship to the concept of taste. Like other literary establishments, we love the idea of monolithic taste: that some books are Good and others are Bad. Until someone disagrees with us, that is, and then taste is allowed to be relative again.

(D'you ever notice that good reviews are proof that a book is Good! and bad reviews, well that's one person's opinion? We are such funny creatures.)

We also love this idea that Good Taste can be taught: that if I like something and since I am always right because clearly this book or show does so much for me, it is monolithically Good. Anyone who disagrees can be won over by reading just one more book in the series or watching just one more episode. They can be Enlightened. Clearly they didn't give it a fair chance.

This is...I think both extremely self-centered and untrue. And widely, actively perpetuated.

The customer who came into the store tonight and tried to coax me three times to read more Laurell K. Hamilton won't actually be able to make me like vampire sex. Browncoats -- the date rapists of culture, always hearing "yes!" when you say "no thanks" -- have yet to make me care about Firefly. Jeff Vandermeer and the Mundane SF crowd and whatever else movement-of-the-week is out there have likewise yet to convince me that my tastes in reading are subordinate to what they feel tastes should be. You don't change people's minds this way. No, seriously. It never works.

So why the hell do people try so hard? I mean, we work and read and live in a maligned genre. We supposedly know all about other people's Good Taste not being us. Why's there no room for relative taste in our own house?

I suspect it isn't just writers who need to untangle their self-worth from their works. We're all wrapped up in the media we consume in our ways. It hits our buttons, kicks us in the squid, and we overidentify to the point where a rejection of that media is a rejection of us. And then we become obnoxious and intolerable to those around us. Maybe this has to do with the religious urge: people identify equally strongly and violently with their local gods, and you get the obnoxious evangelism there too.

(That last bit actually sounds like the Watts-signal going off. Peter, you in the house?)

Thing is...this isn't true. Not liking your favourite show doesn't mean I spit on your values. It just means I don't share them in exactitude, that's all. If I did, I would be a copy of you, not me. You don't really want to talk to copies of you. You know all about what you have to say.

Yes, I understand that having people agree with you and bolster your judgment in matters of taste is good for the ego. But let me say something:

You don't need it.

No, really, it's okay. You are allowed to like what you like without the rest of us agreeing with you. So'm I. There are books I love that other people mock and y'know? Whatever. I know what I like, and I've got my reasons. So do you.

That's why there are many books for all of us.

So stop manifesto-writing. Stop evangelizing. Don't get huffy and defensive and standoffish if someone disagrees with you. Relative taste is real and it's normal, and we really don't need to constantly try to reshuffle the world into different monoliths of Good and Bad media because that is a binary that doesn't exist. This is a game we play with nothings for the purposes of our own senses of self-worth, and we do not have to.

Stand on your own two feet of personal taste and let your goddamn freak flag fly.
After a truly brutal workday yesterday that 1) went 12 hours, 2) ended with shanghai noodles and a flop in bed, and 3) had me still dizzy and shaky and with swollen feet this morning at 8:30, when my day started again...

I am so glad I didn't wimp out on my committed-to evening at the convention bar and stay home and introvert like the lizardbrain wanted.

So glad.

Because now I am tipsy and helped do a good thing and have learned a large something about publishing, part of which is that I know less about publishing than I thought. Which is learning something about publishing.

It's like a skill jump. Honest. You start that process of getting better by beginning to see that next horizon.

Well, then. We march.

(to bed.)
Dear Book-Buying Public,

The Bookseller is pleased to inform you of the following new Bookstore Rules:

1) If you enter the Bookstore with the sole purpose of flirting with a) the Bookseller or b) her Bookseller Brethren (Sistren?), you must buy a book. Just a mass-market. Especially if your flirting technique is to ask us about a book, so we handsell various things and run around recommending stuff for twenty minutes, and then you give us your number and go away, thus leaving us having ignored the other customers because we really thought you wanted help.

If you repeatedly pick the days we have 21 boxes of new releases on the floor, or shelving to do for a signing, or mounds of paperwork, you must buy a trade paperback.

While the attention of interesting eligible bachelors is nice sometimes, we have work to do. Please select the days when we are bored.

And we find guys who read books much hotter.

2) If you enter the Bookstore with the sole purpose of asking the Bookseller (who has other customers to help) how to get your novel published, then ask the Bookseller to read it, say it has been rejected by 200 agents, and then sulk when the Bookseller gives you honest advice because you really just wanted to be petted by the Bookseller? You must buy a hardcover.

We are totally willing to give pointers and pay forward what we've learned as writers, but if you ask, you must at least pretend to listen. Otherwise is bad manners and bodes ill for your as-yet nonexistent career in fiction.

3) If you enter the Bookstore so you can show off by complaining about how Publishing (tm) does things and demand we do something about it, since we are obviously having dinner with Publishing (tm) later tonight and perhaps letting it get to third base? You must buy a trade paperback. Not a YA one, one of the adult expensive ones.

Everyone else who came in today who wasn't those three guys, thank you for not being those three guys. We often have candy in the Bookstore, and will share it with you.

Much Love,

The Bookseller

ETA: Okay, and the guy who just hung around giving me the creepy look for twenty minutes and then tried to set something on fire in the corner by the magazines? Just get the fuck out and don't come back.

November 2016

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