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Where the inane meets the mundane

Being a Reader

They say you can’t be a writer if you aren’t first a reader. On the one hand, I’ve been reading for most of my life. Writer, fan, and all around nice guy Jamie Rubin recently commented on his blog:

High school and college taught me how to learn. Reading has taught me nearly everything else.

These words really resonated with me. I’ve been trying to read more lately, carefully spreading the reach of my knowledge eating tendrils. I have a hard rule that it has to be interesting to me, even if that trumps other merits. At the start of the year, I tried to establish that I would read nonfiction in equal measures with fiction, switching back and forth. That didn’t survive the actual test of reading, though.

So what has qualified recently to make it to my active reading pile?

  • The Rise of Athens (fun)
  • Vampire Forensics (research)
  • Monsters Among Us (research)
  • Persian Fire (fun)
  • The Daily Stoic (fun/journal)
  • Paperbacks from Hell (fun)
  • In Joy Still Felt (fun)

Of that list, two notes. Paperbacks from Hell is an awesome journey, but it is very much a leisurely, almost coffee table setting journey I’ve been reading from it on and off again for months now, and can see it taking me another three or four months to finish. That’s ok – it’s not a race.

The Daily Stoic is, as you may have guessed, 365 daily stoic thoughts. I’ve been pairing it with my daily journal, partly to encourage me to journal more often (believe it or not, I journal daily even though I only blog once every few months), but also because it’s been nice to have some thoughts to chew on. Stoicism isn’t for everyone, but enough of it fits my world view to make it an interesting journey.

Two books in that list I marked as research. Scary stuff, that. I have a notion for a book I’d like to write (eventually – though maybe not right now), and I felt like I didn’t know enough on those subjects to write intelligently. I realize the subject matter isn’t exactly serious science, but they are a natural extension of the joy I’ve always had watching classic horror movies.

As for the Persians vs. the Greeks in that list – you should see some of the ancillary books I have lying around (who knew I had opinions on Iliad translations???). In some ways it was the first volume of Asimov’s autobiography, In Joy Still Felt, and his tales of walking around reading the Iliad that led me there.

My fiction TBR pile is actually larger, and equally chaotic. I’m still reading Stieg Larson’s books (Nordic mysteries), along with trying out Anthony Ryan (fantasy) and some classics I picked up on a recent trip to Powell’s (Pohl, Asimov, and Weber being the bulk of the pile).

And this is how I spend my summer 🙂

 

**EDIT – Added “In Joy Still Felt” to the list of books being read. Maybe my list is getting too long to manage…nah…

Of words and things

It’s early morning, and I didn’t get a lot of sleep. The resulting blog post could end up being slightly incoherent.

Last week, I finished the first draft of The Mermaid’s Tears. Not tooting any horns – it’s a hot mess, and I’m too burned out from writing it to want to fix it right now. But, it has a beginning, a muddle, and an ending, and there is at least some sense of closure to a story line buried in there somewhere. Pitmad is next week, and that’s pretty tempting despite the mess that is the novel as it stands (I mean, that’s what editing is for, right? Right?)

Meanwhile, the mental butter mill continues to churn on the next novel. As is the course of the things, I find myself muddling back and forth on outlining vs pantsing. Instincts of course say I should take the time to  outline the next book, find the direction it’s going to take, get a roadmap for speedy writing. The side that usually wins, though – and it’s not helped by a current reread of King’s On Writing, says outlining is for fools. What I need to do, what I really, really need to do, is just sit butt in chair and start getting those words out. “You know what the story is [vaguely] about,” that voice chides, “and you know where it ends [ish]. What’s the problem?”

And that’s the problem. I’m a glutton for diving right in. It’s usually a mess and I hate myself for doing it, but it’s so much fun along the way.

OK, coffee time. That next book isn’t writing itself.

Nineteen Years

Today’s post is actually an (edited) excerpt from my journal entry for the day.

Nineteen years ago today, an amazing woman stood in front of a bunch of people and agreed to be my wife. I don’t know how its possible, but we’re closer today than we were then, and we were madly in love back then. She’s my best friend, my confidant, lover, keeper of all my hopes and dreams, and I love her unequivocally and unabashedly. We have three amazing girls, each one a beautiful blend of her wit, charm, and beauty, with a dash of whatever it is that makes me me.

What plans do we have on this wonderful Tuesday? At her suggestion, and because we have a kid in rehearsal all night (opening day of the school play is this week), we’ve booked a table at Guardian Games. We’re going out tonight, just the two of us, and playing some board games and eating  junk food, and I can’t imagine anyone I’d ever want to do it more with.

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