Monday, June 25, 2001

Oh, boy... What a crazy few days I've had. Let's go over my last week or so.

Wednesday - Flew into Indiana. Crashed at my sister's place

Thursday - Went to my grandfather's funeral. Met up later with an old friend who came down because I was in the area. Hung out with her and some other friends. Had a good time.

Friday - Got around to visiting my other grandfather, who's in a nursing home. He's looking like crap. God, that's hard to see. We were really close when I was growing up. Spend the rest of the day hanging out with my mother, and then with some friends. Went out to a bar and played some pool with them (my friends, not my mother). Learned about their messed up lives. Got home about midnight and went to bed so that I could get up in time to catch the plane.

Saturday - Flew back up to Detroit. Went to a science fiction convention in Roseville, MI. It was fairly lame... not many authors. There was one author of a couple of fantasy novels, so I got autographed copies of those because they looked pretty good. Eugene Roddenberry, Jr. was the Guest of Honor, and he has virtually no accomplishments of his own. Very disturbing. Helped set up for a Mensa recruitment party and hung out for a while, then went home.

Sunday - Drove with a couple of friends down to Cleveland, to a reading/signing by Neil Gaiman. He was funny as hell! Very witty. Entertaining story about his travels on the signing tour, especially how it relates to hotel room service.

Monday - Went back to work. Was exhausted all day. Understandable, but irritating.

So that has been the last few days for me. Hectic, exciting, and fundamentally tiring. Wouldn't trade it for a thing. ;)

Monday, June 18, 2001

Crazy world. Yesterday was Father's Day, and I did all of the requisite calling of relatives. Also my mother's birthday, so I called her.

Then I get an e-mail message today from my father. His father died today. The day after Father's Day. He'd had leukemia for a while, and I'd been getting updates. But I paid little attention to them. During the time when I was growing up, I never developed the bond with that grandfather that I had with my mother's father -- my Pappaw. He was a nice enough guy, but there just wasn't that connection. I don't have fond memories of spending time with him as a child. Maybe it's because that side of the family is so much bigger. He had a huge number of grandchildren, where I was Pappaw's only grandson, and the oldest grandchild out of the 3 on that side. I had two and a half years where I was the only grandchild of Pappaw, but I never had that with my other grandfather. Maybe that's it... or maybe it comes from the distance that was between my father and his for years after my parents got divorced. I don't know.

Regardless, he's gone now. I wish that I could say that there was some strong emotional impact, but I won't disrespect him by lying. I'm going down for the funeral, but really it's just for my father and to see my Pappaw, who isn't doing well himself. I don't need any closure from this, like I did with my grandmother -- my Mammaw. I feel kind of guilty about that... but we don't make the world the way it is, we just try to deal with it.

Saturday, June 16, 2001

Wow... Busy week, it turned out. Unfortunately, I don't recall doing a lot while I was busy. We're teaching summer school, which means we're on a different schedule. Get off work earlier and have to be there at 8 am, as opposed to my 8:45 starting class this last semester. I really don't understand why the summer program has to start so damn early. I'd much rather start at 10 o'clock and go until 5. Maybe that's just me. But then, my natural state is as a night owl.

Another story started going through the critique process this week. Not as many responses, and not as favorable as the last story, but they think it's an original approach to the subject matter. In science fiction, that's a good thing -- so much of it is re-hash of old ideas.

Trying to think of anything else outstanding. Nothing particularly springs to mind. That's mildly disturbing. Oh, well... I'm about to start a major revision on one of my stories, and then will polish it up to send it off as soon as my move is over. Also have to go on Monday to turn in the paperwork on the new place I'll probably be renting. Fun all around.

Tuesday, June 12, 2001

Just got back from sailing. I started last summer, going every Tuesday for a race that a friend takes part in. Tonight was crazy -- first time out, so there were lots of people. Also, one of the other boat-owners had several employees in the area for a conference, and he got the other people to include a few each on their boats (since he couldn't fit them all on his). So all together we had about a dozen people (including me) on the boat today. Way too many. Tripping over lines. And one of the people was the captain's wife, who felt the need to tell him consistently that he was wrong with everything that he was doing. Sometimes she was right, sometimes not. But too many cooks ruin the stew, and there are only so many conflicting instructions that we can follow. Still... I had a good time.

There's something about the time when all of the power is cut to the engine, and you're just out there floating... It's great. So serene. Rocking in the water, the wind whipping across the sail. When you go really fast, the boat tilts to the side, so you're almost standing on the side of the damn thing... I love it.

Monday, June 11, 2001

I was right. Still wide awake at almost 3:00 am here. Blah. Decided to spend this time transcribing the interview I have with Robert J. Sawyer from my digital audio recorder to text, so that I can set up the Robert J. Sawyer page for July. Still waiting on Orson Scott Card's response to my e-mailed interview before I can put that up.

Problem with my digital recorder is that I can't fast forward and rewind. So if I pause I get behind so far that I can't keep up with my typing (even though I type quickly) is that I have to stop it and start over. So it involves a lot of sitting around and waiting as I listen to the portion that I already transcribed. It's caused me to enter into a Zen state of consciousness, I think. I'm sitting here in my bathrobe with the lights off, thinking about life.

I've been restless lately. Part of this is, no doubt, because I'll be moving soon. Always kind of a pain. But it seems like more than that... I've been working on my writing a lot lately, and I feel a breakthrough coming. That terrifies the hell out of me.

My whole life, I've been willing to settle for being mediocre. I went through school and got good grades without ever really having to work hard. It's been years since I've put my heart on the line for a girl, ever since I had it ripped out the last time. I settled for the first job that I was offerend. Fortunately, I love it, but the fact is that I didn't risk things to get it. I didn't throw myself through grad school to get a job at NASA some day, like I once wanted to. Writing is the dream that's potentially within my grasp these days, and I'm afraid of two things: That I don't have the nerve or willpower to go for it, or that I don't have the skill to go for it. I find the first fear more realistic. I'm convinced of my skill, though I've never had a sale. But the paranoia is still there.

But lets say I begin succeeding in the short fiction market... what do I do then? I don't like not knowing things. One of my most relaxing thoughts is the realization that I'm going to be stuck along, romantically, for quite some time. At least I know what to expect on that front. In writing, I don't know what to expect. How many stories before I should push for a first novel?

This is me: always worrying about things far in advance, while I don't bother with the problems of day-to-day life. Like do I have enough money in the bank to take care of my deposits and everything for moving? How am I going to move all of my crap? No, these things are of no importance to me. I don't worry about them. I'm worried about when to write my first novel, even though I have no idea which of my ideas I should start with. Very convoluted. I hate being neurotic.

Sunday, June 10, 2001

A four hour nap snuck up on me earlier. I'll be up until the wee hours of the morning tonight, I think. But that's okay, because that's when I'm in my element. Probably get a couple of revisions done tonight, I guess.

Currently reading J. Gregory Keye's Age of Unreason series. The premise is that Newton was an alchemist who discovered Philosopher's Mercury, the material from which all metals spring, which can control the elements. The cast of characters in the series include Isaac Newton, Benjamen Franklin, Peter the Great, Blackbeard the Pirate, Cotton Mather, and many others. An intriguing concept... so far, quite enjoyable.
Okay, the site seems to be working okay with my new additions, so I can take time to ramble a bit.

On Serendipity
Very strange things occur in the world, and I just got hit with one of them. When I was visiting my family a few months back, I ran into a guy I had gone to high school with in a bar. He told me that one of my old friends (for anonymity he will be referred to as JW) was up in Detroit. He was roommates with a girl that we'd also gone to school with (TS).

Intrigued by this, I began trying to track this person down -- phonebooks, online directories, and the like, but I couldn't find his name. I even used, finding JW and sending an e-mail, but I hadn't gotten a reply yet.

Then I get an e-mail on Friday from a college friend (AR), who is in med school in Indianapolis. He tells me that he is going to be up in Michigan, visiting his girlfriend. His girlfriend, as it turns out, is TS and so he's staying at TS & JW's place.

Life is a funny thing... Revel in these strange situations and make the most of them...

On My Writing
I've recently joined an online critique group, called Critters. Thus far, the two stories that have gone through have been received very well. I'm very hopeful, although some go over the top -- any comparisons to Stephen King or Isaac Asimov or J.R.R. Tolkien in such a group are sure signs that they're probably exaggerating a bit, or have a loose grip on reality.

But the good news is that it means I'm getting an idea what direction to take revisions. I've got about 5 stories that will enter the rounds for publication right after my move in August. (Can't send them now, or I wouldn't be assured of getting a response before the move.)

On Work
Setting out now to grade the finals from the one class I've given them to. Then I have to make up the finals for another 2 classes. All in all, it'll be a busy day with that.
Looks like this is going to work. Somewhat easier way to keep track of things than juggling the web development software every time I want to put some thoughts up... More to come soon!
Okay, let's see how this bad boy works out...