Tuesday, April 19

mile marker

I finished The Novel today. Well, not finished, but I passed a marker and have a beta draft almost ready to mail/print for the brave few that have agreed to read it and offer an opinion so that I can do the really real final draft before I start looking for an agent who can then tell me to change it some more so they can find a publisher who will undoubtedly have just a few more suggestions.

It's depressing when I think of it that way, so I'm just going to bask in the moment and enjoy the feeling of finishing. Not the penultimate draft, maybe, but a penultimate draft. The first of several.

I hope the second one is a bit easier than this one... And I will now proceed to do the happy dance.

Friday, April 15

apathy and an update

First, Canada is having an election and I have strong feelings about it.

My vote is already cast (I'll be away from my riding on election day and in Mexico for the advanced polls, so I mailed the damned thing in), but I know it won't make much of a difference. That's partly because I don't live in anything approaching a swing riding - the vast majority of my civic neighbors buy into the "me first" concept. The Okanagan Valley is a pretentious area full of rich retirees.

It's also partly because of our electoral system here in Canada, which is similar to the one used in the US, uses a "first past the post" benchmark to decide winners. It's more obvious in Canada where the multi-party system allows a party with only 35% of the national vote to form the government, but that system is whack. I long for reform that would include some of the representational and preferential innovations used in Europe. Canadians are told that we're apathetic, but I think this brilliant (and short) TED talk manages to nail the problem. I don't think that institutionalized systems to promote apathy are endemic to only Canada either.

The good news is that, if those controls are enforced strongly and long enough, things like what's happening in North Africa happen, and masses revolt against tyranny. The sad part is that it has to get pretty bad for a long time to get people desperate enough to act like that.

Anyway, with Canada going to the polls and the US already ramping up for 2012, please watch. Please vote. There's more we have to do than just vote. but that's the very least we can and should do. Until real change comes, we can at least be active mitigating the damage.

And and update on the WIP. I have about ten chapters left to revise and my pace is good. I think I'll be done on Tuesday, which will leave time for mailing and printing copies on Wednesday for my beta readers. The manuscript is changing, evolving, but not getting shorter, so I think I'll still be looking at a 175k-word behemoth to try to query. I dunno, maybe the beta readers will find some serious fat that I don't have eyes to see.

Or not. I think I'm truly past worrying about trying to fit into categories of marketability or conform to the guidelines. I think it's good. I think it's almost the story I wanted to write, close enough to make me smile at unexpected moments and have to take occasional breaks to catch my breath. But I'm biased, aren't I?

It's like in politics: If we have an opinion, chances are, we're biased. That's a hard thing to avoid. Maybe it just can't, and shouldn't, be tried. In a civil society, a real democracy, disparate views could be shared, discussed, argued even, and still there would be respect. The absence of respect in modern politics is as glaringly obvious as the presence of it is when I think about the readers and artists that are helping me make the WIP a reality.

Anyway, my iced matcha latte with almond milk is ready now. Back to it. Hope you're well...

Saturday, April 9

pause for gratitude

Revisions are going well, thanks for asking. There aren't enough hours in the day, or days left before April 21, but that's my own fault. Sleep is over-rated anyway. That said, the #amrevising is going very well. I may have to sleep on the plane and the first two days in Mexico, but I can live with that.

TED.com sent this today and I watched, happily. It's slightly inspiring in the way TED.com videos can be. I thought of life-inversions and starting over and how happy I am that I found myself in a place to make the choices I made a couple years ago. I thought about how everything in our society is being driven in a direction that makes everything a struggle, and things like life inversions as difficult as possible. I thought about elections and hoping that we change directions, even if the change we might make is to a direction that's not as bad that the current one, instead of actually to the right direction. I thought about how fortunate I am to be doing what I love most of the time instead of just when I can squeak it in. I thought about the people I love who inspire me every day.

So here I am, stopping in to say 'hi', full of gratitude. And sleep deprived, but loving it. Enjoy the video...

Monday, April 4


I feel like I’m carrying an elephant.

There’s three weeks – well a bit less – until my promised shipping date for the beta version of the manuscript. As usual, this is affecting my posting prolificacy.

At times like this I have to court obsession, give into it, let it own me. It means ignoring as many other things in my life as possible, and that’s not completely healthy, but that’s apparently how I work.

I wonder how much of being creative requires a willingness to be unhealthy? I mean, I know it doesn’t, at least on paper. When I get like this, I feel like a cliché. I hate feeling like a cliché.

So this is an apology of sorts, after the fact in some ways, in advance in others. Part of me feels bad for not nursing the blog the way I should. I feel worse when I realize that I’m temporarily turning my back on something that I love, the blog, while still slaving at the casino, a place I hate. I have to ignore the dissonance of that dynamic or risk being distracted from the obsession.

I’ll see you when there’s a victory to report, or something distracts me enough to overpower the obsession.

Otherwise, I’ll see you on the other side. Be well…