Tuesday Night Bullet Points

The baby goes to her Grandmother’s on Tuesdays, so I spent the day in the office and didn’t think about much of anything else but work for five or so hours. It was nice. Of course, the baby came home without a nap and a touch of diaper rash, which made for a grumpy, tired evening for Scarlett and for me and Mrs. Rawson. I planned on adding a couple more thousand words to today’s work, but instead I’m just going to blog, listen to music, and read.

Here are a couple of general observations from today.

  • I’ve been reading Neil Gaiman’s non-fiction collection over the past week or so and I think I like him more as an essayist than as a novelist. But then again, the last novel of his I read was The Ocean at The End Of The Lake, and that really didn’t do all that much for me.
  • Most of 2016 was a Margaret Atwood year. 2017 is looking like it’s going to be more of the same. Currently I’m re-reading The Handmaid’s Tale for the first time in over twenty years; it still ranks as one of my top five SF reads of all time.
  • I watched the terrorism thriller Unthinkable over the weekend. It’s an intense flick and I think it and David Mamet’s overlooked CIA thriller, Spartan, would make a great double bill.
  • I’m finding writing with pen and paper to be agreeable with me these days. Virtually everything I’ve written and published over the last six months has started out on yellow legal pads.
  • I’m finishing up a few short stories after four or five months of novel writing. I can’t say I’m enjoying writing them, but I also think my head’s in a completely different space now. I’m sure I’ll go back to loving stories once I’m between long stories.
  • I don’t mind when people disagree with me, and I mean about any subject whether it’s art, politics, whatever. I want to hear what you think, just remember to notch the anger back a bit when you’re expressing yourself. Because, trust me, I’m not going to go on a tirade just because we don’t see eye-to-eye on something.
  • Bar none, Miles Davis was the greatest musician of the 20th  century. 
  • Have a goodnight and sleep well.

Evening Soundtrack: My Funny Valentine By Miles Davis

Espresso and Tears

I’m getting ready to write an essay about Warren Ellis. No, not the composer who works with Nick Cave, but the novelist and comic book writer Warren Ellis. Because of this, I’ve been revisiting old favorites such as Planetary and the subversive Transmetropolitan (By the way, is anyone else of the opinion that Spider Jerusalem is a thinly veiled version of Alan Moore?), and his first novel, Crooked Little Vein. I’m not really having to delve too deeply into the new stuff such as Trees, Injection, and his more recent novels such as Gun Machine and Normal (which is probably one of the funniest books I read in 2016, and one of the most prophetic). I haven’t had to delve too far into these new works because I’ve read each as they’ve come out and are fresh in my memory. And to be blunt, I don’t really have to read the old comics and books, either. I’m just doing it because I love them.

The one thing I’ve noticed in the preparation of this essay is how much Ellis has seeped into my own work over the past decade. Currently I’m working on two separate long projects (I know, I should only be working on one, but I’m the type of writer who’s been conditioned by freelance work and having to work on multiple projects at a time. Plus, the fact is I get bored, so juggling multiple projects is the best way for me to keep myself interested in writing.). Both projects are best described as science fiction, both are somewhat politically motivated (Another little something I’ve rediscovered about myself, I am very much a political creature and I tend to become more creative and motivated when I feel repressed and downtrodden. You know, being American.), but in the same breath, I don’t consider them science fiction because I’m utilizing crime and romance fiction tropes in both along with the other elements and stirring and mixing them up.

No, this is nothing new, it’s nothing ground breaking, it’s all things Warren Ellis and dozens of writers have employed over the last fifty years. But the thing is, when I read through my pages from the day before (One piece is being written entirely on the computer, the second—which I tend to work on the most—is being written on yellow legal notepads with occasional notes in a loose outline I keep stored on my hard drive.), I’ve begun to notice that the style I’m working in is becoming increasingly weirder, Ellis-esque, so to speak, and that this strange Englishman has become, perhaps, the storyteller who has influenced my work the most. And the fact is, I like it, I flat out love it because it’s encouraging me to get as weird and irreverent as I want while still crafting a highly readable story.

At least that’s what I hope I’m doing?


Current Read:

A View From The Cheap Seats: Selected Non-Fiction By Neil Gaiman