Monday, January 31, 2005

And In This Week's Episode...

Not a lot going on here. Again. The monotony! Sweet lord, the soul crushing tedium of central Iowa in winter. I feel shipwrecked. Marooned. Soon I will be talking to volley balls.

Seems the election in Iraq went better than expected. I pray for success, for our men and women over there, and for their swift return.

Do I have anything to say about the Oscars? I don't know. The Passion thing. It's just another ploy for the culture hawks to get out their knives. I personally felt Jim Caviezal deserved a nomination for Best Actor, but the film itself, no. A lot of the reasoning behind the outcry is that The Passion was so popular, ergo it must be nominated. If the critics knew anything about the Oscars, they'd know this matters not one bit. If it did, Spidey 2 would be up for Best Picture too. Anyways, I'm rooting for Kate Winslet (Eternal Sunshine, now there's a movie that should have been nominated. Academy voters: you suck.) but she won't win, so.

After the week long slog of chapter 12, I blazed through 13 in two days. Maybe it was the tropical locale (it's another wintery mix here tonight) but I found myself amazed that I jammed out twenty pages without realizing. That puts the novel up over 300 pages. Definitely going to be my longest endeavor so far. I didn't get to the Harryhausen stuff yet, so there's lots to look forward to. Lions, tigers and bears, oh my.

Friday, January 28, 2005

All Quiet On The Midwestern Front

A friend and I were talking of the anthology story and all things Red/Blue today, and when she commented how frequently she and I and other 'liberals' are accused of being outside the 'mainstream' or out of touch with 'middle America', I said what I always say: I am middle America. I live in a dwarf city in a predominately black neighborhood seven miles from a university and seven miles from the nearest farm. We got all kinds here. And she said, somewhat hushed, "You know, we're behind enemy lines." I just winked, so as not to blow our cover.

Beyond that I continue to wait. And be sick. The frustration of constant sickness gets to me. My family is as sick of me as I am of being sick right now and all I can say is I don't like being a powder keg, either. In happier news, I'm going to see my great friends Amy and Conan at the end of April. They're getting married in May, and it couldn't happen to two better people. We're going to go the last Star Wars convention and maybe even dress up. Lightsabers for sure.

And I finally slogged through the difficult chapter of the new book. Not that it's done by any means, but it kicked my butt. I do have a much clearer sense of the book now and where it's going than I did before, to the point where I had a weird dream last night where I saw the film of my book at a theater and wished afterwards I could somehow perserve the magic of the ending - the visual veracity of it - in words. This has always been my problem, though. I can't draw, I can't create music the way I want to, so I try to through words, and I'm just not good enough.

But next I get to have some fun with polar ice caps and monsters lurking in a Milton version of Kong Island. Goodness.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

All In

Had sort of a second Christmas with my cousins today. Some of them anyways. They must have picked up on my new hobby (Texas Hold 'Em) because they got me this fancy case with all these chips and the cards, as well as a very nice poker table to go with it.

Work grinds to a halt on the novel. This usually happens at least once in the writing process for me, and usually at transistional points in the book like this one. I think it comes out of not having confidence in what's coming next. I'm doing something wrong. Missing something. I don't know. I did get to do lots of research on polar ice caps for it on Friday, although considering the present state of weather here, I'm not sure I needed to read about it.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Wintery Mix

Been sick most of the week, what with the rampant flu and oh yeah, Bush lighting fires in the minds of others all over the world and all. It's so easy to get frustrated and fearful about the direction of this country, but I always try to remember that this too shall pass. All things do.

Tonight it's a wintery mix, some rain, sleet, ice particles, snow, winds of fifty miles an hour or more. Pepper and I will not stand for this. We have laid out our battle plan. The attack begins at dawn (assuming we can get out.)

Been working diligently on the new novel. Some days are better than others. My unofficial quota is five pages a day, or 1,250 words. Usually it's more than that, but I try to avoid too much more because if I do ten or so it burns me out for a couple days. I actually should be writing right now. Playing hokey. So bye for now.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Shores of Titan

Estatic over the Titan pictures. What excites me most as that as much as we can imagine, there is always something more spectacular and unexpected to be found.

The sounds of Titan!

Sugu called last night and we had a long, good talk. We tend to have these looping conversations that if you transcribed them would probably look more like the course list for a liberal arts program than anything else.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Have you seen the new mini-mini iPod? Eventually they will just insert one under your skin at the base of your skull. Still, I want one. Especially the U2 one, but they're all out of my price range. I don't even own a stereo. Well, I do, but it's from 1970 something and roughly the size of a breadbox, as Steve Allen used to say. My plan also is to have new versions of me gradually reducing in size. Coming 2028: the mini iDarb.

There's a fifty foot tree out back in the alley that creaks and moans with every new wind storm and today sounded as if it were ready to come down. Tomorrow we're due for 50 mile an hour winds (because the snow and ice weren't enough) and I fear the tree will be in the backyard tomorrow. As such, I have left Pepper (who resides in her lookout post/kennel out back) evacuation instructions. Considering she has the alley, the garage and several cars between her and the tree, she'll probably just get the best seat in the house.

I'm happily reading fiction by good friends: a book by Mandy, and a short story by Polly. And I'm waiting for new script pages from Sugu. Slacker.

Vanity Fair just released its third and presumably final Annie Leibovitz cover celebrating Star Wars. This one has everyone from all six films and is a nice way to start things off for the new film, due May 19.

Also, perhaps most importantly for us writers, punctuation can now be used as a weapon.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Darby's Floating Castle

I should know in March/April about the anthology story. That's the worst part about being a writer: the waiting. It's a bit like waiting for test results. Actually, what it's like is concieving a child, bearing it for nine months and then delivering it, only to have complete strangers judge it to not be marketable.

I've added some new links: the always enjoyable Neal Pollack, and my friend Ben now has a blog as well, called No Code.

Lorrie Moore has a new short story in the new issue of The New Yorker. I'm a huge fan of hers. They also have a wonderful article on Hayao Miyazaki, the giant of Japanese animation. He's a huge hero and inspiration of mine, and I'm dying to see the new film, due here late this year I think. I think I want to see that one as much or more than Star Wars. Sigh. I've become a heretic. I'll just go up here and wait in my floating castle for stuff.

By the way, your monitor is dirty.

Snow Wars

Tonight the snow got soft enough for snowballs. So Pepper (my german shepherd)and I began our assault promptly about midnight. Pepper likes to chase snowballs so I toss them and she goes long. We set about reducing the number of deadly stalactite style icicles as well as enemy garbage can divisions. We slid a bit and there were casualities, but war is war.

The anthology story is done and out. In the end I am happy with how it turned out. I have a title for a new short story, but no story. I'm ramping up on a new novel as well. So far we have The Angel Book and the perhaps heretofore unmentioned Sci Fi Book. This is Mystery Book. Like mystery meat, but literary like. And I have a host of ideas for other books and screenplays and so on, which is nice because last year I felt really burned out and divorced from ideas.

Pepper and I gotta go work on our exit strategy now.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Bowling Alone

A site I check regular is the Word Spy where they collect the new words we create in our bizarro world culture, and today I found "bowling alone" which describes a person who doesn't participate in his/her society, which unfortunately fits me to a tee lately. Not seeing too much of the out doors or other people, and it feels very weird.

On the other hand, I got a call from Polly tonight, and that made my day. She had many good things to say about the anthology story, as well as The Angel Book. She also had many good suggestions that were very helpful. It kind of made me want to jump on a plane and good to NYC and talk all day and night about writing and books and drink Guiness with her. I REALLY REALLY need to get out of here.

Friday, January 07, 2005


We got something like 12 inches of snow the last couple of days. Under that is a sheet of solid ice. So yeah, it's winter.

I'm having a hard time getting this story for the anthology right. I'm very concerned about it being misinterpreted. I see it as a warning bell ala Orwell, but when you're writing about Blue/Red issues, your point is irrelevant because the other side automatically sees it as bankrupt.