Posts for 2019

On The Just Doing Of It (2019/11/09 05:00)
It's hard to just do things, because our ideas about them always get in the way.

Something To Think About (2019/11/08 05:00)
On the use and abuse of thought experiments.

The Best Of The Best Of The Best (2019/11/08 08:00)
The more I try to parse it, the more this business of best-of, of ranking things, seems a consumerist attitude.

Makers Gonna Make (2019/11/07 05:00)
And should, even if they aren't great marketers.

Russell's Folly (2019/11/07 08:00)
Ken Russell's "The Devils": not quite bad enough to be funny. But still awful.

When The Gears Mesh, And When The Lightbulb Goes On (2019/11/06 08:00)
When tech works it's a wonderful thing. The rest of the time... (Self-written blog software edition.)

As Yet Unbegun, Let Alone Unfinished (2019 Edition) (2019/11/05 05:00)
Some story ideas of mine that remain eternally in progress.

I Have Been In This Elevator Before (2019/11/05 08:00)
A mindset to be identified and resisted.

Not This Year, Either (2019/10/25 05:00)
No NaNoWriMo for me this year, again, but only because I don't need it. But what do I mean by "need"?

Snoopy's Neck (2019/10/24 05:00)
On a childhood possession and the nature of grasping.

What Started As A Romp (2019/10/15 05:00)
I always say to myself, "I'm just going to write something fun," and of course it always turns out to be far more than that.

Even One Word Is Power (2019/10/11 05:00)
I write fiction because I do not want to die feeling I have had no control over my life.

Smother Me In Fun (2019/10/02 08:00)
So much media, so little time. Again.

No Place To Put It, Or No Time For it (2019/09/30 08:00)
With all the things I'd like to write about, I have to put my fiction first, if only because there's no one else who can do it.

Feeding Your Head (Pt. Three Thousand & Six) (2019/09/29 01:00)
I'd rather have people sincerely interested in things, whatever cultural level they live at, than be wannabe tastemakers forever jonesing to expand their reach.

The Impersistence Of Memory (2019/09/23 08:00)
How our lives slip through our own fingers.

No Good Vs. Yes Good (2019/09/21 05:00)
Creative paranoia: when you know, just know, your work is worthless in a way only others can see.

Doing The You Thing (2019/09/11 05:00)
On defending that original burst of inspiration to the death.

I Owe An Excuse (2019/09/11 08:00)
What's the difference between an appreciation of something and making excuses for it?

Doowutchalike, Part Three Hundred And Six (2019/09/10 08:00)
What is the good, and bad, in saying "I do what I dang well want" in any creative medium? I know there's both.

Short Of My Own Mark (2019/09/06 05:00)
A good critic of other work makes me look at my own and feel like I've missed even the standards I wanted to set for myself.

Beat Zen, Square Zen, And Fad Zen (2019/09/05 05:00)
If someone is now interested in something that once only had faddish appeal, their interest has a far greater chance of being genuine.

We'll Always Have The Avengers (2019/09/05 08:00)
Ubiquitous cultural things don't thrill me, because they're in no danger of vanishing.

The Destructive Frivolity Of The Incurably Serious (2019/09/04 05:00)
"The most destructive frivolity of all comes only from the incurably serious."

Conditions Are Never Ideal, Pt. One Thousand And Six (2019/09/03 03:00)
There's no sense in delaying life because things aren't quite right yet. (A redux.)

Nobody Cares Enough About Your Idea To Steal It, Part Nine Thousand And Seven (2019/08/31 08:00)
"Don't worry about someone stealing your good ideas. Worry about someone stealing your bad ones!"

Back To Zero, Again And Again (2019/08/30 01:00)

Hammered To Pieces (2019/08/29 08:00)
The most amazing thing about the next draft of 'The Fall Of The Hammer' is how much of it will end up not getting ditched, as I feared might happen.

Less Is Less (Is More) (2019/08/27 08:00)
Purging bookshelves, freeing up space, lightening the load.

How To Make Up Your Flippin' Mind (2019/08/25 08:00)
Learn to cut stuff, lest your creative work becomes one giant act of paralysis.

Milestone Markers In Many Forms (2019/08/24 08:00)
There's more than one way to mark progress for a work in progress. Sometimes it's when you take one step back so you can take several more steps forward in a new direction.

Dream On (2019/08/14 08:00)
For a creative person, I have some of the dullest dreams around. I don't get it either.

Nobody Cares Enough About Your Idea To Steal It, Part Nine Thousand And Six (2019/08/11 08:00)
Ideas aren't what matter, anyway. Execution is. And beyond that, the habit of executing. But why do we get hung up about great ideas?

Even Bad Mozart Is Hard (2019/08/07 08:00)
The most beautiful Mozart you'll hear, the one from your own fingers, is beautiful because you now know what it costs to have even a bad version of Mozart out there.

Highly Illogical, Jim (2019/08/06 08:00)
When does a story's logic hold fast, and when does it break?

Hello From The Other Side (2019/08/05 08:00)
A letter to a long-dead friend.

Just Play At This (2019/08/01 08:00)
"Don’t think about your discipline, don’t think about your craft, just play at this."

Self-Work In Progress (2019/07/24 05:00)
If you don't work on yourself, it makes the job of others defining you against your will easier for them.

Constructive Loafing (2019/07/23 05:00)
On Zen as the "do-nothing" philosophy (which it isn't).

The Forever Draft (2019/07/19 05:00)
The idea is called "continuous publishing", and it doesn't thrill me.

Bibliophile's Lament (2019/07/16 05:00)
The joys and tribulations of the Open Library.

Advice And Consent (2019/07/13 05:00)
The very best advice I received was not a command but a seed for discussion.

Fallings From Grace (2019/07/13 02:00)
My Dale Peck problem.

My Own 'What' And 'Why' (2019/07/08 09:00)
How I used to get caught up in thinking about the surfaces of the things I admired.

The Wile E. Coyote Problem (2019/07/07 08:00)
Why much of what we call "genius" is mostly cultivated stubbornness.

No Hands On The Wheel (2019/07/05 08:00)
The problem of power, and why discarding power isn't a solution to it.

It Ain't Where You're From, It's Where You're At And Where You're Headed (2019/07/04 08:00)
The peculiar genesis of my new novel means it's going to take at least one to two more passes than usual to kick it into shape.

The Big Payback, er, Payoff (2019/07/03 05:00)
What you do and don't owe a reader.

Why Nelson The Miscreant Was Right (2019/06/30 05:00)
"...the wretched of the earth might not be wholly responsible for their wretchedness."

The David Katalin Memorial Archive (2019/06/28 05:00)
A dream from the other night, so vivid and specific in its details that it unnerved me.

Spero Meliora And All That (2019/06/28 08:00)
"Greatness is lived, not had."

I Reject Your Reality And Substitute My Own (2019/06/25 08:00)
The power to visualize something well is not the same as the power to enact it well. In a world ruled by images, it's hard to remember that.

The Bane Of All Curious Minds (2019/06/21 08:00)
What do you do when there's just so much to do and so many things to know? Focus. But how?

2001: A Space Odyssey (2019/06/17 08:00)
Fifty years later, one of the greatest films ever made has scarcely aged a day in the ways that matter

Bless This Mess (2019/06/17 08:00)
The Fall Of The Hammer so far has the messiest and most fractured first draft of any book of mine I can remember.

Tinker Toys (2019/06/11 05:00)
In some ways I'm quite stodgy when it comes to the software tools I use for my creative projects.

Bliss Is Ignorance (2019/06/08 05:00)
There was once a time when I felt I was a better writer when I didn't really know what I was doing.

Yes U-Turn (2019/06/06 08:00)
On not backing up in the middle of a first draft ... and then doing exactly that.

Apocalypse Table Stakes (2019/05/29 05:00)
My creative sin: writing stories where all of creation hangs in the balance, YET AGAIN.

How To Listen To Your Gut (2019/05/28 08:00)
And how to do what scares you, at the same time.

Guilty As Charged (2019/05/23 08:00)
Everyone who's ever put a word to paper has an excuse, or a justification if you want to be less nasty, for everything they do. Of course I'm guilty of this.

Whatever It Is, I'm Against It (2019/05/22 08:00)
On why contrarianism is not dissent.

The Refutation Proclamation (2019/05/21 08:00)
Make something that is your answer to all the things in the world you don't want.

Pull That Thread (2019/05/20 08:00)
If there's a thread in your story that begs to be pulled, pull it.

You Can See Why I Was Busy (2019/05/19 08:00)
Whole lotta shakin' going on.

Regular Service Resuming Shortly (2019/05/14 10:00)
Excuse our dust.

Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death (2019/05/10 08:00)
"...what we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument."

Jerks-R-Us (2019/05/01 05:00)
People who say "I'm a jerk and proud of it" are sending a signal they should be avoided. The problem is we aren't always in a position to enact that advice.

The Old New Thing, Again (2019/04/30 05:00)
"The familiar is beautiful until it becomes chic to prefer the different."

Big Ticket Items (2019/04/26 08:00)
More on popular culture as a bad model for creator culture.

Solo Work (2019/04/23 05:00)
"All a writer’s real learning is done alone."

Is This Thing On? (2019/04/22 08:00)
Blogging has resumed.

Rumor Control, April 2019 Edition (2019/04/19 08:00)
Some recent writing and creative news from these shores.

In A Roundabout Kind Of Way (2019/04/12 08:00)
My current book bears no relation to its earlier incarnations save for its title.

Something To Push Against (2019/04/06 10:00)
On constraints as creative impetuses, and the fallacies that arise therein.

You Figure It Out (2019/04/06 08:00)
"Fish s**t or coffee, sir?"

The Case For Preferring Older Books (2019/04/04 05:00)
You miss out on less than you think.

Hugo, Hugoing, Hugoforit (2019/04/02 06:00)
AO3's Hugo: a sign of progress.

The Same Old New Thing (2019/04/01 08:00)
"We choose virality instead of quality, and equate it to quality because of its resonance."

Rewriting Is Writing Is Rewriting (2019/03/28 05:00)
Is rehearsing.

Blog On (2019/03/27 05:00)
Toying with Pelican, Nikola, and other static site generators.

The Last Great Special Effect (2019/03/26 08:00)
It's sheer human effort.

Don't Make A Career Out Of It (2019/03/21 06:00)
Professionalized hobbies make bad careers.

Revisionism (2019/03/19 08:00)
The temptation to go back and touch up one's on work is strong.

Another Land's Words (2019/03/15 06:00)
Are international literary prizes just for "foreign writers who make sense to us"?

The Blankest Of Slates And Pages (2019/03/13 08:00)
What happens when we take a genre and remove everything from it that we'd label as being part of that genre?

Out Of Touch (2019/03/12 08:00)
The number of things we need to have an opinion about right this second is not as large as it might seem.

The 10010 2019 Experience (2019/03/04 05:00)
Back in NYC for a few days.

Freedom Yeah Right (2019/03/04 08:00)
"... from where I sit, freedom isn't choice. Freedom is agency. Indeed, choice - by limiting agency - is often the opposite of freedom."

Up The Other Academy (2019/03/03 05:00)
Awards are popularity contests, and the only thing that distinguishes the prestigious ones from the less so is the way the more prestigious ones are designed not to look like popularity contests.

Kill Process And Reboot (2019/02/26 05:00)
On stopping in the middle of a first draft and starting over, sort of.

Up The Academy (2019/02/26 09:00)
No more superhero/wizard academies based on British boarding schools, please!

Sneaking Up On The Generalities (2019/02/22 08:00)
Instead of attacking them head-on.

The NOFOLLOW Flag (2019/02/21 08:00)
A photographer deleted his social media presence to save his creative instincts. A wise idea.

The Passive Type (2019/02/20 08:00)
Zen as nonintellectual, rather than anti-intellectual. But also non-passive.

Forest, Trees, Fox, Hedgehog (2019/02/16 01:00)
On the difference between foxes and hedgehogs.

The Mud Of The First Draft (2019/02/15 05:00)
Notes from early on in the first draft of the new novel, 'The Fall Of The Hammer'.

Resuming Regular Service (2019/02/15 10:24)
We're back!

The Firstest With The Mostest (2019/02/09 01:00)
If remakes are trash, it's because the true potential of such a project is not the motive.

Change In The Wind (2019/02/06 08:00)
The name "Genji Press" doesn't really fit me anymore, and I'm not sure it ever did. Time for a new one?

The Pile That Never Shrinks (2019/02/04 05:00)
How the Open Library is keeping me from drowning in books.

The Reading Prescription (2019/02/01 05:00)
On recommending books as a way for authors to get perspective on a current or future work of their own.

The Fire Of The Mind (2019/02/01 01:00)
Those who embrace creativity take control of their lives. It's a contagious thing.

Progress Not Guaranteed, Pt. 2 (2019/01/31 08:00)
More on Steven Pinker.

Words From The Wise (2019/01/30 05:00)
Very few people are qualified to give useful story advice because they think the main function of a story is to entertain them.

The Future Is A One-Way Street (2019/01/28 05:00)
"The simple faith in progress is not a conviction belonging to strength, but one belonging to acquiescence and hence to weakness."

All The Cool New Folks Are Dead (2019/01/25 05:00)
In re: "I can’t help feeling a bit depressed that so many of the cool new writers are dead."

You Won't Find It Here (2019/01/23 08:00)
I sometimes feel like books about writing should be prefaced with, "You won't find any 'literature' here."

Roads Not Taken, And All That (2019/01/18 08:00)
Musings on the guy I almost was.

Oh, Yeah, Now Where Was I? (2019/01/17 10:00)
Sorry about the silence over the last couple of days. I've officially started writing the as-yet-untitled 2019 novel.

The Performance Index (2019/01/11 08:00)
On gauging artistic quality by way of popularity, always a bad move.

Always Outnumbered, Never Misprinted (2019/01/09 09:00)
A small printing issue has surfaced with the dead-tree edition of my new novel, 'Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned.'

The Shining Prince And The Misery Index (2019/01/09 08:00)
On Kenneth Rexroth, 'The Tale Of Genji', and the notion of miserable places that can produce beautiful things.

The Worst Horse (2019/01/07 08:00)
"If you understand Zen as a kind of practice to be a best horse you will have a problem."

Nowhere To Go Drinking (2019/01/04 08:00)
People need a place to go that's just a place to gather.

Now Gaming In A Theater Near You (2019/01/03 08:00)
On Netflix's Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and interactive fiction as a video platform of the future.

Anxiety Of Influence, Once Again (2019/01/02 05:00)
You don't want to run from your influences. You want to walk away from them.

An Infinitely Receding Horizon (2019/01/01 05:00)
"...while surely there will be a time to rest, it is not now."

The True(r) Story (2019/01/01 01:00)
On the fictions of the "true story" style of moviemaking.

Genji Press

Science fiction, rebooted.

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