Just Like That


I put June down the other day, and while I was distracted over here, it expired. June 30th! The year is half over. There is a great deal of WTF? hand-wringing and head-shaking today, and I expect a little bit of it tomorrow too. And, after that, maybe some action, which is, still, a re-action, but eventually, if I manage to get my desk cleared off, it’ll be less “re-” and more “pro-.” Maybe.

And I think I’m going to un-apologetically come late to Jeff Vandermeer’s Amnesty Week For Apologies and apologize to myself for thinking that I needed to Keep Up. And, as a token of good faith, give myself permission to Fall Off The Map, with an added admonishment to Enjoy What Is There In Front of You.

There. Done.

I am still, however, behind on PSYCHOBABEL. That is a matter of Fear and Procrastination, which is an entirely different topic.

And, A Few Days Ago


I have been meaning to catch up on the Locus Awards weekend, but it would appear that whatever stories I have to tell pale in comparison to Saturday night. So, yes, let’s just point you over to jlassen‘s post.*

Friday, though, was much more low-key. I got to hang out with Jeremy and Cherie Priest [cmpriest], do the Underground Tour, discover that I know nearly nothing about Seattle even after living in this region for 13+ years as compared to the Font of Local Knowledge that bubbles from Cherie’s noggin, have a late afternoon snack at Wild Ginger, watch Nancy Pearl interview William Gibson, and hob-nob with a couple of the new Clarion gang at the reception afterward.

And yes, afterward there was some of that Liquor Summoning Magick.


*And, for the record, I was at home with the family, falling asleep on the couch while watching Tristram Shandy. Really.

Podcast: Lightbreaker Soundtrack


Julie K. Rose’s Writers And Their Soundtracks podcast has an interview with yours truly this morning. The podcast version is up today, and the full text of the interview will be posted next week. This is the soundtrack to Lightbreaker, and as Julie mentions in the podcast, I do a full track-by-track run-down. So, you’ll get some music samples this week (including, bless her heart, a bit of power electronics), which will tide you over until the long and wordy version next week.


I realized this morning that the last modification date on the PSYCHOBABEL file is about two weeks ago. Where did the time go? Well, let’s see . . .

Back on the 15th, I drove down to Portland to participate in a reading with Barth Anderson [barthanderson], M. K. Hobson [mkhobson], and Jay Lake [jaylake] at St. Johns Books. Barth was in town for some foodie shenanigan and stayed over a few extra days so that he could play with the local peeps, and we co-opted a bookstore for the afternoon. The reading was lightly attended, but well received, the fact that we threw it all together in a few days notwithstanding (Deb [wheatlandpress] and Jeffrey from the Writer’s Dojo were among the attendees). I read the Markham piece, Mary read from “Crushing Butterflies,” her piece in the latest Flytrap, Jay read “The Philosopher Clown” (which can be found in The River Knows Its Own), and Barth treated us to some of The Magician and the Fool and a bit from a new book. Yes, the man is working on a new book. Very exciting.

Afterward, we all perambulated over to the local McMenamin’s pub and discovered the Electric Mud Stout, one of their seasonal beers. Once Tiger Wood birdied his way into a sudden death playoff at the US Open, the party broke up, and Barth and I went to Powell’s.

Where I proceeded to find everything on my list, which made my basket very heavy. We also picked out two books for each other (Barth’s idea, and a very good one). I ended up with Lisa Goldstein’s The Red Magician and Papus’s The Divinatory Tarot. I found copies of John Burdett’s Bangkok 8 and James Ellroy’s White Jazz for him.

After a couple of hours at Powell’s, we wandered down Burnside so I could take Barth to Voodoo Donuts, that magical space between buildings where the “magic is in the hole.” I had the bacon-covered maple bar, and he had some sort of raspberry cruller thingie with lightning bolts burned in the frosting or some such marvel. I didn’t really notice, as I was having bacon AND a maple bar–two things that are mighty fine on their own. Though, eh, not so good together, actually. And it may have been the presentation: two strips of bacon slapped on top of a maple bar. Really. I mean, I can do THAT at home, so why was I paying three bucks for someone pierced and tattooed emo punk to do it for me?

The raspberry wind-up creampuff with a miniature sealife diorama was the better donut. Which is good that Barth had that one, as it wouldn’t have good for the guy who came the furthest distance for a customized donut to have the shitty one. That would have made me a bad host.

One of the guys working at the St. John’s Theater & Pub mentioned that the Electric Mud Stout was brewed at the Kennedy School, one of my favorite places to stay in Portland, and so we wandered over there to have more stout. And to have some more of those Cajun tater pups.

And that was Father’s Day.

I was already scheduled to have the day off so I stayed over and we wandered through bookstores on Monday, including Twenty-Third Avenue Books where I picked up a copy of Goodnight Bush, a topical parody of Goodnight Moon. For those of us who have read this book a couple thousand times in the last few years, it’s a hoot. For those of us who are counting down to January 20th, 2009, it’s even funnier. Especially in the little details on the pages.

We wandered through town (stopping over at the Hawthorne street Powell’s), and ended up at The Grotto, a 62 acre botanical garden and Catholic shrine (administered by the Order of Friar Servants of Mary). After taking in the view from the top of the bluff, we drifted through the garden and rested under the watchful eye of St. Francis and a deer and a hound while continuing the on-going conversation about writing that we’d been working on for the last thirty-six hours. A few hours later, having reached some sort of conclusion and outlined the framework of a Clever Idea(tm), I wound up the rubber band on WhiteCar and hit the road.

And I still haven’t written up the PLAN for the Clever Idea(tm). Lazy bastard that I am.

The Fall: Candy for Your Eyeballs


We snuck out for the afternoon yesterday and caught The Fall, Tarsem Singh’s new film. A dream narrative/fairy tale framed by the story of a little girl and the man she meets at a hospital, The Fall is filled with his sumptuous visual imagery (it took him four years and eighteen countries to capture all the locations he wanted is the factoid I read). It is, in a word, GORGEOUS. Distribution is limited on this one, so you might have to go out of your way to find it, but sooooo worth the trouble.

Go watch the trailer. Check your local listings. Make the trek. Your eyeballs will thank you.

5th Sentence Meme


Briefly, as I get ready to head for the train, here’s the Fifth Sentence Meme (nearby book, page 123, fifth sentence).

“For authors have a way of being absent, even dead, and their intended meaning can no longer be directly intuited or double-checked through question and answer, as in the face-to-face situation of speech.”

(The Postmodern Bible, various editors, from the chapter “Poststructuralist Criticism”)

Tagged by Paul Jessup (congratulations, sir, on your recent success and infamy).

And, the sixth sentence, as it is a nice kicker: “Writing defaces speech.”

More later about the Portland reading and the rolling day-long conversation with barthanderson about writing as we strolled from bookstore to bookstore.

Barth Anderson + Portland + Sunday = Fun


My pal, Barth Anderson [barthanderson], is spending Father’s Day away from his family. So, to lessen his separation anxiety, he’s doing a reading. Where? Portland, OR. At St. John’s Books. Sunday, 2pm.

He’ll be reading from The Magician and the Fool, of course, because that’s what he’s shilling these days. It’ll be fun. If you’re in the area, you should drop by and say hello.

Oh, wait! Bonus! I’ll be there too. We laughingly called it the “Guerilla Surrealism Circus” yesterday, and well, Barth is on a plane now so he can’t stop me from throwing the title out there: Guerilla Surrealism Circus Featuring Barth Anderson and the Pips* it is. Once Barth is done reading, a cavalcade of guest stars will take the stage for brief, glorious moments of literary insanity** and then, poof!, we’ll all vanish to the nearest brew pub where we will laugh and laugh about this into the night.


*wheatland_press nailed the full title, I think.
**For those who have been wondering about the tarot reading Barth and I did at Wiscon, what I will be reading will be a response to that flurry of weather and card-throwing.

Story Sale to Polyphony 7


I was very thrilled to receive notification last night that “Heart of the Rail” has been accepted by Deborah Layne [wheatland_press] and Forrest Aguirre [experimeditor] for Polyphony 7. Polyphony is one of those anthologies that I’ve always looked at and said, “Maybe, one day, when I’m all growed up.”

This was the first story that I wrote post-VP, and I was hyper-aware of all my bad habits as I was writing it. It appears, however, that I managed to shake some of them off. Excellent.

[A shout out to ecgriffith for the title suggestion. Thanks, dude.]