Thursday, December 19, 2013

Lists of Other Magi

"If it’s really a second coming, he’ll need a bulletproof hummer. That’s my gift: the gift of not getting martyred again by some asshole on the way to work."

"You have no sense of tradition. Luckily, I have enough for both of us: I bought a pound of frankincense, a pound of myrrh, and a pound of gold. He’ll understand."

"I couldn’t afford any of those things with my job. I think those were all the magi could offer, so I’m offering him all I can: I’ll babysit whenever his parents are busy, and whenever he’s old enough, I’ll give him a hot home-cooked meal and host his first sleepover."

"Why do you think he’s going back as a boy? The Lord would take a woman’s shape based on the geo-political climate. I got her The Complete Joan Didion to prepare her."

"I also got her some books, but mine are about reincarnation and destiny. I’m not so much interested in teaching her about it as I am finding out what parts she thinks are BS. I figure I can write my own bestseller just based on that."

"I got him the same thing I have towards all men: good will."

"Why would he… Oh, smart ass. Well I got him an iPhone 5, and he’ll use it way more than your lousy good will gag."

"I hope that Jesus is a Droid man."

"I really hope He’s ambivalent about that stuff. But I can’t know what He’ll want for His first birthday back on earth, so instead I’ve bought some comfortable shoes, some instant coffee, and a lot of diapers. I’m buying presents that’ll be convenient for His parents, because this is going to be harder on them, at least for the first few years."

"Okay, but I’m still giving him or her A Charlie Brown Christmas."

Monday, December 16, 2013

Lit Corner: Where John's Been

Welcome to the last month of my life.
December came with several goals. With better health than November and a few weeks before family returned for the holidays, I decided to finish and submit at least four short stories. It was easy to pick the four, especially the first two: a tiny piece for Apex’s Christmas Flash contest, and a succubus Comedy I brewed up in August. I guarantee if you like my all-dialogue flashes, the succubus story will get you going. It’s the closest thing to Alligators By Twitter that I’ve written in a couple years. Ridiculousness is just in my nature, or too deep in my nurture to dig out.

Both of those stories are already out to markets. The third story is the longest, technically a novelette, and an idea I’ve been struggling to write a good version of for at least five years. There are so many flawed drafts, rewrites and blank slate works alike, that I’ve probably spent more energy word-for-word on this than any of my novels. It wasn't until reading Zelazny's Lord of Light that I hit on the style that really suited the story, but that gave me a white heat and about 14,000 words in one sitting - which I've since cut drastically. It’s a bit of an epilogue to the Magical Girl genre, and a testament to the many ways I’ve felt uncomfortable being so fond of the genre, which I’m calling, “Remember When I Saved the World?”

Thank God the beta readers liked it. It may truly be done. This is the first post-VP piece that my peers have gone over, and they’re a blessing of a group.

This story also got me to watch Madoka Magica, which is a fine piece of trope subversion. I'm thinking of doing a post on my wacky reactions to it, since I was the series-virgin this time, as opposed to our unnamed subject who went blindly into Evangelion. Is that of interest to you, internet?

This leaves me with just one more story to finish, and that project starts today. It is every editor’s least favorite: my totally original take on zombies. Yeah, I can feel Neil Clarke throwing heavy things in my direction already. But it’s an angle on solitude that I don’t see very often and that’s very close to my own life. Besides the zombies and all the Lysol.

Also, at some point I made this.
With those four done, I’ll be able to focus on #bestreads2013 and January. Helene Wecker had to go and write such a magnificent piece of work in The Golem and the Jinni that I’m revising my list of favorite novels, and will probably just let it run long to accommodate. I’m also thinking of doing a separate post about essays and short fiction, as I came across some incredible short pieces this year that don’t feel right to stick next to novels and long comics. What do you say? Maybe “Best Shorts” this Wednesday?

As for January, I have this tradition of starting a new novel every New Years. I’m stuck right now between two possible projects. The first would be rewriting The House That Nobody Built, a task for which my style is now honed enough to handle, and the crits from VP let me know what directions it ought to take.

But the second would be writing more novels in The Last House in the Sky series; those characters were addictive to write about. There’s a certain allure to chasing those thieves across the blown-up world for the rest of my life. Or for the books in the sequence I’ve plotted out. One or the other.

All of this is why the blog has been a little quiet lately. It is, besides shoveling a foot and a half of snow and fending off syndrome tremors, what I’ve been doing with my daily dose of ATP. What have you been up to, internet?
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