Friday, January 10, 2014

Very Superstitious

I’m the first to say he’s not boyfriend material. He came on too strong, and then he backed off too fast. Plus, all these hurricanes he’s causing suggests if it does work you guys will need a lot of couples therapy.

But Helen, you don't friend-zone a weather god.

The highway’s flooded, and it’s snowing inside our apartment. The McDonald's where you two had your ironic non-date? I don’t want to know what happened in the ball pit. I just want it to stop being struck by lightning.

Look, remember the time Mark grabbed my ass at the office New Years party? He'd been hitting on me all night even though I straight-up told him I'm straight, and come midnight he's giving me a rectal exam? Remember how I reacted?

Yeah. I decked him.

But if he threw hurricanes along with his temper tantrums, baby we'd have moved to Virginia and be raising a little family of Pomeranians right now. Because you don't screw with that. At least not until our lease is up and we can get out of here.

Look. Your mom's a Reformed Episcopalian, right? Well this god is a fixer-upper too. And this is all still his fault, but just for right now, and this is the only time I’m ever going to say it… lead Thor on.

Unless you’ve got somebody else we could stick him with.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

There Is No Generation X

I didn’t have a meltdown the other day, and neither did Michael Bay. He was on my television for no good reason and for lots of money. Beneath my television sat a box of non-perishable food I was about to run over to the local Methodist Church. Bay’s teleprompter malfunctioned and so he stammered, failed to adlib, apologized, and walked away from the giant curved television he was supposed to pretend to like. Then I walked to the car to drive food out for the homeless
This is what we have in common.
Unless you like Beta Ray Bill.

The real news story is that CES has celebrities pitching 100-inch televisions that cost $5,000 on the same day that Obama arm-wrestled the Senate over unemployment benefits. This is one of the great examples of our union barely being united, and the notion of a “generation” being meaningless. It’s not about Haves and Have-Nots, which is a blisteringly false dichotomy. It’s about difficulty pretending we’re all one.

It pings off a recent screed that “Generation X is Tired of Your Bullshit.” As though there is a Generation X. Generation X has as many bullshit-producers and -profiteers as any previous generation – perhaps more, with technology and secularism providing more pulpits.

There is staggering disparity of experience among my generation, and more in the generation that followed. Some of the children I grew up with make six figures on Wall Street. Some can’t afford the internet and sleep in parks. Some are dead.

What does any generation have in common? Being born within a few of the same decades before life happened to them? Genes, economic background, religion, sex and gender and sexuality, and the experience of all those items is wildly disparate. Most of my generation doesn't know what it's liked to be pulled over at 2:00 AM for driving too nice a car, yet my generation contains both the profiled and the profilers. Half of Generations X and Y never opened a book last year, and more of Generations X and Y have published books than any in American history. These generations are in the Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party, Anonymous, political lobby firms, the unemployment line, the military, and the living room on X-Box Live.
The first non-ironic version of Ascent of Man you've seen in years.
We have this in common!
It’s beautiful and ugly and irreconcilable It’s why I can read Avarind Adiga while my brother watches Howard Stern clips on Youtube, both of us busy while my sister bakes cupcakes shaped like snowmen. That’s why Facebook walls are full of political memes that three people Like and eighteen people roll their eyes at and scroll past. That’s why the media says the media is lying. By disregarding the monolith, more people have opportunities at satisfaction. And more people means less in common.

If you’re waiting for me to say that I hate or love this, you’ll be disappointed. I experience both of those emotions towards this issue, and other emotions. It’s a complicated response that has changed and will likely change again. If I, one person, occupy so shifty a node on so obvious an issue, how are we supposed to pretend that New Yorkers, white people, Americans or Homo sapiens sapiens think one thing?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Lit Corner: Embarking on the Next Novel

Photo of controversial non-celebs?
So topical! I feel more bloggy already.
Happy January, everybody! I hope your New Years had minimal embarrassments and car wrecks.

One thing I learned at the end of 2013 is that I’m very bad at traditional blogging. Divert massive amounts of brain juice to write fiction every day? Can do. But personal missives and polemics every 2-3 days? I clearly need to learn. Let’s take a crack at this.

Because it’s January, I’m embarking on another novel. For now the project title is We Don’t Always Drown. January has been kind to my compositions for the last three years and is fast becoming the ritual spot to start new books. I know this project is right because I wound up bailing on everything last night just to outline bits of it. It’s demanding a more robust plot skeleton than usual, possibly because I’ve had this idea for two years and plot vines kept growing out of it. There are so many matters to consider when Fantasy criminals compete for a corpse stuck in an ice cube.

Results from a brainstorming session
on genre blending.
We Don’t Always Drown is the direct sequel to The Last House in the Sky, which I haven’t published, and which makes the sequel composition seem slightly dubious. Yet I’ve invented a very big world and have at least five novels in store for this cast – in addition to thirteen more ideas that might require their own novellas and novels later. The first book was such a hit with test readers that I’m tempted to rush it out, but because this is the beginning of a long undertaking, I want to make sure the limb holds. There’s no sin equally contemptible as retconning all the important bits in after a book’s been out.

December went well. I managed to finish drafts of all four target stories, and submitted three in earnest. If you don’t know, both Strange Horizons and F&SF opened to digital submissions a short while ago. One straggling short story needs a little more time in the pressure cooker; I’ll probably straighten it out in the spring after this novel is drafted. Most importantly, that old Magical Girl story is out the door and making the rounds in what feels like a truly finished form. Six years of haunting, finally exorcised. It’s striking how draining what ultimately turns out to be so few words can be.

Awful author selfie?
Okay. Now it's a blog post.

My 2014 convention schedule is almost set. I have to make Boskone in February to see my old VP peeps, and am currently trying to figure out how to fit both ReaderCon and NASFiC into the same week this summer. My room is already booked for World Fantasy in D.C. Who will I see there?

To the general reader public: #NaNoReMo is coming back, but as you guessed, it won’t be in January. We had some folks request it be moved forward a bit, and so we’ve settled on March. Silly as I may be, February is Black History month, the only official month of anything that I actually respect and refuse to compete against. So you’ve got two months to pick out that classic book you’ve been putting off for two long. There ought to be a blog post about that soon. I love #NaNoReMo after last year’s intimate weeks plumbing Middlemarch, which is still challenging my view of how fiction operates.

So how was your December, everyone? And how’s January opening up?
Counter est. March 2, 2008