2009-09-20

This Morning

As i was typing the date for this entry, i somehow automatically went ‘September 20, 19…’ before i caught myself. This is interesting only because what i was planning on writing about is how i woke up this morning and was overwhelmed with the feeling of being back in about 1981/82. It was that moment just before waking on a day when you’ve managed to sleep in longer than you should have; a morning after a night spent working too late. It was a morning with a particular degree of chill before the furnace comes on, and a particular degree of light through the blinds. A morning a particular feeling of distance and anxiety and hopefulness working its way out from the fading spaces of a night whose half-remembered dreams hint at memories that the daylight dreaming doesn’t touch. It was a morning that felt like all the mornings of high school.

(The familiarity was short-lived, to be sure, as upon even partially waking, one of the big differences between now and then is that when i wake up now, i do so in bed with a vivacious naked woman. This is a thing sadly lacking in the above-mentioned high school years. But anyway.)

I remember this feeling of morning from those years, ’81/’82. That endless two-year-period where my life made its abrupt transition from whatever came before it to the place in which i still find myself now; grade 11, grade 12. Back then, every morning upon waking, there was this feeling of being at the beginning of something, and of everything being possible and nothing insurmountable, and of unrestricted creativity and endless amounts of time to piss away doing nothing but thinking and writing and exploring the ever-expanding extents of the world.

These days, too much of the time, i find myself waking to the feeling of being sandbagged and sucked down in the middle of things. Too many mornings of my life now are the feeling of too many items falling off the bottom of the list of things i wanted to accomplish at some point, and of the vicelike grip of ever-shortening days cutting into the creative calendar, and of fighting an ever-losing battle with a general sense of malaise and the slowly fracturing purpose that was once my life.

This morning, for a little while at least, i felt again as if i could accomplish absolutely anything that my heart and mind desired. I like that.

2009-09-10

Coming Up Next!

Today’s pet peeve: books that admit to being the first in a series, but which don’t actually tell a complete story in and of themselves. That is, books that are actually only the first half of a book but don’t bother telling you that.

The guilty case in point: Karavans by Jennifer Roberson, which i picked up because it looked interesting and compelling and was sharply written across the half-dozen sample pages i scanned. And in the reading, sure enough, it was all interesting and compelling and sharply written. Only not until getting to the end of the book is it revealed that virtually nothing that’s set up in the book is actually resolved in the book. Rather, that’s all been saved for the next book. Ah, well.

Actually, this isn’t just today’s pet peeve. It’s an old pet peeve; i’ve just never bothered noting it before, i don’t think. The most egregious example of this kind of crap that i’ve personally encountered is probably Hyperion by Dan Simmons, which is a book in which literally nothing happens over the space of some five hundred freaking pages except the main characters recounting their life stories to each other. These recountings are all rendered in a series of vignettes so drastically stylistically different from each other that my supposition at the time was that they were actually unsold short stories that Simmons used to fill space. Oh, and if i remember correctly, they’re all traveling in a boat on wheels at the time.

Yes, i know that Hyperion won the Hugo or the Nebula or both (i’m not looking it up). Take everything i say for what it’s worth.

But Mr. Simmons: If you happen to read this, with the utmost respect, you owe me a week of my life.

2009-09-02

Work and All That

So a significant amount of creative energy of late is being diverted into an ultra-cool writing project that i can’t talk about. I think i’ve mentioned before that i know how annoying that is, because i’m personally annoyed by blogs and production diaries and such wherein people talk about how they can’t talk about what they’re working on. So i’ll stop.

Except to say that the big project is actually pretty much done, so that it’s back to the medium-sized projects now. The problem is that i have enough of the medium-sized projects on the go that they can all flank for +2 on their attack rolls. I’m editing another RPG book for Wizards of the Coast, am reading/analyzing roughly a script a week for Telefilm right now, and am story editing a new feature by the cowriter of District 9, which i had previously been a script consultant for. I’m also doing a ton of game design on my own, primarily a world-design project with a friend from back in the day (as i like to say), building on a set of narrative ideas that have literally been waiting decades to come to light. All i need to do now is figure out how to stop sleeping and i’ll have no problem getting everything done that i need to get done.

Just for the sake of saying it, i like my job a whole hell of a lot. However, the one huge disadvantage of working at home and doing something you like is that it becomes very easy to spend all your free time working. As much as i don’t miss the pressure of having to bring work home, i confess that i miss the ability to make a conscious choice to not bring work home. If that makes any sense. Sadly, however, the office politics i always used to have little patience for doesn’t go away even when you leave the office behind. Working in film, you get to go head to head with a lot of bright, even-tempered, creatively inspiring people. And then you also get to work with assholes. Frequently. Having to deal with them only by way of email is a nice buffer, but i also miss the satisfaction of being able to tell people to go fuck themselves to their faces. Not that that sort of thing ever got me into trouble at the half-dozen jobs i quit/was fired from before now…

2009-09-01

The Standard

In Alberta (where i’m currently road-tripping with the family), mid way 'twixt Calgary and Drumheller, there's a village called "Standard." While eating lunch in Drumheller, Colleen was flipping through the local paper, which featured a small-story headline that read "Standard Man Killed in Accident" or some such. Not knowing the existence of the village at the time, it seemed like a strange kind of condescension. I mean, the guy's dead; can't you at least pretend he was exceptional in some way?