Thrilled to say that I’ll be doing a reading at the World Fantasy Convention on Friday, November 7, 1 to 1:30 p.m.
So I lied about eventually having a more substantial post last week (not that I think anyone was eagerly awaiting one, especially given my half-assed blogging tendencies of late). I had intended to write a post last week, but I got distracted by something that was probably far more worthwhile for me. I rediscovered how much I like words.
I’m a fairly slow reader, so once I started grad school, I didn’t have much time to read anything beyond assignments for class. And as soon as the spring semester ended, I had a big pile of critiques to get through for TNEO. But then, last week, a beautiful thing happened: I was done with critiques, and I had before me an evening with no rehearsal, schoolwork, meetings, or anything else to do or go to. So I read. Fiction. For fun. For the first time in months. It was glorious. And it continues to be glorious.
In addition to getting to lose myself in someone else’s words for a while, I also got to rediscover some joy in my own words. Even though I’ve still been working on fiction these last several months, my writing routine during my spring semester . . . well, I no longer had one. I squeezed in what I could where and when I could. And everything I was working on was revision. With deadlines. And therefore pressure.
But last week, I started a new story. Every day on the train ride to and from work, I’ve been writing. And when there’s time in the evening, I write some more. And since it’s not revision, I’ve been able to use my old battle-worn AlphaSmart (aka VoldeSmart). In other words, no shiny things on my Macbook to distract me. Just me and my words and no deadlines. I had forgotten how much fun it can be to just play.
As expected, this past week was rather weird for me schedule-wise. Adjusting to the whole part-time from home day job shift was sort of like pulling on an old pair of pants; you’re thrilled they fit again, but it’s been so long since you’ve worn them that you’re trying to remember which tops look right with them. As a result, the time I spent trying on metaphorical tops meant I didn’t do much fiction writing during the week. At least until yesterday, when I finally got my ass out of the metaphorical dressing room.
After doing a small amount of research and photo scrounging on Thursday, I finally started the prequel-ish My Big Fat Epic Fantasy Novel short story. Well, I had already written a first sentence or two and jotted down some notes a while back, but yesterday was when I finally sat my butt down and started writing in earnest. The Silk Road Ensemble was kind of a "duh" soundtrack choice for working on a story set at a caravanserai, especially when one of the albums I have from them has a track called "Night at the Caravanserai." And I threw Loreena McKennitt’s "Caravanserai" onto my writing playlist for good measure.
After working on the short story for a bit, I switched gears slightly and did an hour writing exercise with some online folks for the first time in forever. Recently, I’ve imposed all these huge expectations on myself as a writer, which often has the unfortunate side effect of making me petrified when I’m staring down a blank page. This was a good way to tell those expectations where to shove it. I turned off Serious Writer Brain and just goofed off for an hour by writing something silly that will probably never go anywhere beyond the exercise. It was also my first time playing with Write or Die, which was a great help in turning off Serious Writer Brain.
And finally, on to the reading front: