Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Most of us are up early in the morning - we scribbling types. Right now, it's 4:54 AM and I woke up, got some exercise, and now I'm sipping coffee and trying to be a genius author.

Most of us that got daylight gigs do exactly this. Alarm goes off, and we're hard at work, bleary-eyed, and a little exhausted at the end of the week.

All this hard work, and when do we have time to do the reading we need to do just to try and keep up with what we do? How many books have you read this month? Are you up on the stuff that interests you, or are you impossibly behind? Are you up on at least one subfield of the literary arts?

I'm impossibly behind. I'll never catch up. Neither will you. Surrendering to this fact - you will never read enough or know enough - one knows that now is the time to not bother following trends, or worrying on the various subfields. Now, at 4 AM, instead focus on exactly what you want to work on, whether interesting or not to the purchasing powers of the world.

If your goal is fame and wealth and whatnot, I guess this is bad advice. But, really, if you're going to be awake at 4 AM doing anything, make it something specific to you - just for you - and f*ck anyone that wants you to make this sacrifice for a few dollar bills and a line at a bookstore signing. Do it for yourself. You've got a job, or you wouldn't be up this early doing your writing thing.

I didn't follow a trend this week. No steampunk. No space opera. No ephemereal stuff about adventurous people doing adventurous things. This week, I worked on a story about a traveling carnival, because I really like the mental image of a rickety ferris wheel rising over a long plain, lit up like Christmas, on a warm summer night. It isn't steampunk, or technopunk, or squidpunk, or anything like it. It is just the thing that interests me enough to make me think getting up at 4 AM is worth it to figure this mental image out.

(Also, a hard man is holding a halved pomegranate in his hands, offering it to you, as if in a dream. Don't eat them, though. There's definitely something dangerous about the situation.)

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