Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Recently, I saw a random bit of Facebook hate on someone's news stream, when someone commented on Glenn Beck's rally in a truthful manner to their beliefs, and recieved a random response from a stranger expressing unfocused hatred and bile about the anti-Glenn Beck approach.

Mocking Glenn Beck is something of a cottage industry, these days, done at water coolers and fake news shows and blogs and twitter feeds and real news shows and on and on and on...

To us who are not afficianados of FoxNews, and their particular brand of - shall we say - right-leaning politics and red-tinged yellow journalism, we feel quite comfortable talking amongst ourselves with wonder and amazement that anyone buys the endless stream of conspiracy theories and ideology of euro-centric, wealth-chasing, isolationism. It reminds me a lot of how easy it is for a lot of us book-ish types to look askance at Ayn Rand's work, and anyone who claims her as a major writing influence. It's all well and good to openly deride the ideas of Rand, which often fall all over in a heap at very little pricking, until you meet someone who really likes Rand. Then it gets kind of awkward.

In much the same way, it's very easy to assume no one you know would ever be so dumb as to follow Glenn Beck's strange, guilt-by-association, stream-of-consciousness paranoia. Then, you meet someone who does. And it gets awkward.

And, what's worse, is that hating on Beck and FoxNews is exactly the narrative they sell to their audience. They claim that they are the lone voice calling out in the wilderness of media, speaking truth to power and saying the things that people think but aren't brave enough to say in the politically-correct minefield of common discourse. Calling them fools solidifies their own narrative.

People love an underdog, and love feeling like a member of a rising tide of outsider culture moving to the center. If you are successfully sold on the narrative of FoxNews, looking around you at all the - to you - random hate thrown back upon FoxNews and Glenn Beck and Sara Palin only makes you identify more with those folks and their narrative. Thus, walking around with all this random hatred floating in the air, all this mockery and derision, you would feel the way Fox wants you to feel - the way they tell you to feel - and you, too, will likely snap on someone's Facebook feed when mockery and derision are thrown about so casually.

Which is all to say, I think that it's important to be respectful of FoxNews even if I disagree with almost everything that appears in their program, veiled or brazen. It is so easy to lampoon them - and they seem to design their entire program around painting a giant target on their foreheads - and this is why we shouldn't.

If we keep lampooning them, their audience will only get louder, and bigger, and meaner. Public discourse will suffer even more than it already has.

Don't let them win.

It's like the rampaging advertising icons in that Simpsons' Halloween Special: Just don't look!

(It's stuff like this that supports their narrative: . John Cusack probably doesn't read this here blog, but if you are like him, and feel that way, remember that FoxNews loves to write stories about how people hate FoxNews... There's a reason for that.)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

in the interest of full disclosure, I got home from work Friday night (at 8pm...) and saw a note on my door telling me I had a package for someone named "Collins" waiting for me in the office. I assumed the package was misdirected, and ought to be redirected to this Collins person. I certainly wasn't expecting a package.

Today, on my way to work, I swung by the office to check out this mysterious package.

Upon investigation, the mail guy assumed "Harper Collins" was some person named "Harper Collins" and put that name as whom the package was for on the little package slip. The package was actually addressed to me.

Inside was an uncorrected proof of THE WATERS RISING by Sherri S Tepper. It looks interesting, and I hope to get to it soon-like. However, I may not have time to get to it anytime soon. As it stands, I did want to drop a note about it here, and let people know about it. I certainly appreciate an early look at what appears to be something that will probably be really great.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I find myself reading other people's blogs more than I think about blogging myself. I guess I've long gotten over the neurotic curiosity about how many readers I have or don't have. I also feel like when I've got something to say, it's either a tweet, or it's in one of my pending works that ought not to be blogged about until completion. And, I've got fewer false starts in my journalings to post anywhere. I don't know if that's because I'm getting better or because I'm so pressed for time that I finish what I start, goddammit - the clock is ticking and I don't have time to wander around the apartment thinking out loud to myself; I've got to finish this scene and the next one because I've got to be at work in like ten minutes(!).

I did want to make note of the fact that I have seen the cover art for the reprint of LAST DRAGON coming soon-like from Apex Books. I don't really have an opinion about it until I see the final design, but I think it'll work all right, and the art doesn't suck. It lacks the disintegrating quality of the first cover, but the new one has a LOT more snow.

I'll post it one of these days. Maybe. When it's all done and looking good.

In the mean time, watch your step. Danger is certainly afoot.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Have any of these guys ever actually been to a mosque?

I was curious if most of the folks who are hating on this mosque of death and doom have any real perspective on the situation. Have any of them attended a mosque? Do they have any idea what the services are like?

I will admit, personally, to a failure to attend a service at a mosque. I have been to services in Catholic churches, various evangelical and non-Catholic Christian places, and a couple Buddhist temples. I am Catholic, by choice and upbringing. I also have been drawn to Buddhism because I've found the Dalai Lama to be a marvelously superior spiritual leader compared to most of the Catholic ones I've encountered of late, with their anti-gay anti-women ideologies. I've also noticed meditation works. I guess, at the moment, I'm moving in the direction of a multi-class Buddhist/Catholic. (Kind of like a Monk/Paladin in DnD terms? A strange combination, but it seems to be working for me.)

I've been meaning to attend a Jewish ceremony for some time, if only because I find the religion and its writings and history quite beautiful and soulful. I never went for the same reason I barely attend Catholic service. I'm really, really busy, and sleeping in on the weekends is a very desirable thing. I generally go to Buddhist Temples when I'm stressed out.

I've never been to a mosque, and never really thought about it until right now.

Cultural sensitivity begins with an open mind to new experiences. I'm willing to bet if most of the people screaming about mosques all over the country actually attended a mosque's service, and sat down for coffee with some of the mosque members afterwards, all this nonsense would fade away.

Islam is no more a hotbed of terrorist religion than Christianity is a hotbed of terrorism.

I wonder, fair readers, have you ever attended service at a mosque? What was it like?

Friday, August 13, 2010


Tomorrow, only, and I don't know when we're getting there, my most-trusted adventuring companion and I will be in the crowd at Faerie Escape Atlanta.

I'm expecting a good time focused on a fascinating sub-species of the field of the fantastick.

As Delia Sherman, Ellen Kushner, and Charles Vess will be in attendance, I also expect any Atlanta-area folks reading my blog might be interested in knowing about when this is going down.


Seeya there, A-Town party people!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

General Update on Things and Stuff

I am a busy little bee. I turned in a large paper to my professor as part of my MFA program last weekend. We'll see if he thinks it needs revisions or not. Regardless, the research is done and the lion's share of the writing is done, ergo, I can move on and do other things.


First things first, I'll be under contract very, very soon with Nightshade and I've got two books to polish into perfection.

Also a first thing, I'm expecting galleys to arrive from my editor at Apex Books on Maze any day now. Artist Angela Giles has been hard at work on interior things, and I know for a fact the insides will be beautiful. Here's a preview:

Here's her blogspot, with some more of her art and drawings and etc.:

She's very talented. We're very lucky to get her drawing for this project.

Second things second things: I am going to keep polishing up ARIAS FOR WOMEN AND MONSTERS. I have sent the various bits and pieces out into the world, and I continue to edit as I go. Will send to book editors soon-like, I'm sure.

Third things third: I know what I want to write next, and I'm not going to tell you about it. I'm just going to do it.

And, along these lines, off I go into the deep, dark depths of my computer screens.

I think I'll finally have a chance to spend some quality time with this book, soon:

Also, this one:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

There's this crazy myth about fiction writing - especially literary, snobby fiction writing - that goes something like the mfa system produces or promotes mediocrity and the book reviewers are just writing blurb cover copy for whatever is fashionable and the great writers of today that we think are great are just the few sad sacks of verbage to get pumped to life by the system of book promotion and the truly great writers go unrecognized and don't get the grants and plumb teaching gigs because of the system of churning out mfa students etc., etc., etc.

It's all crap. Fictionists pursue an mfa to get better at writing fiction or to buy themselves time to write fiction. No writer I know thinks much or cares about grants or plumb teaching posts or even awards unless we know we are up for one. Really the only thing we care about is fiction. Any person assessing the publishing industry attributing anything to the system beyond a love of books and great books and fun books and niche books and all the love we all have for books is really missing the point of the whole thing. Every part of the system of publishing, from creation to promotion to teaching gigs classrooms and grants stems from love. The system does not operate for any other reason and it works pretty darn good at finding good things and connecting good things with people who will love them.

And writers, if you ever find yourselfbon a list of fifteen overrated writers somewhere online, for instance at the huffington post, pat yourself on the back. If you're pissing off people, you're doing it right.

Friday, August 6, 2010

sick of school work

someday i will be able to write fiction again. for now, nothing but homework.


i noticed, re-reading a story that i apparently edited out this line: "Penelope wove her husband back to life in 19 years."

I can't believe I killed that line. It was such a good line. I'm going to have to find somewhere else to use it.

Or, maybe you can use it? Does anyone need it?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

plug in plug in plug in

down to the downbeats of the day, i got your blog entry right here, in my pocket, next to the lint and paper craps that used to be a receipt for something - probably food or gasoline, as if there's a difference anymore with the gulf and the grocery stores the way they are - and it's shiny and shiny and wants your attention.

a light goes off in rss readers and spider toes about the burgeoning profusion of words upon this old screen of mine. a new growth, a new berry for the plucking and remaking into a thousand linkbait pages to lure new spiders to eat the same fruit plucked once already. shit-eating pages. pages that make spiders eat regurgitated pages. poop.


it shows up all over. don't google this blog, this entry. don't trust the links if you do. a million angler fish are searching for an angle, hoping their teeth can sink beyond your antivirals if you press the words.

plug in plug in, i say plug in, all you monsters and trawlers of sins, for the day is coming - the great and terrible day - where you will be setting traps for spiders not to catch the eyeballs of unwary, unworthy man, but to wrap the wired teeth around the spiders that come to seek. spiders eating spiders, waving regurgitated spiders to capture spiders.

in the down time of the day, i'm thinking about a big spider - bigger than dreams and bigger than stars - sniffing around with nothing left to eat but eyeballs, empty because it can eat the machine but it cannot eat the man.

become the machine, then? become the man?

whatever it does, i know it will do it plugged into this.