Archive for October 2008

Waxing the cat

October 28, 2008

I’m doing it right now. I’m supposed to be writing this morning, but first I simply had to pop over to Facebook to see what’s happening in my little universe, and there was a post for Russ’s periodic stint on the group blog “A Good Blog is Hard to Find”. About cat waxing.

Talk about synchonicity. I think I need to write about waxing the cat this morning.

What, some of the sane people who have mistakenly wandered here ask, is waxing the cat? How could you wax the cat? Wouldn’t the cat object? And what would be the point?

The answers, of course, are:
(a) waxing the cat is what you do when you’re supposed to be writing but are running out of good excuses why you aren’t. “I had meant to write this morning, but the sink was full of dirty dishes, the TiVo was 99% full, and I simply had to wax the cat.”
(b) If you try to wax a real cat, it’s hard. You need protective gear and some sort of cat-restraining device. Possibly one involving duck tape. Or goose tape. Whichever you can find.
(c) Yes, the cat will object. Violently. Art doesn’t come without cost.
(d) Nothing whatsoever. And that is the point.

Cat waxing is about coping with authorial insecurity. If you can’t find the time to write, you can’t be blamed for being a hack. You can die secure in the knowledge of your blazing talent, which simply never had time to be realized.

Some of us are better at this than others. I’m freaking AWESOME.

Sadly, this is a far less important accomplishment than finishing the freaking novel. I’m going back to the study…just as soon as I finish commenting on Russ’s blog post.

I grow old…I grow old…I shall wear my trousers with 1% lycra spandex for comfort

October 22, 2008

First it was the stretch jeans. I had resisted them for a very long time because of their inherent wrongness. I mean, stretch jeans. Old people wear those. But then there they were on the clearance rack, and they looked like normal jeans, and they were so damn CHEAP. So I tried them on.

Hey, I realized. These are comfortable. And they look fine, and they’re cheap. Check, please.

I won’t recite the standard tales of all the things that we’ve had to explain to our teenage children didn’t exist before their time. Yadda yadda, stipulated: the Internets, the cell phone, the personal computer. The first thing Rachael ever read, when she was 2, was “dot-com”. I knew from the beginning that our kids were growing up in a completely different era. That they would never understand what it meant to not be able to program your own music without a great deal of patience and a tape deck.

But this morning, during our standard getting-ready-for-school mayhem, Daniel came into the kitchen for a fashion consult. It’s 60s day at school. How’s this Pink Floyd t-shirt? Yes, he knew Floyd played in the 70s and 80s (we’re not going to discuss the post-Waters period) but didn’t this t-shirt have, well, a 60s feel? Mark and I pointed out that the 60s were a period of loud attire and suggested a Hawaiian shirt. But predictably Daniel grew bored of the exercise and came back to the kitchen a few minutes later wearing jeans and a t-shirt with a bar code on it.

Oh, no. “Hey, that bar-code isn’t sixties. They didn’t have bar codes until the eighties.”

“What?”

Here we go again, alas. I remember not only the invention of the bar code but the consternation it caused. I remember the appearance of the unlabeled generic item. (Repo Man, anyone?)

Hell, I remember when lycra spandex leggings were cool. Uh, the first time.

Check, please.

Lost and Found: the infamous SNL Bailout Sketch

October 7, 2008

Here it is: too pointed to survive on NBC, apparently.

Pat Dollard | Young Americans | Blog Archive » It Is Here! The Banned SNL Skit Cannot Hide From Louie

Word in the blogosphere is that NBC is doing all it can to squash comments & discussion. More on this here.

Wow.

This might be a manifesto

October 1, 2008

Yeah, I might have to nail this one to the cathedral door when it’s done.

Today is the official release date of Shorn by Larissa N. Niec: the first book published by my brainchild, Mercury Retrograde Press. I’m immeasurably proud of the work we’ve done on this one–and it *has* been a “we”, because in addition to the writer, any book must also have an editor, a proofreader, a typesetter/book designer, a cover designer, one or more artists, and people whose task it is to get the word out so people can fall in love with the creation and make its story part of their personal myth set. Shorn has had–still has–a whole team behind it. Because we’re a new press, and we can’t afford to hire full-time employees yet, I’ve done the majority of the work on this project, and for the most part I find the work fulfilling; but in the race to do this book justice, I have mostly set aside my own writing life. This is a thing I’ve viewed as a temporary necessity; in my mind, once we crossed the finish line on Shorn, things would calm down and I could get back to the study with a clear conscience.

I now understand that was unrealistic. There is still work to be done for Shorn, and the work will continue for a couple months yet: getting the word out, setting up relationships with new sales channels (a task for which I’m hugely grateful, btw), propagating the ebook versions and beginning to figure out the logistics of audio book production. Meanwhile Anointed, the next book on Mercury Retrograde’s menu, is already waiting for me to start doing my share of what it needs; by the time that’s done, I’ll be behind on the next one. (And, oh, you’re going to LOVE the next one, but there are still nagging legal entanglements that must be resolved, so for now I must leave you to fantasize. Two words to start with: Urban Fantasy.)

The bottom line: I am never going to be *caught up* on Mercury Retrograde business, at least not until Mercury Retrograde can afford staff. That’s normal for a start-up business, and I’ve done the whole start-up thing before, so while I’m not uncomfortable with the headlong dash and all the other stuff that goes along with it, now that we’re in a Mercury Retrograde period, my muse is crying for time in the study…and suddenly I remember that I founded Mercury Retrograde because the house I wanted to publish my own fiction didn’t exist yet. It exists now, and I love it; but if I publish six, nine, or twelve books per year that win the hearts of critics and fans alike, earn out and go on to make money for their authors, and yet I am not writing fiction, I will not have done what I set out to do.

It is never going to be a convenient time for me to go back to writing; so long as I am writing, things will move more slowly in the office than they otherwise might. But it occurs to me that, while I refuse to hold other Mercury Retrograde authors to hard deadlines when meeting those deadlines would require them to compromise their art, I’m giving my own work no such respect. That has to stop.

So, while Mercury Retrograde Press authors and fans may wish I could move a little faster in the office, I trust they will understand that I must go back to carving out regular time in the study. No book will go unedited, un-typeset, or unpromoted; it’s just that schedules will be a bit more fluid than they’ve been. In the long run, I suspect, all of Mercury Retrograde’s books will benefit.

In the mean time, I have to go back to the study.