Archive for July 2010

It’s getting very real

July 19, 2010

This week Wynette Hoffman completed a rough design for the cover. I am swooning! You can see a .jpg of the rough here.

Yesterday, I was on the phone with His Grand Editorialness, Brett Shanley, for over 3 hours! I had to go to dinner with the MIL or we would have been on longer. I thought I’d scheduled enough time! We were halfway through our planned agenda.

What a fantastic conversation. I have known all along that Brett was terrific at what he does; yesterday I got to experience the true magic. So many wonderful conversations about global things; so many astonishing things Brett made me see in my own work that I can do better now that I have a little more clarity on them. Two scenes I need to dig back into in the first chapter alone. They will be so much better and I would never have seen how to improve them without Brett’s patient help.

Slow Publishing

July 15, 2010

Recently I  read the Slow Media Manifesto. This is a fantastic document, yet another outgrowth of the rapidly 🙂 expanding Slow Movement. I would like to find a cathedral and nail it to the door. But I  observe that it offers no blueprint for how to create slow media, only describes the results. Other Slow organizations, e.g. the Slow Cities group and the Slow Movement itself, offer no prescriptions either; these things seem to be left to the user to define. So it seems fitting to cobble together a Slow Publishing Manifesto.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

1. Slow Publishing is Art. Slow publishing acknowledges that publishing is inherently paradoxical: a creative business. Its participant creators must be granted the same flexibility as any other artist in order to sustainably produce works worth caring about.

2. Slow Publishing is sustainable. It operates in ways that allows both artists and people on the business side to function without constantly eating into their reserves or sacrificing health, family, and time away from work.

3. Slow Publishing respects artists and moves to their rhythms, acknowledging that every artist’s creative process is different and subject to change without notice.  Rather than adding to the considerable self-imposed stress any artist experiences with artificial and/or inflexible deadlines, Slow Publishing establishes goal dates–and adjusts them as necessary to ensure artists and publication staff have the time to do their best work.

4. Slow Publishing respects the art it creates: working as a coach and collaborator for the artists with whom it engages; aiding those artists in doing their best work; and making time for them to re-engage with the work at hand when necessary rather than pushing works that do not yet realize the artist’s true vision to market.

5. Slow Publishing favors quality over quantity. Rather two excellent books per year than two dozen mediocre volumes; rather choosing a sustainable number of appropriate outlets than chasing every conceivable point of sale.

6. Slow Publishing does not sacrifice art and creativity to business. It understands that there are so many resources available for the work, and allocates those resources in ways that support the values that matter.

What do you think? Did I miss something, or write something in a way that just sounds crazy? Looking forward to your thoughts.

Editorial for The Beast

July 12, 2010

We’ve begun editorial on The Shadow of the Sun. My editor, Brett Shanley, called last week for a preliminary discussion; the serious work begins this weekend. We’ve already talked a bit about what he wants to dig into, and despite my initial butterflies at the whole affair I’m now excited to dig in: as he points out, I’ve been too close to this work for too long, and it’s his job to help me see the truth of it. We’re planning to dig through about 5 chapters per week, which I know from my time on the other side of the desk is aggressive but doable. And Brett is in all ways a collaborator and eternally supportive of other artists. I do anticipate some whining–that’s normal during this phase; but none of it will be his fault.

Fabulous New Me: Day One

July 2, 2010

So, yea verily, it is time to become more Fabulous. Sonja* has a Plan that she has successfully executed on patients in the past; we will do it now. It has taken a couple weeks to assemble everything we need, including reinstituting spring water delivery and acquiring a digital scale (Alberto, the talking scale who only speaks Spanish). In the meantime we have begun inching towards our new rule-set, which involves a lot of meat and vegetables and not much else. Sonja has promised a hunger-free program; she’s promised an average of a pound lost per day. Since I want to lose a LOT of weight, I like that pace, as long as there will be no suffering.

Day 1

We get up and weigh in and take our morning lemon-water: this last is a thing we’ve been doing for a few years. Breakfast consists of fruit (first), a single piece of whole-grain toast, 2 or 3 eggs and tea. I’m using the Cholula sauce on mine. This breakfast is not outside the standard deviation for me. After breakfast Rach & I do the dishes (eating like this seems to generate an alarming number of pots & pans, and we’re catching up from last night) I do my morning check-in on Facebook and Twitter, and we convene in the living room for yoga.

I’m way out of practice on yoga; we’ve begun doing yoga intermittently again lately, but the 45-minute DVD we’ve got is still a big deal for me. Today it’s interrupted 3 times by Mark, who needs me to weigh in on our ongoing wrangling with a wholesaler who will (for the moment, at least) remain nameless. By the end I’m as tired as I would have been had we worked straight through, but without the pleasant relaxation.

As soon as we finish that, it’s time for our prescribed morning snack: no matter that, because we got up at 9, it’s now about 1: it’s snacktime. Fruit and yogurt all around. Finally I settle into the study–or try to. My head has been involved in conflict in the office already today; there will be no writing. I turn my attention to other tasks instead. Mark takes a couple of conference calls, and then it’s time for lunch.

Lunch is supposed to be salad followed by meat and steamed vegetables. I avail myself of some smoked brisket from the smoker bar at Whole Foods, but usually when I eat this it’s in the course of a pleasant tapas-style meal in which I’m drinking wine and enjoying a variety of cheeses and breads. No bread after breakfast on the Plan; and no cheese, at all.

Let me repeat that, because it is the main cause of suffering: NO CHEESE. AT ALL.

Suffice it to say I am bored by my lunch and abandon the effort before I’m really satisfied. This will create problems later.

As promised, by about 4 I’ve got a problem: I am not hungry, particularly, but the feeling I get in my brain when I’ve forgotten to eat has settled in. The Plan does not allow extra meals; I’ve got to tough it out until dinner. The miasma recedes a bit by 6 or so, and I finally start getting things done; it’s a struggle to pull myself away to prepare Yet Another Meal. (It’s worth noting that we’re preparing all our meat on the grill these days, so either Mark or Daniel is preparing the meat. All I have to do is salad and some vegetables.) I’m tired (remember the out-of-practice yoga this morning?) and I’ve cleaned the kitchen twice so far today; I drag myself through the process.

This is a thing I remember from last time we made a lifestyle change, which –even though the hard-core routine we’re observing now is temporary–I already recognize we are engaged in. The first couple weeks are exhausting, and I can’t seem to get out of the kitchen. Then I’ll get in better shape and develop routines in the kitchen, and the whole thing will fall together. Right now I just want to go sit down.

At dinner I load up on protein, though I do eat my salad (first!) and my veggies. I should empty the dishwasher again, but instead I retreat to the study a while. We still have our evening walk to fit in, and we’ve got to take out the trash.

Man, I hope Alberto the talking scale has good news tomorrow morning.

*bff and homeopath