escapewindow: escape window (Default)

[the last run]

I had been dealing with work crises throughout the previous days and weeks, so come Friday evening, I still had to buy books and a knit cap. And pack.

While shopping for books, I found a treasure trove: four Repairman Jack novels I hadn't read yet, and the [final?] Queen & Country book, The Last Run.

It's always a little nerve wracking when facing the final book of a series and character(s) you hold dear. You want to know how it ends, but you don't want it to end.

I devoured The Last Run late that night, and over the first few hours of the flight. Thank you, Greg Rucka, for your amazing storytelling, and for sharing Tara with us in all of these TPBs+novels.


The main issue here was camera gear. For those who care, I eventually decided to bring:

Which I verified could all, except the backpack, fit in or on my Domke at an acceptable weight. As of Thursday night, I've justified bringing all of it except the 50mm and Zacuto gorilla kit. Still eight more days to go, though.

... Everything else, clothing and toiletries, mainly, was pretty much a matter of counting.


Kansai is not my favorite airport. The customs area, especially, is highly sterile feeling. The third floor, however, is chock full of tasty restaurants.

Japan is simultaneously so familiar to me, and yet so utterly, utterly foreign. My Japanese is pretty much sub-preschool level. I've been hobbling through with smiles, nods, and confused looks.

... Perhaps not so different than those days at home when I'm lost inside my own head.

escapewindow: escape window (escape(window) typewriter)

I've been soaking up new [to me] books like I haven't since, well, maybe since before my English Creative Writing degree killed my joy of reading the first time around.

Hiro's been sending me stacks of manfiction since my birthday; he got hooked in Santa Barbara by chance when he picked up a Robert Crais novel that a previous vacationer had left in the house.

I have to agree with King. Lee Child's Jack Reacher kicks serious ass. Gotta warn you insomniacs about reading him late at night, however, because you're not going to sleep til the book's done.

I was a bit bummed I only brought two Reacher books to Sedona with me, 'cause those were done by midweek. By lucky chance my third was Peter Hamilton's Fallen Dragon. I hadn't read anything by him; the book just caught my eye at the bookstore. They call it space opera. I call it seriously brilliant writing where numerous passages or chapters could be compelling short stories or novellas on their own, but together weave an engrossing whole much greater. I think that's due in large part to the fact that you could place his science fiction stories and themes in a British Empire or American Imperialist [or other expansionist] setting without too much of a stretch. Timeless and so good.

Both highly recommended.

escapewindow: escape window (escape(window) typewriter)

Octavia E. Butler is brilliant. If I had half of her storytelling ability, I'd consider myself a master of the craft.

In Bloodchild and Other Stories, she includes two essays on writing. The first, Positive Obsession, is about her need to write. Her absolute inability to not write. And she speaks of escapism and emotions that sound all too familiar.

Shyness is shit.

It isn't cute or feminine or appealing. It's torment, and it's shit.

I spent a lot of my childhood and adolescence staring at the ground. It's a wonder I didn't become a geologist. I whispered. People were always saying, "Speak up! We can't hear you."

I believed I was ugly and stupid, clumsy, and socially helpless. I also thought that everyone would notice these faults if I drew attention to myself. I wanted to disappear. Instead, I grew to be six feet tall. Boys in particular seemed to assume that I had done this growing deliberately and that I should be ridiculed for it as often as possible.

I hid out in a big pink notebook -- one that would hold a whole ream of paper. I made myself a universe in it. There I could be a magic horse, a Martian, a telepath.... There I could be anywhere but here, any time but now, with any people but these.

(excerpt from Positive Obsession)

I read this not long after viewing most of Edvard Munch, in which Peter Watkins attributes many of Munch's breakthroughs to his youthful negative obsession over a woman and his positive obsession with conveying his jealousy and pain through his painting. Artists: are we so predictable?

The second essay, Furor Scribendi, is Butler's advice to aspiring writers, which can also be applied to a great many topics outside of writing.

First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you're inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won't. Habit is persistence in practice.

Forget talent. If you have it, fine. Use it. If you don't have it, it doesn't matter. As habit is more dependable than inspiration, continued learning is more dependable than talent. Never let pride or laziness prevent you from learning, improving your work, changing its direction when necessary. Persistence is essential to any writer -- the persistence to finish your work, to keep writing in spite of rejection, to keep reading, studying, submitting work for sale. But stubbornness, the refusal to change unproductive behavior or to revise unsalable work can be lethal to your writing hopes.

Finally, don't worry about imagination. You have all the imagination you need, and all the reading, journal writing, and learning you will be doing will stimulate it. Play with your ideas. Have fun with them. Don't worry about being silly or outrageous or wrong. So much of writing is fun. It's first letting your interests and your imagination take you anywhere at all. Once you're able to do that, you'll have more ideas than you can use. Then the real work of fashioning them into a story begins. Stay with it.


(excerpt from Furor Scribendi)

I used to read every how-to book on creative writing that I could get my hands on. These would vary in how much they would emphasize writing over reading and thinking (or vice versa) but none of them put it quite so eloquently. Part of that is how this passage takes your excuse of "but I don't have enough ______________ right now" and turns it on its ear. The other is the acknowledgement that you can't get by on pure talent. Those who work hard and keep at it will pass you by.

This also reminds me of the three virtues of a perl programmer in how it takes three attributes (inspiration, talent, imagination) and inverts their assumed level of desirability or necessity.

I want to live on the waterfront with a gorgeous view of the waves. I want to know exactly what I want in life, now that I've adjusted my expectations. And I want to have those habits, that work ethic of Octavia E. Butler's, that bypasses excuses, doesn't wait for inspiration to strike, doesn't allow for "feel like it".

I suppose I'll see which of those happens first.

escapewindow: escape window (botulism)

[i reading assignment]:

for the thinking person )

[ii images]: some photos for you:

refreshment in loft ness

+2 )

[iii upon further viewing of our latest show video]: we're f'n rockstars!!!


Jun. 15th, 2006 11:33 am
escapewindow: escape window (candles)
my evenings have all been taken by unpacking and fixing our backing tracks this week. the tracks are all levelled and compressed and i bought an ipod nano to eventually move over to... padding the ends of songs with two minutes of silence so we can avoid going into the next song before we're ready.

i'm really not looking forward to unpacking the kitchen stuff... but i've already done the fun part, setting up a rudimentary studio and unpacking my comics and books, so many of which i want to reread. (i weeded through my books while packing; i only kept the ones i love or thought would be useful in the future.) the holes are glaring. i'm missing gödel escher bach; my feist shelf is massively incomplete as are my repairman jack books.

my current book is dan simmons' ilium, which follows in hyperion's footsteps as an sf story that echoes classic literature... this time drawing on the iliad, shakespeare, and proust. to be perfectly honest, i found it hard to get into at the beginning; three disparate storylines that made me wonder why i cared enough to read about them. but now as the storylines are tying together and the behind-the-scenes glimpses promise massive reveals in the latter half of this book (and the sequel) i can't get enough.

i might want to fill out my simmons collection as well.

[edit] take a gander: [ profile] charitylarrison
escapewindow: escape window (candles)
"What do you think?"

My wife folded over the last page of my screenplay for the film adaptation of Queen & Country. She nodded thoughtfully -- and then chucked it at my head. It bounced cleanly off my right temple.


"Ow," I wittily responded.


Rubbing my skull, I chuckled soothingly. "Don't be ridiculous..."

But, because we've been married for over a decade, she knew. Of course I was in love with Tara Chace.

... Tara Chace can shoot, fight, drink you under the table and unravel complex terrorist plots while fighting a hangover. One could argue male readers don't fall in love with Tara because she's the woman we've always wanted; we fall in love with her because she's the man we always wanted to be.

- John Rogers
from the introduction to Queen & Country: Operation: Blackwall.

Last night's decadence: hopping into bed at 8:00 to spend four and a half uninterrupted hours with Tara. Finished A Gentleman's Game and started on Private Wars. She translates well to both books and comics; there's a slight chance that the movie won't fuck things up.

(On a slightly different note, where do Canadians move to?)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to curl up with Tara...

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