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On Tuesday, I hit 100K words on the work in progress, currently titled ONE MAN, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to assess where things stand in a general way. No encouragement or advice, please, especially about the medical stuff.

Me, personally

I turned 50 last year, which I guess is supposed to be a big thing but it didn’t feel like it. Mostly, it felt (and continues to feel) like a timer ticking down. As more and more of “my” pop culture figures pass away (and more and more of them are closer to my own age) I’ve become increasingly aware that my own time is growing short. Right now, somewhere inside me, I probably have a cancerous tumor that’s lying quiet, small for the moment, but ready to expand aggressively under the right circumstances. If I’m very very lucky, I’ll live long enough to see my son married and living a stable life, to have earned a sense of accomplishment with my work, and to feel as though I’ve lived enough.

I can’t really imagine that, but that’s my hope.

The petty medical issues that have plagued me since 2012 haven’t gone away, but I’ve decided to work through them to focus on my weight. I’m down 10lbs in the last two weeks and plan to continue. The first few are always the easiest, of course. We’ll see.

Finally, for a long time I’ve pretty much avoided social situations. I talk to my wife. I talk to my son. I order coffee at the cafe. Beyond that, it’s extremely rare for me to speak to anyone aloud; all my interactions have been online. I guess the only exceptions have been the two-hour SF2W meetups that Django Wexler arranges, and I’ve been to, I think, two in the past year. Once in a rare while a reader drops me a note and we’ll meet face to face. Very rare.

Aside from that, I’ve been actively avoiding social events. I don’t go to conventions. I haven’t contacted the roommates I had 20 years ago to suggest we grab lunch. It’s been a very quiet life, and I like it.

But a week ago I cashed in the Christmas gift that my niece gave me: a tour of some of her favorite brewpubs in Ballard. It was extremely mellow, and we got the chance to just hang out and talk, which I don’t do much.

The following Friday, I had the event at the UW Bookstore, where a number of authors in the anthology Unbound signed books for readers. I suspect most of them were there to see Terry Brooks, but people were nice and it was good to talk to them. It had no noticeable effect on my book sales, but I enjoyed myself, and I enjoyed hanging out with the other authors afterwards. (What I could hear of it, anyway. People in bars are noisy.)

So I’m thinking I should put more energy into that sort of thing. Talking to people. I dunno. Maybe.

Family

My wife is doing pretty well, especially now that she has an APAP machine to help her sleep through the night, which she can do now, sometimes. She’s also spending more of her time painting. Making art was hard for her after her father died. She and her siblings inherited his canvases, which no one outside the family wanted and no one inside could bear to dispose of.

She began to feel the same way about her own work. Our apartment is already crowded, and she didn’t see a point to creating more stuff that her kid will have to deal with when we die. Slowly, she’s moved past that and is doing the work for its own sake, which is fantastic and makes me very happy. She’s also gotten into a couple of shows. Did I say it makes me happy? It really really does. Now I just need to write a hit book so we can afford a place with a studio. North-facing, naturally.

My son turned 14 a few months ago and starts high school in the fall. Homeschool is coming to an end, and I’m hoping that a) he’ll make more real life friends and b) I’ll have more writing time. It’s going to be a rough transition, but he’s ready for it. His sleep schedule might not be, but he is.

Games

I’m still playing Sentinels of the Multiverse on Steam. In fact, I’m playing it too much. I should probably download a program that will block Steam for most of the day. I’d get more done, and do less obsessive clicking.

BUT! I should say that, when I’m playing SotM, I don’t feel hungry, or itchy, or sad. I’m almost completely absorbed, even moreso than when I’m writing. It’s worth keeping around just for that. I just wish it was less irresistible.

Reading

After several years of feeling burned out on reading inside the fantasy genre, I’m finally feeling burned out on crime and mystery. It doesn’t help that I tried to shift from old classics to books that are popular and current, and really really did not enjoy them.

Django Wexler’s The Thousand Names, which I picked up solely out of a sense of gratitude for the social events mentioned above, is a flintlock fantasy that I enjoyed way more than expected. Recommended. At the moment, I’m reading Steven Erikson’s Gardens of the Moon because everyone on reddit loves those books passionately. I’m 80 pages in and mostly enjoying it, despite the fact that I’m not usually fond of high magic settings.

Watching

I took the family to DEADPOOL, which is an objectively bad movie, but hugely enjoyable anyway. It’s been a while since I saw a modern Hollywood film (that wasn’t SPY) that made me laugh really hard. Now I hear that the people behind Batman v Superman are planning an R-rated version, because… I don’t know, they think it was the rating that made DEADPOOL a hit and not the humor? Don’t know. Don’t care all that much.

I’ve also dropped a number of TV shows that I was watching through sheer momentum, not because I enjoyed them. Most of what I found compelling in season one of ARROW is long gone, and I just don’t have space for it anymore. After trying both LUCIFER and LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, I’ve decided that they aren’t going to do that Star Trek thing where it takes them a little while to find their rhythm and they become awesome. Both are dropped. At this point, I’m only watching ELEMENTARY, FLASH (which has been way less fun this season) and AGENTS OF SHIELD (which has been improbably improving).
I’m looking forward to season 2 of DAREDEVIL, even though it will probably be a disappointment. We’ll see.

No one in my family is remotely interested in the upcoming DC adaptations. We’ll see, redux.

Writing

As I mentioned above, last week I crossed the 100,000 word mark of ONE MAN. What I didn’t mention is that last August 26th, I was at 31,000 words.

I know this because of this horrible new record-keeping that other authors suggested I do. All it does is tell me things that make me unhappy.
For example, last fall I took a month-long trip to Portugal, and my plan to squeeze out a few pages during quiet moments never worked. I got zero new words done that month.

After Thanksgiving, I stopped writing the first draft and went back to revise what I had. Revise it extensively, which took a month and a half.

When that was finished, I realized the game supplement I promised my Kickstarter backers was way overdue, and I spent three weeks revising that.
When I returned to ONE MAN, I re-outlined the rest of the book (using the virtual whiteboard app Scapple, which I like) and now things are tearing right along.

It’ll take another long revision process, and it’s going to be a long-ass book: at 100K words, I’m still looking ahead to the beginning of the climax. Still, I feel like this is good work. I just hope the market agrees.

I haven’t decided what I’m going to work on after that. The next book in the series is TWO DRAGONS, but I have a short story due for an anthology (soon) and I might want to write something else in between. Plus there’s that game supplement.

I wish I could be more prolific.

And that’s where things stand.

Mirrored from Harry Connolly. You can comment here but not there.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
lwe
Mar. 7th, 2016 05:13 pm (UTC)
TV
I've stuck with "Lucifer" and "Legends of Tomorrow." "Lucifer" has gotten a little better but is still well short of awesome; "Legends of Tomorrow" has gotten a little better but is still short of halfway decent.

Julie skipped "Lucifer" entirely, just didn't think it was her cup of tea. She tried "Legends of Tomorrow" but dropped it a week or two back. That was probably a good move and one I should emulate.

One of the slightly odd things about "Legends of Tomorrow" is that a lot of the meager improvement came from killing off one of its far-too-numerous characters.

Thanks for the lengthy appraisal of your situation.
burger_eater
Mar. 7th, 2016 05:35 pm (UTC)
Re: TV
We gave LUCIFER a try because it was on after X-FILES. I would have dropped it after one or two episodes, but my wife seemed to like it. "Seemed to" being the operative word here. The whole thing seems miscast to me, but if people assure me it gets interesting, I'll dip back in.

As for LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, there's too little chemistry between the actors and the Dr. Who guy seems completely miscast. They've taken a likable upright everyman type, given him a scraggly beard and turned up the collar of his trenchcoat. He just can't sell it.

And the other characters are either underplayed or overplayed.

Anyway. I have theories about this sort of thing. I just wish they could hit the right tone.
sartorias
Mar. 7th, 2016 05:38 pm (UTC)
I love Django Wexler's series!

Deadpool is funny? May have to catch that.
burger_eater
Mar. 7th, 2016 05:48 pm (UTC)
It's raunchy and dumb, but consistently breaks the fourth wall and is funny as hell. Not a highbrow experience, let's say.
sartorias
Mar. 7th, 2016 06:25 pm (UTC)
If it was anything like Spy, which I absolutely loved, then I have to see it. The title sounded stupid. (If it's a comics ref, I didn't get it.)
burger_eater
Mar. 7th, 2016 07:30 pm (UTC)
I remain convinced that Deadpool was created by Marvel to make fun of a recurring villain/anti-hero assassin in DC comics called Deathstroke. They have similar names--Slade/Wade Wilson, -stroke/-pool--and both carry ridiculous amounts of swords, guns, and thigh pouches.

No one will admit this in public, but comics companies' do this all the time.

Anyway, Deathstroke is a character that has never broken out, despite getting several big pushes (and a feature role on ARROW) but Deadpool has morphed into one of Marvel's funny heroes. A recent storyline had him fighting all the US presidents as resurrected zombies, for example.

But while DEADPOOL is funny, it's not as good as SPY.
martianmooncrab
Mar. 7th, 2016 08:10 pm (UTC)
time flows different as we age... at least our perceptions of it. But it is a finite.
burger_eater
Mar. 7th, 2016 08:15 pm (UTC)
It seems to be rushing by!
sresla
Mar. 14th, 2016 01:08 am (UTC)
ECCC
Harry,

Is there any chance you might make an appearance at Emerald City Comicon? They have a Writer's Block section and man, you're in Seattle and so close to Portland (me) and I keep hoping I'll run into you and get your autograph on everything of yours I own (I have it all, up through the Great Way).

If not, understandable, but from someone who has devoured your books, please don't stop writing, ever (even if it takes a while). You're worth the wait.
burger_eater
Mar. 14th, 2016 04:46 am (UTC)
Re: ECCC
There was a bit of talk about me coming to ECCC with a bookseller, but they haven't gotten back to me, so I don't know if I'll be there or not. Probably not. To be honest, I feel like I ought to spend that time on my new book.

And thanks for the kind words. I don't plan to give up on this writing thing yet. :)
burger_eater
Mar. 20th, 2016 03:40 pm (UTC)
Re: ECCC
Update: http://burger-eater.livejournal.com/1127682.html

It seems I'll be at ECCC on Sunday. Come say hi.
7leaguebootdisk
Mar. 20th, 2016 12:37 pm (UTC)
Well, glad to hear you are doing well, and still writing.

Personally, I'm just waiting for the new seasons of Archer and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to start over the next month.
burger_eater
Mar. 20th, 2016 03:27 pm (UTC)
Kimmy Schmidt needs to cross over to Jessica Jones, too.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )