Where from here for me?
"...to be happy to be alive in the full knowledge of all misery, our own included."
Learn a little something creative from someone on the other side of the aisle.
Getting your ideas together for a new story can be just that tough.
You could be the change, or you could just hold your breath and wait for it.
On not getting too attached.
Because if it's popular, it has to be good! Right? Right?
There is no creativity by committee, but we love to believe otherwise.
On my end: Less blog, more books.
Belief's a label you earn, not self-apply.
On the Fiction of Resignation.
Analysis is not an assault on the audience's identity.
Why black and white views of the world are self-inflicted, and self-crippling.
On the idea of "troll it 'till it breaks".
On the fine line between "I only believe in facts and logic" and "If I believe this, it must be logical and factual".
On Pixar's alleged slide into crass commercialism.
On the word "fraud" as a term of critique.
Young-adult fiction and the classics, once again.
There's no hero worth having that's not also worth growing past.
Few things hurt a writer worse than having a tin inner ear.
Writing: the work that validates itself. (But who really believes that?)
Action in the present moment: for you and you alone.
The world does not owe creative types a living -- not yet, anyway.
More on nothing ever being "mere entertainment".
On creative work presenting itself as science for the sake of legitimacy.
Publishing companies: the unknown ideal.
Why "any reading is good reading" is not a great defense of reading.
There's no waiting for creative lightning to strike; you've got to get out there on a hill with a kite and a key on its string.
Amazon's new publishing curation system: the non-wisdom of crowds.
On weirdness as a substitute for being original.
Storytelling descending; marketing rising.
Even our entertainments are works of art whether or not we like it, and have the chance to be taken very, very seriously by somebody out there.
"Write the book you want to read" also requires that you know what kind of book you really want to read. Not easy.
Why the success of 'Guardians of the Galaxy' was a two-edged sword.
On the way we contrive our behavior to conform to the expectations of others, both good and bad.
Authors rarely impress me with the depth of their intellectual rigor, and I suspect that's because they don't see themselves as thinkers.
Are you your characters? And should you apologize for them?
Writing: there's a best way, a right way, and in the end, your way.
On ephemeral culture that never gets around to being ephemeral.
On the philosophy of sequels (and why I'm on the "against" side).
On the contradictions (?) between Buddhist nonviolence and the violence that protects it.
The new American man doesn't have to be a dudebro or a feminized wimp; he can be a step in the right direction.
My Little Insight: "'there's a point where a pleasant lack of cynicism ... becomes insular naivete.'"
On the creative trap of First, Second, No Good.
Are SF and literary work at odds because creators of the latter are trained not to think out of the box?
Does success make it impossible to speak truth to power?
Why we accept the existence of crass psychological manipulation as part of the unspoken cost of modern living.
Sometimes the best argument is the one you walk away from.
Breeding monsters, and all that.
Why does it always come down to having to choose between science and art, between Shakespeare or the bomb?
To understand doesn't mean we have to forgive. See: comic book movies, et al.
"As long as people are reading something..."
Hollywood's mania for sequels makes sense in light of how forgettable the films are. With no follow-up, who would remember they even exist?
On the self that plays tricks on the self by being the self, or something.
On why taboos aren't just prejudices.
On daring to be silly.
"Question the question."
On the fluidity of canon in comics and Buddhism alike. No, really.
The first of four ways to broaden your horizons, courtesy of Paul Krugman.
Nobody "earns the right" to be abusive.
On the dangers of being Just Different Enough.
Last ride on the suffering train, I swear!
On ending suffering not being what you think it is, 'n all that.
Don't just do something, sit there!
On suffering being attachment, 'n all that.
On media as a water-cooler subject, and how it becomes about everything except itself.
Your humble narrator has finally learned to use Twitter effectively. Cue the shock and gasping.
The eyes we give creators to look through aren't even their own anymore -- they're a composite of everyone else's.
More on why it's good that some books might never be filmed.
Why a long movie that attempts to emulate a novel is a tough proposition, but not an unworkable one.
Why "disruption" starts at home in creative circles.
Why adult fiction doesn't speak to adults anymore.
The how-to of writing is something to be outgrown, not followed to the end.
It's not that we don't learn from success, it's that we learn all the wrong things.
Not every book is a first draft for a movie. Or should be.
Just because someone speaks geek doesn't make them your friend.
On how good writing about computing and video games has been with us since the 1980s.
Remakes: the poor man's newness.
Looking backward keeps us from looking forward.
Yet another example of pop spirituality getting it wrong.
On making a *constructive* argument for creative snobbery.
Freedom's just another word for nothing left to sell.
Creativity, repeating itself. (Or why you don't remake lightning in a bottle.)
On why hyping yourself always feels like it should be someone else's job -- except when it really isn't.
Fandom should be about more than just emotionally protecting one's territory.
You can only play the "honesty" card for sex and violence so many times.
To engage with the world in the here and now, or to withdraw? The case for both.
Why I hoarded; why I stopped.
On the communal enjoyment of entertainment and the 'paradox of choice'.
Empire's greatest-movies list is skewing unpleasantly towards spectacle and superficial fanboyism.
Oh yeah, here I am again. What I've been up to.
Dead is forever, but it's also not the end.
Amazon's self-publishing program is no curation program.
On George R. R. Martin and repentance.
On leaving New York City behind.
On how there can be "suspense without surprise".
Are there too many comic book movies? No, just too many movies made from the same prefab story beats.
The great books of the here and now may be wholly invisible to us except in retrospect.
Flatter the audience at your own risk.
Me versus template storytelling, again.
Me versus blurbs, again.
On the difference between "culture" and "lifestyle".
Give the people what they want. Or you can give the people what you want.
On the political in the creative.
I have no instruction manual for how to do this 'creative' stuff. No one does.
Hit the books! Harder! Harder, I say!
In dying is all.
On the problem of "cargo cult creativity".
What's kept me busy.
Goodbye, classical music.
You'll scare everyone off.
Of my death, that is.
Because, that's why.
When James Agee reviewed Bugs Bunny, it was a thing of beauty.
Self-publishing shouldn't just be an excuse to recapitulate what exists.
I'm moving. Expect radio silence.
Epics are about depth, not length.
The systematic study of most any spiritual path (in my case, Zen) leads you, if you're lucky, to confront the incarnate meaning of the clichés thrown around by people who have at best read a few books about it. "All...
If you think of the artist as a person, an individual, you're less likely to construct your business around treating him with contempt.
How both self-publishing and conventional publishing are doing authors and readers (and critics) the same kinds of disservices.
You don't need all that stuff. Really. Especially if you "think it'll come in handy someday".
Why it's good to resist the temptation to just give people what they want.
We'd sooner sell another version of the old than dream up something truly new -- and maybe it's marketing that's the culprit.
Why creativity always needs some*one* in the driver's seat.
Why it's so hard for creative people to let go of something they've already sunk so much into.
On John McCarthy's odd comments about literary fiction vs. SF.
Where I stand and where I'm headed in the newly-minted year.