All posts for Uncategorized / General in 2019


Monster Mouse 2019-12-27 13:00:00

It isn't Disney that's the problem with Star Wars; it's us, and not in the way you might think.

A Few Next Steps Into 2020 2019-12-21 22:00:00

What's on deck for me for the end of this year and the beginning of the next.

The Fall Of A Milestone Marker 2019-12-17 13:00:00

'Fall Of The Hammer', draft 1 (actually, 2): finished.

Connections And Disconnections 2019-12-15 13:00:00

"Is this something I can see myself sitting down to work on literally every day for the next year or more?" If not, why?

Havel's Optimism, December 2019 Edition 2019-12-12 22:00:00

Stories aren't about happy or sad endings. They're about making sense of what happens.

The Shape Of The Envelope 2019-12-03 18:00:00

On pushing your envelope as a creator (and not getting all moralizing with yourself about it).

Ten Writing Rules For The Home Office Wall 2019-11-29 13:00:00

A few things I've learned.

Down With The PKDness 2019-11-27 13:00:00

On adapting Phil Dick's work to film and TV, and why this most unfilmable of authors has been filmed so much.

The Advice To The Spirits Of Adventure 2019-11-26 13:00:00

Another strange and remarkable dream, scavenged as best I could from its remembered fragments.

Stan, The Man With A Plan 2019-11-24 13:00:00

On Stanley Kubrick knowing just what he wanted.

The End Of Quality (Not Really) 2019-11-23 13:00:00

Some say "good, better, best" is an absurdity and best done away with. I agree, sort of.

Book Your Own Life! 2019-11-19 13:00:00

How the Open Library, digital resources, and my own reading habits have changed my bookbuying.

This Is About As Performant As I Want To Get 2019-11-18 13:00:00

People who launch YouTube channels or present themselves a certain way on Twitter are said to be engaging in a kind of performance. Or someone who just keeps a blog, like yours truly.

The Night Guard 2019-11-14 13:00:00

For some reason the dental guard I wear at night now provokes unprecedented dreams.

My Bad Chess Game 2019-11-12 13:00:00

And how to push my own envelope.

On The Just Doing Of It 2019-11-09 22:00:00

It's hard to just do things, because our ideas about them always get in the way.

Something To Think About 2019-11-08 22:00:00

On the use and abuse of thought experiments.

The Best Of The Best Of The Best 2019-11-08 13:00:00

The more I try to parse it, the more this business of best-of, of ranking things, seems a consumerist attitude.

Makers Gonna Make 2019-11-07 22:00:00

And should, even if they aren't great marketers.

Russell's Folly 2019-11-07 13:00:00

Ken Russell's "The Devils": not quite bad enough to be funny. But still awful.

When The Gears Mesh, And When The Lightbulb Goes On 2019-11-06 13:00:00

When tech works it's a wonderful thing. The rest of the time... (Self-written blog software edition.)

As Yet Unbegun, Let Alone Unfinished (2019 Edition) 2019-11-05 22:00:00

Some story ideas of mine that remain eternally in progress.

I Have Been In This Elevator Before 2019-11-05 13:00:00

A mindset to be identified and resisted.

Not This Year, Either 2019-10-25 21:00:00

No NaNoWriMo for me this year, again, but only because I don't need it. But what do I mean by "need"?

Snoopy's Neck 2019-10-24 21:00:00

On a childhood possession and the nature of grasping.

What Started As A Romp 2019-10-15 21:00:00

I always say to myself, "I'm just going to write something fun," and of course it always turns out to be far more than that.

Even One Word Is Power 2019-10-11 21:00:00

I write fiction because I do not want to die feeling I have had no control over my life.

Smother Me In Fun 2019-10-02 12:00:00

So much media, so little time. Again.

No Place To Put It, Or No Time For it 2019-09-30 12:00:00

With all the things I'd like to write about, I have to put my fiction first, if only because there's no one else who can do it.

Feeding Your Head (Pt. Three Thousand & Six) 2019-09-29 17:00:00

I'd rather have people sincerely interested in things, whatever cultural level they live at, than be wannabe tastemakers forever jonesing to expand their reach.

The Impersistence Of Memory 2019-09-23 12:00:00

How our lives slip through our own fingers.

No Good Vs. Yes Good 2019-09-21 21:00:00

Creative paranoia: when you know, just know, your work is worthless in a way only others can see.

Doing The You Thing 2019-09-11 21:00:00

On defending that original burst of inspiration to the death.

I Owe An Excuse 2019-09-11 12:00:00

What's the difference between an appreciation of something and making excuses for it?

Doowutchalike, Part Three Hundred And Six 2019-09-10 12:00:00

What is the good, and bad, in saying "I do what I dang well want" in any creative medium? I know there's both.

Short Of My Own Mark 2019-09-06 21:00:00

A good critic of other work makes me look at my own and feel like I've missed even the standards I wanted to set for myself.

Beat Zen, Square Zen, And Fad Zen 2019-09-05 21:00:00

If someone is now interested in something that once only had faddish appeal, their interest has a far greater chance of being genuine.

We'll Always Have The Avengers 2019-09-05 12:00:00

Ubiquitous cultural things don't thrill me, because they're in no danger of vanishing.

The Destructive Frivolity Of The Incurably Serious 2019-09-04 21:00:00

"The most destructive frivolity of all comes only from the incurably serious."

Conditions Are Never Ideal, Pt. One Thousand And Six 2019-09-03 19:00:00

There's no sense in delaying life because things aren't quite right yet. (A redux.)

Nobody Cares Enough About Your Idea To Steal It, Part Nine Thousand And Seven 2019-08-31 12:00:00

"Don't worry about someone stealing your good ideas. Worry about someone stealing your bad ones!"

Back To Zero, Again And Again 2019-08-30 17:00:00

The thrill of breaking the 120-minute barrier | Roger Ebert's Journal | Roger Ebert

Less Is Less (Is More) 2019-08-27 12:00:00

Purging bookshelves, freeing up space, lightening the load.

How To Make Up Your Flippin' Mind 2019-08-25 12:00:00

Learn to cut stuff, lest your creative work becomes one giant act of paralysis.

Dream On 2019-08-14 12:00:00

For a creative person, I have some of the dullest dreams around. I don't get it either.

Nobody Cares Enough About Your Idea To Steal It, Part Nine Thousand And Six 2019-08-11 12:00:00

Ideas aren't what matter, anyway. Execution is. And beyond that, the habit of executing. But why do we get hung up about great ideas?

Even Bad Mozart Is Hard 2019-08-07 12:00:00

The most beautiful Mozart you'll hear, the one from your own fingers, is beautiful because you now know what it costs to have even a bad version of Mozart out there.

Highly Illogical, Jim 2019-08-06 12:00:00

When does a story's logic hold fast, and when does it break?

Hello From The Other Side 2019-08-05 12:00:00

A letter to a long-dead friend.

Just Play At This 2019-08-01 12:00:00

"Don’t think about your discipline, don’t think about your craft, just play at this."

Self-Work In Progress 2019-07-24 21:00:00

If you don't work on yourself, it makes the job of others defining you against your will easier for them.

Constructive Loafing 2019-07-23 21:00:00

On Zen as the "do-nothing" philosophy (which it isn't).

The Forever Draft 2019-07-19 21:00:00

The idea is called "continuous publishing", and it doesn't thrill me.

Bibliophile's Lament 2019-07-16 21:00:00

The joys and tribulations of the Open Library.

Advice And Consent 2019-07-13 21:00:00

The very best advice I received was not a command but a seed for discussion.

Fallings From Grace 2019-07-13 18:00:00

My Dale Peck problem.

My Own 'What' And 'Why' 2019-07-08 13:00:00

How I used to get caught up in thinking about the surfaces of the things I admired.

The Wile E. Coyote Problem 2019-07-07 12:00:00

Why much of what we call "genius" is mostly cultivated stubbornness.

No Hands On The Wheel 2019-07-05 12:00:00

The problem of power, and why discarding power isn't a solution to it.

The Big Payback, er, Payoff 2019-07-03 21:00:00

What you do and don't owe a reader.

Why Nelson The Miscreant Was Right 2019-06-30 21:00:00

"...the wretched of the earth might not be wholly responsible for their wretchedness."

The David Katalin Memorial Archive 2019-06-28 21:00:00

A dream from the other night, so vivid and specific in its details that it unnerved me.

Spero Meliora And All That 2019-06-28 12:00:00

"Greatness is lived, not had."

I Reject Your Reality And Substitute My Own 2019-06-25 12:00:00

The power to visualize something well is not the same as the power to enact it well. In a world ruled by images, it's hard to remember that.

The Bane Of All Curious Minds 2019-06-21 12:00:00

What do you do when there's just so much to do and so many things to know? Focus. But how?

Bless This Mess 2019-06-17 12:00:00

The Fall Of The Hammer so far has the messiest and most fractured first draft of any book of mine I can remember.

Tinker Toys 2019-06-11 21:00:00

In some ways I'm quite stodgy when it comes to the software tools I use for my creative projects.

Bliss Is Ignorance 2019-06-08 21:00:00

There was once a time when I felt I was a better writer when I didn't really know what I was doing.

Yes U-Turn 2019-06-06 12:00:00

On not backing up in the middle of a first draft ... and then doing exactly that.

Apocalypse Table Stakes 2019-05-29 21:00:00

My creative sin: writing stories where all of creation hangs in the balance, YET AGAIN.

How To Listen To Your Gut 2019-05-28 12:00:00

And how to do what scares you, at the same time.

Guilty As Charged 2019-05-23 12:00:00

Everyone who's ever put a word to paper has an excuse, or a justification if you want to be less nasty, for everything they do. Of course I'm guilty of this.

Whatever It Is, I'm Against It 2019-05-22 12:00:00

On why contrarianism is not dissent.

The Refutation Proclamation 2019-05-21 12:00:00

Make something that is your answer to all the things in the world you don't want.

Pull That Thread 2019-05-20 12:00:00

If there's a thread in your story that begs to be pulled, pull it.

You Can See Why I Was Busy 2019-05-19 12:00:00

Whole lotta shakin' going on.

Regular Service Resuming Shortly 2019-05-14 14:00:00

Excuse our dust.

Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death 2019-05-10 12:00:00

"...what we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument."

Jerks-R-Us 2019-05-01 21:00:00

People who say "I'm a jerk and proud of it" are sending a signal they should be avoided. The problem is we aren't always in a position to enact that advice.

The Old New Thing, Again 2019-04-30 21:00:00

"The familiar is beautiful until it becomes chic to prefer the different."

Big Ticket Items 2019-04-26 12:00:00

More on popular culture as a bad model for creator culture.

Solo Work 2019-04-23 21:00:00

"All a writer’s real learning is done alone."

Is This Thing On? 2019-04-23 00:00:00

Blogging has resumed.

Rumor Control, April 2019 Edition 2019-04-19 12:00:00

Some recent writing and creative news from these shores.

In A Roundabout Kind Of Way 2019-04-12 12:00:00

My current book bears no relation to its earlier incarnations save for its title.

Something To Push Against 2019-04-06 14:00:00

On constraints as creative impetuses, and the fallacies that arise therein.

You Figure It Out 2019-04-06 12:00:00

"Fish s**t or coffee, sir?"

The Case For Preferring Older Books 2019-04-04 21:00:00

You miss out on less than you think.

The Same Old New Thing 2019-04-01 12:00:00

"We choose virality instead of quality, and equate it to quality because of its resonance."

Rewriting Is Writing Is Rewriting 2019-03-28 21:00:00

Is rehearsing.

Blog On 2019-03-27 21:00:00

Toying with Pelican, Nikola, and other static site generators.

The Last Great Special Effect 2019-03-26 12:00:00

It's sheer human effort.

Don't Make A Career Out Of It 2019-03-21 22:00:00

Professionalized hobbies make bad careers.

Revisionism 2019-03-19 12:00:00

The temptation to go back and touch up one's on work is strong.

Another Land's Words 2019-03-15 22:00:00

Are international literary prizes just for "foreign writers who make sense to us"?

The Blankest Of Slates And Pages 2019-03-13 12:00:00

What happens when we take a genre and remove everything from it that we'd label as being part of that genre?

Out Of Touch 2019-03-12 12:00:00

The number of things we need to have an opinion about right this second is not as large as it might seem.

The 10010 2019 Experience 2019-03-04 22:00:00

Back in NYC for a few days.

Freedom Yeah Right 2019-03-04 13:00:00

"... from where I sit, freedom isn't choice. Freedom is agency. Indeed, choice - by limiting agency - is often the opposite of freedom."

Up The Other Academy 2019-03-03 22:00:00

Awards are popularity contests, and the only thing that distinguishes the prestigious ones from the less so is the way the more prestigious ones are designed not to look like popularity contests.

Kill Process And Reboot 2019-02-26 22:00:00

On stopping in the middle of a first draft and starting over, sort of.

Up The Academy 2019-02-26 14:00:00

No more superhero/wizard academies based on British boarding schools, please!

Sneaking Up On The Generalities 2019-02-22 13:00:00

Instead of attacking them head-on.

The NOFOLLOW Flag 2019-02-21 13:00:00

A photographer deleted his social media presence to save his creative instincts. A wise idea.

The Passive Type 2019-02-20 13:00:00

Zen as nonintellectual, rather than anti-intellectual. But also non-passive.

Forest, Trees, Fox, Hedgehog 2019-02-16 18:00:00

On the difference between foxes and hedgehogs.

Resuming Regular Service 2019-02-15 15:24:58

We're back!

The Firstest With The Mostest 2019-02-09 18:00:00

If remakes are trash, it's because the true potential of such a project is not the motive.

Change In The Wind 2019-02-06 13:00:00

The name "Genji Press" doesn't really fit me anymore, and I'm not sure it ever did. Time for a new one?

The Pile That Never Shrinks 2019-02-04 22:00:00

How the Open Library is keeping me from drowning in books.

The Reading Prescription 2019-02-01 22:00:00

On recommending books as a way for authors to get perspective on a current or future work of their own.

The Fire Of The Mind 2019-02-01 18:00:00

Those who embrace creativity take control of their lives. It's a contagious thing.

Progress Not Guaranteed, Pt. 2 2019-01-31 13:00:00

More on Steven Pinker.

Words From The Wise 2019-01-30 22:00:00

Very few people are qualified to give useful story advice because they think the main function of a story is to entertain them.

The Future Is A One-Way Street 2019-01-28 22:00:00

"The simple faith in progress is not a conviction belonging to strength, but one belonging to acquiescence and hence to weakness."

All The Cool New Folks Are Dead 2019-01-25 22:00:00

In re: "I can’t help feeling a bit depressed that so many of the cool new writers are dead."

You Won't Find It Here 2019-01-23 13:00:00

I sometimes feel like books about writing should be prefaced with, "You won't find any 'literature' here."

Roads Not Taken, And All That 2019-01-18 13:00:00

Musings on the guy I almost was.

The Performance Index 2019-01-11 13:00:00

On gauging artistic quality by way of popularity, always a bad move.

The Shining Prince And The Misery Index 2019-01-09 13:00:00

On Kenneth Rexroth, 'The Tale Of Genji', and the notion of miserable places that can produce beautiful things.

The Worst Horse 2019-01-07 13:00:00

"If you understand Zen as a kind of practice to be a best horse you will have a problem."

Nowhere To Go Drinking 2019-01-04 13:00:00

People need a place to go that's just a place to gather.

Now Gaming In A Theater Near You 2019-01-03 13:00:00

On Netflix's Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and interactive fiction as a video platform of the future.

Anxiety Of Influence, Once Again 2019-01-02 22:00:00

You don't want to run from your influences. You want to walk away from them.

An Infinitely Receding Horizon 2019-01-01 22:00:00

"...while surely there will be a time to rest, it is not now."

The True(r) Story 2019-01-01 18:00:00

On the fictions of the "true story" style of moviemaking.

As The Nines Roll Over 2019-01-01 00:00:00

One last bit before next year, about the significance of the choices I've made for the coming twelvemonth.

See previous posts from 2018

See future posts from 2020