Enemies and Friends



“The enemy of most authors is not piracy but obscurity.”



A few days back, Dave Charest posted that on Twitter, perfectly encapsulating a line of thought that’s been haunting me for the past nine months or so.

More on this a bit lower down in the post…

* * * * * *

In all honesty, I didn’t plan on taking a Summer Hiatus — and, really, given the amount of work I’ve gotten done over the past few months, I still could use a vacation. But if I went off somewhere for a week, you can bet I’d spend most of it writing.

Once the dust settled after moving earlier in the summer, I got sidetracked by the aforementioned secret science fiction project. If you’ve been following along on Twitter or Facebook, then you already know that the project is a comic book treatment/proposal called “Chimera” and that it’s been sent off to my friends in Singapore. So we’ll see where that goes.

(Speaking of which, let me offer a belated “Welcome to the World” to the lovely and perfect Ms. Prudence. And congratulations to her excellent parents, Gavin and WeeNee. Nice work.)

Would you buy a religion from this man?Interestingly enough, since completing the preliminary outline and scripts for this project, I’ve found a handful of upcoming movies and comics that share some of the same elements. There’s no direct correlation, just some interesting thematic parallels and plot points. But I gave up on getting frustrated by that sort of thing a long time ago. We’re all tapped into the same frequencies, so it’s no surprise when we resonate along similar lines.

In the documentary The Mindscape of Alan Moore, this is referred to as “Idea Space” and that’s just as good a way to think about it as anything else.

(For certain kinds of brains, that movie is a mind-stretching experience. I recommend it.)

Any time I didn’t spend on “Chimera” over the past few months was spent working on a poem.

That’s right. One poem.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time on this particular poem. And all I have to show for it are about twenty-three pages of handwritten gibberish, incomplete villanelle rhyming schemes, and no poem.

I am mad at this poem. It is in a time-out right now and if it’s very good, I might let it out someday.

Bah.

I also finally finished a new play that had been languishing on the back burner for what I thought would only be a few months but which, surprisingly, turned out to be a few years. But it’s done now and once I tweak some formatting, I’ll be posting it here for one and all to enjoy.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that it isn’t actually a new play at all. Truth be told, it’s actually a complete reworking of the first play I ever wrote. Hard to believe, but that was over twenty years ago. And the idea/premise for the play is even older, going back almost thirty years.

I always felt like that premise deserved somewhat better than what my nineteen-year-old self was able to do with it. A few years back something shifted inside my head and I said “Yeah… that could work.” So I threw out most of the story and characters, retooled everything, kept the bits that worked, and put it all into the hands of a girl named Elizabeth to see what she would do with it. As a character, Liz surprised the hell out of me and I’ve grown as fond of her as anyone I’ve ever written.

Most surprisingly, the things that didn’t work in the first version of the script — all those things I wanted to resolve and repair — are still present and problematic in this latest version. I’d blame Liz, but it’s obviously the writer’s fault.

At any rate, the name of the play is “Drawing Away” and I’ll be posting it sometime this coming weekend. Stay tuned for details.

In the midst of all of this, an old acquaintance from college got in touch via Facebook. Usually getting pinged by someone from the past is a bit of a mixed bag (I’ve whined about this before) but, for many reasons, that wasn’t the case this time. And, in a surprising degree of coincidence and convergence, twenty years ago this acquaintance had played the lead in the original version of the play that I’d just finished retooling. Coincidence? Alan Moore probably has something to say about that sort of thing as well.

Somewhere, I’ve got a VHS of that play floating around. I’ll try to pull a scene or two and post them here. If nothing else, there’s a high degree of nostalgia for me. That was at the beginning of it all, one of a very few specific milestones that I can point to and say “There. That’s when I felt my life shift on its axis.”

But, for once, I didn’t resent Facebook for reconnecting me with someone from the past.

As many of you know, I have a day job working in Advertising. Most of my time is spent helping my clients navigate the thorny paths of various online mechanisms for connecting with their audiences, customers, and so on. I’m reasonably competent at what I do, fortunately. And it’s a fairly enjoyable way to earn a living.

In the past month or so, I’ve had the opportunity to help one of my clients take their first little baby steps into social networking. What this means is that, for all intents and purposes, I’m spending a couple of hours a day on Twitter and Facebook as my client. Actually, there are three different and distinct brands that I’m managing, across two different networks (that’s six accounts total). I’ve got seven different browser tabs open at all times, a 3×3 TweetGrid that runs real time searches on related terms, and an ever-evolving strategy for helping my client participate in these conversations in a way that’s meaningful, human, and worthwhile.
Dancing for the Clients
It is, as you might imagine, a hell of a lot to keep straight onscreen — to say nothing of inside my chronically porous little Gemini brain. And I still have difficulty coming to terms with the concept that I get paid to do this sort of thing.

Fortunately, they haven’t heard about “Stripper Friday”.

Not a bad gig, really — at least, it’ll do until that whole “Writer” thing ramps up.

Although it does remind me of the old “First you do it for love…” thing.

And on that note, back to the beginning…

I have a couple of semi-announcements to share.

First off, I recently put together a portable sound studio similar to this one. Which means that, over time, I’m going to (a) Re-record both “Assam & Darjeeling” and “Matters of Mortology” to improve the overall production quality and clean up the rough edges in the original recordings; and (b) Begin a new podcast with an open format more suited to conversation, interviews, and shorter pieces. The re-recording could take a few months, of course. But I expect the new podcast to kick off sometime in October.

Second, if you’re one of the many people who’s written to me about getting ahold of a copy of either “Matters of Mortology” or “Assam & Darjeeling” that you can hold in your hands and read with your whaddyacall actual eyes, then good news is on the way. Starting with “Mortology” in a few weeks, both books will be released in a variety of formats: Softcover, Hardcover, PDF, and a few of the eBook readers (Amazon’s Kindle is for sure, the Sony Reader is a possibility as well).

It’s an . . . experiment, of a sort. I’m very interested to see how it goes.

Watch this space for details.

* * * * * *

On a cold October day in 1877, a young man walked off a white oak ship.Speaking of which, it’s time now for something I really should do more often…

I met author Tony Delgrosso on Twitter some long while back. Not sure how we connected but he’s clever and funny, so I bet that had something to do with it. Sometime last year, Tony began publishing his novel “Mr. Abernathy” online in installments. It’s a fun yarn and Delgrosso does a good job taking some of the classic thriller elements (Secret Nazi research, time travel, and [maybe?] UFO technology) and crafts an enjoyable, engaging book out of them. I wrote a review for it on GoodReads, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it here as well.

Another reason I like this book is that it’s from an author taking steps to promote his work outside of the traditional (and increasingly, frustratingly hermetically-sealed) publishing industry. It’s a bit inspiring and, like the man said, “it is a comfort to the unfortunate to have companions in woe.”

You can pick up a copy of Tony Delgrosso’s “Mr. Abernathy” online.