Welcome to the Black Parade

14 Nov

(The title has nothing to do with the post; I’m just listening to that CD right now, and enjoying the hell out of it. Every time my faith in rock falters, an album like this comes out.)

Good morning.

You know, we’re almost halfway through the Tea Debacle now? We are. Do you find that exciting? Mostly, it’s like a whip to the backside to me, when I realize I’m not as far as I want to be, and I haven’t gotten enough done. Fortunately, that’s a standard feeling in everyone’s life, so I’m not going to go on and on about it. It just occurs to me.

Winning aside — and it’s quite a big aside — my main goal in the Debacle is to have begun, and then to finish, The Nondescript. This is for a number of reasons. For the first, this book marks a major turning point in the whole entire fabric of my life, and as soon as I can figure out how to talk about it without sounding confused, elitist, and possibly crazy, I’ll explain what I mean (though it’s probably evident, watching the shift of how I’ve talked on this blog, over the course of the year). For the second reason: We need the money. Boy oh boy. And before you step up to point out to me, quite rightly, that writing and selling books is a poor way to make any reliable money at first, l can assure you that I’ve been doing this long enough to know that. But to apply a metaphor to it: When you’re floundering in the ocean, you grab the first piece of wood you find and hang on. You don’t stop to consider how well it floats.  It’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and it keeps back the Long, Dark Tea Time of the Soul and the perpetual fear that I’m going to wind up working in a tire factory, grow old, and die and never manage anything.

Anyway, that’s the sum total of anything like angst which I might have. I’m terribly cheerful. For one thing, The Nondescript is going well, and I’m having the best time writing it, and I know without doubt that these are the best words I have ever put down on paper. Whether they’re actually good compared to any other standard isn’t up to me, but I feel like I’m doing good work. I’m also doing slow work. It comes sweet and easy, but slow. It’s thick text. Plus, I feel like I’ve never written before. My writing habits and tricks have entirely deserted me (and that’s fine; I have a suspicion they were just chains on my legs, while I’m floundering in the above mentioned ocean. Screw ’em.)

My wife and I have been going through boxes which we have in storage, the past couple of days. Mostly, just to make more room, Lord knows we need the space. Partially because I want to condense the boxes in the storage room enough that I can then put our boxes of stored books in there (there’s about twelve of them at the moment, Lord knows we could fill at least eight or nine more, and still have books on the shelves).

This is fun, because we get to throw old crap away, always invigorating. But especially cool for me was the sheer amount of office supplies of mine which I discovered.

4 reams of printer paper, 1 ream of legal printer paper, 6 untouched and unused legal notepads, 12 70-page notebooks, 1 5-subject notebook (I adore these. I just bought a new one, a week or so back. Now I have two!). About eighteen wonderful pens. 1 fountain pen I forgot I owned. 2 Clipboards. And a box full of old stories and serial work. Take all the old stories and serial episodes and stack them, you get a stack around a foot tall, maybe more. And that’s just one box. I know I have two more boxes, in the storage room, with my stuff in them.

It was nice. It was like a wild spending-spree in Office Depot, with the sheer amount of stuff I now have. It makes me happy. Maybe that makes me a really sad person, to get that excited over office supplies, but poo on you.

Lori posted a link, and an article about it, awhile back on her blog. She talked about the Writers’ Rooms page, over at The Guardian. But do you know that they update, sporadically and without announcement, but they do update? They do. I visit the site more than I’ll admit in public. here’s the link, go check out the new additions, then come back later and maybe find more.

Also from the Guardian, this article on the proposed discontinuation of hardcover books. I’m not sure what I think of it yet, and I do think that the pictures the author of the article paints is a bit bleak (but not necessarily inaccurate, for all that). Personally, I find hardcover books to my preferred format. I like the bigger size, I find it easier to hang onto, and easier to read. Pocket books don’t fit in any of my pockets, so that doesn’t do me any good. But, as much as the article sort of bugs me…I realize that without hardcovers, I’d just buy more trade paperbacks, which satisfy the same desire as hardcovers for me.

Sick of Guardian links yet? I hope not. Because here’s a terrific page about why authors write, and what started them on it.

And last, but foremost among its fellow links: A Gene Wolfe podcast interview from Balticon, from 2006.  Gene Wolfe is one of my heroes of writing, not to mention as a human being. I think that, if I can land somewhere between Gene Wolfe, Les Stroud, Mike Rowe, and Neil Gaiman, then I’ll do okay. In particular, listen at the end to his advice for writers. He is very wise.

There you go. Now, I’m going to go write some fiction novel!


Posted by on November 14, 2007 in Uncategorized


21 responses to “Welcome to the Black Parade

  1. mymidnightmuse

    November 14, 2007 at 11:22 am

    That makes me a little sad, to think the hardback is going the way of the Dodo. I love hardbacks. I love how they sit on my shelves so neatly, how they’re so much easier to hold and prop up when reading in an odd position. I love the weight and feel of them, and the often unevenness of the page ends. And yes, I love the prestige they seem to carry.

    I always knew my work wouldn’t rate a hardback, but still, I’ll be sad to see them no more.

    As to the writer’s rooms – lately, thanks to The Great Tea Debacle – I’ve rediscovered the art of writing late at night in my bed. (yes, America, she sleeps alone!) For years, that was my favorite place to write, late at night, all alone except for the cats warming my feet and keyboard. Last week I went back to that, on a whim and out of a need to keep writing and turn out the living room lights.

    Much to my wondering eyes did appear: Words! Many of them, and they flowed from my finger tips. Oh, how they flowed! With reckless abandon did they fly forth and multiply. I had rediscovered my Happy Place!

  2. Pete Tzinski

    November 14, 2007 at 11:25 am

    That’s GOOD, that’s a good thing for the Debacle to do. I know that it’s sort of jump-started rusty circuits in my brain which had accepted that, because of Zach, I had to adjust my writing schedule. I don’t. It was just rationalizing.

    I don’t think the hardcover’s going away quite yet. Bear in mind, as the article says, that this is one London publisher trying this as an experiment. It may not stick, with anyone else or even with them.

    I would be saddened to see Hardcovers go (I would really love to see The Nondescript in hardcover) but the more I think about trade paperbacks (some of which, like the Essential Ellison, are the size and shape of hardcovers anyway) the more I think that it wouldn’t change anything too much.

  3. tjwriter

    November 14, 2007 at 11:25 am

    MMMMM…Office Supplies!!!! I love those too. I think it’s mostly something for writers. At least it seems that writers love office supplies the most. I have a horrid number of things that I need to get rid of.

    Cleaning storage spaces is a task I need to take up as well. I’ve been working on my computer/crap room, and discarding tons of, well, crap. Some of it goes to the Goodwill and some goes to the garbage.

    What I need to tackle is clothing. It’s the hardest thing for me to part with. But I’ve decided it is time, so other than a few things I can’t stand to see go, I’m getting rid of the stuff that doesn’t fit and hasn’t fit in a long time, as well as the stuff I don’t really like but I’ve hung onto because someone I love got it for me.

    It’s time to make space!

    Writing, well, nobody leaves me alone, but I should be all alone the day after Thanksgiving, so I am dedicating a whole day to writing.

  4. Pete Tzinski

    November 14, 2007 at 11:29 am

    Thanksgiving, I can’t wait. I LOVE Thanksgiving. It’s never the same when you’re not the child in your parent’s house, at least in my case. Thanksgiving was a busy, frenetic and happy family day. Mom was cooking all morning and into the afternoon, my dad would watch parades and football games and putter around and make jokes and a nuisance of himself (which he does with delight). My sister and I would…er…I have no idea anymore. It always depended on where we were living. But my memories of Thanksgiving are of warm, energetic, family days. I like those.


    THe problem with doing the clothes — next on the list for us — is that if it fits, I am inclined to keep it, because I hate to waste. But then I have to think “I will never actually WEAR this…” and get rid of it. For example, who on earth is going to wear a Metallica t-shirt anymore? Out it goes. 🙂

  5. mymidnightmuse

    November 14, 2007 at 11:39 am

    I’m quite good at tossing out “things” and do it often, even clothing. Of course, I donate that, but I get it out of my house.

    Thanksgiving is the one big family holiday that I can still tolerate. My sister and I have a good time at Mom’s house, then by the time my other sister and her family show up, I’m well into a bottle of wine and can ignore how everyone goes on about her and how her “book” is coming along and is sure to make her millions (as she sells it from her trunk). It’s Christmas I can’t handle any more because it’s at HER house and comes so close after Thanksgiving.

    I have issues.

    But I also have ALL of next week OFF and will do much writing, late at night, on my bed, with a happy smile and flying words !!

  6. tjwriter

    November 14, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    Pete, over the course of many years, I’ve come to the mindset that there are these clothes that I don’t want to wear. They take up space, which I would prefer to be taken up by something else. I can donate them somewhere where another person can wear said clothes for the remainder of the clothing’s usefulness. Therefore I am being a selfish ass by hanging onto these clothes. Voila! Instant guiltfree parting of ways with clothing.

    Kristine, I am ever so jealous of your time off. Your other sister is the one that self-pubbed and the family thinks she’s royal now, right? I’ll bet that does suck for you. Like the regular route isn’t hard enough.

  7. Pete Tzinski

    November 14, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    “I just published my first novel.”

    “Oh really? How much did you have to pay?”


    Some people. 🙂

  8. Shadow_Ferret

    November 14, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    Well, I’m in it for the money. And any other motives I have are purely selfish, too. Fame. Success. But money is my greatest motivator. I know “everyone” says this isn’t the profession to be in to make money, but what is? Acting? I’m sure they struggle like the Dickens, too. Music? Lots of struggling going on there, too. Art? Well, that’s where the term struggling artist orginated, right?

    But these people often do become rich and famous. Nearly every writer I know is rich and/or famous. Stephen King. Dean Koontz. Gore Vidal. Laurel K. Hamilton. Anne Rice. JK Rowling. The list goes on and on. So don’t tell me I can’t be famous! All right? I can dammit!

  9. Shadow_Ferret

    November 14, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    Drat. I forgot to ask what the Black Parade was.

  10. Pete Tzinski

    November 14, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    There, there, Ed, take some midol. 😉

    There’s lots of authors who don’t make any huge amounts of money, or even make a standalone career out of writing. It’s just a depressing truth of the industry. But that’s okay, it just means you have to work harder, and I’m all in favor of that.

  11. Pete Tzinski

    November 14, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    It’s a CD you won’t like, by a band you won’t like. 😛

    “Welcome to the Black Parade” is the latest CD by “My Chemical Romance”

    Go onto YouTube, search for “Welcome to the Black Parade,” or “Famous Last Words,” or even “Teenagers,” which are there three videos. The whole CD is absolutely perfect, one of those disks that you listen to all the way through without feeling the need to skip any songs. My Chemical Romance has the attitude and personality of Alice Cooper Band, back in the 70’s (If “Black Parade” had been made in ’75, it would have been “Welcome to my Nightmare,”)

  12. Pete Tzinski

    November 14, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Actually, if you want an introduction to MCR through YouTube, watch videos in this order:

    “WElcome to the Black Parade”
    “Famous Last Words”
    “Ghost of You”

    I think that gives a good representation. Not to mention some damn good rock.

  13. tjwriter

    November 14, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    Unfortunately Ed, the list you gave is that top 10% of published authors. (I know it could me more or less, but it works for my point.) They are the elite of the publishing world. There are many more authors who, as Pete mentioned, either barely get by or supplement with a job. The number of hugely successful is far, far fewer than that of the mediocre fame level.

  14. Pete Tzinski

    November 14, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    Robert Sheckley, one of the gods of science fiction, became ill in Russia while at a convention and had to be hospitalized and put on a respirator. they had to do a lot of fund-raising work, simply because he couldn’t afford it. And Bob Sheckley was one of the masters of science fiction.

    there are top tier authors, but even some acclaimed and famous authors are sometimes not as financially secure as they might seem.

  15. Shadow_Ferret

    November 14, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    I’m hurt that you think I wouldn’t like it, Pete. I’m not totally stuck in the 70s. I own Spock’s Beard, Dream Theater, Rob Zombie, Jet, Gorillaz, Marilyn Manson, Static X, Laurena McKenna, to name a few more modern bands.

  16. Pete Tzinski

    November 14, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    I knew you liked those bands, Ed, but My Chemical Romance comes off, at first whiff, as one of the bizarre crop of ’emo’ bands,all of which should be taken out back and shot. That’s all.

    If I REALLY thought you wouldn’t like it, I wouldn’t haved posted a watching-order for you to go find the videos on YouTube and get yourself a feel for ’em. And then, I hope that you’ll go pick up the Black Parade album, and I can be gleeful about that.

    (You and I may be the only people on the planet who actually know who Spock’s Beard is anymore…sigh… 🙂 )

  17. mymidnightmuse

    November 14, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Mmm, My Chemical Romance 😀

    I’ll be happy to make Published a goal achieved, and paid. Yes, I know I’m never going to achieve fame, I’m not good enough. And I won’t make a living doing this, as fantastic as that would be. I’m realistic and have a very well paying day-job. But by God I’m gonna keep trying, working, striving for this until they bury me with a pen and paper and the words The End on my headstone.

    Even then, I’ll have someone still checking the post for SASE returns 😀

  18. Shadow_Ferret

    November 14, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Wish you could edit these posts. I’d add that optimism keeps me going. Not realism. If I accepted the fact that I’d never make money at this, I wouldn’t bother. I’d be pleased as punch to just write the stories in my head and never put them down on paper. But I have a goal, it’s the same goal I’ve had since I first put pencil to paper, and that’s to become a successful writer.

    I’m not dead yet so I haven’t failed yet. I will become a rich and famous writer or die in the attempt.

    You all can do as you please, believe as you please, but that’s how I’m going about my life.

  19. Rllgthunder

    November 14, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    Can we kill you in the next Horror Contest, Ferret?

  20. Lori

    November 14, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    I caught what you said, Ed. “All the writers you know” are rich and famous. I thought it was a good play on words.

  21. Shadow Ferret

    November 14, 2007 at 9:49 pm

    I think, Rllgthunder, that too many would get great pleasure from that. I’d be skeered of the results.


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