I was absolutely positive that I’d mentioned, on this blog, an issue of Realms of Fantasy I had gotten which contained a new story by Harlan Ellison, and another story following it that I really liked. I searched and searched the blog. No luck. I was getting grumpy, convinced I’d somehow lost an entry…
…and then realized that I had twittered it, back when I used Twitter. (Before my wife changed my password, to keep me from twittering when I should be offline and writing. And then it was too much trouble to have her sign me back in each day when I’d done my writing, and I realized I didn’t miss it all that much). That just goes to show, having a Blog, Twitter, and whatever else is officially more places than my poor wee brain can handle.
In that issue was a Harlan Ellison story called “How Interesting: A Tiny Man”
It was a typical Harlan Ellison story. By “typical,” I mean it was well-written, had a strong voice, and what he does with the ending (I won’t spoil it) was odd, and effective, and I adored it. Well, maybe I can say there were two endings without spoiling it. I hope. I kept wanting to make people read the story and find out which ending they picked.
So it was a wonderful story. I kept on reading, onto the next story, which was by Leah Bobet and was called “Mister Oak.”
I came away having really appreciated the Ellison story, as I do all of his work…but with Leah’s “Mister Oak” being the one I remembered and had to go back and re-read.
A tree falls in love with a woman. Put like that, it sounds pretty simplistic, but it goes far beyond that. The voice is amazing. The idea is fantastic. I came away grumbling “I REALLY wish I’d written that one…” which is always high praise.
Anyway, the reason I mention it is, this morning I went to Leah Bobet’s web-site, which I linked above, and poked around. A very nice site, and between it and “Mister Oak” and the stories she’s posted online, I happily have an author to watch out for.
But the thing that really grabbed me was this page. She’s kept track of what she’s written per year, what she’s submitted, what’s been rejected, what’s been bought, and so forth. From 2001 to present.
I love that! Firstly, because I like getting a look at the nuts-and-bolts side of another writer working. Sort of like an alcoholic going to a meeting, sometimes it’s nice just to know you’re not the only one (if you see what I mean.)
(An aside: I’m sorry if this is incoherent. I feel lousy, and pretty shaky. I’m not sure why. After writing this, I’m going to go collapse.)
The second reason I love that page is, I love competing against other writers. Even if it’s only in my head — although sometimes, I’ll race or compete with friends — I love the competition. It was something Ernest Hemingway did. After a day of writing, he’d say things like “Today I made it three rounds with Tolstoy.” It’s sort of like that. It’s not really hard-edged competitiveness, in that it mostly doesn’t exist outside of my head.
But it’s fun to look at a page like that and go “right, I am going to totally try to beat her at something in 2010.”
Of course, even if I beat her at some aspect or another…
…I still won’t have written “Mister Oak.” Which was brilliant. Did I mention that? Go find yourself a copy of that issue of Realms of Fantasy and read that story. You’ll be better for it.
Today, I bought a Piccadilly Journal, lovely hardbacked thing with a band to keep it closed and a book marking ribbon. Lovely, and I can’t wait to write lots of stuff in it. My local Borders is going out of business, and I got it there for astonishingly cheap. If I’d realized how cheap it was, I would have bought the lot when they had more. As it is, by the time I got around to buying this one, it was the last one there.
I also bought a clip-on-book-light, so I can read when sitting in my son’s room, in the dark, waiting for him to fall asleep. Previously, I’d read things on my iPhone, but I’ll take a book any day. One minor drawback is, it’s an astonishingly bright LED thing, and it sort of fills up the room. But it works well.
I’m slightly grumpy about not having put the review I wrote for SF Signal up yet. It’s waiting to be typed into the computer and then uploaded. Which I’d do tonight, if I hadn’t bone-headedly forgotten to ask my wife to let me into my e-mail (where I keep the template-code-wossname).
Having my wife keep the password to my e-mail is hugely useful and good, but it has drawbacks now and then. Well, tomorrow night, I’ll sort it out.
My short story keeps growing and changing as I write it, getting sharper and sharper and honing in on the best way to tell it. I love it how it keeps changing, sometimes in the space between sentences.
I have two other short stories standing in line after this one, each of them brand new ideas I’m excited about. Neither of them are things I would have thought of even a year ago. And neither of them would have come off well had I written them on a computer.
Nothin’ wrong with writing on computers. But pen-and-paper, yo ho, that’s the life for me.
Okay, that’s it, I’m going to curl up and hope to feel better tomorrow. I promise not to kvetch next time I post.
Addendum: you know what’s sad? it’s -3 degrees Fahrenheit outside at the moment, which is nearly the warmest it’s been all week. Mostly, with the ever-present wind-chill, it’s been nearly thirty degrees colder than this.