OK, sorry, was a day later than I said. Holidays have officially rolled away toward the horizon and normal, too-busy life is kicking into high gear again, so now that I have no time, I should be able to get more stuff done.
On the writing front, special thanks to Janet, always my first line editor, and also to Michelle Pendergrass, for their editorial suggestions for "Ray Gun." I'll be typing these in today and maybe I'll run through the story one more time before deciding on where to begin sending it out, testing the editorial waters as they say. If you're a writer, always, always, have someone proof your work. The act of creating stories is a solitary endeavor, to be sure, but editing in the final stretches is so much more productive when you have someone to take a look at it before sending to any markets - fresh eyes, new perspective. I've never given a story to someone for proofing without getting a handful (at least) of great suggestions that make it better. Never let pride get in the way of asking for criticism. Proud writers are unpublished writers.
I'm currently working on the first draft of a new story, called "The Bridge." I'd started this one in a long meeting where it looked like I was taking a lot of notes, but in fact since I wasn't really much of a participant, I decided to try an exercise I'd read about in "The Writer" magazine (quite a good mag for writers of all levels). The exercise is a sort of free-writing, outlining thing, coming up with images and thoughts from nothing, and seeing how they interact. "The Bridge" was the result, growing fully-formed in my head by the time I was done. Now, I just have to get it down in prose form. So far, it's coming along nicely. Did some research on Boston's Tobin Bridge beforehand, so I'm probably on Homeland Security's watch list now. :-)
No word on any of the other stories out there. A couple have been at the same place for a long time. One's been on the shortlist for a rather prestigious anthology called Borderlands for two and a half years. Normally, I'd have pulled it long ago, but past editions of this one have published the likes of Straub and King, so it's worth leaving it alone. Still, this is a rare case. The story, written with author Paul Tremblay, has a rather sordid past. It was accepted for publication by Fangoria about 5 years ago, then Fangoria closed their fiction, so it never got published (and we never got paid), then it was short listed for a pretty big anthology, which subsequently closed before it was published. I've begun to think the story's cursed. Another story of mine is on the senior editor's desk of a pretty big, slick magazine, and has been since May of '06, but I've let it sit because a) it's a cool magazine which is fairly selective and to get in there would be quite an honor, considering the competition for a slot in its pages, and b) they still publish issues regularly. In a way, being on the "maybe" list is better than a no, but not always. If the market is simply dead, i.e. hasn't published an issue in a long time, etc, then being on a short list doesn't mean anything except the story's wasting opportunities elsewhere. But as long as those behind the magazine are continuing to move it forward, then being on a short list can be a good thing. It means if it's accepted, all that time waiting is not for naught. Of course, my patience is only so plentiful. :-)
Had a brief, bizarre case of 24-hour flu since the last entry. I seem to get sick that way, something hits me upside the head, usually in the evening, knocks me out for a day, then I'm fine. There've been cold and fluey symptoms running through the family, but looks like we're coming out the other end, once my son's current ailment finally clears up. Thank God for Advil. We live in an age of medical miracles, if you think about it. There are little brown pills for every kind of muscle ache and swollen body parts, little red pills to prevent embarrassment in public places, little blue pills to make you a better lover, little white pills to keep from running to the men's room every ten minutes, glasses to help you read the small print on the bottles of little pills. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, finding your life tied to one or more of these little medical marvels, relying on them to make life better. Then you wonder what they did thirty, forty, a hundred years ago. Suffered, most likely, in pain or embarrassment or emotional heartbreak, or simply died (especially pre-penicillin and pre-chocolate ice cream days). And to be honest, we're not really tied down to these, rather, if we're blessed to have them available to us, we use them, and hopefully appreciate how much longer the "good" can stay in our good life. We live in an age of medical miracles, and if we can, we should take advantage of what's out there, and spend the time we have appreciating Life in general, and those we're allowed to share it with.
Happy New Year everyone. I'm not a big resolution person. In my mind, if you wait until a particular date to begin doing something, or not doing something, you have no real intention of doing it in the first place. If you did, you wouldn't be waiting until January 1st to begin. New Year's resolutions are simply a group method of procrastination. If you need to make one, though, resolve to tell the people closest to you, or even not so close, that you love them. In words, or actions. Not just the "I'm still here so that should count for something" day-to-day method, but something special. Saying it is the usual standard, but for some, maybe words don't hold as much meaning as actions. But there are ways, some small, some big. Just because you don't want to speak the words, maybe say it anyway, if you mean it, or find that special other way. Communicating how much we mean to each other is a steady, two-way conversation, one that should be nurtured and held up as the most important thing in the word, the vine from which all other branches in our lives grow out of. Sometimes we say it too much, watering down its meaning, sometimes we don't say it enough, sometimes these happen at the same time, throwing the world out of balance for a time. If there is a meaning of life, maybe it's simply finding the balance and sticking to it until it goes eschew, then adjusting until you have it back again.
I must have been a Tibetan monk in a previous life, or something.
Saw Rocky Balboa last night. For the final installment of the Rocky Franchise - 5 stars out of a possible 5. If you're not a Rocky fan, this one won't be for you, though you might still enjoy it. If you are a Rocky fan, go see it. You won't be disappointed.