Tomorrow I fly home. I hate flying. Thanks to Google Earth the view out the window doesn’t even get me excited like it used to. I wonder what that says for internet porn? This has been a productive trip on many levels. I got some good writing done, discovered several pieces in my trash can that should have been on my top shelf, moved a story to a reputable market and got lots of reading done. The most important lesson I’ve learned from all this is that sometimes it pays to be uncomfortable. Sometimes it pays to be lonely. There were few distractions here- no tv, no games, no friends, no dogs, no bookshelf crammed full of interesting volumes of English history and geology. I haven’t even put on my I-pod.
Laura and I were walking around in downtown Philly while she was up last weekend visiting me and we took a side street that had the countries smallest national park ( a room once rented by a Polish engineer that kept the approaches to West Point safe during the Revolution) the site where the first pressing of Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” was made, and the house place of Dr. Benjamin Rush. Then we stumbled onto Independence Hall. I’ve spent many, many hours at Independence Hall over the years. I know you guys are probably going to find this ridiculous, but I always get weepy when I’m there. I can’t help but imagine the fear and hope and struggle of the people that toiled in that room. I think of the triumphs and the bitter, horrible failures that would stay with the country to this day- The first Amendment, The Three-Fifths Compromise. The highest of human achievements and the greatest disappointments and all of it writ under the shadow of the noose. Yep, I cry every single time I see it. As much as I might seem like some sort of liberal malcontent to most people, I’m really a patriot of the old school. I adore our history, good and bad, triumphant and flawed. I don’t care for presidents, but I love people. When my friend Doug, a classic of the ‘I don’t care’ indie rock kid type, came back from studying at Oxford the first thing he said to me was, “America is the greatest country on earth.” I could go on about the sickening corporate subduction of all that is good and right in this country, but I’m in the city of brotherly love and for a moment I want to stay positive and I can do that. And I can also say things like, “Your God won’t save you when the old ones rise up from R’lyeh hungry for flesh.” Thanks first amendment for that freedom of religion- er speech. And even though a portion of my tax dollars goes toward funding privately owned death squads and the execution of the mentally handicapped another portion goes toward funding mostly top-flight gene research and the National Endowment for the Arts. I’d better stop while I’m still mostly positive.
I’m way off topic here. I think this is a blog for writers. So I’ll just stay off topic a little longer. Fantasy writer Elizabeth Moon has been on my mind lately after her enlightened commentary about the, no, “The Muslim Problem.” I assume she means ‘her’ problem with Muslims and not some sort of “First we build the camps then we put them on the trains” final solution “Muslim Problem.” Well, she is a fantasy writer. My advice to you Mrs. Moon- pull out the lava lamp, smoke a joint and chill out to the soothing voice of Matt Damon reading “A People’s history of the United States,” by Howard Zinn. If you don’t feel better try lithium.
Now I feel better. I’ve never openly bashed a fellow writer before. I bashed George R. R. Martin once for being so fucking good and making me want his next book so badly that I check his website hourly like some thin stalker waiting to see if that girl has responded to the forty-six messages and pictures he sent her this morning. (just a note, I’ve never stalked anyone, but I have been stalked… more than once.)((Okay I stalked that one person, but it was only because I thought he was a serial killer and I had never heard of Anthropophobia at the time so, Mr. Greer, if you’re still hiding in that inner room of your house, I’m really sorry for digging up your septic tank and calling the cops and stuff.))
So things in my writing:
Going back to short stories for awhile- I’m not up for a novel, not yet.
Sending off the mail subs friday- get ready Assimov’s, Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Analog!!!
Taking a short side trip to scout out the backyard of Apex publisher Jason Sizemore because there is some weird shit going on at his place.
Have shovel, will travel.
The science of Fiction.
See you all from Tennessee- Home of Jerry “The King” Lawler