Time flies when you’re living in a self-imposed creative wasteland.
It’s been three months since my last real update and since then I’ve been to several plays including two musicals, seen a couple of fantastic musicians live listened to a lot of great new music, backed loads of kickstarter projects, watched some hockey but not as much as I would have liked, eaten in some nice restaurants, injured my foot, run a marathon and signed up for a second one, watched some really good films (and awesome videos), seen the batmobile, read some great books and a lot of short stories but written nothing.
The Evil Dead Claim Another Victim*
However, a couple of weeks ago we went away to Desolation Sound for a short break to recharge and I ended up writing the first drafts of a couple of new stories – This is Not the Apocalypse You’re Looking For and Artificial Wife.
That burst of creativity (and the amazing location) swept away the cobwebs and since then I’ve been masterminding a plan to get writing back into my regular schedule.
The first step was to clear out all my almost finished stories so I’ve spent the last few days revising Origami Man, Rainshine and This is Not the Apocalypse You’re Looking For and I’m pretty happy with the final drafts. I still have Artificial Wife, an old story – On His Bed of Books - and a story I wrote at Christmas, Fresh Things to go and then I’ll have a clear plate. Those last three are a little troublesome and need more work than the others but I should be done by the weekend.
Then it’s on to the rewrite of The Ghost Smuggler. Hopefully I’ll be able to start that on Saturday. I haven’t decided on my word count goal for the rewrite yet but I’ll be trying to work on it every day although that could be a challenge; we’re training for a half-marathon in a couple of weeks and start a full marathon training program shortly. Add that to regular visits to the gym and my day job and I’m going to be pressed for time. But that’s a subject for another post.
*Victim not me.
Last week was pretty much overwhelmed by my day job – lots of late evenings trying to keep all the plates spinning. As a result running and writing both fell by the wayside and that’s going to continue to be the case for the next couple of weeks while we finish off our latest title and get a couple of new projects fired up.
Wednesday was the exception though; we braved the Vancouver rain to see William Gibson at the latest Incite event at the Vancouver Public Library. Okay, so it’s only about four blocks from home so it wasn’t much of a sacrifice, but still…rain.
Incite is a series of literary events organised by the Vancouver International Writers Festival and they’re free, which meant getting there early to make sure we got a decent seat – in this case a prime position in the second row.
Mr Gibson was there to promote his latest book - Distrust That Particular Flavor - a collection of non-fiction essays culled from magazines, websites and speeches. He read a short chapter from the book in between questions from the VIWF Artistic Director, Hal Wake, and the audience. Topics ranged from his reluctance to publish non-fiction to the appeal of Japan to the mysterious origins of the name Hubertus Bigend and they made for a varied and entertaining evening.
Like so many people, I first encountered William Gibson through Neuromancer and I can still remember lying in my bedroom eagerly devouring the Sprawl Trilogy. I still have those books and I’ve been a fan ever since so it was a real pleasure to get to see and listen to him in person. It was odd to hear Hal Wake calling him Bill though.
No actual writing this week, just more planning, but we did go to our first musical event of the year last night – a gig by Molly Lewis.
The first thing I need to mention about this particular show was the venue – a real live human being’s front room. Okay, we weren’t all sitting round the fire in great grandma’s Victorian armchairs or anything like that – this was a loft in Vancouver after all – but there was a sofa and a computer and food in the kitchen and somewhere, a cat. It was also the perfect location to see the charming Molly Lewis play.
If you aren’t familiar with her, she plays the ukulele (and sometimes, a kazoo) and sings about Mr T, Stephen Fry, MySpace and beards. Basically, she’s George Formby for the iPhone generation. She also isn’t sure how many songs people expect at a $5 show.
In this case the answer was ‘we don’t really care’. I would guess there were about 30-40 people there last night but a lot of them already knew each other so it felt like a group of friends hanging out rather than a gig.
Molly’s a great singer and her songs appeal to our sense of humour so we both really enjoyed ourselves. If you get the chance to hear her play, and you’re into pop culture, I highly recommend you go.
Thankfully, Vancouver’s imminent snow storm held off long enough that the walk home was only mildly hazardous.
Busy week this week. On Wednesday we went to the Vinyl Cafe Christmas Concert. The tickets were an early Christmas present from my wife but neither of us really knew what we were going to see. It turned out to be a really fun show; a mix of stories by Stuart McLean and music by Hawksley Workman.
The Vinyl Cafe stories feature record store owner Dave, his wife Morley, their two children and in the case of the three stories Stuart McLean read on Wednesday, some ferrets, a car wash and a hockey game. The stories reminded me a bit of old British comedy shows – there’s an innocence to them that you don’t see very often any more. Don’t get me wrong, I like the sophistication of today’s comedy (the good shows anyway) but it was fun to just sit back and be entertained by some good old fashioned fun.
I ended up buying Hawksley’s latest CD – Full Moon Eleven – and I have it playing now. His website says his music defies category and I have to agree so I’m not going to try to describe it. Instead, you can listen to his music on YouTube.
This week also saw the early access release of Star Wars The Old Republic - the new Massively Multiplayer Online Game from Bioware and Lucasarts.
This is significant to me for a couple of reasons, firstly I work at EA and this is a big release for us. Secondly, I’m a sucker for Star Wars MMOs. I played the first one – Star Wars Galaxies – obsessively for quite a while.
Everyone at EA got a free copy of the game (I also bought the collector’s edition) and I’ve already spent upwards of eight hours playing the game. It’s a great game and has Bioware’s trademark storytelling but it’s not going to help my writing.
Last night Ann and I spent a very entertaining evening at a puppet show.
Yes…a puppet show.
I know that doesn’t sound very rock n roll but these are post-apocalyptic puppets so it’s okay.
Ronnie Burket controls and voices all the marionettes in this one man show featuring a blind woman – Penny Plain – and a bizarre mix of survivalists, a serial killer, a cross-dressing banker, talking dogs and mysterious strangers seeking sanctuary from the apocalypse. The marionettes are incredible, and it’s a wildly entertaining show – funny, strange and sad.
If you get the chance to see it, I highly recommend it. For Vancouverites it’s on at the Cultch for a few more days and you can order tickets here.
I also got the corrections to The Z Word and a new bio off to the editor of So Long, and Thanks for All the Brains.
Today, I want to finish F Bomb.