Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Load

Inspired by something I read yesterday.  I don’t know how much I like it.

——

I know that if I put this down

It doesn’t go away

It just becomes a load for someone else to carry

I want to drop it

I know it but

I want to drop it

I know

I can carry this a little longer

I can carry this

I can carry this if

you promise to be with me

If you promise to be with me

I can carry this

Still.

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These Shoes

Well, we’re finally down to it. I haven’t had a chance to watch the new X-Files yet and so this week I’m writing about shoes. These shoes in particular:

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I have had this pair of shoes for a long while. I bought them for distance running, and after they wore out for that they’ve been walking around shoes for the last several years. As I guess you can tell from the picture, they’re pretty well done for that as well now. They leak, the soles are nearly worn through and falling to pieces, and the uppers are coming apart at the seams.

With the onset of a proper winter, it was time to put the summer footwear away, and the thing is that I probably can’t get another summer out of these guys.

Now, a sane person would have just dumped them in the trash and thought no more about it. I, however, got to thinking about everything these shoes have done in their time.

These shoes and I have been out for morning run after morning run, through ice and mud and goose poo and glass and whatever the hell else was out there waiting. These shoes got me through a half marathon. These shoes have done the plough push, deadlifts, hill sprints, and the farmer’s walk. These shoes did the run up Suicide Hill where Adam Godwinson runs for his life in The King in Darkness.

Speaking of, I wrote basically the entire book while running in these shoes. All those moments and characters, by and large, came from where-ever they come from into my mind while these shoes and I were doing our thing. For that alone, I feel like I owe them.

These have also been travellin’ shoes. These shoes have been on the beach and across the ocean. They have climbed pyramids, walked in the footsteps of the Lionheart and Eleanor of Aquitaine, through a tropical forest, and on the sand at Juno Beach. They’ve been to Alcatraz Island and in thousand year old cathedrals. They have done the ‘oh god can’t miss this flight’ sprint. They’ve been on cities afloat and on medieval streets I could follow forever. They’ve been on the paths of my child hood and shot arrows at my grandfather’s farm, which I think he might have enjoyed seeing.

In these shoes I have had days that were the next thing to perfect and some of the worst days of my life. They always brought me home in the end.

It is strange, and I suppose more than a little silly, to put so much significance on an old pair of shoes and to feel badly (as I do) that I’m going to have to give up on them in a way they’ve never quit on me. It is time, and yet I genuinely feel guilty about the idea of dumping this worn out pair of Asics. I know not everyone does this, but I also know I’m not absolutely the only person who gets somehow attached to things that I own and have used for a while, or things that have come to me in ways that felt important at the time. The shoes are the latest example of this, but I’ve been doing it all my life.

Perhaps predictably, I think it has to do with stories. I don’t think we really form connections to inanimate objects (for the most part); what we’re feeling is the link to the memories, and therefore the stories, that those things represent and remind us of. These are things that have been part of our stories and remind us of them and, as creatures of memory, it’s not easy to put those things aside and perhaps lose our link to those memories, and to the stories. After all, as everyone notices in time, our minds are far from perfect storehouses and we forget things we’d much rather keep close to us forever. I think that’s why people like me like to keep our little treasures around us: to help preserve those stories for when we need them. But there are limits, I don’t actually want to live in a trash heap, and so sometimes things just do need to go.

For a while, I was trying to think of the right way to put these shoes to rest, since (being a goof) putting them in the trash just seemed insufficient. Fortunately (maybe) I’ve come up with something. This summer I am running the Spartan Race here in Ottawa and I am given to understand that whatever shoes you wear to that thing get utterly destroyed. So these old shoes will get one last day on the field of glory and get me through one final race.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’ll also try to have something a little less goofy for you next week.

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Star Wars

Goofy idea postponed yet again (at this rate I may never do it!) because, as you may have seen on the Twitter, later last week I was finally one of the last sentient creatures roaming the surface of the planet to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I’m gonna ramble on about that a little bit today. In the interests of the last few entities wandering around out there who haven’t seen the movie yet, I’m going to keep this as spoiler-free as I can, including especially the part where Jabba the Hutt turns out to be the new head of the Jedi.

One of the interesting things in waiting so long (in the safe damp darkness underneath the rock where I live) to see the movie was that I got to see a bunch of reactions to it before I went myself. Overall the tone of these seemed to be positive, although there is/was a significant minority of negative outcry as well. So I was ever so slightly sceptical as the stupid preshow smartphone games and previews finally ended and the iconic Crawl O’Text began to make its stately way up the screen.

My first reaction, honestly, was relief. Star Wars was back.

I should explain. Through my teens and into my early twenties (not quite a long, long time ago but verging upon it) I was an enormous Star Wars fan, perhaps to a somewhat excessive degree. I absolutely loved the original trilogy of films, and could have done most of the dialogue from memory. I had Star Wars posters all over my walls, played all sorts of Star Wars games, and was frequently kitted out in Star Wars t-shirts. I was deeply invested in the franchise, to say the least. Then Phantom Menace came out, and some friends and I rented out a VIP screening room to watch it on the first possible day. The movie started. I still keenly remember sitting there trying to convince myself that the movie wasn’t shit, and eventually failing. I had looked forward to a new Star Wars movie so much, and it was awful.

As a result I waited for the reviews on Attack of the Clones, heard it was shit, and so … never saw it. I never even considered seeing Revenge of the Sith. The movies sold tons of tickets so I just basically filed away Star Wars as a franchise that was no longer ‘for me’ and put it away in the ‘fond memories’ category. Time passed and I thought about Star Wars less all the time (probably a good thing) until the news started to trickle out about new movies being made, and then The Force Awakens came out.

As I said, with some scepticism I (eventually) went to see it, and again, wow, Star Wars was back. Part of it was (of course) the return of familiar characters like Han Solo and Leia, but they also just got the overall tone and feel of the movie very nearly exactly right. I’ve seen the movie criticized for ‘playing things too safe’ and being too much like the original trilogy and I guess especially A New Hope, but for me a movie that looked and felt like the Star Wars movies I had loved was exactly what was necessary. Maybe the next two movies will take more ‘risks’ but I hope they don’t do too much, because fundamentally the Star Wars setup works pretty well.

One of the things I enjoy is that you have characters who are clearly Good, if somewhat flawed at times, and characters who are clearly Evil, and the story the movie tells is essentially a conflict between these. I think part of the enduring appeal of Star Wars as a setting is its (usually) unapologetic presentation of a confrontation between Right and Wrong and an overall narrative that suggests that, in the end, evil will be defeated. I think that’s a story that twangs something very deep inside us, it’s a story we’re sort of culturally primed to like, and part of why stories like Star Wars and Robin Hood and King Arthur and Beowulf are the ones that we keep coming back to.

That’s not to say that you can’t tell a good, compelling, ‘shades of grey’ story, obviously you can and I enjoy them immensely at times. (Battlestar Galactica was almost entirely shades of grey, by the end, and it was a fantastic series) At the same time, I think that not every story needs to be grey, that there’s an undeniable appeal in a story that gives you clear Good Guys and Bad Guys.* In a lot of ways, I think we ultimately want it to be true that there are truly good forces in the world, and that in the end the bad things in our society and our world can end up being defeated.**

That’s one of the things fiction can do very well: provide an inspiring or comforting vision of the way we would like things to go in the real world, something we can look at or read and think ‘yes, this is the way it should be‘. Perhaps it can be that way in the real world. Perhaps we can make it that way. I think, at times, fiction can be an aspirational text, the goal we’re aiming for, and in a very loose way Star Wars can be that for some people. Certainly I think there are examples there that can excite, motivate, and inspire you, if you let them.

I think that was part of the reason that teenage me got so into Star Wars. It was an ultimately positive vision, and I tend to like those. As I’ve said before, right now I think we get more than enough examples of it being difficult to find unproblematically good figures in the world and plenty of examples of what is wrong going unconfronted or uncorrected that it’s nice to not get that in my fiction as well. I think the new movie, in this particular way and in a lot of others, remembers what was really fun and good and enjoyable about the first trilogy of films and gives it back to you. I guess you could say that’s not very daring or ambitious, but I think it’s also very welcome.

Ok, I’ve already written a lot about this movie and I’m not going to go on very much more about it, but I want to address one of the most loudly-expressed objections to what we got in The Force Awakens at least a little.

I read a lot of criticisms of Rey’s character prior to watching the movie, primarily that she is a ‘Mary Sue’ – (briefly) one of those (often very annoying) characters who have every special talent, can do everything and handle anything. In my opinion, it doesn’t hold up. Rey does get to do a lot of cool things in the movie and is at the forefront of most of the action. However, that’s because she’s what we call the main character, or the star of the show. So of course she’s leading the way, that’s what main characters do. You can’t go into (say) an Indiana Jones movie and complain that Indy does everything; that’s what protagonists or main characters do.

<Gonna get slightly spoiler-y here for a second>

 

 

 

Rey also does exhibit a fairly wide range of talents, although again in part that’s just a hero being a hero. However, even by the movie’s internal logic, they make sense. She’s good at fixing starships because she’s been taking them apart her whole life. Presumably that’s also why she has an idea of how to pilot one; she’s done the equivalent of growing up in an enormous junkyard and therefore having a basic sense of what to do with a car. She turns out to be really good at it because of the Force. I mean, you can hate that as an explanation but it’s imbedded in the Star Wars setting. Luke was a great starfighter pilot with no training because of the Force and does probably 98% of the things he can do because of Space Magic. Same deal with Rey, in fact if there is a criticism here it’s that it’s quite so close to Luke’s story.

 

 

 

<spoilery stuff ends>

I suspect some of the criticism of Rey comes from people trying to justify being unhappy with a female lead. That’s immensely disappointing and distressing, for reasons that I trust I don’t have to lay out here. She’s a great character, well acted by Daisy Ridley, and I’m already looking forward to the next part of her story.

All right, that really is it for this week, except to say that if you are one of the remaining sentiences out there on the planetary crust who hasn’t yet seen The Force Awakens, I’d recommend it as a good time.  Thank you for indulging what became a more than slightly bloated, fanboy-ish gush of a post. Normal service will resume next week.

——–

* – Yes, of course I’m aware that it’s possible to problematize Star Wars by thinking about innocent bystanders on the Death Star and that ordinary citizens might possibly like the order provided by the Empire and so on. I think it’s clear, though, that this isn’t the vision the story is intending you to pick up. It’s fun to read against texts and unravel things, of course, but you also have to be aware that that’s what you’re doing.

** – Avoiding spoilers, but of course in the original trilogy and in this new movie these victories don’t come without various kinds of sacrifice. That’s generally the way the narrative goes in these kinds of story though, isn’t it, and (without getting too anthropological) I think it’s another useful part of the message. Evil can be defeated, but not trivially, not without commitment. That’s one of those things that you sense is true as soon as it’s suggested to you.

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Review

Yesterday I was very excited to see the first review of The King in Darkness come out – also juuust a tiny bit nervous.  However, I’m very pleased and grateful for the kind things they had to say.

Read the review here.

Thank you to The Geeky Godmother for her thoughts on the book and for writing up the review.

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X-Files

All right, the goofy idea is put off for another week because today I’m going to write about The X-Files. As you are probably aware, we’re a couple of weeks out from a 6 episode miniseries that will bring the show back for the first time in a long while – yesterday (I believe) a teaser website was launched and at least the initial signs are pretty promising. As it happens, I’m also plowing through the old series at the same time, having discovered that they’re all up on Netflix. So X-Files has been on my mind the last while and I’m going to make that our subject for the week.

The first thing is that in going back to the show for the first time in a long while, I was reminded how genuinely good it was. X-Files has since been so parodied and ripped-off (and, to be fair, the series probably outlived the really good ideas that were there at its inception) that it’s easy to forget that the original source material was actually very well done. I remember really liking first season episode ‘Darkness Falls’ when it aired and man, it’s a pretty solid hour of spooky TV. As increasingly convoluted as the show’s central UFO plotline eventually became, you watch the early stages of it and are reminded why this got people hooked.

Now, X-Files definitely came too late for me to say that the show made me want to write speculative fiction (William Gibson and Doctor Who having accomplished that mission long previously), I think it did affect the kind of stories that I generally like to write, and read. I like the overlap of the bizarre and the horrific with the very ordinary, which X-Files is all about. As much as Mulder and Scully are meant to be very talented FBI agents, they are also lacking magic powers, amazing gizmos, or prophetic destiny as they try to cope with whatever ghastly thing they run into each week. Most of the time, despite being federal agents, they’re among the least powerful players on the field and have to scramble to do whatever they can, which is sometimes just survive. Relatively ordinary people grappling with the extraordinary is another idea that has had a lasting appeal for me.

I also like (although this may be more how I feel now than how I felt then) that despite being so heavily outmatched, they don’t quit. It would be entirely reasonable for either or both of our heroes to decide that look, every time we try to investigate these crazy issues we tend to end up in deadly peril, one or both of us gets injured and, oftentimes, some government agency or other swoops in to destroy, hide and discredit all the evidence and we’re left with nothing. We quit. We’re gonna work on mail fraud or something where we won’t die and may actually make some progress. Of course, if they do that there’s no show, but it’s still admirable that neither character (even Scully, the sceptic) is willing to throw in their hand. They’re still going to try to bring the truth to light. I like that a lot.

I think probably a lot of the fiction we enjoy to today and a lot of writers working today owe that kind of debt to X-Files, (really, The King in Darkness could almost be an X-File) and a lot of the popularity of speculative fiction – pretty mainstream today – can be at least partially attributed to the success of the show. I’m not enough of a TV historian to know exactly how far to push the idea, but I do know that shows like Star Trek (original flavour) and Doctor Who were far from mainstream. Most people didn’t watch them and fans of those shows were regarded as a little odd. Lots of people watched X-Files. New episodes got hyped during NFL football. At it’s peak, it wasn’t unusual if you did know what was going on with the show, it was a little unusual if you didn’t. I think that’s a change (for which Quantum Leap and Next Generation vintage Star Trek also need to get credit) that has benefited SFF ever since – it opened the genre to way more fans than it had ever drawn in before, people who discovered the astounding, challenging fun these sorts of stories have to offer and have stuck around. X-Files (in part) brought a huge amount of attention (and therefore money) to SFF that hasn’t wandered away yet, and has continued to grow. Both for fans and for writers, that’s pretty cool, and it’s not hard to find a bunch of fiction that has a lot of X-Files in its DNA.

As well as that very broad effect, X-Files altered things for fans and writers in a bunch of more specific ways as well. The most obvious of these is the idea of the ‘shadowy government conspiracy’. I don’t think you can fairly say that this really originated with X-Files – post Vietnam America was pretty rife with sentiment that the government was up to no good – but I think the show did mainstream the idea and made it the default setting of a lot of fiction from that point onwards. The assumption now (in books, movies and TV from all kinds of genres) is that the government (usually the U.S. government, but not exclusively) keeps secrets from its populace and enacts various dastardly schemes to keep the truth hidden. Government agencies are to be regarded with suspicion. In general, the authorities are not on Your Side and may in fact be working against you.

That’s a massive change from the stories, a generation earlier, which (perhaps fuelled by post WWII optimism) tended to present governments and their agencies as solutions to problems rather than being part of the problem. Generally the government was either a Good Thing to be defended or sometimes, it was the cavalry that would come sweeping in at a key moment to help do the defending. Post X-Files, if you call in the cavalry you’re not too sure who or what they might decide needs to be swept away. How much X-Files drove that change in sentiment, and how much it was a symptom of it, is more than I can say. Either way, if you look around the fiction (and not just speculative fiction) that we create these days, it’s still the operating paradigm. Whenever The Feds show up, we’re just waiting for Cancer Man to loom up out of the background.

This is all stuff that I more or less expected as I went back to the show. I want to talk a little about one thing that has been very different. When I watched X-Files as it originally aired, my favourite character was (of course?) Fox Mulder. I know at least part of the reason that I wanted to get myself a trenchcoat was that I thought (very, very wrongly) that I would look as cool as Mulder does running around in his. So there’s that, there’s also that he’s (probably?) the show’s protagonist, so you’re supposed to like him. But I think I was also sort of primed by my own life to that point to like a character who has ideas that a lot of the people around him find strange or ridiculous, who doesn’t really ‘get along’ in the systems around him particularly well, but also tends to be right, or at least closer to right than anyone else, most of the time, and looks fairly heroic in persisting in what he knows/believes to be true in the face of nearly endless opposition. To a very limited extent, if Mulder could cope with it, so could I, and I’m sure that I liked him for that reason even as I’m just as sure that I would have stridently denied it, had you asked me at the time. I do still like the character for those reasons.

However, in coming back to the show, my favourite is now Dana Scully. In part that’s just because I enjoy Gillian Anderson’s performance so much – I could watch her somewhat resigned contempt for the people who try to treat her like a fool all day – but I also think there’s a case to be made that she’s the real hero of the show. While Mulder runs around on various lunatic schemes that have, truly, no chance for success and will probably end up with him under arrest and/or being shot, Scully doggedly keeps working away at evidence she can actually get her hands on, at trying to put together a demonstrable case of what’s going on. Mulder will run off to get a glimpse of a UFO that will (after Scully rescues him) just be another wild story; Scully is looking for something solid she can point to. It doesn’t often work, of course – the show would collapse if the central conspiracy was dragged into the light – and the evidence she’s after ends up getting confiscated or destroyed or traded in to save Mulder’s life, but her approach to things is admirable. It doesn’t matter what they know, or think they know, if they can’t prove it. Mulder just needs to know things, Scully actually wants to accomplish something by being able to prove that these things are true.

It is true that her scepticism, in certain episodes, starts to seem a little contrived after all the things the character has explicitly experienced on earlier cases. Most of the time, though, I think they pitched it about right – Scully believes that there’s a dastardly government conspiracy that has involved incredibly unethical things and bizarre misdeeds. She’s seen the rooms full of files and the mass graves (I can’t believe they did a mass graves scene, with the US government as the instigators, on network TV) and the weird medical remains. She’s just not going to say ‘and therefore aliens’ until that’s clearly supported by what she can lay hands on. For now, horrifically unethical medical experimentation is probably an awful enough story to go forward with. I guess I still tend more towards the ‘I want to believe’ sentiment from Mulder’s poster than the sceptical standpoint, but I figure Scully’s point of view is usually reasonably justifiable based on what she’s actually seen tangible proof of. Plus, of course, Gillian Anderson acts the hell out of it all.  “Please explain to me the scientific nature of the Whammy.”

All right. That’s a lot about The X-Files. I could ramble on further but I’ll call it here for now.  Maybe I’ll write a little more once we’ve seen the new series. I guess needless to say, I’m really looking forward to it. Thanks for reading – I hope your truth is out there this week.

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Delays and Missed Deadlines

I had a rather goofy idea for this week’s blog, but (perhaps fortunately for you!) George R. R. Martin wrote a blog entry about how the latest volume of his Song of Ice and Fire series will not come out before the next season of the Game of Thrones TV series, resulting in the TV series passing the books, to the consternation of at least some. (If you haven’t read the post, it is here and worth a read, if only as a demonstration of how difficult writing can be, even on a very successful writer, at least some of the time) Due to the fame and popularity of the series, there’s been a lot of reaction to it all over the internet. Some has been very positive, some extremely critical, and of course lots in between.

As usual this has Gotten Me Thinking, and although I’m very young in my craft as a (theoretically) professional writer, I thought I would use this week’s entry to sort through some of those thoughts today.

Most of the criticism has centred around the idea of being a professional meaning writing constantly, steadily, and producing work at a consistent rate, presumably also making deadlines. One author who I admire a lot was recently quoted saying that if you only write when you’re inspired, you’ll never make a novelist. (In fairness he also wrote, a few years back, a fairly passionate defense of authors, and George R. R. Martin in particular, to write at their own pace, which sort of demonstrates the complexity of the issues) That’s very much in the vein of a lot of advice for writers (from various sources) that says you must write every day, you must produce X amount of work in Y amount of time, and if you don’t you’re Not Taking It Serious and will never succeed.

To a degree, I sympathise with this. When I wrote King in Darkness, I did it as a self-imposed challenge to write 1,000 words a day, every day, and the book got done in a hurry. I wrote a blog entry a while back about deadlines and how, in my academic life, I took pride in never having missed one. You have a set amount of time to get the work done in, and so you see it done. You put aside other stuff to make sure it happens. You keep at the task until it’s completed, because it’s important.

On the other hand (and you knew this was coming), that’s academic writing and not fiction writing. I really do believe that you want to work at writing like you work at almost anything else; you need to exercise your writing muscles on a regular basis and that that’s how you get better as a writer, by Writing Stuff and doing it often. It has (as above) worked for me. At the same time, there are days when (for whatever arcane reason), it just isn’t working, every word has to be dug out of you like a splinter and the whole thing just sucks.

I had a professor in university who told me that when you write effortlessly, it’s because you’re interested in what you’re writing about. When you’re fighting it the whole way, it’s because you’re not. I think he may be right, regarding academic writing, but I’m less convinced that it’s true about fiction writing. In part that’s because from day to day the difficulty level of writing for the same project changes a lot. I don’t think I’m any more or less interested in the work on certain days. I wish I knew why some days I struggle to get anything done, but it absolutely happens.

When I was sticking strictly to my quota system I would, on those days, stay grimly parked in front of the computer until I had written exactly 1,000 words, and then erase nearly all of them the next day because they read about like they’d felt when I wrote them. According to some, that is all Part Of The Process and it’s what you do when you’re Doing Work as a writer. I guess I’m not entirely convinced that that is true – was it really valuable time spent painfully dragging out a bunch of stuff I knew I wasn’t going to keep? Might it not have been better to recognize that today is not a writing day, go do Other Stuff, and come back and write when it was working better?

I mean, I don’t know the science (or if there even is any science) behind the reason why some days creative writing (and, I suspect, most forms of art) go really well and others don’t. Heck, it may not even be that way for everyone. However, it clearly does work that way for lots of people, of which I am one. You might argue that I, and others like me, are just Not Taking It Serious, but I have started to sympathise more with the people who say (Daniel Jose Older being the one who I remember doing it most recently) that setting ironclad quotas for yourself and demanding that you must meet them is a recipe for building negativity about your writing and, as a result, ending up reducing your productivity rather than helping it.

I think they might be right. A friend of mine got very upset with themselves this past November when it became clear (due mostly to life pressures) that they weren’t going to be able to get their NaNoWriMo writing done on schedule. My immediate reaction was that the only value in something like that is if it helps your process, if it is only serving to make you feel bad rather than helping you write, then screw it. Take a break. Realize that it isn’t a good time for you to be writing, deal with other stuff, and come back at it when it feels good and you have the energy to put your best stuff on the page.  Quotas and rules and deadlines are good if they help you produce your work; if they’re discouraging you and making you doubt yourself and adding stress (which makes it harder to work!) then they’re the last thing you need.

Obviously you have to be careful with that, at least if you want to write seriously and not just have it as a hobby. You can’t just endlessly give yourself days off because you don’t feel perfectly poised to write, or you will never ever get things done. Also, some days when I haven’t felt great about writing, once I sat myself down and started giving it a go, my brain will drop into gear with an almost audible thunk and all of a sudden it’s going great.

Maybe the answer (for me, at least) is to try to write every day but be prepared to step away if it’s clearly not happening. I’m not real convinced that writing just to write and then throwing away whatever I produced is really making me better.

I also think this is probably one of those things people need to work up to. If you’re planning on making writing your profession, you probably do need to get in the swing of producing work at least reasonably regularly, for a host of reasons (maintaining an audience being one that immediately leaps to mind) On the other hand, you don’t start a training program for a marathon by immediately running 41 kilometers. You start with something achievable and gradually build from there. Especially for people just getting started in writing, you probably need to build those writing muscles and habits in much the same way.

I guess I’m increasingly sceptical about all the people (mostly on the internet) who have Rules about how you must Do Things to be a writer, with failure guaranteed if you don’t. Increasingly, I don’t think there are rules for such a strange ephemeral creative process (more like guidelines?) and that you have to figure out what works for you. I’m very gradually doing that.

And look, I have no idea what George R. R. Martin’s particular situation is. I don’t know whether the missed deadlines for his latest book were the result of a busy schedule, laziness, fatigue, creative struggles, whatever. (I would hazard a guess that he’d love to have the book done, though.) I’m not writing this in defense of Martin (although I would think that his fans should probably make peace with the fact that for whatever reason, at this point in his career he writes at a relatively slow pace) who I suspect can look after himself anyway. I do think that there’s some value in thinking about the pressure we put on ourselves as writers and whether all of it is really valuable.

I am beginning to think (and I cannot stress enough that this is not an Expert Opinion) that the answer is finding the right balance between giving myself (and yourself) some structure, but not such an onerous one that it crushes you. The tricky part (I guess) is being honest with yourself about when you can probably push yourself a little more and when no, you really need a break. (Another thing I think I may be better at after spending time in the gym with someone who knows what they’re doing) I suppose ‘moderation’ isn’t a very exciting answer, and ‘find what works for you’ doesn’t make for a very retweetable Tweet or pithy column, but I’m starting to think it’s right anyway.

That’s more than enough of me thinking at you for a week. I appreciate your time in reading it.

——-

Just because I wrote a whole bunch of stuff about deadlines and process I thought I would briefly update the King in Darkness sequel – I got kind of enveloped in holiday season things and not a lot got done through the tail end of December. There isn’t a great deal more to do on the first draft, though, and I think I should still be ok to have it completed for the publishers perusal in the spring.

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