Here we are, not even half way through March, and it’s shirt-sleeves weather (as long as it’s not raining). Further evidence the seasons are in a weird place at the moment – my Christmas cacti are finally about to flower, a month from Easter:
I guess that if my life were a story, the weather would be pre-shadowing, because this week has been the end of one era and the beginning of another. Tuesday was my final day at Central Library, and my colleagues there (who I shall miss a great deal, and who I imagine may well be reading this) gave me a moving send-off … and some awesome gifts, totally out of proportion to what I imagined I might be given. For starters, something I’ve coveted for some time, my very own etymological dictionary:
And as if that wouldn’t have been more than enough, I got an Amazon voucher also, which has already been splurged on some science fiction criticism textbooks, as recommended to me by the knowledgeable folk at the Urban Drift forum:
So, much gratitude to the staff of Central, not just for the gifts, but for two nad a half years of good times – long may you shelve and answer enquiries! Mmmm, academic criticism of genre fiction. Now all I need is some time to read it …
Which shouldn’t be too hard to find, once my reviewing log-jam has cleared, because I’ve also just started my new part-time job at the Royal Naval Museum Library. Having only been there two days, I’ve not accomplished much so far, but I can tell that there’s going to be a lot of new skills to absorb, along with a boat-load of history to the bargain. Plus it looks like there’ll be ample opportunity to get involved with an organisation that is just waking up to the idea of the internet as an archival and promotional tool. And did I mention how quiet it is? 🙂
I’ll take some pictures next week, perhaps. In fact, I’m considering starting up another blog to talk about the stuff I learn there, partly as a repository for my own benefit, but also as a potential promotional tool for the library itself. Doesn’t do your career any harm to make yourself useful, after all.
And of course, I now have my mornings free, and have actually managed to make myself get up early each day and get some writing done. I’ve been doing ‘daypages’, an exercise I’ve seen recommended in a number of places, where the first thing you do after you get up* is sit the hell down and write three A4 pages of whatever is in your head at the time.
I think it’s safe to say that results will improve with time – because the stuff I’ve cranked out for the last three days has been utterly pointless and meandering! It’s just supposed to be a way of downloading the contents of your mind onto the page without any form or structure, so I’m not too worried about it; I’m figuring that after a few weeks of the discipline, some more interesting and usable material may begin to appear. Any advice from other writers as to productive rituals will be gratefully received.
[* To be honest, I’ve been making coffee before doing the writing, which might be the problem. But then if I didn’t have the coffee I’d have trouble gripping the pen, let alone writing legibly – the body-clock may take some time to adjust.]
So, you’ve already seen the sum total of my incoming materials for the week in the pictures above. I was hoping the latest Interzone might have arrived, but I’m out of luck there. Guess it’ll be here next week, which is fine. Still waiting on some other materials from SF Site, but that’s going transatlantic, so patience is a necessity.
Also in the pipeline is the first Nulaperion book by John Meaney, courtesy of the good people at IROSF who have taken me on as a reviewer (and possibly essayist also). I’ve got to stop asking people for reviewing jobs now, or I’ll have consumed all the spare time I have so recently acquired at the price of considerable financial shortage! Unless I can start getting paid for some of it, of course – but there aren’t many rich genre reviewers, at least none who don’t have a good source of income elsewhere. Freelancing will be the answer here, and next week will see me starting to hustle around the rock and metal music magazines for review and interview jobs – which is a pretty competitive field, so wish me luck.
Final notice: closing date for the Glorifying Terrorism contest is this Sunday, 11th March! So get those drabbles in, and you could win, win, WIN!
(I think my Poetry Society membership has just been revoked …)
As a parting shot, just in case you managed to miss it, I poked a big old beehive with my post about genre magazines and electronic media – to the point that I got a fair few incoming links, including one from Bruce Sterling (we are, indeed, not even vaguely worthy). While I’ve had a lot of replies that shone a light on some things I had overlooked or ignored in my original piece, I still hold to the basic thrust of what I was saying, and I figure I’ll work out a redux version over the next week or so. In the meantime, feel free to put in your tuppence worth in the comments thread; that’s the most lively debate I’ve ever hosted here at VCTB (especially if you count the off-site replies), and I’m rather proud to have been noticed – even if every print-media genre magazine editor on the planet now thinks I’m predicting the death of their business. May have been a bad move for an aspiring short fiction writer …
So, that was my week; and one of the most exciting I’ve had in ages, to boot. But now, being as it is the weekend, it’s time for that most important of secular ritual observances – it’s time for The Friday Curry. I hope you all have a great weekend. I certainly intend to do so!