Okay, so it’s not a gig in Beautiful Downtown Burbank.  Beautiful Downtown Beaverton’s First Friday  will have to do.

Next Friday – that’s one week from today, June 7 – two other authors and I will be participating in the monthly celebration of art and craft, live entertainment and refreshment that takes place in Beaverton’s core downtown area.  Look for me at Beaverton Sub Station (12248 SW Broadway) from 5-8p,[1] selling and signing copies of The Mighty Quinn and trying to be heard above the surrounding bands.

Be there or be…you know.


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Summer preview

Aka, Department of 20-20 Hindsight

 With son K home from college and Belle with less than two full weeks of school left, I have begun yet again, to contemplate my work.  As in, I’m thinking about The Lack of What Should Get Done ® that happens during mid June through August.

Summer is a strange time for me.  The freedom I thought would get with the kids growing older – they’ll be monitoring (and transporting) themselves right? – it hasn’t happened yet.  The schedules (and interruptions) remain, and are more sporadic and unpredictable than during the school year. It’s still child care, in a different form and with slightly bigger britches (theirs, not mine.  I promise).

I try to set lower professional goals for myself during the summer, both for my sanity’s sake and for the enjoy-the-time-with-the-kids-while-you-can thing.  The subject of professional goals provides a convenient segue to the department of If I’d known then what I know now:  I should have rented an office, or office space.  Or convinced MH that a condo or loft would be a good investment, and worked from there.

I didn’t need to read the recent articles on the brouhaha about working from home vs. going to the office to know the reality, for me.  In terms of professional productivity, going-to-the-office wins the mud wrestling match, no question.  Also, there is the delicate topic of respect, from both family and even working-away-from-home peers, [2] and the assumed responsibility for the lion’s share of household chores (because, after all, there you are, at home [3])…and the anecdotal but nonetheless real evidence:  the times when I have had regular opportunities (and a place) to work away from my home office, I got

So. Much. More Done.

Of course, the reality of writing literary fiction (read: pays next to nothing) does not justify the added business expense…unless you heed the adage of you’ve got to spend money to make money and with the extra time who knows how much more productive I could have been…and would that have translated into enough income to justify the investment?

Like a piece of speculative fiction written by a Gen-Y-er, this post is going nowhere.  It must be time to complain about some other aspect of The Writing Life. ©

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Things About Which I Have Strong Opinions

I’ve said this before and will likely say it again:  the dirty little secret of writing fiction is that it is much easier to make money from other writers (“aspiring” or wannabes or actual writers) than it is from writing fiction.

The various writers’ trade journals proclaim this reality with their print and classified ads and with their e-newsletters and weekly updates, all of which feature some come-on like the following, which was in a weekly e-update from one of the professional trade publications to which I subscribe: 

“PERFECT YOUR NOVEL – Writing a novel is tough, but polishing it is nearly impossible to do alone. With the Writers’ Hackathon Weekly [4]  Advanced Novel Writing course, writers don’t have to tackle the process alone!”

This is the point where any writer worth their post-it notes should slam the door shut in the face of the virtual door-to-door insurance peddler.

Polishing (your novel) is “nearly impossible to do alone” – WTF? Actually, it is quite possible.  Actually, writers do it all the time. Actually, 99.99% of novelists have somehow managed to “polish” their work themselves, without the being scammed into paying for the ripoff that is aid of writing tutorials, seminars, conferences, market trend analyses, MFA programs – all of which are relatively recent boils on the ass trends in the history of literature.

The ad goes on to tell you how the course’s instructor will work with certain chosen individuals, and concludes with this additional appeal to ego: 

“This course is not for beginners. Rather, it’s for writers who are ready to get published and want specific feedback on what’s working-or not-with their manuscripts. This is the final ascent to publication!”

The final ascent!  No wonder I feel a need to grab my oxygen mask – I’m almost to the top.  Oh, wait a minute – This course is not for beginners. Rather, it’s for writers who are ready to get published.  That sounds like a beginner’s mindset to me.  Not yet published, or not yet “ready” to be published?

My second piece of advice for writers (after the first, which is, never ask writers for advice on writing) is more warning then recommendation:  writing fiction is ultimately a solitary activity.  You do it by yourself, on your own, not with your writing tutor or your writing support group or your therapist, or your professor or your Ten Sure-Fire Steps To Success course instructor. 

“Of all the higher arts, it (writing) is the most self-taught…in the end, you have to find your own way.”   (John Updike)

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Department of Much ado About Well, Duh

Conservative blogger and Fox News “personality” [5] Erick Erickson became the latest primitive mouthbreather to be pissing in his man-panties over the recently released PEW Research Social & Demographic Trends survey, [6]  which show that  40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family. [7]  Because, dude,, female breadwinners will destroy society as we know it.

(Cave) Men:  ooga chaka ooga ooga  chaka

Womans! Give us back our bread!

Someone pass the sourdough boule, and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

[1] The logical place for authors invited to your event is to give them space in a sandwich shop.

[2] “real work” involves leaving the house, and your working time is always interrupt-worthy because, after all, you work at home – you are your own boss and have flex hours and can set your own schedule, right?

[3] And if the cat comes in and barfs under your desk you have no choice but to clean it up, whereas it wouldn’t do that if your desk were somewhere else, and you could return home and like everyone else, pretend not to notice the mess until someone stepped in it.

[4] Not the publication’s real title.  Dammit.

[5] This is an identity?

[6] analyzing U.S. Census Bureau data.

[7]  “Breadwinner moms” breakdown:  37% are married mothers whose income is higher than their husbands, and 63% are single mothers, who, by definition (or so it seems to me) will have the highest income in their household if they have the only income in their household.