It opens in my living room. I’m in a semi-comfortable armchair with my feet propped up on the coffee table. Please don’t judge me—I’m alone downstairs and my legs are short. I have a tasty beverage, my laptop, and a movie on TV.
It’s Roadhouse, if you’re curious.
I figured Dalton would be a fine companion for tonight’s blog post—a suitable mascot. I’m not sure if that makes this blog the Double Deuce or not, but I’ll take my lumps as necessary.
One of the best things about Dalton is that he’s cool, calm, and disciplined. I’m not any of those things, but I’d like to be. Right now, it’s discipline that is most on my mind. I keep telling myself that I need a stronger routine, but I’m generally better at generating excuses than I am in nailing down that aspect of my life.
One of the challenges is that my schedule changes every semester, but it’s not like that is a surprise. So—I’m going to try to avoid the grand gesture and promise myself that I push to be more productive. That seems like something I can achieve.
At least I haven’t been idle during my break.
I’ve been revising short stories and submitting them. I think I have about eleven out in the wilds right now.
I’ve drafted a couple new short stories. I’m in the midst of another one right now. It’s turning out to be trickier than I thought. Delving into the dark places can do that to you.
The itch to pick up the novel length piece is getting harder to ignore. I’ve decided that I need a firm starting date. It’s going to be February 1, 2014. There. I’ve said it. Please ignore the fact that only a few paragraphs ago I’d mentioned avoiding grand gestures.
I’ve also been catching up on some media consumption. If I want to shine it up, I’ll call it gathering inspiration. And, to be honest, I believe that you have to read, watch, learn, and experience to continue to grow as a writer.
I’ll hit the highlights.
The World’s End. It wasn’t my favorite in the Cornetto trilogy, but it was a good time. I love how the films play with genre and go all out. They aren’t afraid of pushing into the Weird, but there is always a solid emotional and character driven core that is lovely to witness.
My husband and I have been watching one Bond movie a month. We’ve finally made it to the Brosnan years. I’m still more of a Craig and Connery girl, but I’m willing to follow along. Golden Eye was worlds better than Octopussy and the last Dalton movie (so bad, I’ve erased its title from my memory, it seems).
I’ve finally started watching Breaking Bad in earnest. I’m not done yet so please take mercy on me and don’t spoil the final season. Thanks. I’ll just add my voice to the rest in praising the show. It’s wicked and funny and sad. A great mix. I adore how it loops around and picks up images and weaves them into the story in such surprising ways. I’m going to try to work that into my writing somehow.
White Chapel is finally being shown somewhere I can watch it. Thanks to huluplus I can see all three series of the show. I love it. I love the damaged characters. I like stories that layer old stories and new ones. I enjoy the tone and the development of the relationships. It just hits the spot.
Archer! Always Archer. I can watch those episodes over and over and I don’t get tired of them. Pam is one of my favorite characters ever. This new season is taking the characters in crazy new directions and I’m loving it.
Chuck Wendig’s Mockingbird was a fine read. I thought Blackbirds was a little flawed but had a lot of promise—enough to get me to read the next in the series. I’m so glad I did. It is fast and brutal and funny. I’ll be checking out the next one. I like using humor in my stories for balance and contrast. I think Wendig does that very, very well and I watch his prose closely for it. I also like his dialogue and I’m studying his action scenes.
I read the entire Locke & Key graphic novel series. Joe Hill’s story was amazing. It had emotional depth and resonance. It was gripping and scary and had fantastic variety. It made me laugh out loud and cry. I know this reads like the worst kind of cheesy ad-copy, but I’m actually that enthusiastic about it. Gabriel Rodriguez’s art is some of the best I’ve seen. The two made a perfect match. I love that the team was consistent throughout the whole run.
I’ve read the first of Joe Lansdale’s Drive-In series. I am in awe of how completely fucked up and off the wall it was. It truly was a glorious B movie in prose. There are some scenes that are going to stick with me. I admire that fearlessness and commitment to the bizarre. I also dug the voice. I’d heard people talk about his regionalisms, dialect, and voice before. I think I imagined something more heavy-handed. Lansdale has a far defter touch than I’d expected but the effect is still quite unique. I’m heading into the sequel right away.
I managed to play some (but not too much) Dragon Age.
The big inspiration for this break has been two iPad games—The Room and its sequel. I won’t give away the story, but the main game is just you interacting with rooms. More specifically, you are faced with a box. You need to solve a series of puzzles to get into the boxes. I like this kind of game anyway, but the atmosphere, images, story, and music all work to create a fabulously creepy atmosphere. Sometimes I play just a bit of it to get me into dark fiction mode.
I've also been experimenting with beverages. I like a tasty treat while I write. Sometimes it is just good old fizzy water. Often it's coffee. Lately, it has been a delicious black currant tea (with milk and sugar) during the day and at night I've been partial to a classic scotch cocktail, the Blood & Sand.
1 oz scotch (I just use JW Red)
3/4 oz Cherry Heering
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Blood orange juice
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass to serve up. Delicious! I don't even fool with a garnish.
Okay…it’s quitting time. I’m sure I’ve read, seen, played, and written more than this. I plan to do a lot more.
Thanks for reading…and don’t forget to listen to Dalton.