Saturday, May 19, 2007

A note about blogpolitik: In the event of an overwhelming desire to voice some small embarrassing truth, best to slip it in on a Saturday morning. People will not see it; they will be asleep. Freedom is here in the wee hours of the weekend.

Sundays can be tricky. Best to avoid them entirely.

Friday, May 18, 2007

I would like a wandering albatross tattoo. I'd get it on my upper chest, hanging head down, wings spread out below my clavicles. It would make me happy, I think.

I'm not remembering much right now. Today was a good day; I enjoyed it. It's only at this moment, now, that I'm inclined to recall a melancholy that didn't exist while the sun was up.

Blogger has a new autosave feature. It saves about once a minute. I'm glad of it. I've lost a few posts to electron-related happenstance and it would be appropriate to celebrate such precautions.

It's only now, at this moment, that the blue button flashes grey and reminds me that a minute has passed and I've written nothing. Another flash, another minute of nothing. Another flash, another reminder, another chiding, another nag, another flutter of discontent. Another goading. It heaps me.

I'm sure I'll get over it.



Thursday, May 17, 2007

My father demonstrates the "hold-two-grandchildren-without-spilling-a-drop" technique that I assume made raising myself and my siblings almost bearable.

* * * *

I signed up for a couple of writing classes to take this summer. Neither will bring me closer to graduation but there is the possibility I will learn something. Seems worthwhile.

There is a fire outside my bedroom window. My window blinds are flaring flickering orange. It's pleasant and I will continue to think so as long as it remains confined to the fire pit.

In preparation for the classes, I am mining old journals for discarded ideas. Er, useful discarded ideas. These papers would provide a gold rush for impractical discarded ideas:

Mexicans will go to NASCAR as soon as someone invents the burrito helmet. They just have to solve the problem of keeping it safe from hungry passers-by and errant nibblers.

I don't think I could stretch that one out to ten pages.

A man gathers sufficient courage and peers into his soul expecting to uncover a repressed tempest of emotion stirring a writhing sea of genius and finds instead a partly-filled glass of tepid quinine in which a dead housefly makes slow, lazy circles.

Eh, if there's an assignment on poetry I can throw some erratic spacing in there and call it a night.

My books have taken me to harsh deserts and unforgiving tundras [Desert Solitaire][Arctic Dreams]. The terrains' voices echo through me. I believe I know these things. Years ago, as a child exploring South Mountain and as a teenager fleeing the machina duties of my government's military. To learn, to forget, to learn of forgetting. How many times has this occurred? How do I stop it?

I delighted in finding this pen. Younger me's/my old selves hide them in nooks to squirrel out later. I know the best way to keep things safe is to forget them for a little while.


We three, Jenna, Brian, me, crawled through ancient lava flows and neglected cell phones. I struck my head. There is delight to be taken beneath the earth where it is always cool now that the lava has passed on.

This one might have a shot. Someone could get lost, I could pass out for a while, the lava could come back for revenge. The possibilities are as endless as that cave, whose end we found 40 yards in.

I'm watching a Damien Rice video. If he gained enough weight he would look a lotta bit like Jack Black.

They also make a lot of the same facial expressions when they sing although I assume Jack Black exaggerates for comic effect while perhaps Damien Rice exaggerates for melancholy effect. Either way, it's hilarious.

* * * *

After all the corporate strife with my newest former editors, I've put Otter Of Despair on hold while I develop a spin-off based on a minor character from OOD 3: Disillusionment Delta. It's called The Pug That Never Was. Once I overcome the unique illustrating hurdles that arise from having a main character who is neither, I expect to be able to retire off this one.

* * * *

I should rest. I haven't been sleeping terribly well. Especially not at work because every time I let my guard down the nephews find some way to hit me in the groin.

They better be careful. They act like Guillermo won't shake a baby.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Day Two of Ender's training has begun. All successful writers, most notably Hemingway and Sylvia Plath, have battled and overcome at least one orca whale in their lifetimes. Since he's only a baby, I let him start out fighting on dry land, on the home turf of the living room, no less.

The orca whale wasn't hard to locate; a few pods are always cruising around the neighborhood, spy-hopping and whatnot. I dressed Joshua up like a penguin and had him crawl around on the porch. When the orca breached, I nabbed him. I also caught a few Jehovah's Witnesses but those I just tagged and released.

* * * * *

The Otter of Despair
has taken more twists and turns. The original concept was for a sea otter, but my editor felt that river otters were more "accessible." I countered very politely that it would muck up the ending, as it is very uncommon for an otter that is living mainly in a river to drift off into the fucking ocean.

After security guards pulled me off him, I was escorted out and told to conduct all future negotiations over the phone.

Oh, he's calling now. "Hello? Of course it's me, who else doesn't hang up at the sound of your grating voice? ...Ah, so you understand why it can't be a river otter? Good, I-

"You want to change the 'of despair' to 'of happiness' and the 'otter' to a 'pig'? ...I understand. Say, are you coming to the Fourth of July party? Good, good. You should wear that tie, the really thick, strong one. It'll be perfect. Yes'um. Goodbye."

Well that seems to be that.

I'll have to scrap my idea for the sequel. Otter of Despair was going to drift to South America and run into a romp of giant river otter. They're great, they can grow up to six feet long and weigh over 75 pounds. That's the size of your Jewish uncle. Well, these river otter eat piranha and will rescue OOD from being eaten by a school of them. Then OOD will join the romp and learn a valuable lesson about eating piranha. And since there's no seaweed in the river he'll soon float along to his next wacky adventure.

I only have the roughest outline for book three, but I can tell you this: it will have Venom in it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

This is going to be the cover of the twins' latest album. I probably never mentioned they were in a band before. That's because they're not. I just like to make stuff up sometimes.

I tried to spike their hair up. I've decided that the best way to ensure that they are embarrassed by their baby pictures later in life is to try to make them look cool. Then, years and years hence when what I consider cool is horribly lame, I'll bust out these pictures.

I'm still looking for a store that carries baby emo outfits. They're this generation's equivalent of sailor suits.

* * * * *

The Otter of Despair
has a new ending. There has been some confusion about the seaweed bit. I guess I sort of assumed that everyone knows that when sea otters sleep they wrap seaweed around their fat little bodies as they float on their backs to keep from drifting away. So that's what sea otters do. I'm not sure what river otters do; probably wrap river rocks around themselves or logs or something.

So in failing to wrap it up, OOD floats away into the night, same as the first edition. The difference will be in the illustration of last page, the one that says "THE END?" Somewhere in the drawing will be the split pieces of a familiar-looking bivalve. Did OOD finally crack his clam as he drifted off? Will we ever see him again? River otters don't really wrap themselves up in rocks, do they? All these questions and more will be answered in the next installment of Otter Of Despair: River Requiem.

* * * * *

I've decided to train Ender to be a writer. He's coming along well; he has already mastered the mid-morning nap.

So when I die at 40 without finishing the odyssey of OOD, Ender can pick up where I left off. He'll be my little Brian Herbert, and I guess Joshua can be my little Kevin J. Anderson.

Assuming that Josh can master the mid-morning nap, that is.

Monday, May 14, 2007

My 25th year spent as a sentient conglomeration of recycled matter hurtling around an ancient nuclear explosion has been good times, straight up. So far, anyway. It's possible that tomorrow the invisible string that holds Earth in orbit will snap and we'll fly off into the ether like a broken paddle ball. The sun will send up solar flares that would appear exactly like the face of a disappointed child were there still anyone in existence who knew what a disappointed child looked like.

If it does, though, I will take comfort knowing that in riding my bike to work to help the environment, though futile, will temporarily make me the fastest bike rider in the universe.

Look Ma, no hands.

I saw The Pillowman, a play by Martin McDonagh. I did a bit of work on that set (all the reviews raved about the amazing puttying job) and earned tickets as well as my minimum wage. I enjoyed it very much .

Today I dismantled the set, put it in a big truck, and laid it to rest in a dusty warehouse. So it goes. It's kind of hard taking a down a set. Emotionally, I mean. Imagine watching your childhood playground being torn down. A playground you helped build. A new playground will go up in its place. All you can do now is try not to forget.

The afternoon of the play I met Jaclyn at the bookstore and we conspired to place our biographies inside over-sized coffee table books about the impact of birthdates. We also plotted to create a companion book for The Pig of Happiness.

The title will be The Otter of Despair.

The otter has been holding that clam for three days. In the book he tries to work up the motivation to crack it open. It's going to be easy to illustrate it, too. He'll just keep raising it up halfway, slowly lowering back down, raising it, lowering it, raising, raising, raising, oh, lowering it again.

In the end he will fail to wrap seaweed around himself at night and drift out into the open ocean. But he'll still have that clam.

I guess there's a little otter of despair inside of all of us.