Saturday, September 29, 2007
I think it's the pudding-head that bothers me the most. I'm happy to spend the weekend curled up in bed with a book - I just wish I had the brains available to enjoy it.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Abby (short for Anklebiter) spent this summer sleeping curled around the base of the toilet. But check out her new fall sleeping space. It's just the right size for her.
Today will be spent proofing the Pirate Issue so that we can get it out to the printers next week. It's amazing how many typos you find. This issue has been edited, copy edited, had the edited text approved by authors, had the galley proofs approved by authors - and still, there's a ton of stuff to catch. Moral of the story: proof early and often - but accept that despite your best efforts, errors will slip through.
And check out Apex's Halloween raffle.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
And I've gotten a lot done this weekend, too. It's good to be productive instead of overwhelmed. I continue to put a lot of energy towards figuring out the best way for me to work; I think this is highly individual. Everyone has overcrowded lives; everyone needs to balance their home and their day job and their relationships and their creative life and their other interests and their recreation activities. It takes some experimenting to find the best approach. For me, it seems that breaking every activity into bite-sized tasks ("read 1 chapter of 'War and Peace'" vs "read 'War and Peace'"), combined with limiting each day's To Do list to a manageable size, is the way to go.
I'm also focusing on one area of my life at a time. For a while, it seemed like the aspect that had most of my attention was my house: creating new systems to keep us clean and fed was more consuming than I expected it would be. But that phase is settling down, and the house stays clean and we have yummy meals every night and life is good. It's remarkable how happy it makes me to have a clean and organized home; it just seems to make everything else flow better. (Time committment: 5 minutes/day to pick up crap, 10 minutes to deal with dishes and etc after dinner, 45 minutes a week to do a thorough cleaning of the whole house, 2 hrs per month on special cleaning/decluttering projects.) But now, finally, that's almost under control, and I can focus more on Shimmer and my own writing.
btw, if you have any interest in the workings of a small press magazine, read John Klima's series on starting a zine. He's the editor of Electric Velocipede, one of my favorites, and he's offering lots of good information; read it!
He does mention how much effort goes into a magazine, but I don't think you can really understand it until you're waist-deep in it. And for me, more than the sheer amount of work, it's the relentlessness of it: today I can read 10 slush stories and get caught up; tomorrow there will be another 10. And that's just the slush pile: every other aspect is just as continual. The work never stops.
Which brings me back to figuring out how you work. How much can you do in a day, realistically? Where's the boundary between "protecting your free time" and "procrastinating"? What's the most effective way to get magazine work done, get the day job done, keep your life running, and be with your loved ones?
It evolves slowly, this productivity thing; but I know this: I'm happy when I've had a full and productive day, doing work I love. It really makes me feel I've earned my olivetini.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Have you been reading Apex? If not, you're missing out. I've been reading Apex since the first issue, and it's been really interesting to watch the magazine grow and improve. It seems to me that there's been a particularly noticable shift in quality in the last two issues: the stories are more mature, more subtle, more challenging; the horror is less intestine-based, and more deeply creepy. Editor Jason Sizemore is exploring a more nuanced approach, and I'm enjoying it.
Bad Sushi, by Cherie Priest, is a nicely atmospheric Lovcraftian sushi story. It's a solid start to the issue: Priest's skill at evoking her characters and world bodes well for the rest of Issue 10.
Daydreams, by Lavie Tidhar, perhaps best represents the direction Apex is going now. It's smart and challenging. The story takes a bit more work than the rest of the pieces in this issue, but for many readers, it is sure to be a favorite. Fans of Tidhar will also want to grab a copy of Hebrew Punk, his short story collection, published by Apex.
Memories of the Knacker's Yard, by Ian Creasey, is perhaps my favorite in this issue. It's a delightfully noir ghost story which completely lives up to the promise of its opening.
If a ghost complains that it's just been murdered, it can help us by describing the killer, or at least telling us about its enemies. Investigating a murder without a ghost is much harder. the slashing was the third this month, all without ghosts, and the eight this year. Or was it the ninth?
Hell, when you lose count of the corpses, you know you're losing.
It's got some neat worldbuilding, a familiar but fresh protagonist, and a satisfying conclusion.
Pigs and Feaches, by Patrice Sarath, is another favorite; it's an emotionally horrifying story that remained with me long after I read it. I love short-short stories that are done well.
Cain Xp11, by Geoffrey Girard, continues Girard's cloned serial killer serial. I know I've read a cloned serial killer story or two, but I'm really enjoying Girard's take on it, and looking forward to the other installments.
Monument, by Nancy Fulda, this issue's Parting Shot, is a wistful elegy that ends the issue on a strong and intelligent note.
Dust stirs around my tennis shoes as I walk. I realize with sudden vertigo that I am tramping through their ashes, disturbing a crematorium, traversing a mass grave. I step carefully.
Well done, Apex. I can't wait for #11.