So, I mentioned I’d been doing more painting and telling myself it was okay to like my paintings even if they aren’t connected to a fine art program at a high end university.
I’ve been outlining and reading up on better ways to write and plot and trying to absorb as much as I can about voice and sales copy and… I got burnt out. Granted, at the same time I was trying to relearn 5 very long forms for the 2nd degree black belt test (that I’m likely to fail “ass-some-ly” if I can’t keep these damn things in my head) and working afterschool care and spring break camp at the dojo — which turned into a few 13 hour days of kids and kicking and punching and running around. Continue reading
If I’ve learned anything in the past year, it’s that people will pay for anything that makes them feel more productive, powerful, capable, or valuable. They will also eat up any content that is critical of a product or celebrity or gives them advice they think they need. This is why people will stand in line and spend $6 on a cup of Starbucks, but will steal your $2.99 romance ebook, stream a movie over a torrent site full of viruses, and Spotify their favorite artists. The coffee makes them feel like they are going to accomplish something because it’s COFFEE (well, mostly milk and sugar, but still, it claims to be coffee).
We value productivity so much in the US that I could likely sell a hundred copies of a 30-page guide to inbox-zero faster than half that many copies of a 300-page novel, even if they were priced the same. Continue reading
I’ve been pondering Kickstarter a lot lately. Ran all the numbers and everything. Let them sit.
Because Kickstarter is highly controversial these days and I just don’t feel mentally strong enough to deal with the backlash, with the snark, with being hated anymore than I already feel like I generally am.
Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, even Twitter are full of “positive thinking” quotes and hand-lettered sayings and all sorts of “You Can Do It” if you “Keep Calm and” “Think Positive.” There’s lot’s of pictures of coffee mugs with perfectly angled planners and glasses you know no one wears, maybe some glitter or pink flowers on a unbelievably white desk. (Seriously, who the hell has room on their desk for bud vases and what kind of “designer” can keep a desk pristine white without spilling coffee or ink or the leaky bits of yesterday’s lunch on it?)
These people are the opposite of “writers” though there’s some overlap, generally in the self-help genre. Most of the writers I know are surly, cynical, and will tell anyone who listens that there’s no money in writing, no money in publishing, that you’re going to need to keep your day job forever yet still probably die of a disease basic insurance could have cured, and that “writers write” everyday whether they want to or not, generally at the ass crack of dawn before going to the day job or in the middle of the night after tucking in all the children. They’re regularly drunk, over-caffeinated, under-medicated, bleary-eyed, and tend to wear their dysfunction like a badge of honor. They march around under a banner of “This Sucks and We Do It Because We Think We Have To or Maybe We Want To, We Don’t Know, But It Definitely Sucks.” Continue reading
No, that’s not a real disease as far as I know. But I do often feel like I just don’t fit it. Anywhere.
I mean, I love office supplies and stationery and pens and planners, but… I’m not a high end collector, but I also don’t just buy anything shiny at the Target Dollar Spot, which seems to be the two most vocal extremes. I don’t care for the Pilot Frixion pens either, which might be as blasphemous as saying I don’t care for Mont Blanc. I can find no other fans of my favorite pens even in the most vocal stationery communities and as for planners? I’m not buying an Erin Condron. Ever. I don’t constantly buy new ones or spend hours washi-taping and stickering my weeks. Which makes me kind of an outlier in those groups, too. Continue reading
Last week I went to a book signing up in Delray on the suggestion of a friend. Based on the cover, the book honestly wasn’t doing much for me. It looked like a cozy, and while I know those have some rapidly loyal fans, that’s not really my thing. The titles for the series made it sound like a cozy. And the whole package came across as VERY cozy. The description the author gave didn’t sound so cozy. It actually sounded like something I might read. I may even pull it out of the TBR pile and read it one of these days.
Which makes me wonder. Did the publisher decide to disguise it as a cozy because those sell well? Or did the cover designer just not get the right memo? Am I just not the target age group?
All this got me to thinking during my snot-infused week of sickness about what kinds of covers to attract me. Continue reading
In which a rant devolves into a blithering self-help affirmation.
I no longer believe in education. And that’s probably a problem for a “teacher.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I still believe in knowledge and curiosity and facts and experimentation and learning… Just not the commodified product the education industry is peddling. I no longer believe the myth that a degree — any degree — equals a “good job” or that a “good job” is defined solely by ever-larger paychecks. Continue reading
Yesterday, I reread the old Dream Country Sandman story about the writer who kidnaps a muse. I also went to the comic book store with my buddy, listened to some of the music he’s been working (electronic, club sort of stuff), and then wandered down to the Art Walk in Miami with him.
It amuses me that the old Fashion District has morphed into the Wynwood Arts District (though the old “El Barrio” series of warehouses does look prettier with the colorful graffiti than it did with the cyclone wire and bad dog signs). The cyclical nature of certain city areas interests me. That if the economy continues to tumble downward, the art students will have less of their parents’ money to spend on cute dresses and skinny jeans and art, thus the area will deteriorate again. If the economy picks up, the hipsters will grow up to be real estate developers and convert the whole area to trendy lofts and overpriced condos.
For now, it’s a hotbed of this sort of thing:
My buddy kept asking me if anything was inspiring me. He meant visually because I’ve also been known to shoot a lot of photos in my day. I’ve also had a tendency to experiment with old cameras, Polaroid transfers, etching, solar prints, pin hole cameras… you know all the hipster foolishness that has turned “shitty” photography into an art form because digital made non-shitty photos too easy.
I’m not sure it inspired me visually, but I did file a lot of things away. Or, the “hamsters” I joke do all the filing in my brain filed things away.
I do have a character that lives down that way. I haven’t revisited him in a while because I’ve been working on a different story at the present. Makes me wonder what he’d think of the changes. Methinks he’d be amused, too.
Plus, if I keep roaming the streets of Miami and the like, I won’t need to kidnap a muse for ideas.