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[writing] Update on goals and activity

Back in January, I posted my year’s writing goals [ | LiveJournal ].

Here’s what I said about June and July:

June, 2012 — Initial revisions to Their Currents Turn Awry, release to my first readers.
July, 2012 — Take a break from Sunspin, pursue short fiction commitments.

In practice, what I did was reverse these two. I finished the first draft of Currents in mid-May, and decided to take my break in June rather than bulling into initial revisions. Then I spent a bunch of time on Going to Extremes and some other work. I still owe a couple of short stories this month.

However, next month I will not immediately start the Currents revisions.

Had a long talk with my agent yesterday about the state of the market, my books and my career. Because the sales process is ongoing, I won’t comment on how Sunspin is doing out there in the market. Suffice to say that with the overall issues in publishing, we’re looking for diversification.

This is actually a long-standing strategy of ours rather than a change in direction. One piece of that is already in play; the Little Dog collaborative project with urban fantasy author J.A. Pitts. That should be happening mostly over the summer. So is another element; Going to Extremes, the Antarctica/cancer book. The Waterloo Productions feature-length documentary project about me is tied into Extremes as well. I plan to have the finalized version of the book proposal off to my agent by Friday of this week, so we can hopefully go to market quite soon.

Where the change in direction occurs is that we’ve added two more elements, one of which will slide into my schedule prior to the restart on Currents. One is that I’ll be revising for market a YA science fiction novel I wrote a few years ago called Other Me. (Think Philip K. Dick identity paranoia for kids.) It got shelved simply because I was very busy at the time, and I’ve always had something else to do. Now I’m going to take a few weeks or a month to work through Other Me with a strong revision pass.

The other new element is an illustrated novelty book of sex humor. I now have a very good artist lined up, and will be developing the project over the summer with a probable deliverable next fall, depending on the art schedule. Still in discussions with my agent about whether this is an independent press project or a trade press project, though she is potentially interested in repping it to the trade press. I’m not going to say more about the project right now, because I want to see how it gels before discussing further detail in public.

There are also plans in the wind for some Web series scripting, along with the usual array of short story ideas and opportunities.

Sometimes I think there’s not enough going on in my writing life. Apparently, I am an idiot.

[movies] They’re gonna make a big star out of me (or maybe us)

As previously noted, Waterloo Productions is making a feature-length documentary about me, [info]the_child and the rest of our family on our journey through cancer, life and books. The working title is The Family Lake, and the project is slated for a release in late 2013.

Donnie Reynolds, writer, friend and the man behind Waterloo Productions, came up for JayCon XII. He arrived a day early and stayed for a week, commencing principal photography on the project. Donnie filmed at JayCon and at some of the related events, then in days following, he sat down with me and everyone in my extended family here in Portland for individual or small group interviews. This included [info]the_child, Mother of the Child, [info]lillypond (a/k/a my sister), the Niece, my dad and (step)mom, and [info]tillyjane (a/k/a my mom). He was also present for [info]tillyjane‘s trip to the Emergency Room, as well as few other less dramatic life events such as my daughter’s eighth grade graduation.

It was the interviews that were the toughest and most affecting. For me and [info]the_child especially so, I believe. Donnie set up a little studio in the basement of Nuevo Rancho Lake, which he called “the witness chair”.

Witness Chair (c) 2012 Donnie Reynolds and Waterloo Productions

We were each interviewed separately over the course of last week. (This is a documentary, after all, so I do not have review, approval or any control.) He went pretty deep with me, and as I understand things, he went pretty deep with my family members as well. Everyone but me was a little nervous up front, but thoughtful and excited after their interviews.

For my own part, this project is having two significant effects on me thus far. One, it is focusing me on my own narrative. That drives emotional and cognitive reflection for me. Two, Donnie is documenting me and my life in exhaustive detail — he estimates approximately 1,000 hours of footage will be shot to edit down to a roughly 105 minute final cut. This provides a record of me, and of the family, that [info]the_child will always have access to when this disease finally claims my life.

That is an unsurpassed gift he is giving all of us.

It’s very strange, being observed so closely. Strange and rewarding.

More about this as my thoughts develop further.

Photo © 2012 Donnie Reynolds and Waterloo Productions. All rights reserved, reproduced with permission.

[family|cancer] Back to the hospital (not me this time)

Yesterday afternoon, [info]tillyjane (a/k/a my mom) called me to come take her to the ER. I’d finished my Day Jobbery, just capped off an hour of writing time on Going to Extremes, and was preparing for another long interview take on the documentary project.

Instead, Donnie Reynolds, Lisa Costello and I loaded up into Donnie’s car and raced across town in rush hour traffic to pick up my mom at her primary care clinic and transport her to her ER. Donnie brought his “B” camera, because we were shooting for a documentary about the lives of me and my family, after all.

We got [info]tillyjane to the ER, where a four-hour wait ensued. Along with some guerrilla filmmaking. My mom’s housemate A— showed up after a bit. Eventually [info]tillyjane was processed and admitted, which led to about four hours of hurry-up-and-wait testing. We recognized our ER nurse from prior visits, and he recognized us. That’s a frequent flyer club you don’t want to be a member of.


In the end, the tests were inconclusive. The symptoms which had caused her to be referred to the ER did not recur. My mom was sent home somewhat after midnight. She has specialist followups, probably next week. For now, she is fine. A— Donnie and Lisa are all Heroes of the Revolution for being there and keeping both [info]tillyjane and me propped up and going.

As for me…

Her symptoms are not mine to describe here, but suffice to say they were closely akin to what drove my original hospital admission and cancer diagnosis back in 2008. That possibility won’t be ruled out until after her specialist followups. I am very frightened for her, far, far beyond anything justified by the clinical evidence or current medical opinion. I know this is my emotional trauma over cancer shouting loudly in my ear. It’s not logical. But it is very real.

Even if the worst happens, we know what to do. And it’s likely enough the worst won’t happen. Of course, that’s what they told me about my initial presentation. Cancer wasn’t even on the top five list of likely diagnoses. That’s what they told me about my initial metastasis, that it wasn’t at all likely to ever happen.

Once more, I am feeling the burn.

Photo © 2012, Joseph E. Lake, Jr.

Creative Commons License

This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

[links] Link salad goes back to the hospital

A couple more production notes from the documentary project: The Child Speaks and Genre Car Close Calls — That second with bonus video outtake!

Boundaries — Jim C. Hines on boundaries and socialization. [info]cathshaffer with more on this.

Dear The Internet, This Is Why You Can’t Have Anything NiceAnita Sarkeesian’s project to expose stereotypes in video games attracts a maelstrom of hate. (Via [info]e_bourne.)

Fischer: If Gays Aren’t Discriminated Against, Christians Will Be — Project much, Fischer? If your entire worldview is based on bigotry and discrimination as ways to maintain your social and political power, then of course you must believe other people will treat you the same. Do unto others as you would be done by, after all. One of my favorite secular humanist sayings, that. I wish more religious people had ever heard of it. (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Huge religion survey: Gen X-ers less Christian, less Republican — And this is precisely why conservatives are working so furiously to stunt education and limit individual rights. When you help people be smarter and have more opportunities, they generally tend to be come less conservative.

?otD: How late were you up?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (Going to Extremes outline)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.0 (interrupted)
Weight: 241.4 (!)
Currently reading: Shattering the Ley by Benjamin Tate

[personal] Yesterday, all my, um… Wait, what?

So, about yesterday. Well, let’s see. Yesterday included:

  • Exercise
  • Blogging
  • Day jobbery
  • Two houseguests
  • Writing time on Going to Extremes
  • Almost three hours of documentary filmmaking at my house, part of that with my entire family in attendance
  • My parents’ 41st wedding anniversary, with a celebratory dinner
  • [info]the_child stressing out over preparations for her 8th grade graduation on Thursday

And that’s just the parts I can remember this morning. So, umm yeah? Remember how I was going to slow down the week after JayCon? Not so much.

Life, she is for living.

[links] Link salad feels Bashful

Filming begins on The Family Lake — Now it can be told… I (and my family) will be the subject of a feature-length documentary for which principal photography has begun.

#SkiffyandFanty Episode #102 — An Interview w/ J. A. Pitts (a.k.a. The Seattle Bruiser)

Pulp Pastiche and a Plea for Patrons — Saladin Ahmed talks about some of the hard realities of his life as a writer. Go read, and help him out if you can.

The pay brisk money for this crap? — Ah, science fiction. (Thanks to [info]lillypond, a/k/a my sister.)

Star Wars take on M.C. Escher — Whoa. (Thanks to Lisa Costello.)

‘The Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever’ Made Even HarderThe process of making a famous problem in logic even harder reveals fascinating insights into the relationship between logic and language.

Over 100 Beautifully Preserved Terracotta Warriors Unearthed in China — (Via [info]scarlettina.)

Authorities investigate lungs found on L.A. sidewalk — Just breathe, people. It will be alright. No, wait…

Causes of mammoth extinction resonate in modern realities

Promethian panspermia — Roger Ebert on intelligent design and panspermia.

Colder winters may be new normal due to melting Arctic iceWarmer air over ice-free areas lets frigid air migrate south. Amazing how even nature herself joins the liberal conspiracy against conservative ideology. Confidential to GOP in America: Your obsessive rigidity about absurdities such as opposition to evolution and climate change discredits every position you take, even the potentially sane and sensible ones.

You can’t deny people their rights and be nice about it — Opposition to gay marriage is still hatred and bigotry, no matter how nice you think you are. A lot of segregationists thought they were nice people, too. That didn’t get them or you off the hook.

Same-sex marriage is on November ballot — This is in Washington. Because arrant bigotry must always be put to the vote. Just because a majority of people are wrong doesn’t make them right.

Rethinking Same-Sex Parenting (but Not Really) — Ta-Nehisi Coates responds to the idiotic new piece in Slate. Jed Hartman with more on this, that more being eminently sensible.

You Always Knew it, but Now . . . — Ten open secrets about life in Western democracies. Facts not valid for the untroubled beautiful minds of conservatives, of course.

After Giffords Shooting, Violent Rhetoric Trickles Back Into Campaigns — Gee, I wonder which party it could possibly be that would employ violent and eliminationist rhetoric.

Your Own Little Corner of the Gas Chamber — A close look inside what passes for conservative “thought” about what they imagine liberals to be.

Don’t Think We Need Firefighters? We Need Firefighters. — Colorado Republicans who voted for massive Federal firefighting cuts now begging for massive Federal firefighting assistance. As I keep saying, no one likes conservative policies when applied to them personally. Especially not conservatives.

?otD: Why are only one out of seven dwarves Happy?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (Going to Extremes outline)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.0 (solid)
Weight: 242.0 (!!)
Currently reading: Shattering the Ley by Benjamin Tate