Multiple Enthusiasms

Infinite jest. Excellent fancy. Flashes of merriment.

Month: June 2008

I read somewhere, I believe, that something like three of the top five bestselling novels in Japan last year were published via cell phones. Interesting, in its way; the idea seems popular, and I’m all for getting new readers and new books to those new readers any way possible. But I wonder a bit about the content. I try not to judge such things, because it makes me feel like a pompous douchebag, but I worry that the kind of novels that lend themselves to being read serially via cellphone are the kind of novels, say, Tila Tequila might write (if you don’t know who she is, count yourself lucky).

Amusingly, though, I caught a feature in the latest issue of Esquire–great works of literature as text messages.

Click the image below to visit the slideshow:

I had some ideas for others:

Macbeth: “I can haz crown? Out damn spot!”

American Gods: Meet new godz. Same as old onez.

Old Man’s War: “I fite everything! My DAN makes me teh wassum!!11”

Hamlet: 2 b or not? Not.

I’ve had an eye on Indie author Shannon Yarbrough for a while now; he runs the Lulu Book Review site, and has recently published his novel Stealing Wishes. From what I can gather so far (I’ve not picked it up yet, but am planning to the moment I’m gainfully employed), it concerns a young coffee barista, Blaine, an aspiring photographer and romantic. One of Blaine’s friends sets him up with Edward, and it sounds like the book details Blaine’s (somewhat OCD) quest for love and photography in all the wrong places.

So a classic story, pretty much. Having read the first few pages, I notice Shannon puts his spin and style at work best when relating Blaine’s aforementioned somewhat-OCD nature. The devil, as they say, is in the details; also, in good stories and good characters.

Click the image of the bookcover below to purchase Shannon’s book via Lulu, where he’ll get a higher cut and you can also procure the ebook for five bucks, should that be yo thang.

I’m coming, once again, into the final heat of my novel. It’s a space I feel like I’ve been a thousand times already, which is funny, really, and a situation you’ll see the humor/irony in once you’ve read it. I’ve realized it needs a bit of restructuring, consolidation here and re-chaptering there, and I know there are now three key elements to write (after which, it’s mostly just pruning).

But I feel like I got it last time. The last draft, reading it (and writing it, for that matter), felt like an epiphany. Felt like the first time I really understood the story I was trying to tell, and what it was about (what? I’m dense like that sometimes).

I think part of the issue was that the story changed so hard between the first draft and one I wrote just as I started graduate school; not just because my writing improved, but also because of September 11th, which is somewhat significant in the story. The book itself is set on October 31, 2001, so the world is still, in a way, feeling the impact of those planes, and, in many ways, hasn’t yet understood how it will continue to be affected.

And now at the real end. Because I’ve realized that it’s time to move on. After this draft, I’ve said all I can of this story. I’m going to finish before the end of the month, and then next month will be devoted to job searching and submissions, two process which, I think, probably share a lot in common. I’m also going to finish a couple of short stories I’ve been thinking of, and then . . .

Well, lots. There’s a lot I’m uncertain of, considering the next project, considering what forms they may take, considering a lot of things, but then again, there’s a little voice in the back of my head I imagine as spoken by a sweet old man with giant spectacles and the sort of mischievous grin only someone familiar with magic can pull off, and he’s whispering in my ear, “Just sit down and write write write.”

As advice goes, I’m not sure there’s better at this point.

This map, over at Strange Maps, is awesome. Basically, it highlights penitentiaries and the state in the 50s. The blurbs are worth the price of admission (which is, of course, free).

My favorite: “Here Vineland, famous for its contributions to our knowledge of the feebleminded.” And who knew Vineland is where the word “moron” was coined? You’d think I would have, being that I use the word often enough (and am from Jersey). I dated a girl from Vineland once. No, really: once. I found out she had a psychotic episode and was taking Zyprexa. She told me she wanted to run away with me and then promptly never called me again.

For anyone curious, I’m from halfway between Pennsgrove and Camden, right there near the Delaware.

Our time is rich in inventive minds, the inventions of which could facilitate our lives considerably. We are crossing the seas by power and utilize power also in order to relieve humanity from all tiring muscular work. We have learned to fly and we are able to send messages and news without any difficulty over the entire world through electric waves.

However, the production and distribution of commodities is entirely unorganized so that everybody must live in fear of being eliminated from the economic cycle, in this way suffering for the want of everything. Furthermore, people living in different countries kill each other at irregular time intervals, so that also for this reason any one who thinks about the future must live in fear and terror. This is due to the fact that the intelligence and the character of the masses are incomparably lower than the intelligence and character of the few who produce something valuable for the community.

I trust that posterity will read these statements with a feeling of proud and justified superiority.

-Albert Einstein, “Message for Posterity,” 1938

I think I make it pretty clear I don’t know a whole lot about the intricacies of the political system (even if that’s never stopped me from opining about the candidates therein). I say that because I just read this article in the New York Times, which concerns Obama and his decision to opt out of the public campaign financing system, about which I have little clue. The article states it goes back to 1976 and the Watergate scandal, and also that:

Under the federal presidential financing system, a candidate this year would be given $84.1 million from the Treasury to finance a general election campaign. In exchange, the candidate is barred from accepting private donations, or from spending more than the $84.1 million.

The next paragraph notes that Obama raised more than that limit in February and March alone, so I’d kind of think it would behoove him to not get into it. I mean, if the difference is that he could spend $84 million publicly, or twice that privately . . . well, it’s well known I ain’t no maths major, but it seems a no-brainer.

What bugs me is that the article gives two paragraphs to what McCain’s advisors think of the decision (spoiler: they’re not happy and think Obama suxors. Because they, of course, want to beat him and will use any opportunity to badmouth him). What also bugs me is that the article doesn’t actually comment on what this means.

And while I’m not sure what it means, or what effects it might have on the election process, what I wonder about is that latter itself. Because the article states his decision comes because the financing system is “broken;” as 2000 demonstrated, so is the election process itself.

Of course, Obama can’t just outright declare himself above the election process and the new, like, Emperor of America (our last was Norton. Seriously. Awesome story. Look it up).

But what I like about Obama most is that it’s neat to think he might. Maybe somebody should just toss a sword at him the next time he’s by a large-ish body of water. Quick, get on that!

This, I think, would be the Internet’s definition of humility.

For the most part.

(Neil Gaiman muses on his spot at #3 on this list.)

Actually, I think Neil’s right. The list seems a little… off. I mean, J.R.R. “motherfuckers walking, my novel’s are the literary definition of plot coupon” Tolkien at number 2?

I do like Pratchett, though.

My top five, in no particular order, would be Neil, Terry, Stephen King, Jo Rowling, and Jonathan Carroll. With a further five to Joe Hill, Jo Walton, Richard Cox, Will Shetterly, and Audrey Niffenegger.

Ha!

So, when I handed it in as my thesis, my novel, The Prodigal Hour, clocked in at roughly 104,000 words.

Besides some job hunting and basic settling in during the past two weeks, I’ve been doing pretty much nothing besides revising. I bound a few copies using Lulu, then cracked it open with some notes from some trusted friends . . .

I’m proud of this, for the first time. I read the whole book pretty fresh, trying to see it as a new reader might despite that I wrote the damned thing (arguably the single greatest stumbling block to revision), but the thing I keep noticing is that I like it.

I try to avoid “good.” Or “great.” Or “fucking rad.” But I’m so psyched that I can just about say, “Wow, I wrote a book I like.”

I’ve been cutting like mad. So far, I’ve hacked nearly 10,000 words off, and I’m hoping for another several thousand. But the cool thing is that I’ve noticed, after cutting the extraneous words, that the words that remain are shiny.

And I’m having fun. Oh, boyhow.

I thought I’d share a bit with you:

Chance laughed. “I’m not sure you could’ve, Cass.” He thought of all those traveling men with their quills and parchments, with their boats and their spears, and if he had possessed a compass, he would have taken it up to rechart the world before him, tygers be damned. This place was his. He claimed it. The present we share, but the past and the future belong to Chance.

Made me smile, anyway.

So, off to finish. My goal is this weekend. And then: submissions, as well as maybe a few sleeve-tricks. I’ve got nothing up them, but you should know by now I might just produce a rabbit, anyway.

Abracadabra, motherfucker.

Today’s the big day for Firefox 3, which is, apparently, like a go-jillion times more awesome than Firefox 2 (which was pretty awesome in its own right). Mozilla is hoping for a world record of downloads today.

At the time of this writing, that download went live four minutes ago.

My advice is to wait a few hours; I have a feeling their server’s gonna fry for the next several, at least. Because I can’t even get to the site to link to it, because apparently the 1.7 million people who pledged to download it all decided to do so simultaneously and right away.

For those of you who don’t yet use Firefox; it’s more secure and generally a better experience than IE. It’s got thousands of support add-ons, extensions, and themes, and even better, it just works way better than its competition. Highly recommended.

Anyway, I’ll try to update later with a link. You can probably easily Google Firefox to find it, though.

When I got to USC’s writing program, I was lucky that I had already completed at least a draft of a novel; truth is, I’d finished several drafts by then, and I was about half-finished the then-current draft. I actually completed it a few weeks after I took my first class, and then I set it aside to write it as a screenplay before I picked it up to start it all over again.

I mention this because it had some effect on how I approached the program; besides the thesis/final project, there was also an opportunity to take a semester of guided research with the faculty mentor nearly of one’s choice. Given that I already had a draft, I bypassed that semester in favor of other classes and workshops.

When it came time to take my guided research, I chose a man named Sid Stebel as my advisor. Sid is a great, puckish guy with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, and we got along like gangbusters. He can be very opinionated, but also allows he could be wrong. I guess what I liked was that he wasn’t afraid to make suggestions. That, and that the man knew stories. He knew them well (his book, Double Your Creative Power!, is built around his idea of secret story, which I’d actually like to study further), and a lot of times, you could just tell. Some of his suggestions for the way characters might interact in the context of the story’s structure . . .

Yeah, I learned a lot from Sid. I like to think there are ways we’re alike, and not just considering we’re both fair writers.

I mention Sid, however, because one thing Sid likes to talk about is Ray Bradbury; he and Ray go back many years, and they’ve shared a friendship through the years. When I found out, I kinda flipped a little.

I like Ray Bradbury for a somewhat obscure reason. Back when I was a sophomore in college, my history professor assigned Fahrenheit 451. I read and enjoyed it immensely, but what really caught my attention was a ‘Coda’ my buddy, captain doctor Brian, pointed out to me in his edition. In this Coda, Bradbury talked about critics and reviewers, and he said, and I’ll never forget this:

“Get off our fields and let us play.”

I loved that. Immensely. My father taught me early on about criticism, that there were always going to be people who had something negative to say, but they’re not the one’s down there, wrestling the lions–he used to allude to a quote by either Hemingway or JFK, I can’t remember which (though I think it was the latter). It’s something I continue to struggle with, in fact, the just-playing part, because I’ll admit I sometimes pay too close attention to how my writing is received. I know I shouldn’t, but old habits etc.

I’ve always liked allusions, and there are many in my novel: to Bradbury, yes, but also to Fitzgerald, Eliot, Williams, and Whitman, among others. They’re quick enough you’ll miss most of them if you blink, but they’re there. I mean, you write a time travel novel, you ought to pause time when there’s an explosion, and when it’s raining, and if it’s gonna be raining, it oughta be a storm, and if there’s a storm, you can bet there’s going to be a sound of thunder (all that’s part of story theory, by the way. That there are certain elements that just make sense given a story’s framework, and how it functions). My protagonist, in fact, happens to live on Bradbury Lane.

So when I found out Stebel was friends with Ray, I had to ask if he could get my novel to Ray.

Sid didn’t think that was the best idea, given Bradbury’s current health, which isn’t bad, exactly, don’t think that, but certainly Ray reads way less books than he used to. But, he said, perhaps an excerpt, a few pages where the story kicked, where there was something that really pulled out all the stops . . .

Well, lemme tell you, I’ve got plenty of pages like that. There aren’t any stops in my novel, because I pulled every last one of them out.

And if I sent him that, Sid could send the pages along to Ray. Maybe, he said, we could even get a quote from Ray for my book.

At this point, I’ll tell you, I’m struggling not to get too excited. Not so much about a possibly Bradbury quote to put on the cover of my novel, though, yes, of course, how fucking awesome would that be? But Ray Bradbury! Reading something I wrote!

Two weeks ago, I sent Sid a few pages from the climax of my novel. I was pushing hard by the time I wrote them, trying to fire on all cylinders at once, really nailing down the theme while never forgetting, hey, there are characters to care about here, and what’re they doing? I do some experimenting with both typography and formatting at certain points in my book, but I cut them from the climax, solely wanting an honest, sincere moment, making the effort to rely solely on the strength of my words to make readers feel something and trying to avoid clever at all costs.

Sid sent it along immediately.

So for two weeks I’ve been on pins and needles, here. Trying not to hyperventilate, and trying not to get too excited.

Turns out I probably shouldn’t have worried.

I got an e-mail from Sid last night; Ray called him late Wednesday evening to comment on what he’d read. He was, apparently, extraordinarily encouraging (Sid paraphrased), and he said to just sit down and write write write like he did with The Martian Chronicles.

Ray Bradbury. The Martian Chronicles. Write write write.

I’m smiling.

A quote, something to put on the cover of my book, even a single word like “Splendid!” probably would have been enough to start a career on. But then again, I realize, I already started it, and while a blurb from Ray Bradbury probably would have helped me sell it, that, up there, is the real part of it. The real part of it is not the selling it; it’s the sitting down to write write write every day, and maybe I needed that reminder. Sure, I’ll admit, I really would have liked to have a Bradbury quote, but maybe I’ve got to learn that I don’t need it, that what I really need is to work harder, to sit down and keep at it, and to be honest about it. Because it reminds me that a few words on either cover won’t have any effect on the words between them, and those are the ones that count. And those are really the only part I have any control over.

If I don’t remember that, no matter how many books I sell, no matter how many stories I tell, no matter how many pages I write, it arguably won’t be much of a career, anyway, much less a devotion.

And here I thought yesterday’s search was the funny one. I hadn’t seen anything yet, apparently:

My only comment is I hope whoever it was found whatever he or she was looking for.

Also, I’ve decided a further use for et cetera: I’m going to keep a running booklog there, with reviews. Put the first one up today: Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box, which I thought was pretty damned brilliant (I ended up rating it a “Crazy Train.” You’ll have to read the review to find out what that means. But it makes sense if you do).

Anyway, probably quiet this weekend; lots of horrible writing to do.

One of the things I like about WordPress is that it records statistics pretty closely over several categories; clicks, who referred whom, where people went after they came here, what posts they read . . . stuff like that. Also, what people entered into search engines to find this page. Anyway, I just caught this in the stats after that last post:

I’m left wondering why, precisely. Was someone wondering if I had one, or hoping for a date, or what?

For the record, there are certain things I’m just not comfortable blogging about. I’ve mentioned previous relationships at certain points in the past, but never current ones, because doing so feels, in a way, ungentlemanly.

So I won’t be.

And besides, seriously, who cares?

Forgot to mention:

Several new posts over at et cetera, including Jo Rowling’s commencement at Harvard and Chris Meeks’ Hollywood book launch party (Be there or be square, baby!).

Also, New picture at Imagery.

What? I told you I was going to get better about updating them. And I actually like how it all works when I maintain them all. Cross pollination, so to speak, or whathaveyou.

There’s an old maxim that news is not dog bites man but rather man bites dog, because the former is usual, the latter not. Given that, I question the newsworthiness of this story at Yahoo!, concerning a troop of boy scouts who helped each other and others after a tornado blew threw their area, solely because, well, yeah, they’re boy scouts.

That’s what we do.

Newsworthy or not, it’s a great story and makes me proud to be one. Well done, guys. Well done indeed.

Heck, if only the boy scouts had responded to Katrina, and not FEMA, New Orleans might not be the mess it is right now.

(actually, they probably did. I’ll wager there were scouts volunteering there, somewhere. I can’t imagine there wouldn’t have been)

You remember Pandora, right? If you’re not familiar, it’s like Internet radio but with a gimmick so cool it transcends gimmickry (no easy feat); you plug in songs or artists, and it analyzes the structures of the song for things like tempo and vocals and such and then plays you other songs you’ll probably like. It’s like Amazon’s recommendations, only more accurate. You get some misses, of course, but you also, more importantly, get not only a lot of songs by artists you like but also new music that probably works, too.

Anyway, yesterday I was reading around on the toobs like I always do, and, via BoyGeniusReport, discovered a new-to-me site:

Only2clicks.com

Basically, it’s a visual interface for Internet bookmarking. You know those bookmarks in Firefox? Yeah, it does that, except with graphics. And even better: it’s a website. Which means you can access it from anywhere.

Which is the part that knocks it out of the park for me. I’m using a laptop, right now, that I wasn’t using before, and so I don’t have access to my usual bookmarks; with only2clicks, I’ve got them again. It’s a bit of work, set-up-wise, admittedly, because you have to plug in all the sites you want there, but it’s a little extra effort for one of the most convenient services with one of the cleanest sites I’ve ever seen.

And what’s even better: you can share the url of your page.

Which is why I’m getting rid of my WordPress blogroll. Because if you just click here, you can see all my regular bookmarks, and, should you choose, trip like I do. (don’t you want to trip like I do? I want you to trip like me) And the best thing for me is the way I can update it pretty much live but not have to keep trying to keep track of the blogroll, which was just basically a list of sites without any real categorization between them, anyway.

I think it’s pretty damned rad.

Will Shetterly is a writer who often concerns his blog toward social issues; lately, he’s been writing about consumption. What he and his wife eat, which brings his writing close to home, I think, but also in a more general sense, with links to energy consumption, smaller houses, and social justice. It’s worth poking around just for the ways he can make you think, but his post yesterday (in combination with another) really got me thinking. It concerns a ‘subversive fairy tale,’ as well as discussion of an article concerning American consumption versus French consumption.

I found myself smiling knowingly at this article. One of my favorite restaurants in Hollywood was the Maggiano’s at the Grove, where I used to eat dinner with a friend on a monthly or so basis. I always noticed that at Maggiano’s; their portions are huge. No, bigger than that. Seriously, keep going. We’d always go home with leftovers.

I’d often think it silly, until I remember we tried a different Italian restaurant whose portions were more normal-sized. And you know what? I looked at my plate of gnocchi and thought “That’s it?”

It wasn’t because I wanted there to be more, actually. It was because the latter place was more expensive than Maggiano’s, and I felt like I was getting ripped off. Because, of course, I could get twice the amount of food for about the same price elsewhere. Nevermind that I didn’t need all that food in the first place.

Back when I was in college, I was a big fan of Edward Burns, and I read a magazine article about him right around the time Saving Private Ryan came out. Burns had just gotten a first-look deal with Dreamworks with his scripts, and he was producing, directing, writing, and starring in basically his own movies (like The Brothers McMullen and She’s the One). He mentioned, in the article, that he’d begun to worry about the new pressure and that his career could go, really, anywhere, and when the future is that wide open and filled with that much possibility, it’s a little scary to consider also all the ways it could go wrong. But he spoke to Tom Hanks about the issue on the set of Ryan, and Hanks gave him some pithy advice:

“You know, Eddy, a man can only eat so well.”

(of course, this is The Da Vinci Code Tom Hanks. Who probably eats really, really well)

And finally, I was also reading Jonathan Carroll’s site the other day. Carroll is one of my favorite writers, and in his blog, he made the following observation:

Isn’t it interesting how many of us will spend a lot of money on clothes (or for that matter, other valued possessions) we rarely use– that beautiful cocktail dress or sharp looking shirt. But in our every day, we much prefer to wear clothes that are years old, beat up, and probably cost little when we bought them. Yes, the comfort factor plays heavily into this, but recently when I came home wearing a very nice suit and tie and couldn’t WAIT to tear them off and change into some old jeans and a ten year old sweatshirt, I suddenly thought something’s odd about this. An expensive suit, or a fountain pen you only use to write your name occasionally, a new car you’re often worried about driving because someone might scratch it, the crazy-expensive shoes you never wear in bad weather, the fabulously delicate silk lingerie you haven’t worn since buying it six months ago… the list is surprisingly long. In other words for many, we continue to pay lots of money for things that make us uncomfortable, worried, wary or worse.

I guess I’ve just been thinking about this a lot in the past month; packing up all your worldly possessions to move a thousand miles away forces you to confront just how many worldly possessions you’ve actually got, and makes me consider how many I actually frickin’ need. I have no less than 11 boxes of books at this point, most of them shoved up against the wall and none of them really unpacked; books are great and all, certainly, but do I really need eleven boxes of them? I’ve got both a suitcase and a laundry bag full of clothing, and that’s not even to mention the blazers on the hangars.

But on the other hand, I use my stuff. Many of those books I bought for research, or to support the writers who wrote them (there are books by both Shetterly and Carroll in those boxes). Many again are signed (my copy of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods was the first one signed on the American Gods tour, which I think is pretty rad). And my clothes . . . I don’t suffer from Carroll’s affliction; I often look forward to occasions when I can wear my suit, or dress up a bit.

In the next few weeks, however, my goal is to cull down a little bit, at least. Separate out at least two boxes of books I can sell, and set aside some clothes for a GoodWill or something.

It’d be nice to come to a point where I could fit everything I need into my car, but then I realize, it’s not so much about how much shit I’ve got but rather how I think about that shit, and the word need. I’m one of those people who believes we need books and art and music in our lives, but there is a difference between sustenance and consumption, and I’d like to find some balance between the two.

By the way, here’s an Amazon search for Jonathan Carroll, and here’s one for Will Shetterly, as well as Shetterly’s Lulu store.

I was poking around today and discovered this list, published by Paste magazine, naming their choices for the 100 greatest living songwriters. Of course, most such lists (1000 Gr8ist Novvuls uv al TIM!!!111!!!) are exercises in futility, but still it’s human nature to quibble, isn’t it?

It’s not really that eclectic a list, but, then, Paste focuses mainly on independent “artists.” Even though most of the musicians they cover have major label record deals (I am, in fact, not entirely sure any of the songwriters they mention are truly independent). But that’s a side-issue.

Here’s their top ten:
10. Prince
9. Joni Mitchell
8. Elvis Costello
7. Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys)
6. Leonard Cohen
5. Paul McCartney (The Beatles, Wings)
4. Tom Waits & Kathleen Brennan
3. Bruce Springsteen
2. Neil Young (Buffalo Sprinfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
1. Bob Dylan

Not really all that inspiring, you ask me. Seems a bit safe, to me. Nobody on there who really makes you say, “really?”

But still I think they’re ignoring a lot of great artists on the list as a whole. For example, I think my personal top ten greatest living songwriters would be:

1. Roger Clyne
2. Springsteen
3. Paul McCartney
4. Axl Rose
5. Leonard Cohen
6. Tori Amos
7. Bon Jovi
8. Billy Joel
9. Tom Petty
10. Kevin Griffin (Better Than Ezra)

Also on my list would be Dave Matthews, Marshall Mathers (Eminem), Ben Lee, Jack White, Dr. Dre, Joni Mitchell, and Lili Haydn.

I mean, don’t get me wrong; I get most of Paste‘s choices. But Bob Dylan as number one? Really?

That’s a big “meh.”

But as always, I’m looking for recommendations, so who would your choices be?

CNN projects that, for the first time in American history, we have a black candidate for president, as Barack Obama surpasses the 2,118 delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination.

This is, of course, not really news to anyone who’s been paying attention; Hillary became an also-ran as many as weeks ago. If I say that she desperately clung to mathematically impossible odds, though, instead of saying that she fought the good fight, I’ll probably be accused of misogynism, so I won’t.

Instead I’ll just say I’m both relieved and excited.

Lots of talk, now, about VPs. CNN notes that “the pressure is on” Obama, now, which I find rather odd, especially considering that, so far as I know (and I’d hope I would), McCain still hasn’t chosen a veep, though he secured the nom months ago.

I’ve heard several potential candidates mentioned. Three interested me. Edwards was the first.

Today, I read someone mention Gore. I’m not sure Gore would accept, though; he already was VP for eight years, and then had a failed presidential bid. He does bring both added cache (now that he’s got both an Oscar and a Nobel Peace prize) and experience, but… yeah, just not sure.

And then, of course, there’s Hillary.

Obama has said he admired Lincoln’s cabinet because Lincoln filled it with people he didn’t necessarily agree with; given that, maybe he would ask Clinton to run with him.

But then again, given Hillary’s performance in this primary, I’m not sure I’d want to run with her, were I Obama. She made it nasty. She made it personal. She attacked and went negative, and I’m just not sure that’s the sort of politician Obama would want to associate himself with.

I realize I’ve been a bit quiet; I’m acclimating to another new city (my third home in as many years), and I’m still processing the differences. I’m still learning a new state, and trying to commit to Denver in a way I never committed to Los Angeles. It used to take me 45 minutes to drive to USC from my apartment–now, 45 minutes takes me through, like, seven towns, and let me tell you what, they’re all purdy. There’s something about being able to look down certain streets and see, in the distance, white-capped mountains that’s pretty spectacular. I’d say “Of course, I used to be able to see the Hollywood Hills, too,” but honestly, often not so much, what with the air quality.

The air here is different, too: crisp, and clean, even if thin. I had a scare the other week when I went running in the park literally behind my apartment and had my first-ever asthma attack. Felt like my lungs had ossified. Not so much fun. It didn’t bump over into anything full blown, but it’s made me realize: hey, take’er easy, right?

I’ve been taking lots of pictures. I know I’ve been a little lax posting to either Imagery or et cetera, but I only just unpacked my harddrive, like, two days ago. Some of my stuff is even still in my car (and yes, I’ve been here, what, two weeks by now? Very nearly, at least). What can I say? More pressing matters lately.

So far, I’ve already been playing phone tag with a local personal training facility. I’m hoping to go in for an interview this week. It seems to pay pretty decently, and then again, I don’t need much right now, anyway (I’m set for the next several months, luckily. I earned a bit of a cushion [though I’d love to not have to use it]). So wish me luck on that; the only reason I left the fitness industry all those years ago (has it really been six? My, how the years go. As my roommate once wrote, “The days drag on/but the years fly by,” and sometimes I think there are fewer more apt descriptions of time available) was that I thoroughly disliked the “prospecting”/sales aspect the position requires at Bally Total Fitness. I loved the gig itself.

Looking back, I probably should have just changed gyms. But had I, I might never have taught, never have edited, never have gone to grad school, never have gone to Los Angeles.

Who knows?

Certainly not me, and that’s part of the fun.

Anyway, I’ve got a really cool post coming; just a few days ago, I stayed at the Stanley Hotel, in Estes Park, which is the historic site where Stephen King first started writing The Shining.

And I swear to God, I heard a bump in the night.

It was awesome.