On Self-Improvement

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Good morning from the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain. It is half-past five in the morning, and I am so tired. I am an old man, and I need my rest.

I’m an early riser by nature. NOT a morning person. I’m actually a night person, but I crash out early most nights, so I enjoy the dark hours via the back door. I go to the gym most mornings before work, because if I don’t go then, I don’t go. I have my habits and routines, and adherence to them is vital if I want to get anything done.

It’s the same thing with my writing work. I take lunch al desko at my job and spend the hour working on my projects. If I don’t do this, I’ll wind up browsing Tumblr for Bloodborne/Battlestar Galactica mashup fanart, and that’s one hour gone, burned, one hour further away from getting my shit done.

I don’t think I’m a lazy person (said every lazy person since the first Australopithecus decided to blow off scavenging one day); I’m beholden to routine. If I fall into the routine of dicking around, it becomes a perpetual inaction machine, taking a Herculean effort to get back onto the straight-and-narrow. But when I am a Good Boy, the inverse is true. Success builds on itself.

I don’t have any writing advice for you. For that, go get On Writing by Stephen Goddamn King, or check out Chuck Wendig’s magnificent blog. I do what I do, and it seems to work. My only advice is to Get Busy And Stay Busy. Whatever it is you want to do, do it. Or do whatever you need to do in order to do it. Want to write? Write. Want to become an Olympian shotputter? Lift the weights, then put the shot. And if you fuck up? Forgive yourself. But get back on it.

That’s about all I can tell you because I’m still in the process. Luke Skywalker could mind-trick the lightsaber into his hand, but was he on Qui-Gon Jinn’s level? It’s all process, it’s all iteration, and it’s all to the goal of Getting Better.

Twenty years from now, when I’m standing on the cliff all contemplative, and you hold out my old story notes to me, I might be able take off my hood and give you actual advice.

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I’m trying to decide if I want to speak on the whole Hugo Award Sad Puppy bullshit. If I did, I’d be doing it as a fan of genre fiction, and frankly, I don’t think anybody needs another voice in the chorus.

You make yourself look smart by keeping your mouth shut. And cousin? People think I’m wicked smaaht.

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Newsletters are becoming A Thing. Here are my favorites.

Orbital Operations is Warren Ellis’ weekly missive from the Thames Delta, in which he tells us what his world looks like. I have ripped off its formatting for this humble blog. I fear the arse-eels.

Technoccult by Renaissance man Damien Patrick Walters is good for you. It runs the gamut of what’s going on, and what’s going to be going on. It’ll make you smarter.

Caterwauling by Ian Vincent, modern Cunning Man, observer of cult and culture, and John Constantine IRL. An incisive reporting on Fortean doings and the intersection of the very old and the very new.

There. None of you can say you weren’t told. You’re welcome.

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I have to take my cat Onion to the vet today, but when I get home I’ll be working on stories for Projekt One. The piece in question is set in my old neighborhood back in Boston. That’s right: The Town. I sometimes worry that I’m cramming too many stories into one square mile surrounding a Masonic obelisk.

Worry is for the others, darling. I do what I do, and if it doesn’t resonate, it doesn’t resonate.

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More tomorrow, kids. Enjoy yourselves, be kind to one another, and don’t take any shit.

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Why Write? More specifically: Why write…THAT.

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The short answer is: Because if I didn’t I would go crazy and die.

The long answer is a little more involved. Let’s talk. C’mon down the basement.

Ever since I was a little kid, I have been obsessed with folklore and myth. From my little kid’s copy of Bulfinch’s Mythology, to my subscription to The Mighty Thor, to the Freddy Krueger movies I watched way too much, I think my skullmeats are hardwired for story.

And when you think of it, the stories we tell kids are fucking HORRIBLE. Two neglected children menaced by cannibal. Girl locked in tower, unable to get haircut. Farmgirl concussed in tornado hallucinates magical world that is not Dust Bowl-era Kansas.

Ever see “Watership Down?” Cartoon about bunnies my ass.

So, yeah, that’s part of it. Centuries of fucked-up fairy tales twisted my brain, sure.

But why all the monsters?

Look around. The monsters are everywhere. I do people a favor by slapping tentacles on them. Makes it easier to deal with.

If a Thing shambles out of a dark corner, you know what to do, how to react. Run, scream, or hit the motherfucker with a 2×4. That’s easy. That’s baked-in knowledge. Instinct.

The monsters in real life, though, they look just like anybody. They don’t have horns or flabby, dripping paws or eyes that burn like coals. They’re the ones you need to watch out for.

Maybe I hope to show you the monsters in their easily-digested scaly forms so you’ll know when to swing.

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I’m still working out the ins-and-outs of blogging. I’m not very good at it. I wanted to put some freebie fiction on the page somewhere, but that looks like a colossal pain in the prick. Maybe I’ll do it as a newsletter. I don’t know–early days, still.

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I’m working on several short stories for a SEEKRIT PROJEKT that I hope to be able to announce by summertime.

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Reading recommendations: you love ’em, I have ’em.

The Bread We Eat In Dreams by Catherynne Valente. I would read her shopping lists. I don’t think she’s capable of making something sound less than sumptuous. Amazon

Cassilda’s Song, edited by Joseph S. Pulver. Wonderful stories in the King In Yellow mythos, all done by woman authors. Tremendous. Amazon

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I think I’ve taken up enough of your time, and I appreciate every second of it. Watch this space, and tell your friends. Until next time, good day from the Midatlantic Coastal Plain of the United States.

A New Home

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I apologize for any confusion I might have caused with my move to a WordPress blog. But once I posted on Brand X, I was machine-gunned by people asking me “Why are you using Brand X? You should use WordPress.”

And here I am, on WordPress, with a brand-spanking-new URL. Add it to your lists. Add it to your phone. I might call you in the night.

So, let me sum up: I am a writer, this is my writing blog, Weird fiction, horror, all that good stuff, social media over there, gonna put some fiction in the corner, human garbage fire, et cetera et cetera.