Thursday, March 31, 2011

The terror from below

So I’m swimming today, like everyday, in a big collegiate pool, in my lane, lost in thought, when a black shape passes beneath me. I mean holly crap. My vision is stupid without my glasses, but holly crap. After yelping in the water and splashing around for a second, I realize it’s a scuba diver. What else could it have been, really. He’s picking stuff up off the bottom, looking for cracks. I don’t know. He swims to the side, then I don’t see him, then, foolishly, I forget about him. Lost in thought and there he is, passing beneath me. I yelp and flail around for a second time, like some kind of goldfish with a 40 second memory.

I think there’s a writing tip in there, somewhere, with regard to the unexpected, but completely plausible. How context and habit create their own absurdities. There’s a bigger lesson about pool safety, though. I’m not sure they should be scaring the swimmers. At least the half-blind science fiction writers who immediately assume every dark form in the water is a robot shark. Killer robot shark.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Interview: I Just Finished

On Monday, March 28 at 11 AM EST, I get interviewed on the blog radio show I Just Finished. I have no idea what a blog radio show is, never quite conceived I'd be doing one and I'm not entirely sure how the whole thing works. My whole life seems to be a work in progress, making the I Just Finished moniker for the show funny to me.

I don't finished things. Yes, Cinco de Mayo came out in print, because EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy was smart enough to take it away from me and give it a wise and patient editor. Otherwise, I'd still be fooling with it. There is an upside. I haven't finished promoting this book. Don't think I ever will. Hell, I'm still pushing The Misspellers, which came out in 2002, when that Tweet bird wasn't even an egg, a facebook was an actual book your college gave away and the radio blog . . . I don't know. Still trying to figure it out, and will, shortly.

If you're home next Monday, or hate what you're doing at your desk or, my friends across the pond, just got home - log on, tune in or click through. Not sure of the phraseology.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Remembering Manny Fried

Playwright, actor, union organizer and pretty much the patriarch of theatre in Buffalo, Emanuel J. Fried died Feb. 25 at the age of 97. Though always conscious of his presence around here, I only met Manny once, when I was 12. I never forgot it. He was a writer, after all. I hadn’t read or seen “Drop Hammer” or “Dodo Bird”, but that didn’t matter. My father liked his work. The man was the real deal.

“So you want to be a writer?” he asked me, all knowing. I think I nodded. I don’t remember saying anything.

“Write everyday,” Manny told me. “If you’re sick, even if you don’t want to. Especially if you don’t want to. Writers write everyday.”

I took his advice. I still take his advice, like a vitamin – daily.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Academy Award for Best Makeup

One of the artists my publisher - EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy - uses won an Academy Award last week. Dave Else won for Best Makeup (he worked on "The Wolfman"), and is the cover artist of the new Sherlock Holmes anthology GASLIGHT ARCANUM: UNCANNY TALES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES. I'm very impressed.