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The not-entirely-random thoughts of Chris Brecheen about writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Poll Result: Best Multi-Author Poll


Good Omens took an immediate lead and never let go. I may have to give it another chance (fourth time? fifth? I never seem to get past the first fifty pages). I will also have to check out The Mote in God's Eye as I'd never even heard of that before this month.

While I was a bit sorry to see so many ties and crazy close races unbroken in the lower half of the poll, posts and calls for more votes didn't seem to be having much effect, so I finally called it and posted the results. Clearly our resident Pratchett fainboi never did manage to rally the troops, or The Long Mars would have gotten much more love, so you can take these results without the grain of salt needed in the last few months.

Massage your raised upper forebrain for Young Adult titles you would like to see on September's poll. I'll be calling for nominations on Thursday.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Burning Man Debriefing

I survived!

I'm home from Burning Man, which means I have showered, eaten something that wasn't pulled out of a cooler and sniffed to see if it had gone off, and slept blissfully in my own bed, but it doesn't mean much more than that. I still have to unpack, and the Hall of Rectitude has four days worth of messy super heroes to clean up after.

But when it comes to my readers, I just can't quit you, so I pause in the process of the massive de-dusting and catch up to give you a quick life update.
  • If the artistic goal is to feel alone in a crowd, this year was an unmitigated success. The loneliness went up to eleven, and I experienced it early and often. Despite being a very difficult Burn for me on a mental and emotional level, it was phenomenally crucibleish (it's totes a word). I got more out of the sense of isolation this year than I ever have before. Arguably even more than I could handle. Lots of deep introspection...and then lots more.
  • The benefit of this is that I think I'm ready to start a major piece of fiction about Burning Man. It's an idea I conceived two years ago, got ready to write last year (but then, suddenly....baby); however, now I have really spent some time in the head of the character, and I'm ready to get to work. It will probably take me at least until next year before it's ready (and 2015 might be ambitious) but I feel more focused and less distracted than last year.
  • Every year I take my Kindle (wrapped up in plastic baggies to protect it) or a book and never end up having time to read. This year I took one paperback figuring that it was probably unnecessary, but what the hell. I ended up in camp due to a misunderstanding and I was waiting for someone I thought was going to be back "any minute now" for the entire day. I realized that I have been so busy, I haven't really done much binge reading lately, and I vowed to set some time aside for that.
  • I had the most surreal language/feminist moment at Burning Man (so naturally I must share): I thought going to be one of my friends (who knew my proclivities) saying "It's okay for you to look, Chris," when she had on nothing but fishnets and underwear; however, it actually happened the next day in the line to the porta potties when a woman caught me trying very hard to look at anything but her, she struck up a conversation with me and we talked for a while about male gaze and unwanted attention, and the line between dressing to impress and wanting to be admired but not leered at. She asked me if I would like to stare, and I think I blushed and nodded or said "Uh-huh" or something stupid. She responded, "I *want* you to objectify me." I quickly (and clumsily) changed the subject to how that word probably actually meant GRAMMATICALLY objectify rather than some sense of treating them like a physical object and how if she wanted me to objectify her, it made her the subject of that desire and might destroy the universe as easily as dividing by zero. She didn't let me get away so easily though, and playfully insisted I tell her how hot she was in very...explicit terms. I was probably a deep shade of purple in the middle of a graphic description of oral sex before she finally let me off the hook with a very huge hug (and a bit of a wiggle). This is just shit that happens out there. Like...every hour.
  • There is always one more piece of art you haven't seen. Always.
  • The weather (after Monday, of course) was almost impossibly mild this year. Seriously, I feel bad for people who think that's how it's always going to be. We didn't even really get more than those calm breezy dust storms and then only a few.
  • Sleeping three to a double size bed is possible (and in my case, not nearly as risqué as it sounds like it should be), but the person on the edge is going to have dreams that they are Tyrion Lannister in the Eyrie Sky Cells for pretty much the entire night.
We'll kick back up Writing About Writing's update schedule in earnest starting tomorrow.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The 11th Hour

So I am on the playa, unaware of what is going on in cyberworld.

We almost certainly failed Blogust. Numbers were great even before I left. Better than they've been since last year when Creepy Guy was still doing the rounds, but with 15,000 left to go, it just doesn't seem possible.

I have pretty much done my "We did the best we could," deep and heavy sigh (while striking a look of complete ambiguity with exactly equal parts satisfaction and disatisfaction). I am content. Perhaps even zen.

I don't want to sound like a broken record, and many of you have already been far too kind about sharing articles, but you want to see Writing About Writing, somehow pull out an 11th hour win, it's going to take a lot of love.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Will We Make It?

By now, I am either out on the playa or in a stuffed car on my way.  I suppose there is a non-zero chance that I am descending into maddening frustration at the fact that the car isn't loaded yet and we still haven't gotten on the road, but I'm hoping for the best.

I'd ask you to do me a solid, and share this post, but it would be pretty boring for your friends. It may just have to be a post that only the dedicated Writing About Writing fan knows about.

I won't be home until the first or the second and you might be wondering how to know if I've made my goal for Blogust of 50,000 page views. Or, more likely you're wondering how to find out just how badly I'm going to miss the mark.

So if you go all the way down to the bottom of the page, you will find the total page views of this blog. It looks like this.

This was on Monday when I wrote the entry, so it's probably bigger now.
If that number is over 860, 375 by 5pm on August 31st then I have (somehow) managed to succeed at Blogust.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Off to Burn the Man

Writing About Writing is about to go on a small break as I head to the Black Rock Desert to go be A Writer At Burning man for the 13th year in a row.  

I shall return with poignant tales of moments at the temple and the renewed fire to write a certain story that I started last year (but which got put on the back burner due to the coming of The Contrarian). 

Vigor: it shall be renewed.

I may not actually leave until tomorrow, but I need to pack and prep and I teach tonight. I might have a moment to continue my Tabs Menu clean up of The Cast and Crew, or I might not. It depends on how quickly I can stuff rainbow costumes into plastic baggies.

There is at least one post scheduled for while I am away, but I will have no way to promote from a land with no internet. So you'll have to check back (or follow us in one of the auto-update ways) if you're curious about whether or not we hit our Blogust goals.

As of this writing, I am 16,800 page views shy of Blog's ambitious goals for August. Short of the viral spread of Changing the Creepy Guy Narrative last summer, I have never seen traffic come anywhere close to this. However, you will all know before I do if I made the 4,200 hits a day needed. So stay tuned.

There is a non-zero chance that I will be back Monday, Tuesday is most likely, Wednesday at the latest.

Take care, and keep writing!