I Would Like to Be Neil Gaiman

My significant other recently brought me home a copy of Neil Gaiman’s The View from the Cheap Seats from the library, which is a collection of speeches he’s given or essays he’s written on various topics, because he was listening to the audiobook version and thought I would like it.

This book is massive. I am not getting through it terribly fast.

But what’s currently hitting me is that not only is Neil Gaiman asked to talk to people on a fairly regular basis, he can seemingly do so while being profound and not suffering from a nervous breakdown or imposter syndrome or crippling self doubt.

That sounds very lovely.

Of course, maybe once one has several decades of successful career behind them, it gets easier. Who knows?

Not me. I’m participating in my library’s local author showcase on Sunday (for City of Hope and Ruin) and 5 minutes in which to present myself and the book, and I’m a nervous wreck. 5 minutes! In front of probably not that many people, because I did one for Shards and, like, 10 people came. It’s not the end of the world if it goes badly.

But still…

It doesn’t help that my notes from Shards (which I was going to copy the formatting on) have disappeared into the nether.  Oh well. But a little confidence boost would be a huge help.

Done talks? Have suggestions?

 

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Unwritten

Unwritten

By Kit Campbell

 

When his break started, Coren tucked his hard hat under his arm and left the site. Sure, they were encouraged to eat there, but it wasn’t required, and Coren hadn’t been here long enough to deny himself the right to explore, when he could. This site was downtown, the skyscrapers towering overhead, blocking sun and sky from view. He could head in any direction, and there would be new people, new things, new experiences.

Yet he was not surprised when he found himself in front of the bookstore again, its exterior painted a deep green, its interior dark and coated with books in varying states of disuse. Of all the places he’d found in this strange city, it felt the most like home.

Despite that, he never set foot inside.

 

#

 

His own book he kept at home. It was large, leather-bound, with gold filigree along the edges. There was no title on the cover, and if there had been one inside, it had disappeared. Coren had come to understand that books were supposed to have text on each page, from start to finish, but this one was missing large swaths where the words seemed to have faded away into nothingness. At first he had assumed it was his parts that had vanished, but it was seemingly random, as occasionally his own name stared back at him from the page, along with those compatriots with whom he had shared …

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Sometimes Life Does Eat Everything

I’ve always been one of those people who has believed that there’s always time for creativity, that no matter how much life throws at you you can always eke a little bit in, here or there, that as long as you schedule and try, you can reach your goals.

And now I know better.

I’m not really ready–nor am I sure I ever shall be–to talk about my current stressors, but let me say that now I understand what people mean when there’s just no more spoons left, when you physically, emotionally, mentally just have nothing left to give.

And on one hand, it’s agonizing, to have creative goals and not be able to make any headway on them, especially when I have managed to do so many times before. But on the other, I know that this happens sometimes, that it’s temporary, that life is everchanging and even if I’m only getting to write twice a week it’s still something. And it’s okay. It’s okay. I’m okay. Sometimes this happens, and you just have to roll with it.

I am not a failure just because other things in my life have taken precedence.

And even the smallest burst of creativity feels so good now. Last week I patched some holes on the smaller, mobile one’s sock monkey (he now has matching bracelets) and it felt amazing even though it took me 15 minutes and is not the cleanest sewing job I’ve ever done.

(In related news, I cannot find …

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I Really Just Want to Talk about Dinosaurs

I could write you an introspective post on creativity, friends, but that sounds boring, so I’m going to talk about dinosaurs instead.

For a reason that will go unmentioned, I’m spending all week at either the zoo or the museum. In a few weeks, the zoo is going to be opening an exhibit of animatronic dinosaurs throughout. They’ve had a Carnotaurus for a few months advertising this fact.

Dinosaur!

He’s pretty scary, as far as robot dinosaurs go. Sure, he mostly just moves his head and growls, but I’ve spent a fair amount of time watching children come to a dead stop and stare at him with utter terror.

I get it. You’re not expecting a 9-foot tall carnivore to suddenly rear up out of nowhere. (He’s kind of hidden around a corner, and now they’ve planted palm trees to screen him.) Especially not one that moves and growls. And even after they’ve realized it’s not real (or their parents have explained that dinosaurs are extinct and that this is a robot), the kids still are skeptical.

They keep their distance. If they do get up close, it’s to giggle and run away a moment later, as if they’ve done something very brave.

(My question is: who decided to design its arms so that they tuck up backwards against its …

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I Miss My Kitchen

Oh, friends. I have no kitchen. I have not had one for slightly over a month, and it is terrible.

(I am also aware that this is such a first world problem. I have had to wash the dishes BY HAND OH NO)

(But seriously, I hate doing the dishes even under ideal circumstances so this has been hell.)

We live in an early ’80s house, which is an interesting period architecturally in that it lacks the vintage chicness of older houses and the mod openness of newer houses. Also, sometimes they put carpet in bathrooms, because that makes logical sense somehow.

In an attempt to improve Feng shui or whatever, the previous owners of the house essentially removed all the cabinets from the kitchen. I mean, they were hideous; we saw another house of the same floorplan that had left them in. They stretched the entire length of the kitchen, leaving a weird foot-and-a-half gap between cabinet and counter where you could kind of see into the family room.

So removing the cabinets was a definite improvement, Feng shui wise. From a functional kitchen standpoint, it was less than ideal. So, for six years, we have had a single cabinet to store all our dishes, and apparently this was slowly driving my husband mad.

And now this madness has resulted in the complete redoing of the kitchen. And I do mean complete. We tore out the floor. The walls. The ridiculous drop ceiling. The wiring. The lights. The plumbing. …

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Back to the Grind

Well, my musical is over. We closed on Sunday. It was generally a good experience (there were some logistical issues not directly related to the show that I shall not bore you with) and the show went well and was well received.

And I did learn my sign language “solo”–in case you were wondering–and only sort of messed it up one night but not bad enough that I think anyone other than me would have noticed.

And now the whole thing’s over. (Aside from the fact that I keep singing the songs because they’re literally all I’ve listened to in weeks and now are eternally stuck in my head.) And yet…I don’t miss it.

When I used to do theater back in high school, the closing of a show was the worst. We’d have an overnight cast party, and everyone would stagger off, back to normality, and it was terrible. I was also so bereft when yet another show ended, when I didn’t have rehearsal to look forward to, when it was weeks before we’d start the next one.

And I thought I’d feel that again. It’s like finishing a novel draft. You put so much into something, and then, suddenly, it’s gone, and all that energy has nowhere to go, and for a while it feels like you have no purpose anymore.

But I don’t feel that. I don’t feel that at all. I had a good time, sure, and I put a lot of time and effort into …

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The Night Forest

The Night Forest

by Kit Campbell

 

She looked through the window though there was nothing to see on the other side; the depths of night hid what lay within her view.

She could sense him behind her, close enough to touch, but not.

“What is it you see out there?” That weird tightness to his voice that had been present lately.

“Nothing,” she said. “I see nothing.”

“Then why do you look?”

She shook her head and turned to look at him, this man who would one day be her husband, though now he drew subtly away from her. Why did she look, when she knew the small window and the black of night would show her nothing?

“It is past midnight,” she said instead. “Why are you not abed?”

“While you wander the halls, so shall I.” A light remark, one that could have been sweet, had she not seen the tension in his shoulders, had he not held himself so far away from her. He was watching her, like she might turn at any moment.

Turn into what, she had not decided.

~*~*~*~*~

The first change had been her difficulty sleeping. She’d taken to wandering the halls at night, though all slept except the guards on the walls. Still, despite her nightly excursions, she was not tired, not drained. But then, when she did sleep, the dream had come.

She was somewhere deep and dark, with trees towering overhead. She could …

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Out of my Comfort Zone

Back when I was in high school, I loved participating in theater at my school. This seems like a weird fit because a) I am an introvert and b) I hate being the center of attention, but there you are anyway. I did 11 out of 12 plays my school did while I was there, 4 as tech, 7 as an actor, 2 as student director, and 1 where I actually set up all the tech cues, the order of the play (it was a bunch of skits), scene changes, etc., because our director/teacher was busy with something else at the time. I also spent two years in our children’s theater program (which counted as English and I hated English) (yes, I know how ironic that is coming from someone who writes/edits for a living) and sang in two different choirs.

In college, I originally went in planning to double major in theater and engineering, but after I ran into some unfair biases my freshman year (I got a lower grade than I deserved due to not being a theater major–actually verified against other classmates who were theater majors), I dropped that idea. (Also, engineering is hard and sometimes you’re up at 4 am in the computer lab writing a report about ants on a hotplate.)

And that was that. There’s not a lot of theater opportunities as an adult if you don’t have college experience or a degree. And what few opportunities there are, there’s a lot of competition …

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Stop and Listen to the Music

Last Thursday my husband and I went to a Sonata Arctica concert. We’d snagged tickets on Black Friday ($12–and only $18 even with the ridiculous ticket fees) and so we made the fairly last minute decision to go.

And, oh, it was glorious. Small, intimate venue, music so loud I couldn’t hear properly for approximately 12 hours afterwards, a small crowd of music lovers who braved the below freezing temperatures to come hang out in a tiny venue without proper parking…

But it was really the music that made it great. Sonata Arctica is a Finnish power metal band, and they were touring with Leaves’ Eyes (multi-national symphonic metal band) and Omnium Gatherum (Finnish death metal band).

(My husband: Is all music in Finland metal?
Me: Probably.)

(For those people who are like “There’s genres of metal music?” here is a description of the various ones.)

Omnium is not really my taste, so we missed the beginning of their set, but there was a point during Leaves’ Eyes’ set where I came back into my self and realized–that probably for the first time in a long time–that all my stress had fallen off, that I was content, that all the things that I worry about day in and day out had, for at least the moment, disappeared.

As you can imagine, it was quite freeing.

Symphonic metal is my favorite music genre, and I’ve found it to be very useful writing music as well, especially when I’m doing …

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We’re Going to MileHiCon!

Howdy, Turtleduck friends! It’s my birthday! ::twirls around a little flag::

But beyond that, I’m pleased to announce that if you are in the Colorado or generally Colorado area, you can come and see me at MileHiCon the last weekend of October. I shall be there with the full complement of Turtleduck titles, including new ones such as City of Hope and Ruin, and I will also have bookmarks for our anthology coming out mid-November, which is titled To Rule the Stars.

(It’s awesome.)

I’m excited for the convention! I learned a lot at the first one we did two years ago, and I’ve got some new displays and stuff that I’m itching to try out. Plus it’s always fun to network with other authors and publishers and see all the neat stuff that goes on at the con.

(Here’s a funny story, though. If you buy a three-day pass in advance, it’s $44, but there’s a $3 service fee. If you wait until the door, it’s only $46. Someone did not think this through.)

I put in my name to be put on panels if there’s a need, so there’s a chance that I could do some of that. That will be a new–and nervewracking–experience. Still, I’ve seen some really terrible panelists at various times (ones who had no clue about the topic at hand, or who were too busy revisiting things with their friends to bother to pay attention), so I will probably not be the worst.

Ah, …

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