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mrcleanhead
21 December 2006 @ 09:21 pm
We’ve lost something; a magic, a spirit, a feeling. Whenever I see A Miracle On 34th Street, and watch the scene where Santa speaks to the little Dutch girl, I tear up. Why? Because I want to believe-- believe in something greater, something beyond the ken of our mundane workaday lives. Beyond the nihilistic emptiness of relativism. Beyond the dehumanizing drive to produce, consume, produce, comsume. My intuition tells me it's there, sitting outside the periphery of my view, just beyond sight, a barely audible whisper where no one is there when I turn to look...

But I bear a burden--I'm a skeptic, a reductionist, a materialist. I don't want to be, but I am. With all my being, I wish that I were not. It's a weird sort of bi-polarity that I embrace; wanting so much to know that magic or God or something exists, but knowing through a lense of rationality that it is unlikely. I don't say impossible, because I understand the limits of logic and rationality.

And in that understanding lies my hope. My hope that maybe somewhere, the real Santa is sitting in a department store somewhere making a recently adopted Dutch girl feel loved and reaffirming her belief that there is magic in the world.
 
 
mrcleanhead
21 December 2006 @ 09:19 pm
I am:
Frank Herbert
His style is often stilted, but he created what some consider the greatest SF novel of all time.


Which science fiction writer are you?

 
 
mrcleanhead
06 December 2006 @ 09:08 pm
I just finished Scott Lynch's scott_lynch The Lies of Locke Lamora, and I have to say that it's one of the better books that I've read in a long time. I've been disappointed so many times lately that I've had a hard time finding anything worthwhile to read. Since reading George R. R. Martin grrm, most fantasy and SF pales. Damn you, George! You've ruined me! Damn you all to heck!

In all seriousness, his style is reminiscent of China Mieville's, but without the bleak Dickensian wretchedness of Mieville's New Crobuzon mileu. And like both Mieville and Mr. Million Projects Martin he has the ability to paint his world in both broad strokes and with the minute details of a fine brush. One of my favorite things about Mieville is his ability to take some of the most bizarre elements and make them feel commonplace and conventional. Lynch has that same ability and uses it impressively.

I think Lynch still has room to grow. For as good as Lies is, I can't help but feeling like it lacked a certain substance that's the hallmark of authors like Mieville and Martin (M&M).

...and yet, I'm comparing his debut novel to M&M. How much more could anyone want on their first outing? Well done for a hairtree.

Give it a read. You won't be sorry.
 
 
mrcleanhead
20 October 2006 @ 09:58 pm
mrcleanhead's Halloween party:

ajjones dressed as the Archbishop of Kalediol.
bricoleur dressed as the Foreign Power Ranger.
davidlevine dressed as a diplomat from Nauru.
gerardbrennan dressed as Madonna.
grrm dressed as a Level 8 wizard.
mylefteye dressed as a disturbing self-made character called "Skipper Barfhumperdinck".
sleigh dressed as a modest lizard.
xjenavivex dressed as the Governor of Louisiana.

Throw your own party at the Hallomeme!
Created with phpNonsense
 
 
mrcleanhead
17 October 2006 @ 09:35 pm
I'm constantly complaining to my "writing buddies" mylefteye and gerardbrennan that I have no time to write. While this is mostly true, I've been snatching a moment here and there (mostly when I should be working or sleeping!) I have a spreadsheet embedded in my word doc and do a "wordcount" at the end of each writing session. I decided to SUM my work over the last two weeks and realized that I've written almost 2500 words.

OK, that's not great, especially compared with the white-hot page burning pace of Monsieur Brennan, but it was uplifting to see that I hadn't been completely idle. Holy Dancing St. Vitus-- at this blistering pace, it will only take me a couple more years to finish my novel!

I'm still going to finish before grrm completes ADWD! Focus, George! Focus!
 
 
 
mrcleanhead
24 August 2006 @ 12:41 pm
My buddy mylefteye and I were having a discussion about a couple authors. I sent him George R.R. Martin's grrm Song of Ice and Fire series, saying that to date it's the best thing that I've ever read in the Fantasy genre.

On mylefteye's recommendation, and as a sort of posthumous honor, I decided to read some David Gemmell. I've read the whole Rigante series, and I enjoyed it. He actually recommended something else of Gemmell's, but they didn't have the whole thing at the Borders that I went to, so I decided on the Rigante stories. He's a very straighforward writer, with straightforward characters. I somehow imagine that's how he was as a person-- the Connovar/Bane-sort of fellow.

Since I'm always looking for something new to read, how about some recommendations and why you'd recommend them. I don't really want to turn it into a "My favorite author is great and yours sucks!" sort of affair, but just want to explore people's opinions on who they like and why.

Give me your thoughts.
 
 
mrcleanhead
23 May 2006 @ 09:37 pm
I read constantly. If I were to count, my total for the last five months would probably be about 40-50 books. But right now, I'm reading to write. I've recently taken to reading my favorite novels again, but with the eye of a writer-- understanding how the author uses the craft to forge excellent work. It detracts from the experience of reading, but is a wonderful exercise in becoming a writer. Every writer has to find their own "voice", but I'm trying to learn from some of the people whom I consider masters. Once again, I'm reading the Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin grrm. I'm not sure there is anyone who writes such epic grandeur coupled with visceral intimacy as Mr. Martin. That is how I want to write-- not like George, but with that same level of detail, scale, and humanity.

Whenever I read author interviews or biographies, I most enjoy hearing their stories about how one of the greatest benefits of becoming a professional writer is getting to meet those people who they always looked up to as readers. Someday, I hope to be able to say the same.
 
 
mrcleanhead
17 May 2006 @ 12:08 am
Wow! I'm quite the goody-goody two-shoes.

Your results:
You are Luke Skywalker
Luke Skywalker
75%
Han Solo
75%
Lando Calrissian
71%
Princess Leia
70%
Obi-Wan Kenobi
69%
Chewbacca
66%
Anakin Skywalker
63%
R2-D2
61%
Qui-Gon Jinn
61%
Mace Windu
61%
You value your friends and loved ones,
but can sometimes act recklessly
because of your emotions.
Occasionally you resort to whining.
You look ahead to great things for yourself.


(This list displays the top 10 results out of a possible 21 characters)


Click here to take the Star Wars Personality Test

 
 
mrcleanhead
08 May 2006 @ 09:09 pm
my buddy mylefteye has a story coming out in the Butcher Shop Quartet anthology. If you're into horror, I'd suggest you take a look.

http://store.yahoo.net/shocklines/bushqubpabor.html
 
 
mrcleanhead
27 April 2006 @ 10:13 pm
I've been trying for a while now to get up at 5am and write. I'm actually more creative in the evenings, but with work, a house that needs a lot of renovation, a wife who is very "project oriented", and my deliriously wonderful yet exasperating two year old son and four year daughter, I just can't seem to maintain my energy level to stay awake and focused. Some writers seem to be able to do all of the above, tend their gardens, bathe their cats, rebuilt the engine on their old Volvo, simultaneously get their black belts in Aikido and Karate, assemble and deliver hygiene kits to the homeless, knit sweaters for old people in convalescent homes (jumpers for my mates across the pond!) AND find time to write. OK, ok, so perhaps they're not rebuilding the Volvo engine, but I am envious of those who seem to be able to find time or are able to use shorter amounts of time productively. I can't do the, "OK, I've got 15 minutes-- GO!"
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I've been trying for a while now to get up at 5am and write. I'm actually more creative in the evenings, but with work, a house that needs a lot of renovation, a wife who is very "project oriented", and my deliriously wonderful yet exasperating two year old son and four year daughter, I just can't seem to maintain my energy level to stay awake and focused. Some writers seem to be able to do all of the above, tend their gardens, bathe their cats, rebuilt the engine on their old Volvo, simultaneously get their black belts in Aikido and Karate, assemble and deliver hygiene kits to the homeless, knit sweaters for old people in convalescent homes (jumpers for my mates across the pond!) AND find time to write. OK, ok, so perhaps they're not rebuilding the Volvo engine, but I am envious of those who seem to be able to find time or are able to use shorter amounts of time productively. I can't do the, "OK, I've got 15 minutes-- GO!" <click, click, click, click...> "Voila, another scene on the page!"

About 3 weeks ago, I decided to start getting up earlier and putting in an hour of writing before I get ready for my day-- consistently working, conditioning my body to a new schedule, getting some actual writing done. But every morning, I find myself hitting the snooze button until my wife finally gets mad enough for me to turn the alarm off. Grumble, growl, smack of the flailing arm...

Ah, but today, glorious today! I went to bed early last night as I felt a migraine coming on, and decided to shut down as a preventative measure (early is relative, since I still didn't get to bed before 11) and lo and behold-- the alarm went off, I hopped out of bed, walked into the office and did a little writing. What exhilaration! What an accomplishment! OK, so perhaps I'm a bit over enthused, but it's a nice first step.

So tomorrow all I have to do is avoid the snooze and put my feet on the floor. Simple.