Thursday, December 15, 2011

stuff i did this year (part 2)

More stuff about this year:

3. Yesterday, I picked my son up from the airport.

He just finished his first semester at Berkeley and is now home for winter break. He took his last final on Tuesday night, and he posted a link to the Mountain Goats' video "This Year" on his Facebook wall.

I'm not sure if that song is optimistic or if it is a joking stab from the perspective of a guy behind the wheel of a broken down car, but the kid made it through a very tough semester away from home.

4. Speaking of music, I have written my annual lengthy rant about the music of the past year, ending with my review of the Ten Best Albums of 2011.

These are ten very, very good albums that came out in an otherwise bad year for music.

The article will be posted in two parts on the blog this week, just in time for you to pick up some of my recommendations at an indie music store.

Like Amoeba.

5. I wish I were an Amoeba.

I would asexually reproduce with myself and write more books.

6. I am going to completely change my website ( between now and mid-January.

That is a chore, but it is time.

7. I am also going to start writing my next book in January.

It is also a chore, but it is time for that, too.

8. My cats are still alive.

9. Finally, yesterday Dan posted a comment in which he asked:

If you can offer any advice on how to manage the demands of life and time on a aspiring writer, I would love to read your thoughts.

Okay. I will tell you what works for me.

This is not advice.

I do not want to be responsible for telling anyone what they should do when it comes to managing the demands of their lives and their compulsion to write, if it is a compulsion.

I usually start writing every day at 3:00 in the morning. If I am away from home, I still write throughout the day, using my laptop and my iPad, which I use to email stuff to myself. I can get a lot done that way.

People often ask, When do you go to sleep?

I go to sleep when it is time to.

I do not have a "bedtime."

The reason I do not have a bedtime is because I do not watch television.

Sometimes, when I tell people that I do not watch television, they act offended, as though I am offering some blanket criticism aimed at lifestyle choices that include sitting still and watching stuff on a screen.

Listen: I do not watch television.

At all.

I have that condition that makes it impossible for me to stay focused on things like television and movies.

I apologize for that.

People also get very sensitive when I say that I do not watch movies. I have watched some movies, but I usually have to stop watching them very early on in the "action," if you can call it that.

I have this condition that makes it impossible for me to pay attention to movies.

I can pay attention to words, but it has to be very quiet.

I am the tyrant of quiet in my house when I am working.

I have an understanding family, but I suspect it is because they live in fear of me. I am moody, brood constantly over meaningless shit, and when I work they give me a lot of space.

When I start writing something -- really writing it -- I will usually put in about 8 to 10 hours per day on it. That is why I usually finish writing a novel, which is complete and in submission-form, in 6 to 8 weeks.

My last novel was a beast. It took me 11 weeks to finish. Although it is only 103,000 words, it reads really big, because it has something like 90 characters in it and goes back and forth through time over centuries, and shit like that. It took a lot of time to write.

I think that is how I do it, Dan.

Like I said, this is not a prescription. Nobody would want to do shit like that.