War of Some Against None: Thoughtful Battle Still Rages Downstream

Gawd, I cannae even fookin keep up with it all, and I’m the gatekeeper here, but Bryan Russell, Nick Mamatas, and Hal Duncan continue to type thousands of words deep into the night on the subject of mimosas, fantasy, “literary”, realism, non-realism, dogs, cats, pigeons, marshmellows. It beggars the mind it does. J.M. McDermott’s even dropped out. And where are the women, huh? Except for Terry Weyna, it’s all a bunch of guys. C’mon, get in there and slug it out. Or tell ’em it’s stupid or something. I want to get to 200 comments before I die.

Go visit. Go tell them they are loved and have not been forgotten in the dungeon of the 130+ comments on that thar post.

Love Drunk Book Heads: What’s Your Most Revelatory Book Experience

(Catherine Cheek’s initial process of putting together books.)

Part of the increasingly insane spiral of conversation occurring downriver included a reminiscence of mine concerning a book/reading experience:

One of my best reading experiences was buying a little book with a white cover in Left Bank Books in Seattle. It had been misplaced in the magazine section. It had no title. It had no author name. It had no information about what press had published it. It existed totally by and of itself. I could come to no conclusions about it contextually except through the first word, and then the second, and then the third–the first sentence, the second sentence, the third sentence. And so on. It was a very good book about thought crime. If it had come to me in a particular section of the bookstore with all of the accoutrements of context, would I have liked it as much? Would I have given it a chance?…

Which reminded me of my The Physicality of Books feature from Fantastic Metropolis, which included answers from Michael Chabon, K.J. Bishop, Jonathan Carroll, Karen Joy Fowler, Neil Gaiman, and dozens of others. I had asked five questions there:

1. What do you like about the book as physical object?

2. Do you have any rituals or procedures you go through after acquiring a new (or used) book? (Some writers indicate they bite or smell books.)

3. Is it necessary for books to exist as physical objects in our increasingly electronic world? If so, why?

4. What recent examples stand out for you as exemplar of well-designed, well-made books?

5. Do you have any memory connected to books that you would like to share?

I’ve been working on a book off and on incorporating the Fantastic Metropolis material. The working title is Love Drunk Book Heads.

Because I’m always curious, the question I’m asking here is:

    Can you describe one or two of your most unusual, strange, or revelatory book experiences, either in the finding/buying of a book or the reading of it?

Some of this material may be incorporated into the book (with your permission, of course).

Wofford College (Spartanburg, SC)

I’ll be talking about my books at Wofford College, at the invitation of the English department. The public event is at Olin Theater at 7pm, Dec. 3.


Between Books Finch Reading (Claymont, DE)

I will be reading from Finch at Between Books, and no doubt sharing anecdotes from the book tour thus far. With special guest Ekaterina Sedia!


Library of Congress Booklife Talk (Washington, D.C.)

I’ll be talking about Booklife in the context of new media and the future at the Library of Congress as part of their What IF series. Pickford Theater, 3rd floor of the Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave, SE.

A unique writing guide to sustainable careers and sustainable creativity, the first to fully integrate discussion of the role of new media into topics that have always been of interest to writers.

“Booklife: The Private and the Public in the Future of Publishing What are the benefits and dangers of a confusion between the private creativity and the public career elements of a writer’s life caused by new media and a proliferation of “open channels”? What protective measures must a writer take to preserve his or her “self” in this environment? In addition to the guerilla tactics implicit in storytelling through social media and other unconventional platforms, in what ways is a writer’s life now itself a story irrespective of intentional fictive storytelling? Examining these issues leads naturally to a discussion on the tension and cross-pollination between the private and public lives of writers in our transmedia age, including the strategies and tactics that best serve those who want to survive and flourish in this new environment. What are we losing, and what do we stand to gain?”


Ann VanderMeer at World SF Convention (Montreal, Quebec)

Ann VanderMeer, fiction editor of Weird Tales, will be at the World SF Con as a Hugo nominee. Her panels include topics from music to literature, and she’ll also be participating in the “walk with stars”, too, if you want to get a chance to talk to her. Don’t miss it!

Clayton Books Talk/Reading (Clayton, CA)

I’ll be at Clayton Books talking about Finch and about Booklife and giving attendees a little teaser of the all-day Booklife workshop. Clayton is about an hour’s drive from San Francisco.

EXPLORING YOUR BOOKLIFE: In this new age of social media award-winning writer Jeff VanderMeer, the author of Booklife: Strategies & Survival Tips for 21st Century Writers, shows you how to achieve a sustainable career and sustainable creativity. The workshop touches in holistic fashion on both your Public Booklife and your Private Booklife. From dealing with white noise and “open channels” to multi-tasking your creativity, distinguishing process from habit, and rediscovering passion in your writing, this workshop is all about balance and working smarter. The workshop addresses questions like “How can thinking strategically about your career actually enhance your private writing time?” and “What types of promotion or networking enhance your life and which turn you into a dog chasing its own tail?” For beginning and intermediate writers. Whether you’ve just started submitting your work or have a couple of books published, this workshop will provide valuable strategies for enhancing your Booklife.


West Coast Finch/Booklife Events: October-November 2009

I’ve added details on most of the events for the West Coast part of my tour. (Still working on the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic.) Some events will be added to Portland and to San Francisco.

Note that I will be doing a workshop on Booklife in Seattle, and still working on the details of the book release party at World Fantasy that Thursday night.

You can also find the events listed in the sidebar of this blog. More info as I have it.


SF in SF Reading/Event (San Francisco, CA)

I’ll be reading as part of the SF in SF series from my novel Finch, among other things. Expect a “professional cockroach” anecdote, too. (With S.G. Browne.)


BookSoup Reading/Signing (Los Angeles, CA)

I’ll be reading from Finch at BookSoup, and expect an anecdote about “professional cockroaches.” By then I may also have anecdotes from my book tour…