Peace of Mind

Evil Monkey: Do you monitor the blogosphere when you write?

Jeff: No.

Evil Monkey: Do you take things away from the blogosphere to think about when you write?

Jeff: No.

Evil Monkey: Irresponsible! Unjust!

Jeff: I don’t want any kind of white noise in my head. I’m going to write what I’m going to write.

Evil Monkey: Don’t you need voices in your head to help?!

Jeff: No. Do you?

Evil Monkey: Heck no! Because I’m the voice in your head.

Evil Monkey: Steampunk and New Weird


(Hawk Alfredson)

Evil Monkey:
How many Steampunks does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Jeff:
Oh no.

Evil Monkey:
Just guess, dude.

Jeff:
I have no idea.

Evil Monkey:
Two, one to change it and a second to glue unnecessary clock parts to it. (Thanks, James Burnett.)

Jeff:
Sigh.

Evil Monkey:
Now. How many New Weirdies does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Jeff:
….

Evil Monkey:
More than a dozen. You need one to put forth a manifesto about the lightbulb, another to ascribe cosmic malice to the lightbulb, a few more to argue about whether the lightbulb is indeed light issuing from a bulb, a few more to discuss the origins or non-origins of the bulb, at least one to actually do something and get a ladder to reach the bulb, and then a few more to doubt both their own proximity to the light from the bulb and then a last few to doubt that the lightbulb, even while shining, ever actually existed. A few years later, you need a bunch of others to come around to ascribe motivations to the New Weirdies who were originally loitering around the lightbulb and to create a whole new history for the event and for the idea of “lightbulb,” which some of the original attendees of the lightbulb event will deny actually ever existed, or that the event occurred. Someone will certainly suggest that the lightbulb only existed for marketing purposes. Then, maybe, at that point, you or the lightbulb will be properly screwed. In.

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On the Magpie Mind and the (Mis)Uses of Research

This evening I had the weekly write-club session with my writing buddy Peter M. Ball (the man who committed the novella Horn). I went back over the novel, which I’ve not touched for about a month for a multitude of reasons (PhD, proofing short story collections and stories for various anthologies, fear, laziness, etcetera). I re-read the last chapter I’d written just to get a feel for it, to put myself back into the story (so I can distinguish the pseudo-fairytale German-like setting from the pseudo-Arabian Nights Damascus-like setting, and get my tone straight).

Everything was flowing rather well; I was happy with the state of the writing as I’d left it. It needs work, of course, it’s a bit skeletal in parts and needs a good hamburger of plot, but on the whole I was happy with the first draft. And then I came across one of those gems that a writer finds her/himself heir to … the things you insert into the text when you’ve not yet done enough research about a particular topic, so you put in square brackets, type in CAPS a note-to-self and highlight it in yellow. Or that’s my normal habit, at least. On this occasion I seem to have been a little laissez-faire and so what I actually found in the middle of a paragraph was this little beauty:

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On reprint collections or Never accept a raisin danish from an Evil Monkey

*Angela is snoozing on an eighteenth century fainting couch, using a pile of books as a pillow, and blanketed by sheets of a A4 paper (printed on one side, double space, 12 pt font). A blue pen dangles from her limp fingers and a large blue splot of ink mars her wrinkled brow.*

Evil Monkey creeps closer, leans down and yells: Hey!

Angela: Argh!!! *flails about, falls off the eighteenth century fainting couch, swears* (a lot)

Evil Monkey: Did I wake you?

Angela: I’ve known you for what? A week and a half?

Evil Monkey: About that, yeah.

Angela: And I already hate you. [Read more…]

Pondering Author Platform

Guest bloggery: While one of Angela’s personalities is arguing with Evil Monkey about who pays for the coffee, another other part is over here, hopefully posting something useful … other personalities are variously conducting a shoe-shine business in New Orleans, drinking coffee in Melbourne and complaining about the weather, and planning a jewellery heist in Paris (wherein I will ultimately be caught due to the permanent nose print I left on the glass surrounding the French Crown jewels) …

I work in a writers centre dealing on a daily basis with – surprise – writers. Some days are great: people have intelligent questions, take advice, succeed. Other days, I feel like I’m chasing my tail, talking to myself, being punished by The Universe … and I start to think ‘If I smack my head against the wall hard enough, it will all go away.’ One of the things I see a lot is writers madly self-promoting … without having written so much as a word on a cocktail napkin or published even a short story or an opinion piece. Oh, they have ‘platform’ – but then, so do many of my shoes – but they have no product. And the fact that this is a problem seems to escape many of them.

And so, may I present a repost of Pondering, something I wrote last February when my brain was ‘sploding … [Read more…]

Guest Blogging – or How Did I Get Here?? (i)

Angela Slatter is an Australian writer trapped in Brisbane, Queensland (not California, dude) by a malfunctioning vortex manipulator. Here she recounts how she got into the guest blogging business and talks about herself in third person. She also blogs over here about shiny objects that catch her attention.

Scene One:

Jeff: Pssst. You. Wanna blog-sit for a while? There are a few people here already, but I kinda need someone to take care of the memory cathedral; someone not too fond of sunlight. Maybe you’d like a holiday?

Angela: Sure! A free blogiday? Why not.

Jeff: You just need to blog a bit, write something smart and funny.

Angela: Sure, no problem, Smart and funny is my default.

Jeff: *grabs bags and heads out door* Cool! Bye.

Angela: Bye! Don’t worry about anything. *Brain immediately goes blank, not one funny or smart thought appears, not even when she taps the top of the food tin. However, three large cats do appear as does one Evil Monkey (wearing a fez). Oy.

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Evil Monkey Cares Not

Evil Monkey:
I care not.

Jeff:
Why not?

Evil Monkey:
I don’t care if SF is dying. Everything’s dying. Everything’s decaying and coming back. Sometimes it comes back as a ghost, but even a ghost has a story to tell.

Jeff:
It does seem as if this rant comes up all the time. It made me want to vomit.

Evil Monkey:
Because it upset you so?

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Evil Monkey Takes a Jaunt to the B&N Review

Evil Monkey continues to conquer the world, appearing this week in an interview at the B&N Review about our Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals. Here’s an excerpt…

The Barnes & Noble Review: Ann, you teach Bar and Bat Mitzvah classes. Do you get questions from students along the lines of “Is a Wookie kosher?”

Ann: You would be surprised at some of the questions I get from the students. I actually learn quite a bit from them. I can’t always answer their questions so it requires me to study more myself. They get a kick out of that. Also, it shows them that you are never done learning. What I like to do is to ask THEM if Wookkies are Kosher and then see what they say. I remember having a deep discussion once about Captain Underpants when we were talking about the clothing worn by the Kohanim in the Holy Temple.

Evil Monkey: I was there when they started talking about Captain Underpants. That was one of the proudest moments of my life…

Evil Monkey: Well, at least it ranked right up there.

Jeff: I hope you behaved yourself.

Evil: Oddly enough, I did.

Jeff: Then I think, in light of your new civility, you might consider putting down both the uzi and whisky bottle.

Evil Monkey Encounters The Weird


(Weirdest thing of all? Both Jeff and Evil Monkey have agreed to learn to cook using this arcane and insane book as a reward to Ann for all of the many, many hours of reading she is doing for the big book of weird project, on top of Weird Tales and everything else…)

Evil Monkey:
“This concerns someone called Beaver Toadstone.”

Jeff:
“Doc Blaine ejaculated incoherently. I wheeled.”

Evil Monkey:
“Here I was ready to accept his offer of a good job as his secretary, and I had to go and pull a drunken boner!”

Jeff:
“Her only nourishment came from the meatballs that charitable souls chose to toss into her mouth.”

Evil Monkey:
“An incredible jumble of small, discolored lumps appeared in the glass, followed by a mass of blurry blobs and points.”

Jeff:
“Interesting, you seem to have given him siphilus.”

Evil Monkey:
“I’m not prepared to argue with a hallucination!”

Jeff:
“Dogs are dirty, birds are filthy, fish are clean except for the intestines, which are dirty.”

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