Thursday, June 4, 2009
Penicillin and Bruce Campbell

About a year ago, I noticed that whenever I do a big signing or a convention with a lot of panels, I end up getting sick as a dog afterwards.

So I started being more careful. I made a point of eating healthy while I'm there. I drink plenty of water and juice. I take vitamins and a zinc supplement. I wash my hands so often it looks like I'm channeling the spirit of Howard Hughes.

And it doesn't make a damn bit of difference. As soon as the convention or signing is over, I get sick. I might as well tongue-kiss everyone I meet at a convention. That way I'd at least feel like I deserved to get sick. Plus the pictures people posted on facebook would be *way* more interesting. Plus kissing is awesome.

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah. My sickness. It turns out I wasn't just being a big sissy baby. I didn't have swine flu, but I did have strep throat. That makes me feel a little better about the fact that I've spent the last week weeping like a little girl and doing shots of chloraseptic like a fratboy on a bet.

*Sigh* You know what sucks about being an experienced writer? The internal editor. Ten years about I would have written that last sentence and moved on with my life whistling merrily.

But now when I write it, I think:

  • This reinforces our negative cultural stereotype that implies women are weak and weepy.
  • This implies that all frat boys are clueless drunken fuck-ups.
  • If I write this, a half dozen people will leave comments saying, "I was the proud member of Epsilon Ometa Whateverthefuck fraternity in college. Not all of us are drunken idiots. My brothers and I maintained a 3.8 GPA, drank nothing but rainwater, and raised money for crippled kittens."

And then I sigh.

Of course, nobody will write in about the subtler, implied slur against women. Which makes me feel worse in some ways.

Don't get me wrong, the internal editor is a useful thing. It keeps me from getting in trouble. (Sometimes.) It makes me a better writer. It makes me a better human being.

But still, it's a shame. "Weeping like a little girl" is a lovely phrase. It really gets my point across. It conveys. And when you apply it to some great hairy bear of a man like me, it's got all sorts of humorous implications.

The same is true with the stereotype of the drunk sideways-cap wearing frat boy. It's a funny thing. It's a useful tool for humor.





The other obvious problem is that it takes so much more time to be a careful writer. Take today's post, for example. I was going to talk about being sick, or about my foreign taxi adventures, or about how great it is to be back home.

And what am I doing instead? Writing a blog about writing a blog. Merciful Buddha forgive me. It makes me long for the days when I was just a punk kid and wrote whatever the hell amused me with no thought for the repercussions.

Well, I promised myself I'd only spend an hour on today's blog. Taxi adventures and other musings will have to wait for a day or so…

Just to give this blog some shred of substance that isn't all meta, I should mention that this weekend I'll be at Florida Supercon in Miami where I plan on gazing adoringly at Bruce Campbell's magnificently sculptured ass.

I'll also be doing a reading, signing books, and all the rest of the usual stuff that I do when I'm Guest of Honor at a convention.

And don't worry, I'm on antibiotics now, so you won't catch strep off me.

pat

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posted by Pat at 65 Comments



Monday, February 2, 2009
A writer's job...

Friend and fellow fantasy author Drew Bowling just sent me the following story. It amused me, so I thought I'd share....
I keep running into random people who have read The Name of the Wind. Most of these incidents are pretty damn funny, but I usually forget to send them your way. Here's the most recent:

New Years Eve, I'm partying in Bethesda (city on the edge of Washington D.C.). The ball drops, and a girl starts kissing one of my buddies. When that's all over and done with, I decide to say hi to her, in order to make sure she isn't a succubus (sober, I was not).

We trade pleasantries, and I tell her I'm a writer. She thinks this is cool, especially since I write fantasy, because she loves fantasy.

"What's your favorite book?" I ask. Well, it turns out to be your book, Pat. So I tell her I've meet you, that you're a cool guy, and that no, I doubted you actually knew a name for the wind - other than wind - which would make it do magical things (yes, she really asked me this, and yes, she also had been drinking).

At that point, I suddenly become very cool, or at least much cooler that I was before (which, in hindsight, wasn't cool at all, but rather something of a sweaty mess). So my friend wanders over, and I, being a pillar of loyalty, wander away - but not before I hear the girl say: "I wish Pat had been here at midnight."

I love a story with a happy ending.

If only I *had* been there. I can picture it clearly in my mind. The party is dimly lit, she sees me across the room, her eyes widen in surprise. Then I hear the three words every man longs for...

"It's a bear!" she screams drunkenly. Then, mad with terror, jumps through a plate glass window and falls three stories to her death. Probably landing on my car.

Seriously though. How come I never end up at parties with hot qua-succubi who want to get all makey-outy with a fantasy author? We need kissings too, you know. For research. Into.... verisimilitude. Kvothe does eventually engage in the wicked co-mutual pressing of lips, you see. And I worry if I don't gather enough data before finishing those scenes I won't be able to make it really *real* for the reader.

Yeah. That's it.

pat

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posted by Pat at 38 Comments



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