THIS MAN IS A HIGHLY REGARDED AUTHOR

I’ve always like Pat Rothfuss. Way back in 2002, when I attended the Writer’s Of The Future workshops in LA, Pat came to my rescue in a big way. Let me ‘splain–

Partway through the week, we wrote a story, and several of them were picked out to be critted by the group. One was a crime story, set south of the US/Mexico border, and, well, it didn’t paint Mexicans in the best of all possible lights. In fact, I thought the damn thing was racist, and showed a very American contempt towards a less affluent and tertiary production-based culture. And I said so. Now, the workshop had 17 participants. I’m from Australia. Tom Brennan was Liverpudlian. And Seppo Kurki was a Finnish guy living in Japan. Guess where everyone else came from?

I was rounded on in no uncertain terms. All the arguments came out (including that old classic, the “You don’t understand, they’re just like that” line of reasoning). Things got heated, and I took some comments I wouldn’t take in a place I can walk home from. When we broke for lunch, everyone zigged, and I zagged. The last thing I wanted was to be around the group that had delivered such a verbal mauling (One of my over-riding memories of the week was just how personal that argument became, and how quickly) Had one of the co-ordinaters offered us a spare plane ticket at that point, I would have been gone.

Pat caught me up about a street and a half away. He steered me to a little Mexican cafe where we ate some truly awful burritos, drank several gallons of Coke, and he sat and listened to me be upset, cheered me up, made me laugh, and just generally acted like the adorable and lovely-natured pal that all who meet him immediately know him to be. I went back after lunch, and though the week wasn’t as it had been before, I got through it and came home at the right time.

Since then, Pat’s gone on to bigger things. He’s an award winner, author of the oodles-selling Kingkiller Chronicles, listed in various Year’s Best Reads-type lists, is widely announced as ‘One To Watch’ and generally considered a warm and sensitive lover by all.

You might have guessed by now: I have huge respect for the guy.

Until I saw this photo 🙂

You know that joke about “But you fuck one goat”? Dude, you’re a furry! :)))))

ARE YOU TAKING THIS WRITING THING SERIOUSLY, OR NOT?

I’ve been feeling stagnant lately.

To date, apart from the odd snatch of poetry and occasional non-fiction piece, I’ve written short stories. Pardon my ego, but I think I write them reasonably well. Problem is, as my darling so eloquently put it the other night, people are getting tired of waiting for me to do something meaningful. And let’s be honest, they’re probably right.

I’ve been thinking about the reason why I feel like I’ve reached a plateau in my career, and what it boils down to is this: I know I should be writing novels, but the idea of putting so much investment into a major work and then having to (possibly) navigate years of rejections scares the testes out of me. And because I’m scared, I allow myself to get distracted– it’s too easy to find shiny short story projects to play with, and push that novel work back just another month, just another quarter…… and on and on, and soon enough nobody’s going to care, least of all me. And it feels like that time may be approaching pretty durn soon.

Lyn’s been feeling stagnant lately, and being her, just sat the hell down and came to some decisions without getting all Rita Hayworth about it. Which means the decisive cow has left me with no alternative but to do the same 🙂 And really, what it boils down to is one simple question, and if you read the title to this post, you’ve probably guessed what that was. I needed to do something to refocus myself– I’ve already finished with short stories for the time being, and turned my attention back to my long-neglected, dusty manuscripts. Something concrete was necessary.

So I’ve finally shifted my ass and joined the SFWA and HWA. Whether it’ll have any direct impact upon my career is anyone’s guess. But having joined the peak bodies for my particular little corner of the writing world, it leaves me, at least mentally, drawing a line under several aspects of my previous performance: a literary “What would Jesus do?” of the mind (Ooooooh boogieboogieboogie)— a level of performance to live up to, rather than aspire to, or something like that. It’s a way of benchmarking myself against something a little further up the food chain than I’ve been doing so far, a sign to hang above each project, to ward away complacency (“You’re spending all that money to be in the SFWA. Is this thing worth having done that?”).

Either way, ‘tis done, ‘tis done.