Monday, July 4, 2011

Not in a gay way

Sunday night. Tired. Warm. But in a good mood.

I was killed in the write-athon on Friday night. K I L L E D. I wrote 1100 words, which ain't bad. Palin poured out 1900 words. So now I owe her a cookie. I have been pondering a "double or nothing" kind of thing.

Earlier in the week, Peeko the Elf (previously known as Charley Horse) went on a scouting mission and found us another comic bookstore and an Indian restaurant. So yesterday we went, Peeko, Meta, Palin, Barbecue and I.

Newbury Comics turned out not to be much of a comic book store, with only one corner of actual comic books. They did however have a large selection of action figures, tees and other merch from various pop culture franchises, as well as well-stocked shelves off both CDs and DVDs. I could have spent all my money.

I bought a bunch of blind assortment Kid Robot figures from The Simpsons, Futurama and Family Guy. They turned out to be Bender, Groundskeeper Willie, Patty, Bender again, and this guy:

Best. Action figure. Ever.
Death, from Family Guy. A whopping 3 inches tall.

I also bought various knick-knacks for friends, the new This Will Destroy You album (mind-blowing), The Acacia Stain's "Wormwood", a Decepticon sticker and some more geeky stuff. We're going back there this coming week. I want to buy more Kid Robot figures. I want Zoidberg!

The Indian place turned out to be really good, so we're definitely going back there. There's also an Army surplus store around there that I want to check out.

So. Maybe a word or two about writing, since that's why I'm here.

My post-apocalyptic fantasy story turned out to be an apocalyptic story. As in it takes place during the apocalypse. The world ends. It wasn't planned. It just happened, and carried me with it. Go where the story goes.
Over the past four weeks we've learned a lot of techniques around writing. During my learning period I will focus on a few of these techniques for each story. For the fantasy story I have focused on consistent point of view (especially challenging since I am using a different point of view character than the protagonist), a solid three act structure, submitting a story that's below 6000 words in length and without a synopsis, and writing a swordfight. I think (hope) I will accomplish all four.

I have also started on something else, which I may or may not finish. I have several options for my last story. If all else fails and I run out of time I can always submit the werewolf story to the class as well.

Doing the crits today, I realised just how much this class is improving people's writing. I hope others see the same kind of evolution in my writing. Today I've read one story about a female merc in the aftermath of a bloody battle, one about a plush Cthulhu doll (Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!) and one dark fantasy Western. All three really good, all three enough to make me doubt my own writing skills as well as find immense inspiration. One of the weirdest combos of emotions, and one that keeps coming back when faced with the texts of others.

Today horror author Gary Braunbeck arrived. He will be our writer in residence for the whole coming week. He will hold lectures every day, do critiques all week long and hold private meetings with a few students, including me. I sent him my werewolf Viking story, "The Long Night", last week. I expect him to tear it apart and I expect I will learn a lot from that.

We held the reception for him tonight. He was funny, open and had good insights. I am really looking forward to this week.

We've been on a few nightly walks. I declined a midnight walk twenty minutes ago, because I wanted to write and then sleep. Palin's answer? Sleep is for babies and dead people. My reply? And for large Swedish bearded men.

After the reception we went to a pizza place. As we were finishing up, a big bearded guy walks up to our table and says to me:
"Not in a gay way, but I was watching you from across the room, and you emote really well." O . . . K . . ?

He went on to explain that he was an actor who just got a part in an independent movie, and he thought my facial expressions were particularly interesting for his character. While he was telling me this, he managed to get the phrase "Not in a gay way" in two or three more times.

Finally he asked for my number ("Not in a gay way") so we maybe could talk about it. I told him the sad truth that I would only be here two more weeks, and later back to Sweden. He looked sad, and we left.

So now I've been hit on by a guy. Wohoo! Ego boost! Because no way was that simply about my facial expressions. Hilarious. And props to the guy for actually having the courage to come up and talk.

Somewhere in all this the nickname Fjordface was applied to me by Meta. I can't even remember how or when.

Finally, a quote from Mr Braunbeck:
If I see one more zombie novel I'm going to put my head in a propeller.

Peeko turned kind of pale at this, since the short story Braunbeck is critiquing in private with him has a reanimated corpse in it. The results of that crit shall be very interesting.


  1. Hey, just to let you know I'm reading! Happy for you!

  2. Thanks! Good to know people are reading.