Thursday, December 07, 2006

Writing Under the Influence – The Embarrassing Bits

For my birthday, Shawn bought me the DVD of Rick Springfield’s pilot for “Forever Knight.” Though I’ve carefully kept the video cassette tape I had of it in good working order, I hadn’t really re-watched the movie since sometime last century (probably the mid-90s.) I had always vigorously defended it against the people who preferred the remake, because to this day I think Rick Springfield has a certain kind of sexy charm (which I never really got from the other blonde dude) and because of the overtly homoerotic scene with his master/Blood Sire (which, to my understanding, was changed to a woman in the remake). Given that this pilot was shot in the late 80s (pre-Ellen, pre-Will & Grace, pre-Tom Cruise/Brad Pitt’s Interview.), the homoeroticism of that scene should be considered pretty groundbreaking.

That said, it was pretty painful to watch.

I don’t understand movie-makers’ need give vampires the whole Klingon-bumpy forehead make-over when they manifest their powers. (Even Buffy did this). I suspect, however, this has something to do with the fact that we like our Dark Siders to be made ugly by their evil. White hats for the good guys and ugly, bumpy faces for the bad guys. God/dess forbid evil should be sexy and seductive, the way Dracula was written. Monsters have to be clearly monsters or we dumbwads out in TV-land won’t be able to recognize them.

Yet, despite how hard the show is to watch now – I think Forever Knight profoundly effected me as a vampire fan. I still love the metaphor of vampire as junkie. The way Nick Knight struggles with his will versus his desire for blood really still works for me, despite the bad 80s hair. The vampire bar scene was also one of the first of its kind (at least on screen) and, though it became overused in fiction (loved Buffy’s reversal of it, later) it’s still kind of cool after all this time. Also, I think that Forever Knight really was my first exposure to what urban fantasy could look like on TV. Nick Knight has a job; he’s a homicide cop – a perfect job for a vampire in some ways (though no explanation is given in the pilot as to how he managed to go to police academy during the day.) There’s also that great scene near the beginning where he tries to tan, and then goes home to close up the curtains and watch the sunrise via webcam, as it were. It was also the first time I thought about how vampires would probably like their blood slightly warm, as he sticks his in the microwave. A bit silly, but still nicely done.

It all seems so commonplace after years of Buffy, but Forever Knight really, for me, at least, put the vampire squarely in modern times and let him be a hero.

Yeah, I’m still a Rick Springfield fan. Embarrassing, yes, but I’ll still admit it.

Ya wanna make something of it??

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Astro Alert: Saturn Turns Retrograde

Because you NEED to know (from

Saturn is often considered the taskmaster planet. And when it goes retrograde? Well, there're no two ways about it: Issues of authority come to the fore, and a conservative attitude toward responsibilities creeps into even the most free-spirited souls. Whether consciously or not, you will probably experience the effects of Saturn's retrograde -- which will last until April 19, 2007 -- as a time to reflect on past decisions and learn from your mistakes ... and definitely not a time to charge easily toward your goals.

That said, Saturn's energy, which rules issues of control and organization, lends itself well to making sound judgment calls as well as wise investments, if both sense and sensibility are properly utilized.

Saturn turning retrograde puts a challenging spin on achieving success, but the planet also rules issues of leadership, making this the ideal time to establish your own boundaries, strive for self-improvement and unleash your creativity on the world. Furthermore, when your goals have been met, you'll be that much more satisfied at having cleared this astrological stumbling block! On the way, you'll also have learned a lot about yourself and clarified your perspective.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

How Stupid Am I? No Wait…

...Don’t answer that.

It’s a very good thing that I’m hiding my face in the picture below, because guess what? My reading was _not_ last night. No, in fact, it will be on the date listed, which is to say NEXT Monday.

Worse, all my SASE students showed up at my house while I was calling Shawn trying to figure out how badly I goofed (did it start later than I thought? Different day?) because we’d arranged to practice our pieces ahead of time.

In the words of the immortal Homer: D’oh.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Other Me About Town


On Monday, December 11, 2006 from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm I'll be reading as Other Me at Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408. The reading is in conjunction with the SASE Mentorship program. For more information call, (612) 874-2815.

Even though the reading is in a matter of hours, I still haven't decided what I'm going to read. According to the preliminary schedule I'm on dead last, so my thought was to read the "Second Coming of Emily" which I just started, and is no more than two pages long (I officially have fifteen minutes to read). The other option is "Tutivillus," which was published in Wyrdsmiths, but only a portion of that one since it's 4,000 words long.

I have no idea what to wear either.


Time to Lean, Time to Clean

When do you write? (and it’s corollary: How do you find TIME to write?) are questions I get asked a lot.

When I first started writing, I wrote on the job -- which I can’t actually recommend since I could have lost my job because of it -- and that spoiled me. I could write when I wanted to – which, it turns out, is mid-morning. I’m at my peek creatively from about seven thirty to eleven o’clock. When I became a stay-at-home parent, I was completely screwed up, since I discovered that the only time I had to myself was in the evening. Bio-rhythmically, I’m a zone-out-in-front-of-the-TV sort anytime after six. But, I had a paying deadline, so I couldn’t “wait for the Muse” or even my intellectually peek time. I learned to just start whenever, and write as much as I could.

Yet, when talking to fellow Wyrdsmith, Sean, I came to the startling realization that I don’t actually write very often these day, if you calculate actual hours spent. When I’m teaching, as I have been for the past three months, I write even less, because my scheduled time to work on fiction is post-Mason-bedtime (8:00 pm, reliably. While his official bedtime is 7:00 pm, we tell the story of going to sleep, and then he usually drifts off around 7:15 and then *I* wake up sometime before 8:00 and stumble out, bleary-eyed.) As you can perhaps tell, this is kind of a sucky arrangement, because I tend to end up with a half-hour nap right before I sit down to compose. The nights I teach, I usually don’t write at all because I don’t get home until after 10:00 pm and, given that Mason and company is up and out around 5:30/6:00 am… I need a few hours sleep.

Anyway, factoring in two nights of teaching, I write four or three nights a week for three or four hours. Maximum, I’m getting 16 hours/week writing time. But, on average, I’d bet it’s much closer to 10 - 6 hours/week. However, I don’t let myself go to bed unless I’ve written 1,000 words, which is how it is that I think I manage to make deadline (I missed one publishers’ deadline in my entire career, and it was because of a family death.)

Sometimes, however, like last night when I was struggling with a sex scene I spend my whole three hours pecking slowly at the screen, until I finally just give up because I can’t keep my eyes open any longer. BTW, I ALWAYS struggle with sex scenes, which is why when Shawn suggests I consider writing erotica as my next sub-genre, I told her no way. My writing would slow to a crawl if I tried to write more sex.

I’m writing about this, not to complain, but because I think people usually imagine published authors having unlimited amounts of time to write. They look at their busy lives and think, no way -- I just can’t make time to write. Granted, I’m the sort of person who is highly motivated by a deadline (oh, and honestly, a the paycheck that comes with book delivery), but I think that six hours a week is really very do-able. Keep in mind, I often take the weekend off from writing (although I wrote last night to make up for a particularly lax writing week) – so you really don’t even have to sacrifice family time for your craft. I don’t, anyway.

Hopefully, you feel inspired now. Go write. :-)