At the coffee house the other night.

taken time

                 meet my memory, he said
           smiling as he made the introduction
   you’ll be together a while

            he seemed lovely on paper
    like catching some B-movie
when the soul is sliding around

a six dollar cup of coffee
                     it's idealism on the cheap
             by an empty window

                          staring at those perfect teeth      
              I was missing the rest of myself
all wrapped up inside his head ...

      outside, streets filled with life
early to wake, 
                   early to miss 

   the air takes shape
someone smiled,
                    something was misplaced

we write our histories like folk stories
        watching as the letters come
  looking for a ...

                      ... a slap in a coffee shop
        no one can tell the difference
3 years later  
                   when you cried

in love’s glass-bottomed boat
       the world is a dark room
                   out on the ocean

É ingratidao falar mal do vinho
E a provar o que digo
Vamos, meu amigo, a mais um copinho
- Mariza, Ouça Lá, Ó Senhor Vinho

Dear whoever this concerns:

I haven't written much lately. I feel like I have poured too much sad and not enough happy, and things are feeling flat. I don't mean for most of my tales to be sad. Truly, I don't. It's just that I'm always told, "Write what you know". It is as simple and as difficult as that. Most of what I write is true, and most of what I write is real, and most of what I write is probably a bad idea.

I still have many stories to share and I don't know where to begin. It is like all these moments are surfacing for me and I want to express them but I already feel so damn exposed here. At the same time I wonder why not? Over time I have peeled myself down, layer by layer. It is all out there if you want it. This is something that has been both painful and cathartic. The knife ever so gracefully poised over my cadaver, waiting to sink into flesh and reveal all the viscera underneath. But I am no longer looking to see who is wielding the scalpel, instead I am itemizing these things, labeling them neatly, presenting my case and stepping back to allow for the words to speak for themselves.

What you don't see is what is happening between the lines. I am really good at playing the bumbling fool. However, the curious (but wholly expected) side effect of playing the fool is that I am never taken very seriously. This is my protective shell - do not allow myself to be seriously considered and then I won't get hurt. When I am cornered into telling it like it is, no fancy analogies or anything, I shuffle my feet abashed and wishing that the focus was on anything but me. People would not believe that I am terribly shy; that I rarely tell the people I love how I really feel about them; that I rarely smile; that I cry and cry until I am dry and then I won't cry for months; that these days I think that I am almost always afraid. I have spent literally decades of my life fooling people into thinking I am unapproachable, like some freaking special unicorn faerie or something. That if you touch me you will find that I disappear into the mists. I am fun but I will hold you at arms length.

I am really tired of pretending that I am ok. I pretend and I pretend and everyone else goes along with it. That is so much better for me than to see their worried glances and sometimes even see their questioning eyes. And I want to be honest here, life has been one long struggle and this past month or so has been more than I can bear at times. So now I am trying to just sort of live day by day, watch the seconds on the clock march in cadence and bring me closer to an answer.

I keep opening and closing my hands. I keep blinking my eyes. I keep feeling my pulse under the surface of my skin and I am grateful for every little beat that pumps through my heart.

I've finished the content for Chimeric Machines (scheduled to be published in November 2008), barring a few revision tweaks based on feedback from first readers. But my goal was to have the content essentially set before Mo*Con (this weekend in Indianapolis), and I'm on target.

After I get back from the con, I have to start hitting the Spellbent sequels ... Del Rey wants the second book by January 15, 2009, and Book 3 will be due August 15, 2009. That's 7 months for each, which should be enough time, but I best not dilly-dally.

But the relatively quick novel deadlines also means that I won't be doing short fiction unless I'm invited to submit someplace. It may or may not mean less noding.

In other news, my allergies are going berserk. I've done the Claritin vs. Zyrtec test, and Claritin has come out ahead, largely because Zyrtec knocks me the heck out. If I wanted to sleep all day, I'd just take Benadryl (cheap!). So, functionality FTW!

In allergy-unrelated news, Installing Linux on a Dead Badger made the long list of of nominees for the British Fantasy Society Awards 2008.

As one of the Brothers Strong would say ... holy crap! I think the BSF Awards work the same as the Bram Stoker Awards in that they go through an initial round of voting, and pieces that make it to the next round are considered official award nominees. Even if the book doesn't make it to the final ballot, it's nice to be noticed.

And finally, Gary will be teaching at the next Borderlands Press Boot Camp, which will be held January 23-25, 2009 in Towson, MD. The other instructors include Ginjer Buchanan, Mort Castle, Douglas Clegg, Thomas F. Monteleone, Thomas Tessier, F. Paul Wilson, and Douglas E. Winter.

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