A General Update

It’s been a while since I last posted.  Not for any dramatic or unusual reason, just the business of life pushed blogging to the side.  I began a long commute to the City for work and that made finding the time to blog harder. However, I’ve now accepted a new position with a new company, Etherios, and I’ll be working mostly from home. (Which doesn’t mean that I’ll necessarily have more time to blog, but it does at least free up the time I had been spending on the train.)

As for the fiction, I’ve taken the excerpts down for now.  I realized that I’ve been spending too much time editing and not enough time finishing, so I’m going to wait to solicit comments until after I’ve got a whole first draft completed. Which will be… whenever it’s finished.  I’ve actually been moving again on that. Moving slowly, but still moving.

Other than that, the kids are just amazingly impressive.  They’re each tremendously talented, gifted, and good and it’s a special pleasure to watch them excel and grow.


A rut


I wrote the first draft of this post well over a year ago and, unfortunately, it’s still mostly true. I lost 40 pounds last year and now I’ve gained it all back. I’m tired. Fatigued. All the time.

I’m in a rut, a creative valley, a box-canyon of clouded vision, a swamp of confused and tired metaphors. Everything I write reads like crap and nothing makes it past the backspace key. It’s been like this for months. Months and months and months at idle.

I’ve tried editing previous stuff and have rewritten page upon page. The problem is that when everything reads like crap, everything reads like crap. So as bad as the old stuff is, the new stuff isn’t much better. I’ve tried kick starting new projects only to see them stall and grind to a stop. I watch my inspiration—whatever meager scrap I’m clinging to at the moment–ossify and harden as I type.

It’s happening now.

It’s not just that my voice seems muted; it’s that I don’t seem to have anything interesting to say. I don’t why I’m in this funk and I don’t really know how to get out of it. I’ve tried the exercises, write and write and don’t stop and I’ve produced some stuff, but… ehhh.

I tried to supplement with other creative action. I made sour cherry and ginger syrups for mojitos. I subjected dinner guests to plate after plate after plate of fruit topped with savory sauces. I did ceviche trios, pork two ways, tacos carnitas with salsa explosion, caramelized scallops on green curry risotto cakes with grilled pineapple and a chorizo cilantro broth… and it was all been yummy and healthy and satisfying but it didn’t translate to the page.

Lately, even culinary inspiration is eluding me.

Writing about politics and economics exhausts me. And besides, there’s not much to say that I haven’t already said. I’ve thought about it, believe me , I’ve thought about it. But the truth is I don’t care enough about it right now to waste the energy. The administration is inept, spiteful and amateurish and the opposition party sucks. Long-term indicators are astonishingly, mind-bendingly awful and outside a handful of econ departments nobody seems to care. Want to know what I think? It’s all here.

But still… stories languish in limbo, plot twists seem more and more hackneyed and trite and dialog stutters and tumbles as if I’d stapled stilts to the characters’ legs.

Part of the problem, I think, is that I write for myself. I don’t have deadline pressure and nobody will complain if I spend three weeks revising two hundred words, only to revert at the end to the original. There are no readers knocking on my door or sending me angry emails. No one is second-guessing my priorities and wondering why I choose to spend my time sitting on the couch with my family watching yet another food-based reality show instead of at the keyboard getting Laiathal out of prison, helping Renée get someone’s attention, or figuring what the hell Colin’s fucking purpose is in the first place. Mike is swimming in his own depression while Susan is in Japan and I haven’t done anything to help either of them. I’ve got to kill Chip and I don’t know how to do it–maybe I’ll just kill  Hiroki instead, but I don’t know. Alex’s ending changed twice and in each version it just feels like I’m punishing her, whether she gets her guy or not. Harold has cheez whiz in his hair and probably some bodies in the basement, but who knows? John can’t get out of his goddamn bedroom to move the story along.

Maybe if my characters could complain, I’d figure out some way to push them along.

But they can’t, of course. So they languish, unwritten and incomplete. And I can’t find a way to make myself care about them.

And of course, there’s no happy conclusion to this post. I don’t have a resolution to my problem or a magic answer for anyone else suffering from a creative depression. But I know that it sucks and I want to get out of it. I just don’t know how.

Any ideas?

I got nuthin.

Total creative nosedive. For the last several weeks I’ve had nuthin.

Big bags of nuthin.

All manner of writing has stalled. Especially the big fiction projects.

I’ve got characters on the run from the law, stuck outside a carnival, moping in Japan, flirting in the Yucatan, bickering in Los Angeles, and even one or two that are struggling with freaking magic rings. And they’re all on pause.

The DVR in my brain needs a reboot.

Moving on….

I know that the recent swarm of political posts has been… depressingly sad. As if y’all don’t know what I think about the bailouts and the stimulus plan.

If there’s anything worse than the political rant, it’s the never-ending political rant that never changes. And if there’s anything worse than that, it’s Rush Limbaugh.

And if there’s anything worse than that it’s Al Franken, who figured out that the only way to become a bigger ass than Limbaugh was to become a U.S. Senator. Touché Mr. Franken, touché. Anyway, I regress….

I want to scale back the political whining blogging and try to focus on more constructive, creative things… like  twitter and facebook! And there’s the super-secret project that I neglected last week and I missed a self-imposed deadline, which stinks. And there’s my not-quite-so-secret project that I’ve neglected for months now and is beginning to haunt my dreams… but I tease.

And I tease badly. The super-secret project is a website, and no, I won’t tell you what it is, but it’s up and nobody’s seen it yet. If and when it gets rolling I’ll unwrap it. For now, I want it to build it’s audience slowly…. (slower than this? You ask. Yes. Slower than this.) The not-quite-so-secret project is a writing project that I’ll put up here eventually.

The point (and there is one, I promise) is that I’ve been so consumed by whining blogging about politics and the economy that I’ve let other projects that actually make me happier sit unattended and that’s… well, that’s just plain silly.

I’ll still put up the odd post or four occasionally, but I’m going to make a concerted effort to keep things lighter here for a while.


So… now. Ahm…. about those…



Here’s a funny cartoon from xkcd!

The Princess Bride

I’m also going to put up some recipe/food stuff and maybe some more lists…. I like lists.

And, I’m going to put up a story that I’ve been working on for a while. That’s coming tomorrow. The story is “Snowed In” and I’ll put it up in installments. Probably one installment per week….


Nationalizing the banks would slow economic growth and keep vital capital shackled to inefficient enterprises at just the time that we need to liberate… ack… [cough]… [sputter]…

Ok, ok. I think I’m  OK now. I think that was the last of it.

Polling all readers

There’s a new Poll-like thingus over there in the right column. I’ve been wondering lately if my constant nattering on about economics and the bailouts is giving readers a headache. I mean, come on! How many times can I say the same thing? (Forever, of course, is the answer. Or until our political class stops trying to buy their way into our hearts by borrowing from our children. Guess which one will come first.)

Plus, I feel like I’ve gone all negative, all the time. But hey, maybe I’m wrong! Maybe you all like the economics!

So, vote! Tell me what you’d like more of! Recipes? Rants? Politics? Art? Tell me!

And as always, comments welcome!

metablog stuff…

As part of the big move, there’s a small, unattractive hiccup. Old links that direct to “blog.psjs.net” still work, but they stutter as they redirect from the old blogger installation. To all who suffer through the profoundly inelegant workaround, I extend my apologies. I’ll see what I can do to resolve that issue. (With minimal effort. There are a lot of things I could do, but I’m lazy….)