Saturday, June 5th, 2010

These Fragments I Have Shored Against My Ruin

I’m in Asheville, NC: my fifth city in five days.

When I’m in hyper-traveling mode like this I find that my sanity gets a bit fragile. You start creeping around feeling alienated from everyone. You become abnormally interested in the movie they’re showing on the plane, even (especially!) when that movie is The Chipmunks. The Doors’ “When You’re Strange” starts to make sense. You start saying ‘you’ when you mean ‘I.’ This is not a good development.

Remaining in touch with reality is a constant running battle. Fortunately I have help in this glorious struggle, from the following things:

— David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. I’ve been reading Mitchell for a long time now. His books can be uneven — Number9Dream was a problem for me — but never boring. He’s committed to great storytelling, and he’s willing to try all kinds of extreme formal gambits that I could never pull off — he’s like the Roger Federer of the novel. I don’t know any writers who aren’t interested in Mitchell. It’s real litgeek stuff.

— My rotating cast of comforting nerdy t-shirts that have on them:

    — a schematic of an Imperial Walker. It was meant to promote Star Wars Rogue Squadron 3: Rebel Strike, but it has long outlived its game.
    — the symbols of the various members of the Justice League. The shirt itself is also a tasteful cloudy blue. I basically can’t go on stage without this shirt.
    — Roast Beef from Achewood
    — a picture of Snape from Potter Puppet Pals. It says “Potions Master”


Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

I’m in San Francisco Now Apparently

This morning I woke up like a character in a Mel Gibson movie:

What? Where am I? [Touches fingers to temple] Oh, my head …

Then I remembered.

Though if this were really a Mel Gibson movie there would be a beautiful woman sitting by my bed who says she’s sorry about that, but they couldn’t afford to take any chances. Then she’d explain that the secret criminal organization I was investigating was actually a noble resistance movement and that the government I work for is in fact corrupt and evil. Everything I thought I knew was wrong.

All arguably true. And yet.

I hit the hotel at one in the morning last night, four AM by my quaintly irrelevant internal New York time, prompting me to remark for the hidden cameras that follow my every move that I am “too old for this shit.”

Still: the event in L.A. last night was excellent. People came. They asked amazing questions. Borders had two stupendous piles of Magicianses right out front. They were like human pyramids, except instead of humans they were books, and the books were all The Magicians. I took a picture of it, but it came out too amateur and iPhone-y even by my standards.

Say what you like about chain stores vs. independents — say it, damn you, say it — but Borders has gone to the mat for this book. The mat. It’s hard to explain what that means to an author. But the short answer is, everything.

I’ll be in Oakland tonight at A Great Good Place for Books. Come if you can!

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Why They Don’t Do Behind the Music for Books

“Everything seemed to be going right. He was on top of the world.”

[Shot of writer on couch typing on laptop]

“But the pressure was mounting. His contract stated that he had to deliver a new book, even while he was still touring to promote the last one.”

[Shot of writer on couch typing on laptop]

“Something had to give.”

[Shot of writer on couch typing on laptop. Key grip’s hand in corner of frame, nudging beer toward writer.]

WRITER (annoyed): Jesus, what are you doing? It’s like 11 in the morning.

PRODUCER (out of shot): Oh forget it. Just make it look like he drank it.

Noises off.

“All day binges. Trashed hotel rooms.”

Camera goes all unsteady, starts dropping frames.

WRITER (looks up from typing): Jesus Christ, I folded those!

Shot is put through blue filter so everything looks freaky.

“He was losing his grip on reality.”

WRITER (punches back of couch): Fucking Twitter is down again.

PRODUCER (out of shot): Good. I like the anger.

WRITER: Hey, am I allowed to use the mini-bar?

“Coming up next: the greatest mind of his generation drinks a flavored espresso beverage … and gets a tummy ache.”

And scene. I want you to know I put a lot of thought into formatting that.

You might think going on tour would mean I spent less time on “social media.” How wrong you would be. Now that I’m traveling, zithromax no prescription canada away from my loved ones, social media are now my only friends.

Come here. Gimme a hug. That’s right. That’s the stuff.

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

The Jumping-Off Point: Going on Tour

[Rejected titles for this post: No Maps for These Territories, Antarctica Starts Here]

My book tour starts at 8:15 tomorrow morning. A car is coming to take me to the airport. I’m flying to LA. This is both a good thing and a bad thing.

Not that I don’t feel lucky to be going on tour. I do feel lucky. Because I am lucky!

It’s just complicated. Writers are weird about book tours. Tell a writer you’re publishing a book and they’ll want to know if you’re doing a tour. And if you’re doing a tour, they’ll want to know how many cities?

They will compare this number to the number of cities they were sent to. If their number is smaller, they will feel bad.

I never have those thoughts myself. I only know about them because of my amazing writerly insight into human nature.

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

So How Do You Feel About Not Winning, or Even Being Nominated for, a Hugo, Nebula, Locus or Campbell Award?

Fine! Just fine! Why wouldn’t I feel fine?!?!?

Anyway I still have an Alex Award. Let’s run that photo again:

How do you like generic zithromax dosage that Mr. Bacigalupi? Mine looks like a penny.

p.s. it’s not too late for the World Fantasy Awards

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Why Would You Write a Blog Lev Grossman Why Would You Do That

[The title of this post is supposed to be read in the voice of Henchman 21 from The Venture Brothers. But it’s fine the regular way too.]

I used to have a Google alert on myself. You know, because of all the reviews and blogs and whatnot. Then I got rid of my Google alert. Because of all the reviews and blogs and whatnot.

Given the practically infinite size of the Internet, it is statistically a near certainty that at any given moment someone somewhere on it is calling me a dick. Which is totally fine. It may even be true. But the weird thing about it is that when people talk smack about me they do it as if I can’t hear them. I feel like if someone’s going to call me a douchebag, they’re going to do it anyway, but they would at least do it in a different way if I were in the room with them.

Which owing to the nature of the Internet I am. Except it doesn’t generic zithromax gluten free seem like that to them — it seems like I’m off in some other universe somewhere where I can’t hear them. I think this is partly because I write for Time, and I publish books through a big fat entrenched New York publisher, which means that my words tend to appear in glossy packages that were obviously designed and printed by massive soulless corporations. That has the effect of making me seem like some bloated plutocrat who looks like the Monopoly guy.

Which is totally wrong. I don’t have a mustache.

And I don’t want people to think of me that way. I want to be in the room. Being a writer without a blog is like being a ghost at your own funeral. You’re there, and yet you’re not. And then you overhear your best friend say, ‘sure, he was a decent guy, but it’s not like it’s a national tragedy or anything. ooh, look, mini-pizzas!’ Which—cool ghost powers aside—who wants that?

So here I am.

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

From Hell’s Heart I Stab at Thee. Social Media Hell That Is

Actually I’m stabbing at you from a coffee shop in beautiful rainy Ann Arbor, where I went to film one of these. I ran around a Borders babbling like an idiot while a nice man followed me with a video camera.

I do that a lot anyway. But there isn’t usually a cameraman there. I will post the results when they’re ready, except if they’re shameful, in which case I’ll disavow them.

So because I am an author, I have to have a ‘social media strategy,’ which is one reason I started this blog. Though I’ll tell you a weird thing: I fricking love this blog, and it is getting more and more difficult to pry myself away from it. I also tweet.

So far so good. But now I realize I need to deal w/ Facebook, too. So I’ve started paying attention to my Facebook profile. And I set up a Facebook fan page. For myself. Which felt weird, but I powered through it anyway.

And see, this is where it all started falling apart. There was already a Facebook page for me. It was nice — it flowed in any status updates that mention me, including my own, and my Wikipedia entry buy zithromax online overnight shipping (which I hate, but haven’t edited so when I die I can still get into WikiHeaven) — but I couldn’t figure out who created it. Or maybe it spontaneously generated itself.

So I started a new one. But it doesn’t pick up status updates about or by me. In fact it looks crappy and has no fans. Now I’m asking myself, as I do every day, why can I not be more like Neil Gaiman and Patrick Rothfuss? And not just, you know, the hair. Though that would be a start.