23 November 2015

The Mind of a Chef; Writing; Reading

THE MIND OF A CHEF. Been watching a lot of this show over the past few months, not on Netflix, but on my local PBS station. The thing I like about The Mind of a Chef is how the episodes – mini-documentaries, really – are generally so well done that I find myself investing in the lives of these various chefs, who I might not otherwise care that much about if they weren’t swaggering around the world on semi-drunken, binge-eating travelogue shows.

WRITING. Taking a cue from Warren Ellis’s newsletter, I’m going to talk about my current works in progress by giving them code names. Not because of any contractual obligations about confidentiality, but because I’m superstitious. I’ve always felt that talking too much about what I’m writing takes away some of the urgency to write it. It's just possible that I'm just so lazy that I'll look for any excuse. Either way, I’m going to make more of an effort because I’ve been told lately that people like knowing what writers are working on. And so…
  • PROJECT RUST: An essay for an anthology series I’m trying to crack into. It's about 800 words about a certain sanctuary in my hometown. Gonna give it another pass or two and send it in.
  • PROJECT FLOSS: Novel that’s currently in index cards, hidden under a blanket on a table in my lab. The toes, chest, and nose are poking through. Gonna have to suck it up, switch the Jacob's Ladder back on, and make it walk.
  • PROJECT FIELD: A short story I’m wrestling with from an idea that won’t go away. Just as well because my problem has always been follow-through. It’s been on the back burner, but I just saw a call for a story anthology for which this piece could work.

READING. Just finished Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology from Belt Publishing, because Cleveland Rocks. It's a little frustrating though that I'm going through about 10 books simultaneously, and this one I picked up and devoured this essay collection in three days flat. Will probably read Car Bombs to Cookie Plates: The Youngstown Anthology next because it has pieces from, among others, Ed “Al Bundy” O’Neill and Christopher Barzak. And then I really need to get back to my reading queue before I start Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir Blood, Bones & Butter: the Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, but it’s tempting, since it’s her episodes currently showing on The Mind of a Chef.

And so turns the circle…

15 November 2015

World Fantasy Convention 2015; Borgesian Philippines; What I'm Reading

WORLD FANTASY CONVENTION 2015. Took a hop northeast from Ithaca to Saratoga Springs last weekend, despite the Piss Poor Harassment Policy kerfuffle. Managed to not only keep my running streak of being on WFC programming (3 for 3), but I actually appeared on two panels: “Real World Nomenclature, Taboos, and Cultural Meaning” (There’s a pretty good summary here.) and “Bibliofantasies.” Or, as I call it, “Bibliofantasies 2: Electric Bugaloo” since I was also on a panel of the same name at WFC 2012. After all, how the fuck else I could I sit on a panel with Michael Dirda, John Clute, Robert Eldridge, Paul Di Filippo, and Gary Wolfe? The socializing, always the best part of any con, was more targeted now that I’ve been at enough of these things not to fanboy over everybody in the room, and to instead spend the time with people – old and new friends – that I want to spend time with. Okay fine, I finally got to meet Jeffrey Ford and squee about what a big fan I am. Happy?

Not a hoax. Not a dream sequence.

BORGESIAN PHILIPPINES. Missed a talk by Gina Apostol, author of the upcoming novel William McKinley’s World on the Philippine-American War. In it, she makes the disturbing observation about how hard it was to find first-person Filipino voices in records of the period, and where she did find it “…occurring mainly in captured documents within military records, the Filipino voice being a text within a text, mediated, annotated, and translated by her enemy.” There's a bittersweet Romantic tragedy about how this mediated story of the Philippines casts it as a place that’s as fantastic as Borges' Tlön. This is relevant to a project in progress....

WHAT I’M READING. My personally inscribed copy of Mary Rickert’s collection You Have Never Been Here, worth the cover price for the single previously unpublished story “The Shipbuilder.” Pieces of The Best American Travel Writing 2015 edited by Andrew McCarthy, for another project in progress, Laszlo Bock’s Work Rules!, and when I can, Felicia Day’s You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost). Yes, that’s an awful lot of nonfiction, I know. What's your point?

05 November 2015

Where I'll Be at the World Fantasy Convention

Gonna be at the 2015 World Fantasy Convention? I am, and here's where I'll be...

Thursday, November 5, 3:00, City Center 2A
Real World Nomenclature, Taboos, and Cultural Meaning

The panel discusses the thorny issue of real world terms that often bear loaded meanings and concepts being transported wholesale into Fantasy worlds. Swearing, cursing, and racial epithets can cause controversy and out-cry. Commonly accepted terms change meaning over time and become taboo. As the politics of the real world change, is there a concurrent transposition into Fantasy worlds? 
A.M. Dellamonica (mod.), Didi Chanoch, Steve Erikson, Don Pizarro, Mark van Name

Saturday, 5:00, City Center 2A

Unaccountably, there is no entry for Bibliofantasies in the Encyclopedia of Fantasy by John Clute and John Grant [Orbit 1997]. Your intrepid panel will attempt to remedy that lacuna by discussing bibliofantasies with a view to creating an entry. 
Michael Dirda (mod.), John Clute, Robert Eldridge, Paul Di Filippo, Don Pizarro, Gary Wolfe

Come say hi!