Thinking out loud. Sunday, Nov 11 2007 

Even if I enunciate my name very deliberately over the phone at work, I still get called ‘Steven’ by 50% of people. The other 50% are wondering why I take twice as long to pronounce my name as I should.

I have had pressure put on me to write a Young and Hungry play. I will submit it under the name “Steven Thompson”, just so they know who I am. The idea I’ve had which I like the most is of a group of Shakespearean characters trying to put on a play. It has universally recognisable pre-existing characters, which I like. All of the ideas I’ve had for the story are subversive, which I like. The characters will exist in a world where no one has ever heard of Shakespeare, so in the first scene Hamlet will audition for a play and no one will know who he is. I like that.

I’ve been trying to think of which Shakespearean characters to use. Hamlet seems natural. I’d like either Romeo or Juliet but not both, so I think I’ll go with Juliet. Also I’d like Miranda from The Tempest. And maybe one of the lads from Midsummer Night’s Dream, though I don’t know which one. As a rule of thumb I only want to use characters who have their own Wikipedia page. I also want young characters, though according to his Wikipedia page Hamlet is 30. I’ll pretend I hadn’t noticed that. I always assumed he was about 25.

I’ve just noticed that the theme they’re looking for is ‘flight’. I’m not sure how to shoehorn my play idea into that theme. Vexing. But I still have no idea what kind of play the characters will want to put on within the play, so maybe the theme of that play can be flight… or is that pushing it?

Dang.

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For good or evil? Saturday, Nov 10 2007 

I saw a flyer for a ‘symposium’ at Rutherford House. Unfortunately I didn’t read it properly and turned up at 9:30 pm instead of 9:30 am. But I couldn’t have gone at 9:30 in the morning anyway so I guess that was okay.

While I was waiting after work I had a drink with one of my work colleagues. She drank a lot and told me a lot of her life story. Stuff she hasn’t told people in years. This has been happening to me a lot lately. I think I could take a career as a counselor since I’m apparently so good at getting people to tell me everything about them. Either a counselor or a blackmailer anyway.

Good day, on the whole. Wednesday, Nov 7 2007 

Putting a couple of copies of my book under the weight of all my lego for a week hasn’t been as effective as I had hoped. The pages are a lot flatter, but still kind of wavy. I’ll leave them for another week and put my old university coursebooks on top of the lego in addition.

I was feeling bad about that this morning but then I discovered that not all publishers need me to go through an agent. I’ve managed to find a couple who I can just email my book to directly. One is in Australia – they want the first chapter and will ask for the rest of the book within a week if they’re interested. The other is in England and want the whole book, but will take 12 weeks to make a decision. The English publisher will accept submissions from overseas, the Australian publisher doesn’t state that they won’t. I have nothing to lose from submitting my book to them, and with the Australian publisher at least I’ll know within a week. Know whether they want to take any further interest, that is.

It’s so nice to get someone to at least read the damn thing without wanting to be paid for the privelege.

After I discovered these publishers I wandered around town for a while, just because I can. A ginger cat asleep in the university library cheered me up. Mayflower New World playing ‘Friday I’m In Love’ cheered me up. A duck in the harbour cheered me up. It went ‘quack’. I don’t know why it did that, there were no other ducks around. Maybe it wanted to see if it could hear its echo.

And getting Robert Rankin’s book The Antipope out of the library cheered me up. The last Rankin book I read was atrocious, so I’ve been reluctant to read any more… but I was right about the qualities that I found so endearing about his work to begin with. It’s sort of what you’d get if you crossed Last of the Summer Wine with P.G. Wodehouse and threw in a comic book. Or something.

Aha! Tuesday, Nov 6 2007 

I know what I’m doing wrong. I’ve bypassed the ‘think of something to write’ phase and gone directly to ‘write something’. Always a bad move.

Robots in Disguise. Monday, Nov 5 2007 

Talking about Robots in Disguise with a bunch of people on the internet, someone made this comment:

“I quite like it if it’s rather amateurish and a mess. Just so long as it’s a fun mess.”

It made me realise that the risk I’m taking is that there enough people with this attitude in the world to make my literary career viable. The comment I made was, “People like this are flying through life where the rest of us can barely lift one foot off the ground at the time because we’re too busy worrying about what people will think if we name our band after the Transformers tagline.”

(Apparently the Transformers tagline-name is one of the main reasons people are initially put off by the band. To me this means the band is cleverly pruning the weeds from their audience. Or weeding the prunes. Too shallow to look past the band name? Piss of, mate.)

I think I’ve been worrying too much about the mistakes I made in Pirate Space. I started writing another book on Saturday, Untitled Folder, just wrote a brief sketch of what I think the first chapter might be, “Untitled Document 1”. In my mind it comes across as very… plaid. I mean staid. By killing anything that I might do wrong, I’m also utterly incinerating any of the fun stuff that I think I do right. Like accidentally writing ‘plaid’ instead of ‘staid’ there, but not deleting the mistake. In Pirate Space I deliberately left some mistakes like that in because I thought it made up the character. That’s the sort of thing I shouldn’t prevent myself from doing in the next book.

I’m going to try rewriting that first chapter, but ditch the plot and run with the motif. Presumably another plot will come to the surface.

Sick. Saturday, Nov 3 2007 

I skipped work today because I felt like crap. I think I’ll have to skip work tomorrow as well.

See the Young Ones episode “Sick” for more details.

Funny story. Friday, Nov 2 2007 

I went to Unity after work today to find VM’s book. I thought it might have sold out today because her name is on the front cover of the paper. I was right. I asked the staff about it, sadly one of them didn’t even recognise VM’s name.

While I was there I noticed that there was a guy sitting on a chair next to where VM’s book used to be. He glanced at me quite a lot. Naturally I assumed he was some undercover eyes dude spying on anyone who was interested in VM’s book. Recent events have made me quite paranoid.

Eventually I just went over to ask him why he was looking at me, because I can be direct like that. He said he thought I was pretty. Apparently I’d caught his eye and he thought he’d caught my eye as well. Actually I was just keeping an eye on him because I thought he was keeping an eye on me.

I explained the misunderstanding (politely) and went to the library to return a CD… he followed me there and continued to show his interest in me. Apparently I’m pretty and have a nice voice. He said he liked straight guys and that he’d like to buy me a coffee just to ‘talk’ to me. I didn’t discourage him too much, because I like to be told by gay men that I’m pretty and have a nice voice, but I couldn’t really encourage any further interaction besides that. Eventually he went away.

I seem to inadvertently lead on gay men quite a lot. I forget that there are men out there who might be after my bottom. Maybe I should wear a rugby shirt or something.

Of course, I’m not discounting the possibility that he was an undercover eye dude, and that pretending to be ‘gay’ was his way of explaining his actions when confronted directly. When I asked if he knew who VM was he said “no, who’s that?” far too quickly. But if that was the case, why would he follow me to the library?

At this point in time, I don’t think there’s such a thing as ‘too paranoid’. Am I being too paranoid?

Humbug. Thursday, Nov 1 2007 

Still trying to figure out what to do with my book. The laser printer curled the pages too much when I tried to print it myself… couldn’t glue them together the way I had planned. Going to try putting them under a great weight for a week to see if that flattens them out. My box of lego should do the trick.

I often think it would just be easier to try to get an agent. But the last agent I contacted said I should send the book to a manuscript assessor. I’ve just been to a manuscript assessor website and calculated that my book could cost $580 to assess. The cynical part of me thinks that the agent is just trying to send work to her friends. The rational part of me thinks the cynical part is probably right. It doesn’t encourage me to get an agent, anyway. All they have to do is sell the book once and they get 20% or whatever for life. What a cushy job! And how wonderful that even if they DON’T make any money out of me, their friends will!

Bah. Taking that route seems like a bit of a fool’s industry, really. $580… if I can get my printing to work properly, I could make more than a hundred copies of my book for that.

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