Living With Uncertainty (Writing Update)

My life seems to be growing more bizarre with every passing day...

For one thing, I'm learning how to live with mountains of uncertainty. (Up until a week ago, three of the most stable parts of my life were in jeopardy. Now only two of them are...so I guess that's progress?) For another, I'm learning how to subsist on very little sleep. (I was ambushed this morning—long before my alarm went off—by an army of landscapers armed with mowers, blowers, and all manner of shrieking machines. First world problems, AMIRITE?)

Honestly, it's a wonder I can still find the time to read and write. But I suppose if things continue to get worse, I could always choose to go quietly insane. That might be fun...

</rant>


Writing update for June:

The return of the revision! Progress on the beta reader draft of A RAVENING FIRE remains slow, but steady. I'm really hoping for a season of calm in the near future so I can crank out the rest of this draft. (When your entire life seems to be crumbling around you, focusing on writing is hard.)

Writing goals for July:

In the next week, I'll be tightening up the first four chapters of A RAVENING FIRE to use as an excerpt for various purposes. After that, I'll probably take a week to put the finishing touches on the still-not-ready-to-be-discussed project that has consumed so much of my writing time for the past few months. Then it's back to A RAVENING FIRE, hopefully with a vacation in there somewhere.


Books read/listened to in June:

There's a section near the beginning of STARS IN MY POCKET LIKE GRAINS OF SAND where Rat Korga "reads" a dozen masterworks in a matter of minutes, catching up on hundreds of years of literature. That's what I feel like I'm doing these days...catching up on all the great works of science fiction and fantasy that I should have read long ago.

By rough count, I've read or listened to 32 books so far this year. Not gonna lie, that feels pretty good. Of course, Pat Rothfuss consistently reads at least 150 books a year on top of being a successful professional author. I don't know how the dude does it.

(Not that it's a competition.)

(But it totally is.)

  • LITTLE, BIG by John Crowley. A meandering narrative, albeit an endearing one. Reading this book was like wandering through an old house with a thousand different rooms to explore. Have you ever felt like a story was written with the express purpose of speaking to you at a particular moment in your life? When it happens, the words carry extra weight, burdened as they are with special relevance. Call it fate, call it coincidence, call it what you like...this book spoke to me. Particularly the doomed romance of Sylvie and Auberon.
     
  • STARS IN MY POCKET LIKE GRAINS OF SAND by Samuel R. Delaney. Delaney is a fantastic writer. Nevertheless, I found this a difficult read. There was no real narrative to latch onto. It was more like a series of events, superbly described, but ultimately unsatisfying.
     
  • THE CITY & THE CITY by China Miéville. I loved this one. I'd only read one of Miéville's short stories prior to this, so I wasn't totally sure what I was getting into, but man...this dude knows how to write. The worldbuilding was incredible, and entirely in service to the story. You can be sure I'll be reading more of his work in the near future.
     
  • SHATTERED PILLARS by Elizabeth Bear. For some reason, I enjoyed this more than RANGE OF GHOSTS. Perhaps it was because the story had already built up some momentum. I'll reserve judgment until I finish STELES OF THE SKY, but it seems like this is one of those trilogies where the individual books don't really stand on their own. That's not necessarily a criticism, but I wish I'd known that going into it.
     
  • OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon (audiobook). Extremely well-written, and ultimately enjoyable, but I don't know if I'll be reading or listening to any more of the series. There was way too much sexual assault and violence towards women. As such, I had a tough time finding the motivation to keep listening.
     
  • THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES by Joseph Campbell. Brilliant, but super dense. I'm definitely going to have to revisit this one.
     
  • THE ART OF RAISING A PUPPY by The Monks of New Skete. Finally finished this. A solid read. I highly recommend it for anyone considering getting a puppy, or simply for anyone interested in canine behavior in general.

Reading/listening list for July:

A little less ambitious than previous months, since I have so much going on (including Readercon!). But I'll also theoretically be taking a vacation toward the end of July, so it's entirely possible I'll be able to make my way through a few extra books.

  • STELES OF THE SKY by Elizabeth Bear.
  • STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel.
  • THE MIRROR EMPIRE by Kameron Hurley.
  • A WILDER ROSE by Susan Wittig Albert (audiobook).
  • THE PERSIANS by Homa Katouzian.

(I just noticed that all my fiction picks for this month were written by women. That wasn't even intentional!)


Here's to lots of reading, lots of writing, and hopefully, a little peace.

Peter