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Nickels and Dimes (July, 2007)

July 2, 2007

Once again, collecting pebbles off the quarry floor:

  • On Wednesday, fly to Columbus. Will hope to visit German Village or Victorian Village this time, for real, and will fail to follow through. But will see some favorite people, eat at the delicious market, play hotel-lobby poker, and eat a meal that rolls my eyes at the secret wine-and-tapas place. This year, saving per-diem pennies for the $30 flight of Madeiras, including the 1912 Barbeito Bual Reserva Velha. Fingers crossed.
  • Am writing this way because of Gibson’s Pattern Recognition. Once again, I’m reading it, and doing so I remember that I never finished it the first time. Then, I thought it was confusing and vague. This time I think it’s excellent. Have to hurry, though, ’cause Spook Country is out soon and Thirteen is waiting for me on my desk at the office.
  • That’s a lot of hardcover books for me, who usually does not enjoy reading hardcovers.
  • “…her mortal soul is leagues behind her, being reeled in on some ghostly umbilical down the vanished wake of the plane that brought her here…” — from Pattern Recognition
  • So, what’s our verdict on novels written in the present tense? For a while, it seemed like a fad. Now it seems to be sticking. Truth is, I love the immediacy and conversational voice that come with it, but I bad-mouthed it before simply for its fad-ness. That’s a lousy reason. But have we reached a consensus on present-tense fiction yet?
  • My copy of Pattern Recognition is signed. It reads, “TO WILL — WM. GIBSON” Stuck inside the end paper is the Post-It note that Gibson’s bookstore handler had me write my name on. This reminds me of a sad signing experience, all of us lined up in a by-the-numbers Barnes & Noble in Minneapolis, like cadets queued up with silver trays in our hands waiting to get our mashed potatoes. Step up, say “I love your work,” get “TO [NAME] — WM. GIBSON” signed on the title page, step to the left, pay at the counter. I remember thinking that Gibson looked a little embarrassed by the assembly line process, but that may have been me coloring him in with my continuing admiration, under the flourescent lights. Yet, I also know that I was slow to start Pattern Recognition the first time because I associated it with that disappointing signing, and I imagine that’s why I was not enthused with the book back then.
  • Writing notes and highlighting passages in a book is vanity, but isolating a book for its future value is desperation. Or is keeping a book pristine and empty a waste of potential, and preserving it as a future treasure some kind of arrogance? Is it prideful to think that making notes in a novel might be of interest to some inheritor later? Is it cowardly to think that note-taking will somehow harm a copy of a mass-produced novel? To hell with it — I’ll make notes in my books if I want.
  • Am looking forward to writing in my hotel room in Columbus. I work well in hotel rooms. Heard somewhere that Truman Capote preferred writing in hotel rooms, but don’t know if that’s true. Suppose I feel like a travel writer when I’m at a hotel desk. Or I feel more like a real person, out in the world. Something.
  • Turns out I don’t know how to make unordered lists work in WordPress, so you’re seeing this all as a hideous mass of text. Blerg.
  • Have task bars hovering around 90% on several projects. (I have 12 unfinished blog posts in my list of drafts here, for example.) Am undergoing serious work-related meditations. Must get some projects finished before Wednesday morning and the convention weekend that follows. Am a Guest of Honor at Origins this weekend, which is a check-mark in one of my career-goal boxes. But… but…
  • Almost logged in to MySpace today just to poke Thom Chrastka in the ribs and see what he was up to, but figured I’d try this first. Touching MySpace is like peeling a furry hide off the highway. It’s gross.

Music: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, “Carry Me”

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One comment

  1. Mark up a book in whatever way you want. Its your book. The act of taking noted underlining makes you more active and engaged in absorbing the material within it, which is usually why your read it in the first place. Who cares if you never look at it again?



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