One Reason Real Books Aren’t Going Away

A way to get to know me.

“Hi, Come on in.  Let me take your coat.  Can I get you something?”

You step inside, a first-time visitor.  You accept some hospitality, something to sip on, something to eat.  Your host disappears into the kitchen, from which clinking or boiling sounds and questions emanate.  You look around, taking the place in.

You see the bookshelf.  The rest of the room dims, turns into background.  Before you know what happened you’re standing in front of it, eyes and perhaps a finger gently tracing the cracked and wrinkled spines, the authors’ names and titles printed on them.  Some you know, some you don’t.  Maybe some are in your to-read pile (you never can keep up with it).  Those are most exciting of all, because maybe your new friend has read them and can tell you about them.  You pick a volume at random, one you don’t know, and open to a random page.  The smell of the paper wafts gently into your nostrils, the traces left by the eyes and fingers of those who’ve read these words before are almost tactile.  The words slide through your pupils and fall like rain into your self; they sink into the loam of your life-world, send shoots and rhizomes out into the soil around them, grow into the latticework of intertwined roots that have been weaving themselves together since your parents first sat you down on their knee and taught you the magic trick that turns little lines and curves on paper into imagination.

Despite the solitude in which it’s performed, reading is one of the most intimate activities there is. Continue reading “One Reason Real Books Aren’t Going Away”

Inspiration is for Amateurs

Inspiration is for amateurs.  The rest of us just show up for work.
-Chuck Close

How do you know you’re an artist?

Before I go any further, let me just clarify that I’m using the term as a catch-all phrase for people with a creative avocation, be they writers or sculptors or dancers or painters or photographers or musicians or any of a hundred other related endeavors.

Answers will vary, of course.  For some people, they just know, and that’s all they feel they need.  For a lot of years, I felt that way, myself.  I was a writer because I was, QED.  Even when I wasn’t writing.  I realize in retrospect that it was more aspiration than identity, but when people asked me what I was, that’s what I told them.  Then I served them another drink and slept until two the next afternoon before having brunch and going back to work. Continue reading “Inspiration is for Amateurs”

Website Name Change

Those few of you who regularly wander through this obscure yet fascinating corner of the internet may have noticed that the banner atop the site has changed.

When I first set up this site, and named it Soft Apocalypse, I honestly had no idea that a guy named Will McIntosh had written a book by that name.  It may very well be that the phrase floated my way through the aethosphere, but my subjective experience was one of those aha! moments we creative sorts live for.  It seemed to perfectly describe an important aspect of my own work (most particularly the GoATDaD universe), and I’ve always thought that there was a lot of interesting territory to map in a setting where the old order is collapsing but chaos or a new order have yet to take hold.  The concept of soft apocalypse (as well as its delectable mouthfeel) seemed to capture that perfectly.  So I went with it.

Sometime later, I became aware of Mr. McIntosh’s book Continue reading “Website Name Change”

My Mind is a Raging Torrent*


I have too many irons in my creative fire right now.

It’s my own fault.  There were a couple of months recently when I was working a lot and didn’t have time to write (correction: didn’t make time to write).  Without conscious direction, my creative subconscious likes to go all monkey-mind on me, and just putter around in the workshop, tinkering with this and that project or half-formed idea lying about in various stages of completion.  Continue reading “My Mind is a Raging Torrent*”

Dear Opening Paragraph:

It’s not that I hate you, it’s just that you’re not good enough yet.

Okay, I admit it.  I kind of hate you.

The problem is that I need you to do a lot of things very quickly.  Partly this is for reasons of craft, but mostly it’s because nobody knows who I am yet.  I don’t have a name.  So I’ve got to grab you, the reader, right away.  I’ve got to get you hooked, let you know where you are, where you might be going.  Who’s after you and what they want.  I’ve got to set expectations that you’re going to want to see fulfilled.

Then I have to fulfill them, but Continue reading “Dear Opening Paragraph:”