And here is the YouTube version of the audio:
And here is the YouTube version of the audio:
Just thought I’d quick let you know that the video of the audio of Prometheus and Chiron is up on YouTube now. Here it is:
Here it is:
There’s not much more to say than that. Enjoy!
Well, it’s that day of the week again (Thursday), when I write yet another blog post for the entertainment, and occasionally the edification, of those who want to read it. As I did two weeks ago, I’m breaking up my author’s notes, interspersing them with less specific ramblings on my current, past, and planned writings. Next week, I’ll continue my author’s note series, with a note on Son of Man. Once I’ve caught up with the notes up to and including my latest published story, I plan to start periodically posting sample first chapters of my published works, as teasers to get readers interested—or, alternatively, to let them know for certain that they are uninterested—in the books and stories from which they’ll be excerpted. This should be fun, I think, and will certainly be less work for me on those weeks when I post them.
Right now—so to speak—I’m near the completion of preparing to publish Hole for a Heart. We at Chronic Publications are still struggling over the final form of the cover design for the story, though the basic design is already confirmed. As those of you who have read it when it was available here know, it’s a dark story (how atypical for me, right?), but I like it a lot. Thankfully, that’s more or less universal about my stories, and I can’t stress enough how thankful I am for the fact. Of course, there are flaws in all of my works, and my earlier ones are less polished than those that follow, but I still enjoy thinking about them, and occasionally rereading them. This almost always leads me to find errors that were missed in the editing process, as well as stylistic issues that I would now have changed…hopefully to improve upon them. In the long run, I may create second editions of some books, especially the earlier ones, but that process requires time, of which commodity I am in short supply. As is often the case (and as I think I’ve mentioned before) I frequently find myself quoting Andrew Marvell to myself: “If we had world enough, and time…”
As is the usual case lately, I’ve been having difficulty finding new fiction that grips me enough to read, and I find this terribly depressing (it’s not the fault of the books). Likewise, because I lost essentially everything I owned seven years ago tomorrow, I don’t have physical copies of all the hundreds of books that I’ve read and reread over the course of my life hitherto—for entertainment, inspiration, and edification. Over time, I’m gradually trying to re-accumulate at least some of them, mainly in Kindle format, because that way I can carry my library with me wherever I go. But even with e-book versions, to reproduce my previous library would cost a great deal of money, so it’s a piecemeal process at best. I’m also always looking for new recommendations, and the other day on his Facebook page, Stephen King gave one for a book called The Chalk Man, by C. J. Tudor. I looked up the book on Amazon—it’s available on Kindle—and it does look good. I also like the author’s name, not that such a thing is of great importance. Still, I can’t help playing word games, and inevitably thought of the fact that if you combined the surnames of the recommendee and the recommender, you’d get the phrase “Tudor King.”
Such are the processes that take place in my mind.
In any case, that book will likely be the next fiction book I purchase, and I’ll try to remember to let you all know how it is, once I’ve read it.
I do find myself able to read nonfiction, and I also use Audible, listening to a great deal of nonfiction on my commute to and from work. Lately, I’ve been in Steven Pinker mode, a fact at least partially triggered by the recent release of his newest book, Enlightenment Now. I’m currently visually reading one of his earlier works, The Stuff of Thought, about language and the human mind, and listening to his second most recent book, The Better Angels of Our Nature. Once that’s done, Enlightenment Now already awaits on my Audible app, and I look forward to it eagerly.
I couldn’t easily exaggerate Pinker’s value as a thinker and writer. His books are not short, and neither are they diffuse. He packs a great deal of information and ideas into them, but his writing style and style of thought are exceptional and engaging. If you want a taste of the enthusiasm and fun he brings to his work, and engenders in those who come to it, watch the following video of his presentation on The Stuff of Thought at Google. His discussion on the nature of swearing—with numerous examples explained and explored—is both hilarious and thought provoking.
As I think I’ve said before, reading about ideas and concepts, even rather difficult ones, isn’t merely a way for me to pass my time between reading and writing fiction. Even if it didn’t have any other value (it does), such exploration strengthens the mind’s muscles and makes it more fit and able to perform every task to which one puts it, including the writing of fiction. Also, I think it improves one’s skill at narrative. When an author can take a dense and complex subject and write about it in prose that’s both gripping and clear, that style of writing is surely one from which a writer of fiction can learn many lessons. Some stories are good enough that they can be carried along simply by the power of the plot, even if the prose is awkward, but when one can add to such stories a structure made of language both beautiful and elegant, well…that’s a spicy meatball!
I’m about a hundred years too young to consider comparing myself to someone like Pinker, or to other great writers of fiction and nonfiction alike, but that just means that I can learn a great deal from them in the meantime. In fact, a writer/reader’s marginal rate of return is probably greatest long before he or she begins to be in the same league as the one who wrote what he or she is reading. So, I can heartily recommend that writers read books by those who are far better writers than themselves, and as often as possible.
But, also, do read some of my books in between. I’ll do my best to keep raising my standards.
To any who’ve been paying attention, it’s no doubt obvious that I have not yet edited my reading of “Prometheus and Chiron.” For anyone who has been awaiting that release with bated breath, I do apologize (and encourage you to breathe normally).
Similarly, it’s obvious that I haven’t yet made any new videos to post since my introductory effort.
One reason for the latter fact is that I simply don’t like how I look right now. I’m not exactly hideous, perhaps (though opinions surely vary), but I am heavier than I like to be, and I would really like to lose a little weight before making any more videos; there are also other cosmetic issues that I find unsatisfying. This reticence is despite the fact that there are specific matters on which I would love to make commentary (such as my irritation about people failing to signal when turning or changing lanes), and which I’d like to address videographically because, as I think I’ve said before, video lends itself particularly well to rants. Tone of voice, as well as facial expression, can help convey certain passionate arguments in a much more potent way than can words alone—though I am a devotee of the written word, and likely always will be. Video also tends to reach more people, for better or for worse, than the written word often does. Continue reading
I’ve been making excellent progress on my new short story, tentatively titled “Hole for a Heart.” It’s now about twenty-four pages long in draft form, and—I think—is well over halfway finished. This is good, because I want to have it ready for you all to read in time for Halloween, since it is a horror story with a good, Halloweeney feel. Fortunately, as I’ve said before, I tend to write quickly, if I just commit myself to the task. I don’t know if that ends up meaning that I write well; it’s impossible for me to be objective about my own writing, so I can only say whether I like the story or not. Thankfully, I almost always do. Continue reading
Okay, well…let’s get to today’s business.
As I’ve written here previously, I’m currently taking a short break from working on “Unanimity,” because a horror story—one that had begun with only a vague notion and image—abruptly crystallized in my head, just in time for October, and I decided that I must write that story. It’s now well underway, roughly twelve pages long, so far. I’m quite excited about it, and hopefully some of you will be, as well, when it’s finished. It will be ready well in time for Halloween (barring the unforeseen, which, curiously, rhymes with Halloween).
Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten my intention to create an audio file of me reading some of my writing, as I did with the article, “The Idolatry of the American Flag.” The audio on that has its issues—I think I was too close to the mic when I recorded it, so you can hear me smacking my lips and spitting and whatnot. Who knows, maybe some people enjoy that, and were grateful to hear an audio file that had it. If you’re such a person: “You’re welcome.”
For everyone else, however, I am learning, practicing, and experimenting, and I expect steadily, if not swiftly, to improve. In fact, I’ve already begun to read aloud my short story, “Prometheus and Chiron,” which, despite what you might think (reasonably enough), neither contains nor refers to either of those two mythological figures, and in fact, takes place in the modern world. I know, I know, it’s a pretentious, misleading title. That’s what I do. Nay, that’s who I am.
In any case, the plan remains to use that story as my first fiction audio, but even as I started playing with it, I learned an interesting fact: when one begins to read one’s works aloud, one encounters bits of prose that, while perfectly acceptable on the printed page, must be wrung off the tongue awkwardly when spoken. This inspired me to go through the entire story doing some additional editing and rewriting, which is a rewarding experience in its own right. I suspect that no writer is ever perfectly satisfied with all the details of any tale that he or she has written—or perhaps I’m atypical in this—and one of the great advantages of putting stories up on my blog is that I can still improve them after the fact. Once they’re out in the wide world in books and other venues, it becomes both much more mortifying and much more laborious to fix them.
To make a long story slightly longer, the point is that I am going to do that recording of “Prometheus and Chiron,” and I will release it here, on this blog, rather than on Iterations of Zero, simply because the latter is not about fiction, whereas this site is. I’m pretty excited about the process, and I hope you’ll enjoy listening to me read my own fiction. I may be an egotist, but I don’t think that anyone else could do a better job than I can at that task—at least, not anyone else who wouldn’t cost a lot of money. I’m pretty sure that Patrick Stewart or Ian McKellen would blow me away, but they both spend most of their time reading that Shakespeare guy, just because he’s from the same country as they. It’s blatant nationalistic favoritism, and I’m shocked that the Social Justice Police haven’t made any noises about such things.
Once I make that recording and place it on this site, I beseech you to give me feedback, even if it’s just to say, “Hey, I listened to it,” or “Your voice sounds stupid.” I would just love to hear from you in some form.
Even if you don’t get back to me, though, I intend next (probably) to read “I for one welcome our new computer overlords,” and to upload that audio, though I think I would probably read that story in two parts. I already know right where I’d split it. But I may also do a bit of reading of the first draft of the beginning of “Unanimity,” sort of as a teaser, and that might come before the next short story. We’ll have to see.
I’m also going to make more videos here and there, though those tend to require a bit more guts on my part, because I’m not all that pleased to see my mug on the screen. They can be fun, however, and there are certain subjects that simply lend themselves to the format. Rants, in general, are often worthy of the full, holistic experience of the ranter (or is that rantor?).
Speaking of ranting, I think that I’ve probably said enough about the few subjects I wanted to cover today. The audio is coming, my new short story is going swimmingly, and my video projects loom, while behind them, unabated in its potency, lies “Unanimity.” And I already know which book I mean to write after that, though I suppose I might change my mind.
Life may not always be good, but at least it’s interesting.