listening to Q-Tip, seeing a new plan for my life

The Q-Tip doesn’t really have much to do with it, I just thought I’d mention it because right this very second I am listening to Vivrant Thing, a perennial fav.

Basically, this: I’m using Matthew Van Temple as my writing name, outward name. I think I’m going to keep Inhaesio Zha as my legal name, because I’m lazy and don’t feel like changing my legal name at the moment. I might change my name again, someday, maybe to something else altogether. But I hope to publish TSID, and if I do I’m going to use Matthew Van Temple as the name there, and on further novels. That’s minor though, non-consequential.

I’ve been thinking this as a basic plan for my life:

I’m through doing software development as a job. No malice, but in a John Laroche “fuck fish” sort of way, I’m done with that. I don’t ever have to so much as set foot in that ocean again. Done with fish.  (In Neuromancer, Gibson writes, “The Japanese had already forgotten more neurosurgery than the Chinese had ever known.”  That’s what I just did with a whole profession’s worth of knowledge, I would like to point out to my former coworkers—I just threw away more knowledge than you will ever acquire.)

Now I’m listening to James Newton Howard’s “Prologue” from Lady in the Water.

I don’t have money. My family doesn’t have money. Until I have money, my options are limited. Once I have money, I would like to go to school, I would like to travel, I would like to accumulate a greater play bin of knowledge to have as I create, but until I have money, doing something like going to school or traveling is basically the activity of a slave. I’m not going to do that right now.

I don’t feel like starting a business. That’s not what I like to focus on. So doing a software business is out. Not my thing.

I’m going to write. I’m basically going to write novels at least until I sell one, and then enough copies of that one and whatever ones that can follow, until I don’t have to work anymore. Only then will I approach some additional self-care, possibly including travel, and going to school. If I never get to that point of not having to work, then I will work shit jobs and write books until I die. Simple as that. It’s a sane plan, I’m not trying to do anything that’s basically impossible to do without money, and I’m doing something that I can do without money, and that I can already do well…and something that produces a simple product that is very close to the customer…you write words and then people read them. Very simple production-consumption model. The goal, while interpretable, while variable, is overall simple as well: the why of writing novels is simple: that people like to read them. The philosophy behind it is sufficiently established that I can just operate within that frame and not do a whole lot of transcendent thinking about it, if I don’t want to. And I don’t want to, right now. What it means to make a program, for certain types of programs, is something whose philosophy isn’t well-developed, so when I’m doing that type of programming, the activity invites all sorts of extraneous thinking—perhaps not extraneous, even, but—wide thinking—when what I want to do now is deep thinking. So I’m going to write books—novels—at least until it pays for my life, for my freedom, or until I die, whichever comes first. I won’t necessarily stop writing novels at that point, but I will not attempt to do anything else until/unless I reach that point…not exploration of directing movies, not writing movies, not writing scripts, not writing plays, not going to school, not traveling, not making a family.

I’m going to set aside the other major life project that I can envision now, which is a garden of sorts, called inhesion, for which I have many notes that hopefully someday I will implement. It will help, actually, to hold off on that implementation, to continue to store away notes and brainstorming…but if it takes me 10 years to start implementing it, the advance of computer hardware between now and then will be a great help. And if I mis-estimate and somehow someone else does what I want to do there, first, so be it. I can’t control that. For now, on that family of ideas, I’m going to squirrel away notes and save them for later.  And when I get to that project, I’m going to do it for fun.  It will be open-source, I will not try to sell it, doing it will be its own end.  Basically, if I can’t make a living selling novels, I’m not going to make a living any other way.  I’m not here to pursue money my entire life, and if the world is such that I can’t make a living writing novels, then I would like to discover that.  But I don’t think that’s the case.

Now I’m listening to Crookers—Mad Kidz!

I have my relationships in order for the first time in years. Some people have fallen away. Some people have grown close. Some of us have cultivated a courteous limbo. I feel each of my close relationships, now, is as developed and as tended as it can be, as I want it to be. I’m going to mark all those efforts a success. With those with whom I want to be close, I am; with those with whom I wanted to mend, I have. And those with whom I wanted to sever, I have. All of that feels good, settled.

So I’m going to write. Very simple. I finished TSID and am involved in the exciting, daunting and sometimes nonsensical task of communicating with literary agents to find one that will champion my book. I have another project in the works. I’ll work on that until I get it right, then go from there.

Now I’m listening to 90210 by Wale.  Lol.

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listening to Q-Tip, seeing a new plan for my life

"Walmart & Costco are selling more copies of a limited number of books"

“Dear Mr. Temple: Thanks very much for your query letter regarding your novel, THINGS SAID IN DREAMS. I’m sorry to say that I don’t feel we could represent this for you successfully because of the fluctuations in the publishing marketplace. The publishing business has been erratic since the early part of 2001, when most publishers took a big fall in sales. Sales since 1999 have been mixed, and, specifically, 2001 showed a tremendous drop in the sale of fiction. Since then, book chain business has been soft, with yearly increases of two to four percent, but more from nonfiction than fiction–and with a rise in the sale of juvenile and young adult books. Generally speaking, this means that bookstores and such outlets as Walmart & Costco are selling more copies of a limited number of books, often and not surprisingly by established best-selling authors. The market for fiction has been smaller and smaller, and thus publishers and editors have been buying less novels that might be considered “mid-list”–and they’re buying darker material. I wish I could say something more specific about what you’ve submitted, but we are receiving between forty to sixty queries a week these days–and it is just impossible to read and consider and comment in detail. Of course, another agent may feel differently, and good luck with your work. Best wishes, [Agent X]”

Understood.  Best wishes to you in this publishing climate. MVT

"Walmart & Costco are selling more copies of a limited number of books"

"Thank you for writing."

“As it states on our website, please note that we are not taking on new clients or accepting any query letters at this time. However, Mr. [X] has made his book, How to Write a Great Query Letter, free, as a way to give back to the writing community and help you in your search. If you would like to donwload it for free, you may visit […] Mr. [X] also maintains a blog, […], which is filled with valuable advice to help aspiring authors in their careers. Feel free to visit it, and to ask any general questions you may have about writing or publishing. We wish you the very best of luck in your search. Best wishes, [Agency X]”

I didn’t write this agent back.  Though he has a venerable list and I think he means to help, my goal is clearly not to become great at writing query letters.

"Thank you for writing."

Hawking my Book

Hawking my book on this site. Surprised by the number of positive comments. Appreciative of the critical ones. Enjoying being connected with readers and writers.

Everyone, help me. Imagine a cover like this one (except better designed) on a new release shelf at Barnes & Noble. Visualize it. Put it out there. Help me manifest.

I’m going to keep writing letters to literary agents pitching Things Said in Dreams, but I’m outlining my next book. On the winter solstice, I’ll start writing in earnest.

Hawking my Book

Boat For One

Multiple times, the image, surfacing for me in dreams and writing, of me getting a boat that is big enough for one, or hardly more than one. I don’t think that for me it is primarily a suicide image, although that’s how I’m using it in my book Things Said in Dreams. I think it makes a good suicide image. But I think for me it is about another kind of trip that is taken alone. A life trip, in my case, but a trip that really only one person is on.

Boat For One

42k Words Into NaNoWriMo

My best writing was probably today. And today was a day where before and after I wrote I am feeling pretty distant from this project, unwilling to think about it as something. Let that be a lesson to me (to put less stock in certain types of feelings).

After a few weeks of writing I’m getting into a rhythm, which, when I do it right, is: don’t beleaguer the point; instead just start, write, then just stop. Compared to my usual level of thinking, don’t think at all before, hardly during, and not at all after, about “what I am doing”.

Am I “doing something”? Am I not? The questions and all their possible answers are useless.

42k Words Into NaNoWriMo