Friday, April 1, 2011
No time for a typecast this week, so just a digital update to let you know I'm still breathing.
The Typosphere is growing strong. A writeup in the NY Times, and now a followup gallery from LIFE magazine? Sure, it's just the short-attention span of the media, distracted by the novelty of young 'uns at the keys, but that's OK. Maybe we'll convert a keychopper or two to the dork side. Fear of a typewriter-availability-Armageddon as as result of the publicity may have happened: Craigslist is strangly silent these last few days, except for the same Selectric being flogged over and over again. ("Worked last time we used it." Encouraging.) If a tulip-bulb-style price craze starts, rest assured that I will miss it entirely despite a keeping few adoptable machines around. I could pat myself on the back for showing Exceptional Restraint for bypassing the Royal 10 standard machine at the thrift store, but a) it's $50 and b) it's in bad, bad shape, certainly not $50 shape. Barely typeable. Lacks a pair of feet. Actually crusty in spots. Nothing like Richard Polt's (ahem) April First Find, but still pretty bad.
Ryan P.'s mail exchange is awesome. I know I've said it before, but Google says I suddenly have more readers (waves hello) so I'm going to promote it again. I've been exchanging mail with various people for -- let me check -- a year now, or even slightly longer in some cases. If you don't get any Real Mail any more (bills and catalogs are not Real Mail), then you owe it to yourself to sign up. Do it. Do it now. All of my mail was outbound, and I've been eagerly checking the mailbox for a week to see if anything came in, and then trying to hide my disappointment when it didn't. And then all of a sudden, I've got six letters in, all at once, typewritten, handwritten, artsy and plain. I feel like a king. It doesn't take much: just shoot Ryan your snail mail address and get a few in return. You'll like it. And did you put your name down for the Round Ribbon exchange as well? Just tell Ryan you want to do that, too, when you send him your address. He's a one-stop-shop for snail-mail delight.
Speaking of mail, Flat Stanley's addresses were due into the classroom today. My daughter picked the first address -- Rino! -- and then we'll go from there. It didn't feel fair making other people pay international postage, so I think we'll send Stanley out-and-back to non-US friends first, and then manage some kind of loop through the US typecasting community. That means Adwoa, you're likely to be next. I'll probably stick a "Where's Stanley" page up here once he gets going.
Speaking again of mail, next up from Clickthing Mad Science Labs: Cheap-Ass Crafty-Guy Mail. A few of you have already received my tests: wax seals, random rubber stamps, perhaps an interesting envelope... a photo-heavy post is planned. Until then, typecasters, keep spreading the word, making the posters, and checking those lonesome thrift store corners...
UPDATE: Following some advice I read... somewhere, I had the computer read my revised to me aloud last night. Oh the mistakes! So, I've yanked the .pdf down for now as I clean it up. If you have a text-to-speech program, I highly recommended this. Hearing the draft spoken aloud by a disinterested third party uncovers a lot of goofs that my eye glossed over, like missed articles, and redundant word usage. So, it's once again not ready for prime time.
And one last item. I've put up the first three chapters of One Last Quest, my 2009 NaNoWriMo novel. Back in college -- the old days! -- one of the guys in the dorm turned me on to Terry Pratcheet (now Sir Terry to us peasants) and I ripped through the few Discworld books that were available at the time. They were a lot of fun, and I appreciated their blending of humor and fantasy, and their light-read-ability. (Far more readable than a certain other title in my life at that time with a fantasy theme, at least on the cover.) I think being a geeky, computer-loving kid growing up in the 80's pretty much ensured that you would also get into Dungeons & Dragons, and the whole fantasy sci-fi thing, and I was no exception. I just recently unearthed an oversized index card at home, in fact, that outlined the algorithm for my "Random D&D Character Maker" program (TI-994A BASIC for the win, baby.) I found Douglas Adams and Piers Anthony then, too, and I think all of those things together give you a pretty clear picture of my world view at the time: swords and sorcery and geekery and Dr. Who on PBS late Saturday night. Sci-fi... skewed.
I tried my hand at a Serious Novel in 2010, a Serious Sci-Fi Novel, in fact, and although I told the story I wanted to tell, I didn't have nearly as much fun writing it as I did Quest. I'm catching up on the many Discworld books* that have come out in the meantime, and during this slow slog through Quest, I've realized that I'm probably aping Sir Terry more than a real author should -- in genre and tone, at least. (That sound you hear is my ego inflating.) But I have decided, thanks to the whole rewrite process, that this is the way I'm going to go from here on out with NaNoWriMo. Some people are destined to write Great Serious Fiction, and some are just not. I'm not, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. If you've got the chance, please read through it and let me know what you think.
* Going Postal: highly recommended. Hogfather: not so much. Monstrous Regiment: I'll let you know.