So November is upon us.

I drove into Vienna on All Saints to pick up my kid’s harp case from someone’s apartment and maybe I was depressed or tired, but the world seemed so gray and dead, this timeless cold, dusty deadness you get in Vienna on November afternoons.

I’m having a hell of a time shaking that feeling.

On the plus side, more than 20 books are bound and Gamma and I are taking a train trip out of town this coming weekend to visit some friends.

It’s snowing in Vienna this morning. It took longer than normal to get to work this morning because everyone on the freeway was seeing snow for the first time, apparently.

Yes. And good, old Nanowrimo. Can you hear the keyboards clicking the world over? Smell those pink Red Bull burps?

And who’s this guy, spinning his wheels here?


I haven’t written a word yet this month.

I haven’t a plot, nor a character nor an idea.

I’m chilling, because a month is way more than I need to write 50,000 words.

I’ve got books to bind, I’ve got cello to practice, I’ve got a yoga class to go to.

So much to do, and here I am spinning my wheels until they smoke.

The joke’s on you, though, because: I’m a dragster. I’m just spinning the wheels to get better traction when I take off.

I lied about not having an idea. I’m actually thinking about writing an opera this time. Involving fish or something. Seriously. How many romance novels are written in Nanowrimo every year, and how many operas? I was driving, and this opera said, Write me, Mig.

So there’s that. Plus, if it ends up shorter than 50,000 words, you can always say, Operas are supposed to be shorter.

Operas, seriously. Brilliant.

How to write a killer blog post

I can’t read anything lately. Fiction sucks, blog posts* suck, self-help sucks, self-help blog posts suck most of all. Poetry is still okay, and maybe essays, haven’t read any of the latter lately. Soon, maybe, I’ll look for an essay on “How to get a Christmas tree out of your house without getting needles on everything or the kittens escaping.”

I have been stumbling across the occasional self-help blog post, and it is this scourge I’d like to address here. I missed the Web 2.0 make money with your blog memo, but there seem to be tons of people who didn’t, and there are all these new blogs out about how to do things.

This is caused, I guess, by the “find your niche” thing. Be an expert on something, and they will come.

Do those guys who do this really make money?

This, too, will pass, I guess. The nabobs will be all nattered out eventually. Because, eventually, it all boils down to getting into your car, and chasing Buddha down the road.

It’s not called self-help for nothing.

I read this article on How to be Independent yesterday. I read it by accident, I wasn’t googling “please tell me how to be independent” or anything.

It boiled down to popping a cap in Buddha’s ass. Pack your own lunch, stuff like that.

That’s my New Year’s resolution right there. Be less of a jerk. Pack my own lunch. This Car Does Not Break For Buddhas bumper sticker.

You should see the bumper stickers on Beta’s car. I drove it to work once when my car was in the shop and my co-workers now think I’m a maniac.

Here is my advice to all of you new bloggers who want to write killer blog posts: learn to play backgammon, and do that instead. Fuck. No one cares what you have to say. Some of us have been doing this for ten years now, or more, and we are much better at it, and no one cares what we have to say either.

Do some push-ups and sit-ups instead, and cut down on the refined carbohydrates.

Learn to play a musical instrument.

Fuck, I don’t know.

Why do you want to write a killer blog post, anyway? Who cares about blog posts? Blog posts are stupid.

Also: write something every day, to something-something with all those people who subscribe to your DNA feed or whatever it’s called.

Be independent, basically.

By “independent,” I mean “you”.

There are days you will be cranky and of the view that blogging is stupid: write a post about that! Maybe it will make you famous or something, and Amanda Palmer will play you a Radiohead song on her ukulele in her underwear.

Remember that less is more. Write, then cut everything out again. After ten years at this, it is easier. So keep it up, too.

Also, get a muse. I have several. Gamma was giving me good advice the other night. I was telling her a bedtime story about the Mayan prediction that the world will come to an end in 2012, and she said, “see, that’s the difference between the stories you write down and the stories you tell me,” (she finds the latter superior to the former). (In the story I was telling her, a little girl had heard a strange noise and was searching her darkened house.) “You would just write, ‘she looked everywhere,’ but when you tell me the story, you say, ‘she looked in that room, and then she looked in the other room, and then she went around the corner and looked in the next room, behind the cabinets…’ and so on. And I like that better.” So, remember to include lots of details and don’t cut out too much.

Also, give away free e-books for some reason.

And have contests!**

*except yours

** that reminds me, Valentine’s Day looms, doesn’t it.

Doing it, baby

I am doing it, baby. You can watch here.

The Metamorphosism Theory of Writing is, writing is like a cat going to the bathroom on the litter box. And re-writing is sifting through the litter with the little shovel, and going, “turd, turd, pee, turd, pee, hey is that a ruby? Nah, just a Barbie shoe. Turd. Pee. SAPPHIRE!!!”

The thing is, you have to go to the bathroom first and not sift until you’re done and it’s cooled off. And then you have to sift for long enough, yet know when to quit.1

1MToW is a work in progress

Possibly a bad idea

I didn’t feel like looking for the official Nanowrimo icon for 2008, so I’ve inserted a magician’s assistant.

Life is a series of compromises.

Reasons to be pessimistic about Nanowrimo, for which I have registered but cannot recall my login info:

  • no plot, characters, genre, or other details in mind
  • leaked way too much mojo last time
  • it’s kind of a silly thing to do

Reasons to be optimistic about doing it:

  • it’s all in good fun
  • it will make me look busy at work
  • I will think of something
  • when it’s over, you have a manuscript of some sort

Sometimes when I write, it’s this sort of automatic writing thing, where all I need is a blank page and a relaxed mind, or maybe a word or two or three, and the story writes itself, or I just write down what the characters say, but often a real straitjacket of strict rules helps.

In case I find myself in the latter situation, you are cordially invited to contribute rules of your design in the comments, which I do not promise to, but might, apply, and for which I would be grateful.

The story starts when the protagonist opens a lost diplomat’s email

Pew-pew-pew! Lasers! Pew-pew-pew!

Nanowrimo. On the one hand.

But, on the other hand.

Who knows?

I’m tempted.

I have this mental image of a rusty bus overgrown with blackberries, being jumpstarted by kids plugging half a mile of stolen extension cords into a socket at a dialysis center.

Who knows?

I googled “plot generators”.

Castles are popular.

In her new book, “How to be an explorer of the world,” Keri Smith mentions a meditation exercise used by Leonard, which involves imagining being Leonard Cohen. What exactly would he have to do?