What’s Going On, 8/21/10

And I say hey, yea, yea, yea…

Haven’t seen that for a while. Best hat on a rock singer since Tom Petty in  “Don’t Come Around Here No More.”

Another lousy week for blogging, which is bad for my traffic numbers, bad for my morale, bad for my writing–pretty much bad all around. So, I’ve come up with a fiendishly simple way to generate a post when my wit isn’t sparkling, I’m between book reviews, my stories are getting rejected, and I’m sitting in front of the screen with my mouth hanging open, drooling.

I’ll just talk about what happened this week.

1. School started up again: My lovely wife teaches kindergarten, probably the most equipment-intensive grade level, so she’s spent most of the last month getting all her pieces and parts together, a process which includes me lifting heavy objects, reaching things on high shelves, and helping her with a variety of laborious, repetitive tasks involving lots of cutting and gluing. This week, she’s been snowed under with staff meetings and before-school orientation sessions for parents and kids, so we’ve been passing each other on the way to work and collapsing into bed late each night. Stress, dehydration, sleep deprivation, and irregular meals–not exactly a recipe for peak performance, but we’re getting through it.

2. School started up again, part deux: My darling daughter is a high school junior this year, and she has the usual insane extracurricular schedule to go along with her insane pre-engineering academic schedule. Between band, cross-country, and church youth group, we’re running around town for something every day of the week. Oh, and everybody is doing fundraisers right now. Anybody want a Greater Kansas City Metro coupon book? Anybody?

3. I love my job, mostly: This week, I wrapped up the exercise planning project that has defined my work life for the last six months. There’s still a little tweaking to do, but the hard part is over. Now I’ve got a couple of weeks to prepare for a looong work trip to the oily part of Florida.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Roman Sarcophagus

4. Family Time: You’d think my parents would have given up in despair after having me, but to their credit, they persevered, and I have a slightly-younger brother. He works as a National Guard recruiter in the wilds of west Kansas, and I don’t get to see him often enough. He stopped over a couple of days this week enroute to the KC airport, and we had a nice visit, including a trip into town to visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, a rather impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and artistic artifacts from Ancient Egypt to modern times. We had lunch in Westport at the Jerusalem Cafe, a great place to catch a Mediterranean-style snack. The falafel pita was very tasty.

Standing Figures, by Magdalena Abakanowicz

5. Writing-type stuff: My inspiration tank was low this week, and my writer’s block is perched on my desk like that stack of bills in the Geico commercials, laughing at me. I’m also mired in a backlog of book reviews. As C.S. Lewis wrote, the reward for doing something well is to be given another, harder, better thing to do. People seem to enjoy my reviews, so they’re starting to push reviews my direction. It’s good exercise, but I have to read the (often large) book first, then come up with some witty things to say about it. It takes time. I’m also doing some slush reading now at Lyn Perry’s fine ‘zine, Residential Aliens (check it out–better jet, subscribe to the print version, which features some great spec-fic art and other cool extras). That isn’t as time-intensive, but it requires diligence–I’m supposed to reduce Lyn’s workload, not increase it.

6. Other oddments: I’m interviewed next month at Jeff Gerke’s WhereTheMapEnds, a Christian spec-fic writing blog and forum associated with Marcher Lord Press. Another interview, previously published in the anthology Out of the Darkness and Into the Light, will be republished soon under the title, Walking a Thin Line: Writing Fiction From a Christian Point of View.

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