Despite the single digit temps, I went out today and wrote, getting away from the house for a time. I didn’t pay much attention to how long “Ghosts Of The Place You Live” is becoming, just allowed myself to write whatever the story needs to be complete.
When I got home, though, I found the entire novel is 1000 pages and 168,000 words long. I should probably break the document down, since long MSWord documents tend to corrupt.
The plus is that I am nearly done with this draft of the never ending fucking novel. Or novels. I am already thinking about how to structure the novels, interweaving the 2 major and 3 minor timelines of the novel. To tell you all the truth, I am ready to be done with this project, which I started over 2 years ago. I am ready to move on to something else.
Barn Door in sight. Giddy-up.
I needed to run errands today in the Miracle Mile area of St. Louis Park (UPS Store, Wells Fargo, Half-Priced Books, Trader Joe’s) so I wanted to stop somewhere in the area and write. The Caribou down there is a postage stamp that is always full. Dunn Bros and Village Coffee are both long closed. I tried McDonalds, but it was packed with screaming kids. So off to my least favorite coffee place, Starbucks.
As usual, it was crowded. As usual I was stuck with the uncomfortable bar stool seating to find a power outlet. I didn’t stay long. But I did make this observation: Everyone in the Starbucks was younger, prettier, and skinnier than me and they were all using Macbooks of some kind.
I felt like a walrus with my large aging disabled body and giant black bullet-stopping Thinkpad. I think in the future when I need to run errands in that area I will just skip trying to write that day.
I generally don’t do New Years resolutions, but I do like to set a few goals for myself every year. To that end–and to help keep me accountable–I’ve made the following Goals For 2016, only one of which I do not have complete control over.
1. Finish the novel “Ghosts Of The Places You Live” and start searching for an agent.
2. Find a publisher for the weird-western novella “There Are Not Enough Midnights.”
3. Finish the Steampunk Holmsian homage novella “A Study In Violet.”
4. Write a one-man storytelling show about blindness to perform in schools.
5. Write at least one feature-length screenplay.
6. Write at least one two-act stage play.
7. Keep my blog and website rolling with new content at least once a week.
I have sold my End of the World YA story “Twenty-One” to Cast of Wonders. Once the podcast goes live, I will provide a link. It’s been a long time since I’ve sold a short story and I am ridiculously pleased.
I will be reading at DreamHaven Books as part of the Speculative Reading Series. The reading will run from 6:30-7:45 p.m.with a Q &A session and a brief reception/autographing. By 8:00 p.m. We will adjourn somewhere with food and drinks for general hanging out. October 28th, 2015.
I expect to read a little something from Whispers in Space and then maybe some work-in-progress snippets.
For the first time ever I will be attending Arcana.
Arcana is a long-running horror convention that bills itself as “a convention of the dark fantastic.” Arcana is held annually in late September or early October in St. Paul, Minnesota. The presentation of the Minnesota Fantasy Award is a key feature of each year’s convention.
I will only be at the convention for one day, on Saturday, October 24th, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do the entire convention. There will be lots of great author and fans to chat with about a shared love of the dark fantastic. I am signed up for one panel on Saturday and I promise it will be a great one.
*2:00-2:55 P.M., Mainstage. Panel: Tanith Lee and Angela Carter and the Dark Fantastic – Tanith Lee (1947-2015) and Angela Carter (1940-1992) were both acclaimed writers of complicated female characters dealing with monsters, internal and external. Let’s talk about their work and its influence on the field. Panelists: Catherine Lundoff (Convention Editor Guest of Honor), mod. Michael Merriam. (Jody Wurl requested but not confirmed.)
I look forward to seeing you at Arcana!
Welcome to my new home on the internet! After years of being at michaelmerriam.net, I was finally able to secure and move over here to michaelmerriam.com!
There is still work to do, as you can see by how plain things are right at the moment, but all the information you would ever need about me is here and ready for your perusal and I am in the process of trying to decorate the new homestead.
Geeks vs Sportsball: Why the adversarial relationship between geeks and sports? After all the mocking geeks have endured, why is okay to mock someone else’s interests? Why are some sports–like derby–okay but other not? A panel for fans, geeks, athletes, and geeky athletes. Panelists: Ozgur Sahin, Brian Salisbury, Michael Merriam, Sherry L.M. Merriam, MA, LPC, Dave Kingsley – Thursday July 2, 2015 5:00pm – 6:00pm DoubleTree Atrium 4
Signing: Michael Merriam will be available for autographs. – Friday July 3, 2015 11:00am – 12:00pm DoubleTree Autograph Table A
Evolution of the Publishing Industry: From print to e-books to online publishing, how have these changes affected the industry? How have writers, graphic artists, editors, and others involved in book publishing adapted, and what remains the same no matter what format a book takes? Panelists: Laura Zats, Toni Weisskopf, Dawn Frederick, Michael Merriam, Martha Wells – Friday July 3, 2015 3:30pm – 4:30pm DoubleTree Atrium 7
Reading: Michael Merriam will read from his own work. Saturday July 4, 2015 3:30pm – 4:30pm DoubleTree 2201
SF Writing Groups – The 2015 Scene: This annual (since 986) get-together of the Minnesota Imaginative Fiction Writers’ Alliance helps science fiction/fantasy writing groups link with writers who are looking for a critique group. Panelists: Eric M. Heideman (mod), Hilary Moon Murphy, Michael Merriam – Sunday July 5, 2015 2:00pm – 3:00pm DoubleTree Plaza 3
I’m riding the buses to meet some friends for cocktails and snacks after a long and kind of not-so-great Saturday at work. I take my typical #12 Bus to Uptown and get on the #23 at Hennepin and Lagoon, out in front of the Uptown Theater. This is the longest stretch I have to ride, so I settle in read email on my phone for the next half hour.
She gets on near the Uptown Animal Clinic. Late 20s or early 30s. Red hair, black knee-length dress, boots. She looks like she’s heading for a night on the town, to be honest. She has a purse over her shoulder, but is clutching a small drawstring bag in her hand. She scans the bus, which is mostly empty, then walks to where I am sitting behind the back door, settles next to me, puts her head on my shoulder and sniffs.
“I had to put my cat down last week. These are her ashes,” she says softly.
“I’m sorry. I am so sorry for your loss. I’m Michael, by the way.”
She sniffs a couple of more times, but doesn’t say another word, just sits next to me with her head on my shoulder, clutching the little drawstring bag that must hold the ashes of her pet. As we near 38th and Portland she pulls the cord for a stop and gets off. I watch her walk down 38th until the bus pulls too far ahead.
I don’t know who you are, miss. But I’m sorry for your loss.
The realization that the three intertwined novellas I’m structuring as a novel might actually be three novels, followed by the sound of me pouring a stiff drink as I softly weep into my cat’s fur.