Time for one of my infrequent bloggy-type posts. Work has been busy these last few months. I got a little uncharacteristically burnt out on one particular project, which got way worse when an equipment problem erased a rather large chunk of work. That sucks for me but significantly worse than the loss of income is the damage to my reputation for reliability with that particular client. Let’s leave it at that for now. What will be, will be.
Leaving that still unresolved situation aside, though, I really have done a ton of work over the last few months. In fact I’ve put in a lot of overtime (not that I’m paid an OT premium, as a freelancer) and have been turning away more and more work as time has gone on. I actually have not one but two published textbooks to my credit for the current year (not as the sole or even lead author for either one, but certainly as a major contributor). One of them was actually released this week, just after Labour Day (or if you’re American, Labor Day).
What else have I been up to? A bit of vacationing. Since coming back from Costa Rica a couple of years ago, my wife and I haven’t really had even a short vacation. We remedied that with a trip to the American Southwest at the end of July and beginning of August. \it was a chance to do some touring around, to turn off the Internet entirely, and to catch up on reading, of course, which I’ve been doing a lot of pretty much all summer.
I finally got around to reading Robert J. Sawyer’s WWW trilogy, start to finish, which I’d had on my shelf for a few years already (awesome). I’ve also been reading some Bradbury just over the last few weeks, specifically Something Wicked This Way Comes and his A Sound of Thunder collection, and I’ve come to appreciate how beautiful his use of language is, something I didn’t really pick up on when I read him as a teenager.
I’ve also been looking at some Asian-themed fiction of late, though no recent releases. It’s been years since I’ve read Shōgun and I’d been thinking I should finally read Tai-Pan this year (also by James Clavell), but of course it’s a bit of a door-stopper. So instead I started with the much shorter The Ronin (quite good), have just started dipping into the equally short Bridge of Birds, and have been thinking I might do Musashi after that before Tai Pan. Of course I’ll be jumping around a bit, not knocking these off one after the other without a break.
(And now that I think of it, there is one recent item on my radar in this “genre”: Murakami’s new novel just came out. I haven’t picked it up yet. I forgot about it until the last-minute and so wasn’t able to place a review and, thus, didn’t request an ARC.)
Obviously I’ve read several Heinlein books recently, for my coverage at Green Man Review and I do have one more to take care of soonish, though that’s a weekend read at most.
And there’s an eclectic mix of other stuff I’ve started or planned on starting over the last couple of months, including Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars series (looking for that third volume in the second-hand stores still) and a few non-fiction titles. I’ve got a nice little pile on my night table, but the difficulty is when something new pops up in the mailbox and jumps the queue, as it were. Raincoast, which distributes for Tor (and many others), is one of the worst offenders for sending me big boxes of wonderful ARCs, meant to tempt me from whatever I’m doing and into a good book and, often, the ensuing, unplanned review. Of course there are worse problems to have than a surplus of delicious boks.
But, yes, I have been reading at a pretty good clip of late, and I’m pleased about that. For nearly the first half of this year, I just couldn’t find the time. But I’m in a bit of a groove lately. I suppose I’ve cut back on the television a fair bit, since, brief vacation aside, my work hours haven’t dropped a whole lot (even with the aforementioned turning down of work). Not all of my writing work is downright exciting. Occasionally it can border on (or enter right into) tedium.
Literature is the great escape, even for, or perhaps especially for a working writer.