"I'm just going to write because I can't help it."- Charlotte Brontë

Friday, November 30, 2012

End of the Month Report: November 2012

Submissions: 4
Rejections: 6
Acceptances: 1 - Celebrate!!!!
Published: 0
Stories out in the wild: 7
New stories completed: 0
Mood: See 'acceptances'. Am celebrating. Am happy. Very happy. But, of course, I could always be happier. Am always hungry for more happiness of the sales sort. Am hoping that a couple of 'holds' pan out. One in particular. Now that's just asking for trouble.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Aaaaah, I Sooooo Needed That

After a long day at the Arvo Job:

Good news, good news, good news, of the best kind, of the publishing kind, of the anthology kind, of the confidence boosting kind. Grinning, grinning, grinning. Unfortunately, I'm not sure whether or not I can share this news yet - after all, one must make an effort to exercise a modicum of professional decorum in these cases - but believe me, the moment I get the go ahead, I am soooooo posting it.

Good news, good news, good news....

Monday, November 26, 2012

Evening Eavesdrop

It's not that I wanted to listen in on their conversation - really and truly, I didn't - but excited teenagers trapped in a group on a longer train trip are hardly prone to quietness.

The topic? Facebook.

First they bagged their mothers' Facebook pages. Thoroughly bagged them. They were not kind. Not at all. Embarrassingly unkind, in fact. Unkind in great detail. They were all girls of a certain age, so I suppose it was mostly about them creating their own very cool Fb identities separate from their mothers' annoying, cloying, suffocating online presences. Cyber psychology. Another layer of struggle added to the already fraught dynamics of your typical mother-daughter relationship during the rebellion years.

Next, those who had fathers on Fb went on about the general dagginess of Dad Pages. The venom levels were far lower with the dads though. More of a chuckle than a screeching diatribe. The Fb dads obviously didn't represent the same threat that the Fb mums did. It was all very Freudian.

After that, their nearest and dearest and bestest friends got it in the neck. Apparently, one girl thinks she's so funny on Fb, but really, her jokes are so lame they're like dad jokes, and everyone is making so much fun of her behind her back.

After that, the conversation became so bitchy I was blushing for them. Wow, with Fb friends like these girls, who needs enemies?

Hopefully it's just a stage they're going through.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Soothing Sounds of Sunday Plus Some Honking.

It's been a bit of a noisy Sunday so far, but not bad noisy (like the infamous doof, doof battles of yore). The local Rotary truck show is on this weekend, so the township is full of painted rigs and dressed-up utes, and after my much treasured Sunday morning sleep in, while I was having my lazy Sunday morning read with the cats piled on my lap, the annual Sunday morning truck convey went past. Horns were enthusiastically honked and blasted, and many great vehicles rumbled by and shook the earth. But it was soon enough over, and the show does raise a lot of money for good causes.

Later, next door launched into a lunch time barbecue with friends, kids and dogs, and there was much rambunctious scrambling for sausages and shouts about their deliciousness, calls for mummy or daddy to fix this or that, exuberant splashing about in the inflatable pool and the hosing down of dogs accompanied by squeals of joy and barks of approval - the normal, family business, background sounds you'd expect on a hot Australian Sunday, boisterous, but not at all bothersome. I've been writing well through most of it, only occasionally pulled from my concentration by the naughty chuckle of a child about to do something that is definitely a no-no or kiddie squabbles about who gets the wield the watery power of the mighty garden hose.

In between the trucks and the barbie, the Chook (henceforth referred to as the Occasional Chook, unless she moves back in, of course) came to visit, and volubly made her presence known as per usual. She's still here many hours later, prevented from returning to her new digs by the barbecue. Although constantly grumbling, she's making the best of it and is presently sunning herself on the patio with the cats. Things are settling down next door now, so she'll probably scoot off soon, once the dog numbers go down.

As for me, I'll send off a few emails, and then I'll be getting back to the loveliest of all Sunday sounds (although the clip clop of horse hooves is a very close second), namely that of my keyboard finishing up a new story. It's big. It's SF. It's spacey. It has aliens. But no humans. I'm a bit excited by it :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ye Olde Blogge

So modern bloggers do tend to go on about service providers, eh? Sorry. Still - off on a tangent here - we humans being what we are, if les blogs had existed in the fantastic old days, do you think folk would have used the medium to bellyache about missing telegrams? To moan about dawdling posties? To wail about how they were certain that Beryl down at the post office was steaming open their letters and reading the contents and then gleefully sharing her information with all and sundry? To go on about the deteriorating quality of letter writing paper and how uncaring companies would not listen to legitimate complaints about how their inferior pulp caused smudged lines, warped penmanship, and thus reduced the standing of otherwise upstanding citizens within the letter writing community? To natter about their brand new fountain pen nib bending out of shape at the slightest pressure and how the rude man at the stationary shoppe refused to swap the faulty product or refund their money?

I was just sort of wondering.

Good News and Bad News

After waiting for only seven minutes, I finally got past my good friend the automated response system and spoke to an actual real live human being.

It seemed too good to be true. It was.

You see, the service provider's computers are down for the next two hours so the girl couldn't really do anything but tell people she couldn't do anything. That was why she could respond so quickly, I suppose.

She did wish me a good morning though. That was nice. The human touch.

So I guess I'll have to try again tomorrow. Or write that letter.

All Serviced Out

Hey, I'm an adult. I understand that service providers aren't really about providing services but about getting as much money as possible out of us general public schmucks for the least possible effort. They're about profit. They're about PR spin but no substance. They're about sneaky accountancy disguised as customer benefits. They're about cutting service staff from the bottom so there's more money for those at the top. They're about contracting out the nuts and bolts of the operation so they don't have to deal with the messy business of actually providing the services they're supposed to provide. They're about companies doing whatever they like and us desperately trying to get them to abide by their original agreements. I get it. I do, really. Still, you'd think that a smidgen of embarrassment would kick in after a certain amount of stuffing around. 

Oh, what am I saying? That would imply that such companies recognised us as human beings with other things to do besides waiting in phone queues for the opportunity to politely beg them to fix their mistakes. If they never get to hear about their mistakes, well, it's less work and more $$$ for them. It's a cunning tactic. As you can probably guess, I've been trying all day (well, yesterday), on and off, in between multiple naps and getting out of the way a whole lot of grown up, officey stuff that has accumulated over the past few months, to get through to a certain telecommunications company. I've given my intimate details to the automated system so many times that I feel we know each other well enough to go out for coffee sometime, but the very best the machine could offer me was, at one point, to wait for 20 minutes until someone (maybe) got around to me. I'll probably end up calling them a few more times tonight. I'm hoping that that other folk are heading for bed around now, thus shortening the queue. Of course, then there might be the other arvo and night shift people of the world to contend with. And the company might roster less staff to deal with the fewer calls. *groan*  

If I can't get through to them tonight, I have a cunning backup plan -  I'll write them an old fashioned letter. I know for a fact that modern service providers hate letters. Once upon a time not long ago, I sent off just such a quaint thing. In return, I received a rather pompous note telling me how they'd taken care of my problem, although in future they recommended that I use their amazing automated customer service system (which I'd complained about). But. They. Fixed. The. Problem. As far as I'm concerned - major triumph!

Yes, a formal letter of complaint might be the way to go. Maybe I'll even dig out a fountain pen to write it. And some violet ink. That'll really mess with their minds.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Letter with a Dragon on It

After a long day of negotiating the new train schedule (many more minutes added to my commuting - blah!) and an early start at the Arvo Job, it was nice to come home and find an envelope with a dragon on it in my letterbox, and inside that envelope with a dragon on it was a letter with a dragon on it. Oh yeah, and the word 'Chaosium' as well.

It was my copy of the contract for the upcoming werewolf anthology. Signed here in Australia, it went all the way with its partner to CA in the US of A, was signed there, and finally returned home all alone today. I've never had a writing contract before that was so multiply signed. Anyway, that means it's full steam ahead with that antho now.

It's the writerly crumbs like this that guide me through the darkest of Real World forests.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Chicken Who Drops by for Cheese and a Chat

I've had to abandon my theory that the Chook is a secret crime fighter and/or international political fixer. The more mundane reason for her increasing absences turns out to be that she was slowly moving in with the chickens three houses up. In my heart of hearts, I suspected as much, for I would hear a great, fowlish hullabaloo in the distance, and about five minutes later, the Chook would turn up in the garden with ruffled feathers and an angry attitude. But she was lonely, I could tell from the way she smooched up to the cats all the time, and the call of her own kind was a strong one. As a most stubborn chicken of independent mind who usually gets what she wants, she kept at it and wore the flock down, much the same way she in the end had me jumping up to answer her knocking or clucking at the kitchen door each morning. Anyway, I think it's safe to say that after eighteen months of co-habitation, the Chook doesn't live here anymore.

She does, however, pop by to visit us once or twice a week, as she did this fine Sunday morning. I  heard her imperious call, and like any good hostess, immediately jumped to and put out the cheese and sunflower seeds. I suspect it's the cheese that brings her back - her new home might not be sufficiently catering for her deep love of dairy products. They're probably not even aware of it. It was her habit of bossily pushing in to nick Cooper's cheese cubes (and since he loves his cheese too, Coopie wasn't happy about sharing) that tipped us off in this household. That, and her practically diving into the cats' milk bowl.

A visiting routine is gradually settling into place. Once she's sufficiently fed and watered, the Chook then hangs around the kitchen for old time's sake, contentedly follows the cats about for a while, takes a quick tour of the house if she can sneak in, loudly clucks and complains about goodness knows what, checks the garden for tidbits, and after a final sip of milk and goodbye cluck, she slips away again, back to her new, and obviously more satisfactory (I'm not good enough any more *sniff*), life in the company of her feathered kin. Part of me is chuffed she wants to keep up the contact. Another part of me suspects, complicated creature that she is, that the Chook is just keeping her options open in case the new joint doesn't work out to her satisfaction. She's like that. Cute but devious.

Gypsy. Waif. Free spirit. Freeloader. Manipulator. Charmer. Warrior. Greedy guts. Whatever her guise, the Chook has always been the ultimate free-range chicken.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

'Snore' and 'Ouch'

Compared with my usual Saturdays, I've pretty much frittered away the day so far with sleeping in until I woke followed by a leisurely pot of tea and long, long read. I did get the washing started, but then I had breakfast out in the backyard on the Xmas swing, after which, seduced by the cosiness of that nook and susurrus of leaves overhead, I promptly fell asleep again and didn't wake until 14.00. Then I had to scurry around to finish the washing.

Ah well, in such cases, one just has to accept that one obviously really really needed the nap time and take it from there. It has been that kind of a week. I've been constantly tired, mostly, I surmise, because I'm almost off the serious pain killers and am no longer enjoying their get-up-and-go chemical kick or pharmaceutically induced happy feelings. I'll have to be more realistic about my energy levels from now on, which is both good and bad, but definitely preferable to having a drugged up brain dazedly chugging along at quarter speed. Still, I do find myself yearning to pop a power pill every now and then. That's okay. They've served me long and well, those tablets, and it's only natural I should miss them. It's only an addiction when you give into that yearning. I won't.

Anyway, just as I did on my nap-filled Wednesday, I've caught up on my two days of Arvo Job and commuting sleep deficit and am quite perky now. I also did get in some daydreaming time whilst staring at the canopy over the Xmas swing this morning, so I shall try to squeeze in an hour at the keyboard before I head off for an evening of company, culture, and possibly fingerfood.

Apart from tiredness, napping and rationing drugs, this week has mostly been about rejections. One slipped by without causing more than the usual oh, darn and drats, I would have liked to have made it into that antho reaction, but the other one, well, I'd foolishly let myself get to the point where I was expecting at the very least one of those nice rejections. Alas, and oww, oww, oww!, the one I received from the editors was anything but. So why did I abandon my usual phlegmatic wait-and-see approach and let myself build up hope? Well, 'twas the fault of the report I received from the initial three readers, which was so positive and enthusiastic and full of phrases like well written and intelligent , pieced together extremely well, fun and interesting style and good flow, funny and sharply put together, the unusual structure works well, I enjoyed it, etc etc etc, I could go on and on quoting, believe me, because they were so darned spirit uplifting and had me smiling for days. The readers all agreed the story needed further tweaking, which is why I thought it would probably be rejected, but in the needs more work kind of way. At worst, a it didn't grab us was on the cards, I thought. But the editors' combined verdict was much harsher. I shall abstain from quoting. It never ceases to amaze me how very differently people react to the same story. Luckily, I have both the readers' reports, and previously received positive comments to keep me from hurtling said story into an abyss. I shall simply buck up, pull out a spanner and tweak the story some more, and it will go out again.

After all, possession of an often irrational stubbornness perseverance in the face of repeated rebuffs is a character prerequisite for writers. And 'keeping on keeping on' is our writerly job description.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Beautiful Day

After just two days of commuting and Arvo Jobbing and squeezing in a bit of writing, my get-up-and-go levels are running seriously low. By the time I get home late Tuesday night, I'm hanging out for my midweek, battery recharging day. Slowly, but surely, the energy thing is getting incrementally better, but I still get very pooped.

Aaaah, Wednesday, here you come, you big, beautiful, boofy conglomeration of heavenly hours off. I love you soooo much.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Moon Dreams

The word on the street is that NASA will soon announce plans along the lines of We're going back to the moon, attempting a first-ever mission to send humans to an asteroid and actively developing a plan to take Americans to Mars. The scuttlebutt is that these plans have already been approved, but were kept under wraps in case Mitt Romney won the US presidential elections. Rumour has it that the Mittsterman was less than enthusiastic about investing in the commercial possibilities of offworld mining to supplement our dwindling resources and a glorious future that possibly encompasses space travel and worlds beyond our own tiny planet. Ah well, his lack of vision is shared by many.
It all looks very exciting. And the Europeans want to know if they can play too.

Heading out again on manned missions is the kind of right stuff which, if it gets the go ahead, will no doubt inspire a whole new generation of scientists, writers and astronauts. However, to someone who was a child during the Apollo program and experienced a couple of moon landings a year until budget cuts forced NASA to switch its focus, the fact that these lunar happenings, if they do come to pass, are scheduled for 2021 and beyond, well, it seems like an awfully slow process to me. Here we are in the future in possession of technology well in advance of what was available over forty years ago, but it'll still be another 9 years or more until we repeat the feats of our forefathers and then finally build upon that foundation?

When I was a littlie, manned space exploration was moving at such a good clip that it didn't seem the least bit unreasonable for we young ones to plan a career that involved working on the moon as a grown up. And if  NASA had kept up their then pace, who's to say it might not have happened?

Alas, at this rate, that lunar vacation I've always wanted to take simply isn't going to eventuate. And let's not even talk about how I'd planned to enjoy my retirement in a low gravity environment to ease my aching bones.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

'The Bread Also Rises' or 'There Will Be Butter'

I'm baking bread, which involves first stage preparations, letting it rise, adding more ingredients (it's a savoury bread) and bashing it all together, letting it rise, another kneading stage, letting it rise, and finally into the oven it goes. The butter is standing ready. Copious amounts will be slathered onto the finished, piping hot product. You only live once, and there are some things you really should not deny yourself. And a movie will be picked to compliment this yumminess.

Anyway, in between, during all the rising times, there's the Internet to cruise around on, checking markets, catching up on industry gossip, following links and finding new things to make one smile or go 'ooooh' over. Following a link provided by Jay Lake, I went to Grant Snider's blog Incidental Comics, and there found much fun of a bookish nature to amuse me. Grant does comic strips for the New York Times Book Review and sells his work as posters. I just might have to decorate my writing cave with one or more of the following:

I do agree with the comments that the Murakami Bingo Card really needs a sheep square, but that's just the friendliest sort of literary nitpicking that book people love to indulge in.
Now,  I'm off to whack some dough.  Then - breadtime!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Good Rover

So today, my trusty notebook Rover and I, for the first time in over six months, got some work done on the train on the way to the Arvo Job - 45 minutes worth of rearranging and adding to the SF travelling salesman story which started out short and funny for a humour antho, then turned serious, went back to being funny, and has now decided to be a longer, serious-weird, slightly amusing story about implant technology, Artificial Intelligences, circumventing an Orwellian bureaucracy, love (but not as we know it, Jim) and loyalty with a few futuristic farm cows thrown in for good measure.

'Tis good to be scribbling again :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Getting my Groove Back

Yesterday was Melbourne Cup Day, a holiday here in Australia, and today was my regular midweek day off for resting up, so I've just had two whole days off to invest in coaxing my writing mojo back into active duty. I'm not sure what kind of a day the punters had down at the races yesterday weatherwise, but up here, the grey skies, pouring rain, and thunder and lightning were perfect for staying indoors and getting work done.

It didn't go too badly either. I searched up a few more markets for 2013 and put them up on my work board, and wrote down long lists of the different themed issues that various publications have coming up next year and matched some up with already finished stories or partial stories I have on the boil. I also edited and subbed another three stories, so I now have 13 of my little lovelies being scrutinised out there in the wide world, tried to figure out what might be wrong with a few stories that I've parked to one side until I can decide whether or not I should stick to my guns or start fiddling with them, and spent some time sitting at my desk staring at the titles of upcoming anthologies and just letting my brain float on thought breezes to see if it could come up with any useable ideas (it presented me with two interesting historical scenarios, but without any characters or plot, and one tickle of a suggestion that feels like a good 'un but which I need to prod some more.)

Also, I wrote. Not for quite as many hours as I had hoped to accomplish, but a respectable number nonetheless, so I'm giving myself a pat on the head and a gold star for effort.

I also received good news about a story that I particularly adore but which is, as one editor said, and I have to agree, structurally challenging - it has cleared the first hurdle a.k.a the slushpile, and has been passed on the head honchos for consideration. The readers all wrote very nice things about it, which made me happy, but I've been here too many times to get excited yet. I started the year with a few pro sale possibilities that then fell through, so from now on, it ain't a sale until it's a sale. I think I'll adopt the catchphrase 'Show me the acceptance!' Still, nice words about one's work are always welcome.

 And tomorrow morning, I plan to load up Rover with stories and get back into the habit of writing on the train as I head to and from the Arvo Job. There are many hours of tinkering that I can scrape together there, and it does make the trip seem a lot shorter.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

There's a Word Stuck in my Craw.

Last night, on the train home, reading this article about the fast growing industry that specialises in home-delivered meal and grocery services to income rich but time poor folk was a reasonably innocuous affair until I got to this quote:

''For us the demand is coming from customers who work hard and don't really want the trauma of going to the supermarket and planning meals for the week. Instead, everything is on their doorstep and can be cooked within 30 minutes.''
Trauma? Really?

Inconvenience, that I can go with. Chore, sure. Hassle, undoubtedly. Logistical botheration and absolute pain in the butt at times, especially at the checkout, I totally agree.

But trauma? When did the everyday nuisance of general housekeeping become:

1. A serious injury or shock to the body, as from violence or an accident.
2. An emotional wound or shock that creates substantial, lasting damage to the psychological development of a person, often leading to neurosis.
3. An event or situation that causes great distress and disruption

So let me see if I understand this. Certain people are fortunate enough to have obviously interesting jobs that provide them with enough disposable income to spend lavish amounts of money on the necessities of life coupled with a ready access to a great variety of healthy and fresh food, yet these blessings in combination are deemed a profoundly disturbing psychological experience?

Try starvation. That's distressing. Or unemployment. Ditto with the stress levels.

By all means outsource these onerous tasks if you're really that busy, busy, busy (and really, really, really important), or if you deep down inside hate cooking but don't want to confess to this terrible sin in our present Age of the Masterchef lest your chook-raising, vegie-patch digging, jam-making foodie friends (and good on them) recoil in horror, but please, lay off overdramatising the everyday tasks that we all have to squeeze into our days just to make them sound like a gruelling challenge akin to scaling Mount Everest. Next thing you know, we'll be turning shopping and cooking into major emotional hurdles that possibly need specialised counselling and multiple sessions with support groups to negotiate. Quite honestly, the day that one is so flat out rushing around that one thinks of shopping and cooking as traumatic is the day one needs to take a serious look at one's life and possibly schedule a little time off to restore one's teetering sanity. Developing a sense of perspective would be good too. And while we're at it, showing some genuine gratitude for the bounty we enjoy and take for granted in our well-off country wouldn't go amiss either.

And yeah, yeah, I know it's just the usual sales jargon going overboard so as to be heard above the promotional racket swamping the world, but today's spin is tomorrow's accepted platitude. I just don't want us as a society going to a ridiculous place where I have to endure people putting a hand to their brow and blather-bragging in great detail about how taking ten minutes out to crack a few eggs and cook an omelet the night before induced such stress and suffering that they're now on the verge of a nervous breakdown .

Oh, all right, just possibly I too am stupendously overreacting and making a towering croque-en-bouche of out of a single profiterole. But these days, so many heavy-handed people wield words without any finesse, debasing their meaning and lowering their impact, not caring in the least how they, dare I say it, traumatise those of us who respect and love the power of our wonderful language.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ssssh! Don't Ssssay 'Ssssteampunk'

Yesterday, instead of going to the movies as usual, I was whisked off into the hinterlands of Victoria for an unexpected adventure. Apparently, or so I was told, as a writer of steampunk (doth one, lone steampunk story amongst many non-steampunk stories in fact make one a bonafide steampunk writer?) I was honour-bound to enthusiastically hike it to the Lake Goldsmith Steam Preservation Association's 100th Steam Rally instead of sitting in a theatre watching Argo. Fortunately, I'd read about the event a couple of weeks before in the entertainment section of the Age, and the proposed evening entertainment Steam! A Theatrical Extravaganza, openly labelled as steampunk by the paper, in particular had caught my eye, so I was amenable to the jaunt.

It really was a fun day. I love it when people have a passion - I simply cannot fathom folk who have no hobbies or interests - and am fascinated by the bubbleworlds created by people who share the same fixations and together create a safe place to enjoy a delight that others, often dreary people of narrow interests, might mock. Writers and readers of different genres have their respective bubbleworlds, as do horse fans of the various equine disciplines, car enthusiasts, comic book geeks, fashion lovers, music folk, stamp collectors, and aficionados of countless obscure, but to them endlessly fascinating obsessions. Within these worlds, like attracts like, and it's easy to spot the visitors from the permanent dwellers. My brother, for example, who builds stuff and is always complaining about the shoddy tools sold by most hardware stores, was very quickly greeted as knowledgeable fellow when we wandered into a tent full of drill bits and other whatnots of apparently superior quality. It was funny to watch how the salesblokes there zeroed in on him instantly, and much conversing in the universal language of expert tinkerers and machine-makers ensued.

Steam preservation is definitely the province of mostly male enthusiasts, and the rally was chock-a-block full of stoic, patient, obviously retired blokes wearing baseball caps sitting on camping chairs next to the working scale models they'd painstakingly assembled or old steam engines they'd lovingly restored. When a kindred spirit stopped to talk about their project, these blokes instantly perked up and launched into an animated discussion that was heart-warming to behold. There were also crowds of fascinated boys moving respectfully amongst the older men, lads whose eyes lit up at the sight of giant wheels turning and great gushes of steam issuing forth. No doubt, one day in the far future when they have time to lock themselves away in workshops and tinker to their heart's content, they too will pull up a camping chair, slap on a baseball cap and continue the tradition. There were some women in the forefront with oiling cans tending to the needs of various pistons and shafts, and many young girls riding high on the family steam engines, but mostly the steamie women there were wives having cups of tea together at kitchen tables set up at the back of the sheds.

There was no doubting the majesty of these great old machines, some of which were over a 110 years old but were still trundling along in a dignified manner and jauntily blowing their whistles. To me, when they had the grand parade, it was strange that there wasn't more dress-ups going on, costumes to compliment the periods that produced these wonderful behemoths, but that was the steampunk fan in me missing the point. I'd already been wondering as I wandered between the exhibits why the steampunk angle wasn't being pushed at all, if even just for promotional purposes. You simply could not find the word anywhere, not on any posters, not in the brochure, not in conversation. The penny farthing and odd-kinds-of-Victorian-Age-bicycles people did don period costumes, but the whole families, often up to three generations, atop the steam engines were mostly in plain overalls or jeans and t-shirts, the kids usually sporting colourful hearing protection devices. But then I gradually realised that steam preservation is all about the engineering, not about dressing up the beautiful functionality of those great creations for casual onlookers. It's by devotees for devotees within their steam loving bubbleworld, and anyone who needs razzmatazz to jazz it up can go jump in a lake. The machines have the spotlight, not their dedicated attendants. Steampunk, I thought, after a spot of casual investigation, with its focus on people using steam machines as a backdrop for their dress ups, was viewed as possibly suspect.

My hunch was confirmed when the loudspeaker guy began to speak about the evening's forthcoming entertainment. His long-winded ambiguity about the project was treat to listen to. He rambled on for quite while and in some depth about how he'd been dubious about the whole thing, how he'd frankly questioned the decision of the society's committee to allow the theatre people to use their beloved 90 tonne steam shovel for goodness knows what kind of arty shenanigans, but how after catching the dress rehearsal the night before, well, he'd had to admit the show was impressive and probably worth a look. And always it was the 'steam extravaganza'. Not even once did the word 'steampunk' pass his lips. In fact this is one of the few sources I've been able to find that unashamedly proclaims it a steampunk show.

Unfortunately, utterly pooped as we were after five hours of wandering from one shed full of tractors to another shed full of busily pumping machines, and watching steam-powered hay baling, ploughing, earth shifting and other such impressive demonstrations, we couldn't hang around another 3 hours for the twilight show. It was a long trip there and back, and we had to get moving. However, if they decide to repeat their steampunk experiment next year, we'll plan ahead so we can catch it then. Who knows how this tentative, budding relationship will develop? Perhaps, if this collaboration works, in future the steam preservation bubbleworld and the steampunk bubbleworld might even grow comfortable with each other and eventually accept at least temporary mergings of their respective passions. Surely not a bad thing, although I suspect it will difficult to convert the baseball-cap wearing blokes to the idea of grown-ups donning ringmaster top hats.

As an addendum to the day, after arriving home, I noticed my clothes were a bit stinky from smoke and the various petrol fumes. Soon after, I realised I could actually draw lines in my soot-covered face, and I must say the romance and allure of a steam powered world paled a little then.


Friday, November 2, 2012

End of the Month Report: October 2012

Oops, I nearly forgot :

Submissions: 3
Rejections: 3
Acceptances: 0 (but I did receive notification that a story is being held for consideration - not quite, but almost as good.)
Published: 1 (The Snowy River Feral)
Stories out in the wild: 10
New stories completed: 1
Mood: There doesn't seem to be much movement out there in  rejectionland acceptanceworld. Not much went out in October because there wasn't much coming in that I could turn around and straight away send out again. But any month with a publication is a good month :)