Monday, August 14

Ladies and Gentlemen, and fans of mine (who very likely do not fall into either of the first categories), I present to you

Paul Stevenson, of Danville, Illinois, one of approximately three people (other than my older brothers) who can truthfully say he kicked my ass.

Would have been about third grade, I guess. Maybe fourth. It's important to note, here, that I was the biggest kid in my class. Strongest too, at the time. And Paul was just about the smallest. Though he was quick as a snake, which is also significant to the following story.

So we're in the door line at Roselawn Elementary (the doorline is where the neighborhood kids lined up to wait for the bell to ring and the front doors to open, and I notice Paul's lips are bright red. Now, I knew very well what was up: this was the result of a plaque-dye passed out at school the day before. It stains dental plaque red so you can judge how well you're brushing your teeth. Most of us -- myself included -- used them at night, and were able to scrub off the residue by the next morning.

Paul, apparently, used his in the morning. In my usual charming manner, I asked him if his mother had tried a dress on him while she was helping him with his lipstick.

Instead of taking a shot back -- which was what I'd been expecting -- he blitzed me.

Now, in those days I was also the fastest runner in the class (usually -- sometimes a kid named Chris Nelson could beat me, and sometimes a girl named Rhonda Drews. But I could also beat them.) so I scampered away, laughing, fully secure in the knowledge that there was no way Paul could catch me.

As has occasionally happened in my life, I overestimated my ability.

Before I entirely understood what was happening, he had tackled me and was proceeding to belabor me about the head and shoulders. He didn't actually hurt me -- don't think he was actually trying to; he was merely providing a public demonstration of the simple fact that I could easily get stomped by a guy wearing lipstick. More or less.

Which lesson I have never, by the way, forgotten.

Thanks for dropping by, Paul. I'll be in touch.

Saturday, August 12

On the9/11 conspiracy thing --

Check out

They seem to have the healthiest attitude, to wit:

"This is what we found. Don't take our word for it. Check for yourself. Here are our sources."

On other fronts:

The surgery went fine, and according to my orthopedic surgeon, it was entirely successful. In fact, my rehab may be shorter than he originally predicted. Though I am currently in considerable discomfort, it's actually less painful than it was before the surgery.

Also, we closed on the house on Thursday. I am now an official grown-up.

Finally, I need to quit screwing with conspiracy shit and get back to work on CBK.

Monday, August 7

The garage sale went well. The surgery comes up next week, and has been described as routine, though I have to take it under a general, which I hate . . . The Celebrex ain't workin' so much. There may be narcotics in my short-term future after all.

And in response to AzrofD, regarding TRAITOR and my style:

I don't think of myself as even HAVING a style.

I take every story as its own thing, and throw as much of my poor battered brain at each particular wall as I can make stick. In other words, I write balls-out for glory, and never think about whether something I'm putting down is "my style." I think about whether what I'm putting down is the STORY's style: if it suits the feel I'm trying to create.

This, I should add (to paraphrase Steve Stone) for all you Young Writers out there, is roughly how the great EB White recommended all writers should go about "their style." In his seminal book on elegant writing (which he co-authored with the legendary William Strunk), THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE, White recommended that a writer should aim for clarity above all else, and should never even THINK about His or Her Own Style, as your true style is an expression of your true self: it arises with no conscious thought on your part, because it is what you are.

Everything else is affectation.

" . . . brevity is the soul of wit, and tediousness its limbs and outward flourishes . . ."

Oh, and Jenn?

You're wrong. You don't want to seee her angry. At anyone.

Trust me on this.

And kiss the boyo for the LOCKE LAMORA aut'd edition, in case I can't deliver said kiss myself. I'm still hoping -- given good progress with the knee and moving into the new house -- that I and the Fabulous Robyn might be able to make it to the wedding . . .

Saturday, August 5

Your sympathies are appreciated.

Good news on the narcotics front: turns out I can take Celebrex, one of the advanced Cox-2 inhibitors, and it works pretty well. And as Justin suggested below: it's a routine surgery these days, and I'm expected to recover fully.

Now I'm off to help with our garage sale today, before the Fabulous Robyn turns into her evil twin, the Velocirobyn.

You wouldn't liker her when she's angry . . .

Thursday, August 3

Hey, kids.

Thanks to all who still stop by here once in a while, despite my absence for four and a half months.

Mostly working very hard. And struggling with my health. In these days of powerful psychoactive drugs that you have to gradually titrate, changing meds is a a lot like being boned up the ass with a razor-wire dildo.

CAINE BLACK KNIFE proceeds apace. It's gotten a little weird, but I, personally, think it'll -- eventually -- be really good.

The fact that I think so (today) means that this is a good day.

Other Stover news: I managed to destroy my right knee while at my night job about two-and-change weeks ago, and I'm still waiting for workman's comp to authorize the surgery that everyone knows I need. Since it's a day-to-day thing, I can't even take aspirin or ibuprofen (or any NSAID), so I'm popping Tylenol 3, a mild codeine-containing narcotic that works pretty damn well. The problem is that if W/C doesn't get off their collective butt, I'm going to end up with an opiate addiction.


Also: the Fabulous Robyn and I are about to close on a house of our own -- next Monday, give or take. A four-bedroom Deco all-brick from 1930, with leaded glass windows, oak and maple woodwork and floors throughout, original cut-glass chandeliers and (I swear to all gods) an honest-to-shit front door of iron-bound oak.

God bless George Bush for fucking up the economy -- last year, we couldn't have TOUCHED this house . . . Hell, we still couldn't affordf it without the heroic effforts of Joshua Taylor at Charter Funding -- who is himself a character worthy of a full-length novel . . .

Another also: I'm gonna be a Guest of Honor at I-Con, which is a gaming convention in Springfield IL, from September 7-10. So anybody in the central Illinois area is welcome to drop by. Mostly I'll just be hanging out and being my genial (*hack-aff*) self.

And finally: though most of the people who ever read this blog already know, Scott Lynch's brilliant debut novel, THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA was released in the US just over a month ago. All you folks who are tired of waiting for a new book from me should go pick this up. He writes like I do, only better. This is a terrific novel, and there will be plenty more to come.

And that's the news. I'm outta here.