Just received the contributor copy in the mail of my story, “The Way the Rain Bends,” which was just published in The Los Angeles Review. It’s a provocative little short story I wrote while attending a workshop on the Oregon coast, set in Portland and told in second person, featuring the breakdown of a young marriage. I read it the other day at a local reading and I still like it, very fun to read aloud, though it’s certainly dark and brooding. Fitting for dark and brooding weather, I guess, which is what we’ve mostly been getting here lately. I’ve been reading some of the other stories in the magazine, pieces by Natalie Goldberg and Ron Carlson, among others, really great stuff, and I encourage you to think about subscribing.
Just got word that Wooden Bones, my fantasy chronicling what happened to Pinocchio after he became a real boy, will be published in paperback next summer, which is welcome news. My young adult novel, President Jock, Vice President Geek, was just released in audio, available for digital download from Audible.com and Amazon.com. Plus my second mystery under my Jack Nolte pen name, A Desperate Place for Dying, featuring the curmudgeonly Garrison Gage, was also published in audio.
As for me, I carry on like usual, writing my four or five pages a day, reading good books, helping the kids with homework and piano, raking far too many leaves, and eagerly awaiting for each installment of The Walking Dead. I’ve also been extracting myself more and more from the Internet. Went a little overboard during the election, which is usual for me, but I came out of it really questioning how engaged I want to be in general when it comes to the Internet. I’ve already come to the conclusion that I want to be a minimalist promoting my work (believing, as I do, that the best way to increase your “discoverablity” as a writer, which is the latest buzzword in publishing, is to focus your energy on just writing more rather than trying to hype what you’ve already written, because more work means more gateways for people to find out about you as well as more for them to buy when they do — win, win), but I’ve also been feeling like I want to be a minimalst when it comes to how much time I spend reading online, too.
I already cut out all social media (Facebook, Twitter, and the like), and now I’ve been dramatically curtailing how much time I spend on listservs, blogs, and other things. It’s a fine balancing act, because I like being informed, about publishing and the world at large, but I really, really like how I feel when I’m mostly disconnected from The Great and Powerful Digital Hive Mind. The peace of mind is amazing.
This isn’t to say I want to give up the Internet completely. It’s still the greatest tool for communication since the Gutenberg printing press. But it is to say that I’m finding how to use it only when I need it (which isn’t nearly as often as I used to think) and not using it because I have this paranoid fear that Something Out There Is Happening And I Don’t Know About It.