Many Of My Stories Have A Little Rain. Scottsdale, 1984.

Posted on September 12th, 2024 in pinning the map

So much of this life has been unsettled. Running, waiting, running again. But no complaints, not really. The good outweighs the bad.

So much running, it teaches you to look sharp. When the world is road and a series of rest stops, you start to see the differences as sharply as the similarities. This hotel looks just like the last, but look here: the pictures on the wall are different. That stretch of highway has gone on for years, but there’s a new mile marker, same as the last, but just a little higher. You learn to look forward, count the ground you gained, remember the things you’ve seen, and that everything moves in circles, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t gone anywhere.

And the waiting, well. Everyone needs to learn how to wait, sometimes. Take moments of peace and patience, and never forget what it’s like to move. Always be ready to go, but don’t forget to live, now. You don’t have to unpack, but don’t sedate yourself to get to your flight.

Those are things I learned a little later than reading, but a little before I started school.

Mom and I ran to Scottsdale, Arizona, before I was old enough to know what we were doing. I don’t remember much of the drive through California, but I can conjure images of the desert, the highway, the radio — not the car radio but a giant boombox with a tape player and Disney readalong tapes I’d well memorized. I only had normal child remembering, then, or I think I would have tried to catch more of the scenery as we tore south. I knew we were going, but it wasn’t until we got there that I think I started to understand we were Gone.

We ran a lot, while we were there. Mom was a nurse, swing shift, and we ran to daycare so she could get to her shift. And we hightailed it out of there at the end of the day, when the sun was down and no one else was running anywhere. But then, in between the running, we took our time in empty grocery stores, deserted donut shops, quiet parks, and just us matinees on days off in scorched strip malls.

The world was perfect, in between the running — but we were always running out of time.

Scottsdale was rotting and molding and dying from the inside out. Every time a new development went up, it tore up the festering soil, and spread the disease into the air. And the air was often still, but the desert wind would pick up at the worst of moments, and spread that fungus through the city like a plague. The thing about Valley Fever is that, although it generally manifests no worse than a flu, if you happen to weigh nothing at all already, you might have a worse time.

So I took a breath, one day, and the dying city of a dying summer spread to my body.

And it all sounds very romantic when I put it like that, but what bluntly happened is I inhaled a fuckton of mold and I started losing weight I didn’t have.

That’s when I started to understand running and waiting, for the first time.

Wait, maybe I’ll get better. We’re still running, just wait. Wait, it’s almost over. We’re running out of time.

And I started… understanding. I started paying closer attention to everything, because I knew I’d have to leave soon, one way or another. I started noticing how tired mom looked, sometimes. I started seeing how worried she really was. I started trying to figure out why we’d come here in the first place, and why I didn’t want to leave, even though I didn’t like everything. If I close my eyes and flip back through the album of my mind, the world pulls sharply into focus, those months, as details became important — filed away forever.

And that’s why I remember, so perfectly, so sharply, the rain.

I remember the feeling inside the apartment, the air getting sharper but fuzzier at the same time. The sky outside was a hazy violet of sundown, the inside was a brown and yellow mess from the kitchen light. My giant boombox was on the floor, where sometimes I recorded letters to send to my grandparents, songs and letters, and sometimes I recorded nothing at all just to listen to it played back. But mom and I gathered up the big metal bowl and some pots and went outside to the concrete sidewalk outside the door and waited for the rain.

We could see the storm coming from miles away. The sky was a flat and sparking mirror of the desert below. And we put the pots and bowls down to catch the warm rain and waited. I think the world was quiet, but I remember the sounds of traffic below, so it may just be that I don’t recall what we said while we waited. There may have been some soft sounds first, but soon enough came the roar of the storm, the singing of the metal catching the water. I danced, and laughed, and knew what perfect moments can come if you just pay attention. The good always, always outweighs the bad, if you let it.

Sometimes you have to wait, sometimes you have to run for it, and sometimes, if you’re ready for it, you can catch a bit in some battered pans to water the plants after.

Okay, that last bit’s rain, but the metaphor holds.

Sunday Short on NoVa. Call it a month or so of 2024.

Posted on September 7th, 2024 in pinning the map

You know those Sundays, the ones that you’d kinda like to do something productive, only nothing worth going to is anything closer than a boring drive away, and god, you could call someone, but what would you really do, and hell, before you know it it’s getting late and you’ve got to get up early tomorrow and what the fuck was today even FOR?

That’s what life is like in Northern Virginia. Every. Single. Day.

There are few places in the US, possibly the world, that I could say less about than NoVa.

If you’re there: I’m so sorry.
If you’ve never been there: Thank god.
If you’re thinking of moving there: What’s wrong with you?
If you got away from there: High five.

Mile Marker 130, Blue Ridge Parkway. 1999.

Posted on September 6th, 2024 in pinning the map

D found the Overlook.

No, we weren’t the first — the Roanoke Valley Overlook is mile marker 130 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, just about the most visited National Park in the States. But from the lack of bottles, cigarette butts, or even tire tracks, we might just have been the first people to find it that spring. And it was the first time either of us had stood in the dark on the side of that mountain, looking down at the valley that held us both in different ways. And it was D that got us there, and that was something special, too.

There was no real reason to D and I driving, that spring. We just started one day, and didn’t stop for a while. I remember the day, just after the chains came off the tires, just a the snow was turning into something a little more manageable and far more miserable, sitting at a coffee shop and watching her fidgeting with something no one else could see. I remember saying, “Let’s go somewhere,” and the grown-up part of me wants to think some conversation followed — but I’m pretty sure we just took our coffee to go, walked out to her little blue car, and headed out of town.

D drove, and I navigated, lit cigarettes, kept the music high to drown out everything but the sound of our real voices. Navigation’s a pretty easy job when you’re not on a schedule, and you’re not heading anywhere in particular. We’d see an intersection on any one of a million stretches of Virginia highway and I’d call left, right, or gun it until the sun went down. On the good days I’d get us back home again before dark. On the bad days I knew better.

There were a lot of bad days.

I was along for the ride, but she was running away.

She swore she heard voices. Pretty much everywhere, none of them friendly. And maybe, you know, maybe she did. Could be she was born crazy. Could also be that coming out to her loving and supportive parents at 16 and being swiftly met with hugs and tears and a year of the best drugs money could buy to fix her fast did it. Like I said, D was running away. Problem was, she wasn’t running from a place, so there was no where to run to. Except away. Except hours on the road with no one but the woman in the passenger seat that kept the music high, lit cigarettes, called directions, made conversation, and let her go into auto-pilot and away from the world.

She didn’t take her drugs when we went out. She and I weren’t dating, nothing close, so I was no threat to her fragile heterosexuality. It was safe to go clean, and her parents didn’t know but they were pretty okay with me. Just praise Jesus their daughter was making straight friends, y’know? The healing could begin.

And man, did we have some adventures, anyway — good, clean fun. It was me that found the giant bridge in the middle of nowhere, the haunted schoolbus embedded halfway down a hill with books still under the benches. I navigated by the sun and kept a mental list of rest stops for food and gas, made sure we ate and didn’t break down on the side of a mountain. We covered some of the same ground sometimes, but mostly we aimed for roads we’d never seen. The straighter and longer, the better. Anything that went with driving music, anything empty for speeding, anything far and away.

The music was important. I wasn’t much past a kid, myself, and sometimes I couldn’t talk her off the angry ledge. But the music, that always worked. On the worst days it just needed to scream. NIN worked in the afternoons, For Love Not Lisa in the mornings. I hated Tori but she had a place, too. Ani and Soul Coughing could even the motor out when it started to pass. It was another sort of navigation, picking the playlist. Shining the right CD to keep the car moving, keep the anger down, keep the world flat, keep the wheels on the road. Sometimes she’d aim for the fences for a just a second, and I’d light us two cigarettes to remind her a suicide would be a murder, and the wheel would level out.

Easy does it, we’re on the road and everything’s going to be just fine. A million miles from everything, and no one expecting us back any time soon.

D found the Overlook on her birthday. 18 years old and no party, just another drive. We hit an intersection on our way out of town and I hadn’t said a word. The car slowed to a stop and she looked at me, confused and a little scared.

“Not today, birthday girl,” I said, “today you get to pick where you go.”

“What? No, you…” She paused, looking for the right words, “… that’s not… C’mon. You find the good stuff. And you’re the only one that ever knows how to get us home. I’m always lost after ten minutes. Getting lost and eaten by wolves isn’t a birthday present.”

“I’ll still get us home. You pick where to go. And then, y’know, maybe we’ll have sex or something. You know it wouldn’t be statutory anymore.”

She laughed, and we were still pulled over on the side of the road. “You’re not gay,” she said.

“Nah, I’m not. And you’re not my type, anyway.”

She looked at me, asked for a cigarette, and the car was still idling.

“I’m gay,” she said, letting out the smoke. “Even when I’m on my medication, and can’t think straight — oh my god I never said that out loud before ‘I can’t think straight’ but that’s the problem…” and she started laughing so hard I knew she was about to cry. “Fuck,” she said, “Just fuck.”

“I know. Pick a road, kid,” I said. “It’s your birthday, and we’re burning gas just sitting here.”

“Yeah,” she said, and pulled her sunglasses down of the sun visor. Mine were already on, she hadn’t seen my eyes all morning.

“Yeah,” she said, and turned the car to the East.

We drove all day, ate in the car, and were on the Blue Ridge Parkway when the sun went down. It wasn’t a bad day, but we drove into the evening. The music was low, and we talked louder than usual, laughed more than was strictly necessary. She picked the roads, and I still lit the smokes and kept an eye on where we were. I could feel home burning in the background, and we never got too far away. Out of sight, but not quite out of mind. A safe distance, I knew, even though she was lost as anything.

She was taking the turns on the Parkway too tight after dark, and we weren’t talking anymore. She knew the next turnoff I’d pick the way home. But she didn’t expect me to say “Slow down” when I did, and we almost veered into the side of the mountain when she slammed on the brakes.

I laughed, it was all right, no one dead.

“Nah, it’s all right,” I answered, to no question in particular, “just no rush, you know?”

So we were turning the curve at a reasonable speed, and I was scrabbling under the seat for the dropped pack of smokes when D saw the pull-off for the overlook.

“What was that?” she asked, and I hadn’t seen and didn’t know. She pulled us around and into the U-shaped pull-off, a dim and unmarked thing, there across the road from the granite wall of the mountain. She turned off the car and got out into the pitch, and I shoved the pack of cigarettes into my back pocket and joined her.

From the Overlook, in the darkness, there’s a sheer drop down to the bowl of the Roanoke Valley. Far in the distance the city glows weakly — it’s no stunning panorama. It’s a dim smattering of lights beating back the darkness that crawls over everything. As our eyes adjusted it got no more impressive. If anything, the darkness got deeper, and the smallness of the city more apparent. A puny outpost with scrawny veins stretching out to smaller and smaller towns down the line.

From way up there, all we could see was how big the world was, and how little of it was home.

And that’s when she finally cried.

She wasn’t going home, that night, not to her parents house. She was going to crash with someone again, but she’d been kicked out last week. I’d had no idea, hadn’t seen her in a couple of days and we never really talked about Now or Parents, anyway. We weren’t that sort of friends. But I wasn’t surprised, and I lit a couple of smokes, and she cried for a while.

“Where the hell are we, anyway?” she finally asked.

“We’re up the side of a mountain in the middle of nowhere.”

“Yeah, but what city is that, I mean? Is it Roanoke, it’s gotta be, right?”

And I knew it was, but what fun was that? So I answered, “God, I hope so, or we’re totally lost.”

“You’re never lost,” she laughed.

“Yeah, true. But that’s just because I’m not worried about where I’m going.”

“Oh, that’s real deep,” she said, and flicked her butt out into the abyss. “Whatever. You can get us back.”

“Yeah,” I said, and crushed my own dying cigarette underfoot, residual California-mind screaming about forest fires. “We’re all right.”

We were a half an hour away from town, music low and gentle, the Overlook miles and miles behind us, when she turned and said, “That place was pretty. Not as cool as the bridge, but really pretty.”

“Yeah. You did good.”

“Think you could find it again?”

“Sure. We didn’t go that far.”

“Felt like it.”

“We took the long way,” I admitted. “It’s just a few miles from where we started.”

And she laughed. “Figures,” she said.

And then, “Thanks.”

“Yep,” I said. “Left, here.”

Summer. Break. 1998.

Posted on September 5th, 2024 in pinning the map

It’s been so warm here, this week. No, no it really hasn’t — it’s been in the 70s maybe edging to 80s — but the air is so still and it’s hard for me to sleep, day or night. Harder still for me to scrounge up an appetite, but that’s every summer, anywhere.

I don’t do well with heat. Even a little.

I never really lived in New Orleans. Oh, I had a beautiful apartment there: a two-story space with a spiral staircase, right at the edge of the French Quarter. My upstairs, wrought-iron balcony overlooked Armstrong park, and no tourists strayed as far as my block. The sweet clerk at the market on the corner knew my name, stocked cat food for my cat. I paid $400 a month rent, because if you crossed the street to the North you weren’t in the Quarter anymore — but beat cops took coffee at the hotel two doors down, and I was going to live forever back then, anyway.

Well, no. I was dying, not metaphorically, and not slowly. I don’t deal with heat, and I was living in New Orleans in the middle of the summer. And I had enough money every week to buy cigarettes or food, and smokes lasted longer.

And it was too hot to eat. Too hot to drink coffee (though I did, anyway). Too hot to sleep at night. I could catnap, or pass out, more likely, in the very earliest hours of the morning. The city was quiet then, the stores all closed until after noon, and the air… sometimes the air would stir, just a little bit.

The days lasted for weeks. It was storm season, and it always, always felt like a storm was about to break. Then the sky would tear open and beat the ground for a minute, two, ten — oh such perfect moments of not dying — and then stop. A few moments after a rain and the air was hot and thick again. Waiting. Still. Dying.

And I remember beauty there, too — but I knew I couldn’t live there. I was waiting, too, not to break or die (though every day, swimming through the swamp air, oh it felt like it sometimes), but until I was full enough. I was not a tourist, but couldn’t, wouldn’t dig in to be a townie. Just, like so many of the people I passed every day, being taken by the Big Easy, biding my time, not breathing too fast or too deep. Just being in the city, silly little me, seemed like something worth doing for a while. Just learning a new place, but too young to think about settling in one.

The plants went first. They thrived for a week or so on the balcony, and then they started to wilt from the inside out. Water, fertilizer, sun, shade — nothing could be done. They weren’t native plants, and the air was too thick for them to breathe.

Then came the brownouts. I’d be walking down the street, and then I wasn’t anymore. I’d come to at my doorstep, or the bar, or the coffee shop, or, once, on the streetcar as the conductor called out Calliope. “KAHL-EE-OPE!” and the sound of it, so not the word my head expected to hear, snapped me out of it.

And still I stayed on. And really, New Orleans is a beautiful city. I understand why people want to live there. I understand better why people are willing to die there. It was giving me nothing, and I was asking for less, but it was beautiful.

I walked every inch of the French Quarter that summer. Every street and cross, every dive and shop. I circled wider, now and again — The Garden District, melting with moss and decay; Magazine, echoing shots late at night; the CBD, bleeding out at the end of the day and fluttering into unconsciousness as everyone went home — but it was the Quarter I wanted to remember, the faces and people there. I read Tarot in the square for a month to take in the stories of a million tourists, and make friends with a half a dozen runaways and old guard. I memorized the bricks and stole the edges of awful and beautiful music leaking out of upstairs windows.

Years later, when I went back, I could still navigate the place by sound and feel. It had changed, in subtle ways, but nothing that mattered. The runaways were new, the old guard had turned over, some of the bars had new names and others had flaking paint — but I still remembered the heartbeat of the place, could still walk the bumpy streets without tripping. I wonder, now, after a storm tore the skin off so much, what would be different. I don’t need to go, though — I know what would still be the same.

And then one night I took three swallows of cheap, watered down beer, and passed right the fuck out on the floor of the bar.

Because, I mean really, any idiot that’s been having heat brown-outs for a month and eating every few days at best is pretty much looking to bite it in a side-street bar. In no way can I romanticize the fact that I really was not a smart kid.

But I came to with a huge bartender holding ice to my forehead and murmuring “princess” while four other huge, angry looking men hovered around looking for someone to shoot. I did have friends. And when I blinked to consciousness, the bartender handed me a glass of water and said, not unkindly: “you just don’t belong here.”

A week later I flew North. Just as Autumn came.

2008: Here We Go

Posted on September 2nd, 2024 in pinning the map

Walking to the store for cigarettes affords me a view of the end of the world, every day. I turn the corner at the end of my block and there it is — nothing but horizon, grey sky or blue, blinding silver at sunset and forever black at night. When the fog rolls in there’s even less to see (or more, depending on the day). But there it is: the land ends just a few steps from my most mundane of daily errands.

It starts up again, of course, a million or so miles later (a little beyond where I could swim, at least). But doesn’t it always? At any rate, I’m not getting much further west, not for a while at least (and I’ve a sneaking suspicion it’ll take me going east to get there, anyway, and isn’t that the way it always goes, too?), so I’m playing with some plugins that’ll take me back East, North, South a little, and around in a lazy scribble of a timeshifted travelogue. When I think about it, maybe.

We’ll see. It’s taken twenty-nine years to dot this map, so I’m in no hurry to trace it back.

Dramatic Reading of a Real Break-Up Letter via Meredith Yayanos

Wednesday November, 18 2024 03:59 PM PST

Is it just me, or is today full of uncertainty and hormonal angst? It’s probably just me. I hope it’s just me. But surely, we could all still use a good laugh. Here’s an OBG (Oldie But Goodie) that never fails to bring on schadenfreude-laced tears of hysterical laughter:

Via Kevin, thanks. Click here to see the letter itself embiggened.

See also:

Post tags: Culture, Memes, Silly-looking types, Theater

Get Excited and Make Things! via Wil Wheaton

Wednesday November, 18 2024 11:52 AM PST


My friend Ariana works with Warren Ellis to make all kinds of really cool things. Lately, they've been experimenting with print on demand technology to take creative risks that simple economics would have rendered impossible as recently as five years ago.

For example, three weeks ago, they started putting out a T-shirt of the Week at CafePress. It's a great idea: they put up a design on Sunday, it's available for a week, and then it goes off to the land of wind and ghosts to make room for something new. If you like the design, you grab it (possibly enjoying that you're part of a limited edition), and if you don't like the design, you just wait a week and try again.

Warren says: "TOTW is basically a joke that Ariana and I pull each week in our joint guise as the International Electrophonic Unit. Basically, we take some of the stupider things I?ve said on Twitter and elsewhere, often in a state of extreme alcoholic refreshment or severe sleep deprivation, and put them on a t-shirt. Ariana set up a Cafe Press store (because this is a joke and engaging with a serious maker of t-shirts would be less funny to us), and? well, once a week, here we are."

As a creator and as a consumer, I think this is awesome. The only thing Warren and Ariana are actually investing - that is, the only risk they're taking - is the time it takes to create the design, and if you're a creative person who, uh, enjoys creating, that's not really a risk as much as it's a chance to play with your toys and possibly make a little money while you do it.

This is incredibly inspiring to me, and I hope that it's just as inspiring to indie artists everywhere. Why not take a creative risk and see if it works out? Unlike the old days, when we had to purchase a lot of stock ahead of time and hope we could sell it, we can just Get Excited and Make Things, knowing that the very worst that can happen is that nobody likes that thing we made as much as we thought they would.

In the old days, creators had to hope that:

1. A store would carry their Thing.

2. Once in the store, their Thing would be in a place where people could see it.

3. People would buy their Thing.

4. People would buy enough of their Thing to get the cycle to start over at step 1.

Oh, and to have any hope of being successful, they have to do this in different stores all over the place, competing for space and attention with huge companies that have massive advertising budgets. It was, to say the very least, daunting.

But look at how much things have changed! Creative people can get excited, make something, and get it to their customers without ever having to go through any of those steps. The financial risk has been almost entirely taken away, so now we can take chances on our really crazy ideas, just because we're excited about them.

For example, when my episode of Criminal Minds was going to air, I got excited and made an audio version of the production diary from Sunken Treasure. The time elapsed from the moment I got excited until the moment I had an actual thing was about five hours. Now, it's hasn't exactly sold like crazy - only 242 total sales - and if I'd invested in actual product instead of doing it POD, I would have lost money on it for sure ... but I spent half a day making something that has gotten great feedback from the people who listened to it, and I earned about nine hundred dollars for my trouble. Clearly, it's not a sustainable full-time business model, but it was certainly as successful as I could hope one of my Crazy Ideas would be.

If this sounds even remotely interesting or inspiring to you, I encourage you to read three posts Ariana has recently written on her blog about her experiences with POD:

TOTW: Three Weeks On

Will tomorrow?s design be niftier?  Who knows?  I?m taking the opportunity that a weekly project affords to try and up my game each time? but whether you like the next (or the next, or the next) better is, well, it?s all a bit like Let?s Make A Deal,isn?t it? Only instead of fabulous prizes and curtains named Door #4, it?s fabulous bits of silly on whatever clothing options we?ve decided to offer this week.  But the basic premise stands: Either you decide this week?s is the design you want? or its gone and that?s that.


with POD, there?s really no ??while supplies last!? either.  That?s brilliant, too, of course ? a huge part of putting Shivering Sands on Lulu is just that: it can stay there as long as Lulu does, still pulling in a sale or two in ten years.

But, although I?m not advocating a fake or forced sense of urgency ? because that?s a bit cheap, and more than a bit insulting to folks? intelligence ? there is something to be said about exploring how some online and POD systems do lend themselves to Being An Event.

It was Warren that first brought my attention to the concept of Event Internet (although he calls it ?Appointment,? but I don?t love those so I?ve renamed for comfort), so I?m riffing off his playbook, here.  But he?s certainly not the only person playing with the idea.  There?s the well-documented Twitter-Flash-Mobbery that Amanda Palmer?s been pushing for a while, or Eliza Gauger?s Sweatshops, for instance.  Hell, just a few minutes ago, Wil sent me a link to this, saying: ?It redraws random fractals every few seconds. You can?t save them, so you just appreciate them and then wait for the new one to show up.?  Which isn?t precisely an ?event,? I suppose, but it sums up the idea rather nicely: You can?t save everything ? although you can often record the live event to watch later ? but sometimes, some things, even online, are about this moment.  And when they?re gone, you missed it.

So what the hell could that possibly have to do with Print On Demand which, as I just said, is so great because it just stays there forever?  Well, it?s all about looking at the tools in your kit and thinking about new ways to use them. 

In response to the inevitable cries of "but this only works for people like Warren Ellis because he's Warren Ellis" she wrote POD: If you're not Warren Ellis, which I can't really excerpt here, because it needs to be read in context. To sum up: before he was Warren Ellis, not even Warren Ellis was Warren Ellis. Stop crying about how you're not Warren Ellis, be who you are, and take that energy you're pouring into feeling sorry for yourself into getting excited and making something.

Finally, she wrote POD: Let's back up a bit here, which I think is the most inspiring of the three. You need to read the whole thing, but I'll pull a bit for you:

Here?s what you need to do, right now, tonight.  No, NOT tomorrow morning, or this weekend, or once your work rush has let off a little, or after the holidays, or sometime in the New Year: Right. Fucking. Now. 

Decide what you want to make.

And I?m talking about the single most complicated and ridiculous creation you can think of?




This moment, right now, this THING that you?re deciding to make, this thing exists independently of the fiddly bits for now.  This, what you?re doing here, is something that back in the olden days, before the slagosphere wasted all your time telling you how not to do things they called a goal.  It?s a beautiful and magical thing that doesn?t need money or time or effort to believe in.  It?s only different from a dream in that you made it yourself, instead of letting your subconscious do all the work while you sleep.

Now, okay, here?s the little-bit harder step, are you ready?

Look at that THING you just said you wanted to make.  Really look at it.  Now, right now, tonight, NOT tomorrow morning, or this weekend, or once your work rush has let off a little, or after the holidays, or sometime in the New Year: Right. Fucking. Now.


Period.  This is it.  You?ve been putting it off, or you?ve been planning to get around to it, or you know that once you get a little spare time it?s at the top of the list? for HOW long now?  I?m looking at you.  I know you?re already taking a breath to rattle off the list of all the things standing in your way.  and what?s more, I know you know they?re just excuses.

And it needs to end, now.  Your life is never going to GET less stressful.  It?s honestly not.  That?s not how life works.  When we put off the things we want to do, the stress of that adds into the stress of life.  You?re not going to GET more hours in the day.  You?re never going to have enough money to put aside spare time.  You?re not going to suddenly have That Moment where it all gels and you suddenly break out and start doing what you want to be doing? unless you MAKE that moment, right here, right now.

I'm not suggesting your quit your job and napalm the bridge behind you as you drive out of the parking lot, because not everyone is going to be able to do this and make a living from it ... but that's not really the point, here. The point is to encourage those of you (us) who have been unable or unwilling to take the chance and just create something, already, to get out there and do it.

I once saw a poster or a paperweight or something that said, "What would you do if you knew you could not fail?" Think about that for a second. What thing do you want to make? What story do you want to tell? What song do you want to sing?

We can take these great creative risks now, because we really can't fail, not in the traditional monetary sense. Sure, we could be out a lot of time, but even that time isn't entirely wasted, as I hope to illustrate with two examples of my own: 

1. I spent days putting together a little book that I thought would be awesome, only to discover that there was absolutely no way to make it affordable for me or you. I was disappointed that I spent all that time, but it was incredibly fun while I did it, and maybe I have a script for a show now, instead of a book.

2. I worked really hard to write a story that ultimately wasn't really finished, as much as it was let go. I spent a lot of time after I was supposed to be done with it, trying to figure out how I could fix it so I could publish it, before reaching the very upsetting conclusion that it just can't be fixed. I talked about this with some friends who are writers, and told them how I felt like the whole thing was a waste of time and that all I got out of the experience was the knowledge that I need to do a whole lot of grinding before I level up as a writer. One of my friends, an incredibly talented and accomplished writer, told me, "Every project you finish levels you up as a writer." While I was (and am) still disappointed at what I believe was a failed project, I can't disagree with my friend. I gained Writer XP, even if I didn't gain a great story that I can feel good about publishing and selling.

So what are you waiting for? Do or do not. There is no Try. Whether it's an Etsy store, or a book with Lulu, or a T-shirt or a mug or a clock or a fucking teddy bear in a sweater from CafePresssingle  ... hell, if it's a photograph you put on Flickr or a podcast you host on, or a story that you write for Ficly or your own blog, just do it! Go get excited and make things, and when you're done, come back here and link us to what you did.

Twitter Updates for 2024-11-18 via Kelly Sue DeConnick

Wednesday November, 18 2024 08:26 AM PST

Radio Silence via Jamais Cascio

Wednesday November, 18 2024 03:05 AM PST

Talk Talk

Sorry for going quiet for the last few days -- I've been in Vienna, Austria, giving a talk at the "Future Space" event. That bit is done, but now I'm off to another project.

The trip included the surreal experience of being interviewed by Die Presse, Austria's newspaper-of-record -- an interview which, of course, included photographs. And the photographer got a bit... artsy.

Posting will pick up again next week.

Phonogram 2.5 Out In US Today. No, Really. via Kieron Gillen

Wednesday November, 18 2024 02:24 AM PST

Yes, that time has come again. After the previously detailed delay-for-pulping, Phonogram should be available in the US today (And the UK Tomorrow). The first five pages are available to read here, though spoilers from the off, and there’s been a selection of reviews already. Do they like it?

Comics Daily: “We?re past the point with Phonogram where it can really be judged by any sort of normal critical standard.”
James Hunt, Comic Book Resources: “Issue #5 of “Phonogram” might be the most challenging comic I?ve ever read, and in case there?s any doubt, that?s a good thing.”
Scott Cederlund, PopSyndicate: “This a nearly perfect comic book.”

Yes, it appears they do. Though I wish they’d come out and say it instead of using such mealy-mouthed language.

(We’re totally due for a critical backlash, I suspect. Bring it!)

One of the darker, more character-study issues, I think. Hope you enjoy it as much as it can be enjoyed.

GLOBAL FREQUENCY On TV: Round 2 via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 17 2024 06:48 PM PST

The Twitter account of industry magazine PRODUCTION WEEKLY just posted on teh twittarz:

The CW will again try to adapt Warren Ellis’ comic book "Global Frequency," this time Scott Nimerfro will script the pilot.

Which I discovered because half a dozen people retweeted it at me within about thirty seconds of it landing.

I haven’t been cleared to comment yet, so I can’t really add anything to this. I’ve spoken briefly to Scott Nimerfro — by which I mean I threatened to have him stabbed, and he thanked me and told me a funny story about how he’s had worse threats — and he is Okay.

Anyway. Yes. Shouldn’t say any more until I get the nod from the studio. But yes.

(Also, yes, I did tell John Rogers. But John, you know, has his own hit show LEVERAGE these days. One of his temple houris told me that John, from the depths of the bed made of golden vaginas that they wheel him around in, wishes me luck.)

"When you come to get Henry, can you bring an extra shirt?" via Kelly Sue

Tuesday November, 17 2024 04:17 PM PST

Kelly Sue posted a photo:

"When you come to get Henry, can you bring an extra shirt?"

Art and motherhood: A difficult combination? via Kelly Sue DeConnick

Tuesday November, 17 2024 03:40 PM PST

Found this on

Art and motherhood: A difficult combination?: “Everett_and_art

At Wordstock last month, I sat in on several readings and discussions by writer mamas, and recently I’ve been very closely following other mothers and writers on Twitter and Facebook. I’ll admit to a fascination that’s part curiosity and part … jealousy? longing? … as I watch them juggle motherhood and their art. From a distance, it seems they’re doing it better than me.

I’ve finally gotten to the point where I believe I could finish my book proposal any day (really!) and I’m finally having a essay published in print this month. After years writing online, I’m coming into this artist-writer bit, slowly, with lots of squeaking and complaints from my family. It’s been hard, especially on those nights where my oldest has decided to go off melatonin, a gentle sleep aid we’d been using to good effect, and I must restart the process of coaching him on calming himself. For three hours.

A friend Tweeted she was locked in her bedroom this weekend, finishing a few last chapters of her book as her husband wrangled her boys. Another acquaintance, a writer dad, seems as if he’s frequently out of town on book readings and fabulous events, trading off childcare duty and glamorous writer things with his poet wife. I asked an author I admired at Wordstock how she managed to write with children — and she’s a single mother, having adopted a little girl internationally. ‘Very expensive childcare,’ she answered.

Then yesterday, I read in the Oregonian about this fabulous couple here in Portland. They’re both visual artists and she’s an accomplished writer. They’re gorgeous and cute and funny and successful. They have a three-month-old baby. I’m so jealous! (On the same page: a story about the Decemberists’ guitarist and his lovely girlfriend, Seann McKeel, who’ve started a series of concerts for children and parents to help entertain their three-year-old child. She’s also an artist. Oh!)

In my house, juggling art and motherhood don’t go that well. A two-year-old literally hangs from my arm when I’m in the middle of typing an especially inspired sentence. I go to a coffee shop to write for three hours, and when I come home, the slow cooked meal I’d begun has burnt and homework hasn’t been done — my husband was focused on the littlest and his nap, the laundry…

Are you, too, trying to combine some passion — whether it’s writing, art, a political or non-profit endeavor, or a really rewarding job — and motherhood? How have you managed? Do you sometimes feel that everyone but you is doing great? Or do you have secrets, tricks of the trade, that make it all come together?”

(Via urbanMamas.)

Matt Brooker via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 17 2024 02:35 PM PST

(whom you know better as comics creator D’Israeli)


(is living in Greece for a while)


(and these are his photos of his time there so far)

No Parachute via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 17 2024 01:48 PM PST

Excellent article from Julian Smith for New Scientist about wingsuited skydivers trying to cut the last cord from old-style jumping, and effect chuteless landings. Excellent quote therein:

Von Egidy sees her suit as a step towards a grander vision of people soaring like birds, not just gliding. "There could be nothing more challenging on Earth than to explore the limits of direct human flight. We are in fact far better suited to flight than we believe."

The Buggering Of Ben Templesmith via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 17 2024 01:04 PM PST

Ben Templesmith is wandering the UK, watching re-runs of THE SWEENEY and peering through your windows at night. These are the details on where to see him, how to commission a piece of art from him for dirt cheap, and exactly what he’s prepared to do to you sexually under the current exchange rate.


Meredith Yayanos via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 17 2024 11:18 AM PST

(is living in New Zealand currently)


(and wearing R Stevens squid socks)


Links for 2024-11-17 via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 17 2024 11:00 AM PST

Twitter Updates for 2024-11-17 via Kelly Sue DeConnick

Tuesday November, 17 2024 08:26 AM PST

Station Ident: Hail Kitty via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 17 2024 08:12 AM PST

Behold the dress that bespoke pervert-enablers Ego Assassin made on request by/for the Hello Kitty 35th Anniversary Fashion Show on 14 Nov 09. Ego Assassin make many things. We like people who make things.

Good morning/afternoon. This is Warren Ellis dot com.