Ha! It's only taken six months, but finally Pete and I had a few minutes to catch up over IM. Catching up consisted mainly of the following:
CARRIE: Pete! I'm online!
PETE: Great! Hey! Hi! How are you?!
CARRIE: Great! And you?
Followed by moments of idle chatter, quickly dissolving into some really funny stuff, none of which I can remember, but it was good stuff.
And Pete has angered his wife, so I advised him to grovel, to which he muttered something that sounded suspiciously like, "Damn women, always sticking together..."
Interspersed in there was some actually discussion of that thing... um, what's it called?? OH, YEAH! Writing! And he sent me a new short story (yay!) to read, and it was cool. Nyeah Nyeah Nyeah to the rest of you who didn't get to see it. *sticks tongue out*
Currently playing: Come Go With Me by Expose (I can't get the accent over the e, so just pretend it's there, okay?)
Currently I am reading Seven Up, the 7th (duh) Stephanie Plum book by Janet Evanovich. I am also going to start Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill, which looks really good.
Today they finished construction on my new porch roof. Hooray.
Fellow writers, do you tend to stick to one genre? For me, that's a big fat "NO." What am I working on right now? Well, I am trying to keep my novel in mind for editing, which is generic, general mainstream fiction. (Laaaaaaame, right?) I'm also working on a children's book.
And some, um, erotica.
I just kind of shake my head and wonder where the hell this all comes from. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. My personality (personalities?) has a wild range, so I guess it stands to reason that my writing would be all over the place, too. I do, however, think I'll be using a pen name for my porn. *grin*
I can just see it now:
AGENT: So what have you written?
CARRIE: Well, I have this children's picture book, this instruction book on tole painting, a romance novel, a non-fiction book examining the sociological aspects of Egyptian architecture as it relates to today's global economy, a collection of newspaper columns... OH, and a stack of porn.
Of course, *now* Hubby is interested in my writing. "Hey, you need any help with... research... you just let me know!" Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
Currently playing: Don't You Want Me Baby by Human League
There's a wily fly in here driving me insane. I went to get the flyswatter and the little bastard vanished.
ELEVEN DAYS until Harry Potter 5 is in theaters!!!!!
TWENTY-ONE DAYS until Harry Potter 7 is in my grubby little hands!!!!!!!!!!!
So I have a slight Harry Potter addiction. Yeah, me and seventy BILLION other people. I cannot wait for the new movie. I also have a slight Gary Oldman-as-Sirius Black addiction. One of my dearest friends bought me this poster for my birthday last year. Maybe this year I'll get this one. *grin*
I'm torn about the new book. I'm excited to get it and read it, but I'm bummed that it'll be the last. I want to reread the first six before I read the new one, so I will probably have to stay offline until I get a chance to finish it.
I think Snape is a good guy. In less than a month, we'll all know for sure!
Currently Playing: Every Time You Go Away by Paul Young (Yes, I'm in an 80's mood!)
Work's about the same. Tolerable but time consuming. We're hoping that by fall we'll be in a place where I can quit (if I decide to) and dedicate more time to my writing. Working a full time job has shown me lots of areas in my life where I need to improve, not the least of which is wasting time online. Should I quit, I will work hard to keep the Internet as a resource and tool... not as a necessity. It's very easy to let it get too important.
But we shall see how things work out.
Big plans for the Fourth? Here, we plan to just have a quiet day at home. Maybe a cookout with some family, but otherwise a quiet day just hanging out and maybe getting some stuff done around the house. That's how I like my holidays. Quiet and close to home.
I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable holiday!
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Ha! It's only taken six months, but finally Pete and I had a few minutes to catch up over IM. Catching up consisted mainly of the following:
I just realized that the last time I posted, I was indicating my own death. It occurred to me I should post again to, you know, let you know that I survived food poisoning and the flu. Here I am. Alive! And probably a mutant thanks to the viruses, but never mind.
Anyway, I'm conscious, upright, working again. My Roman novel (with the catchy working title Roman Novel) is getting to about seventy thousand words. A couple of days ago, I sat down and mapped out where it goes from here to the end. Took me four notebook pages, but I have most of it planned out. So I happily know where I'm going. I also now know that I have a looong way to go. There's a lot of novel here! I can only hope that it actually remained interesting to read after, for example, page five.
Let's see. Lori and I are writing an extremely long article (or articles, or who knows what) about...everything. All your potential writing questions can be answered in a highly opinionated form! Maybe! Because you may never see it!
In other news, my wife was full term last Monday, although she's not due until July 16th.
In related news to the other news, we finally settled on a proper name for Tzinski 2.0. He actually has a name! It was the first name we both agreed on, and so it's now set in stone. If he comes out as a girl, she's going to have the most manly name of anyone in a dress (if you are a man and are wearing a dress, don't feel you have to correct me here).
Also, this writer would like to thank Mike Rowe of Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs television show for having a way long marathon the other night, so that I got NO sleep and then had to get up early. Thanks a lot. Could you maybe have a boring episode, so I can turn off the TV and go to sleep? Honestly, it's worse than Dog Whisperer marathons at this point.
(What? You want to know what I'm listening to right now? Well, Napster just finished playing Respect by Aretha Franklin and is playing Midnight Special by Credence Clearwater Revival. Up next is Boogie Chillin' by John Lee Hooker. What? Yes, there is a lot of funk in this house, thank you.)
Current matter of angst: I am doing layout for the third issue of BBT. This issue is 100+ pages in length, has twenty stories or so, interviews, all sorts of stuff. It's freaking huge. I hate layout. I hate it with bad words on top. Nothing presently makes me grumpier than sitting down at the computer and knowing that I have to work on it. It'll be beautifully laid out for about twenty pages, and then you'll get eighty pages of text all streamed together in one big block. And no one will dare complain, because I'll be standing on a street corner in a sack cloth, shouting that the world is going to end when the Lobsters finally get here.
Also: Thanks to Amazon.com's blog, I read that computer keyboards are in theory dishwasher safe. And since there was no other voice in my head to go "waaait a minute..." I found my secondary keyboard, took the keys off (to make it easier to dry) and popped it into the dishwasher.
I used it this afternoon. It didn't make it type much better -- I think it's just a lousy keyboard -- but it does have an interesting lemon scent. It also failed to catch on fire and kill us all. I consider the experiment a success. This means that if you, after reading this, manage to set yourself on fire, then it's on your head and I will not feel guilty.
I had an interesting and witty article to write for you all on teenagers, but I've just fallen off my caffeine high like a Mob snitch falling off a pier with cement shoes on. So, leaving you with that perplexing metaphor, I'm going to go curl up on the couch with a warm fuzzy cat and read a book.
Myths to Live By, by Joseph Campbell.
Right. And how was your week?
P.S. I have to share this comic strip with you. This is a sheer work of art. I love it. I wish I could print it and hang it up, but I haven't the ink or the sheer wall space necessary.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
"Got a fever of a hundred and three."
That's it, really.
*falls over dead*
Posted by Pete at 7:49 PM
Friday, June 22, 2007
RT suggested I torture Rob with this gem, which I think is hysterical. I'm not sure why, but I do.
And if that's not enough, try this.
Oh, and this is old, but it's political, so surely Rob will enjoy it thoroughly. ROFL
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Posted by Pete at 10:06 PM
Rob has sworn revenge.
*clasping hands and tapping fingertips together in a diabolical fashion*
You haven't heard the last of me!
Posted by Carrie at 6:51 PM
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
collecting unnecessary vowels
And we spelled it differently anyhow.
My lawyer friend says
"You don't owe him shit."
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I have to make sure we have the right sort of blog readers around here. This is a simple test. Remember, if you fail the test, you are not scum. You are not a bad person. You just...well, nevermind.
MC Hammer OR Run DMC?
Mega Man OR Iron Man?
Led Zepplin OR Black Sabbath?
Diana Ross OR Aretha Franklin?
Super Nintendo OR Sega Genesis?
Street Fighter OR Mortal Kombat?
There. I think we can decide from that.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
I can't really talk too mcuh right now, i just hope everyone is safe and managed to get their families somewhere okay and maybe you stil have the internet. im about to get my wife and animals and head out we're going to try to get somewehre isolated where the walking dead won't find us. i don't know if there will be anyhwereh left though. everyone who dies comes back as one of them and THEY are killign so many. its brutal. the television si dead. i supoose the internet will be soon too.i hope youre all okay. i hope you are able to fashion crude weapons and if your hand turns into a demon chop it off but replace it with a chainsaw that will help.
okay i have to go we are heading for the hills. i hope i can figure out how to work this shotgun. bye friends.
ADDENDUM TO BE FUNNY (SINCE THIS POST WAS PREVIOUSLY NOT)
(this was the post that I put on BBT. It, at least, is recognizably a joke and not me having some sort of angst-ridden natural disaster. Sigh.)
I don’t know if anyone out there is reading this. I don’t know if there’s anyone out there to read it. God almighty, I dont’ know what’s happening. This is terrible. this is terrifying. I don’t want to die. If you’re reading this, you know what’s happened, you know that the dead have risen up, the DEAD HAVE RISEN UP, and they are walking the earth.
I don’t know what to do. Is it safe here? My apartment is on the third floor of the building, am I safe? Will the zombies figure out how to get in, and if they do, will they figure out how to get up here? My door is thick and dead-bolted, does that protect me? God, I don’t know. I don’t know how smart they are, but I’m terrified. I have no weapons. I have a knife in a drawer, a big one, and I own a copy of Gigli, but is that enough? I DON’T KNOW.
I tried turning on the news, or something on the TV, but there’s nothing. Just dead channels and camera shots of empty studios and screams in the background. Nothing I can use. I tried the radio, I found one in my apartment, but it’s all dead air and static. There was one station that had something, but it had a scared woman who was crying and who was reading the Psalms, over and over and over again out loud. She walked in the dark places, and the Lord was with her.
Christ, I don’t know if he’s with me, or any of us right now. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? I saw, out the window, the undead attack a man out in the street, down the road from my building. They just FELL on him and he screamed so damn loud, it made my legs shake and there was a crunch…I heard it from here…and the screaming stopped. I swear to god, he’s with them now.
They’re shambling closer to my building. Oh god. They’re swarming through the parking lot now. Two of them are sloshing through the fountain up front. They’re bouncing between cars. They’re not coming into the building.
THey’re clustering beneath MY WINDOW. Oh my god. I went and looked down over the balcony and there’s gotta be thirty of them, THIRTY OF THEM, all gathered on the ground floor, staring up at me and my balcony, those that have eyes. THey are clawing at the walls with arms and pieces of hands. The ones with flesh make a dull slapping noise. The ones with nails, or bones, just screech and scrape against the siding. They all smell. Some of them like old dirt, some of them like mildew and mold, and some of them still have that sharp, sweet smell of death, that smell of corn syrup and salt. I almost threw up. Oh god oh god oh god WHAT DO THEY WANT?
It looks like they have something in their…hands…hang on. I’m going to go look.
I can’t see so well, but it looks like they are all holding a few papers, each one’s got some papers in one hand that they’re waving at me.
Hang on, someone let go and his papers flew upward. I’m going to try and snag one….
Oh my god. Oh Jesus. OH GOD.
The paper has a name and an address printed neatly in the top left corner. Then, it has a title followed by an approximate word count centered and the spaced down two spaces, the story starts in Courier New, double-spaced between lines.
How did they find me? Oh my god. Oh pray for me, if you’re out there. But what does it matter? We’re all DOOMED…
Monday, June 11, 2007
WTF was that ending??? MEH, I say. All in all the episode was pretty good, but the ending blew chunks. Humpfh. I was expecting it to go out with a bang (pretty much literally), and instead it went out with a... hell, I don't even know what that was. It was lame. Disappointing. And not very satisfying. HBO can do a hell of a series, but their endings suck ass. I'll add the Sopranos to the list of series finales that sucked ass. (Oz and Carnivale, anyone?)
Well in other news, I started reading an awesome new (to me, anyway) series last night by MaryJanice Davidson. I started Undead and Unwed, and it was fabulous. It reminded me of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich - it was written in first person, and it was funny as hell. Several times I had to stop reading because I was laughing so hard. I love this author. Why? Because she starts the acknowledgments page with, "There's really no need to thank anyone; I did this all myself. Okay, that was a rather large lie."
The first chapter begins, "The day I died started out bad and got worse in a hurry." Brilliant. BTW, this is a vampire/romance series. It's fricking wonderful. I can't wait to get the rest of them!
Posted by Carrie at 4:34 AM
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Doctor Suess and Stephen King, as written by Pete Tzinski.
(Blame goes to Lori Basiewicz, who suggested it.)
I do not like Green Eggs and Ham,
I fucking hate them, Sam I am
All things serve the Beam,
I will not eat Green eggs with cream!
To the dark tower, the child Roland came,
To eat Green eggs is to know shame.
I will not eat Green Eggs with beer.
And we all float down here.
Posted by Pete at 10:07 PM
Monday, June 4, 2007
(Note: This was originally the article I wrote for my weekly column, over on the BBT web-site. I really like it. So I'm posting it here too.)
You will forgive me if, this week, I fail to write about Pirates of the Burning Sea, which I have played not at all. Video games must actively work to hold my attention, which is inclined to slip away at any moment and go find a book, a movie, a song, a thought. Pirates are fun, but my attention has slipped. For now.
I knew all week that I wasn’t going to write about a video game this time around, and so I’d been stewing on what to write about. Mostly, I think I already knew what was coming. It’s been coming for a year or so, and I think it may as well go here, because this is a good place. We do not always speak seriously or meaningfully, but we are capable of it. I’m sorry, there are no laughs I expect in this article. I could write about my twilight zone trip to the Twin Cities, but I don’t think the joke would come across properly.
So I will write this instead.
Clive Barker once said, about comic books, that they are incapable of inspiring terror, of making you laugh or cry the way a movie can, or a book can. Clive Barker — who is not only an excellent writer, but also a genuinely cool person — seemed to be wrong on this point, as a couple of writers (Neil Gaiman, friend of Clive, was one of them) pointed out. For me, I was mostly on the fence. This was the first time it had really gotten me thinking about the subject.
I’ve been reading comics since I was old enough to hold them. Monthly comic book issues, Archie comics, super hero comics, newspaper funnies…Like books, I read them. I’m wired to read, that’s all. I read until my eyes hurt and I can’t seem to focus properly on things further away than book-reading-distance.
Comics never hugely made me feel, though. Not really. And for that matter, as I thought further on the subject, I realized that neither did books, did they? I read them, I enjoyed the stories, but like I never felt strong emotion about any of them. No more than you would get teary-eyed when a friend relates a sad sort of dream he had the night before. It’s not your dream. It didn’t make your heart jackhammer.
Mostly, I didn’t think about any of this, I just accepted it. Movies and TV shows could move you, sure enough. There’s something about the mediums (and I think it’s because they’re passive mediums) which allow you to feel what they tell you to feel. Books and comics told good stories, right enough, but there was no emotion.
The Clive Barker comment got me thinking, when I happened across it a year ago. It got me thinking, but I did nothing about it. It just gradually built in my mind, because that’s what happens. It’s been said that with writers, thinking mostly just gets in the way. As it happens, I believe this. I think that when you think too much, it’s like focusing on your feet as you try to go down the stairs. Mostly, you wind up lying on your butt, at the bottom.
What this means is, I can’t give you my actual thought process. I can just tell you that it took the past year-and-a-bit to get here, and this is what I’ve got.
Books and comics do move you, specifically they do move me. When I was young (you know, way back), I read a book about a boy and a girl who made a pretend land and a tree fort, across a river. I was in love with the girl and enchanted by the book. The book ended very sad, very badly for the girl. I remember clearly, as a young boy, walking around just stunned, just absolutely heartbroken. I sat on a tree, outside, and just stared and stared at nothing. She could have died in my arms and it would have gotten me no harder.
For a long time I didn’t know what book it was. I tried to remember, I would retell the story to people and no one usually knew (partially because I mussed up the details along the way). I would perenially go hunting for the book and come up empty handed.
Then, a while earlier this year, my wife and I went to see the movie Bridge to Tarabithia. Ten minutes into the movie, I was crying. Openly, brokenly, as I realized that this, this was the book I’d read all those years ago. It all came back. It hurt watching that movie, which was well done (it may have been horrible, actually, I was somewhere else watching it) and knowing what was coming. I spent two hours after the movie not speaking. I doubt I could have. It wasn’t the movie that hurt, it was a book reaching out to me across eighteen years or so.
But what else? I remember finishing Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. I remember reading the second-to-last volume and I reached the end of it and going oh shit, oh SHIT, because suddenly I knew what was coming and desperately wanted it not to come. When I finished the series, I was heartbroken and miserable for days. I was older now (I came late to Sandman) and it really shattered me. As always, there’s a piece of a writer’s mind who looks at your own emotions, as if from a distance, and says So this is what it feels like, so this is how you act. It doesn’t matter. You can be divorcing your wife, your child can be dying, and ruthlessly, somewhere in the back of your mind are the traitorous writerly words so this is what it’s like.
I think back now and remember the Death of Superman arc, which also messed me up. Superman was a hero for me as a kid (not as big as Captain America, or Hal Jordan) and I was crushed when Doomsday killed him. Shortly thereafter, Bane broke Batman’s back. What a place to be as a kid. I remembered all this when Captain America died, and I was already mulling in the subject. THis added to it.
But fear? Sadness, perhaps. But fear?
FEAR, I discovered from Stephen King. A movie can make me jump, or revolt me, but while I was beginning to accept that a book could make me sad, break my heart, tear me up, a book could not make me jump, could not terrify me.
It was only three months ago, or so, that I read Steve King’s Misery, for the first time. It was not my first Stephen King book. Cell wasn’t scary, it was a rollicking good zombie book. The Dark Half wasn’t scary, it was another damn good story. Secret Garden, Secret Window (and the other stories in the collection Four Past Midnight) was one of my favorite stories ever (and the Johnny Depp/David Koepp movie is stunning). They didn’t scare me, though.
Misery did. I remember reading further and further into Misery. Specifically, I remember reading a scene while sitting in the bath where something is cut off. The description of it isn’t emotional and full of exclamation points, it’s just there. The words may as well be invisible, I’m seeing it more than I see any movie. I realized, dimly, as I read this horrifying scene and headed further into a horrifying book that I was holding the book at arm’s length, and I was pushing back into the tub, as if trying to get away from the book, this bunch of pulped paper in my hands.
That fascinated me. That’s when all of this thought about writing and emotion came up into my thoughts. The parts of my mind that are always thinking, always running, always saying so this is what it’s like, finally gathered up what it had and handed it to me up front.
What caused me to write about this now is that I just, ten minutes ago, finished reading Stephen King’s Bag of Bones, which I started because I’m writing a book that’s hard and I needed a good read. I also needed a book that had nothing to do with Romans in any way shape or form.
Bag of Bones doesn’t have the outright horror that Misery did, but it had quiet terror built into it. It’s not a horror book, it’s not a ghost book, it’s a love story and a story of redemption that happens to have ghosts in it. Nevertheless, there’s one early scene I read, while sitting on the couch after everyone had gone to bed. In it, our hero Mike Noonan looks under his bed and sees his dead wife lying there with a book across her face. When she tries to take it, she snatches it back and says Give that back, it’s my dust catcher.
I shut the book. I got up. I went to bed.
There were more scenes like that. I mostly didn’t read this book in the bath, because while most of the book is a story that fails to be supernatural or scary at all, every now and then it comes to a scene that is just spookier than shit. When I hit those, that’s it.
It was a powerful book, all through. The emotions never quit. It wasn’t just terror. It was sadness and hatred and a need for revenge and a need for justice, and a longing for a happy ending that was impossible, and a longing for the happy-enough ending that was possible, and a dozen other things. It’s the kind of book that will leave me thoughtful and a little bit quiet the rest of the evening. I’m not thinking so that’s what it feels like, because I know already. But I will be thinking about the book and the people in it and the what if’s and the emotions.
When I read a book that floors me, or that really gets to me — like Tarabithia did when I was young, or Narnia, like Bag of Bones did now — I find myself going I want to write like that. Of course. Who doesn’t? Mostly, it means that I don’t want to write Bag of Bones, by Pete Tzinski — because knee-jerk imitation is as pale as any other form of imitation; witness the dozens of authors trying to write their own Frodos and Sams — but it means I want to write a book that hurts you when you read it, that makes you love and laugh and cry and be deeply uncomfortable.
I haven’t done it yet. I have, in some short stories, creeped out, or made sad. Not much. Not enough. Mostly, that’s fine by me. If I could go "I want to do that," and then do that, then where’s the challenge, where’s the learning, where’s the joy? They say getting there is half the fun. I’d say it’s all of the fun. Once you’re there, sooner or later you’re going to start thinking about the next journey to the next place. It’s human nature. We can spend hours and days climbing a mountain, and then spend twenty minutes at the top.
There’s no revelation here. I’m telling you that books and comics can emotionally effect you as much as television and movies, as much as music can. You probably already knew that. I think I came at it all wrong, trying to think about it too much. I think they’ve affected me all along.
The final thing I want to talk about is perceptions. This is mostly unrelated, but it fascinates me, and I want to touch on it. Bear with me just a bit longer.
When I first read Neil Gaiman’s children’s book Coraline, I thought of it as the adventure of a brave and definitely odd young girl. One thing Neil said about the book was that kids love it and adults are creeped out by it. He theorized why, and mostly I didn’t understand properly. His theory was this: For a kid, the book is an adventure story, of a young girl who beats the odds. For adults, it’s the story of a child in danger.
I read the book three or four times, and it was a little brave girl having an adventure. I loved it. I read it out loud to my wife
I read it again, last month, eight months or so into my wife’s pregnancy which will result — as pregnancies tend to — in the birth of my son. This time, when I read it, it was very definitely the story of a child in danger, and this time, it scared me.
There’s a bit in Terry Pratchett’s Thud! where Sam Vime’s young son is in danger, and it was the same thing. I read it before and got on with it. I read it now, and it terrifies me, as it must have terrified him, as it terrified Sam Vimes. If you’ve read the book you know the scene I’m talking about. These are the scenes that come back to haunt me, that haunt any parent I think.
And always, there’s the thought in the back of your mind. It’s not your thought. It’s the thought of parts of you that aren’t yours to control or command. Your better parts. It always says So this is what it’s like…
Posted by Pete at 4:26 PM
No, not YOU! When I got DSL, I got an Earthlink account, which has my main email, as well as a boatload of free webspace, which I use a lot. (Mostly for hosting pictures and whatnot, but the point is that I use it!) Well, I've had this since 2003, and now I get a notice that Embarq (formerly Sprint, the only DSL provider in my area) is eliminating its affiliation with Earthlink this fall. Dammit! That cheeses me. I hate, hate, hate changing email addresses. Despise it. Loathe it. I hate going into my billion and seven online accounts and bills and changing my user profiles. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. It's freaking annoying.
In spite of that, I'm happy! I'm off work today to help at Son's school this afternoon. I miss being home and doing stuff on *my* schedule.
I can't believe there's only one episode of the Sopranos left!!!!! Ooooooooooooh, my, last night's episode was awesome. I don't watch many shows regularly, but this one I do. HBO has some of the most brilliant shows, they really do. Of course, I'm still pissed that they screwed me out of a resolution for Carnivale, which was fricking brilliant. BRILLIANT. And I'm still annoyed that they canceled Oz, which was also brilliant. Disturbing, but brilliant.
I'm really hoping the finale of the Sopranos is satisfying. As in, Tony *better* get Phil. If that shitbag makes it out, I'm going to send HBO a scathing email. That's right. A SCATHING email.
"Scathing" is a pretty cool word, isn't it? I love cool words. Facetious, gremlins, shitbag, putrid, fricking, mundane, assimilate, fuck, sashay, extrapolate, harbinger... awesome words, all of them. *grin*
BookWorm Adventures rocks. You should try it. And then pay the $20 to get the full version. It's worth it. Loooooooove that game!
Posted by Carrie at 8:59 AM