Monday, August 18, 2008

What have I been up to? OK, you asked for it...

I've not had much of a presence here of late. One of the by-products of Oscar's appearance in the world, I suppose. Any writing time I have goes toward actual projects and not to maintaining this journal. Though I am still twittering with some regularity. (A digression: I like twitter. Micro blogging; nearly context-free journaling to the tune of 140 characters at a pop. It's easy to dip into and out of the site as my attention wavers from whatever project I happen to be writing at the moment. End of digression.)

Speaking of projects. Here's my attempt to work some stuff out. You can either come along for the ride, or not, as you see fit.

I seem to be seeking out and creating projects for myself at an alarming (to me) rate. I just finished writing the second volume of Gear School (and actually still owe Dave Land a re-write of one scene); I've delivered to Todd Demong one chapter of the next volume of 100 Girls and need to write six more; There's the proposal for a new comic, Dalton, which I've sent off, also to Todd, for him to drew sample pages--if that book finds a publisher, that'll be some more writing on my plate; and, finally, there's the Portland Creative Conference talk I give in about two weeks which I have not yet begun to write.

One would think that was enough to keep one busy, wouldn't one; especially considering the fact that one is now also primary caregiver for a nearly four-month old. But, no, apparently it is not enough.

Ever since I graduated from The Evergreen State College ten years ago, I have thought off and on about attending an MFA in writing program. Actually, for a long time I held out hope that Evergreen would start such a program with my instructor, Bill Ransom, at the helm. If this ever happened, I'd quite whatever I was doing and move back to Olympia in a heartbeat. But, alas, it looks like that will never happen. My enthusiasm for an MFA has waned as I came to the realization that, despite my best efforts, I seem to be a genre writer. I love mystery, SF, and fantasy and would love to write them as well. These are genres that are , from what I gather, frowned upon in most MFA programs. These programs would prefer that students concentrate in more “realistic” kinds of writing. Fair enough, just not for me. It was actually something of a relief to to come to this conclusion a few years ago: I could strike that from my list of things to do with my life.

But (my old writing instructor, Steve Schoen, would call that the “golden But”) things have changes. A month or so ago, I found an interview with Kelly Link. Link is a SF writer who I admire a great deal. She writes fable-like stories grounded in the real world that all manage to be original and startling. She's writing just the types of stories I'd like to be writing. In the interview, she mentioned that she taught at a low-residency MFA program in Maine. And, here's the best part, the Maine MFA offered a concentration in popular fiction. For “popular” read “genre.” Damn. I looked into the program and it looks like exactly what I want to be doing. I am now hip deep in researching other MFA programs that may offer, or at least tolerate, genre writers because, hey, you want to improve your chances of being accepted and apply to a few different programs, am I right?

Finally: I have an insane idea for an on-line comics anthology. Despite the fact that a few folks have told me that it will make no money and be a time sink for the next couple of years at least, I just keep going ahead and working out exactly how I could do it. I really feel that I must be stopped.

Several things seem to have brought this all into focus for me: having and caring for Oscar, my high school reunion (!) and being asked to speak at the Creative Conference. Actually, I've made the joke several times that I feel like I'm going through a midlife crisis and instead of buying a sports car or cheating on my wife, I keep taking on and dreaming up projects to work on. Only... well, every time I make the joke, it feels a lot less like a joke. At exactly the time that I should be slowing down and concentrating on my life, both professional and personal, I crave taking on more and more to do. Is it a distraction I'm seeking? Is it that I feel a need to define myself in some new way? Honestly, I have no clue. But I do realize that I need to come to terms with what's going on and curb, or at least curtail, it. I can imagine a scenario where I try and do everything on my list and end up accomplishing none of it, thereby destroying even those projects that are concrete. Ugh.

I wish I had a way to wrap up this post in a way that would make everything clear, that would in some way resolve it, but I think that as I'm in the middle of figuring it all out, it will have to end in a fuzzy, messy way.

Oh, wait: I could end by also mentioning that I wrote to an editor friend of mine asking to sub,it an idea to him, and that there's always the novel I've been working on for a good two years. Yes, things are looking up!

Stay tuned for updates.

3 comments:

Lisa Romeo said...

I just finished at Stonecoast, in nonfiction, but I think they run a terrific popular fiction program. Good luck on whatever you decide.

There are a whole bunch of posts on my blog about the during, and now the after, of a low-res MFA. As for the before, well - lots of confusion and a nagging that just won't go away.

chris maier said...

Hey Adam! I just spotted your name on AIGA's promo for the Cre8te conference next month and your name sounded familiar. Spin back to the early 90s when you were at MHCC? Glad to see that your journey has been fruitful. My eldest just graduated from Evergreen. Small world ;-) Best wishes!

adam jk gallardo said...

Hi, Chris! Yes, it's me! It's great to hear from you after so much time. I think about you sometimes, wonder what you're up to. Are you still at MHCC? If you ever want to contact me, you can get to my email through my profile. I hope all is well for you, Chris.