We’ve bought a house.

The last four days have lasted approximately 3.7 million years, as my wife and I have done all of the following:

  • Closed on the house
  • moved in
  • gotten most of the utilities turned on
  • been informed that the gas (and thereby the heat) can’t be turned on until Monday
  • discovered that in this part of the country the first of May is an excellent time for a snowstorm
  • spent a few nights at Grandma’s due to said snowstorm in conjunction with lack of heat
  • bought a new wireless router
  • bought what seems like an absurd amount of food
  • planned how to redecorate the house
  • replanned how to decorate the house after a few minutes thought revealed the problems with our first plan
  • discovered a Trapdoor of Mystery in the floor of the upstairs bedroom
  • (I can’t tell you where the Trapdoor of Mystery goes, because then it wouldn’t be a mystery)
  • drove all over this town and the next on roads made icy by the snowstorm, and
  • slept, but not much.

I’m very tired, and now I’m going to bed.

Having completed my move halfway across the country, I’m now adjusting to the fact that my oldest child and his grandparents have joined us from Romania, so my household of three has just become a household of six. Two of them don’t speak English, one of them doesn’t speak anything but does cry at high volume, and one of them talks in that garrulous, nonsensical way toddlers do. Plus I’m trying to buy a house.

So, yeah, I’m busy with things other than blogging. Expect things to stay quiet for a while.

Things have been quiet here lately, for a variety of reasons. One big reason is that I’ve been tied up trying to move cross-country, something that’s finally (finally!) going to happen in the middle of March. I’ll update further when the date comes.

In the meantime, there’s been lots of thumping on the intertubes about this article, about which I may have something to say soon.

This was part of a response I got today from an agent who had requested a partial of The Failed Apostle:

[F]rom a market perspective, the SF framework around the low-tech fantasy-like world is a tough sell–you need readers who like both SF and fantasy and the overlap between the genres is surprising small.

I found this to be a surprising statement. Perhaps its because I love a crunchy SF shell around a chewy fantasy center. Perhaps its because many of my favorite books fall into this slot–I’m thinking especially of Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun, and all of LeGuin’s Ekumen novels. I don’t doubt the agent’s judgement of the market–she’s in a much better position to know than I am–but I’m still a little taken aback that this is considered a hard genre to sell.

(It’s also likely that you need to be really good to pull this off, and I suppose that it’s possible I’m not as good as Wolfe or LeGuin yet. I suppose.)

I got back from my month-long vacation a few days ago. What did I do? Well, in the first place I completed an epic road trip with my family along this route:

A long, long ways
From near Seattle, WA to near Milwaukee, WI

Along the way we:

  • Visited aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents
  • Did some fishing and caught a few (small) fish
  • Went to my best friend’s wedding
  • Caught up with some old friends
  • Discovered that the college friend who always hated children is now becoming an OB-GYN
  • Acquired many varieties of Wisconsin cheese
  • Played many, many games of Dominion
  • Played a few games of Puerto Rico
  • Played a few games of whist
  • Looked at houses we might buy
  • Slept
  • Drove

So… good vacation! Now back to work.

So I’ve signed up for Goodreads, after being pestered by a few friends. Or just one friend. Who really just suggested politely. Anyway, if anybody else wants to be my friend in that pathetic internet way, my username is jsbangs. I’ve also set it up to automatically post my book reviews, so you might see something like that around here. Heads up.

No essay yet. Two reasons:

  1. I have copy-edits on The Taint due in a few days, and I haven’t event started yet.
  2. I’m going to write about Octavia Butler’s Seed to Harvest books, which I haven’t finished reading yet. But that should wrap up at about the same time as the copy-edits, so, you know, Real Soon Now.

In the meantime, you can amuse yourself with this interesting analysis of the construction of gender in gamer nomenclature.

This month’s essay will be a little late—I’m thinking I’ll actually push it to early June. The reason? I have a mewling little WIP that’s so close to being done, and I want to push to finish it now while it’s got momentum. Essays can wait.

There hasn’t been a lot of updated here in the past several months, as I’m sure you (one of last loyal readers) have noticed. The reasons for this are several: increased workload at my job, spending more time with my family, and working on actual serious fiction writing. Blogging comes after all of those things, which means that blogging hasn’t been happening.

Aside from the issue of time, I’ve come to realize and accept that I’m just not a very good blogger. The best bloggers are people who can write pithy, funny, or thoughtful posts, several times a day in chunks of about 100 to 500 words. I have never been able to approach that level of productivity, and when I’ve tried, the results have been substandard. When I write very quickly my posts come out poorly spelled, badly reasoned, and not very interesting. When I take the time to fix the previous problems, I can’t produce more than one post every other day or so—and that’s assuming that I even have something interesting to write about that often!

So I am conceding. Blogging is not a format that works well for me. I will never be a successful blogger of the sort who updates several times a day, at least not until my life and my writing style change dramatically.

At the same time, I don’t want to abandon my web presence, and I really do want to have a place where I can hang all of the various things that I want to write about from time to time. So rather than simply give up on the blog, I’m going to try out a different format: rather than writing lots of short posts, I’m going to take my time and craft fewer, longer, and hopefully better posts. In fact, I’m not even going to think of them as posts, but as essays. This has worked for Paul Graham and Steve Yegge, so I might as well see if it works for me.

The new plan of action is to post essays once a month of 2,000 words or so, and to increase the priority of that one post high enough so that it actually gets done. (It’s hard to make yourself write short throwaway posts, but a monthly essay will get a higher profile in my mental to-do list.) The length is approximate and will vary greatly, and I make no promises about when during the month each post will appear. But I hope to have the first one up near the end of March, which will be a discussion of origin and telos inspired by this post by Jo Walton.