on books and progress

A week ago or so a sudden panic seized me about the amount of time left until the MA begins. Certain things like reading for leisure might become a luxury I can’t afford come September. So, what did I do? I ordered books from Amazon. As if I don’t have enough novels already waiting to be read.

Today the box arrived (I hate Amazon’s over-packaging, but I can recycle the box), unexpectedly early. Of the three novels I received, the one I most anticipate reading is Maelstrom by Peter Watts. I decided to read the first page or two, and then had to yank myself away at page 10 before the whole morning disappeared into the book. I have one other novel to finish before I will allow myself the pleasure of diving back into Maelstrom. At the moment I’m also dipping into the horror anthology Gathering the Bones, and Ted Chiang‘s collection Stories of Your Life and Others. The quality of the stories in both books highlights my own middling efforts, but oh well…

The other two novels I received today are by Gary A Braunbeck, and Paul Di Filippo. At the moment I’m trying to sample as wide a range of speculative fiction as possible, concentrating on writers who’ve an established rep for quality and imaginative prose. I pay attention and note books recommended by people whose opinion I respect. It means that I rarely buy a dud book any more. 90% of everything produced might be crap, but it seems I’m lucking out and the top 10% are passing through my hands.

My “writing days” left to me are dwindling at a rapid rate. This weekend is a write-off because the house will be full of visitors, and the following Thursday I’m off to FrightFest in London. I’m going to attempt to complete at least one story, and perhaps rack up wordage on a second story before London. It would be great if I could finish the second yarn when I get back from the trip, and before September 6th. Well, fingers crossed…

This summer has been moderately successful and constructive on a number of levels. The “to-do” list I detailed in June has loads of tasks crossed off. I could have done more, but I’m satisfied I put in a decent effort. Compared to last year, my output is prodigious–but last year I didn’t write so much. I’ll probably write about the whys of that some day in the future… I intend for this cycle of increased output to continue, so each month/year it will escalate proportionally. Eventually, I’ll be writing in my sleep! For me, the more I write, the more I want to write. Long may that relationship continue.

My aim at the moment is to continue being productive. That means tackling my list of projects, putting my bum on the seat, and completing them. Good luck to me!