A Week in the Life
what this is:last week, maybe the week before, I don’t know, I had a lot to write, so figured to keep myself somewhat on-task by making myself log down what-all was going on. this is that—closing down files, found it off to the side. just added the images and stuff. and, to be sure, this isn’t a success-story week: wrote a lot, but not exactly what I needed to be writing.
done for the moment with The Only Good Indians copyedits, just finished up months and months and months of World Fantasy Award judging, and done with the reading part of another big judging thing I can’t talk about yet. Thinking I have two, three story deadlines I need to get to. Well, five, kind of. Six, I guess, but that’s by September. Anyway, TWO of them are for eighties anthologies, which is crazy. No, three of them are. Because: Stranger Things? Anyway, I’ve got pretty much just a week to get hopefully half of them done, all the due-now ones, as other things are ramping up fast, taking me with them. But today it’s just bike riding and the end of another Bosch audiobook.
jacked around half the day on my bike, then remembered I needed to write a story, checked the guidelines, decided to yes set this one between 1980 and 1989 (just wrote a Footloose story I accidentally set in 2004), wrote the story in three hours. High school horror, kid with purple hair, feels like a Texas piece. Also, forgot to set it in the eighties, again. Man. Seems like that would be the obvious thing to have remembered. Research for this one was getting my daughter to origami me a . . . one of those paper fortune-teller things from elementary? Pretty sure this story comes from watching Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, though a girl’s name in it is because I’m reading Sailor Twain. Anyway, maybe it’ll work for one of the other due-stories, I don’t know. Gonna go watch Satan’s Slaves now, see what that’s about.4K.
had big plans to write a story after lunch, then wound up in a different town all day, didn’t get to the computer until six-thirty, after Chipotle. Wrote the story in two hours, IN the eighties, finally, but five hundred words too long. And also got edits on my Night of the Mannequins novella while writing this story, which I might need to address instead of writing tomorrow’s story. Will see. Research for this one was looking up Defender on YouTube. I always sucked at Defender. I now see that I never understood Defender. This story’s title keeps changing. Don’t think it’s horror, but it was supposed to have been. Reading CJ Box’s new/today novel now, Bitterroot. I mostly just want to be reading that novel. Anyway, this story can’t go to the eighties horror anthos, but it does maybe meet up with due-story #6, so that all works out, I guess. Also I really like it. 3.5K.
was up until the small hours last night watching episodes of Patriot, then up early reading. Meant to write a morning story, ended up watching an amazing episode of Enterprise with my daughter and writing 1300 words of acknowledgements for The Only Good Indians. And doing the dedication and epigraph too, which is always the hardest part. And, that epigraph: read a random elk-hunting book for two-plus hours last night, pre-Patriot marathon, looking for an epigraph. Think I found one. Anyway, audiobooking Harlan Coben’s Missing You. Really liking it. His usual build. Discovered a brain podcast on NPR yesterday too, which I’m liking a lot. And wrote an 1100-word essay/post-thing after lunch, about why horror’s big now. Don’t know why it felt pressing. So, 3pm, just pulling into storyland. Hopefully. Might end up on my bike instead. We’ll see. // Back 47mins and a thousand words later. Love the story, (haunted object) the setting (junkyard), the characters (Josh, Tina), the build (Christine-y), but no way is this wrapping under 3K words. May bail. Need to write a SHORT story, please. Going out on my bike, or to the gym. Somewhere. Maybe I’ll think of a 2K word shortcut. Maybe me and a monkey will go on a big adventure, too. 3.4K so far for the day, I guess, counting all the junk together, but not a complete story. // 11pm, nearly done with the Mannequins edits, but eyes aren’t focusing and I’m tired of this music and no more writing tonight, just Patriot. Can’t even read: eyes. Bummed. Halfway planned for this to be a story per day kind of week.
2pm and I’m just now, after all day of it, wrapping stage 1 of the Mannequins copyedits. Stopped to eat for about ten minutes. Next up with/to Mannequins: a full re-read, as this is my last good chance to adjust anything. But right now I need to read, or bike, or walk the dog.
nothing yesterday, migraine-day, no sleep, zero fun, erase it, who cares. Today: had to write one of the eighties stories, so dialed up one of my hair-metal playlists, and it was the right magic, as it only took 14.5 songs to get 3100 words. Was aiming for 3K, but I’m not always the boss. Anyway, it’s even a good story. It’s not the junkyard story I wrote 1K of Wednesday, but it’s the same two characters, the same yard, the same Corsica, and, get this, CATS. And I’m the opposite of a cat-person. Now for the bike, and town, and who knows. No more story writing today, no more read-throughs or copyedits or tiny-tiny words in the margins of things or subtitles on shows or movies. Just activities that don’t trigger my eyes into blowing my brain up, please. There aren’t enough pills in the world.
Done with the CJ Box novel, done with the Harlan Coben one, through season one of Patriot, and a quarter into a friend’s new/in-mss novel. Rewatched The Silence of the Lambs and A Few Good Men because they’re both perfect, and make me want to be. Meant to start Good Omens, fell into NOS4A2 instead. Wearing the hand-brace again, because: too much typing. Everybody’s gone from the house for a few hours—concerts, work shifts, lunches. My big plan is to hang with the dogs and do the Mannequins read-through. Cueing up the revisions playlist now. Only problem is it’s so sunny outside. But I can stay inside for a bit longer. For long enough. Starting now.
stephen graham jones
august 11 – august 18