Newsletter October 2007
Fall is here in force, and I find myself out on the East Coast for work. My wife was out here all of last week, and I've been here all of this week. We almost managed to have our trips coincide, but as often happens, my work travel changed. Oh well. When I return home, all of the construction and home upgrades will be finished, so being away has perks.
My office is currently set up in the living room. I look forward to moving it back upstairs. Having the computer next to the new HD TV made for lots of distractions while I worked. And the lack of a desk and office chair made for a very sore back (some chairs aren't designed for work).
On the noveling front, I'm progressing on my Viral Coat rewrite. It is more of a rewrite than a revise; the new story will be very different. For that reason, I don't like to discuss it too much. I have found that if I discuss a book that I'm planning or writing in too much detail, I use up my creative energy. Then I have a harder time doing the actual writing.
I still need a name for my Science Fiction story that I'll write for November. Right now the title is Venus Rising or something like that. I've read a few articles about extremophiles, so I have lots of tasty background info now. Did you know that there is an abandoned open-pit mine in Montana that is filled with acid? As water seeped in, unearthed minerals dissolved, creating, basically, a lake of acid. An environmental nightmare to be sure, but scientists have found bacteria that thrive in the acid water. It just goes to show that life can adapt to just about anything. And it lends plausibility to my idea of putting life on Venus, which has an acidic atmosphere.
In the game news, further testing on my card game revealed one dominant strategy. That is bad, because once you figure it out, the game becomes less interesting. I'm currently testing changes that will complicate the game play and give several routes to victory. I also came up with ideas for two more card games. It is similar to coming up with ideas for novels. Once I started, my brain took off in that direction and didn't stop. Actually I've come up with many more ideas, but there are two that seem especially promising. I'm easily distracted.
I'll leave you with a writing thought I had recently. I'm here in Connecticut, and as I drive from the hotel to the office, I see lots of beautiful trees. Oak and maple, I presume. Three stories tall and blooming out like giant broccoli stems so the tops merge and form a tunnel over the road. The leaves were all green when I arrived, but now they are turning yellow and orange, and I can see the changes each day. Very beautiful. Very different than the San Francisco bay area. I wonder how much beauty I miss at home because I'm so used to it?
When I describe a place like my fictitious government lab out in the East Bay, I have a very detailed image in my mind. Have I accurately portrayed it? There are a lot of details I've probably left out because I assume they are ubiquitous. But they aren't. Someone from here probably needs to be told about the dry brown grass on the hills and the scorched hills off in the distance where that fire burned last year and closed the highway. The dust on the side of the road that gets kicked up by every passing car and truck. The impenetrable wall of 18-wheelers blocking the exit lane as they head over the hills to I-5 so they can go to Los Angeles. The dry, desolate feel of Livermore in summer. I need to remember to see the world the way a tourist would see it. Because isn't that a big reason to read? To experience places you'll never visit in real life?