Thursday, April 28, 2005

No One Ever Told Me...

No one ever told me that science fiction writing was easy. No one except me, of course, and I always go out of my way to prove myself wrong. Two years ago I decided that writing was my chosen profession. All I had to do, after all, was sit in a chair and write, two things I was champion at. I convinced my unwary step-sister to join me in the pursuit of the published word... and the firm squelching of our delusions. It would only take a year, I said benignly, to write our first novel. "A year?" wailed my co-writer. "But, I wanted a sports car next month!" Her enthusiasm and expectations for writing we a bit colored, shall we say.

But, undaunted determination drove us toward our goal. We would have that novel written within a year. Fighting against enormous odds - daily writer's block, our unparalleled talent at finding something better to do, our misunderstanding of literature - we strove for the one thing that really mattered: the money. No snippy artist's integrity here, we were on the scent of monetary gain.

Into the fourth rewrite of the eighth chapter we were seized with a sudden realization. We didn't know how to get "the book" published. With some joy we dashed from our typing room - what once had been known as 'the study' was now considered a chamber of horrors - and ran pell-mell to the library. We pored through books and books (and books) about writing. We begged the librarian to let us stay all night. Not to read, we said, but so that we wouldn't have to stare our typewriter in the face (or the keyboard) again. Our librarian thereafter regarded us as a sort of oddity.

Before that novel was finished, the constant strain was telling on us. We couldn't hold a level gaze against any book. We shielded our eyes from the friendly dictionary and thesaurus. We were ashamed of our ineptitude. We somewhat wished that an alien from one of our plots would come alive and kidnap us, taking us away from the Land of Constant Typing. Our perfectionism made us agonizingly rewrite the chapters "just one more time." We were exhausted, yes, but we could not stop.

I will have to say that in those two years our style has improved considerably (our typing definitely has). Our technique has soared to formerly unknown levels. Grudgingly, I admit that writing can be satisfying. The pay isn't in dollars and cents alone. One word to the amateur, though. If you are thinking of becoming a writer because it won't be a strenuous job ("hey, I think I'll write me somthing and make a few thou"), then think again. You would be better off becoming a marathon runner.

(c) Sue London, 1985

Friday, April 01, 2005

Jot Doggerel Verse With Alacrity

I've been going through my old files which are full of writing crud, including this little piece of doggerel verse. The tempo is fun, but I think the counts are off. I'm sure my brother the English Lit/Poetry guy would freak out. But I like it. Since I was probably 14 when I wrote it I feel like I can cut myself a break....


Astrological considerations are many, I can see,
After delving into the depths of this banality.
Whether you were born in the year of the dragon or the rat,
The year of the this or the year of the that.

Where you were born and where you live now,
Your exact time of birth at your former locale.
The positions of the stars and the moon and the sun.
Was there a lunar eclipse? At what time was it done?

The transits of planets between each of your houses,
And the years that typify horses and mouses.
The sign that was at the horizon at birth,
Can somehow affect your overall girth.

And that sign that was setting can also apply,
If you can chart its location far up in the sky.
There's also the lunar affect to be counted,
And various other things as yet to be mounted.

The position of Pluto in its aspect to Saturn,
Trined with Neptune in a peculiar pattern,
Favorable with both Jupiter and Mars,
Though Venus does not quite agree with your stars.

And Mercury is having his quibbles too,
Although his degrees from your sun are really quite few.
This all has a stake in your business relations,
How you treat your best friend, and the family vacations.

And there are also career points as yet to be mentioned,
As your sign could be clumsy although well intentioned.
And you have to decide if your sun or your moon,
Or your ascending sign is your true self illumined.

As all of this has some part in the plan,
Of the stars and their pulls on the creature called man.

8/28/10: This is now an entry in the Poetic License Blog Hop.