I was recently tagged as part of some sort of internet mime or meme or something. Surely my friend was well-meaning, but clearly she has no idea of the gravity of the situation.
I don’t pretend to understand exactly what an internet meme is (presumably some part of the internet’s tubing, maybe washers or something to prevent evil (and porn) from leaking out?), but ever since the tragedy that ensued after I broke that chain letter in grade school, I don’t take any chances.
Please forgive me, Bowling Green, Ohio. I was a skeptical fifth grader! I didn’t understand the consequences!
As part of preventing an apocalyptic outcome of global proportions, I am expected to answer the following questions.
I will do so with all the careful thought and consideration due a questionnaire that could, if answered incorrectly, end all life on Earth (and, most likely, Europa as well, may Arthur C. Clarke rest in peace).
1.) What was the first story you ever wrote? Spare no embarrassing details.
I found a story I wrote in first or second grade in my mom’s memory box a few years ago. As I recall, since I have only the memory of finding the story, not of actually writing it, the story involved a monkey called Super Duper Monkey, and he flew out to an island with a dinosaur on it, and, I think, sharks surrounding it. He carried someone or something to the island or back, I can’t remember, but it had awful hand-drawn illustrations too.
What I can say with certainty is this: I was a talentless hack in second grade.
2.) What’s your favorite nonfiction topic to read about?
Toss up between Astronomy and technology news. I wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid, but given the path I ended up traveling down, and my non-Adonis physique, the only way I’ll get into space now is if I’m an expert on some awesome piece of technology that is our only hope against the alien fleet / giant asteroid / gamma ray burst / dwarf star heading towards Earth. So, Astronomy and tech news.
By the way, is any of the above doom related to the internet chain meme? Because if so, I can help. Just get me on the next Soyuz launch.
3.) How much research do you feel like you need to do before you start a new story?
This is tricky. I always start out wanting to do a ton of research, but then I get bogged down in the details, or discover that my premise is absolute rubbish, or I’m pretty sure my sources are wrong and I’ll look like a fool. Case in point, I once wrote a play set in the 1950s, so I spent an inordinate amount of time researching Stalin and the Red Scare and nuclear testing during that time, and ended up writing a play about aliens who talked like 1920s gangsters.
The director forced me to heavily redact the script before performing the play. The 1920s alien gangsters did not make the cut.
I’m still haunted by this.
4.) Writing challenges (ala Nanowrimo) – useful, or merely stress-inducing?
Lately, the only thing that gets me writing. If I don’t have a challenge, I can’t justify to myself (or the missus) why I should spend all my free time in the man cave writing rather than feeding my children and changing their poopy diapers.
Recently, though, the missus has started insisting on the challenges being more life-threatening than cerebral. I goofed and left her one too many poopy diaper to change.
5.) Why do you write your main genre?
I’ve always loved sci-fi, and I wrote a lot of short stories in that genre when I was younger. I think I just sort of fell into the ‘write what you wish you could be doing’ camp.
I didn’t expect to find myself writing humor, though. Didn’t even think I could. That play I mentioned earlier? Supposed to be a comedy. It might have been amusing, but I don’t think I’d lived and seen enough back then to be consistently funny. Now that I’ve done it though, I love the world and the characters too much to give them up.
6.) What genre/author/book do you secretly love but would never admit to in polite conversation?
Twilight Saga. Awesome books. I can only dream to write at that level of quality.
I can’t think of anything I’m ashamed of loving. If it’s good enough to love, I will embrace it openly. For example, Pride and Prejudice. Awesome book. Not exactly a manly sort of admission to make, but it’s fun and clever and a pleasure to read. Even if Jane Austen’s editor did re-write all the dialog. 🙂
OK, maybe I won’t admit to enjoying the fanfic that ships Flo from the Progressive car insurance ads with Mayhem from the Allstate car insurance ads, but clearly no one would ever admit to that. It’s acknowledging on a primal level just how screwed up an individual you are to read it, let alone write it.
7.) What’s your favorite movie-adaptation of a book?
Can’t say I have a favorite. Books and movies are entirely different animals, so it’s hard to come up with a movie that does a book justice. That said, I’ve always loved 2001: A Space Odyssey. The book was written by Arthur C. Clarke at Stanley Kubrick’s request – it was a true collaboration. The book is still better, and frankly, while visually stunning, the movie makes no sense unless you’ve read the book. But still, I will stop and watch the movie if I come across it while channel surfing.
Is that close enough to favorite?
8.) What is your favorite type of cephalopod?
Cuttlefish. They can hypnotize you by cycling the color of their skin. It’s awesome. All hail the Hypno-Cuttlefish!
9.) What is your writing tool of choice?
Typing on a computer. Faster than anything else. Voice recognition is cool, but too slow for me and I only use it when I must.
I LOVE fountain pens, the gleam of the still-wet ink on paper, and will use one occasionally, but like most of my romances, simply not practical.
10.) What are your feelings about the proper usage of whom?
If you correct me on who/whom, you best be doing it from a great distance.
Actually, I’m a bit of a stickler for grammar, but my knowledge of the rules of grammar is not always up to the task. Also, I tend to ignore rules I think are stupid, like commas ALWAYS having to be inside the quote. Sometimes they shouldn’t be, so I don’t follow the rule.
It is possible, given what I just said, that I’m not using the word ‘stickler’ correctly.
I remember in third or fourth grade, when I first learned of the word ‘whom’, I turned in a homework assignment where I used it as often as I could. It came back covered in red, every single ‘whom’ crossed out and ‘who’ written above it.
Scarred me for life.
11.) What are you doing to bring yourself closer to your writing goals?
Trying to get my ‘brand’ out there with a blog. Finally gave up on traditional publication for my first novel, since trad publishing doesn’t seem to view absurdist noir thriller sci-fi satire as commercial enough, and self-published it. Became addicted to twitter (seriously, ask the missus!).
I’m not sure how that last item is supposed to help me, but I’ve been assured by other writers addicted to twitter that it does.