Famous Authors Before They Were Famous

It’s no secret that someday I want to make my living at writing. Nothing on this earth would please me more than waking up at 3AM with a great idea and being able to write it without worrying about work in the morning.

Some days it seems closer than others. It’s hard to remember that everyone had to start somewhere.

I found a great list on the blog at Publishers Weekly that helps to put things in perspective. Did you know that Douglas Adams thought of Hitchhiker while working as a security guard?

Read on to find out where some of the greats started.

Movie Monday is On Hiatus

Hey there. Hi.

This is the bit of the blog where the movie post should go. There should be some analysis right about…here…and maybe a joke or something.

But honestly? I’m not feeling it. I watched the beginnings of a handful of horror movies on the weekend, trying to find the one that would spark an idea. I never really plan the movie posts out; the theme usually jumps out and demands to be written.

I think movie reviews should be fun, both to write and to read. I can’t force the funny, and it’s not fair to either of us if I try.

Sorry about the somber post here; I just like to keep you up to date.

Are there any fantastic, cheesy movies that I can’t live without seeing? Anything you want to see here? Throw me a comment below!

My New Tattoo: Part 1

I have a new love. This is an Olivetti Studio 44, from the fifties. It types in cursive! I modified the colour to make it brighter; check out the photos at Classic Bride to see the real deal.

And no, it’s probably not the same model, but Stephen King (one of my writing heroes) says this:
“Tabby claims that I married her for a typewriter. She had a nice little Olivetti, portable typewriter, very sturdy and I wrote Carrie on it, Blaze and a bunch of other stuff as well. I guess I wrote Shawshank on that typewriter too, on a kitchen table in Boulder…” (source)

I also got another tattoo, but you’ll have to wait until I can get a better picture of it. (Ooooh, suspense!)

101 Tips for Writers

OnlineCollege.org has compiled a list of 101 Tips from the World’s Most Famous Authors. You’ll find everyone here, from Hemingway to Stephen King.

My favourite?

Dr. Seuss. Be responsible for your own success. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

What’s yours?

An Exercise in Madness: House of Leaves

Okay, so this is a novel that I’ve been meaning to talk about. It’s one that requires its own post, and even then I’m not sure I’ll do it justice.


The story in House of Leaves (without spoiling) goes something like this:
There’s this guy, Johnny. He’s our narrator, in a way. He finds a manuscript by a deceased old man known as Zampano. The manuscript is a book about a documentary about a family who made a documentary about their house, which is considerably bigger inside than it is outside. Oh, and it’s growing. And there are growls in the dark.

So we’re reading a book about a book about a movie about a movie. Yep.

It starts when Will Navidson, the homeowner, finds a door where there wasn’t one before. It’s inside, but on an exterior wall: so if opened, it should lead outside. Instead it opens onto a pitch-black hallway that gets longer the further you walk it.

The typesetting in the novel itself is upside down, backwards, crossed-out, different colours, encoded. The book is heavily cross-referenced to books and articles that don’t exist. It’s maddening, and fascinating, and hypnotic.

You can read it with or without Johnny, with or without solving the code. It’s several books inside one big one, and if that wasn’t layered enough, there’s an album recorded specifically to complement it.

It’s one of my favourites, by far, and up next on my re-reading list. I’ve only just begun feeling comfortable looking down dark hallways since my last read-through…it’s about time I scared the shit out of myself again.

Dreams Take Time…And Cash.

I’m in the midst of developing a Grand Five-Year Plan. It has glorious secrets, some of which I can’t reveal yet, but it also involves regular stuff like moving into a better house and having more money in the bank.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how it will all come together. The number one, very-most-important thing I need to work on is saving more money. For a number of my plans to come to fruition, we’ll need a sizable cushion in the bank. And I can’t count on us making more money for a while, so it’s all about budgeting and spending less.

I use Quicken already when I remember to. It’s moderately helpful, considering I don’t use half the widgets. The pie charts are pretty, though.

We use debit for most purchases. Debit isn’t necessarily the best move, because it lets you access your whole bank account ALL THE TIME, but at least it’s trackable when I remember to read the statements.

We’ve been getting better about the little things, like buying less drive-through coffee, but I still feel an unholy consumer lust when I see things like this.

Obviously, I need to get my financial shit together. And, being a word-person who can’t math, I’ll be diving into books for help. (Have any recommendations? I’d love to hear them.)

In the meantime I found some great blogs and websites that are geared to us artsy folks.

Movie Monday: Some Guy Who Kills People

I started watching this one thinking it would be easy enough to pick apart. I mean, seriously. Some Guy Who Kills People?

But I found myself just watching, entranced. I loved it. In fact, I absolutely adored it.

The dialogue is perfect: concise, punchy, subtly funny:
(Sheriff and Deputy, upon discovering a decapitated victim)
“This thing has no head, Ernie.”
“I know, Sir.”
“Most bodies have heads.”
“Where’s this thing’s head?”
“Not sure yet, Sir.”
“Well we should find his head.”
“Good idea, Sir.”

It has the same candy-coloured, cute-horror, slightly-fifties aesthetic as Fido. The main actor (Kevin Corrigan) reminds me of a dark, damaged Mark Ruffalo (in fact, this movie is just like The Kids Are All Right, except it has less lesbianism and way more brutal violence). It has everything I love: comics, over-the-top violence, dark humour, a diner, a smart-ass sheriff, a foam ice-cream costume, crushing social awkwardness…

Are you watching it yet? You should be.

The Saddest Day is the Last Day of Vacation

It’s my last day of vacation. A lot happened in the past two weeks.

The floor is down in the new office:
(You may remember it looking like this.)

Some things I did:

baked, set up a home office, read, wrote, published, sold some work, took on an art job, slept for days, drank 500 pots of coffee, listened to hours of late-night conspiracy radio, watched cartoons, played with the cats, hung out with the husband, hung out with friends, worked on two novels, and applied for freelance writing work.

I wish I didn’t have to go back. I wish I could work from home instead.

I’d get so much done if I could work here. I’d use breaks so productively, on things like organizing the new spaces. And going on grocery runs. And doing the laundry, in our dark, scary basement…

Shit. Well, maybe that can be the husband’s job instead.