Friday, October 28, 2005

Conspiracies R Us

This article discusses the plotting of a book -- a medical thriller backed by the pharmaceutical industry in an effort to sway public opinion against purchasing drugs from Canada. The executive who came up with the idea has been fired as a renegade, but I find the concept both amusing and disturbing.

Amusing: That's one use for an advertising budget. The average author's advance is going to be much cheaper than a prime TV commercial. Of course, there's that whole hiring the press and trying to make sure the book gets into stores, but that's a minor detail, right?

Disturbing: Could it have worked? And if it did, how responsible would the authors be for delivering the message they were paid for? I don't believe an author has to believe in everything she writes (how many serial killers would we have running around if we did?), but if an author is going to accept money to produce a specific viewpoint and demonize a type of action, that author's just another marketing shill. And, yeah, they do need to accept that that's what they're doing.

I'm not saying that makes the writing any easier. It's still work, hard work. But it's propaganda.

Wow, that took a serious turn I wasn't expecting, but yeah, I am disturbed by fiction being written with an agenda. If you want to put in your morals and themes, fine. But keep the proselytizing to the non-fiction, please.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Surprising joys

So Maripat over here took Holly's joy meme and issued a generic tag for anyone who was reading her blog to go and do likewise.

Here's the meme from Holly's original post:


Search your blog for the word “joy” used in the context of “happiness.” If you cannot find the word in your weblog, you may use any of the select list of synonyms below.

joy — amusement, bliss, cheer, comfort, delectation, delight, ecstasy, elation, exaltation, exultation, exulting, felicity, gaiety, gladness, glee, good humor, gratification, happiness, hilarity, humor, jubilance, liveliness, merriment, mirth, pleasure, rapture, regalement, rejoicing, revelry, satisfaction, wonder

If your weblog does not include a built-in search engine, then you can use Google to search it only for the word you wish to find. [Just enter the search terms you're looking for, followed by the word "site" and a colon followed by the domain name.]

If you’ve found the word and it was not used facetiously or sarcastically, good for you. All you need to do is link to your earlier entry, and write a few words about that joyous moment. If, however, you have no joy (whole words only) in your weblog, you must dig deep in your soul and find something wonderful in your life right now. One little thing that fills you with warmth, that bubbles you over with quiet happiness, or tickles you with its good-hearted hilarity, or makes you glad you just took a breath, and are getting ready to take another. It doesn’t have to be anything big. A smile someone gave you; your cat on your shoulder; the way the light angles through your window and casts rainbows on your floor. All it has to be is something genuine, something real, something that matters to you.

Because we all need joy in our lives, and need to take the time — from time to time — to recognize it. And sometimes, we need to pass it on.

And Maripat's addition:

Who am I going to tag? No one. Because here’s what I’m going to do. If you have a blog consider yourself tagged and find joy in your blog. If you don’t have an active blog or you just don’t have one, then leave a comment at my blog about some joy in your life.

If you’re reading this, and I know someone is, I want you to write something about joy in your life. Trust me, this will make you feel better. Let’s face it, somedays the ugly spots in our lives overwhelm us so let’s look at something that’s going right.

Well, I know that I haven't blogged about joy before. Only two entries here, pretty easy to tell. So here are some thoughts on joy.

Joy is finding a picture of my grandmother when she was young and realizing I look like her -- and that she was young and laughed once, too.

Joy is knowing my son would rather cuddle on the couch and read together than do anything else.

Joy is seeing the leaves changing colors and knowing soon we'll have a huge pile of leaves to jump in. Joy is looking out the window at a hill covered with trees and watching them through the seasons.

Joy is putting bulbs in the ground for the promise of life and color in the spring. Joy is that burst of yellow daffodils when the world is still muddy and gray.

Joy is old friends I can rely on even though they're thousands of miles away. Joy is new friends who are supportive and caring even though we've never met face-to-face.

Joy is a husband and a family who support me in my goals.

Joy is dogs and cats who crowd around to see me whenever I sit down.

Joy is my son knowing I love flowers and bringing me some from in the yard -- even if they're dandelions.

Joy is my husband buying me a DVD of Blazing Saddles as a welcome-home gift when I spent two weeks at my parents because my dad was hospitalized.

Joy is a friend who sends me a Tinker Bell shirt "just because."

Joy is my first short story sale.

Joy is not living in a flat state.

Joy is seeing blue jays and cardinals in our trees.

Joy is having my own office to work in, decorated the way I want it.

Joy is being able to walk on my own two feet. Joy is trying to skip again. Joy is splashing in the rain puddles with my son.

Joy is the sight of a hundred hot air balloons rising on a crisp fall morning above the desert hills.

Joy is wisps of fog in the eucalyptus in summer.

Joy is pogonip creating ice fantasies from pines and sage.

Joy is a hot cup of tea shared with friends or enjoyed on my own.

Joy is having Sharpies in every color made.

Joy is being good at what I do.

Joy is doing the New York Times Sunday crossword in ink -- and not having to write over too many of the letters.

Joy is.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Tobias Buckell's author advance survey

108 authors reporting, with cool stuff like a graph of how advance is dependent on number of novels previously written (apparently not at all). Check it out.