Monkeys and Such

Your Inner Critic, Like A Pet Marmoset, is Waiting to Throw Poo on You

I’ve been feeling a Great Urgency (yes, capitals are required) to get the next book done as soon as possible. The reason is personal, and not the subject of this post. I’m actually just venting a little bit about my Inner Critic, that internal voice I was trained intothat tells me I’m inadequate to the task.

Danny Gregory, on his blog today, gives ample evidence of his own inner critic in evidence. (He’s trained a lot of us to call it The Monkey. The name works. Particularly if, unlike me, you can avoid imagining Mickey Dolenz.)

Point is, Danny has helped SO MANY people reclaim their creative selves, or make it through the hardest times of their lives, or … like yours truly … believe that we deserve to say yes instead of no to opportunities. If he’d listened to his monkey, fed it and wallowed in the monkey’s “but it’s not perfect!” excrement, instead of working on anyway, so many lives would be bleaker for it.

Which reminds me that someone, somewhere, may need my creation too.

So while my own personal Inner Critic has, with the help if Danny and my other creative tribemembers, been downsized from Gorilla (I know, not a monkey) to marmoset, I’m still going to leave the Marmoset Chow in the shelf and keep working.

GBR #17: Peter S. Beagle

Once upon a time, there was a boy who was born a storyteller. As he grew, he told stories, and some of them were made into books. Grown, he told stories, and some of them were acted out by other people, or put into magazines, or had pictures drawn of and through them. Growing older, he told stories, and some of them were put into new books, or were told to people, and some of them went dancing through the air and came slipping along through the wires and curled into the screen in front of me.

Along the way, he wrote some lovely things, and some true things, and some things that were both. (And some of those were about cats.)

Not everyone appreciates the work of Peter S. Beagle, but many many of us do. It’s a quiet tribe. I had wondered if perhaps the love of this sort of lyric wordsmithing was leaving our culture. Then, backstage at a theater, I saw a young man I’d met but didn’t really know. He was reading. He was stealing moments from the production, and himself from the attention of his peers, to lose himself in the pages of The Last Unicorn.  I smiled. I left him to it, to the play of words and images, to learn something about himself and the world. It’s good to find your old friends loved by new readers.

Peter S. Beagle: voted Most Likely to Have Nancy Lose It and Start Crying at Balticon. (Last time such a thing happened, it was Caroll Spinney. So fine company.)

The Last Unicorn has sold over 6 million copies, and Beagle has been storycrafting ever since. Many books, short stories, and more. He’s got a lovely rich storyteller’s voice, too. Writing Excuses podcast has an interview with him; you should give it a listen; you’ll probably want his audiobook that he narrates once you’ve heard this voice.

Cat status: this is the man who wrote, “It made the cat dozing in Molly’s lap look like a heap of autumn leaves.” These words will always summon my long-gone Purrl from memory. And Purrl would never come for anyone who didn’t appreciate a good cat.

 

GBR #14: Donald Kingsbury

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Kingsbury Cat Status: Entirely a Mystery! AND I didn’t draw him. So here’s a photo of my cat Seleno Kyle and a sketchbook to tide you over while I sort this out.

True confession: I have failed in my mission, and have not read Donald Kingsbury’s work. It’s not in my local library, and not available digitally. The book I ordered seems lost in transit, but if it arrives, it will be too late for Balticon. I did attempt to listen to the Audible version of one of his books … and I simply don’t have it in me to do that. Through no fault of the book, mind you. This listener has discovered she can’t multi-task while listening to certain audio books, and I won’t risk anyone’s life by driving while trying to follow the mind of a mathematician.

Nor did I draw him. My usual method, when I’m not drawing live and haven’t taken photographs myself, is to respect copyright by not copying someone else’s picture without permission. I will look carefully at as many photos of someone as I can find online, compare them, then from this study attempt to recreate the image I’m holding of them in my mind. (I know…this explains a lot, right?) (I may yet go in and purple up Sharon Lee’s hair.) Couldn’t do this with Kingsbury, though, as I’ve only been able to find a single confirmed picture of him online. So until and if I get to see him at Balticon? No sketch.

His blog was last updated with an anticipated release of Psychohistorical Crisis in November 2001. If I didn’t know the man was planning to attend Balticon, I’d have likely assumed that he has found some way to experiment with his argument that,

…quantum mechanics, unlike general relativity, cannot distinguish between a system in which time is traveling “forward” and a system in which time is traveling “backwards.”            — Donald Kingsbury, blog post

So I wonder … HAS Donald Kingsbury been exploring the nature of entropy relative to time by slipping in and out of the time stream, popping over to 2016 just in time to attend Balticon 50? If I meet him, I’m not sure I’ll have the audacity to ask. Perhaps I’ll just check his cat status.