Archive for July 27th, 2008

7/27/08: Why can’t I be more like me?

Finished revising the global-warming/honor-killing story and sent it off. I fixed some of the worst probems, but I’m still not completely happy with it. The characters are deliberately unsympathetic, which will probably kill the story for many readers, and I still don’t think I’ve succeeded in establishing their motivations for a couple of key reversals. But the world of the story is so grim that I don’t want to spend any more time there, so off it goes. It may not sell, but at least I took a risk and tried something different.

Next up is revision of the magic-lesbian-plumber story, which should be much more fun.

I picked up a copy of Dozois’s latest Year’s Best and discovered that “Babel Probe” (Darker Matter), “Moonlight on the Carpet” (Aeon) and “Titanium Mike Saves the Day” (F&SF) all snagged Honorable Mentions. Go me.

One more thing before I go and take a nap: I found the following in a two-year-old email and decided that it’s worth sharing.

I saw a stupid TV show on MTV the other day, called something like “Why Can’t I Be You?” In this show, a person who isn’t happy with their life contacts the producers and says “I wish I were more like X,” where X is some former classmate or co-worker or random person on the street. In this particular instance it was some uptight barista who wanted to be more spontaneous, like this guy he knew in high school. The producers found the guy, put the two of them together, and told the guy “we want you to take this barista along with you everywhere for 48 hours and show him how to be like you, while we film everything. We’ll give you a thousand bucks.”

The result was only mildly entertaining and somewhat appalling, but it got me to thinking: what would I do in this situation? Which led me to ask myself which of the two roles I envisioned myself in. After a while I realized I could see myself in both roles. Which made me think of the show in this way: if the me who is depressed, angry, and antisocial came to the me who is happy, flexible, and outgoing (for I contain both people, as I’m sure most people do) and said “I want to be more like you,” what would I tell me to do?

It’s an interesting way to approach the question of how to make my life more like what I want it to be. No answers yet, but taking risks and reaching out to friends are part of it.

“Babel Probe,” “Moonlight on the Carpet,” and “Titanium Mike Saves the Day” all received Honorable Mentions in Gardner Dozois’s latest Year’s Best Science Fiction.