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June 30th, 2006

Belated Update

I do have the best of intentions, honest. How hard can it be to update your blog regularly? Even when it's Not A Blog? Sigh. Too hard for me, it would seem. I know there are folks who do it every day, but...

Actually, I have added new entries to this journal half a dozen times since the last post you read here. In my head, anyway. It's just getting the words down on pap... er, phosphor... that proves to be the problem. Of course, getting the words down has always been the hard part. If it wasn't hard, everyone would be a writer.

Let's see, I went to Marcon in Columbus, Ohio last month, did a few panels, read a chapter from A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, had some drinks with some of my readers. The Marcon folks were great hosts. On the way back, I stopped in Chicago to visit with my old friend and one-time collaborator Lisa Tuttle, who now lives in Scotland but was passing through Chicago herself on the way back from Wiscon. We had a great time catching up, and visited my favorite restaurant in the world, the Greek Islands in Greektown, where we ate flaming cheese and shouted "Opaa!" (There are some who will tell you that Oprah Winfrey has grown so huge in Chicago that the waiters in the Greektown eateries now shout "Oprah!" when they set the cheese on fire, but I can testify that it isn't true). I also took an el ride up to my old stomping grounds in Uptown one afternoon, and was startled by the changes. The apartments I lived in on Margate Terrace and Argyle are still there, but that's about it. The grocery stores I shopped in, the bar where I drank beer and played that high-tech videogame Pong, the newstand where I bought my comic books and the first issue of ANALOG to feature my story on the cover, the diners where I used to have my breakfast, even the friendly neighborhood titty bars where I used to... ah... do sociological research, all of them are gone. Argyle is nothing but Oriental groceries and Vietnamese restaurants now. The saddest part was seeing the boarded up ruins of the Uptown and Riviera movie houses, where I sat in the dark and saw so many films back in the early 70s. The Uptown in particular needs to be saved. It was one of Chicago's largest and grandest movie palaces. Anyway, after I got back, I figured I'd write a trip report about Columbus and Chicago for Not A Blog. But I didn't.

Here in Santa Fe, our home renovations have been going ahead like... well, I was going to say, "gangbusters," but "housebusters" would be more accurate. Three-quarters of what we own is in storage, and the construction crew has ripped the roof off our house, torn out the ceilings and most of the walls on floors two and one-and-a-half, filled several huge dumpsters with chunks of what used to be our home. They keep telling us they are going to put it all back together twice as nice as before, but some days I wonder. Meanwhile, Parris and I are living in my office across the street, which isn't nearly big enough for the two of us and Caligula and Augustus too. Another three months and it will all be done, they say. I hope so. I was thinking I would write a long piece for Not A Blog about the trials and tribulations of home renovation. But of course I didn't.

I have had various visitors since my last update here, most recently Howard Waldrop, who passed through on his way to the Rio Hondo writer's workshop in Taos, and again on the way back. Howard's visits never last long enough. He and I have known each other since 1963, when I bought BRAVE & BOLD #28 from him (first JLA, donchaknow) for a quarter and we began to correspond. We were both in high school in those days, writing for comics fanzines. I was writing superhero stories in prose, and he was writing post-holocaust sword & sorcery about a hero called The Wanderer and "the Chronicles of Chim-Wazle." I keep telling Howard that I want that next Wanderer story, but he never listens. He's writing stuff about a guy named Tom Purdue instead... (or at least that's the story he told me to tell). I thought I might put something up here about Howard and his visit. But I didn't.

Oddly enough, I am still writing superhero stories in prose. Or editing them, at least. One of the BIG news items since my last update here is the rebirth of WILD CARDS, which I am very excited about. The WILD CARDS series has been a part of my life since 1985 (though admittedly there was one seven-year hiatus in there), and some of the characters go all the way back to 1983, when some of the New Mexico gang created them for a RPG called SUPERWORLD. It's a world I love, and one I feared that I might have lost when our last publisher went bankrupt, but Tor Books stepped in and saved the day, and WILD CARDS is coming back bigger and better than ever, with new stories, new writers, and new characters. I thought about writing about that here, but instead I wrote about it for my News page. So go read the details there... and then go out and read a WILD CARDS book, please. I promise you, it's good stuff.

Parris and I saw Al Gore's AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH last week. It is a powerful and persuasive statement, and surprisingly entertaining, and Gore exudes so much warmth and intelligence that I still wonder how the country could have chosen George W. Bush instead in 2000... oh, wait, I forgot, we DIDN'T! Just those rascals on the Supreme Court. Speaking of W (must we?), I see that when he was asked if he intended to see Gore's film, he replied, "Doubt it," with one of his patented monkey smirks. You know, it is irritating enough that this president is so ignorant about so many things, but what really infuriates me is that he WALLOWS in his ignorance and seems to take great joy in it. No, of course he is not going to see AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. He might have learned something. Anyway, I did think about writing some political stuff here. But I didn't.

I could go on. There were a whole bunch of other subjects I considered adding to Not A Blog. Some of them I even wrote in my head. (Ah, the stuff I write in my head... )

Of course, judging by my emails, very few of you would have cared much about my visit to Chicago, or Howard's visit here, or my home renovations, or even global warming (you SHOULD care about global warming, however, and if you don't know why, go see the Gore film, Al explains it much better than I could). All my emails are about A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. I made the mistake of saying on my Update page that I would update again in April, and I didn't. Mea culpa. The thing is, I have posted several updates here, and I thought that would suffice, but it would appear that a good percentage of the folks who visit my website go straight to Update and never check out any of the other pages or links, including this one.

I promise, I am going to update Update real soon now.

Meanwhile, for those who do read this page... yes, I am still working on A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, and yes, I still hope to deliver it this fall, or by the end of the year at the latest.

I also have other news about A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE. A couple of things, actually, that I think will please and excite fans of the series. Unfortunately, I can't talk about them yet. Watch my News page, though. I should have a few big announcements in the next few months.

I hope I will be back here for another Not A Blog before that. But I'm not promising.

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