For me, it's been a month of bad news and good news, some serious, some trivial.
Good News. The Jets. The Jets don't have half the talent the Giants have, but they seem to be playing twice as well. Coaching is everything in the NFL, and it seems the Jets finally have a good one in Eric Mangini. Let's see if he can keep it up in the last four games.
Bad News. The Giants. Oy. What can I say? Can they think of any more ways to lose games? Tiki Barber is a great, great player, and I love Jeremy Shockey's fire, and the defense has some studs on it as well (when they are not all injured)... but Eli has been maddeningly erratic, and the team's lack of discipline is shocking. Coughlin has to get the blame for that. They should have hired Charlie Weis to replace Fassel. Unless the G-Men turn it around soon, though, they may be looking for a coach again at season's end.
Good news. Home renovations. The house is finally coming together, and it will be very nice once we get moved back in.
Bad news. Home renovations. It was supposed to be done in early November. Then by Thanksgiving. Then by early December. Then by Christmas. It's still not done, and I don't think it will be done by Christmas either. Cardinal rules of home remodeling: everything takes longer and costs twice as much, the disruption and annoyance levels are always much higher than you anticipated. Parris and I are still living across the street in my office, with the cats. We haven't killed each other yet, which can only be a testament to our love for one another. I have been tempted to behead the cats a few times.
Good news. Thanksgiving. One of my favorite holidays of the year. We went out to the gorgeous new house Carl built for Melinda and had a great turkey dinner cooked in their vast and splendid new kitchen. Great turkey, and Melinda made one of her justly-famous apple pies (my favorite dessert, I'm just an all American boy). Good turkey, good wine, good company, nothing beats Thanksgiving with friends (except maybe Thanksgiving with friends, family, and mashed rutabagas).
Bad news. Christmas. My least favorite holiday of the year, and it is already bearing down on us like a freight train. Sorry, I have no Xmas spirit. Bah, humbug. Every year, for decades now, Christmas finds me stressed out like nobody's business, trying to complete some script, story, or novel that I have promised to someone "by the end of the year," sweating blood over my computer, and forgetting about the Dread Day until it is almost too late. I used to do all my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. These days I do most of it by catalog, but I still manage to wait so long that I always end up paying extra for the SuperDuper Priority Overnight Shipping for Idiots Who Didn't Shop Until the Last Minute. And then I have to WRAP the presents. I am the world's worst present-wrapper. I am usually wrapping presents at three in the morning Xmas day, to have them ready before Parris wakes up. Some year, I know, Christmas stress is going to give me a major coronary. I just hope it's not this year. I can't possibly die this year, I have far too much to do.
Good news. The election. Hey, hot damn, we threw the rascals out! A lot of the rascals, anyway. I am not naive enough to think the utopia will now ensue, but it certainly felt good to win one for a change, and the Senate will certainly be better off without Rick Santorum and George Allen.
Bad news. The election. Okay, we didn't manage to throw ALL the rascals out. Heather Wilson snuck back into the House, dammit, and Joe Lieberman, the Democrat-Who-Walks-like-a-Republican, got back in as well.
Good news. Work. I've been home for this past month -- no cons, no tours, no awards dinners -- and that has enabled me to be much more productive than in the months preceding. The new WILD CARDS book is almost done (some great stuff in there too) and should be finished by the end of the year. Gardner Dozois, Daniel Abraham, and I finished the novel-length expansion of SHADOW TWIN, and sold it in both the US and the UK (just last week, in fact). I've inked a couple of exciting new subrights deals that I expect to be announcing very soon (watch my news page)... and we may be close to a couple of other subrights deals that I won't be announcing, because I am not allowed to talk about 'em yet. The comic book adaption of THE SWORN SWORD is finally underway, and several other cool comics projects are in the works, but I can't talk about them just yet either. The month has been a blur of work, in other works.
Bad news. Work. None of the projects I wrapped up was A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. Work has been going well, yes, but not especially on DANCE. I am not going to be able to finish it by the end of the year as I had hoped. I know this will disappoint all of you. Many of you will write me sympathetic and supportive emails (and I do appreciate those, even if I don't have the time to reply). A few of you will write me nasty, intemperate emails about how I'm doing this all just to screw my readers. Sigh. My editors, agents, and publishers will be even more disappointed than my readers, but no one will be as disappointed as me. Believe that or not. All I can say is that I HAVE gotten several other obligations off my plate, that my contractor swears in blood that the home renovations will be finished soon so I can have my office back again, that I'm working on DANCE and I will continue to work on it. What I will no longer due, however, is announce any more dates by which I hope to finish and deliver the book. All that those estimates ever seem to do is ratchet up my stress levels and get me more grief. I hope it won't be taking much longer... I have almost two months at home before my next scheduled trip, to Boston and NYC in February, and one thing that has become very clear to me is that the more I travel, the less I get written. (And speaking of Boston and NYC, do I perchance have any fans out there in New Haven, Connecticut?) I have even thought about cancelling my annual trip to Boston and New York, though I am reluctant to take that step, since that is usually the only time of the year that I get to see my family in New Jersey.
So that's the latest. What can I say?
Go Jets. Go Giants. Go Dragons.