Because I know you are all endlessly fascinated with the trivia of my personal physical and mental well-being, here’s all the latest on me that happened while I was away.
* Physically, on the positive side, I’m happy to say that weight loss thing I’ve been working on (detailed earlier here) is working; I’ve gone from about 185 pounds down to 172. I originally thought I had been starting at about 180, but I got a new digital scale which revealed my old analog scale was off by about five pounds. It was mildly depressing on a psychological level to discover I was five pounds more overweight than I thought I was, but on the other hand, it was also more motivation to pare off the pounds.
The weight loss adventure is in fact delightfully undramatic — I eat less (and better), I exercise more, I lose on average a pound a week, more or less — but I do suppose weight loss should be undramatic, all things considered. I figure I have about another ten pounds or so to go; hopefully I’ll get there before the month-long calorie-fest known as the holiday season. We shall see.
* On the negative side, physically speaking, I’d been noticing some soreness in my right hip that was above and beyond “flabby person who doesn’t exercise moves around and gets a pain” soreness. So I went and scheduled a physical, at which I learned that while generally speaking I am in inexplicably good physical condition for a slightly overweight dude who does almost no exercise, I also have a bit of osteoarthritis in my right hip.
And that’s when my youth ended and I knew I would die.
Well, no. It wasn’t as bad as all that. But on the other hand 41 is a little young for osteoarthritis, even the very minor case of it I am confronted with. It weirded me out for a couple of days, and also precipitated this conversation between me and my wife:
Me: So now my hip is always going to hurt just a little bit.
Wife: Poor baby.
Me: I’m a little depressed about this. I think I’ll have my mid-life crisis now.
Wife: You do that.
Me: So you don’t mind if I have an ill-advised fling with a 23-year-old.
Wife: Good luck with that.
It’s not true, in any event; my hip doesn’t always hurt a little bit. I have to kind of go out of my way to feel a twinge, a sort of rotation that is easily avoided most of the time (this did lead to me saying to my doctor “it hurts when I do this,” to which she replied “then don’t do that,” which just goes to show some jokes have a practical application). So far on a day-to-day basis it doesn’t present me with any major problems; hell, I went dancing for three hours non-stop when I was in Melbourne and the next day it was my muscles, not my hip, that were complaining. Be that as it may I will soon be scheduling an appointment with a physical therapist to find out what I need to do to care for and maintain the joint so it doesn’t get any worse any faster than it has to.
* Work-wise, as I noted before, my six-week break was quite productive, although it was largely productive on projects not related to book writing: I sent in notes to a whole batch of SG:U scripts, did my filmcritic.com column, worked with the SFWA board to pass some important stuff, collected stories and wrote my own for the Wheaton/Scalzi fanfic chapbook (about which I will have more details very soon), and did a big chunk of work on one of those secret projects that I can’t tell you about yet — which I still can’t tell you about yet, sorry, but when you do eventually find out what it is, oh man, you will totally think it’s cool. So I was busy.
* But, but, but… what about books? you ask, plaintively. Yes, well, don’t worry. When I wasn’t doing work I was thinking about what books I want to write and where they fit on my schedule. I am primarily a book writer; it’s what I’m best at and also what I enjoy doing the most. But I’m also — and gratefully — in a position where lots of interesting non-book-related projects are on my radar, and I want to be able to take advantage of those opportunities when they show up. So the real challenge for me these days is to build a schedule that allows me to write the books I want to write while still leaving me time to do these other things (and then, you know, sticking to that schedule, but let’s not get into that right this second).
The good news here is that during my break, I got myself a pretty good idea of the books I want to write over the next few years. Assuming that everything goes to plan (which is a big assumption; see the next paragraph), I’ll have books lined up through about 2017. The first of these, of course, will be Fuzzy Nation, which comes out next May, and you already know about that one. The rest you’ll learn about when I finish each particular book; I don’t find much value talking about these things until they’re done. I will say that I like the idea of having a vague idea of what I’ll be working on into the future; it gives my brain time to roll the stories around so that when I sit down to type them out I have some basic contours and idea to work with.
Now, bear in mind that as I write this, a few years ago I was absolutely sure my next big project was going to be a two-book science fiction series told as oral history, and even signed contracts to that effect, only to have Max Brooks come out with World War Z, and corner the market on science fictional oral histories. Two years ago, I was pretty damn certain that I’d be in the middle of a five-book YA series right about now, but then things fell apart when it came time to negotiate payment, so now that YA series lives in one of my office drawers. One year ago, Fuzzy Nation wasn’t on any publishing schedule anywhere, and now it is. So when I say to you that I have book plans that stretch out through 2017, that doesn’t mean any of it will actually happen. It just means I have plans. However, plans are useful. You at least have some idea which direction you’re going.
And again, if all goes to plan I will still have time in my schedule to do other things, either my own projects or the ones that pop up and get offered to me from time to time. And that is useful too, because you never know what’s going to come of that — see Fuzzy Nation as an example there. Basically, it’s nice to be able to say “I plan to do this, but if something else comes along, we’ll see what happens then.”
Annnnnd that’s where everything about me is at the moment.