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April 09, 2007

State of the Scalzi

scalzi040907.jpg

As you might be able to guess from the picture above, the state of the Scalzi at the moment is a little frazzled and tired. San Diego was fun, getting home less so, and of course as soon as I got home the first thing I had to do was get right to work. Whee!

As I noted earlier, the reason I was in San Diego was that I had been invited by the Thomas Jefferson School of Law to talk about writing. I had two sessions, one a sort of formal presentation (I was interviewed, Actor's Studio-style, by my friend Deven Desai, who is a professor at the school) and the second rather more informal: Me hanging out on a couch in the student lounge, eating a bunch of cookies and fielding questions. In the first session I talked about how writing had been important to me in creating a "brand" for myself not just as a writer but also as an independent businessman. This was on point for the audience because many of the students are likely one day to put out a shingle as an individual proprietor, or will work in a small law office -- and law, more than many other fields, is heavily dependent on writing competence. In the second session, I fielded all sorts of topics: writing, publishing, e-books, creativity and so on and so forth.

Both sessions were a lot of fun; the first was pretty well-attended by both students and faculty (which was nice -- good to have a mix), and in the second the students asked a lot of interesting questions and kept me on my toes. It was a whole bunch of fun for me, anyway, although I think most of the other folks got something out of it as well. It was also a good warm-up for me for this coming Friday, when I'm talking about writing fiction at Sinclair college.

Having discharged my duties at the law school, the rest of the weekend was pretty relaxing; mostly I hung out, read, and gained about 30 pounds eating Thai, Indian and Mexican food. On Saturday, I went out to Mysterious Galaxy bookstore, because I'll be there during my book tour on the first of May, and I wanted to make sure I knew how to get there the next time I was in town. I'm happy to say the joint was hopping; we arrived just before author Jim Butcher was to do a reading, and there were lot of folks in the seats. Here's hoping some of them come back for me. But it's a very cool store, and I bought some books for the plane ride back as well as the latest Locus, because I'd heard Charles Brown, the editor, had had some things to say about the SFWA election, and I wanted to read it for myself (in short: yes, he's happy I and Derryl Murphy are contesting the election; no, Locus didn't make any formal endorsements, either for or against any of the candidates).

As for the delay, that happened when my flight out of San Diego was delayed by an hour and 40 minutes -- which meant that I and anyone who had a connecting flight within 2 hours of when we were supposed to land were entirely hosed (this was most of the people on the flight), and I'd have 11 hours until my new flight left. The good news was that Deven was only a few minutes from the airport, so he drove back to get me so I didn't have to stay trapped in airport hell all that time. It was irritating -- I wanted to be home with my family for at least part of Easter -- but all things considered, if you're going to be stranded, better it be in San Diego than, say, St. Louis, which is where my original flight was going.

I did manage to get in a little bit of sleep on the flight out from San Diego, but airplane sleep really isn't the same as real sleep, so at the moment I am basically alert enough to type and recount, as I'm doing now, but really competent to actually think, which is unfortunate, since I should be writing some of The High Castle at the moment. But if I try writing that right now, I'm just going to have redo it all tomorrow. I'm going to eliminate the middleman and just go to sleep early tonight so I can start on it tomorrow.

In any event: A lovely weekend, excepting the travel portion of it, but that's often the way things work. I do want to thank the Thomas Jefferson School of Law faculty and students for making me feel welcome and asking interesting questions about writing; it made it a lot of fun. It's always nice when one of these things actually works the way it should.

Posted by john at April 9, 2007 04:42 PM

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Comments

Chris Gerrib | April 9, 2007 04:59 PM

I know a couple of lawyers, and they all want to be writers. They work in corporate law, which is as far from TV lawyering as possible, and (I think) bored stiff.

That may have been part of why your audience was so large.

Tracey C. | April 9, 2007 05:37 PM

Just made time to read Android's Dream this weekend (a blissful, no-schoolwork-allowed vacation with hiking and hot tubs and fireplaces and squirrels) - thank you! It was tremendously fun.

My boyfriend kept asking me why I was laughing and I'd have to explain that really, it wasn't able to be encapsulated succinctly, and he'd just have to read it for himself.

Glad you made it home safely!

Nathan | April 9, 2007 06:34 PM

I know that discussing which celebrity you look like is so last week, but if that picture was the only one of you I'd ever seen, I'd be convinced you were Alfred Hitchcock reincarnated.

Paul Estin | April 9, 2007 06:48 PM

"I was interviewed, Actor's Studio-style, by my friend Deven Desai"

You realize, of course, that, thanks to your previous introduction to Prof. Desai, not to mention my own song-cue-oriented brain... every time you mention him I'm going to get that damned INXS song stuck in my head. Again.

PixelFish | April 9, 2007 06:59 PM

Sorry to here that you got stuck in the airport for so long. I hate to fly period, so I sympathise.

Also.....look what I got in the mail!

http://flickr.com/photos/pixelfish/453076516/

That's right, I gots me my ARC....

Jonathan Vos Post | April 9, 2007 10:48 PM

"I know a couple of lawyers, and they all want to be writers."

Most lawyers ARE writers. They make more per word than most writers of other genres. Their work is read by fewer people than with most other genres. The format is excruciatingly constrained, somewhere in the neighborhoof of p0rn, sestinas, or crossword puzzles.

I have earned over $100,000 with legal writings, variously subcontracted to me by Patent law firms, or briefs, motions, and writs at appellate and state supreme court level.

I've had judges ignore the content completely and criticize my spelling. I've had judges admonish attorneys for criticizing my writings, saying that they are good.

My son was professionally published when less than 10 years aold, and he's now been accepted (aged eighteen) into a top-10 Law School.

In about 3 years, he'll be earning more than his parents combined.

Some legal documents are worth reading. Some Supreme Court decisions. But, best of all, our Constitution!

Brad Ackerman | April 9, 2007 10:50 PM

Figures -- I left San Diego on Saturday afternoon. I saw the Jim Butcher event scheduled, and would have been there had I stayed until Sunday. Which I should have done, because as is I only had a day and a half for personal stuff(1), and the zoo took up most of that. (On the plus side, they have ridiculously cute meerkats.)

(1) I was there for SANS training, which claimed all of my days and most of my evenings for a week.

ben | April 9, 2007 11:08 PM

Last Thursday I bought OMW (finally) to read on a flight from Kansas City to San Antonio.

{insert "Best {x} EVAR" sentiments here}

'Twas good,

Kate Nepveu | April 10, 2007 09:03 AM

A lot of people want to be writers, so it's not surprising that lawyers should be among them.

That said, there's a reason I'm not doing corporate law.

Eric | April 10, 2007 09:52 AM

...if you're going to be stranded, better it be in San Diego than, say, St. Louis,

You just want to know how many readers you have from St. Louis, right?

*grrr*

Home of your World Champion St. Louis Cardinals

John Scalzi | April 10, 2007 09:57 AM

Eric:

I've been to St. Louis. I've been to San Diego.

I'd rather be stranded in San Diego. This isn't even a contest.

Tapetum | April 11, 2007 05:41 PM

Come be stranded in Louisville instead. In a pinch we can even drive you home.

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