Wednesday, February 14, 2007

True confessions

I've been feeling a little unhappy with my writing output of late. A couple of things are slowing me down; first, I'm reading a novel, Vellum, which I'm having a very hard time getting my head around. Given the reviews I had read that convinced me to give a it a try, I should have expected such a condition, especially since a lot of my reading is confined to quiet time and bed time--so I generally read is short spurts unless something really grabs me. Secondly, there's not been a lot of quiet time of late. In my real life, I work for a software company that is working on a major release and facing up to some difficult decisions about how to move forward, and the workday is more wearying of late than usual. So when I get home from the office, instead of picking up a book that I have to work at to get through, I'm doing fluffy things, like computer games or a nap. However, according to Amazon, my copy of China Mieville's latest, Un Lun Dun, is arriving today, so I may set aside Vellum to read that. And my book group meets this weekend, so I'll get another book selection to work on as well.

I say this all as a sort of introduction to folks who may be coming here from Astute observers will notice I have added a link to this page, to the ComicSpace page for my good friend Eric Nolen-Weathington. Eric has generously put a link on his page back to Perrynomasia and, preparing for more views than before, I thought I would explain why there is a slowdown in my reviews and postings. (I know, I know, a real writer would work through the lull, but see, that's sort of what I am doing at the paying job...). And given that Eric knows a lot more people in the industry than I do (and the ones he does know are far more important than the ones I do [Hey, George!]), a little sprezzatura seems appropriate.

Reading Eric's reference, he describes me as a "good friend" which I am grateful to believe to be true. Eric and I met two decades ago when he was the lead sheepherder at the arcade across the street from North Carolina State University and I worked at the comic/science fiction store two doors down. Whenever Eric had a lull in business, he would come by for a visit and he became a quick favorite of all the employees at Foundation's Edge, eventually leaving the arcade to work at the store shortly after I left for graduate school in New Jersey. I can't remember if Eric was a participant in the epic First Annual and Last Ever Foundation's Edge Air Hockey Tournament, but I know he was around to at least witness the grand finale, where the owner of Foundation's Edge came from behind to beat me. But when I came home for the summers, I would catch up on comics and books with Eric, and we ended up spending a lot of time discussing our interests in both fields. One of those conversations involved pitting heroes from the DC Universe against heroes of the Marvel Universe over Chinese food ("Who'd win, Nightwing versus Forge?" "Hmm, a good hand-to-hand fighter versus a man who can invent anything...'I'll invent a big stick and beat the crap out of him.'") Good times, good times.

During that time, I was fortunate enough to be a groomsman at Eric's wedding and his family attended my wedding this past May. And after I came home from New Jersey, Eric and I spent many afternoons playing basketball and chugging Gatorade. He's what I like to call "sneaky fast", while I am merely ponderously big. It was Eric's idea that I go to San Diego the first time, and we had a blast. What followed were more trips to San Diego, Chinese buffet food, and Eric giving me work as a free-lance copy editor for the Modern Masters series. I've been involved with all but one of his books, and for reasons I won't go into here, his name will be coming up again in the near future.

To quote one of his favorite commercials, Eric is "a good guy"; and if you run into him at San Diego or anywhere else, get him to do some of his cartoon voices. He does the best Dyno-mutt I've ever heard. I'm very pleased he never listened to my advice and went to a voice audition in San Diego so he can now hit it big at Two Morrows and Modern Masters (although I swear to you if he ever did go to an audition, he would get a job in a heartbeat). We'll be hanging out some at San Diego, so if you see him at the Two Morrows booth in July, look for me.

Here's to you, Eric, and your fiendish gravity-defying lay-ups. And welcome to any readers who may find their way here from his site.

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