Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book update

I've set a deadline for myself to have a book proposal for the mammoth book complete by next week, not counting the perfect polished chapter. This is turning out to be much harder than I thought. I'm terrible at selling myself. However, it has been a very useful exercise to help me clarify the organization of the book in my own mind. Brian Switek of the blogs Laelaps and Dinosaur Tracking, has been good enough to give me some very helpful advice. If you aren't reading his blogs, you should, and if you have not yet bought his first book, you should. It's now available as an e-book.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

My coming year

When planning for the coming year, I think it's always safe to say, "this is going to be a weird year." This one, for me, is going to be weirder than usual. It's going to involve some fresh starts with all that that means, for better or worse. I figure I should let you all know what's going on, just case I seem a little bizarre from time to time.

Tessa and I can no longer keep the house. We're fixing it up, getting rid of stuff, and preparing to sell it. After that, we'll each take our share and go our separate ways. Naturally, there is a lot of history going into that decision. We're still very good friends. I'll still be helping with the business (which will be going through its own major changes. More on that in a few days). I hope my friends will remain Tessa's friends and I hope hers will still be mine. This isn't a taking sides sort of break up.

There's a lot of vague and open-ended possibilities there. Meanwhile, a concrete opportunity has come up. Not long after my Scientific American guest piece was published, I heard from an editor who was interested in looking at my mammoth book. No guarantees. But, for a first time author with no credentials in the field, getting any attention from an editor is a big deal. At the same time we're preparing the house to go on the market, I'm going to be putting together a formal book proposal and polishing a sample chapter. Right now I have 60,000+ words written, but they are more in the form of essays and fragments than a coherent book. I had already decided to start editing it together this month when everything got weird. Now, I can't let weird life stand as an excuse to procrastinate. It's finals time (that's an academic metaphor, not a sports metaphor. I don't do sports metaphors).

After Tessa and I sell the house and disentangle our affairs, I'm going to be looking for a place to live. For financial reasons, I'm pretty sure I'll be leaving Seattle. Rent is just too expensive here. My preferences lean towards staying in this general area. I like the culture and politics. I know how to get around. And I'd like to keep helping Tessa with the business. On the other hand, I don't have a job, a career, or any close friends here, and my parents are gone. If something promising showed up somewhere else, this is probably the best time in the last twenty years for me to pick up and move.

I'd like to find a place where I could imagine spending the rest of my life, but maybe that's hoping for too much. At a bare minimum, I need a cheap place where the cat and I can hide out for the Spring while I finish the book. Once I have that ready to shop around, I'll be able to think seriously about a job, a home, and a life.

I don't know what's going to happen. All I know is that my life is going to be completely different by Jan. 1, 2013.