So here’s recent progress on my young adult haunted house story about a long-lost adventure pulp comic manuscript that’s guarded by a good ghost and a bad ghost; now with Bonus! gentrifying drama, golden-age mystery, Hollywood intrigue, fallout from The Storm, and an agent who’s just trying to do the right thing, goddammit:
Project: Drawing Fire
Deadline: November, 2015
New words written: 2204 (cumulative)
Present total word count: 31,377
Things Accomplished in Fiction: Back at the Agony House, with a pocket recorder and some scary news.
Things Accomplished in Real Life: [In general, since last post] Neighborhood jaunts with the dog; got a check; went to the bank; went grocery shopping; cleaned the house; did a crap-ton of laundry; did supper – and then lunch/sightseeing (a little) with some awesome out-of-town guests; attended a funeral.
Other: Yes, the word count is low. But see above. It’s been a busy handful of days over here.
Number of fiction words so far this year: 87,39
As mentioned above, a couple of lovely out-of-towners came passing through this weekend. We got supper at the superlative 210 Jack (in Warehouse Row), then scored fancy chocolates across from the Choo-Choo; then the next day we grabbed lunch.
I say this, like they were here to visit me and my husband. Mais non. They came to snorgle the crap out of our pets. (Which was awesome – just ask Greyson :) )
After lunch on Saturday, I attended the memorial service for this man. If his name looks vaguely familiar, I thanked him profusely and/or dedicated my first novel to him (and a few other people). He was one of the single greatest teachers I ever had. Nay, one of the greatest I’ve ever even heard of. If it tells you anything, I took several classes in subjects I cared nothing about – purely because he was the man presenting them. And I never regretted a single one.
I didn’t want to go alone, for complicated reasons – so one of my old roommates (and fellow students) went with me. I’m glad she suggested it.
Dr. Haluska never told me that the stories I wrote were dumb, or low-brow, or immature. He even took me shooting once, because he felt that my handling of firearms could be stronger in my early works – making special note of which ammo/firearm combinations would’ve had the most gruesome impacts on things like oh, say, zombie skulls. We used paint cans as a stand in.
In every single book I’ve ever published, there has almost certainly been an Easter egg inspired by one of his lectures or conversations. (Once in awhile, old students will drop me a note – having found one.) He wasn’t just quotable, he was thoughtful, and keenly observant.
Back in 2013 – very shortly before he retired – I went back to campus with my college roommate (and also fellow student). I was freshly back in the city, and my roommie was visiting from England. Sure, we’d graduated 15 years previously, but we couldn’t just not stop by. In the end, we hung out in his office for a couple of hours, gabbing and catching up. He didn’t have to make time for us. Hell, maybe he shouldn’t have. But I’m intensely grateful that he did.
Some of his students used to jokingly call him “Ol’ Ramrod” for his posture and his presence … but less jokingly for his adamantium personal integrity. He always both commanded and offered respect. In no uncertain terms, he was a great man.
Dr. Haluska wasn’t a comics guy, but I think he’d “get it” if I’d ever told him (and I should’ve told him, but I never got around to it) that the following panel has always made me think of him.
Thanks for reading.