A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Thursday, December 26, 2002


Just a quick note to tell you that "Confessions" will be returning in the new year. I am taking some time off, so nothing really to update. I hope to actually make some additions to the site, and will likely be posting my top music picks of the year at Oni by the end of next week.

Regardless, have a good entrance into '03. Knock back one for Joe Strummer while you're at it.

Current Soundtrack: the thump of bass coming through the wall...

Saturday, December 21, 2002


Done. I flew like the wind and got it all finished. Tired now and ready to eat, chill, etc. But done.

Current Soundtrack: N.O.R.E., "Nothin'"

Friday, December 20, 2002


Ms. Dynamite, A Little Deeper begins the work night; we’ve already transitioned into Robbie Williams, Escapology, but our first couple of listens when this arrived yesterday didn’t really knock my socks off, so it might get vetoed. Particularly since I learned the other night that I require some peppy pop music if I really want to crank on Rayearth. I started with the second disc from the recent anniversary edition of Ziggy Stardust and followed with something else that escapes my memory right now, but it wasn’t working. So I kicked into Britney Spears’ classic second album, Oops!…I Did It Again and it really got me moving. I only needed the 3-track Alicia Keys single for “How Come You Don’t Call Me?” to wrap it up—finishing volume 5. It felt like a longer haul than it should have, and I’m only 31 pages into volume 6. I want it done by Christmas.


I got asked to pitch a story to a big comic book. I don’t want to say which one, because I don’t think I should, but I am really having a hard time figuring out what to do. I like to pitch stuff that plays to my strengths, so folks like you can pick it up and enjoy it and also because I don’t want to squander the opportunity by stepping too far outside what I am good at and screwing it up. I doubt I’d make a good mainstream comics writer, essentially. Judd Winick tells me it’s easier than I think to get used to it, and I can see where writing something like Green Lantern how you could get into a groove. I remember arguing with someone on some message board about that specific topic, and I theorized that writing superhero comic book plots was no great feat. Plots are pretty standard, so as long as you have the ability to write some characters, you can easily make a good comic. As I said, it was just a matter of figuring out who your hero is fighting with that month, no big deal, and then spend your time focusing on the people in the periphery. Boy, that didn’t go over big.

I already tossed the editor one idea that I thought was pretty cool, but it's been done apparently. Bugger. My goal is to maybe find an idea that can sort of backdoor in this other proposal I have sitting on the same editor’s desk. I currently have four proposals in limbo with two different editors at two different companies, and I am actually approaching a year of waiting on a couple of them. So, again, it’s a matter of trying to make the opportunity work to the best advantage for me. If it works at all.

Also, with all this talk of Martin Scorsese, I caught the earliest screening possible of Gangs of New York today, and I was totally enthralled by it. Marty totally makes me want to make a movie, and I have an itch to dust off the screenplay idea I have listed on my site--This is the Way the World Ends. That way I can have the soul-crushing experience of watching my love butchered. It’s funny, in fact, because when Joe Nozemack saw it in my projects list, he said, “Great title.” I replied, “Too bad that will likely be the first thing any studio will make me change.” I mean, I can hear the conversation: “No one wants to see a movie about the end of the world. It’s depressing.” “You don’t understand. Yeah, the world ends, but it’s an uplifting, romantic action story.”

It’s hard, because the experience of writing Cut My Hair was completely devoid of interference. Granted, some of you would say you can tell and that’s why the book has faults, but good or bad, that was how I needed to do it. And now I am spoiled. I need an editor like myself who isn’t afraid to let the creator run wild. And that’s not going to happen on movies or mainstream comics. In fact, it’s weird that I consider work-for-hire comics with other people’s characters at all. It used to be I couldn’t fathom doing that kind of work. In my younger, idealistic days, I had no idea why a writer like Greg Rucka, with four novels under his belt, would want to waste his time writing Batman. It’s not a mystery anymore. In Greg’s case, he loves the stuff, so he does it for the joy of writing—no shame there. In other cases, I can also see a practicality for taking such an assignment. I mean, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote shitty articles for shitty magazines, and even doctored screenplays. Bills, bills, bills. Plus, you gotta pay your dues somewhere.

And with the manga, Kelly Sue DeConnick and I have talked about one good reason for doing it--which I think I've mentioned before. She’s just started her first book, and she sees it the same way I do. It allows you to flex certain muscles you might not flex otherwise.


I took a quick shower to get the blood pumping. The coffee wasn’t kicking in, and frankly my digestive system couldn’t take another cup. Sometimes hot water can work where caffeine fails. Elvis Costello’s All this Useless Beauty has been on rotation in the bathroom stereo all week. Getting four double-disc albums at one time makes for a meaty Costello experience, giving a lot to feast on without tiring of the meal.

Post-Robbie, we moved into some choice cuts from Moulin Rouge. Bowie and Massive Attack still slay me with their “Nature Boy,” which in its own way is one of the saddest songs ever written, while also being strangely creepy (sort of like Sinead O’Connor doing Elton John’s “Sacrifice” – they give me the same mood, and interestingly, I discovered both songs through their use with visuals. Sinead’s “Sacrifice” was used in a very odd play I once saw, and a version of “Nature Boy” was sung by, of all people, Vanity on, of all things, the Friday the 13th TV show the first time I heard it). Then I transitioned into an experiment.

I have moved the laptop into the living room to work in front of the TV. I confessed last week of my obsession with Inside The Actor’s Studio, and tonight is back-to-back episodes: Tom Hanks (which I’ve seen) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (which I haven’t). I know Bendis writes while watching movies. (Yes, I am dropping names everywhere tonight.) I’m not sure if I could do that, but this is simply talking and can work like music itself.

I can’t actually take Rayearth off campus to Starbucks or anything, because I make a real mess. I get a copy of the book and tear off each page as I work on it, and I end up with a pile of pages around me at the end. I suppose it could earn me a reputation as a local crazy if I sat in the coffee shop typing and throwing paper all over the floor.

Anyway, the experiment went about half well. During the episode I had seen, it went fine. During the episode I hadn’t seen, I was too distracted watching. I ended on page 126.

And we should all applaud Tom Hanks for saying the profession other than his own that he would most like do would be a cartoonist.

Current Soundtrack: Law & Order: Criminal Intent


Tuesday, December 17, 2002

My third CLAMP title for 2003 is now about 95% official. Duklyon: CLAMP School Defenders.

Current Soundtrack: Manic Street Preachers, Forever Delayed

Monday, December 16, 2002


Now it can be revealed, another of my Tokyopop assignments has become official: Miyuki-Chan In Wonderland. Another complete departure—a one-shot graphic novel that is humorous and dare I say a little dirty. I got the script today. Waiting for the untranslated copy of it and the first volume of Clamp School Detectives to arrive in the mail so I can check them out. And this is just the beginning. I think I am going to have two other titles next year—one non-CLAMP that will appeal to fans of Cut My Hair or Blue Monday.

I'm on page 111 of Rayearth vol. 5. 114 to go. *sigh*

Current Soundtrack: Aaliyah, I Care 4 U, Ms. Jade, Girl Interrupted


Sunday, December 15, 2002


Watching Martin Scorsese on Inside the Actors Studio, I couldn’t help but just be struck by his fire and passion. He’s one of those creators that when he talks about his art, he gets you excited to create, reinvigorates your own artistic passions. (In comics, conversations with Mike Allred, Paul Pope, and Steve Rude have elicited similar effects.) The man also seems both pleased and baffled by his own work. There was a humility to his acceptance of the praise, and often a curious wonder when asked about specific elements of his movies. Like if he was asked about why he chose to do a specific shot, his eyes would take on that look that said, “Hmmm, good question,” and that he was extremely curious about the answer himself.

I love listening to him talk about movies. I wish he were on every DVD. I wish someone would put him in an intellectual boxing ring with Peter Bogdanovich so that Scorsese could pummel him into crumbs. Bogdanovich is a minor talent with a massive ego, and his supposed historian work ends up being about how his tastes and connections reflect on him; Scorsese is a major talent, and while he personalizes his histories of film, he does so by telling you how the movies effected him, as well as their meaning in the overall gestalt. If you haven’t seen A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies, you need to seek it out. It could be the most important DVD you’ll end up owning. (And here’s hoping they’ll eventually release his follow-up on Italian cinema, and that he’ll do more in the series.)


I’m back on Rayearth. Volume 5 has a ton of new characters that got introduced briefly in Volume 4, and each pause makes it more difficult to start back up, because I have to dig through the books to figure out who is who again. The most frustrating? The twins Tarta and Tatra. I have to remember that Tarta has the top knot, Tatra’s hair is flowing, and that a simple case of one finger moving faster than the other could easily switch the two.

I’m not too thrilled about my Rayearth deadlines being moved forward, since I have to launch myself immediately into Clamp School Detectives in January. There is a universe at work in the CLAMP books, and it looks like I am going to be working on a lot of the interconnected ones, the ones that take place in the same world as Angelic Layer. In fact, apparently a Layer tournament takes place in one of the future issues of Chobits, which I think my editor, Jake Forbes, is actually rewriting. Part of me almost feels precious enough about the characters that if it’s Misaki doing the battling, I’d almost like to write her dialogue. But I guess if he throws in an “Eeks!” I’d be happy with that. (Of course, James Lucas Jones stole “Eeks!” for use in a recent letters column…plagiarist thief! He doesn’t think I am watching, but I am!)

But, anyway, all my deadlines have been moved up, and I have to have everything done by the end of the month, as opposed to January 20. In fact, the first Clamp School Detectives is due even earlier than that. I’m going to be busy.


Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt has given me a lot to think about in regards to the portrayal of relationships and the dissolution of the same in The Everlasting. In particular, watching the two characters tear each other apart at the center of the film, and the subtle and gradual blending of truth and lie as love is destroyed. It’s a fascinating picture, paralleling this very personal breakdown with the tensions inherent in moviemaking, as the money people and the creative people clash over what should be put on the screen. (Tying in with Scorsese, he apparently had a hand in Contempt’s original U.S. release, and also spoke on Inside the Actors Studio about how the current process of “development” in the creation of a movie is destroying the form.) I highly recommended the new Criterion DVD edition. I have yet to dig into the second disc of extras, but I can’t wait. They look meaty.

Current Soundtrack: Elvis Costello reissues on Rhino--Brutal Youth (both discs), All This Useless Beauty (disc 2)


Monday, December 09, 2002


My head feels like it’s been expanded—or more accurately, the contents of my head have been expanded while my skull maintains its size. Not a good feeling to have when under deadline. As suspected, I didn’t get to work on Angelic Layer’s final chapter this weekend, and so tonight have to get the remaining seventy pages out of the way. Shouldn’t be a problem if I can maintain the pace I began on Friday night.

So, I am at Starbucks yet again, though I was denied the regular size tables and hardback chair by the length of my power chord. There was a table I suppose I could have asked a woman to trade with me, but judging by her rude reaction to me just excusing myself to pull the chord by her, I don’t think she’d be too friendly about moving her little pink highlighter just now. Beyond that, the table that would have been just got snagged.

Chai latte for my throat. Depeche Mode Ultra for my ears.

I don’t know how I feel about this mad dash for the final book. I suppose it won’t be too bad. There is so much fighting in this last chapter, it’s not exactly poetry. I usually give myself a night’s sleep before reading over the script and making changes, which I suppose I can do tonight, if the body demands. But I prefer to go to sleep knowing that when my editor arrives in the morning, the script will be waiting for him. I feel that’s the real on-time—though technically even I give my freelancers to the close of the business day. Technically.

Plus, I need to take my own lesson and know my worries are not justified. I always tell the people I work with, when they are concerned their own work has taken a dip or that time constraints may have rushed them—you are always going to be operating at a certain level. Once you are a professional and have become fairly confident in your own working ability, you will have achieved a level of talent that you will always maintain, no matter what. You will never sink below that, and that is pretty damn good. You’ll always give folks their money’s worth.


Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, Miss E…So Addictive; random Dandy Warhols MP3s.


The initial writing went smoothly, thankfully…so this might not keep me up as late as I thought. The book ended up having a pretty fun ending, so I am glad. There were a lot of plot threads that began in book 1 and ran all the way through, and it was good to see that they paid off. So many comics seem to fumble in the finale. Angelic Layer doesn’t.

Current Soundtrack: Sugababes, “Round Round” CD single


Friday, December 06, 2002


I am under the gun with Angelic Layer volume 5. It’s due Tuesday. I am on page 20, and there are about 175. Tonight is probably the last night I will have the opportunity to work on it this weekend, as Oni is having a little bit of a fifth anniversary celebration and some folks are coming in from out of town. I’m going to be forced to be social. Worse comes to worst, we pull an all-nighter on Monday night. I haven’t done it in a while, but can easily pull it off. Could even be fun.

The problem has been trying to write in the evenings right after work. It’s hard to get revved up. It’s taken me about three hours to get started tonight, and it pretty much took me leaving the house again, free of distractions. Between Oni work coming in over e-mail, TV and DVDs, and just laying on the floor and wishing death on everyone who has annoyed me and tired me out—shit just doesn’t get done.

So I’m armed with a ginger bread latte and TLC’s 3D. T-Boz has always been my favorite.

I also listened to The Trash Can Sinatras, Cake and Supergrass, Life on Other Planets and “Grace” b-sides.

My night’s biggest frustration—beyond waiting for a good chair to open up (my back and neck are killing me from trying to work in an easy chair)—is the translator of AL doesn’t list the speaker’s name before their dialogue. This makes it a pain in the ass to sometimes decipher who is who (all the players Misaki has beaten seem to keep hanging around) or know who new characters are. I have to hunt through dialogue for clues. It’s not like the translator on Wish, who makes it pure heaven. No detail goes unnoticed. Bless.


Man, this totally creepy guy has come in and he’s sitting in an easy chair across from me. Every time I look up, he’s looking back at me, and he’s got this real odd look on his face. I can’t be sure, but it does seem like he’s watching me. I’m on page 86 after a couple of hours, and the place closes in like twenty-five minutes. I want to hit page 100, but if this guy keeps it up, I dunno…this town is full of freaks.

(Okay, good, he’s leaving. I dunno, though. That dude’s vibe is way off.)


My latest theory is that if you are going to leave a band and go solo, your name has to be recognizable on its own. If not, then you’re too big for your britches and you need to sit back down and put your ego in check. Like this Chad Kroeger son of a bitch. His crappy band gets one hit, and he’s doing all this solo stuff—but they have to call him Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger. He ain’t ready to go out on his own. (Plus, I hate his songs. And I don’t hate a lot of music—not truly hate. This shit I hate.) Same thing with Art Alexakis. He tried to go solo and pussed out. Because he knew it. He tried to play some solo shows, and they had to call him Everclear’s Art Alexakis. At least he had the good sense to realize he was nothing, and went back to the only thing he could cling to.

I hate his music, too.

Stupid people say hate is a strong word. I say it isn’t strong enough.

Plus, Chad Kroeger and that creepy guy that was giving me looks a remarkably similar in appearance.


Got to page 103, with the help of The Style Council. Modernism: A New Decade.

Current soundtrack: KGON, classic rock radio


Wednesday, December 04, 2002


I am starting on Angelic Layer volume 5 today, the last in the series. I had been working on Magic Knight Rayearth volume 5 up until this, but it turns out some of my deadlines had gotten mixed around and so I have to switch gears and finish up AL superfast. I am curious to see how it turns out, though, so it should be fun.

Tokyopop has actually announced a bunch of new CLAMP titles for next year, which is pretty exciting, since I hope to be involved with at least a couple of them. I am enjoying the exprerience, and since, as a studio, they never tackle the same genre twice, I am getting a good workout.

Brian Bendis showed me the first issue of Powers I worked on as a freelance editor last night. It's #26 and should be out soon. It's not perfect. The letters column in particular is a bit of a bear, and I have to laugh at not catching my own typo in the one line I wrote in it...and it ironically is about trying to stop future mistakes. It's a good welcome to the book, really, when you think about it, but his fans are going to give me no end of shit for that.

Current Soundtrack: Gallon Drunk, Bear Me Away (An anthology of rare recordings 1992-2002); Paul Weller, "Leafy Mysteries" CD1


Sunday, December 01, 2002


Sunday morning and I had to vacate the premises. Coming to you
live from Starbucks (to be uploaded from an earlier broadcast). The cat gave me
a look when I left. About as wide-eyed as she could get. I had already spent a
good portion of yesterday at the movies and then wandering around Portland, and
this look seemed to say, "Really? You're going to take away this
much of my weekend." I guess it's good to be wanted.

Time is the enemy. Three days already off work and not a word
typed (though, I should get a pass for Thanksgiving). It's easy to fill the days
with other things, and let stuff slip away. I thought about writing, at
least. I actually theorized that my abilities are centered in my eyes. Beyond
the values of seeing--seeing people, seeing books, seeing what my fingers
say--there seems to be an actual connection between my brainspace and my eyes.
Like if my eyes are heavy, dark, tired--if I have that feeling like I've been
swimming--I can't do it. I can't sit down and go. I need to remember to take
advantage of clarity of vision. Just like last week when Glengarry GlenRoss
taught me that a well-chosen movie can knock me out of a funk and get my energy
going. It's got to be the right movie, though. No matter how good, say, a Wong
Kar-Wai flick is going to be, its pacing isn't going to lift me the way
something with a faster rhythm and more punchy dialogue will.

I've been digging a lot of Elvis Costello lately. Got a hook-up with like four of the recent Rhino double-disc packages--all albums I didn't get in the Ryko series or from the Warner Bros. period, and I've been digging into them. Each comes with an extensive booklet with notes about the record from Elvis--and not just stuff like, "Oh, we recorded in this studio on this many tracks and built it around this riff." It's more about what was really going on in a more general sense, the climate of the times. And honest feelings about how the finished product. I wish I had ripped it all to MP3, but I'm not sure how I'd fit it on my player. It's pretty full, and I always have to dump something to put a new album on. Today the Chemical Brothers got moved to the dustbin so The Roots could fabulously move in.

Look at the above. It's Time advancing on my front line. A
slice of gingerbread is already gone, and I only just opened Word. I have plenty
of Eggnog Latte left, though. (Joke from the few minutes of the recent Muppets
Christmas show that I could stand to watch (shut it! it's not the same!): I like
my women like I like my coffee--a latte!" (Say it out loud if you don't get

Expect to hear from me again, after the obligatory music list.
It's 11:06 a.m.

Today's musical choices: The Roots, Phrenology; Elastica "Love Like Ours (Volume version)" & "Unheard
Music" (w/Steve Malkmus); Elvis Costello, "What Do I Do Now?" (a
Sleeper cover, with the great line, "can we try again, no one told me it
was raining
"); Gene, "You;" Shed Seven, Going for Gold;
Suede, A New Morning.

The Everlasting is today's point of order. 

I actually began today by inserting a scene ahead of
the one I had previously worked on. I wanted more between Lance and Ashley.
There is a whole delicate balance here of writing enough for each relationship
so that you can understand why each person is in it, and give a good sense of
the union before tearing it apart. I've got to give enough to make it work, but not so
much that it's boring. I am finding Ashley the hardest, perhaps because she's
the least colorful. Mandy is next, and she's going to be easy. The ones who are
nuts tend to take care of themselves.

This scene is one I pretty much pulled out of my ass.
It's just a conversation and it may be too long and have to go altogether or be
cut done, but it's a good exercise. You take two characters and you just make them talk.
If you have an opening, you can just run with it. If you can't, then maybe you
don't know these characters as well as you think you know them...you know?

It was completely packed in the Starbucks today. Perhaps it's
the end of a long weekend, perhaps it's the weather change. It's dark today, a
lot of clouds. It was cold out and when I came inside, my glasses fogged up.
Maybe people are hiding here. The great thing is, with the headphones, I can't
even hear the hint of a peep from them. And while usually music influences what
I write, today was strangely opposite. I had some lines about clouds, letting
the sky inspire me, and then similarly themed lines showed up in the Gene song.

Current Soundtrack: Elvis Costello, Spike

Note: On this and the last entry, I used Front Page to try to make formatting easier, but it's just fucking it up. I will go back to my old method next time.


Monday, November 25, 2002


No, I haven't gone the way of the dinosaur when it comes to my blog. I know
it must seem I lost interest already, but not true. It's just been a non-work
oriented couple of weeks.

First it was several days visiting my father, capped by a stop-off in San
Francisco to attend the Warren Ellis event at Isotope. Then when I was home, my
pal Jenny Lee from Marvel was visiting, and then a night out with my friend Lara
Michell to see Beth Orton as a belated birthday treat for her. And frankly, once
the weekend rolled around, I needed to rest. So I caught up on The Sopranos,
and dug through the new Glengarry GlenRoss DVD, as well as finishing watching The Complete Jam on Film and beginning Best of Bowie, both amazing music double-disc DVDs. Saw the excellent Standing in the Shadows of Mowtown documentary at Cinema 21. Read some comics--Ellis'
Global Frequency and The Truth #1 drawn by Kyle Baker probably topping the list--and polished off the latest issue of Uncut. A lazy couple of days.

I am getting back on track, though. I will likely start Rayearth 5
tonight and get back to The Everlasting by the weekend--a long weekend
spent being antisocial, likely balanced out between DVDs and writing.

Thinking of starting a contest for people who may actually read this where if
you can identify all the post headers you get a prize. But I am not sure what
that prize should be.

Current Soundtrack: some Badfinger at the BBC thing James has that I don't really care for (I like Badfinger, but the sound mix here is just pretty muddy)

Monday, November 11, 2002

The second part of a hefty interview I did is in Borderline Magazine, Nov '02, a downloadable magazine that costs $1. There are also a lot of interviews with Oni creators like Christine Norrie, Jen Van Meter, Jay Stephens, J. Torres, Guy Davis, Gary Phillips, Mike Norton, Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir, and Judd Winick

Sunday, November 10, 2002


I can't seem to get a good momentum going on Rayearth 4. Manage to squeeze out about 25 pages at a time or so, meaning I'll be done Tuesday. I am on page 135 now. It's just been one of those weeks/weekends. The first issue of Brian Bendis and Mike Oeming's Powers I am working on is coming together this weekend, and you have no idea the sheer amount of time it takes to go through one of that book's infamous letters pages. Big set-back yesterday. And my evening was consumed by the Garbage/No Doubt show at the Rose Garden--which is by far nothing to complain about. Both bands are excellent onstage. Both Gwen and Shirley are divine.

In my giddiness on Friday, I failed to note the horrifying moment at the barber shop. When the initial trim was being done, and my hair was all combed down, I looked in the mirror and saw my father staring back at me. *shudder*

Current Soundtrack: Beth Orton, Daybreaker; The Vines, Highly Evolved

Friday, November 08, 2002


I got my haircut today.

There is a myth about me. It’s that I have a very precious view of my hair. That I spend hours on it and agonize over it taking the perfect form. It’s not really true. After basically 16 years of the same haircut, it pretty much does what it’s supposed to, and if it goes a bit pear-shaped I don’t get too riled over it. In fact, I had a girlfriend who I always tried to get to cut it for me, because I’ve been known to be terribly cheap when it comes to getting the job done. She wouldn’t do it. She was scared of my wrath if she messed it up. The truth is I would have laughed it off. The shit grows fast and would correct itself in no time.

Actually, I think at its core, my haircut is incredibly simple. Short on the sides, longer on top, with the bangs left longest of all. You can blend the short to the long, or go for a severe line. I’ll live either way. But someone who cuts hair well can make it seem almost magical, transforming the simple into something otherworldly. Truly, any significant other of mine would be good to swallow that fear and learn to make the cut if they want to hang on to me (yeah, I know, why would they want to, but let’s suppose for the sake of this thing here), because a pretty face with clippers could easily steal me away from you. It doesn’t matter how in love with you I am, if Jennifer down at Bishop’s on NW 23rd had told me she wanted me to be her slave today, you’d be out without a second thought. If I saw you again I doubt I’d remember your name. To illustrate how far I’d go: If Jennifer said she hated Blue Monday and said Oni should stop publishing it, it would be cancelled. (Sure, I don’t have that power, and Joe Nozemack would say it would go on, but I wouldn’t have anything further to do with the comic, and since Joe and Butterbear can’t handle Chynna, you’d never see it again.) Only my cat outranks Jennifer.

And let’s not even talk about the shampoo. Lord, I love being shampooed. I used to go see this girl Kara when she was at the beauty college. When she graduated, I would have followed her wherever she went, but I ran into her once at a grocery store and she hadn’t really settled anywhere. She gave the best shampoos.

But now it’s Jennifer, and I will never forsake her. I’m not fickle when it comes to these things. She could take a big chunk out of the back of my head and I’d still adore her. I've had two other stylists at the same shop, and I moved on, but Jennifer knows how my hair is supposed to be. It's been two months since my first cut with her, and she still remembers. I got out of the shower 20 minutes ago and ran a brush through it once and it’s drying exactly as it's supposed to be. I haven’t used a blow dryer, hair spray, gel…I almost didn’t shower tonight because it had gel in it Jennifer had applied, which I could have enjoyed a while more, but I wanted to get refreshed before putting in some time on Cephiro (Rayearth reference).

If Blue Monday suddenly stops coming out, now you’ll know why.

Back after some Rayearth.


Man, I am such a dolt. This whole time I've been all, "Duh, why is it called Magic Knight Rayearth when there are three of them?" Big duh. Hikaru's kindred dragon or force of magic or whatever is named Rayearth. And it's not like it's ever been a big secret Hikaru is the focal Knight. Durrrrr.

CLAMP can be terribly repetitive when it comes to language. My challenge lately is finding different ways to say "fight" that work within the context of the dialogue--which is more verb oriented, meaning synonyms tend to be longer phrases like "go into battle" ("attack" isn't really right, and synonyms like "bout" are the wrong connotation). I am also encountering lots of special/sound effects that are essentially "shine." I am working my thesaurus overtime. I hate when writers use the same word over and over and over. It may be realistic, but it's bad writing. And I probably shouldn't hold it against CLAMP. Who knows how many ways there are to say "shine" in Japanese, and it could all translate the same.

By the way, when I told Jennifer that I rewrite Japanese comics from rough translations, she's the first person who didn't ask, "Oh, you speak Japanese?" See how much she understands? Jennifer rulez!!!

Current Soundtrack: Belly, Sweet Ride: The Best of Belly; The Jesus & Mary Chain, 21 Singles: 1984-1998 [thanks to Lana Berman for the last couple of soundtrack entries]

Thursday, November 07, 2002


Observation: Why is it that writers who smoke have convinced themselves that the act of smoking is somehow infinitely profound? They seem to feel the need to tell you about every cigarette they have, as if it is uncommonly significant. To my mind, it's anything but (no pun). In fact, it's frightfully common, judging by the filtered debris that litters the gutters. But then I've never smoked, and I am sure they would use that as their argument against me. Still, I find reading about someone's latest nicotine fix about as interesting as listening to a college student detail what he had to drink last weekend. Ho-hum.

On that thread, it actually seems particulary collegiate to write about smoking. How much bad uni-level prose has reached a point where the character's situation has gotten desperate, and he laments in a hard-bitten first person narrative about having only one cigarette left? It's the quickest reference Bukowski-wannabes have for being at the end of their rope. I remember visiting a friend in his dorm and his writer roommate happened to leave his computer on when he, unsurprisingly enough, popped out for a smoke. He was like three quarters of the way into his novel, and the particular passage he was working on was, yup, some guy who was an inch shy from the edge of the cliff and had only one cigarette to get him through the turmoil. He kept repeating, "One cigarette. One fucking cigarette. And many miles to go." Or something like that. I know the guy told me he was writing a book that was "realistic" and "gritty," and I am pretty sure he used the word "oily," too. I remember he needed a good shower and a shave, so I may be inserting oily myself. But that dude is why I despise academia crumpled up in one ugly package.

Ironically, in my third and last year, I had a story accepted to the school literary magazine, Rip Rap. It's called "You're a Guy. I'm Sure You'll Understand" (eventually I'll get it on the site). The narrator spends a lot of time enthusing about his indulgence in menthol cigarettes. So even I fell prey. My only defense is you aren't necessarily supposed to like the narrator, and a smoker friend told me it was clear I knew nothing about the act when he read it.

Completely unrelated, I did start Magic Knight Rayearth volume 4 on Monday, and also worked on it last night. I'm about 1/4 of the way in. I am also talking with Jake about the books that will follow this and Angelic Layer for me next year. Not sure if I can mention them yet, but I've got some fun stuff coming.

Current Soundtrack: Pete Townshend & Raphael Rudd, The Oceanic Concerts

Tuesday, November 05, 2002


Pete Townshend has an interesting diary entry on his website that takes a critical look at Kurt Cobain's recently published journals. Beyond the perspective of someone who has played the game that helped drive Cobain down, and as one of Cobain's targets, it also shows how an intrusive editor can change a piece (thus relating to other entries in this here journal). Townshend underlines pieces that were removed or softened, and sometimes indicates how they were softened. It can cause drastic changes.

Current Soundtrack: Supergrass, "Grace" CD2

Monday, November 04, 2002


I've been sick, so hence no work has been done, and so no updates this past week. Nothing to worry about. Just a cold. I should start Magic Knight Rayearth vol. 4 today or tomorrow, and of course continue apace on Everlasting. I got advance copies of the Rayearth box set with the first three volumes, and it looks great. Should be in stores soon. And Angelic Layer vol. 3 is on sale this Wednesday.

Current Soundtrack: Manic Street Preachers, Forever Delayed: The Greatest Hits

Sunday, October 27, 2002


As I write Everlasting, I sometimes jump ahead and write a short section or something that seems to be ticking in my brain. Then, I tend to incorporate these bits and bobs into the real files as I reach their spots. The unmarried chunks are named on my hard drive according to their section headings (as you’ll see in the prologue on the site, each section gets its own title—taking the Cut My Hair chapter thing way too far), and the real bits are numbered. Last week, I finished up 1.5. Today, I was thinking of writing a stray bit, as I didn’t know if I wanted to jump from where I left off to this particular scene (Ashley visiting Lance’s apartment for the first time), but something told me to go ahead and name the file 1.6. We’ll see if it stands.

To lillustrate my point further, I added a previously written section onto the back of what I was working on today. It's an e-mail from Lance to Tristan.

I wonder if maybe sometimes I take the wrong approach on the titles. Generally, I name the sections with a reference that has something to do with what is happening. Today’s is “In Every Dream Home a Heartache,” and I wonder if that telegraphs too much to the reader what they should be reading into the moment. Like the date they go on titled “A Woman and Her Modern Monkey.”

Interesting side note: I was just flipping through some notes, and I had forgotten that the original title for The Everlasting was Cosmic Dancing. I guess I was listening to T. Rex that day (or at least Morrissey covering them). Glad I changed it.

Today’s work music: Madonna – “Die Another Day” single; DJ Shadow – The Private Press; an NME charity compilation called 1 Love (so good we played it twice! none of those cheesy, piss-take covers here! quality!); JJ72, I To Sky

Current soundtrack: Sugababes, One Touch import version

Saturday, October 26, 2002


Finished Wish today. It ends very well, takes some unexpected turns. Overall, a satisfying little series.

The process for finishing up is this--today I just completed the rough draft, the first run through. Now I print it out, and at some point before deadline (this coming Friday) read the text cold, looking for spelling and grammar mistakes and lines that don't ring right.

The music for a Saturday afternoon was Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Cruel Smile and Suede, A New Morning.

Current soundtrack: Information Society, Information Society

Friday, October 25, 2002


Been workin on Wish vol. 4 for the last 4 days. A chapter a night was my goal, but I actually got two done last night. I'm sad that this is it. It's getting really sweet in the end. There is one double-page spread that just melts the heart.

I continue to work on it with completely inappropriate music. One night, it was The Dandy Warhols Black Album, their real second album, unreleased since it's a rambling, off-it's-head, drug-fueld, glorious mess. Tonight it's Clipse. There's no one out there making music like The Neptunes these days. Those guys are geniuses.

Current soundtrack: Clipse, Lord Willin'

Wednesday, October 23, 2002


Okay, my Murder Ballads Night article is now online. It's formatted terribly, so it's hard to tell where the questions are vs. the answers--except the questions are shorter and end in question marks. But, it's there, at least.

For those of you keeping score, here is the missing question, to be inserted between the one about her favorite murder ballad and female serial killers: Have you ever considered homicide yourself? Is it just me, or are there some seriously idiotic drivers out there? I prefer aggressive, European-style, aggro drivers to the numbskull, indecisive slowpokes we get on our roads. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t experienced murderous thoughts while driving. I’m an impatient asshole.

Also started the final volume of Wish last night. Just did the first chapter, so no major happenings yet. Though I found it funny that I was listening to Luke Haines' Baader Meinhoff project while doing it--a concept album about a "hate socialist collective" fueling the writing of fluffy romantic comedy.

Current soundtrack: Ash, Intergalactic Sonic 7"s, disc 1

Sunday, October 20, 2002


My muse was ducking me today. I think I wrote five paragraphs in two hours or something. Not good. I am working on a section of The Everlasting where we meet our male villain, Thaddeus Prince. He is actually an old character of mine from a novel I started in 11th Grade called The Other Side of the Street (which, those of you who read the character bios in the false front of the site will know is now one of Percy’s books). In fact, Lance and Ashley are both also carryovers from that book. Originally, Thad was an opium-den poet (the Prince name being a nod to Machiavelli; the character itself inspired by a junkie in the 1945 film of The Picture of Dorian Gray, which I viewed regularly at the time), now he is a rock star; Lance was a country boy who had come to the city for the first time; Ashley was a debutante, but is now just a bitch (to be blunt) and in public relations. Things morph—but since characters (and people) are always “types,” I find much can be transferred.

The Other Side of the Street was a faux-Fitzgerald knock-off. I was 16 and lazy, and I didn’t want to research, so I thought I could fake my way around things by setting it in the prohibition era, but by not saying it was in that time, I could say it wasn’t really. I think I handwrote somewhere over a hundred pages of it, which I likely still have. I doubt I could read it, though, as I can barely ever read my own handwriting. (Michigan schools taught me to hold my pen in a big fist, and I could never get out of it.) Its central metaphor was a tree on Lance’s farm that had a heart-shaped nest in its branches. When he left the tree, he left himself, and the end of the book had him returning to it and dying hugging its roots. Lance also has a shameful history as a superhero that predates this book, as a member of a group my friend and I created when we were around 10 or 11. His name was Cur. I know there is a briefcase in storage at my dad’s house that has many of my younger delusions, and I bet you there is stuff about Cur in there.

All that stuff is gone now. Beyond the base characters, though, I think the only element that remains is Lance’s journal. I don’t recall using any of the character’s writing in the first book, but I remember a section about him keeping one. One of the voices used in The Everlasting is Lance’s journal. I have basically three narrative voices in the book, all intended to serve different purposes (though the lines blur). I would explain them, but it would get pretentious. Plus, I am wary of explaining too much.

To look further into the development of characters and stories in general, I direct you to “In Your Car” and “Wishing for an Edge of the World” in the Short Story section on the site. The lead males in both of those stories are the middle ground between the two Lances. The offscreen Vicky of “In Your Car” and the girl in “Wishing” are both early versions of Mandy, the second girl in Everlasting. Vicky’s boyfriend in “Car” will also show up to fuck with Lance. I actually look at those two stories in one lump with “Flash,” as the post-Cut My Hair shift in my fiction from adolescence to early adulthood. “Flash” was the perfection of what came before it, and the other two were missions of discovery.

Anyway, I have moved my operation to Starbucks for an afternoon. Portable computers, portable music players…modern life is rubbish. I am not sure how often I will do this—presuming it works to get me focused—given the incredibly angry yowl Sadie released when she saw me getting dressed to go out. That cat has an amazing internal clock. She knows when it’s time to eat, and she knows evenings and weekends are supposed to be her time. She despises you Oni fans for taking me away eight hours a day. Fuck your comics habits, she requires the ability to have me around in case she feels like not ignoring me.

But sometimes writing at home can be a problem. The main distractions being e-mail and the internet. I don’t even have to get out of the chair to waste time. Just click to a different window. And yeah, you can turn those things off, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to convince yourself to turn them back on for a second, and before you know it you’re proofing design for Jingle Belle and Hopeless Savages.

So, it’s a Soy Hazelnut Mocha and a Peanut Butter/Chocolate cookie for me (go, fatty!) and let’s get back to section 1.5, “Dizzy Heights.”

And I am thinking of calling Thad’s band The Swank. It’s a bit of a challenge to write about bands in a book set in Portland and not have it seem like someone real. So, I started thinking about current trends, which would exist outside the Portland of 2000, and band names like The Strokes, The Hives, The Vines, The Faint, The Music, The Coral, The Streets, etc. "The + One Word" equations. The Swank. I was thinking it should be something kind of lame that says the band thinks pretty highly of itself, like they need to tell you they're cool. (This is how I spent my time walking from the house to the coffee shop. That and listening to the second half of the new Low. I listened to the other half on a walk yesterday. The album hadn’t been resonating with me prior to these excursions. It’s a headphones record, not background music. I needed it to be loud between my ears. I am getting it now.)


I think my favorite lines today are: “‘Hey, man, that’s why I make music.’ Thad snickered. When he laughed, it happened in the top of his throat between his mouth and his nasal cavity. It was a bit like a stuttering garbage disposal.” I’ll probably hate it later, but for right now, it works for me.

I actually got a fair clip done once I got to Starbucks (2,688 words in about two hours, as opposed to 345 in about the same amount of time at home). My space at the shop got a little uncomfortable, as I was facing west and the sun was going down behind me for a bit. The sun is my enemy. Where the hell is my fall weather? Where are my clouds?

Today’s tunes for writing: Richard Ashcroft, “The Miracle” (b-side to “Check the Meaning” 7”); Pulp, We Love Life and Pulpintro; The Dandy Warhols, Dandys Rule OK; Low, Trust; The Small Faces, The Darlings of Wapping Wharf Laundrette disc 2; Mansun, Litte Kix

Current soundtrack: “Genius,” my favorite Warhols track ever (it's on Dandys Rule OK)

Thursday, October 17, 2002



This Murder Ballads article got all dramatic today.

I turned the piece in two days ago. I was pretty happy with it. It’s chatty, funny—basically, everything that all the articles in the other papers will not be. Which was exactly my goal. I didn’t want a list of people playing and a ridiculously dull explanation of the night’s concept.

My editor e-mails today and says, “Gee, instead of this, can you do a list of people playing and a ridiculously dull explanation of the night’s concept?”

Once the steam coming from my ears stops coming, I write back and remind her that I’ve given her exactly what I pitched, and that I had decided to do it this way for a reason.

She replies and says I am right, and that she maybe should have thought about it more. But, it’s all moot, as they no longer have room for it. I’ll get a kill fee (yippee, usually less than half the rate) and maybe I could write up a blurb for the listings page.

Now, part of me wonders if maybe she thought I was being uncooperative and is deciding to send me on my way. Which is fine, since I tell J-Lu to kick me in the nuts if I write for The Mercury ever again. At that moment, the feeling would be mutual. But at the same time, I have had this happen before, and changes can flow swiftly and without warning. The Low piece I linked to a few posts below was cancelled at least twice, and still saw publication. It usually has to do with advertising, with space disappearing if ads aren’t sold.

Nah, the only thing possibly underhanded here is that I was being asked to rewrite the piece while it was being cancelled. Why would you ask me to do more work if you think it's going away?

I agree to do the listing, and even suggest that I write an explanatory intro to the original q&a that can double as the listing. If the article doesn’t run, we have our blurb; if things change, it’s fixed to meet her needs.

The next e-mail informs me that everything is back on, the article is in, and yes, do the intro thing. She even goes so far as to tell me to cut a particular question to make room--though, of course, a question that is one of my favorite bits. So, bittersweet.

All this for, basically, after taxes, a DVD. (Okay, I do really like DVDs, so it's worth it.)

I was hoping to start Wish vol. 4 tonight, but I’ve still got to write that intro, and I just spent all this time bitching here.


If it actually does see print, I'll post a link here. If not, I'll post the whole article. I hope it does, though. I hate when you do an article on a nice person and you make them think you are going to help them promote their event, only to have it not materialize. That's poopy.

[SIDENOTE: I have added links to a review I did for artbomb.net as well as an interview Warren Ellis did with me there to the "other writing" section on the site.]

Current soundtrack: Spoon, Girls Can Tell (not a recommendation, so no link – I am listening to it because they are playing here Friday and someone gave it to me; I don’t like it); Pet Shop Boys, Release

Wednesday, October 16, 2002


Quick update: Popimage, who have always been friendly to my stuff, have two really nice plugs for Cut My Hair in today's update, as well as some general kindness about Oni. Read the first editorial here and then I am the final item in Top of the Pops.

Current soundtrack: The Jam, The Jam at the BBC disc 3

Saturday, October 12, 2002


Site update: Today I added the story “$#&*%¢.” It's an old, goofy thing I've always had an affection for. I am not sure how the actual writing really stands up, but what the hell. This is likely as far back as I will go with what I post. Not much before that really deserves to taste air.

Today's soundtrack:Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes [Deluxe Edition] Disc 2

Friday, October 11, 2002


I'm working on a piece for The Portland Mercury due next week that's about an annual October event here in Portland, where a bunch of musicians get together for a night of Murder Ballads (a la Nick Cave). It's my first experiment with conducting an e-mail interview and attempting a strict Q&A. Previous interviews with Solex and Alan Sparhawk of Low were done over e-mail, but I wrote a bigger piece, stifled their voices with my poopy prose. I figured this article would be more interesting if I tried something different, because otherwise, with only 350 words, I'd likely just list all the people who are performing, explain the concept, and then be done with it. Boring.

My first idea was to quiz the organizer, Jen Bernard, on her knowledge of murder trivia, and even enlisted the Oni board ghouls to help me find some interesting tidbits. But then I realized I might end up with a bunch of non-answers if she didn't know what I was talking about. So I adapted the approach to something more organic--midway informational, midway death-obsessed.

Anyway, my point is supposed to be that the e-mail interview is a lazy technique for the interviewer. I began to suspect this when I was engaging in them as an interviewee. Now, I’ve done some with folks that are really good—Barb Lien, Chris Butcher, Sal Cipriano—and a recent one for Borderline that Andrew Cheverton conducted that was phenomenal. But, I’ve also noticed that many folks cut and paste the entire exchange and do nothing with the text. They don’t edit it, they don’t clean it up, they just run it. Resulting in embarrassing typos and poorly worded sentences, and other gaffs that the reporter and the editor should have caught. It’s not my job to proofread, and essentially, you typed about one sentence to my every paragraph, so what in the end do you actually do?

Believe me, I am editing this piece. I am fashioning it into something cohesive. In fact, my problem is Jen did too good of a job answering me. All her responses are good, interesting, witty. There’s just too much. My first version, with a couple of questions cut out, came in way too high. Actually, given the subject matter, the first word count is just too weird—666. I had to cut it down to 350; I gave up at 365.

Of course, I’m doing this for an editor who just looked at this site and wrote me to tell me I am the biggest dork ever. Thanks, Julianne! Now I know what it’s like to work for an asshole like me. And I mean that in the fondest way possible. xoxo

Today’s soundtrack: Suede, A New Morning

Thursday, October 10, 2002

I've a new editorial in my Big Talk from the Smallest Face column on the Oni website. It looks at common mistakes of folks trying to break into the "biz."

Spent the week acting literary, going to readings by Chip Kidd and Michael Chabon. You know, pretending I am actually cultured.

Sunday, October 06, 2002


Since this is going to be more of a personal work journal, I guess I should focus on myself when I am actually working on writing. I post plenty on the Oni Press message board, so I suppose for the most part Oni news is not really required here. I mean, I figure Oni fans have enough of me as it is. (Oni Press Message Board) We'll see how this goes. I am not used to letting the creative process be apparent, but you never know, I may like it.

Yesterday I turned in Angelic Layer vol. 4 to my Tokyopop editor, Jake Forbes. About five days early, too. It's funny, because he and I generally only seem to know what is going on in the books up until the very page being worked on. So, for volumes 2 and 3, CLAMP kept us hanging in regards to what Misaki's mysterious weakness in battle was. We get the answer finally in vol. 4, but then they stop the book in the middle of a crucial match. CLAMP can be very obtuse with some things, and then hit you over the head with others (Misaki's mother, for instance).

I wrote a quick segment for later in The Everlasting, too. I had an idea for a fragment in part 3 that was spinning in my head, so I just jotted it down.

Today I have sat down and am plugging away at section 1. I am currently somewhere around page 69. That may not sound like much, but when I sort of hit a wall with the first section, I spent some time writing later bits. So, I have a good clutch of pages beyond the point I am at. And for a bit of the scope of this, the manuscript for Cut My Hair was about 261 pages and one font size larger than what I am using now. And if I were to suggest a comparable point in the story, I would maybe say midway through chapter 5 in that book--but the structures are a bit different.

I haven't said much about The Everlasting publicly as of yet. The structure is pretty simple--we follow Lance Scott as he encounters three different women. He learns a bit in each relationship, and ultimately we are watching a journey as he figures out how to love. Since this is part 2 in the so-called Romance Trilogy, it's the darkest of the three. (Hard to imagine, given how dark you could consider Cut My Hair to be--but it was dark in the fairy tale sense, as that book was the fairy tale of the trilogy. This is a whole other kind of dark.) This is a book about being 25. Listen to Gene's excellent Drawn to the Deep End album, and you'll find its kindred spirit (much in the way Cut My Hair was married to Quadrophenia). Gene's main writer, Martin Rossiter, is a year older than I am, so each release seems to come out right in line with my life. That album was a big comfort at 25 (note the line in "Why I Was Born": "never alive until 25;" and on Gene's new one, Libertine, the romantic anthem "You" and the line "30 years of storm clouds cleared for you" to see proof; each were released when I was the age mentioned). Other main songs to give you a hint of what is in my brain are Manic Street Preachers' "The Everlasting" (naturally) and Mansun's "Legacy," which is currently the quote at the front of the book.

I've also said before that this is going to be more personal, probably closer to me than people assume Cut My Hair was. That said, it's way off from the truth. You do amazing things to your life when you turn it into fiction. Stuff gets shifted around, distorted--it's not nearly the same. I'd be curious, are there books of criticism out there that take pseudo-autobiographies and compare them to the real life of the author?

For my main literary inspiration: Fitzgerald's second novel The Beautiful & Damned. If I can continue to emulate his track and if Cut My Hair was like This Side of Paradise in that it was an exuberant, youthful mess, then this book should be a sprawling masterpiece of tragic love. And the next one should be perfection.

The Everlasting is also set in 1999/2000. I like nailing my stuff down timewise, since I can't seem to avoid pop culture and music references. There is no way to keep any work current up until publication when it comes to those things, and since the references will make it dated anyway, I figure why not ground it?

For those interested, the music in the background as I have been writing today has been the world's greatest approximation of a rock band, The Strokes; The Beatles, Abbey Road; The Primitives, Pure; Yardbirds, The Complete BBC Sessions; and Audio Learning Center, Friendships Often Fade Away.

I also downloaded some recent Morrissey BBC sessions from Ambitious Outsiders (three unreleased songs), and a live version of Suede's "Oceans" from Suede Online. Finally, Gene have a Real Player file for a demo called "If I am a Friend" at their official site. It's another fragile ballad ("comfort without love is more than nothing"), and just lovely. I only wish they'd give it to me in a more permanent fashion. At least MP3! (Gene's website)

And when not feeling the effects of some rather spicy pad thai from last night, I am munching on curry flavored Pringles that were smuggled to me from England by Chris Siddall. Cheers, sir!

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Hmmm...not really ready to do this yet, but how about one for a test, eh?