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"We need to make books cool again. If you go home with someone & they don't have books, don't fuck 'em."--John Waters

I'm the author of more than twenty novels including SHADOW SEASON, THE COLD SPOT, THE COLDEST MILE, THE MIDNIGHT ROAD, THE DEAD LETTERS, and A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN. Look for my next one THE LAST KIND WORDS due out May '12 from Bantam Books. Contact: PicSelf1@aol.com

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Living with Fear, Anger, Anxiety, and the Deep Need to Smack the Shit Out of Almost Everybody

Okay, I admit it. I’m moody.

We all have days when we wake up edgy. Today was one of mine. Sometimes there’s a reason for it, sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes you come up out of your dreams or nightmares already in the throes of an anxiety attack. I don’t get them much anymore, but when they hit they usually nail me as I’m falling asleep or just waking up. My heart is hammering and I can’t quite move yet, and my woes and worries and regrets are all melted together into one great iron anvil set down on my chest. It kind of sets the mood for the rest of the day.

So, besides being rattled off my pillows by a phone call at 7:30 am by some guy trying to sell me new windows ("But it’s not a sale, we DO NOT want your money, Tom! We want to GIVE YOU these windows! All we want you to pay for is...")...

And besides being shook out from under the covers at 7:45 by the same prick who clearly didn’t understand the implications of my saying, "FUCK YOU! DO NOT CALL BACK!" and slamming the phone down in his ear...

Besides being set on course by a panic attack about a half hour after that, no doubt due to the adrenaline already surging through my system...

Besides the fact that my wife’s credit card was hacked and maxed out by some online scammers who have the audacity to put their phone number and website right there on the cc bill...and if you hit the site you find a page that states: "If you want to know why you are being charged, put in your credit card number..."

Besides the fact that the shit economy, the closing of bookstores, and the loss of a literate culture is putting even more pressure on the publishing companies to only put out "commercial fiction" despite no one knowing what is commercial and just what might make for a major seller...

Despite my work being just about anything but commercial, and my hitting an oil slick of the spirit that has me rolling and tumbling along the open road, unsure of what direction the next book should go...

Besides the fact that after the Edgar Award nominations were announced a week or so ago I’ve seen at least three brouhahas burst out about how political awards are, how meaningless, how stupid, how discouraging, how empty, and how mercenary they are, all of which tends to overshadow my sixteen seconds in the sunshine and detract from my own Edgar nod...

Despite the fact that I just finished Sean Doolittle’s new novel SAFER and it’s brilliant and I’m green-eyed and slathering with jealousy...

Despite the fact that I just started Charlie Huston’s new bestselling novel THE MYSTIC ARTS OF ERASING ALL SIGNS OF DEATH and it’s brilliant and I’m green-eyed and slathering with jealousy...

Despite today being the official start of our one-month countdown until THE COLDEST MILE hits bookstore shelves, and I’ve got that burning stomach pain of eagerness as I wait to see what fans will think of the novel...

Regardless of ALL that, I still plan to get my ass in gear, walk the dogs around the lake, smile and wave to the neighbors and strangers as well, then sit my fat ass back in the desk chair and stare at the empty page until the next part of the story slithers into my brain, creeps down through my nervous systems, fills my heart, and pumps power into my hands to type out the next word, the next sentence, the next paragraph, the next page...until the story is done and the next one begins...and the next...and the next...

So that’s where I am at the moment–

And how was your day?

18 comments:

GE65 said...

Hang in there, Tom. It's probably no consolation, but we all have those days. I'm just glad you and your books are there. There's hope ahead when there's a new Pic book on the way! Keep pushin', man!

Harrison said...

In your own words, my man: Keep fightin' the good fight.
Do what you do. It might not seem like it, but it means a lot to a lot of folks.

Ricky Grove said...

Brother, do I know what that kind of day is like. The only thing you didn't add was having your wife bail you out of jail.

It's like weather. Gotta take cover when the storms come. Beckett said it best, "I can't go on. I'll go on."

You are in my thoughts

PS they say the same thing about awards every year so fuck em.

Tom Piccirilli said...

Ha, thanks, guys, for all the commiseration. Much appreciated! Ah, it is to laugh. We'll slug it out yet another day!

ronnoc said...

Actually, I $200 cash managed to disappear from my wallet, so it wasn't so good. But I did get to sleep in, so mine already wins :P

If it's any consolation, I plan on doing my part to make The Coldest Mile a commercial success, and I think highly of the Edgar Award.

Eden Bee said...

This is why I unplug the phone at night.

Nathaniel Lambert said...

I think the same fella tried to sell me windows. Persistent little fooker... like a staph infection.

Blu Gilliand said...

The people who stir that crap up about awards are the ones who are jealous that they've never been awarded anything. Don't let 'em take the joy out of your accomplishment.

And if it helps at all, it's GREAT to know that we're only one month away from another Piccirilli original.

Ttzuma said...

Hang in there Tom. I also saw those comments on awards and my feeling is...next to having the readers purchase your work by the boatload, the biggest feeling of acomplishment a writer could have would be recognition by his peers.

Congrats on the nod Tom, a lot of us (I'm hoping a boatload) loved The Cold Spot and hope you win.

Ttzuma

Bob Randisi said...

I also turn the phone off at night, and turn it back on around noon.Somebody once asked me, "What if your family calls you that somebody's dead?" I say, "When I call back they'll still be dead."

Hey, Tom, you've got a Widget for your book? Countin' down the minutes?

I was waiting for three contracts to be renewed. Two were, the other says wait three months for sales figures. Sales fgures? So I'm screwed already? In this economy what kind of sales figures is a hardcover gonna have. And, of course,I'll get the blame.

Cheer up, bro. I'm out here waiting for your new one.

RJR

Leon Basin said...

Hey, fellow writer!; ) How are you doing?

Phantom of Pulp said...

If you put "shitty" at the twelve, you'll go full circle back to shitty again.

If you put "great" at the twelve, you'll end your day with a smile.

Even a broken clock's right twice a day.

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