So I see that I haven't posted in months about my writing, and I thought it was time to rectify that. The novel I had been working on for about a year and half has been set aside. I was, at the time of its dismissal, one quarter of the way through revising a draft worthy of showing people. A curious problem had come over me, which was that my shorthand and not very accurate way of describing the novel ("Conquistadors in the Amazon jungle") suddenly, and tauntingly, seemed vastly more interesting than the story I was actually writing. So I called my other draft part of the learning process, set it aside and started again from scratch. My new project is to be lean and mean. As of right now I'm just about at the halfway point, which means I should finish a draft by the end of year. It'll be a short and awkward length for a novel, and perhaps not publishable, but the conquistadors will at least be out of my head and I can start concentrating on something else.
In other news I read a great book a few weeks ago: The Cardboard Universe by Christopher Miller. I was a fan of Miller's previous book Sudden Noises From Inanimate Objects, and this one is even better. It's written in the form of an encyclopedia on the life and work of obscure science fiction writer Phoebus K. Dank. (One entry incidentally talks about a character Dank created named Philip K. Dick.) Miller's fictional PKD is like a more extreme version of the real PKD: a worse prose stylist, fatter, and with a more messed-up personal life. Some of the entries are written by Dank's sycophantic housemate and some are written by a former friend turned bitter enemy. The time of writing is shortly after Dank's murder. It's hilarious and sad, though a bit more of the former.