Fiction Inferno: The literary magazine that burns you up

Fiction Inferno

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Hey! Welcome to the Blog of Eternal Damnation! Here's where you will see all the latest crap about the Web's hottest Speculative Fiction ezine, Bambi's Eschatological Underpinnings. And every now and again, just for sport, we just might include a little bit about Fiction Inferno: the Literary Magazine that Burns You Up.

Friday, November 29, 2002

Let's see, what shall we talk about today? Hmm?

Writer's Block. My nemesis. I've been entertained by this affliction for many, many years. The longest single bout of block I can remember stretched between 1991 and 1997 and the usual frequency is at least one episode every few years. And I don't mean "Gee I can't think of anything to write today," I mean "I cannot commit a single goddamned word to paper or screen and I don't care if you are threatening me with white-hot visegrip fingernail removal, I CANNOT FUCKING DO IT. This condition is tad bit annoying, particularly for someone that claims to be, and wants to be, nothing in this world but a writer.

People with no real experience of the Block have lots of well-meant suggestions. Here are the snippets of advice I've accumulated over the years:

Just sit down and make yourself do it.
Write stream of conscious babble every day at the same time.
Lay off the alcohol, tobacco, and fatty foods.
Write about something you care about.
Write about something you don't care about.
Transcribe text from someone else's book.
Write a list of things you'd like to write about.
Give it up and get a job.

Now, none of these are bad advice, really, and any one may well work wonders for some. Just not me.

The only thing that ever really worked for me was a course of chemical anti-depressants. For six months, I wrote like a fiend. Up to fifty pages a day, never less than twenty. Of course, most of it was total shit, but there was some good there, and the whole time I was writing like that, I was actually a writer. Only trouble was, I wasn't myself anymore. Not that that was completely a bad thing necessarily, but still, I had become rather attached to my old personality, faults and blocks not withstanding. The new, writerly, self wasn't exactly happy either, by the way. Max V.2 was embedded in the trailing edge of a failed marriage and unemployed and completely, utterly dead emotionally. Now that was struggle for supremacy for you. A blocked, depressed, pathetic self fighting a soulless, perverse, joyless self for the rights to a middle-aged human carcass with little apparent future.

Needless to say, the blocked self finally won, and truth be told, the future turned out pretty good, other than the block thing. Got a lovely wife, a condo in the forest, a job with some responsibilties, and lots of toys. Just can't seem to beat the old writer's block. But I can wait it out, and it eventually passes. See? All these words came out of my head! For now, at least, it's in remission.

Maybe I'll get some work done.

posted by Max E. Keele 11:54 AM

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Oh, and did I mention the tornado?

posted by Max E. Keele 11:08 AM

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Just got back from a week's vacation in the Deep South. Occasion was a reunion of some of the in-laws' family and that part was great: got to meet some people I've been hearing about, and catch up with some pretty good folks. However, in terms of what this week also contained, it was an odd few days.

  1. Travel day. Just to put the proper mood in place, we're up for something like 45 hours straight. Somehow manage to arrive after a two hour drive at 2:00 am, a layover in Houston, and another 2 hour drive from Atlanta to our final destination, a bucolic setting in the rural outskirts of Montgomery, Alabama. Beautiful house, nice people, hit the bed and die.

  2. Big party. Our hosts cook up enough smoked bbq chicken to feed Lee's army. Oh, man, that was some good chicken. Meet a lot of people. Drink about 25 beers.

  3. Begin recovery from party. Fabulous drive-through tour of Montgomery. See the Southern Poverty Law Center (very cool), Martin King's church, the Capitol, and whole bunch of utterly charming old south architecture--including a house once owned by F. Scott Fitzgerald. An enormous and delicious bbq'd roast, and about 25 beers.

  4. Antique shopping. Go antique shopping with six family members in the rental minivan. See some cool stuff. Get rear-ended by a Peterbilt. Now this is scary. I am driving a two-lane highway, slow to make a left turn into a parking lot, and the truck comes barreling around a curve and *SMACK*. It is not at all serious--minor damage to both vehicles, no known injuries--but it just misses being totally horrific. A very gentlemanly state trooper handles everything with diplomacy and aplomb. My brother-in-law is very cool-of-head and does most of the talking (thanks, man). Back at the ranch, humoungus fish fry (catfish, bass, and bluegill, all from the pond out back), and about 25 beers.

  5. To Montgomery to get a replacement van from Hertz. The above mentioned bro-in-law and myself off to town to get the van replaced. On the way we see a nasty two car accident, just after the fact. I am quite certain that we are all very very lucky. Then on to the parents-in-law's house for a massive photo-op. A good time was had by all. I did not drink. Much.

  6. To the beach! I've never been to the Gulf, so off to Pensacola for an afternoon at the beach. Great beach, almost nobody else out there. Pick up some shells, and have a great time. Four hours of driving each way. I do the first leg, and as the wife and I are going back with dad-in-law for the night, he drives the second leg while I sleep in the back seat. Get to their house late, and he fixes me a Very Large Tumbler of whiskey. It is a nice change from 25 beers.

  7. Massive seafood buffet. My wife's other brother-in-law (not the one from the accident) is an awe-inspiring cook. He did the chicken, the roast, the fish fry and then in Pensacola he bought a boatload of fresh seafood. Then we eat it. There are deep fried crab claws, Gulf shrimp cajun-style, tilapi parmesan, and three dozen blue crabs. Oh my god. And of course, 25 beers.

  8. Travel day. See number 1. Only backwards.

So of course, now I am fully rested and ready for another year of work. But it was a terrific good time (except for the accident part) and I'm quite happy to have been there and done that. Thanks to everyone involved for everything. Now I'm going to go somewhere and sleep.

posted by Max E. Keele 10:12 AM

Wednesday, November 06, 2002



posted by Max E. Keele 6:40 AM

Experimental Exposure Level Detector. If this counter reads 99,999 or higher, you have been exposed to a level of mutagenic particle emission that should cause priapism in men and low-level continuous orgasm in women. Please let me know if this is a problem for anyone.

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