The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Never too rich, or too thin...

“Magic and mystery are part of their history…”
I’m sorry. Having a Gummi Bear flashback. Brrr.
Anyway, the "never too thin" business is, of course, utter crap. Get thin enough to minimize your secondary sexual characteristics, and you are entering Sick City, in my opinion. Too rich, on the other hand...well, hopefully, I'll let you know.
Came across one ridiculously positive Intermittent Fasting reference, and one possibly negative one.
The good news: Fasting increases intelligence. Mice on an I.F. program tested with mazes and so forth did better on fasting days. On non-fasting days they performed about the same as a control group.

The possibly bad news: one hospital (Cedars Sinai, I believe) included I.F. on a list of Bulimia symptoms. A word to the wise: do your own research. Talk to your doctor if you are uncertain. Be careful. Whatever the hell is going on, here there be dragons.

And another piece of data: My weight was 175.3 this morning. I can’t even remember the last time I was down that low. And my muscle mass has increased, so that has to represent about 12 pounds of fat loss in a little over two months. I’m not going lower than 175, I think. Let’s see what happens now!
I meditated this morning. When hunger arose (yesterday was a fasting day, so by this morning, I’d gone 30 hours or so without food. Well, not entirely true: I had a couple of small chunks of watermelon, and a navel orange. Sue me.) during meditation, I asked it: “who is hungry? Where do you come from?” And it sort of slunk away. Strange.
Visualizing my body in front of a mirror, I looked for light within the darkness. It was a little difficult to hold the image (my mind kept drifting off into odd tangents) but when it finally resolved, I took the light and shifted it into a Tad James-style Time Line. Time Line is a goal-setting visualization where you create an end point image for your goal, and then analogues for your belief systems, value hierarchies, and positive/negative emotional anchors. If all this stuff is in alignment, you can be pretty certain that your subconscious isn’t going to fight you, and you have a certain amount of laser-like focus. Now, that doesn’t guarantee you’re going to reach your goal, but you get a hell of a lot more done with less friction…and when I get the visualization just right it SEEMS like I have more luck. Take that with a grain of salt—I know it sounds wonky.
Apparently, my “Casanegra” publisher, Atria, is serious about the book. Not only are they printing 100,000 copies, but they’re doing a Youtube video with the three of us, with a promotional push behind it. Ah, viral marketing. Blair seems to be having fun with this whole thing—he just got finished directing a movie, and winding up his season on “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” So his visibility is quite high right now. This ain’t bad, by any means…
“B” is for Bookcovers

As in: do you have any influence over what goes on the covers of your books? The answer: sometimes. If you and your editor trust each other, and you have some leverage. Or if you negotiate it. Some writers have a huge amount of input on such things, but newbies can expect minimal. You can certainly make suggestions, but be polite to your editors, understand that they have sales departments and bosses and art departments to interact with—you won’t always get your way.

May I tell you a story? Back about 25 years ago, I published my third novel, my first solo work, “Streetlethal.” The lead character was black, in fact described as “unusually dark for an American black man.” When the book came out, the guy on the cover was a tanned white guy. I was furious. The editor was embarrassed, but said that the Art department had insisted. I talked to the art department. They in turn blamed sales. I talked to sales. They said that the truck drivers who end up putting the books on racks would have rejected a black man on the cover, surmising it to be “Shaft in Space” or some such. Sigh. Boy oh boy, was I pissed. But I held my temper and motored on. When the sequel, “Gorgon Child” was published two years later, there on the cover was…a black man. Now, curiously enough, the WOMAN on the cover with him was now a blonde, where she was actually described as a mixture of black and Polynesian.

The truth is that there was really no one in particular to be angry with. They were doubtless correct: when the first book came out, it WOULD have affected sales. And probably did even with the sequels. Human beings have these interesting, odd perceptual habits. But if I’d freaked, I would have accomplished nothing save cutting my own throat. No. I swallowed my bile, and went forward. My commitment was to my career, not my ego. I wanted to win, and I ain't talking a Pyrrhic victory. My goal was to change the field. MAYBE I was smart enough to do that, but I wasn't about to count on smarts and talent alone. I decided that I would be incredibly easy to work with, genuinely open-minded, and responsive to the concerns of the publisher. Should I have put my foot down? Some would say yes. I think that if I had, I'd be selling insurance, and there would have been NO black men in the field at all. The bastards win.

This is MY life, My game. This is MY house. I simply refuse to lose. Hurt me all you want. But if you don't kill me, I'm getting back up again.

Watch your ass.

1 comment: said...

So, I do not really consider it may have effect.