Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Per Se

Christ, it’s early. I’ve been trying to shift the bulk of my book writing to mornings before work, since I can’t work out a good block of time in the evenings to get any work done. I’d rather get a couple of hours of good writing in and go to the office exhausted, rather than sleep in, work, and then come home exhausted and try to write. Despite the early hour (I’ve already showered and eaten at this point) I have been getting a lot of work done on Untitled Book Three. I broke 39,000 words last night, and I’m trying hard to get 40K by tomorrow. The first draft is almost a third done. Unfortunately, when I finish the first third, there will be a huge amount of dicking around with the outline and story before I can really launch into part 2 of 3.

I turn 36 tomorrow. We are going to Per Se for dinner, which should be incredible. (here is a good review.) Aside from that, I haven’t even thought about the birthday much. This is the first year since 1999 I have not been in Vegas on 1/20, which is odd. We are going in a couple of weeks, but it will be weird. Birthdays are a lot less “whee, presents!” for me these days, and a lot more “christ, I am old”. This year’s current revalation is that I am exactly halfway to my SSI-mandated retirement. I have a list of mechanical problems a page long, so I don’t know how I will make it that far, let alone live happy for decades after. I need to start thinking about early retirement.

Speaking of, I got my quarterly 401K statement, which was the best birthday present ever, because for whatever reason, I’m making an insane amount of interest on that thing. I added it up last night and if I take 401K + IRA + savings + checking + value of my land + upcoming tax refunds + upcoming bonuses + flex spending account – all debt, it’s still a six-digit number. When I think back, at 26, I was at a grand total of about minus $20,000. The realization that I’m entirely in the black right now is a sudden and incredible thing, like the point maybe ten years ago when I realized that I was completely independent from my parents. So maybe I will finish before I’m 72.

I finished the Wright brothers bio. One thing that I find incredible is that their claim to being the first to fly was fiercely contested and debated until probably the second world war. And you’ll still find dickheads on the internet (probably all French or contrarians, or both) that will argue against them. Anyway, that was a good book. Now I am reading Julia Child’s book (ironically, about being in France.) Sarah read it, and I found it interesting for whatever reason, so I started it. It’s a good book, with very charming prose describing postwar Paris. The only problem is that it talks about food a lot, so it’s not the best thing to read right before lunch or anything, because it will make you even more starving.

Oh, when we were upstate this weekend, we went to a mammoth aircraft hanger grocery store, and I found 20,000 products I never knew existed. There were at least a dozen flavors of Doritos I’d never even contemplated. I got a box of Cheez-It crackers that are both cheddar and ranch in the same thing, a product I will probably never see again. And that’s probably a good thing, because they are insanely good. If I lived within striking distance of one of these huge stores, I would probably need to be cut out of my house by the fire department two or three years later.

Crap, I’ve wasted too much time here. Gotta get writing!