Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

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Before I forget. John Sheppard has a new book out called Loner, which is a collection of short stories originally published in Air in the Paragraph Line, plus a new one that’s absolutely incredible.  It’s on lulu.com here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/loner/11784165.  They’re also having a summer sale with free postage for orders over twenty bucks, so do yourself a big favor and pick that up along with his other books In Between Days and Tales of the Peacetime Army.  Or check out any of my other books at http://stores.lulu.com/jkonrath, as long as the shipping’s cheap/free.

As long as I’m pimping stuff, I should mention that I dumped a bunch of my old books on scribd.com.  So now you can go read or download stuff like Summer Rain, Rumored to Exist, Air in the Paragraph Line #12, and a bunch of other old AITPL issues.  Check em out, and if you like them, please do me a favor and throw a link up on your facebook or whatever else you’re using these days using the handy buttons on scribd.

It’s always good to see John’s work, although it also makes me start thinking about putting out another POD book, or getting some of the old stuff on Kindle, or who knows what.  I am starting to accumulate a lot of short stories from AITPL and other places, and maybe there are enough to put out a volume of them, but I don’t know how it would sell or how I would market it.  I would also like to have a bunch of new stuff to go along with the reprints, and I’m not churning out a lot of writing at this second.

I also keep thinking about what to do next with AITPL.  I was looking at hooking up the submishmash submission manager thing, which looks like a good idea, but then I was reading this big essay on their site about why it was so great, and it said some stuff about the current climate, about how everyone’s a writer and nobody’s a reader, and that really stuck in my craw.  I mean, the worst part of that statement is that it’s true.  I wish I had a hundred good writers giving me stuff that I publish to a million eager readers, but it seems like those numbers are the other way around right now, and it makes me wonder why I should do more issues, or why I should publish my own stuff, and it gets depressing fast.  I swing between maybe moving AITPL to a model where I publish stories regularly online, maybe even daily flash fiction and the weekly roundup of longer fiction, and then do a quarterly print version of the best of that stuff.  Maybe that’s a good idea, but I don’t have time to write now, let alone sift through submissions.  I think if I had five dedicated readers willing to help me with the slush pile, I’d do this.  But right now, I’ve gotta write.

For some reason last weekend, I read some thing about GTD and thought maybe I should do some GST (Getting my Shit Together) and maybe try to organize things a bit.  So I looked at this list of how to do these things, and step one is “empty your inbox”.  Well here’s the deal: I forward my rumored.com email to a gmail account, and then read that with IMAP from my home computer and iPhone, and also use the web interface during the day at work. And since I started doing this in 2008, I have not filed away a single message, so my inbox has maybe 5000 messages in it.  But I also realized that now that I’m 100% using IMAP, I can now keep my folders on gmail and file things away there.

My big problem with that before: I used a Windows Mobile phone, and it could only POP mail reliably, even though its exchange support is supposed to be hot shit.  Using IMAP caused some weird problems, so I would pop my mail.  That led to this huge rat’s nest email configuration with multiple gmail accounts and ISP redirection and all of this garbage.  Now with the iPhone’s great IMAP support, all of that is gone.  And also, my Windows Mobile phone is gone – I actually sold it last week for $26 online.  Felt a little sad packing it up, because it reminded me of fall of 2008 and how ideal things seemed moving to the bay and getting a new job in Silicon Valley and how proud I was to be working for the company that made my phone, and to be working on software for that phone.  Then I actually had to use Windows Mobile.  That lasted about six months, before I finally gave up and paid full, unsubsidized price for an iPhone and threw my BlackJack II in a desk drawer, only to come out when I had to work at a trade show and was not allowed to use my iPhone in public.

Anyway, I started hacking away at the email situation last weekend.  First, I had to move stuff from one gmail account to another. You can just drag and drop messages between two IMAP accounts in Mail.app and it works well, except for some hidden mystery transfer quota in gmail that kills your connection for 24 hours if you move more than about 500 messages.  Then I had to actually sort through my old mail.  I could prune out a lot of obvious stuff: Amazon ship notifications, AT&T junk mail, alarm notifications to myself, and newsletters I never read.  And then I could file away the obvious one-to-one things, the frequent correspondence that could easily be tucked away in a folder with the person’s username.  But there’s still thousands of messages to go, and I think it will take me maybe a month to get to step 2 of GTD.

Actually, I have been writing down more stuff, ideas and thoughts and parts of stories, in a moleskine notebook, which is filling fast.  I think a big part of GTD is just capturing this stuff that would normally fall out of your head.  I don’t know what the next step is, but it feels good to get some record of this stuff.

Not much else.  Listening to Sabbath, plotting the weekend with a cat sleeping on my feet and “Hand of Doom” going through the headphones.  I’m finishing up hour four on the laptop and the battery says I still have another 1:42, which isn’t bad considering all of the churning Mail.app is doing with the IMAP transfers.  But it’s time to hang it up and go get some lunch.