I’ve done exactly zero writing in the past three days. That’s not like me but I just have not been able to get going. Each time I sit down at the computer I end up either fiddling with my books or just playing the video game Age of Empires. It’s not the fact that Lana needs the occasional hand. She’s a model patient, and is recovering, although she still feels pretty miserable. The slowdown is inside me.
Of course, I could make excuses. My legs have been bothering me pretty badly and yesterday I spent a fair amount of time on the phone with our internet provider, and with issues dealing with my son trying to get back into school this fall. Turns out his health records were misplaced after Katrina and the school needed evidence of his immunizations. We finally got that straightened out but it took a bit.
The problem is really a lack of focus on my part. The summer is winding down here and within 10 days I’ll be back at work. I’ll have to get started on syllabi sooner than that. Although I like my job, transitions are hard for me. I’m going to try to get going today, though. Wish me luck.
One interesting thing came out of fiddling with my books, though. I was looking through an old book of SF stories called Santana Morning and Other Stories by Mike Dolan. It was published from Powell Sci-Fi in 1970. Interestingly, it contains a story called “The Fog,” which I reread, and I had to arch an eyebrow at the strong similarities with Stephen King’s later novella “The Mist.” King’s story is much better and more detailed, and the two stories certainly aren’t identical, but there are enough similarities to make me wonder whether King read “The Fog” once upon a time and it stayed with him to influence him when he wrote “The Mist.” I'm absolutely not saying that King might have plagiarized this story. It's more the basic idea that is similar. The writing and wording and style are all quite different. It could have been an influence on King, nothing more.
In publishing news, our Writing in Psychology: A Guidebook is out as of yesterday. This is a textbook I wrote with a couple of other faculty members at Xavier: Elliott Hammer, and Y Du Bois Irvin (who is the granddaughter of W. E. B. Du Bois). This is a book specifically designed to help students in writing formal term papers and research reports. We use it in our psychology department writing classes at Xavier and I have hopes some other schools might adopt it. It’s strictly nonfiction, and unless you’re taking a course in psychology or writing papers in a field where APA style is used it’s probably not going to be useful to anyone here. It’s not a general writing guide like Write With Fire. I’m pretty happy with it, though. The cover is here if you want to take a look at the details. The cover is also below: