ISBW #389: Get Bored [Transcription]
I’ve worked getting a transcription service going for my podcasts, and will be transcribing the episodes from 2018. Having an accessible podcast is important to me. It’s not cheap however, so I’ll be adding a few tiers to the Patreon to help pay for it.
It will be up for only Patreon supporters for a week, then it will go up here for everyone.
NOTE: I am posting the text here. If you would rather I post the transcription PDF as a link, then let me know. I’m new at this.
January 17, 2018
Mur : [00:00:00] Hi there. Welcome to I Should Be Writing: the podcast for wanna-be fiction writers. I’m your host, Mur Lafferty. Happy New Year! I know it’s middle of January, but hey, what better time to talk about New Year’s resolutions, because everybody else has stopped talking about New Year’s resolutions because they’re already forgotten two weeks in. I could be exaggerating. Maybe some of you were holding on to them, maybe some are not. But revisit them. What did you think you were going to change this year? I made one resolution this year, and I’ve been ok at keeping up with it. In short, my resolution is get bored. I know that sounds kind of silly, but the deal is when you’re bored your mind wanders. When your mind wanders, you get good creative ideas. If you’re bored and you pick up your phone or tablet and play Candy Crush, you’re not getting good ideas, you’re playing Candy Crush.
: [00:00:56] Now it’s hard. I’m as addicted to my devices as any other person with smartphones or tablets. So a lot of times it’s a struggle to put things down. But it’s important. I’ve been trying to do less background noise when I’m cooking or cleaning or doing stuff with my hands; because, I usually put on a TV show that I know well so I can listen to it. But if I miss anything, I’m not actually missing anything, but I know I enjoy it, what I do hear, so I can’t listen to anything new because I’ll miss something. It’s embarrassing to say this out loud, but it’s the truth. I’ve gone through The Office and Friends and Arrested Development and now The Good Place many times. What I’ve tried to change there is listening to either music, which helps my mind to wander, or listening to an audio book, which at least is reading. In the car I’m either doing silence, audio books, or music. I find silence is best for me in the car if I want to be working through a plot thing. Which is weird because I was the kid who hated silence. My family was the one that always had the TV on, even if nobody was watching it, the TV was on. And after meeting my husband and building a family ourselves, deciding we did not want that in our lives was actually a bit of a challenge for me to embrace. But it helps my mind process things and think about stuff. Of course nothing’s perfect. That’s what bothers me about a lot of advice, is that sometimes even when you do it perfectly, it still doesn’t work. Sometimes when things are quiet, I do the depressive downward spiral of going over past mistakes, people I’ve hurt, stupid things I’ve said, I’ll never write another book, self-loading spiral, etc., etc. And when that happens, I need to put something on. Being bored is not the best thing for me right then. But more often than not it is.
: [00:02:59] I know people are supposed to do hard goals and stuff with their resolutions. They don’t want to be fit; they want to run a 5K in 3 months. They don’t want to make more money; they want to increase their client number by 10. That kind of thing. So my resolution of get bored doesn’t really fit with that. But the thing is, all I want to do is really stop looking at the phone and the tablet so much and let my mind wander. Because I have faith in my mind that something will come of it. Maybe good, maybe bad. But I’ll have some sort of idea, and the next step is writing it down.
: [00:03:40] I don’t know if I’m entering a midlife crisis or something, but I feel like I’m learning a lot of life lessons lately. Like one of them is when you face your fears and you try to do something that’s going to … that you’ve been afraid of, sometimes the thing you fear still comes true. You don’t want to talk to somebody because … you don’t want to ask somebody out because they might shoot you down. You don’t want to submit that story because it might get rejected. Those are legitimate fears and that might happen.
: [00:04:10] Can’t remember if I’ve told this story in the podcast or not before, but my family and I went to a waterpark. Advertised steep, steep, like almost 90 degree slides, and I thought it looked exciting, and I thought I’ll face my fear of heights. Once I got to the top, I thought holy crap what am I doing? I’m afraid of heights. I don’t want to do this, and my fear of being shamed was a little bit stronger than my fear of heights, so I went through with it. In fiction, when you face your fears it’s like you’re elated. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. I’m okay. Hooray! Look what I did. I did something brave. When I got off that water slide, I was pissed, because it was not fun. I got water up my nose. I was still scared to death I was going to fall off the slide. It was just bad. It certainly didn’t fix my fears. I didn’t have fun. But then again you know, I didn’t die, and I was brave for doing it. But whatever magical fix I was hoping it would do, it did not.
: [00:05:19] I’ve had a fear of the dentist for quite some time because of a very bad experience when I was a kid, and I still have my wisdom teeth, and I got an infection around this time last year. When the oral surgeon started talking about what he was going to have to do to get the wisdom teeth out … and in case there’s anybody out there like me I’m not going to go into the details, but I will tell you that everything he told me that could go wrong with the surgery justified the terror I’ve felt about having my wisdom teeth out. I was just baffled. I was just sitting there going, “I was right!” This fear was not unfounded. I’m absolutely right to be utterly afraid of this.
: [00:06:04] And here’s a hint about building characters: surgeons. There’s something… I’m not going to go as far as to say sociopathic, but I’m going to say cold. There’s something cold about people who cut into other people. Almost every surgeon I’ve ever met has been just like … the bedside manner has not been the best. Maybe they’re not jerks, but they’ll hand you the facts without offering you a pillow to fall on. And when I told the surgeon I’m like, “You’ve just justified every fear I’ve ever had about the surgery.” And he was like, “Well I’m not going to lie to you.”
: [00:06:39] I did not get my wisdom teeth out, by the way. I think I’m going to leave them where they are for as long as I possibly can. Oh, the guy did point out how old I was many, many times, which I did not think was necessary, because I know how old I am. Apparently, if you get them out when you’re 16, you heal a lot faster than if you’re 44. OK that may be true, but I can’t go back in time, so why are we harping on this? Yeah, he said it again. I’m still not 16! I’m the same age as the last time you said it, just a little bit older. I’m going off on a tangent here, but just because your fears may be justified, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t face them. And I’ve got to tell you guys, if you’re listening to this saying, “Well why don’t you go get your face surgery?” I’m going to say that the fear of being rejected, or the fear of getting a bad review, is very different than the fear of losing feeling in half your face. I’m just sayin’.
: [00:07:36] As I mentioned, I’ve been watching a lot of The Good Place lately, and it’s possibly the smartest thing that I’ve seen on TV in a while. Now, I can’t watch all the TV shows, so that it may be something smarter out there. But this is pretty darn close. It’s brilliant. It’s funny. The characters are amazing, and I can’t tell you too much, because there are many reveals as the show goes on. But I commend the show for having several female characters, several marginalized groups. Nobody is a stereotype, and I’m going to be doing … I will talk about one person because she fascinates me. There’s a minor character called Mindy St. Clair, and she lives in an afterlife all by herself. She was a hot shot corporate lawyer who was a complete jerk her whole life, but then did something really good and then died. So they kind of sent her to this limbo place, and Mindy St. Clair is a character who is not… it’s so hard to describe this. There’s the concept of the male gaze or the female gaze is that when you see somebody, you are seeing them through the glasses of somebody who finds them attractive. Like we see women almost always through the male gaze shown as sexual creatures or matronly creatures. When a woman talks about sex, it’s almost always in a way that would turn on a guy, and Mindy St. Clair is just 100 percent for her own happiness. She doesn’t care. She’s not outright antagonistic. She does what she does for her own benefit, and she really doesn’t care what anybody else thinks or what anyone else does. She doesn’t care.
: [00:09:30] I won’t go into any more detail because there is some minor sexual content. I don’t usually talk about that on this show, but also I don’t want to spoil anything. Mindy St. Clair talks about sex a lot, but there’s nothing sexy about her. Nothing unsexy; she’s just like a human person. So, I recommend The Good Place. Mindy St. Clair doesn’t come in till around the end of the first season, but she’s definitely worth the wait.
: [00:09:59] You know it’s funny, that’s the other side of what I’m talking about, the getting bored. But if you watch something, or read something, or listen to something, you can still get stuff from it and still be influenced by the media around you. Just give your brain a chance to turn off, and let your subconscious do some work. That’s all I’m saying.
: [00:10:22] Here’s where I’m supposed to introduce the fact that we have a Christopher Brown interview coming up, and, well, I screwed up the recording. If you’ve been doing something for a long time, try not to get complacent, because things can still go wrong. This is why people gave nurses and doctors checklists to say basic things like, wash your hands, and they resented it, and then they realized that infections in the hospital went way down. So, if I had a checklist for all my recording, then it might not sound like crap. So, I apologize for not having that interview for you. I hope that I can re-record with Christopher. I’ve sent him an email today, being very embarrassed. So we’re going to cut this one a little short.
: [00:11:10] I would like to announce that I Should Be Writing has a sponsor now. It’s very exciting. The sponsor is actually my publisher Serial Box. National Public Radio called Serial Box the “HBO of reading.” Serial Box brings you gripping stories written by bestselling and award winning teams of writers, with new episodes every week. They’re addictive new shows you can read or listen to. The Serial Box app lets you switch from listening to reading with a click. Join the plot the Serial Box. Right now, I Should Be Writing listeners can get 20% off any first season of a Serial Box series. Head to serialbox.com and enter the promo code: writing18. That’s writing numerals 18. The URL is serialbox.com. And the code is writing18. Incidentally, if you didn’t know, I write for the Serial Box horror/dark fantasy type story Bookburners.
: [00:12:08] If you want to reach me, you can get in touch with me at email@example.com. The blog and show notes are at murverse.com. I should hopefully be appearing at ConFusion coming up soon. It’s snowing. We’re having a winter storm right now, and it’s snowing about twice as much as they originally forecasted, so I’m kind of worried about my flight going out tomorrow. But if you’re at ConFusion this weekend look for me, I may be there. I will also be at the Norwescon at the end of March because the Philip K. Dick Award is given away there and Six Wakes got a nomination. Whoa! So you can check out Six Wakes or my other book, I Should Be Writing, based on this podcast, or my short fiction podcast that I co-edit, called Escape Pod. You can find links to those at murverse.com. So hunker down, if it’s winter or summer where you are, and get some words down, because you should be writing.