Monday, May 22, 2006


I’ve always been proud of my family. We stick together like old syrup on a plate, sweet and persistent. And this June we all get to stick together again thanks to my grandfather, Frank Herbert, who will be inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. “The Family” will come together and witness this momentous occasion on June 17th in Seattle, Washington.

Hugo award winning author Neil Gaiman (creator of the highly successful Sandman Neil GaimanChronicles) will host the event around 7:30 pm while we all acknowledge the amazing accomplishments of my grandfather’s able mind — the Dune novels chief among them. Unfortunately this all comes posthumously, as Grandpa died in 1986. But that’s no one’s fault, especially not the SF Hall of Fame. They’ve only been around a short while.

Along with my grandfather, others will be inducted that same day. Most notable to many will bGeorge Lucas in the desert? Hmm...e George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars movie series. George Lucas has been quoted as saying that Dune (my grandfather’s creation) was “an inspiration” to him when he started working on Star Wars. Many people have made comparisons between the two, but that’s water under the bridge. We’ll sit and watch Mr. Lucas receive his accolades, too.

In addition to George Lucas and Frank Herbert, the inductees that day include SF marvel Anne McCaffrey, author of The Dragonriders of Pern series, and Frank Kelly Freas, a ten-time Hugo award-winning illustrator of SF books and magazines.

From left to right -- Frank Kelly Freas, Anne McCaffrey, Frank Herbert, George Lucas
It should be a fun event and one that I’m proud to say I’ll be a part of ...thanks to my family.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Writing Can Be A Big Problem!I’ve always enjoyed writing. Like a friend waiting just around the corner ready to encourage and press me into achieving greater things, writing gives me much more than I could ever give back. And this is both a blessing and a curse.

You’ll note the word “waiting” in that first paragraph (above). Waiting is a problem. Procrastination, life, writers block, whatever you want to call it, often gets in my way and I have to sit my ample butt down and concentrate on what I need (want) to accomplish. But this, too, can cause problems. Dishes stack up, laundry doesn’t get done, appointments get missed or put off, all thanks to writing. But that’s okay. At least I’m doing it and not just thinking about doing it.

When I ask other writers if they have this conundrum, they almost always say “Yes.” And this, too, both bugs and comforts me. It comforts me because I feel I’m not alone; others have the same problem. We’re put-off-aholics and could form our own support group (“Hi, I’m Byron and I haven’t written a word in three weeks.”) But the irritation I feel is equally puzzling. Why do we all have this problem?! What is it about life in the 21st century that makes us such procrastinators?! Perhaps it’s the instant gratification age that I continually harp about to my kids. Maybe it’s part of our genetic make-up, a recessed gene that only now has flickered to life Life Can Get Craaaazy!thanks to the buzz of the TV. Perhaps it’s this crazy life we live, going on vacation, attending weddings, checking into hotels for a business trip, checking email, checking answering machines, checking voice mail, making sure we have blueberries in the fridge as well as on our palm pilot, and the list goes on. Is that it? Do we need 25 hours in a day?

Regardless of the cause, a cloud looms large over many writers, myself among them. We have to force ourselves to sit down and do the work. But – and here’s the great part – when we finally do calm down enough to let the words flow, it’s like Nirvana. It’s a drug. We’re in that euphoric state runners often feel when they grasp their second wind. Words flow. The mind relaxes. The work-a-day world vanishes into the background. Ah. There it is. I think I found it. Excuse me while I write something down…

Ah. That Looks Better.