New day job, new routine

So I just got a part-time day job with Monsanto, here in the Des Moines area. My brother-in-law works as a scientist there, so he was able to connect me with the right people. It’s basically a warehouse job, handling all the shipping and receiving as well as the inventory. The hours are perfect, the job is interesting, and the people are really awesome, so I think things are going to work out really well.

Of course, that means adjusting to a new daily routine, which is why I neglected this blog all last week. Writing takes priority, so I’ve been focused on that first. I’m currently working on a short story prequel to Gunslinger to the Stars, which should be done later today and up for you guys to read before the end of the month.

I’m really, really excited about Gunslinger to the Stars. I think it’s my best sci-fi adventure novel yet. It’s coming out right around the same time as Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which also looks really awesome. Think Guardians of the Galaxy meets Monster Hunter International, with a heaping dose of Firefly mixed in for good measure. That’s Gunslinger to the Stars.

Gunslinger to the Stars

Gunslinger to the Stars

Sam Kletchka here, freelance gunslinger and interstellar privateer. This, my friends, is how I went from being stranded in the armpit of the galaxy to becoming the luckiest human being in the universe. More info →
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Lots and lots of stuff going on, but it looks like things are finally settling into a new routine. I should have a lot more for you guys in the future.

Have a fantastic weekend, and thanks for reading!

Take me to Arabia

Recently, I’ve found myself nearly overwhelmed by the sudden urge to run away to the Middle East and go totally and irrevocably native.  It may pass, but I still want to go back there–really bad.

So I looked up BYU’s TESOL certification program, and figured I could apply in January, start fall of ’11, and be on my way to an Arabian adventure in ’12.

Or…I could bypass the whole certification thing altogether, but I’d probably get a crappier job.  Besides, the certification could lead to other things, like perhaps an actual stable day job.  Who knows?

Regardless, I should probably find some way to actually use my Arabic degree.  After all, why did I get it in the first place?  Better put it to use!

So why am I tripping out on Middle East stuff?  Interestingly enough, I think it has a lot to do with the current novel I’m writing, Worlds Away from Home. I started it in fall ’08, just after getting back from BYU’s 2008 Jordan study abroad program, and the influence is definitely very visible.

Sometimes it makes me cringe a little, though; the fictional culture is patterned after my understanding of and experiences with Arab culture, but…it’s very pseudo Arab, if that make sense.  Kind of like it looks Arab, but it feels more Western.  I don’t know–I guess what I’m saying is that it’s bad (or maybe I just think that because I’m in the middle of the rough draft, when everything I write is utter and absolute crap.  Blegh).

But the thing is, if I try to make the culture truly foreign, I’m worried it will be more of a barrier to the reader than a gateway.  In other words, it’s the classic science fiction problem of aliens: the more you succeed in making your aliens truly alien, the harder it is for the reader to understand or sympathize with them.

But then again, isn’t that why we read?  To be transported to different times and places, experience other people and cultures, and be exposed to new ideas?  To expand our minds and enrich our understanding?  If that’s the case, there’s got to be something good and healthy about immersing the reader in a totally foreign culture.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any easier.

Oh well.  I’m up for the challenge.  In the meantime, I’ll keep reading T. E. Lawrence’s The Seven Pillars of Wisdom and continuously loop all my Arab pop.  Not familiar with Arabic music?  Here’s a really good one:

Track 5

(ps: I’d tell you who wrote/performs the song, but frankly I have no idea.  Unfortunately, copyright doesn’t really exist in the Middle East.  Oh well.  Enjoy!)