A Game of Phones

In an age where technology is splicing itself faster than a mad scientist’s Petri-dish full of mutant mitoticidal bunny rabbit cells, I sometimes forget about a device that existed long before blackberries, iPads and Skype. That is, the telephone.

During the weeks Armand (Writer/Editor with Rymfire) and I were sending drafts of Slash of Crimson back and forth, the emails started to get a little backed up. I kept sending him versions with names something like, Slash.of.Crimson.REAL.FINAL.VERSION.I.MEAN.IT.THIS.TIME.WITH.ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.doc

As a result, we had to work out version control. We also had to discuss the final touches on the cover. And of course, the release date. This was going to take a lot of time through email, and increase traffic even more.

That’s when Armand came up with a radical proposal: “How about you call me?”

Carl: “Okay, no problem, let’s see, why don’t you email your phone number…”

Omitted: “…to my Gmail account which will automatically forward to my Blackberry (well, it’s not really a Blackberry, it’s a Nokia E71x that looked almost as cool as a Blackberry about eight years ago, but hey who’s counting…). Anyway it’ll come in as a text message and I can just save your number from there.”

Armand: “Sure.”

But of course when would the call happen? Because after all, one of the great advantages of texting and email, of beaming photos back and forth and posting things on social networking sites, is the time lag. You can respond when you have time to respond and get more done overall. Most of the time this works perfectly for us as we are pretty busy with full time writing schedules and other responsibilities. But finally we settled on our first phone call attempt:

Thursday night, 9:00 p.m.:

Carl’s email at 11:30 p.m.: “Crap, I’m really sorry, I fell asleep putting the kids to bed and forgot to ask Sarah to wake me up.”

Armand’s email: “No worries, how about next Friday?”

The Next Friday:

Armand’s email: “NOT TONIGHT—family duties, try next week.”

Carl’s email: “No problem.”

Omitted: “…I mean, it works out anyway because I had like three shots of bourbon and some hot wings and can’t talk. No, not a scheduling issue. I mean I can’t talk.

The Next Sunday:

Armand’s email: “I called this afternoon.”

Carl’s email: “So did I.”

Omitted: Guys, phone calls have to happen simultaneously.

Next Thursday:

Carl’s email at 11:30: “Crap, um, I fell asleep putting the kids to bed again, crap, damn, sorry…”

Armand’s email: “Oh, yeah, um, I was asleep too, but I woke up from about 9:00 to 9:05.”

Carl’s email: “Okay, we’re going to make this happen tomorrow morning.”

Friday morning:

I began to realize that the phone call had to be made a true priority. All kidding aside, the reality is that I function under a set of priorities similar to those listed in Stephen King’s On Writing. Namely, that the most important thing about the craft of writing is to write every day, rain or shine. Nor does it matter if it’s a holiday or day-job day, sleep-deprivation day (or night), or a kids or housework day. All must be worked around. This is the way forward in developing one’s craft as a novelist. This is the way to become a better storyteller. The advice in that book, which is generally echoed by other professional novelists, proves true in a lasting sense.

Where that particular book is less useful, however, is in pointers in more recent forms of networking and conducting business. In a time when Internet and Ebooks are alive and getting stronger, we can’t ignore this side of writing. And though I would still never sacrifice the daily work on the craft, this other realm must also be developed.

And so that Friday morning I delayed the camping trip departure, delayed the bill paying, delayed even getting dressed. And though I didn’t cut out the writing session altogether, I did put aside some time at the end and made sure the phone call was finally on time!  An hour later Armand and I had our details worked out.

Thus, Slash of Crimson’s release date:  June 1, 2012!

3 responses to “A Game of Phones

  1. I have just finished writing a colleague and suggesting, no more phone calls. The problem for me was that a call doesn’t leave me with a written record. I speak much less fluently than I write. I think the preference to speak or to write is one of the major qualifications of humankind, and a person who leans toward one shouldn’t try to have a relationship with someone who leans toward the other.
    Thanks, Carl.

  2. True true. I am supposed to call a guy who works for me in Australia once a week. He has a young kid and I have two of them.that plus the time zone differences and trying to schedule calls is a constant process of scheduling and rescheduling..there is something to be said for the ease of the interwebs

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