Sunday, March 31, 2002
Somedays even a workaholic like me isn't good for much. But I at least thought about Low Red Moon a great deal today. I'm trying to take much more care with the plotting of this novel than I did with Silk and Threshold. Not that I was sloppy with those novels, but I adopted a very straightforward start-at-the-beginning-and-see-where-this-goes approach, so that I often had no idea what was about to happen next. In many ways I prefer this approach, as I think it permits a greater expression by the unconscious mind than is allowed by stricter plotting. But the sort of novel that Low Red Moon is turning out to be, as much a thriller as a dark fantasy, requires that I invest more forethought to the motivations of certain characters. I need to know more about why they're doing the things they're doing before they actually do them than I have in the past. But this sort of thinking-out of a thing is a far cry from the actual work of writing, and it leaves me feeling as though I've really done nothing but goof of all day, no matter how necessary the process might be.
Meanwhile, I'm starting to suspect that my insomnia may be a living entity, determined to wrest from me the final, sad shreds of my mind.
Saturday, March 30, 2002
Didn't make it in to the museum today. Instead, I spent several hours proofreading the new Dancy story - finally titled, "Waycross." I'm not sure what will become of it, now that it's finished. But that will sort itself out. It always does. Now I have to get back to work on Low Red Moon.
Also, the letterer for Bast: Eternity Game, Clem Robins, called me this morning from Kentucky. He needed to know how Destiny's word balloons looked in The Sandman and DC Comics is closed until Tuesday for Good Friday and Easter. Jennifer scanned a page from "Brief Lives" and e-mailed it to him. Sometimes doing comics can get very odd.
I got a letter from Christa Faust today. We've been out of touch for a while and it was good to hear from her. She sent me a little rubber trilobite that she found in Chinatown. I put it in one of my display cases, with my collection of large Moroccan trilobites. One night, I'll have to tell you the story about the time that Christa and I drove from LA to San Francisco to Eugene, OR, then, on the way back down the coast to LA, attempted a shortcut and got lost on some northern California mountain back road and were almost eaten by sasquatches. No, really. It sucked. Ask Christa. She was nauseous the entire time. It was easily one of the worst nights of my life.
And you now have about forty-seven and a half hours left to get in your ideas for contests. Here's the e-mail again: Desvernine@aol.com
Friday, March 29, 2002
Today I finished the new (and probably last) Dancy story. 900 words today, which brought the total to about 9,300 words — two or three thousand more than I'd intended. But now it's done and I can get back to Low Red Moon.
My New York agent's assitant, Ginger, called today and read me the Publisher's Weekly review of In the Garden of Poisonsous Flowers. Bill Schafer had been warned by Bill Sheehan that it was "mixed" and, before she read it to me, Ginger warned me of the same thing. But I was actually fairly pleased with it. And I tend to take genuinely bad reviews rather hard.
I need to go into the museum tomorrow, but I'm so wiped out from today that I'm still not certain I'll make it.
In fact, I think that's quite enough for this evening. Thanks to everyone sending in suggestions for the contest (see March 27th for details); there have been some interesting ones so far. Stay tuned . . .
Thursday, March 28, 2002
When I grow up I want to be Neil Gaiman. But that's another story.
Today was a very, very momentous day. I finally received my copy of the March 14th, 2002 number of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, which, on pages 91-103, contains my paper, "Stratigraphic distribution and habitat segregation of mosasaurs in the Upper Cretaceous of western and central Alabama, with an historical review of Alabama mosasaur discoveries." Literally, here's nineteen years of research distilled into twelve pages. It arrived in the mail about 2 p.m., while I was writing. In a Herculean feat of restraint, I managed to wait until about 5 p.m. to open the envelope, as I knew I couldn't possibly continue working on the Dancy story after having seen it, finally, in print. If you've been wondering — "How do I become a successful author?" — well that's one of the secrets: self-denial. Oh, and I also wrote about 800 words on the story today. I hope to finish it tomorrow.
And now, something I have been putting off for quite some time. It would appear that reports of my escape from Alabama have been greatly exaggerated. Or, to put it another way, if this post had been written by A. A. Milne, it might have been titled, "In Which the Author Attends to an Extremely Overdue Geographical Pronouncement.' Or something like that.
Way back in July, following some nervous paroxysm or another, some now only half-remembered fit of spleen, I resolved to flee this Godforsaken city once and for all. I went to Atlanta and found an apartment. It wasn't nearly as nice as my Birmingham apartment, but, then, it wasn't in Birmingham, so I figured I could live with the lack of space, the bothersome mosquitoes, the noise of traffic, the gas stove, the brown tap water, the windows that were permanently painted shut, the crime, and the absence of a dish-washing machine. The landlords, a Chinese couple (let's call them the Changs) went out of their way to accommodate me. They even agreed to paint most of the interior of the place red. Back in Birmingham, with the help of various friends, I packed up all of my belongings and discovered I had at least four times as much stuff as could ever possibly fit in my new place. So I rented storage space (in the creepy building I'd used as the model for "The Long Hall on the Top Floor," no less) and shoved three-quarters of it in there, leaving out only those things I thought I could not live without. Being me, that meant that such items as dinosaur bones, jars of pickled bats, and Sleepy Hollow action figures would be moved, while silly nonessentials such as the couch would remain behind.
Time for a new paragraph.
We rented a truck in which to move everything. We hired movers. I caught the flu. Now, by this time, it was August, so the temperatures in Birmingham and Atlanta were in the high 90s or low 100s, with matching humidity. My fever felt obliged to compete with the weather. But, to make a terrible, long, snotty story short, we moved. Oh, I took the cat. They wouldn't keep her at the storage place.
Now, fast forward to the evening of Sunday, September 23rd. That afternoon, Jennifer and I had a business lunch with Stephen Pagel, owner of Meisha Merlin Publishing. We ate Greek food while a truly stupendous thunderstorm pummeled Atlanta. Afterwards, we returned home, where Kathryn, our roommate who'd come all the way from Rhode Island, was waiting, having just gotten off work. If this is starting to bore you, don't worry. Here's where the special-effects budget kicks in. The thunderstorm was only foreshadowing. Anyway, it was hot and we were in a restless mood. We sat in the bedroom awhile, then left for a nearby coffeehouse. An hour or so later, we returned home to find that the entire bedroom ceiling had collapsed, dropping hundreds of pounds of plaster, sheetrock, and rock-wool insulation to the floor below. But that's okay. My antique furniture broke the fall.
We spent the next four nights in hotels, while incompetent workmen hired by the Chengs excavated what remained of the bedroom, doing their own damage to the few things the collapse had not already done in. When I sat down an hour ago to write about this, I imagined this part would be filled with all the particulars of the event, the gory details, but now I find I haven't heart to get into it. Once again, to make a long story short, our landlords agreed to pay for all our very substantial damages and our hotel bills, and refused to call in their insurance company or a building inspector. For a week, I had nowhere to work and worried constantly about other ceilings, in other rooms, collapsing. Never mind that had we not gone to the coffeehouse, the three of us would have been in the room. It was bad enough having to look at the crushed mass of wood and wrought iron, buried in great shards of plaster and, in some spots, three or four feet of rock-wool. It was the sort of domestic nightmare one imagines always happening to other people, like floods and earthquakes and such, but never to oneself.
As September ended and October began, it became clear that the Changs had been, shall we say, less than honest about their intentions of covering our damages. I hired a lawyer. They took that as cause to evict us. It was at about this point that I had another series of fits, which must have made my July conniptions seem tame indeed. Shock waves were registered on seismometers as far away as Fiji. Things got ugly. I couldn't work. I had deadlines and bills. I had two absolutely insane landlords (proprietors, by the way, of a certain popular Chinese restaurant on Peachtree Street) who had somehow concluded that kicking me out was to best way to avoid litigation.
So, at the end of October, we packed up and, because it seemed familiar and safe and I didn't have to explain why I couldn't give my present landlord as a reference to prospective realtors, I moved back to Birmingham. Into the same building we'd left in August. Into the apartment next door to the apartment we'd left in August. Tiddly-pom.
I told a few people, people who had to know. My agent. My family. Some editors and publishers. A handful of friends, but, for the most part, I've seen fit to allow people to continue to believe I was still in Atlanta. I was entirely too disgusted with the whole sordid mess, and far too behind in my work, to be bothered having to explain. And, I confess, the incidents were attended by a certain sickening sense of failure. Once again, I was back in this city which, despite whatever impressions my books might convey, is just a few miles east of the sphincter of the world. I'm only telling you now because I'm tired of avoiding references to Birmingham in these entries.
Well, that seems peculiarly anti-climactic. Confession can be very disappointing.
To date, the Changs still haven't made good on their promises. I've replaced or repaired most of the damaged furniture. Kathryn went back to Rhode Island because she hates Birmingham, and I can't very well blame her for that. We've thrown out the ruined clothing (turns out rock-wool is impossible to extricate from fabrics and isn't very healthy stuff). Almost all the stuff I put in storage is still in storage, as I simply haven't felt like unpacking it. And so on, and so forth. I keep telling myself this is a very temporary back-to-Birmingham, and soon I'll be out of here and once again somewhere more civilized. I work and try not to think about the thousands of dollars spent so far because of the ceiling collapse, or about the things that were destroyed that can't be replaced. The cat, damn her fuzzy soul, is just fine.
And I think that's quite enough of this for one night, thank you very much. Maybe someday, in some later attack of catharsis, I'll post a photograph of the room after the collapse. I've got dozens. And video.
Wednesday, March 27, 2002
Just a short one for tonight, because it has indeed been a long day and my eyes are beginning to cross. But I promise something much longer tomorrow evening (or morning, or whatever).
Somehow duty and desire went together today. I finished revising Bast: Eternity Game Part 2 and spent a few hours with the story, getting another 900 words or so into it. So, it was an exceptional writing day, as I rarely ever manage to work on two stories in a single day.
Okay. I'm making it official. Got an idea for a contest to mark the website hitting 50,000? E-mail it to me at Desvernine@aol.com in the next few days and on Monday (April 1 - how's that for appropriate) I'll pick the one I like best. If you want, send in more than one idea. Send all you've got. The one that I pick will get a "Salammbô" t-shirt, featuring art by Richard Kirk from Tales of Pain and Wonder. Then we'll actually run your contest as such and that winner will also get a t-shirt. Deadline for contest ideas, midnight Sunday. I'll announce the first winner late Monday evening or, more likely (knowing me), early Tuesday morning. Don't be pokey. Pokey people don't win t-shirts.
Tuesday, March 26, 2002
Not a word today did I write. Nope. Well, except for a letter to the editor of a paleo' journal, and I did address some envelopes. That counts, right? As I mentioned last night, today was devoted to getting a paper in the mail, which always means a million little last minute details to be dealt with. Here's a paper that I've read, literally, countless times over the last year, as has my collaborator, and I found four or five major errors in it today. But you're all already bored to tears and halfway back again, aren't you? No, that's okay. I understand. Not everyone gets all tingly over rocks and bones and typographical errors.
Tomorrow I need to work on editing Part 2 of Bast: Eternity Game, but I want to work on the Dancy story. I'm sure duty will win out over desire. It usually does. With me, at least.
There's supposed to be a review of In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers in the new Publisher's Weekly, but I haven't seen it yet.
Oh, we passed 50,000 hits on the website last night, and I'm supposed to be giving away "Salammbô" shirts. But I still haven't thought of a good contest-type thing. Maybe the contest should be to think of an appropriate contest, somehow related to something I've written, e-mail the ideas to me, and the winner and runners up (runners-up?) get the t-shirts, etc. Hhhmmm. That does have possibilities. I will think on it.
Monday, March 25, 2002
A good, if somewhat slow, writing day. More than 1,000 wds. on the Dancy story. Originally, I'd thought it would be, at most, a 5,000 wd. story, but now I'm well past 6,000+ and the end is at least 2,000 wds. away. This is me not wanting to let go of Dancy, I suspect. Today was remarkable in that it included one of those very, very rare instances when I write something that actually disturbs me. In this story we get a brief scene from Dancy's time as a mental patient and it isn't pretty. It was the sort of scene where one of my inner voices is feverishly insisting that I really don't want to write this down, that it's not right to make such things happen to anyone, even fictional characters, but the words just keep coming and suddenly it's history.
Spring's back after it's brief interruption.
And it was one of the best Oscar night's in years. I'm a little disappointed that Moulin Rouge didn't receive Best Picture, but, for the most part, my complaints are few.
I have to spend most of tomorrow putting the finishing touches on the Alabama dromaeosaurid dinosaur paper, so I can get it off to the journal, so it'll mostly be a paleo' day - I haven't had one of those in a while.
Sunday, March 24, 2002
Another 500 or so words on the new Dancy story today. It seems to have passed into fit of Dunsanian fantasy, which is rather new to me. Tonight Bill Schafer (Subterranean Press) wanted to know why I was wasting my time with a short story, when I have a novel to write. That's a good question. I'd hoped to finish it this weekend — the short story, not the novel — but that's beginning to seem unlikely. Tuesday, maybe. Then, I promise, I'll get back to Low Red Moon . . . just as soon as I finish editing Part 2 of Bast: Eternity Game for Vertigo.
Dame Darcy has signed the signature sheets for In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers and they've gone back to the publisher, so we'll probably have the book finished in time for World Horror, along with the chapbook, "On the Road to Jefferson."
The weather was much warmer today. My feet didn't get cold.
I'm going to be giving away some of the "Salammbô" t-shirts to mark the website's 50,000th hit (any day now) and the release of the Meisha Merlin trade paperback of Tales of Pain and Wonder, but first I have to devise a fiendishly clever contest or a deadly deed or some such. Stay tuned.
Saturday, March 23, 2002
I'm really not up to this tonight. So, let's cut to the chase. I wrote about 800 words on the Dancy story. The weather turned foully, unseasonably cold and my feet froze all day. I'm annoyed that this story is taking so long to finish, as I'm very anxious to get back to the novel.
Blah, blah, blah . . .
Friday, March 22, 2002
I think I slept four hours last night.
I was awakened at 8 a.m. this morning by a UPS delivery. The signature sheets for In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers, which I had to sign today so that Jennifer could get them right back to UPS and off to Dame Darcy in LA. Subterranean Press hopes to have this book out in time for World Horror, so things are getting a little hectic.
Anyway, after signing my name a bezillion or so times (and attending to several hundred other distractions of varying degree s of urgency), I finally got back to work on the Dancy story and by 5 p.m. had written about 800 words. It was one of those exasperating slow days, when I have to fight for every noun, verb, and adjective. Nothing comes easy on days like this. And then, I wound up having to stop right smack in the middle of a pivotal confrontation, something I hate doing, to rush off to a local university library to get some paleo' research done. I planned to get back to work on the story this evening, but the library to ok considerably longer than expected and by the time I returned home I was too tired to be bothered.
I could be in Ft. Lauderdale right now. The evidence for my complete insanity mounts.
Thursday, March 21, 2002
Ah, what am I going to say tonight?
With some difficulty, I managed to get back into the new Dancy story this afternoon. Indeed, I got out about 1,100 good words in a few hours, which was a nice change from the last couple of days. I really do feel that this will be the last story about Dancy Flammarion, at least for a good while, and I think that's left me reluctant to finish it. I will miss her. I felt like this in the summer of '99 when I was writing ". . . Between the Gargoyle Tree," the "last" story for the Tales of Pain and Wonder narrative cycle (it's not simply a collection, but an almost-novel). That last piece, knowing it would almost certainly be my last time with Jimmy DeSade, I felt peculiarly sad. Pushing him towards his terrible, inevitable end, the end he had coming all along, even though I might not have always been aware of that conclusion. And knowing that when I let Jimmy go I was also letting go of Salmagundi and Salammbô Desvernine, of Lark and Crispin, Jenny Haniver and the Children of the Yard, Rabbit and all the rest. Letting go of that part of my fictive universe. I miss them sometimes, the familiarity of them, as I wander into new stories and have to come to understand new characters.
By the way, the Meisha Merlin Press edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder is supposedly available now, so if you've been shying away from the pricey Gauntlet hardback edition, shy no longer.
The new issue of The Spook is up and includes one of my newer stories, "Apokatastasis." I'm very impressed by this webzine, and it's gone a long way towards convincing me that the web may yet be a viable medium for the presentation of prose. Anyway, it's available in PDF, for Acrobat, and it's free. Check it out at:
Despite what my website says, I'm obviously not going to be at ICFA this year, which is a shame as I really wanted to attend. But the work has piled up to high and I decided to sit it out. I will be at the World Horror Convention in Chicago this April though, I promise. If nothing else, I wouldn't dare miss the Gothic.net party.
Wednesday, March 20, 2002
Another day consumed by the tedious business of writing, rather than by the tedious writing itself. There's a lot more of that sort of thing than most people think. At least, more than I think most people think. It's sort of like overtime, except not exactly, and you don't get paid for it.
If Dame Darcy is reading this entry (and I suspect that she isn't), or if anyone else reading this knows of her precise whereabouts at this moment, please contact me. The lives a many lemmings may hang in the balance.
And speaking of lives hanging in the balance, I'm just finishing Peter Ward's excellent River's In Time: The Search for Clues to Earth's Mass Extinctions, which examines the largest mass extinction events - the Permian/Triassic (P/T) Event, the Triassic/Jurassic (T/J) Event, the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) Event, and the "modern" mass extinction. I reccommend it to anyone who thinks Greenpeace goes too far. Meanwhile, in the real world, a 70-meter long asteroid passed within 461,000 kilometers of the planet (that's a near miss by generous cosmic standards).
And the Larson B ice shelf in Antarctica - 720 billion tons of ice, an area roughly the size of Rhode Island - has collapsed into the Weddell Sea in less than a month. Optimists and politicians (strange bedfellows, indeed) will say we need more data before we let any of this make of nervous, and certainly before we blame the mess in Antarctica on global warming and do something rash like consider reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. I suspect they'll still be saying that when Manhattan and London are underwater and yuppies are buying up beachfront property in Phoenix and San Antonio.
I am a cheerful fuck, aren't I?
Tuesday, March 19, 2002
Did I say that my mood had improved with this warmer weather? I spoke prematurely.
And it occurs to me, again, that I really should make myself write in this damned thing earlier in the evening. I would, no doubt, have more to say. Or at least I might have more of interest to say.
It's possible that 90% of the process of writing is distraction - that is, an author's life often seems so cluttered by all those things that are not the actual act of writing, but which only serve to distract from the act, that writing seems, at times, almost a luxury. Well, at least it often seems that way to this author. I managed today, in between a multitude of diverse and vexing distractions, to eek out about 300 words of the new Dancy story. A whole day and 300 words to show for it. I shouldn't complain. That's an average of 8 words an hour. Keep thinking thoughts like that and I'll easily drive myself more mad.
Oh. I almost forgot. There's a new interview online in the Ink 19 webzine ("The Glass Bottom Boat of the Cultural Press"). Here's a shortcut:
I meant most of what I said, so far as I recall. The lump of rock in the photograph, there on my left, is the Pennsylvanian-aged tree stump located outside the old Birmingham Public Library, mentioned on pp. 34-35 of Threshold. We're old friends, that stump and I.
Monday, March 18, 2002
Next time someone tells me what a wonderful existence it must be, making my living as a writer, I think that I shall tell him to be so kind as to blow it out his ass.
Just a stray thought.
Anyway, I've now gone back to the aforementioned Dancy story (last discussed here on March 7th), the one I didn't write for The Spook. I ought to be working on Low Red Moon instead, but I didn't want to see this story wind up in the Purgatory of my iBook's "Shelf" folder, along with such unfinished gems as "The Charles Fort Alphabetos," "The House on Watch Hill Point," "Notes from 80· South," "Seams," and the seemingly bottomless novella, "And Prayers For Rain" (more affectionately known as "the orphink"). That last one's been "in progress" since sometime in 1994. So, you can see why I fear that folder. It's the place I hide the craziest of relatives and all the particularly ugly children. Stories go in, but they don't come out. I've resolved that such a lingering fate must not befall this (possibly) last Dancy Flammarion story, and, thusly and henceforthly and suchwhatlike, I boldly spat up another 800+ words today. Even though I should be working on Low Red Moon.
On a lighter note, spring seems to have finally come to this otherwise deplorable part of the world. The trees are turning green. Flowers are blooming. My allergies are gearing up. The dogwoods are budding. And today the temperature reached 80·F, with 82· forecast for tomorrow. So my feet are no longer freezing and my mood is improving considerably. You may all stop sending me wool socks now. You may send money instead.
Wednesday, March 13, 2002
It's easy to lose track of time. Being a writer, I mean. Lacking that schedule that most people take for granted and dread, but which at least keeps you cued into the days of the week. Days pass and I don't realize that it's been so long since I bothered to make a journal entry here.
I spent most of today proofreading "Onion" before I send the ms. off to Ellen Datlow for Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Volume 15, tweaking little things here and there. I firmly believe that no story is ever actually finished. There is no real conclusion to the process of writing any given work of fiction, only a somewhat necessary and arbitrary place where you stop and type THE END. So it's not uncommon for me to rework something before it's reprinted, because there's always a word or two I wish I'd done differently.
Spring is coming, which is good.
An e-mail tonight, though I might not be much for the full answer right away. That might take some time. Anyway, Mr. Zach(ary) (Z. E.) Bennett writes:
"I read in your online Journal (30 Jan.) that you no longer espouse the
Left Bank/Right Bank taxonomoy of horror. My question is, why not? In
the DarkEcho interview of 23 Apr. '98 you explained it brilliantly, and
convinced me of its usefulness."
Right. I did say that. Which all gets back to the unfinished buisness with Ann Radcliffe and the distinction between terror and horror, the effects of the one and the other. Short answer, which will have to do for now as it's too late to think quite as clearly as a complete answer would require: I may have found something that works better. I'm not trained in literary theory or criticism (see, I'm not all bad), and I'm not sure how people who are do things. My understanding of taxonomy and theory comes, instead, from geology and biology. A model is good, as long as it works, or until a better model comes along. In this case, I may have been ignorant of a similar, pre-existing, and superior model, and unnecessarily created my own. The Right Bank/Left Bank model of "horror" fiction (see the interview section if you're wondering what the hell I'm talking about) seemed like a good idea at the time. It seemed to work. I even lectured on it at Trinity College in Dublin back in April '96, and they seemed to like it, too. But now, I think it fails by missing some very fine, but important points. Points which I will elaborate on some other night. Thanks for the e-mail Zach, and perhaps I'll be brilliant again and convince you I wasn't quite right the last time I was brilliant.
More than six months now since September 11th. Isn't that somehow amazing?
Sunday, March 10, 2002
Just something short tonight, because it's very late and I'm very tired. I got the story off to The Spook today. Look for it in March. If you don't already know the URL (and you should), I'll post it here later (or you can be adventurous and use Google). For what it's worth, I now have fourteen stories for the next collection after From Weird and Distant Shores. I expect it to be a longer book, more like Tales of Pain and Wonder — so there'll probably be about 20 stories when I'm done. But that's still a long, long way in the future.
There's a danger that this journal shares with any sort of writing, a danger that just occurred to me. Simply put, the temptation to continue speaking when, for the time being, you've really said all there is to say. I'd be willing to suppose that at least 50% of good writing is just knowing when the hell to shut up.
Saturday, March 09, 2002
My story for The Spook is coming along. It's good to do short stories between chapters, but, after a bit, I begin to get antsy about the characters in the book, and what they might be up to in my absence, and suspect it's time to get back to them.
But most of today was spent (after a night of exceptional insomnia) at a local museum where I'm volunteering Fridays, curating and conserving an enormous photographic collection, mostly slides of paleontological excavations and exhibits. I started back in January and there are literally thousands of these slides. I took on the job because I have the requisite paleo' knowledge, but I'm having to learn all the photo conservation stuff as I go (such as - slides should not ever be stored in sleeves made from polyvinyl chloride).
Tonight, hoping to cheer myself up a bit, I read a Dr. Suess book, which usually does the trick. Actually, two Dr. Seuss books - McElligot's Pool and On Beyond Zebra!, my favorites. Anyway, I found myself pondering one of the Seussian creatures, the Umbus, a sort of bovine millipede. Seuss tells us that "She has ninety-eight faucets that give milk quite nicely. Perhaps ninety-nine. I forget just precisely." But he draws the Umbus as an extraordinarily long creature, which would seem to have far more than "ninety-nine faucets," if "faucet" corresponds to "nipple." Each Umbus udder appears to have six nipples, and, based on his illustration, which snakes its way from one page to the next, I come up with a very conservative estimate of 360 nipples, almost four times the Seussian number! However, if he in fact meant "faucet" to refer to the entire udder, not each nipple, then we cut the number down to 60+, well under that given in his description (but, as part of the beast is hidden behind an inconeveniently placed hillock, the number would probably actually approach 100+). So, perhaps "faucet" means "udder" after all, and not nipple. It's things like this that give me indigestion.
And Ohio creationists don't help, either.
Thursday, March 07, 2002
I think this is the earliest in the day that I've ever made an entry here. Things are weird. I'm off-kilter (yes, more than usual). Anyway, I've been ignoring this thing for a few days and thought I should say something, not matter how inconsequential.
The new Dancy Flammarion story stalled out on me, so the story that goes to The Spook will be something altogether different. I'll finish the Dancy story later and you'll see it somewhere else.
The Meisha Merlin trade paperback edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder is finally back from the printers and will be shipping this week and next. So, if you've pre-ordered, it shouldn't be much longer. If you didn't, remember, my cat will starve if you don't buy my books. Her fate is in your hands.
In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers is now at the printer.
My agent loves the first part of Low Red Moon, which she hailed as "riveting," which made me feel a whole lot better.
I have to get two figures finished for a paleo' paper that has a March 29th deadline. I keep putting it off because I hate doing graphics, but I can't put it off much longer.
The weather has gotten slightly warmer and the trees across the street have white blooms. So, spring is within sight.
Monday, March 04, 2002
I'm so sick of winter. The temperature hardly climbed above freezing today (and no, I do not care that you live in Minneapolis and your high was only 6·F - those of us cursed with living in the South should at least get warm weather in return for our misery). It might be warmer tomorrow. I'm not sure. My feet froze all day. I love writing with frozen feet. It's so Bohemian. And the ceilings are so high in my office (about 18 ft., plus the exterior wall's brick) I have to turn on the ceiling fan to coax warm air down to desk level.
I wrote another thousand words on the new Dancy story today.
My tongue still hurts.
And I spent another two hours playing Silent Hill tonight. It was that sort of a day. The sort you forget in a week if you don't write them down. But I write all my days down, here and/or in my real (i.e., paper and ink) journal. I still forget them, but I have a way to get them back, if I choose.
Oh, In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers goes to the printers this week. It should be out for the 2002 World Horror Convention in Chicago, which I will apparently be attending. I haven't been to Chicago since 1996. I had a rental car stolen and almost froze to death, all in the space of about twelves hours. So I can't truthfully say I'm looking forward to going back. But it's a good chance to see friends and spend some time with the mosasaurs at the Field Museum.
Sunday, March 03, 2002
It being Saturday, I pretended I was not a writer and just a real person, instead. The plan behind such delusional shenanigans was to actually sleep late. I think I slept until about 10 a.m., which wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but was later than usual. I might have slept an hour longer, but my cat was singing Klingon opera at the top of her garulous little lungs. Then, to add injury to insult, while having my usual morning blueberry bagel with strawberry cream cheese and reading National Georgraphic, I bit my tongue. Not a little bite. No, the kind of bite that makes it hard to talk or eat for at least the next couple days. You know, when you actually hear your tongue crunch.
All mornings suck, but some mornings suck more than others.
Today I wrote the first five hundred words on a new short story for the March issue of The Spook e-zine. I only have eight days left to finish it. I have a title, but I won't divulge it just yet, because I'm not sure it will be the final title. Anyway, it's the third (and I think final) Dancy Flammarion prequel to Threshold, the first two being In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers and "The Well of Stars and Shadow." You can still read the latter online, at Gothic.net, if you'd like. Both Garden and the new story elaborate on events mentioned briefly on p. 134 of Threshold. It's that thing I do, getting stuck on a character and not wanting to let them go.
When this story's done I may write Chapter 4, or I may go on and write the Holmes/Lovecraft story. This is an inevitable part of novelizing for me. The interruptions. On the one hand, they're frustrating because the book would get written so much faster without them. On the other hand, they're indespensible, no doubt sparing my fragile sanity and giving me time to work out sticky problems that arise in the novels. There are always sticky problems.
I spent most of the evening playing Silent Hill, about three full hours I think. And I'm impressed that a video game actually managed to give me a full-tilt case of the willies.
Saturday, March 02, 2002
It's late and it's raining and I am miles and miles beyond tired. That tired that passes physical exhaustion and sleepiness and melts into a sort of soft background fuzziness, so that everything seems just the slightest bit unreal.
Since February 6th, I've been trying not to talk about the fact that I now have two agents at UTA in LA and today I was told, finally, that I can at least say that much. And that I'm working with them, developing film projects. I promise I will say more when I can, which will be soon. Things have been very peculiar around here the last few weeks.
The rain sounds nice.
I have nine days to get a short story written. Which means I have to start it tomorrow.
Oh, and Shelly Bond at Vertigo faxed me the first eleven pages of artwork for Bast: Eternity Game yesterday (Thursday). Overall, it's gorgeous stuff and I think I'm going to be pleased with how this mini-series turns out. The artist's take on Bast is a little more agressive and sensual than she was portrayed in The Sandman.
Thanks to everyone who's sending in e-mail. I'll get to some of your questions soon, I promise. For those who might have missed the address, its Desvernine@aol.com.
I should go to bed. At least go into the bedroom and lie in bed and stare at the ceiling and imagine what people who sleep might be dreaming about right now.
Friday, March 01, 2002
Last night, we took Pandora Station offline. Jennifer did the deed at about 9:34 p.m. EST. But like Skylab and Mir, the Station had outlived its usefulness and was woefully out of date. Poppy and I each have our own sites now, so there wasn't much point in trying to keep the place up, so to speak. But it was weird and sad. How can anyone, especially an admitted Luddite like myself, mourn the passing of a website?
Jennifer and I built Pandora Station in 1995, back when most people still had not heard of the web. We worked on it nights at the Mac lab at UGA and it went online that October. I recall a lot of writers telling me what a big waste of time it was, that it was self-indulgent, that it was a fad (I'm espcially fond of that last one). My response was that I viewed Pandora Station as a sort of virtual PR agent, working for me 24-7-365, and doing it for next to nothing. I couldn't begin to count the readers who've told me that they first encountered my work on Pandora Station. It floated out there for more than six years. It will be missed.
Short story deadlines are suddenly piling up around me like bodies in need of burial. There's the Sherlock Holmes story I still haven't started, a couple of pieces for a webzine, and one for an anthology of stories about absinthe. That's all I can take on for a while and I shouldn't have taken on that much, since I have Low Red Moon on my hands, not to mention various projects in-press and my paleo' work. Workaholics should get special tax breaks.