Saturday, August 31, 2002
I'm about to turn in after the first night of Dragon*Con. I stayed up late enough to catch a great set by The Changelings, including material from their new album. I had a little time to talk with Rogue from The Crüxshadows and Andy from Bella Morte, as well as the usual suspects from Tampa. It's nice seeing friends I haven't seen for a year, all that time I've been locked away in my brick box in Birmingham, writing the novel.
We'll not talk about the room service food.
Unfortunately, I also had to endure an hour-long panel from 10 till 11 p.m. (well, 11 p.m. in the loosest sense, since it went over), which was, ostensibly, about the impact of the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the art of writing dark fantasy. But one of the panelists was, rather inexplicably, some military guy who spent most of the time lecturing the room on How We Should All Stop Worrying And Learn To Love The Bomb. It was a strange, infuriating, and surreal experience. I've never come so close to walking out on a panel that I've been asked to participate in. One other panelist did walk out. So, that bit of dren aside, it's been a great first night. The panel wasn't a total loss. Someone whispered of me, overheard by a friend, "Well, she can't dress like that all the time. She has to put on a show for Dragon*Con." And while it's true I tend to write in my underwear, I did find it amusing that people think the way I dress is a "costume."
Friday, August 30, 2002
Ten a.m. It's beginning to look as though I won't make it out of Birmingham until at least one p.m., which is really of no consequence, one way or the other. I'm hoping this is a good year for Dragon*Con. It's a con I like, on good years. If you're in town, drop by and see the bands. I am so very not awake . . .
Note: The following was actually written about 3 a.m. this morning, but Mindspring refused to let me post it until now.
Like I said. Utter chaos. If I'm up and moving by nine a.m., we can get the packing finished and be out of here by noon (CST), which puts us getting to Dragon*Con about three p.m. (EST). Not bad, since I don't have a panel until 10 p.m. Plenty of time to settle in, see some folks, and goof off a bit. Pretend it's a vacation instead of work. Not much interesting to report about today. It was long. We packed. I read over the section of Low Red Moon that I'll read at the con on Saturday evening. It's very difficult, perhaps impossible, to pick any single portion of this book short enough to be read during a thirty-minute reading that will also convey any sense of what the book as a whole is like. So, I just picked something that I liked. I read it to Thryn tonight, who says she's missed hearing me read aloud. That's something far too few people do, and something that far too writers consider — that one of the primary attributes of prose is sound. But it's too late for literary tangents. Not much to report for today. Clouds, but no rain. This afternoon, I had to fight work traffic to visit the MAC counter at Saks, blah, blah, blah. Oh, if you're going to be a Dragon*Con, be sure to drop by the Salmagundi table in the Marriott. I'll try to sign there a little. And I'll try to make a couple of reports from the con. See you there (unless you aren't going).
Thursday, August 29, 2002
Early Thursday afternoon. The day before Dragon*Con. Utter chaos. It's always chaotic, but this year it seems especially chaotic. I honestly don't understand how some authors do so many cons every year. Three per annum is about my limit.
It helps not that I'm such a frelling clothes horse. Jennifer and Thryn are running about packing; I'm just trying to stay calm.
Anyway, obviously there's not much time for an entry today, so I offer the following from my bbs. It's simply my replies to three questions about Low Red Moon from yesterday, which a regular on the bbs thought would be nice for the journal:
'Caitlin, I'm kind of curious if you have any thoughts as to why you were able to finish LRM quicker and with more ease than your previous novels'
That makes two of us.
'Has writing gotten easier for you as time goes on?'
No. I have a few hypotheses though. One, keeping the online journal forced me to either a) keep moving ahead at a steady pace or b) look like a damned fool. I chose the former. Two, Low Red Moon is written in a slightly different voice than either Silk or Threshold. For one, it's more reliant on dialogue. Also, the description has been pared down a bit. Both of these factors undoubtedly sped things along. Three, I had a far clearer idea of the overall story before I began writing than I usually have at the start of a novel. Even though the story twice veered radically from the direction I thought it would take (chapters 10 and 14), knowing the overall plot helped. Four, winning two IHGs in April was a huge ego boost and Happy Ego writes faster than Unhappy Ego. Five, also an ego boost, all the interest in Threshold from Hollywood. Six, my schedule is getting so tight I just didn't have time to frell around with this novel. Soooooooo, if you stick all those together, I think you have a functional answer for why Low Red Moon was written so much faster.
'Do you maybe trust yourself more and are more comfortable with what you write?'
Sadly, today is not rainy . . .
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
It's Wednesday, isn't it? I just had to ask someone to be sure. The last two days are a bit of a blur. That's what happens to me whenever I don't work. My sense of time and my work ethic seem somehow linked. Is there any news? Not really. Because there's been no work. But I do have Dragon*Con bearing down on me like a runaway bus full of sweaty Klingons (not that I have against sweaty Klingons), so I only have today and tomorrow left to feel guilty about. Technically, Dragon*Con (and any other con) is work.
There was some nice rain here this morning. It's good to wake to grey-blue skies instead of white hot skies for a change. I listened to David Bowie's Heathen and Poe's Haunted while fat raindrops drummed against the windows and roof. Tonight I get sushi and maybe a movie. I'll have to write sometime about my change of heart regarding sushi.
Monday, August 26, 2002
10:14 a.m. Monday morning (regardless of what Blogger might say to the contrary). I'm not good with "vacations," no matter how much work I've done to "deserve" them. This morning, I already feel guilty because I won't write my thousand-word quota today, even though the frelling book is finished. Well, not finished finished, because I still have to go back and fix a bunch of continuity glitches, add a little here and there, read the whole manuscript for grammar, etc. But it is finished, sensu lato, so I ought to be able to relax and enjoy the "downtime" to be afforded me by the next eight days. But the nagging little voice back o'my mind just keeps whispering, "You know, you could be working right now." But all work and no play makes Cait a dull frellnik. I have to be at the airport at four and have a zillion (give or take a billion) things to do before then. Last night, having inflicted some degree of cleanliness upon my apartment, I read Lovecraft's "The Hound" as my sleep aid. That one always leads to interesting dreams. Last night it was a sort of endless blending of The Sopranos and The Addams Family. If I could upload my dreams directly to the iBook, I'd never have to write another word as long as I live.
Sunday, August 25, 2002
Yesterday morning I wrote an author's note and acknowledgements for Low Red Moon, then got ready to go to Atlanta. I burned a couple of copies of the ms. to CD for Jim, Jennifer (not Caudle, but Lee), and Byron. It's weird, remembering the days, way back in, say, 1999, when I had to make paper copies of my novels for my first readers. Now it takes seconds, costs pennies, and weighs ounces. Obviously, that can't be good. Anyway, I proofed the galleys for the "Waycross" chapbook on the way to Atlanta, a job I'd been putting off for weeks and now the long-suffering Mr. Schafer may breathe a little easier. It was a good, but very hot evening in Atlanta. 100F when we arrived and it never seemed to drop below the low nineties. Dinner at Huey's, drinks at Cafe Intermezzo, and some considerable time spent drooling at the window of a Vespa dealership. We didn't get back to Birmingham until 5 a.m. And now, I have to get off my rump and spend the day cleaning house, as my Rhode Islander arrives tomorrow, and, because I've had no time for anything but my symbiotic relationship with that novel, the apartment has become rather, well, oogy. I saw a dust bunny yesterday in excess of three feet.
Saturday, August 24, 2002
I'm too sleepy to be making an entry, but I thought I should say that, the author's note aside, Low Red Moon is finished. I wrote the epilogue this (Friday) morning and early afternoon, 1,578 words. But then, instead of being able to go directly to the aforementioned author's note, I had to run off into the awful August heat to deal with errands. Tomorrow I go to Atlanta, but I'll work a little in the morning first. Anyway, there it is. It's a book. Again. It's a rather long book. There are too many pages and the manuscript box won't stay shut. But it's a book.
Friday, August 23, 2002
Yesterday we proofed and corrected Chapter Thirteen of Low Red Moon, which, upon discovering it's so frelling long it took me a full three hours to read aloud, I promptly subdivided into chapters Thirteen and Fourteen. Today, I write the brief epilogue and this, what is technically my fifth novel, will be finished.
Not with a bang, but an "Oh, well."
Then I'm not writing anything until after Dragon*Con. I'll probably get back to work somewhere around September 4th.
Anyway, I'm off to tie loose ends, compose closing remarks, turn off lights before locking doors securely behind me, and so forth.
Thursday, August 22, 2002
Nothing lasts forever. It's a nice rule, when you think about it. Not the universe. Not love. Not all-day suckers. It's a nice rule, like I said, because no matter how much you start out liking a thing, give it enough of eternity and it begins to wear thin. Sheesh. That sounds like the first paragraph from a Dashell Hammett novel. Maybe I'm writing in the wrong "genre."
But my point is that Low Red Moon is now mere inches (standard conversion from words to more traditionally spatial units of measurement) from being finished. I followed the record-breaking word count on Tuesday with another on Wednesday. Yesterday, I wrote the last 2,481 words on Chapter Thirteen, bringing the manuscript to (exactly) page 500. I've never written a 500-page manuscript before. I've never wanted to, for that matter. It seems like overkill. I weighed the damned thing and it tips the scales at five pounds. Regardless, all that's left is the epilogue, which shouldn't add more than another five pages. Lots of fives here. That's probably interesting. To someone. Today, I'll proof and correct Chapter Thirteen, which, considering its length and scope, I may split into chapters Thirteen and Fourteen. Tomorrow, I'll do the epilogue, after my head has cleared a little from the storm that is this novel's conclusion. Then I go to Atlanta on Saturday (and see how much tequila I can drink), clean this nasty apartment on Sunday, and receive my Rhode Islander on Monday. I was so exhausted last night that I passed out early, about 12:30 a.m., watching The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. Then, annoyingly, I woke at 3:30 and was unable to get back to sleep. So, I finished rereading Lovecraft's "The Shadow Out of Time" and didn't get back to sleep until almost 5 a.m.
I can't even begin to believe I've made this deadline.
As for the novel, well, Jennifer's read the final chapter, as has Thryn, and both of them cried. I'm not sure I've ever done that before, made people cry. I almost did it to myself, towards the end. And it's odd, feeling good that you've made people feel bad. Neil and I were discussing this back in March at the World Horror Convention and we agreed it was rather strange, having someone say, "Oh, that was terrible. That made me cry (or that scared the beejeesus out of me, or that was really depressing, or whatever)," while we nod our heads sympathetically, thank them, all the while doing a little victory dance inside.
Low Red Moon is a strange novel. I always say that when I finish a book, but this time it's really, really true. It's sadder, in some ways, than Silk and way darker than Threshold. I've reached that point where I'm perfectly terrified of what critics and readers will say upon reading it.
Also, it's brought me back to that other point where, as an author who writes books wherein very bad things happen to people who often don't have it coming, I have to stop and wonder at the morality of this affair. The culpability of the writer. My obligation to the children of my mind. No one (except possibly Bill Gates) ever comes closer to being a god (or goddess) than does a writer. You fashion a world and nothing in that world happens without your say-so, nothing good and nothing bad. You create characters you love (you have to, or you can't expect anyone else to love them), and then you fail to protect them. And you do it for art, or you do it to entertain others, or you do it for the money (I'm not sure if I know which of those motives is less noble). And it makes me think of various naive objections to the existence of a supreme being that I've heard bandied about by the casually rebellious or loosely philosophical — how can they be expected to believe in a god who allows bad things to happen to his (or her, or its) creations. Maybe their answer lies in fiction. Maybe not. But it sure feels that way to me this morning.
Wednesday, August 21, 2002
Just between you and me and everyone else on the web, I'm am so frelling tired of writing this frelling novel. No, really. The time has come to type "The End" and move along to something else.
Yesterday was amazing, though. I broke my previous all-time words-per-day record of 1,800 words by writing 2,246 words on Chapter Thirteen of Low Red Moon, which comes to eight and a half pages, in six hours. Afterwards, I could barely remember how to drool. Note from Jennifer: It's all true. Really. Real, live drool.
I barely had the presence of mind left to eat dinner and lay on the sofa, watching a Farscape video, until I could fall asleep.
Also, before I go forth to slay, I'll be doing a new short story for a chapbook to be released by Subterranean Press with the limited edition of J. K. Potter's Embrace the Mutation (edited by Potter, William Schafer, and Bill Sheehan). Like all the stories in the book itself, mine will be based on one of Potter's photos. That's what I'll do after Dragon*Con.
Tuesday, August 20, 2002
This is not a morning for a long entry. There is entirely too much work ahead of me, and too few days. Yesterday I wrote 1,386 words on Chapter Thirteen. Also, I have decided that I will keep this journal going for at least several months after Low Red Moon is done, to follow its sale and publication and such, and to get to a point where I can discuss the matter of the novel, not just its creation. However, I may be shutting down the discussion forum soon, as I simply have no time left to devote to it. My days are getting shorter and shorter, it seems, so few hours and more words than I have time to put to paper (well, to phosphor . . . and it just hit me, I mean hit me, that we write in light and electricity). Projects that I want to do, and projects that I have to do, and the choosing between the two.
Monday, August 19, 2002
Last night, about eleven, I finally stopped working and lay down on the sofa to watch A Touch of Evil on TCM (or AMC, I don't recall). And I promptly fell asleep. Then I woke at a ridiculously early hour, seven, and couldn't get back to sleep. Which, considering the dreams, was probably just as well.
I wrote 1,315 words on Chapter 13 of Low Red Moon yesterday.
As it turned out, we had quite a lot of rain yesterday. Thunder and lightning, too. It was very nice.
It seemed there was something else I wanted to say today, but it's choosing to elude me.
Sunday, August 18, 2002
Yesterday I did 1,085 words on Chapter Thirteen. The final chapter is insisting on unplanned scenes, which only goes to prove what I keep telling everyone (especially editors), that outlines and synopses (especially "detailed" ones) are bullshit. If a novel sticks faithfully to a predetermined point-by-point outline, the author's not trying very hard. Art must be skillful, and skill requires planning, but art must also retain some element of the unpredictable, if it is to be true and reflect anything about human behavior and the natural world. Each event, each character action, can send a story reeling into territory I never would have anticipated ahead of time. All that said, being this close to the end and having so many unanticipated twists and turns is, nonetheless, annoying. Today I'll be finishing up the second unanticipated scene in a row.
Saturday, August 17, 2002
More words. I guess there will always be more words, at least until there aren't anymore.
On Thursday, I wrote 1,158 words on Chapter Thirteen. Then, on Friday, I wrote another 1,388. Busy, busy me. Rising like an air bubble. Last night there were a few moments of stark horror when I realized there was a problem with time flow in what I'd written the last few days and, at first, it seemed the only solution was a major rewrite. But then I figured out a far simpler and infinitely more entertaining solution and now I'm back on track.
Ted Naifeh sent me four gorgeous sketches, preliminary versions of the illustrations he's doing for the "Waycross" chapbook (Subterranean Press, later this year), of Dancy Flammarion and some of the unpleasant creatures she encounters. I wasn't aware how much I missed seeing pictures made of my words. Since almost everything begins as images, it seems to close a circle. Anyway, "Waycross" is a prequel to In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers, which is, in turn, a prequel to Threshold. On pages 44-46 of In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers, where the characters are expressing dismay that this little albino girl was the cause of some sort of calamity in Waycross, and the death of something called the Gynander is discussed, well, "Waycross" explains what all the fuss is about. Bill Schafer at Subterranean wants to do a collection of Dancy stories, eventually. Besides the ones already mentioned, there's also "The Well of Stars and Shadow," currently avaialble online, somewhere at Gothic.net, set when Dancy was a very young child. I know I still have one more Dancy story left to write, a prequel to "Waycross," but it may be months before I have time to write it.
Rain today would be nice.
Thursday, August 15, 2002
Oh, I've been meaning to mention. Our part of the drought seems to be ending. I did mention a very fine rainstorm in the 8/10/02 entry, but we had quite a bit more yesterday. There were showers on and off all afternoon, then a night of thunder and lightning that finally brought some rain late, after midnight.
It went fairly well yesterday, as long as you disregard the fact that I've lost any vague sense of objectivity towards this story. I'm half (but only half) convinced that it's somehow moving along without me at this point. Like an air bubble deep underwater, moving towards the surface. It doesn't need anyone to tell it which way to go. It goes up, until there's no up left to go. Simple. This story started feeling like that yesterday. Just wanting me to get out of the way so it can go up, to the top, to the ending. I wrote 1,251 words on Chapter Thirteen yesterday. I suspect this last chapter is determined to be long. Meanwhile other work is piling up, because the novel wants all my time. Manuscripts I should have sent to editors weeks ago, an unfinished interview, a synopsis of Low Red Moon I have to write for my agent because she needs it for the Frankfurt Book Fair, proofreading on "Waycross" for Subterranean Press, updates on the website (well, technically that's Jennifer's department), liner notes for a CD — the list goes on and on. Things the novel insists can wait another few days until it's finished. It's a very insistent novel.
I fell asleep last night to Poe's Tales of Mystery and Imagination, so I had only good dreams . . .
Wednesday, August 14, 2002
Yesterday wasn't such a catastrophe as Monday. But I can't say it was easy, either. The end of this novel is determined to make me work my ass off for every word. And I have decided to go with a new ending, technically a new, new, new ending, since this will be the fourth ending that has seemed "right" since I started writing the novel about eight months ago. I did 1,008 words on Chapter Thirteen yesterday. I predict, somewhat reservedly, that I'll finish this, the last chapter, on the 20th.
Last night I had a Very Long Phone Conversation, probably my longest since frelling high school, about four hours, then got sleepy eating a mango and watching the last half of Katherine Hepburn and Fred MacMurray in Alice Adams.
Tuesday, August 13, 2002
I forgot to mention it earlier (but now it makes convenient fuel for procrastination), but my comp copy of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Volume 15 (Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow, editors; St. Martin's Press) arrived yesterday. It reprints my story "Onion," which originally appeared in Wrong Things. I'm not sure if it's in the bookstores yet or not, but if it isn't, it ought to be soon.
Never, ever, under any circumstances, begin a day's writing by declaring online that you intend to write approximately twice your daily average. There is no surer way to screw up the day. Which is to say, yesterday was a catastrophe. Not a total loss, but catastrophes rarely result in total loss.
I didn't write 2,000 words. I wrote 1,001 words, and only just, by the skin of my teeth (whatever the fuck that means), by a small miracle, by the force of sheer, stupid persistence. I'm so close to the end I can taste it and the ground is beginning to feel very unstable. I'm seriously considering an entirely different ending than the one that I've allowed to lead me here, my Beatrice of a conclusion, out of fear that I've been wrong all along. That happened with Silk and it happened with Threshold. At the last, my intended ending seemed patently untrue and other things happened instead. Someday maybe I'll write a book of alternate endings. It wouldn't be a small volume. Anyway, here I am, well into Chapter Thirteen, trudging headlong toward The End and completely uncertain where to put my feet.
Lord, this is a stupid job.
I think after I move to New England in October, I'll give it up and become a freelance paranormal investigator instead. When asked what it is I do for a "living," it would be ever so much more amusing to say, "Oh, I'm a freelance paranormal investigator," than to say, "Oh, I'm a writer." And it surely sounds less sordid. Maybe people would stop giving me the hairy eyeball if I didn't have to tell them I'm a writer. That's like admitting you work for the IRS, or that you find Olivia Newton John sexually attractive. And, never again would I have to say, "No, I'm a real writer, the kind that pays the bills with the sweat of her fingertips." No one expects freelance paranormal investigators to pay their bills.
Monday, August 12, 2002
Yesterday went well enough. I'm a little uncertain, going into Chapter Thirteen, but that comes as no surprise. Endings aren't everything, unless you do them wrong, and then that's all that anyone sees. Which raises the stress level significantly during the composition of final chapters. Regardless, I did a respectable 1,277 words yesterday. I'm going to try to go for 2,000 words today, to give myself a little breathing room as the 26th approaches. But I doubt I'll get that much written. I'm finding the conclusion of this book an emotionally taxing thing for me, moreso than the ending of Threshold, which I found somehow uplifting. This book has been such a dark journey, from the very first day, the very first page, and the ending promises still greater darkness and more overt fantasy, though I do see a definite light at the end of the tunnel. There is hope for a couple of the characters, and I often feel that's the most you can fairly, honestly expect.
Changing the subject, an odd incident from Saturday night (well, technically Sunday morning), which I'd meant to include in yesterday's post, but then forgot. Probably, it would have been best if it had stayed forgotten. We were driving down Peachtree Street, on the way to Huey's, and I happened to notice that the car in front of us had two small video monitors located approximately where the sun visors would be. I thought it was kind of cool and pointed it out to Jennifer. A little farther up the road, we caught a red light and wound up sitting bumper to bumper with the car. I wasn't really paying much attention to the video monitors anymore, until Jennifer said, "My god, that's porn!" I looked and, sure enough, it was porn. I looked closer and I could see it was very badly filmed, even for porn. A black man and a white woman, having sex, while the camera zoomed in and out and occasionally panned about the room for no apparent reason. As I watched, somewhat stupified that people would drive down Peachtree Street watching porn, I noticed that the car's driver was a black man, and his passenger a white woman. And then it dawned on me — the couple in the car was the same couple in the video. Either they'd shot it themselves, or someone had done it for them, and now they were watching it together, in their car, where anyone pulling up behind them could also watch it. Maybe that was the point.
Parts of me just aren't ready for the future . . .
Sunday, August 11, 2002
Back home at about 4:30 a.m. this morning. That seems to have become the usual getting-home-from-Atlanta time. A good trip to clear my head before the final push to finish the novel. We shopped, met friends for dinner, saw a film, then retired to Huey's on Peachtree (the best Cajun/Creole food I've found outside Louisiana).
So, today, it's back to work. I got questions for an interview for Cemetery Dance magazine this morning, so now that also has to be squeezed in between this morning and the 26th. There's no room left to squeeze in anything else. Not even with a crowbar.
I am, naturally, very intimidated, being maybe half an hour away from beginning Chapter Thirteen. I both hate and find great relief in that this-is-it, coming-up-on-the-last-big-hill-of-the-roller-coaster feeling. Here's the point where it all either comes together and works, or falls hopelessly apart. Here's that ending I went in search of way back in December. The ending that has, on the one hand, been waiting for me to catch up to it all along, and, on the other, has been almost entirely shaped by the writing required to reach it. But I'm stalling. I do that well. Now it's time to go write.
Saturday, August 10, 2002
The proofreading and corrections to Chapter Twelve were more annoying than expected. I think it took about four hours, about two more than usual. But it was a long chapter.
Yesterday, about 2 p.m., the sky began to spit a little rain. Just a few sprinkles, nothing I would even have noticed had I not been sitting at the window (proofreading) on the chaise, and caught sight of the drops silhouetted against a dark brick building across the street. At once, I went up to the roof. It was the first rain I'd seen in weeks. I stood on the roof, which is usually unbearably hot until late October or early November, feeling a cool, gusting breeze. The sprinkling continued and finally I shouted at the sky, "Come on, damn it!" I watched the clouds moving about overhead, opening little holes to show white-blue sky and sun, then closing again. There was no single direction to their movement. Rather, they seemed to move first south, then north, then northwest, indecisive, spitting drops of rain so far apart you could walk between them. Then, suddenly, a hard and very cold rain began, and I stood in it for the next half hour or so, getting drenched in my black tank-top and black broomstick skirt, until I was shivering. It was exquisite. Almost worth waiting all these weeks for.
Today there will be no rain.
But I'm going to Atlanta, so it doesn't really matter. I have only one chapter and the epilogue left on Low Red Moon. Which feels very weird. But good weird (most weird is good, though, if you ever bother to ask me).
Friday, August 09, 2002
I finished Chapter Twelve yesterday, right on schedule, the final 1,156 words bringing me to the close of the next to the last chapter of Low Red Moon. Which left me profoundly relieved. Being so close to The End. Today, Jennifer and I will proof and correct Chapter Twelve, and I have some odds and ends pertaining to other projects to deal with.
Anyway, after finishing the chapter, I braved the heat and an Orange Ozone Alert (and my agorophobia; I'd not left the apartment for the last five days) and went to a matinee of The Road to Perdition , which was a very beautiful movie, in almost every respect.
Of course, the little list of favorite things I did the other day, which was meant to stem the tide of e-mails asking about my favorite things, actually had the opposite effect. I call this phenomenon The Kudzu Effect, when any given action results in a more or less opposite, or equally undesirable, situation to that which the action was intended to produce. Yes, you are all my little guinea pigs. Or, if you prefer, you can be hamsters. I'm flexible (but that's another story). Anyway, here's a new list, just because I'm not yet awake enough to proofread, and, besides, proofreading is almost as boring as watching HGTV.
1. Favorite Kool-Aid Flavor: Cherry (it leaves the worst stains).
2. Favorite Cure Album: Disintegration.
3. Favorite Breakfast Food: leftover beef and broccoli (or egg drop soup).
4. Favorite Pre-Raphaelite Artist: John William Waterhouse.
5. Favorite Matthew Arnold Poem: "Dover Beach."
6. Favorite Section of T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land:: "What the Thunder Said."
7. Favorite Y. B. Yeats Poem: "The Second Coming."
8. Favorite Anne Sexton Poem: "With Mercy for the Greedy"
9. Favorite Color: Blue.
10. Favorite PlayStation Game: All the Tomb Raider games.
11. Favorite Flower: African Violets.
12. Macintosh or PC: Dumb question. Mac.
13. Favorite Letter of the Alphabet: Q and X (because they're worth so many points in Scrabble).
14. Favorite School of Literary Criticism: A tie between Russian Formalism and the New Critics.
15. Favorite Hair on a Goth DJ: Scary Lady Sarah.
16. Favorite Cemetery: Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, RI.
17. Favorite Pizza Topping: Mushrooms.
18. Favorite Power Puff Girl: Buttercup.
19. Favorite Shopping Weakness: Lamps.
20. Favorite Farscape Villian (not counting Scorpius): Grayza.
Oh, and Jennifer asked me to once again mention her ongoing Ebay empire, a hopeless attempt to get rid of lots of books and stuff so we don't have to move them north. It's at:
Time to go proofread. (sigh). Well, at least tonight is Farscape.
Thursday, August 08, 2002
You can only write about how writing doesn't lend itself to being written about so much, and then it gets old. So, I won't do that this morning. Though I do wonder about those people who write all those damn books for writers, the ones published by the likes of Writer's Digest (shudder). I should stop there before I piss someone off. Well, someone else.
The end of my summer is bottle-necking (Hyphen? I'm becoming very sensitive about hyphens.). I need to finish Low Red Moon in the next two weeks and do about a thousand other things, before my Rhode Islander returns on the 26th. Then there's Dragon*Con on the 30th. With some luck, I might make it.
Yesterday, I wrote 1,019 words on Chapter Twelve. I think I'll be able to finish it this afternoon, then proof it tomorrow, then begin Chapter Thirteen on Sunday. On Saturday, I escape Birmingham and visit Atlanta. It's strange, giving myself days off on a fairly regular basis. I was never able to do that while working for Vertigo. Not real days off.
Wednesday, August 07, 2002
Yesterday, I did 1,033 words on Chapter Twelve. Not much else to say, which brings me back to the fact that writing just isn't a terribly interesting thing to write about. By it's very nature, writing is quiet, uneventful, calm (those fits of frustration aside) — nothing that makes for good news. I sit in my creaky chair in my hot office, typing away at my iBook, piling up words and eating candy (I hope my dentist is not reading this). Sometimes "interesting" things happen: I get a headache or a stomach ache; I have to deal with a phone call (rare, since that's Jennifer's job, and I pretty much only talk to agents); the roof starts leaking (rare now, since it's never going to rain here again); the cat barfs (very, very common); I run out of Kool-Aid and have to get more (I really hope my dentist isn't reading this); neither me nor the iBook (she has a name, Victoria) can figure out how to spell a word and I have to haul out the dictionary or thesaurus; Jennifer comes in with an interesting piece of mail (this almost never happens); I have to endorse a check for Jennifer to deposit (this doesn't happen as often as I'd like); I have to go to the bathroom (see Kool-Aid, above); a research type question comes up (lately, it's all been guns) and I have to call someone, or, more often, have Jennifer call someone; I check my e-mail (this actually occupies about 65% of the time I spend "writing"). So, as you can see, it makes for pretty dull reading. Eventually, I'll learn to bullshit and make the whole process sound artful and magical and such, but, for now, you're stuck with word counts.
Or, as Dorothy Parker said, "Everything that isn't writing is fun."
Ah, my Kool-Aid glass is empty . . .
Tuesday, August 06, 2002
Well, I made up for writing so much on Sunday, by only writing 660 words yesterday (Monday). But that got me to the end of a scene and I needed to wait until today to move along to the next scene. I'm hoping that Chapter Twelve will be done on Friday. That will leave me one (!) chapter away from the ending.
I was a little surprised, and slightly annoyed, yesterday to discover that Low Red Moon is already slightly longer than Threshold. I guess that's good news to anyone who wished the latter had been a longer novel, but I was really trying hard to bring Low Red Moon in at roughly the same length. Now, though, I'm guessing it will run maybe 15,000 words longer.
I keep getting e-mails from people asking "What's your favorite blah-blah-blah?" We'll, okay, they don't actually say "blah-blah-blah," but you know what I mean. So, I thought I'd type up a silly little list to address a few such questions:
1. Favorite Candy: a tie between Starburst Jelly Beans and LifeSavers Creme Savers (Strawberry)
2. Favorite Drink (non-alcoholic): At the moment, Sobe Power ("Who's Your Lizard?").
3. Favorite Drink (alcoholic): a tie between Cosmopolitans (thank you, Doug Winter) and Mari Mayans absinthe.
4. Favorite Cartoon: Samurai Jack.
5. Favorite Comic: Gloomcookie.
6. Favorite Vegetable: artichoke (even though they bite), with avacado a close second.
7. Favorite CD: Of course, this changes from week to week, sometimes from day to day, but today it's Chrome by Catherine Wheel.
8. Favorite Band: Radiohead.
9. Favorite Television Show: Farscape.
10. Favorite Farscape Character: Chiana.
11. Favorite Farscape Episode Focusing on Chiana: "A Clockwork Nebari"
12. Favorite "Horror" Film: John Carpenter's The Thing.
13. Favorite David Lynch Film: Lost Highway.
14. Favorite Tim Burton Film: Sleepy Hollow, with the short Vincent as
15. Favorite Actor: Christopher Walken (again, this changes day-to-day).
16. Favorite Actress: Katharine Hepburn.
17. Favorite H. P. Lovecraft Story: "The Shadow Over Innsmouth."
18. Favorite Fabric: Latex.
19. Favorite Dr. Seuss Book: McElligot's Pool.
20. Favorite Sanrio Character: Nyago.
I think that's enough for now. Maybe more some other day when I'm this bored and desperately looking for a way to put off the writing.
Monday, August 05, 2002
Yesterday I wrote a lot, for me. 1,569 words on Chapter Twelve. I'm stuck in one of those scenes that doesn't want to seem to end. Today I have to get out of it and begin the next scene.
Did I mention it's never going to rain in Birmingham again?
Sunday, August 04, 2002
I took yesterday off and went to Atlanta to see Signs with friends. I cannot heap enough praise upon this film. Go and see it or risk my wrath.
Not much else to report. I wrote 1,101 words of Chapter Twelve day before yesterday (Friday), and will be getting back to work on it this afternoon.
It's still hot as hell down here and there's no rain in sight.
On the up side, the humidity's running low.
Oh. Jennifer is selling a whole buttload of my books on Ebay right now. Stuff I do not want to have to haul all the way to Rhode Island in October, copies of just about everything I've published, really. I'll gladly personalize anything you buy. There's also going to be a few books by other authors, things I have extra copies of or have realized I haven't even looked at in five or six years. Being nomadic and a book collector do not go hand in hand, I'm learning. Anyway, the auctions are at:
Also, I've been asked to give Gothic.net another plug, which I will gladly do, as I do it regularly anyway. Go get yourself a subscription or Gothic.net may not be with us much longer.
Friday, August 02, 2002
We are now beginning that latter part of the summer which I've come to dread. Most of the dread arises from my childhood, when we were very poor and rarely had access to air-conditioning. In Alabama, August without an air-conitioner, with day-time temperatures edging towards 100·F, often with humidity to match, and nights that aren't much better, is a genuinely miserable experience. I used to try to find the coolest part of the house, sometimes closets, to read during the day, and then go out at dusk to play. The other part of the dread was, of course, that school would begin soon. These days, with air-conditioning a given and school well behind me, not to mention my recent penchant for reclusivity, the mild dread that this part of the summer causes me sometimes seems silly. Until I need to go outside during the day. Then I remember. I crave "cool foods" this time of year — watermelon, avacados, salads, cold chicken, cucumbers, that sort of thing. I actually begin to miss winter (and constant readers will know that I am no admirer of winter).
Yesterday, I wrote 1,015 words on Chapter Twelve. It was a diffucult day, the words fighting me, the characters unsure of their lines, but I suppose it's only fair. This book has been going easier lately than it has any right to go. Also, I started proofing the galleys for "Waycross" night before last. I was going to do more last night when I went to bed, but ended up reading from Lovecraft's "The Shadow Out of Time" until I finally fell asleep. Anyway, today it's back to Chapter Twelve.
But tonight I get Farscape.
Thursday, August 01, 2002
These almost-forgots (sounds like the name of a flower) are addictive. Which is to say, I almost forgot to say that I did another 1,091 words on Chapter Twelve yesterday.
I awoke this morning at 7 a.m. from a particulary nasty nightmare and was unable to get back to sleep. So I've been up prowling about the web, trying to get my head clear enough to start writing. No luck, so far, but I'm aiming for 10 or 10:30. I like the morning light, though I rarely see it and find it somewhat disorienting. Afternoon from the east, as I tend to think of it. It shines nicely off the old brick buildings on this end of First Avenue (and it's rare I ever admit to finding anything aesthetically pleasing about Birmingham), bringing out all the many shades of red and brown and yellow. Still, it's not something I think I want to make a habit of, this early rising.
Oh, a correction to a comment made yesterday: Though I said that Dragon*Con this year will be my last southeastern appearance for at least a year and a half, I lied. I will, of course, be back for Dragon*Con next year, which means this year's Dragon*Con is, in fact, only my last southeastern appearance for the next year. However, I expect to be doing many more signings and readings overall after the move, but they'll be largely confined to the area between Manhattan and Boston, and to the big cons like World Horror and World Fantasy.
Well, now it's 10 a.m. and my head's still not clear enough to write. Well, clear enough for this, but this is different.
We actually had a few drops of rain on Tuesday (I'll forgive you if you nod off during the weather report). Beautiful, tremendous thunderheads built up over the city, great towering things. I thought we'd get a drenching. But only a few sprinkles here and there, and mostly after dark. All show and no go. And now, no rain in sight again. The water-shortage warnings will probably begin soon. It's about that time of year. Dog days.
Ah, well. That's enough rambling. Let me see if I can go squeeze a few drops of something out of my brain.