Thursday, October 31, 2002
Not much to write this morning. It's Halloween. Again.
Most of yesterday got eaten up getting three copies of Low Red Moon off to New York. You wouldn't think such a simple task could conspire to consume an entire day. Afterwards, I did manage to do some work on Chapter Three of The Five of Cups. "Green Bottle" seems to have been shelved.
Wednesday, October 30, 2002
Yesterday I printed a full copy of the ms. of the first draft of Low Red Moon for my editor at Penguin (it took about five hours of continuous printing; my once state-of-the-art Apple Personal LaserWriter, circa 1993, is, sadly, no longer state of the art) and edited Chapter Two of The Five of Cups.
Working on the latter was especially strange. I probably wrote the bulk of Chapter Two in the summer of 1992, probably about August, so here's a piece of my writing that's more than ten years old. There are glimmers of the voice I have now, here and there, but it's much more like reading someone else's work than reading my own. That summer I could not have imagined the things that lay ahead, and that TFoC was the first step on a very long road. Or, perhaps, I could have imagined it; I just didn't allow myself to do so. I was writing that novel because I needed to do it, for a lot of reasons, most too personal to list. I never actually believed it or anything else I would write might actually be published, much less did I dare to imagine I would eventually make some kind of success at this, that I'd be able to support myself by writing alone. That ten years later I would be looking back at the ms., once sold but still unpublished and yet the indespensible start of my career — the book that got me an agent, that brought me to the attention of other authors, etc. — a genuinely odd thing, TFoC. At least if you're me, looking at it ten years after the fact.
I'll edit Chapter Three today, and get the ms. for Low Red Moon in the mail to New York.
It's still grey here in Birmingham, home of the world's largest disassembled iron statue. Amazing. I'm trying not to think about how I'm not going to be at the World Fantasy Convention and how I'm not spending Halloween in Providence.
Oh. Jennifer read through a bunch of this journal yesterday, while backing it all up to disk (Blogger has been acting entirely too wonky lately for my liking). She discovered that it's almost as long as Low Red Moon, at more than 96,000 words. I think portions of it will be published along with the limited edition of LRM, but I'm not sure. Digging through and finding That Which Is Interesting will be a chore.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Last night, the rain stopped and breaks appeared in the clouds, briefly revealing deep blue-black night. This morning, the sky turned a hazy blue. Not real sky, but very thin clouds letting through an intimation of sunlight. Now the clouds are back. I'm not sure why I'm going on about this. Maybe because Hemingway said it was important for a writer to always include the weather.
Yesterday, I finished with the corrections to the first draft of Low Red Moon. Making sure nobody's eyes changed color mid-book, deciding what make and year a given Ford is, being sure I have the phases of the moon correct throughout. That sort of thing. Now I'm printing the manuscript to send to my editor at Penguin.
I'm listening to The Crüxshadows' Wishfire and it's making me think of The Five of Cups, so I'll probably spend the rest of the day editing that ms., when I'm not attending to the needs of the printer. Speaking of TFoC, Rick Kirk will be doing 14 interior illustrations for the book (I think, at this point, the two of us have achieved an artistic marriage!). I think we have the cover artist, too, but I want to be sure before I announce anything. I'm toying with the idea of releasing a CD with the deluxe limited edition (the lettered state), a bunch of Death's Little Sister stuff including all of the Three Regrets and a Curse material and a couple of tracks from practice sessions. But it might be more trouble than it's worth. We'll see.
I should be packing for the World Fantasy Convention in Minneapolis, but the chaos and expenses surrounding the move made it necessary for me to sit this one out. Besides, I heard that the high in Minneapolis yesterday was 20·F. Ugh.
Last night I watched Rebecca and it made me wish I had time to read Daphne du Maurier again.
Monday, October 28, 2002
Last night, the grey decided to turn wet. So today is wet and grey. I lay watching Hammer's The Evil of Frankenstein, listening to the rain, dozed off, and awoke an hour or so later to Whale's Frankenstein. There was a nice sort of continuity there. And it occurred to me, at about 4 a.m., that those who study Mary Shelley's novel might be fixating on the wrong transgression. It's not that Victor (or Henry or whatever he gets called in whichever movie) creates life, it's that he ressurrects the dead, which would seem, at least to me, a far greater incursion on the realm of God. After all, any man and woman can "create" life. That's easy. Making a man or a woman is nothing. But bringing them back from the grave, that's another matter.
You have to think about something at four in the morning when there's only the sound of the rain and a television for company.
Today I work on Low Red Moon. "Green Bottle" will have to wait, as I need to get the novel ms. off to my agents and publisher ASAP and there's really not more than a few hours editing left before it's ready to go. I just have to forget that I'd rather be writing short stories and contemplating absinthe, and make myself finish the frelling editing.
Already I miss Daylight Saving's Time. The early darkness. Another sign that winter's not so far away. Here in Birmingham, we had our sixth or seventh grey day in a row.
Yesterday I rewrote another scene in Low Red Moon, for the sake of continuity. It came out better the second time around. Also, I did a little work on "Green Bottle." It doesn't look like a false start after all. Jennifer likes it. I'll see where it goes; at the moment, I have no idea, and that's usually a good sign.
Last night I picked up a copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Flappers and Philosophers," and saw Hayao Miyazaki's Sprited Away, which I liked a great deal. Not as much as I liked Princess Mononoke, but a great deal, nonetheless. However, it's a shame that Disney didn't dump the syrupy, irritating original score, as long as they were dubbing.
No work today. Not a vacation, by any means, just no "real" work. It didn't happen, as it sometimes doesn't. Lots of little irritating things that have to be attended to yesterday, but not writing. Later, I sat in Rhodes Park listening to the rain and the birds for a while, and spent most of the evening on PlayStation. It was that sort of a day. Oh, and i just learned that Richard Harris has died at age 72. He did some films that I adored, most recently, of course, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. There'll have to be a new actor for Professor Dumbledore in the third film now. He was in a number of films I truly love, such as Camelot, Mutiny on the Bounty and The Molly Maguires. News of his death if a sad way to end a dreary day.
Saturday, October 26, 2002
Saturday and the sky is still grey. It's as if Birmingham has been superimposed over Portland or Dublin.
I spent most of the morning working on various things relating to The Five of Cups, digging through old files, letters, e-mails, etc., thinking about the introduction and annotations that I have to write for the novel. Subterranean Press will be announcing its publication very soon and will probably begin taking pre-orders not long after.
Yesterday I began work on the story for the absinthe anthology, a piece that I'm calling "Green Bottle" for now. It may be a false start. It's an odd thing, and, for the moment, features Sadie Jasper (she of Threshold and Low Red Moon, as well as "The Long Hall on the Top Floor"). It looks to be a "quiet" story, in sharp contrast to "Andromeda Among the Stones." Anyway, I did about 400 words on the story yesterday. It isn't due until March, but if I get it written now, I stay a little ahead of the game on at least one project. It baffles deadlines, which as I've mentioned, travel in packs, when you take aim on the stragglers first, instead of the snarling two or three mongerls in the lead. Also, after having to ask for two extensions on the Lovecraft/Holmes anthology, I'm wary of letting thing go until later.
I think I'll spend the rest of the day of the continuity work on Low Red Moon (an hour yesterday to be sure that characters' eyes weren't changing colour) and a little time on the new story. I'm presently writing to VNV Nation's Futureperfect.
Last night I saw Ghost Ship, which I rather enjoyed, and tonight I may see Sprited Away, which I'm surprised to find showing in Birmingham. I figure someone got mixed up and scheduled the wrong film.
Friday, October 25, 2002
A short and so-so trip to Atlanta. I did get to see The Transporter finally and I picked up a copy of VNV Nation's Futureperfect, but I also missed a call from Neil. He was leaving today for Chicago, his first trip there since we were kidnapped by Spooky Kitten Girl and taken to the wastes beyond the Chedder Curtain.
Rogue (he of The Crüxshadows, not she of The X-Men) came to the rescue again, by finding notes I'd made regarding needed revisions on Low Red Moon that got left on his hard drive when he saved my iBook from certain death at Dragon*Con this year. And he did it on the road, somewhere betwixt Seattle and San Francisco. If you're in or near SF, you should try to make their show tonight at The Requiem ( with Soil and Eclipse Control Theory; 330 Ritch Street, San Francisco, Tel. 510-486-1850, $12 or $10 w/costume. 18+). Give Rogue a kiss for me and tell him I said thanks, againe.
I need to work on Low Red Moon today, and start looking at the next short story, which will be either for Cemetery Dance's Taverns of the Dead or for an absinthe anthology. I'm feeling more inclined towards absinthe, in more ways than one. Regardless, I need to work. It will, hopefully, help to fill in the space between me and Providence next month.
It's grey again in Birmingham.
Also, Amazon.com is now shipping the new trade paperback edition of Silk.
Thursday, October 24, 2002
Damn. I missed yesterday, didn't I? Ah, well. Yesterday was a pretty missable day. I spent part of it trying to find VNV Nation's Futureperfect, which, being as how this is Birmingham, was a fool's errand. I'll pick it up in Atlanta tonight.
Yesterday was yet another grey day. So is today. Some pointless, sprinkly rain. It's getting monotonous.
If you're interested in my comics work, check out the new interview concerning my forthcoming Vertigo mini-series, Bast: Eternity Game, at COMICON.com PULSE.
I decided, on Tuesday, to hold off on the line-editing of Low Red Moon until the editorial letter comes from Roc (for the uninitiated, the editorial letter is generally a list of suggestions for revisions from the editor). I'll just wind up doing it again anyway. So, what I still have to do is all the continuity work. Most of Tuesday was spent just trying to get the timeline right. About three-quarters of the way through the book, I decided that it should all be going on late in October, not early in October, but was too driven to finish to go back then and move everything forward. So now I'm retrofitting, and it's a pain in the ass. It took about two hours to figure out that the novel begins on Thursday, October 25th, 2001, and ends on Thursday, November 1. This sticks to the pattern set forth in my earlier novels, which also occur over the space of only a week or two. Silk is set sometime between 1992-1994 (I was never really clear) and Threshold is during the summer of 2000.
I'm going to go brush my teeth and try to be useful.
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
The sky is still grey. Well, not a uniform grey precisely, but many shades of blue and purple and white and black. The way the sky looks in the morning when you know there won't actually be any rain, just sullen, autumn clouds all day long.
Today, I'll try to get through the prologue and chapters One and Two of Low Red Moon, making corrections as I go. The plan is to read through the whole ms., aloud, in seven days. Then I have to write an outline for Murder of Angels, the next next novel, for Penguin. And, constant reader, we all know what I think of outlines.
I need to go to the library late today to return books and spend some time getting my ink-and-paper journal going again. It's sat, virtually neglected, since sometime in July. For a while I didn't care. Now I find I care again.
Have I mentioned that, today, I should be in Providence looking for (or having just found) a place to live? Well, there, I just did. Maybe in my next life I'll be a poet, just to insure there is absolutely no semblance of security whatsoever.
Monday, October 21, 2002
Not too much to report this morning. Mostly, I've been juggling, in my head, all the things I have to get done between today and early January, all the deadlines, how the delay on the move has complicated it all. As Neil once pointed out, deadlines are cowardly things. They run in packs. It's true. It's starting to look as if the next two months will be a sort of train wreck, as regards work. Oh, I did a short interview for Newsarama.com about Bast: Eternity Game this morning; it's the third Bast-related interview I've given in a week.
Yesterday, Bill Schafer and I discussed the line-up of my projects with Subterranean Press for the coming year. Trilobite: The Writing of Threshold and Waycross will be out before the end of 2002. In 2003 (at least, this is the publishing schedule as it now stands), The Five of Cups will come first, then the limited of Low Red Moon, then, finally, my next short story collection, which might be titled Worse Things Yet (illustrations by Richard Kirk).
It's a grey day here in Birmingham. Blah.
Gothic.Net, which hosts my website, has been doing a sort of yoyo thing since sometime last night — up, down, up, down — and presently it's down. So I'm writing this now and will publish it later, when we get to another one of the ups. I'm drinking green Kool-Aid, which I despise, but have a feeling could be passed off as cheap Czech absinthe if the person you were giving it to were sufficiently ignorant (2 parts green Kool-Aid, 1 part Everclear grain alcohol, with a dash of anise oil; I'm still working on how to make it louche, oh, and, in a pinch, a black jellybean might stand in for the anise oil).
Now that "Andromeda Among the Stones" has been sent out into the world to seek its fortune, I had to break down and clean my office today. Mostly, that means returning the dozens of books to their proper places on the shelves. While I write, books get pulled down for this or that bit of reference material and almost always stay pulled down until I'm done with the story. It seems like a more efficient system. There's always the chance the book may prove useful again before the story's finished, so it's better to keep it within arm's reach. But, as the days go by, a cairn of books accumulates around my chair and the edges of my desk, threatening to topple over and bury me. It's not all doom and gloom though. Sometimes you find things. Today, for example, I found a check from my agent for $72.25, hiding under a receipt from CompUSA. Anyway, for now, all the books are back where they belong. Tomorrow, I need to get back to Low Red Moon, that first round of corrections, which will mostly consist of continuity checks (in film, I fancy, someone has that job, and that someone belongs to a union of other people whose sole job is to check continuity; I get by without the union, but it is annoying when character's eyes keep changing colour).
The leaves have started changing. The new ETA for Rhode Island is mid-November. Which sucks, but there you go.
Saturday, October 19, 2002
Not much to make an entry from this afternoon. I'm trying not to think too much about how I'm supposed to be on the road to Providence right now, about the month-delay in the move that's followed from the simple, unpredictable economics of writing for a living. I have to do my last tweakings on "Andromeda Among the Stones" today and send the final copy off to Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press. I do find it remarkable, and disconcerting, that I have written this story without once printing, that other people have read it without a single page being printed, that it wasn't necessary to print in order to get it to the publisher. Also, it's time for me to start looking at the first round of revisions I need to do on Low Red Moon. I guess that's next, as soon as the last dregs of this short story are out of my head. I've developed a horrible addiction to Starburst jellybeans (avoid the white "mystery" flavour, though); my dentist will be very happy. Last night I watched The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms until I was sleepy enough to go to bed. It's one of my "comfort films." One I know absolutely by heart and love despite the lousy science and cheesy acting. The scene where the beast rises from the sea to destroy the lighthouse is still one of the most beautiful and creepy things ever filmed.
Friday, October 18, 2002
Yesterday I wrote the last 500 words on "Andromeda Among the Stones." It still needs a little tweaking here and there, some last minute polishing, but it's basically done, completing the "Dandridge triptych" which I began over two years ago. "Andromeda Among the Stones" will be published first as a chapbook (along with a piece by J. K. Potter) to accompany the deluxe limited edition of Embrace the Mutation from Subterranean Press. I'm not sure what the publication date will be. The regular limited of the book is already available. I'd guess the deluxe limited will be out some months from now.
Here in Birmingham, the weather has turned cool. The trees will begin to change soon.
Thursday, October 17, 2002
I'm still too sleepy to actually work, but I can at least write about working in here. We went to Atlanta last night for dinner with friends and didn't get home until about 1 a.m. Which is better than we do on most trips to Atlanta. I re-read "Jerusalem's Lot" on the way there and back; I'd forgotten what an effective story it is, save, perhaps, the silly and unfortunate 1971 epilogue at the end, that "The End?" ending stuck on at the close. It almost turns an otherwise chilling story into a long and tiresome joke with a weak punchline. Almost. But not quite. The description of the town itself remains very effective.
Yesterday I almost finished "Andromeda Among the Stones." I wrote almost 1,400 words, the prose racing from my head to my fingertips and onto the page in a frenzy that I rarely experience when writing. But then I had to leave the apartment for an appointment and was forced to stop with maybe 500 words to go. Which I will do today.
My exit to Rhode Island may be delayed by a few weeks, because, although Low Red Moon sold in September, the contracts are still shuffling about the Byzantine labyrinths of Penguin, and until the contracts are signed I don't get paid. That's one of the other joys of publishing. The delayed gratification effect writers get to experience regularly, whether we're into delayed gratification or not. It doesn't usually bother me. Usually, I just accept it as part of the territory, like the pinched nerve in my shoulder from sitting at a keyboard almost every day for the past ten years or the copyeditors who try to rewrite my books or the constant stress. But, at the moment, it's a little inconvenient. Being a Southerner (fate's a bitch), I fear making the move to New England in November; the deadly white spectre of snow looms large and exagerrated in my Southern imagination. But I may have no other choice at this point. Which sucks for more reasons than I have fingers and toes.
Time to go stick pins in my nipples until I'm awake enough to finish the story.
Wednesday, October 16, 2002
An astounding six and a half hours of sleep last night, and now I have to make the big push to finish "Andromeda Among the Stones." I've just spent the last hour trying to convince my eyeballs they want to remain open. Oh, and I have to try and discover why Blogger isn't showing an archive for October, before it gets to be November. My guess, they have no idea.Oh, and I've not had time to get things up for the aforementioned eBay auction. It might not happen.
I just realized, about an hour ago, that I have more things to do in the next three days than four Caitlín's could do. If we stick to the current plan, we leave for Providence on Saturday morning. With luck, we'd get into Rhode Island Sunday evening. But that leaves me with four billion things to do in the interim, including finish "Andromeda Among the Stones."
Speaking of which, I did more than 1,300 words today. It should be finished by now, but it demands of me another 2,000 or so words, which pretty much have to be done tomorrow.
Today Jennifer discovered that someone had taken a Birmingham Public Library copy of The Mists of Avalon, which she's currently reading, and excised certain scenes, namely some of the sex and a scene where a dying woman's suicide is assisted. I'm not sure if it was a lame attempt at censorship (plenty of sex and gore remains), or if it was just an overzealous reader who wanted to treasure those passages forever. Either way, defacing library books is a pet peeve of mine. I spent too many years having to use university library copies of paleontology texts that had been generously "annotated" by creationists.
Rain today and for the first time it was cold enough to see your breath fog.
Tuesday, October 15, 2002
My insomnia wants to be my best friend again.
A little laudanum, that's all I ask.
I've been up since about 7:30 a.m., way too early. Kool-Aid and comics to try to wake up, and I've been answering e-mail for about an hour. I need to try to get to work. Work work. Not peripheral work like answering e-mail and writing in the blogger and chasing the cat around the kitchen.
I finally fell asleep last night re-reading "The Hounds of Tindalos" by Frank Belknap Long.
Anyway, I'll try to get around to listing items for the promised auction tonight, all things permitting.
Another good writing day, more than 1,400 words, though it went much slower and had a sort of tedium that yesterday's work didn't have. Still the story is shaping up marvelously. It is, however, beginning to look like I'll overshoot the 8,000 word mark that Bill Schafer suggested. That's what happens when I carry a story around in my head for two years, as I have with this one, before I actually sit down to write it. It'll probably be closer to 10,000 or 11,000 words when I'm done, which is starting to look like will be Wednesday, not Tuesday.
We have a good lead on a house in Providence, so that's encouraging.
And speaking of Providence and moving, I'm thinking I'm going to have a great big, final pre-move book sale of Ebay, starting sometime in the next day or so, to reduce somewhat the load that has to be transported. I'd only be accepting payment via PayPal and all the auctions will probably be limited to five days. I might throw in a couple of rarities though, maybe even a manuscript copy or two, some ARCs, some Death's Little Sister stuff, who knows. So, watch the blogger for details.
I go make sleep now.
Monday, October 14, 2002
Almost 1,500 words on "Andromeda Among the Stones" yesterday, which is about as many words as I'm ever good for in a single day. I've done a few hundred more on a couple of occasions, but only a couple. It's good to be working on a short story again, something I can pretty much see the start and finish of from the outset. A shame it's impossible, for all practical purposes, to make a living off short fiction. It's a route that I would choose, were it open.
The weather has turned cool in Birmingham. Actually chilly last night. At least the mornings and nights are sweater weather again.
Sunday, October 13, 2002
Yesterday I wrote almost 1,300 words of "Andromeda Among the Stones." It seems to be going well. Jennifer and Thryn like it so far. And at least I'm on schedule.
I was supposed to write about this yesterday, and I forgot. Exactly nine years ago yesterday, I sat down and began writing Silk. Nine years. I hadn't yet moved to Athens, Georgia, and lived in my old apartment on 16th Avenue, on the side of Red Mountain in Birmingham. That apartment's located just a little ways from the water works tunnel that would figure prominently in Threshold, and right about where I imagined Chance Matthews' grandparents' house was located. Spyder Baxter's old house on Cullom Street would be a few blocks southwest. I still remember, very clearly, that morning. I used to get up very early to start writing and the room I was using for an office (I lived alone), was large and the walls were a pale blue. Two of the walls, the eastern and southern walls, were almost completely occupied by tall windows. That room got great morning light. I even remember the album I was listening to when I started to book — Star by Belly. Of course, that album had a lot to do, years later, with the genesis of Low Red Moon, a novel that takes it's title from one of the tracks. I already had an agent by that time, Richard Curtis, thanks to Melanie Tem having shown him the manuscript of The Five of Cups. He'd liked my work, but wanted to see something different from me and I'd spent much of the summer trying desperately to think of a novel. I'd sold my first short story that summer, nine years ago, and about two months after that bright October morning when I started Silk, I'd sell my second short story. My old Macintosh Color Classic was brand new then. I'd been reading Ancient Images by Ramsey Campbell. The weekend before (and I can't recall what day of the week October 11th, 1993 was, and don't feel like looking it up), I spent in Athens with a friend, who was trying to persuade me to move there. And I did, the following April, a few days after Kurt Cobain's suicide, about seven months after I started Silk, nine years ago. I wouldn't finish the novel until January 1996. I was easily distracted in those days and still trying to find my voice. Things took longer, but there was a lot less pressure. Anyway, in just a couple of weeks Silk will be reissued as a trade paperback. If you'd told me, that morning in October in 1993 that so much would follow from so first few sentences, I would have scoffed. If you'd told me Clive Barker would do illustrations for a limited edition and Peter Straub and Neil Gaiman would praise it, that it would win two awards and launch my career as a writer, I'd have probably punched you. But I did start it, though I can't quite remember why, what drove me so hard in those days. And I thought that day ought to be noted.
Saturday, October 12, 2002
I did about 1,200 words on "Andromeda Among the Stones" yesterday, which was good. I hope to have the story finally finished on Tuesday. Its title hasn't changed on me again.
Richard Kirk, by the way, has agreed to illustrate the next short story collection. I appreciate continuity. This will be the fourth book we've done together.
I spent part of this morning looking over the black-and-white galleys for Part Two of Bast: Eternity Game. I'm very happy with the way that the Egyptian mythology sections have been handled. I think it's going to be a nice-looking book. And I also think that The Dreaming is far enough in my past now (going on two years since I finished the script for #60) that I can once again appreciate comics, in general, and my work in comics, in particular. I was afraid that wouldn't be so, that I wouldn't be able to look at Bast and like what I've done, simply because closure was so rough on The Dreaming, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
Perhaps I owe you all a bit of an apology for yesterday's post, if only because it's the sort of personal gushing I find so distasteful in public "journals," the sort of thing I've spent so much time complaining about online. I thought about deleting the seventh paragraph, but that didn't seem quite honest, now that it's out there. Too revisionist. So, forgive the lapse. I'll see it doesn't happen again.
I'm also coming down off a frantic month of work on the "Save Farscape" campaign. I never intended to give it a month of my life, to the exclusion of almost everything else. It just sort of happened. But last Saturday night at The Chamber was worth it, I think (by the way, if you're interested, there are some photos, including me as a Nebari, at the photos page of my website). The AC died early in the evening and, in all that leather, fur, make-up, and wig, the heat was almost unbearable. Anyway, my only real regret, besides having gotten so dreadfully behind in my work, is the mentality and behavior of some of the fans that I had to work with. In any such group I suppose it's inevitable that there is a minority more interested in trying to cadge a little scrap of fame off a star than attending to the task at hand - in this case, promoting the show and working to save it from cancellation. Most of the people I've worked with were fantastic, but the few who were in it for themselves, and were more than willing to hurt other people and the cause to get closer to the cast members, well, it's a pathetic, ugly thing to watch, and it may have left such a bad taste in my mouth that I'll steer clear of being a central part of such efforts in the future. It's one thing to want to thank an actor for giving you something that you've greatly enjoyed, it's another to try to spackle over the holes in your own sense of self-worth by making an ass of yourself. But, as I said, overall, the people I've worked with in Atlanta and on various websites, the people who helped us with The Chamber, almost everyone was great. There's a more detailed list of thank-yous on the rally page at Nebari.Net.
We're at the very end of summer now, aren't we? These hurricanes seem to be blowing the heat away. The trees will start to turn soon. Already, it's getting dark so much earlier. I feel I somehow managed to miss almost an entire summer this year. I think it was losing myself in the end of Low Red Moon.
Friday, October 11, 2002
Yesterday I wrote another 1,100 words on the Embrace the Mutation story, and its title changed from "Andromeda on the Stones" to "Andromeda Among the Stones." So, it was a pretty good writing day; I only hope that today will go as well.
It's never certain, but nothing ever is.
I woke at 7:30 a.m., from strange dreams, my head instantly filled with doubts and anger and darker things, and have spent the last few hours trying to sort through the noise to find the calm places I have to find every day. I'm at one of those points, one of those loci that, if I'm not careful, can suddenly become an impasse. Maybe all artists have them. Maybe they don't. I don't spend much time having actual conversations, about those things which matter, with other artists, so I honestly don't know. Some of these things are simple and silly and merely inconvenient. Some of them are profound and make me afraid to take a step in any direction. All actions, including inaction, could be disasterous. Sort of like writing a novel. Each word is a bridge to the next word, and each word drives the story towards its fate. Decisions are simply words. The words we write our lives with. Our lives are merely stories we tell because we've found no other means of navigating time.
Except - time allows us no revisions.
Someone will write me an e-mail today and ask me what the hell I'm going on about. I won't know what to say to them.
If I knew the answer, I'd provide it now.
It's October 11th and I should have been in Providence days and days ago. But I'm still here, in my vast and leaky apartment in a city I find completely intolerable. It finds me intolerable as well, so all's fair in love, war, and horseshoes. I know that's not how the saying goes, but I don't much care right now. It felt pretty good to write, meaning aside. I am an inertial creature. And right now I'm trying to find the wherewithall to overcome the seductive pull of gravity. I could remain at rest, because that's the simplest, perhaps even the most natural, course of action. But it might also be the worst mistake of all. These aren't naive "nothing ventured, nothing gained" platitides. This is something else, even if I can't quite explain what.
I did an interview for Comicon's webzine thing yesterday, mostly questions about Bast: Eternity Game and my work within the Sandman mythos. Also, it seems that Fred Berger at Propaganda has decided not to run the interview I gave him more than a year ago (I'm sure it's hopelessly out of date now, anyway), because he'd rather run a porn mag than a literary / goth / music - whatever - the - hell - Propaganda - was - supposed - to - be zine. If this is indeed the case (and I think it is becasue the interview was supposed to run in the new issue, and it didn't), I'll simply have Jennifer post it on the website. We'll see, but few things piss me off like taking the time to give a detailed interview that never gets run.
Thursday, October 10, 2002
Last night I slept. Drugs were required, but by god I slept. I tried to watch Alien, but passed out about the time The Nostromo sets down on LV-4. I woke up to Ripley trying to expel the beast from the escape pod, and I crawled off to bed. And slept.
Today, back to "Andromeda on the Stones."
My head is full of cotton and thumbtacks.
What about the move to Providence, you ask? And even if you didn't, who cares. It's my goal to be out of here very, very soon. We're working with realtors now, searching for a good apartment, somewhere on the East Side. I will be in Rhode Island by the night before Halloween. Thryn and I have plans to be at Man Ray that night. On Halloween, I want to visit Lovecraft's grave again. Right now, I have about a million little fragile doodads that I trust no one else to pack, and so I have to pack them myself.
Oh, in case you haven't noticed from my scehdule on the website, I won't be making World Fantasy Con in Minneapolis this year, after all. The move and all this work has simply made it prohibitive. But I will be at Spooky Con 1 in San Francisco in January.
Wednesday, October 09, 2002
I couldn't have slept more than two hours last night. I won't get into why. Let's just say that people suck and move along to The Great Egress.
Yesterday I wrote about 1,100 words on the Embrace the Mutation story, for now titled "Andromeda on the Stones." I would say it's going well.
I also had a productive conversation with Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press. Trilobite: The Writing of Threshold is at last ready for the printer. Waycross shouldn't be too far behind it. We talked about upcoming projects and scheduling. Next year, from Subterranean Press, you can expect to see The Five of Cups, the limited of Low Red Moon, and the next short story collection, Worse Things Yet. All dates TBA, and at the moment the order of release hasn't been decided. I have to try to get the proofing on the TFoC ms. done by December 1st.
Now I go make words. Or drool. Or sleep and drool. We'll see.
Tuesday, October 08, 2002
This is one of those mornings when most of my body seems unwilling or incapable of waking up. I hope I live to see the day when we figure out a way to avoid sleep, a pill or shot or something. Not something to merely delay sleep, but to actually eliminate any need for it. Something that would give our minds or body or whatever part of us needs that little practice at dying whatever benefits sleep might have to offer, but leave our consciousness alone. Our lives would effectively be extended by decades. Each day would be, on average, one-third longer. A twenty year old would have had about thirty years of effective consciousness, and so on. Instead of trying to find ways to make these meat sacks last longer, in an absolute sense, we could make better use of them while they're still in decent shape. Use the time we have. The time we waste lying on mattresses with our eyes shut and our minds lost elsewhere. I hope I live that long.
I can tell that Writer Caitlin is ascending again. The procrastination game has resumed. That's the surest sign that I need. What can I do or say to forestall the inevitable chore, the dredging of my unconscious for words and images and characters, for another history?
I can write in this silly Blogger. And why the frell are they called "bloggers" or "blogs" anyway? Is it a contraction of "web log"? Web log = weblog = w'blog = blog? That looks feasible, in a naive, linear evolutionary sense. No one ever bothers to explain these things to me. Of course, if they did, it would probably just annoy me. I still can't fathom why we have to put "http://" before "www," or, for that matter, why there has to be a "www" at all. This thing was designed from the ground up, after all. It could have been built to work as we please, without a lot of extraneous code. How much of my life has been wasted typing "http://" because some geek somewhere, ten years ago, thought we should constantly be reminded that, after all, this is hypertext transfer protocol, and not https or ftp or whatever? Maybe it was some kneejerk reaction against gopher. See, I'll talk about anything, no matter how intrinsically dull, to avoid writing.
Down here, the nights are turning cool, so Autumn isn't too far away. I have to be in Providence by the 30th, at the latest, because I refuse to spend another Halloween trapped in Birmingham. As early as late next week, I may drive up to find the apartment, as soon as I've finished this story and packed the things I don't trust anyone else to pack for me. My time in Birmingham is almost served, for good, forever. Whoever wants this place is welcome to it. The geology isn't bad, the kudzu is interesting, and what little bit of hitsory they haven't yet paved over to make room for strip malls is kind of nice. Aside from that, don't bother.
Sheesh. How can it only be 11:12 a.m.? It feels like I've been up forever already.
There are things that Einstein should have kept to himself . . .
My comp copies of Dark Terrors 6: The Gollancz Book of Horror arrived today. It includes my story, "The Road of Pins," which may have now replaced "Spindleshanks" as my personal favorite. I read it again this afternoon, for the first time since I wrote it and sent it off to Steve Jones at least a year ago. It's nice having enough distance to begin to judge your own work with some hint of objectivity, to begin to see it as others might see it. Not as a story I wrote, but just as a story. Only then can I begin to truly judge it on its own merits.
I've said this so many times, I know. But it's such a strange life, creating lives and worlds inside my head, building them for you on the page.
Today was a library day, all for the Embrace the Mutation story, which still has no title. Books on the history of coastal northern California and sea shells of the San Fransisco area. Bits and pieces to come together as a whole. Boats and squid and old houses perched on high cliffs at the edge of the ocean.
I also got my photos from the party back. Since Jennifer's doing some work on the website anyway, I'll have her put some up on the "Picture of the Week" page tomorrow (how long since that was last changed?!). I still haven't gotten all the gray out of my ears and hair. The airbrush gets it everywhere. While Andre was doing my make-up Saturday evening, I noticed a framed poster from Kalifornia on the wall of his studio and asked if he'd worked on that film. Yes, he replied. In fact, Brad Pitt had sat in the same chair I was sitting in at that moment. How can that not make you feel just a little strange?
Monday, October 07, 2002
I'm not even going to try to reconstruct the entry that Blogger ate last night. I will say that at least my ancient, rusty Royal typewriter, the one I worked on until 1986 when I discovered Macintosh, never devoured anything I wrote. Anyway, we left Atlanta last night early in the evening and headed back to Birmingham. That ride gets a little more depressing every week or so, every time I have to make the trip. But at least we were treated to a grand show from the sky, lightning that began about Anniston and kept up all the way home, vast and beautiful sheets of lightning. Shortly after we got home, though, it began to rain very hard and the ceiling in my office, the one that was most recently not-fixed about a week ago, began to leak again.
I'll try to find time to post more about the Farscape party at The Chamber a little later. But I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who made it such a hit (I just spoke with the promoter and he says we had at least 800 people, maybe as many as 1000, making it their second most popular event ever) — Jason Feeman of The Secret Room and Greg Green of The Masquerade, Allison Littleton, every single one of you who sent in donations to the "Gas Money Fund" after ADV turned us down, Paul, Gigi, and Lani for coming all the way from Australia, Jaime and Cat Jarrett and all the other Atlanta scapers, Lyle and the rest of security who did a marvelous job, and I expect I'm forgetting someone, a lot of someones, and will make amends later. Also, if you're in Florida, Lani, Gigi, and Paul will be making an appearance at Sci-Fi City in Orlando (Tuesday, 4-7 p.m.) for autographs and photos. Please, please, please attend if you can!
Now, today, I have to go back to being a writer. Back to being Writer Caitlin. I need to try to finish the Embrace the Mutation story by Sunday, and deal with all the things that have been piling up around me the last two weeks. Oh, when I got home last night two comp copies of the trade paperback of Silk were waiting for me in the mailbox. They made a slightly smaller, but thicker, trade of it than of Threshold, but it's very attractive, keeping the original cover art and design, and that was very important to me. Technically, I suppose this is the third edition of the novel since 1998 (the mass-market paperback, the limited hardcover, and now the trade paperback).
I've been listening to VNV Nation's Empires this morning and expect it's what I'll write to today.
I just wrote a long journal entry and Blogger frelling ate it. I don't feel like rewriting it all now, so it'll just have to wait until the morning.
Sunday, October 06, 2002
It.'s 5:08 a.m. (gagh -- the grey horror of dawn approaches). I'm sitting on the floor of the hotel room, still wearing my Nebari make-up. The contacts are out, but not so long that my vision has returned. I can see the keys, but not the screen. Not the letters on the screen. So, bear with me.
I should be asleep. I was asleep, but Jennifer woke me up to eat a Slim Jim and drink something. That's her job. Well, not Slim Jims specifically.
The party at The Chamber was, by all estimates, a resounding success. I could hardly be more pleased (and I'll confess, I've not been especially optimistic this weekend). An unoffical estimate on attendence, unoffical but I'll ask Jason Feeman for actual numbers tomorrow, 800-1,000 people. We easily doubled the Secret Room's usual headcount. Great costumes. We did a marvelous little floor show, and then the cast members took the stage. The crowd went wild. You know how it goes. Diana Obscura was fabulous. We managed to mix the Farscape, Star Trek, and Star Wars universes. Continuty freaks everywhere are traumatized. I'm babbling. Gigi, Paul, and Lani were beyond marvelous. And Jennifer's telling me I have to go to sleep now, or she's going to take the keyboard away. So here I go. Wish you all could have been there!
Saturday, October 05, 2002
Trying not to miss Oct. 4th. That is, trying not to let it slip by without a post. Here I am in Atlanta again, two doors down from the same hotel room I had last weekend. Street noise through the open window to remind how much Birmingham is not actually a city. I'm getting this odd feeling that I don't truly live anywhere these days. Hotels. Friends sofas. The van. That apartment I'm in the process of moving out of, but none of them are home. It's a weird time. I look forward to future calm, which must come soon.
Actually, what's really freaky about this room is that it's the mirror image of last weekend's room. Same awful pictures on the walls, same furniture and beds, everything, but all of it facing in the opposite direction. Last weekend's room in a parallel universe, or last weekend was the parallel and this is the real one. Either way. Infinite possibilities.
So . . . Lani, Gigi, and Paul made it safely to Atlanta and the Tower Records signing went tolerably well. Still, I'm actually looking forward to Monday, when I return to my wretchedly monotonous life as a writer. But first, there's the big Farscape party at The Chamber tomorrow night. There are actually a few fans perturbed that the party's being held at a fetish club. Only a few, but it strikes me as quite entirely silly. As if Farscape hasn't played the fetish club card again and again. Anyway, I'll be there as a Nebari, of course. It's nice not to have to be human all the goddamned time.
Oh, and I'm not even going to get started on the drive today, what with the redneck caravans to the Talladega races and the last tattered shreds of Lili.
Maybe on Monday I'll even talk about writing again.
Thursday, October 03, 2002
Much of the morning has been spent with proofs for Part Two of Bast: Eternity Game (which look great, by the way) and some details regarding Low Red Moon. The work of writing that comes after the actual writing and can seem to go on forever.
But now I have to attend to last-minute minutiae surrounding the 5th of Farscape rally in Atlanta this weekend. I have to be back in Atlanta tomorrow, so things are getting quite hectic around here. If you're looking for information on the Atlanta events, check out Nebari.Net, which should answer most of your questions.
Wednesday, October 02, 2002
I think I got about two good hours of sleep last night. I dozed off on the sofa watching The 13th Warrior, but didn't stay dozed off very long. Mostly, I watched the sunrise. Twilight and then afternoon in reverse. I always find sunrise vaguely creepy, because I've seen so little of it these last ten years. That whole light-coming-from-the-east thing just kind of freaks me out.
Now I'm listening to The Crüxshadows and trying to wake up.
I'm trying to think of writerly stuff to write about, because that's what this damn thing's here for, but nothing's coming. Sorry. I think about writerly stuff as little as possible. When it's time to write, I do it. When it's not time to write, I think about other things.
Tuesday, October 01, 2002
Sometimes there aren't words at my disposal to describe how much I hate writing. I suppose that's sort of ironic, but I'm not terribly fond of irony either, which figures.
The first day of October and it was almost sunset before I even realized it. That says a lot about the mess things have become around here lately.
I should have stayed in Atlanta longer; this last week or so in Birmingham isn't going to be anything but annoying.
Anyway, if you're interested in pre-ordering Waycross, illustrated by Ted Naifeh (Gloomcookie), I understand there's information up now at the Subterranean Press website. For those who haven't heard, it's a prequel to In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers.