Friday, December 19, 2003
Yesterday, I did another 1,270 words on "The Dry Salvages." I hope to finish Part 2 of the story today, but I'm not making any promises. Also, I began reading William J. Broad's The Universe Below (meanwhile, Spooky began reading Witchcraft and Neighbors by Robin Briggs).
I'm in one of those places where the weight of reaction to what I create seems intent on wearing me down to a nub. That sense that there's no way to do this "right," not consciously. And I'm so tired of trying to make more people like what I write. And how I write. And who I write. I didn't want to get out of bed this morning, didn't want to have to sit down at the keyboard and face the blank future of this story from which I have to make a realized present and past. And the knowledge that, if I'm lucky, I'll be happy with it. Shouldn't it stop there? I wrote a story which I like and I'm happy with it? That seems enough to me. It seems that, in a sane world, it would be enough. But it's not.
Because this is an art and a business, and business is concerned with making people happy, which, ironically, is often the antithesis of art. And here I am, caught in the paradox, the contradiction.
Low Red Moon is the best, the truest, the most solid novel that I have written, and, most days, I feel I'll never write anything that good again. I'm weary of hearing how it's "less atmospheric" than Threshold (it isn't), or that it's less Lovecraftian (it isn't), or more Lovecraftian (it isn't). I'm especially sick of claims that it's "more conventional" than Threshold. But this sort of foolishness is teaching me things. I can only do this for myself. If I do it and you love it, then I will be pleased, perhaps, but if I am not pleased in the first place, there is nothing, nothing at all. I can weather the weight because I can look at my shelf and see the book and know that I did it right, as right as I could. That I was true to my vision, and what other people can't or don't or won't see is entirely beyond my control.
But the weight is still there, slowing me down, driving me forward.
And speaking of baffling reader reaction, recently someone named Ben Wooller, on an EZBoard forum discussion of my work on The Dreaming, posted the following: Tell me, in her novels, is ever [sic] second character a transexual [sic], like in her comics? To date, I've written exactly one transsexual character in a comic — Echo, in The Dreaming and (as a cameo) in The Girl Who Would Be Death. So, where is this fekkik getting this stuff from? How did Ben Wooller form this impression? Certainly not from reading The Dreaming. Yes, Echo was an important character in my work on the series, but there were no other transsexuals inThe Dreaming! Which is really a shame, in retrospect; Mervyn Pumpkinhead would have made a great transsexual. Anyway, this is an old gripe for me. Since I started work on The Dreaming, there have been people who whined that all the characters were transsexual (or goth, or gay), apparently without bothering to read the book. To me, this says that there are some readers out there so insecure in their sexuality (or lack thereof), so afraid of transgenderism, that one transsexual an army makes. Idiots.
No, I'm not happy today. And all this Xmas foolishness isn't helping.
Though I said I would be eschewing politics here, I have to post the following link (thanks, Shannon): 1984: Reloaded.