Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Amazing. It's only 3:40 and already I've done 1,151 words today. 2,000+ should be within my grasp. That'll help make up for yesterday, and perhaps buy me a day.
I could have done better yesterday. Only 865 words on Chapter Eleven, frelling Chapter Eleven, and I know that those 865 words need to be heavily reworked today before I move on. I was actually suprised when, after dinner, I discovered that I'd only written 865 words. I'd guessed 1,200. The words came with that sort of difficulty yesterday. At this rate, completing the novel will require the rest of this week, leaving me only one week before the trip to New England, a fact which has me extremely stressed out. But I will not rush the ending. If it needs this much time, I have to give it this much time. Of course, as soon as I finish the epilogue, I have to rewrite the prologue, and fix a bunch of continuity problems throughout the ms. That'll take another day or two, at the very least. And I have a feeling I'll be polishing this book for months. It's going to be almost the same length as Low Red Moon, but it's scope is far more panoramic, which has created the need for more reworking and continuity policing.
We're having unusually cool weather for late September. Lows in the 40s the last couple of nights, and that's triggered the cryosphere, which will no doubt keep my feet in the deep freeze until sometime next May. "Oh, that long room with the red concrete floor will be perfect for an office!" I said, like a goddamned fool. I have a hate/love relationship with cold weather. On the one hand, it spawns a ferocious beauty, and that I love. On the other hand, it makes me miserable in almost every respect. Maybe that's the price of ferocious beauty. Unending misery. It makes more sense than most things.
Last night, Spooky and I watched The Man Who Fell To Earth.
"I should have been a pair of ragged claws," indeed. I suspect that I am.
An observation: if grown men are going to insist upon parading about in public in those hideous khaki shorts, they ought to have to keep their legs shaved or waxed. Really, I'm so sick of seeing curly black leg hair every time I go out. If women are expected to keep their legs bare, the same should be expected of the XY brigade, if, as I've said, they insist on those vile shorts. You may go now.
Monday, September 29, 2003
My fantasies of a marathon writing session were short-lived. Blame it on Chapter Eleven. Of course, it was a lousy idea to start with. It would have amounted to rushing the ending, even if it required just as many hours as it would have taken otherwise, there would still have been a sense of rushing. There are many writers who claim to do their best work under pressure or in short periods of time. Stephen King claims to have written The Running Man in a single weekend. And I think it shows.
Yesterday, I wrote 1,273 words on Chapter Eleven, before dinner, then after dinner came back and wrote another 462 words, for a total of 1,735 words. The after-dinner bit almost amounts to marathonism, by my standards, as I never write after dinner. I used to do most of my writing in the evenings, but we're talking long, long ago, as in college. The Five of Cups pretty much established my diurnal writing habits, though I still occassionally wrote at night through the composition of Silk (so, through 1996). But with The Dreaming, as writing became something I had to do everyday, regardless of mood or weather or natural disasters, I began to set for myself a routine. Now I write during the mornings and afternoons.
Yesterday, I wrote to R.E.M., which I don't often do. When I do, it's usually either to Life Rich Pageant or Fables of the Reconstruction. But yesterday I chose first Out of Time and then Automatic for the People. The latter proved oddly perfect for the scenes I was writing.
So, it has come to my attention that there are those out there among you who are prone to believe fairy tales. Now, I don't mean the kinds Los Bros Grimm and Mr. Andersen wrote. Of course those are true. I mean the unwritten, culturally propogated sort. You know, things like "published authors make a lot of money and don't need any of mine." It's perhaps understandable, these myths — that publishers pay us in a timely fashion, as per contractual obligation, that fame equals wealth, that having a Hollywood agent and a New York agent means you're set for life, that writers can, in fact, survive solely on air and tap water, so long as they're allowed to write. But it ain't so, little grasshopper. Sadly, it just ain't so. Would that it were. But guess what! You, yes you, can shake off the fetters of ignorance and do something to remedy the plight of at least one overworked, underpaid writer. Simply click here or here (see how I've thoughtfully given you choices), to visit either eBay or the Species of One Shop, and - ahem - PLEASE FRELLING BUY SOMETHING! Now, if you're one of those people who owns everything I've ever written, or you've spent outrageous sums on an ARC of some or another of my books, or you've already ordered Nar'eth's Box of Mayhem, you may stop reading here. You're a dear and I'm not talking to you. But I cannot count the times people have e-mailed to say how much they love the blog, how they read it every day, but regret to say (actually, they're rarely that polite) that they've never read one of my novels, or anything else I've written, for that matter. Or the people who whine about not being able to find my books. Easily remedied. All you have to do is visit one, or both, of the links conveniently provided above. Thank you.
I think I shall now have the butler (the tall one, not the short one) ring up the stables and have them prepare for my post-luncheon ride. Oh, and perhaps I'll drive the red Jaguar today (one should never drive the same colour Jag two days running).
Sunday, September 28, 2003
Okay. Forget the marathon. I sat here at my desk making notes for the end of Chapter Ten and realized that there has to be a Chapter Eleven after all. Mostly for narrative reasons, but it needs to be a last division there, because my chapters are not arbitrary. And suddenly, I'm not looking at ending the last chapter, but beginning the last chapter. It won't really mean more words, because it'll be a short chapter (for me), maybe 6,000 words, but there's a certain psychological blow here. Sigh. Anyway, so there you go. I will try to write longer today than usual. I'll work until dinner, take a break, and come back to the iBook.
Allergies suck Hynerian donkey eema. It's all these frelling earp spores that my delicate Nebari sinuses have not yet adapted a resistence to, I suspect.
Anyway . . .
Yesterday, I wrote a very determined 1,516 words on Chapter Ten of Murder of Angels. A character comes to what may be a moment of penultimate truth, or only another layer of illusion, or the truth misunderstood as penultimate when it's only a fragment of an incomprehensible whole. You'll have to decide which for yourselves, I suspect.
After two nights of insomnia, by the time I was done writing for the day and read back over the day's pages for Spooky and Jennifer, I was so exhausted that I could, literally, hardly stay awake. I think I was drooling. Jennifer went to get us Mexican for dinner and I passed out on the couch and slept through a thunderstorm. I awoke and the sky to the west had gone startling shades of orange and green, before fading to a Maxfield Parrish sort of cloudscape. After dinner, I listened to a bit of Kat and Sissy and Shannon's online radio show, Lunar Cycles, but finally got so sleepy again I gave up and took a hot bath. After watching King Kong (I so love that film), I fell asleep in front of the television watching Van Johnson and Elizabeth Taylor and Walter Pidgeon in The Last Time I Saw Paris. It's a fine enough film, but can't hold a candle the Fitzgerald story on which it was based, "Babylon Revisted." But I slept a decent seven hours last night and feel much, much better (except for those allergies).
I have this tinked notion that I could pull a marathon writing spree at this point and possibly finish the novel sometime late tomorrow evening. All I need is about twelve to fourteen hours to do it. Keep in mind, I rarely write for more than five or six hours a day, and more usually four or five. And just that much usually leaves me a gibbering idiot. But, with enough absinthe and Sobe, and a few other things, superNebari feats may be possible. Spooky has promised to nurse me along if I choose to attempt such a foolish thing. So, I might try. It would be good to have it done. Like pulling a rotten tooth. Do it fast, and then it's out and there's only blood and pain killers. If I do this thing, I'll post updates, as my brain goes to jelly. We'll see.
Speaking of Lunar Cycles, I'm organizing a Lunar Cycles listening party for next Saturday night, 8 p.m. ET until midnight. If you're into goth, dark ambient, darkwave, industrial, etc. and want details, check into my phorum. You can learn more about the show at this useful link. Now I go write.
Saturday, September 27, 2003
I am tired. Both the superficial exhaustion that comes from working too much and resting too little. I'm not sleeping well, and waking at odd hours (just before 6 a.m. this morning), unable to get back to sleep. I won't even get started about the stress, except to say that one of the many, many things that readers and would-be writers don't know about professional writing is the horrendous stress level involved.
Then there's the other kind of tired, an exhaustion of the soul, but there's really no point talking about that.
Yesterday, I wrote 1,907 words on Chapter Ten of Murder of Angels, which, I believe, is the most I've written in a single day since I was finishing Low Red Moon last August. The words just kept coming and, this close to the end, I wasn't about to cut them off. Suddenly, I was on page 500. So much for this ms. being shorter than Low Red Moon. Last night, our friend Byron came over for "kid night" (see earlier posts), and we all watched The Legend of Boggy Creek and Crimson Rivers.
Poppy has been writing a good deal in her livejournal about the difficulties she's had recently with readers who are unhappy with the non-fantasy direction that her work has taken these past few years, leading up to The Value of X and Liquor. Her comments, and the often suprisingly indelicate remarks from those among her readers who only seem to want Lost Souls II, have served to underscore my own worries about how Murder of Angels will be received. On the one hand, if my readers wanted a sequel to Silk, they're getting it. On the other, the book lies largely, if nolt entirely, in another part of the fantasy spectrum than its predecessor, and it hasn't much to offer the reader who delighted in Silk primarily because it was a novel about punk bands and goths and the hardscrabble existence many who live within subcultures face. Some themes from Silk carry over: insanity, the life of a musician, alcoholism and drug addiction, the search for self and its relationship to reality. In fact, looking at it that way, most of the primary themes of Silk are still present in Murder of Angels. And yet it is a completely different sort of book. It's characters are ten years older, for a start. More importantly, as I've said, it approaches fantasy differently. More head-on, and I worry, because much of the praise for both Silk and Threshold has derived from those novels' subtlety. So, I fear what critics will say (I always do) and what readers will say, and now I have to wonder, seeing what Poppy's had to put up with, if there will be people who feel "betrayed" or "abandoned" because I'm writing a different sort of novel.
I find it hard to believe that there are actually readers who think that part of an author's responsibility to them is to write only what they already know they want to read, even if that means, essentially, writing the same book again and again. I do very much believe that authors have certain responsibilities to their readers, but these do not include writing to the readers' wims. As I see it, we have a covenant, authors and readers. I write what I need to write, and perhaps what I think needs to be written, and you then have the opportunity to read it, if you so choose. If you do read something I've written and don't like it, you have the choice of avoiding my work in the future. If you read something I've written and love it, I'll show you something else, as long as your interest is there. You want stories from me? I'll give them to you. That's the deal. The deal goes that far and no farther. It certainly does not extend to my taking requests, or feeling bound to write to some core audience, for fear of driving them away. For me, it's always been about leading you places that I myself need to explore. You don't have to follow — you get to follow, and you can't expect me to alter my course or stop forever in one spot because you like the view.
And this is why I fear for Murder of Angels, because, while these are still my words, my voice, my eyes, I want to show you something different than you may have come to expect from me. And I am afraid that damned expectation will result in readers never giving the book the same chance they've given my other books. But I am not a brand. I am pleased to have readers. They mean a great deal to me. But I will never be able to write solely to suit their expectations. I often wish that I could. I would have happier agents and editors and a much happier bank account.
Friday, September 26, 2003
This morning I am not wearing a bra. Don't try this at home, kiddos. I'm a professional.
I have VNV Nation coming through the headphones ("Frika"), because I missed them DJing at The Chamber last night, because they were supposed to appear tonight, but the date changed and The Chamber didn't see fit to tell anyone until almost the last minute. Grumble, grumble, grumble. Actually, I don't know when The Chamber advertised the date change, but I'm a goof and didn't find out until yestereday afternoon about 5:30 after writing all frelling day and there was no way I could have pulled myself together and gone out.
Why, yes. I did write yesterday. I wrote a scene, and then I rewrote it, and then I let Spooky read it, and although she liked it, I rewrote it again. 1,175 words on Chapter Ten. A moment of terrible climax. A scene I have to finish today. None of you will ever know how badly I want this book to be loved, and how much I fear for its future.
Late last night, I sat down with Low Red Moon and looked at it more closely. The copyeditor and production manager seem to have fixed almost everything they broke. Mostly, setting aside a few minor caveats that don't bear mentioning, I know that Low Red Moon is, hands down, the best novel I have written. I can only hope it does at least as well as Threshold, and, with luck, better. It is my most deserving child to date. It is a book that I can read and honestly know that I have done a good thing, the right thing. You have to understand. That's never really happened before with me and a novel.
And I read "Dinosaurs from the Early Cretaceous Murtoi Formation in Buryatia, eastern Russia," by Alexander Averianov, Alexei Starkov, and Pavel Skutschas, in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. But I suppose that's neither here nor there.
Don't forget. The Low Red Moon ARC now being auctioned on eBay is the last that I will make available. And there's lots of stuff up besides the ARC. You should bid now. The economy's not that bad.
Thursday, September 25, 2003
The weirdest thing, UPS just brought a copy of the Roc edition of Low Red Moon. I have held it in my hands. I have flipped through the pages. It won't be in stores for more than a month, but I have a copy. And it has inspired in me that same weird flatness of spirit that I first felt when I held Silk, way back in 1998. And then again, when I held Threshold in 2001. It's just weird. I have made yet another book, from my mind, from my keyboard, from the interaction of those two things, and all those ms. pages have finally been made a book. It is an attractive trade paperback. It looks good on the shelf with Silk and Threshold.
But it's weird . . .
Yesterday, I wrote 1,156 words on Chapter Ten of Murder of Angels. It's possible that the novel will be finished by Monday or Tuesday. Wednesday or Thursday at the latest. I thought, back in August, that this book would be shorter than Low Red Moon, but now I think it will be just about the same length. It does have longer chapters, though. I envy my writer friends who write short chapters. Lately, I seem unsatisfied if they come in under 10,000 words. This last chapter will probably go to 15,000 or more.
Late last night, Spooky and I watched a very good documentary, Rubber Tramps, on Trio (a great network). It was concerned with the lives of people who live in vehicles, mostly VW micro buses and old school buses (and sometimes hybrids of the two). There was a lot of Ken Kesey interview footage. There was this wonderful man, an old black man who couldn't remember his age — 71, 72, 73 — '70s he guessed, and he said, "I don't like people. They piss me off." And I began to see one of my possible futures (to paraphrase Pink Floyd). It would not be such a bad life, an old bus and the road. I began thinking, I'd write and have a couple of p.o. boxes where my agents could send the checks, and so on and so forth. I mean, what do I have that I really love that I could not take with me? And then the thought began to frighten me and I quickly backed away from it. Freedom has always scared me. I know people who think I have a lot of it, but they mistake one thing for another. A brown moth for a leaf. An anole for a bit of bark. Anyway, if you have a chance to see it, Rubber Tramps is excellent.
I haven't made an entry in my hardcopy journal since just before Dragon*Con. I have to get back into the habit, because this is only half the story, at most.
Check out the new stuff in the Species of One Shop. Nar'eth's Box of Mayhem is now available.
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Yesterday, I wrote an amazing 1,716 words on Chapter Ten of Murder of Angels.
I count my days in words.
Sometimes, I count my days in the absence of words.
There's always a siren singing you to shipwreck . . .
Of course, I meant to say, it was amazing that I wrote 1,716 words, not that the words themselves were necessarily amazing. I would like them to be. I would always like them to be. I so rarely see in my own work what others seem to see there. Seems like a cruel trick, that. Irony just pisses me off, most of the time. What noisy cats are we. I have moved Milton and Blake and Yeats and Arnold to the floor beside my desk, as a sort of punishment, I think. Jung is over by the printer, but that's mostly a matter of luck on his part. He didn't have the misfortune to be in the stack that include Milton, Blake, Yeats, and Arnold when I decided it would feel really frelling good to drop four heavy books on the floor. He better mind his p's and q's. I'm all about encores. If you catch my drift.
I'm not sure I do.
Last night, I went back to the latest Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology and read "A second specimen of Lemurosaurus pricei (Therapsida: Burnetiamorpha)" by C. A. Snider and J. Welman. It's a crime that virtually no one in the world even knows what a therapsid is, but there you go. It's their loss, and there are crimes past counting in this world. Then I watched Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which is my new guilty pleasure, now that The Osbournes has concluded. And then I went to bed and read George R. R. Martin's strangely haunting and beautiful "Bitterblooms," first published in 1977. I was thirteen years old in 1977, or fourteen, depending what one means by 1977. The story left my head in a desolate, cold, inevitable place that carried me down to sleep. It's still with me this morning, a testament to it's strength.
Her love rains down on me . . .
Christopher Lee Simmons ("Sissy," see The Dreaming #51), who kindly hosts my phorum, posted his thoughts on Low Red Moon to his livejournal yesterday. I'd sent him an advance reading copy of the novel, as a "thank you" for getting my phorum up again after the disaster of August 8th. His thoughts are cogent, I think. I doubt any of the reviewers will do much better. The circle and the line, and all.
Is there anything else to say today? The last Low Red Moon arc that I intend to auction is now on eBay, along with lots of other stuff. But I think that's it until tomorrow. No, wait. If you should find Amazon.com telling you that Silk is out of print, that's bulldren and you should know that it's most certainly not. The original Roc mass-market papberback is out-of-print, and has been since June 2001, but the Roc trade paperback (released in November 2002) is available, as is the Gauntlet Press hardback. Amazon.com is seriously in need of a clue.
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Tuesday, right? Yeah. That's what I was afraid of. I was at the iBook ten hours straight yesterday, writing and the damnable business of writing, and then came back for more after dinner. Somewhere in there I wrote the fourth beginning of Chapter Ten of Murder of Angels, the 1,025 words that are the correct beginning of the last chapter of the book. With luck, that will be the last roadblock.
Thanks to Michael (Katmir) for the kindest letter, and to Setsuled (Leh'agvoi) for encouragement (again). Thanks to Gregory for understanding what I was trying to say about hurricanes, and to Jeff, who knows about contempt and phoenixes. My gratitude to Chris for a line from an Oingo Boingo song and for making me feel a little less like I'm talking to myself. And to Jackie (jackie) for a head's up.
Last night, as we were getting ready for bed, Sophie (da cat) went out for her midnight constitutional and bug-nibbling and she and Spooky met up with a possum in the backyard. It's so weird to have wildlife, after all those years in downtown Birmingham. Sophie wanted nothing to do with the possum, who, in turn wanted nothing to do with Spooky, and all parties retreated to their respective corners.
Last night, I took a break from fiction and I read "A beaked herbivorous archosaur with dinosaur affinities from the Late Triassic of Poland," by Jerzy Dzik (Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 23 ). Silesaurus opolensis, ah, what a beautiful little beast. If ever I could write a single sentence with the poetry of this animal's sacrum and skull! I'm not sure that even Faulkner or Eliot ever managed such a feat.
The auction of Low Red Moon ARC #2 is over. I will auction only one more copy, which I'll put up this evening (here). After that, you'll just have to wait until November. Also, Spooky's experimenting with the Species of One Shop at CafePress.com. Right now, we have a t-shirt and mousepad, and she'll be adding a Nar'eth lunchbox/purse very soon, and "Species of One" bumperstickers.
And I think that just about does it for this morning.
Monday, September 22, 2003
Even the web is quite this early in the morning. This might be the earliest I've ever made an entry. I woke at 5:55 a.m., instantly wide awake and nothing in my head but doubts about Murder of Angels and the certainty that I would not be getting back to sleep. So, here I am, making a blogger entry at this ungodly hour, when any self-respecting author and absinthe fiend would be in bed. The world is weird this early. I mean that in the Machen and Dunsany sense of weird, though not quite in the Lovecraft sense. I sat in my office, trying not to wake Spooky, with nothing to do (after reading PZB's livejournal entry about Louisiana politics) but listen to the sounds outside. Nothing much at first. It was raining, but that ended. Silence, and then a truck, and then children laughing and shouting. That was about 6:30. There's just something wrong about hearing the laughter of children at 6:30 in the morning. Eventually, there were birds, and yet everything was still shrouded in that peculiar, almost smothering stillness. From my office I couldn't watch the sun rise, because, shortly after we moved in here, I blocked out the tall, south-facing window with an enormous length of black velvet. But I watched the hallway outside my office door grow lighter by degrees. And that was weird, too.
I know this morning that the 985 words I wrote yesterday, the third beginning of Chapter Ten, are the wrong 985 words. I begin to wonder it there are 985 right words to begin the ending of this novel with. So, today I'll wipe them all away and begin again, anew. I do not believe that third times are a charm, but circumstance has left me little choice but to try again. It seems the more this book steals from me, the more protective of it I become. It is a glorious parasite.
Blake and Milton and Yeats are still right here on my left. I keep hoping they have something very important to tell me, here at the last. Something redemptive. This is a redemptive novel, or it was supposed to be. I fear it may only be damnation in disguise. I shall now add Matthew Arnold to the club, with hope (hope is a four-letter word) that he'll throw the spark the other three refuse to relinguish. Am I not making sense? Don't worry. I'm not supposed to. No one is supposed to "make sense" this early in the morning, especially not me —
For the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain . . .
and only then, Ah, love, let us be true, and I know that Arnold said it the other way round, but this morning my reversed sequence seems more true to me. The author who knows not the "darkling plain" has yet to find the truth of this art. At 5:55 a.m., my head swimming with wakeful failure, the darkling plain was very clear to me, stretched out black in all directions, as was my awareness of my place upon it, swept with confused alarms and struggles of flight. Critics may peck at me and readers may display their fickle minds, but in the end, The End, it hardly matters, because Mr. Arnold hit the nail on the head 152 years ago, 113 years before I was even born, and everything since then has only been a bloody string of footnotes.
For the world, which seems/To lie before us like a land of dreams, and suddenly I'm wandering (typo, "wondering," but maybe I was right the first time) if Mr. Arnold was purposefully referencing Mr. Blake: O, what land is the Land of Dreams?/What are its Mountains and what are its Streams? Or, more to the point:
Father, O Father! what do we here
In this Land of unbelief & fear?
The Land of Dreams is better far . . .
And now I circle back to Mr. Arnold (I'm always circling back to Mr. Arnold, or Mr. Yeats, or Mr. Eliot, or Mr. Blake, or Mr. Lewis Carroll — everyone needs at least five saints), the stanza before the one which I quoted above, but I'll leave that for you to consider without my "help." All these dead white men. I suppose a good feminist critic would say that I'm damned, with a pantheon like that. But Charles Fort would have said the same of me, and, though he's not a saint of mine, he's also a dead white man and he is a personal deamon, as well, and I listen when he speaks.
'I weep for you,' the Walrus said:
I deeply sympathize . . .
I think there's proper daylight outside now. Coffee, I suppose. And a hundred things to do before I try again. Try to try again. Try to try to try again. Try to try to try to try again. But that's only try to the fourth power. Pi for this sentence, please. It would go well with the coffee. Ha, ha, ha. No, really. I laughed. It happens.
This is not an entry. It's a goddamn essay and no one's paying me to write it. Disappointment, and poor judgement there, but freedom, too. How many words so far? I'll not keep count for once. Read on or give it up. I've not even gotten to the Amazon.com "review" of The Five of Cups by someone who felt compelled to point out everything I'd already made clear in my preface. Freedom of speech is one thing, and everyman's every opinion and all that, but this, this "review," is just a cry for attention. Moreover, the "reviewer" then proceeds to state that the novel's weaknesses derive not from the myriad of causes which I'd stated in the Preface, but, rather, because I apparently stopped trying halfway through the book. Ah, if he only knew how wrong he is. That was a novel I believed in, with all my rotten soul, from start to finish. That belief may well have been misplaced, but it was there.
Yesterday, at 2:57 EDT, Galileo dropped out of orbit and fell into the storms of Jupiter (and, if there's a Heaven for Isabel) and forever passed from our knowledge. I was busy writing That Which I Must Unwrite Today. The moment would have been better spent thinking of that tiny fleck of us tumbling in flames, plummeting towards endless clouds of methane, ammonia, and water. She might be falling still.
Spooky's up and moving (hence, my coffee). I need to bring this to a close, because, because, because, and I will have to do it abruptly and artlessly. All I have to do is stop typing and all you have to do is stop reading (or is it the other way round?). I'm stopping now. Go away. Shoo!
Sunday, September 21, 2003
I'm listening to the new Bowie. Good stuff. Retro-ish Bowie.
Listening and dreading writing and trying not to dread writing. Because I can't lock up today. Yesterday was inexcusable. I tried to salvage the day by reading, because, I tell myself, reading is sort of like writing, etc., etc., and that's rationalization, but hey, don't knock it, right? I read George R. R. Martin's "A Song for Lya" and Tim Lebbon's "The Stuff of the Stars, Leaking." I watched The Animatrix with Spooky and fell asleep to Reptilicus. And now I'm here again, in my chair, at my desk, with Blake and Milton and Yeats, unhelpful though they might be.
Standing at the edge of a skyscraper roof, or a cliff, or any other falling-off point, and all I have to do is let go and jump. No, I don't even have to jump. Art does not require jumping, only letting go. Only commitment. Only. No nets or even the reassurance of a concrete sidewalk to break the descent. To expect that, or any other guarantee, would be whining. And I must never whine. Just finish the damn book and be done with it and move along to the next one. Lose these illusions of control that hold me back. Commitment to the plunge, not control. I cannot save this novel from the whimsical savagery or indifference of critics or readers or editors or Amazon.com "reviewers."
I feel small and shabby.
And there's nothing in front of me but The End, just over there, beyond commitment. All I have to do is take that one small step . . .
Saturday, September 20, 2003
Not often I write two entries in a single day. But I am today, in hopes that it assauges a little of the guilt I'm feeling at the moment.
I tried to begin Chapter Nine, and hit a brick wall. I wrote the beginning of a scene. Then ditched it. I wrote the beginning of another scene. And then ditched it. Bill Scahfer called, because I asked him to, to discuss the status of various projects, and I asked him to please call back later (don't hate me, Cat Daddy). I stared at the screen. I stared at the screen. I drank absinthe. I stared at the frelling screen some more. And finally, about 4:30, I gave up. My head hurt and I was hopelessly lost in the doubt that hangs at the nether regions of Murder of Angels. I took a hot bath and felt sorry for myself. I don't have a lot of time to waste with silliness like today. In fact, I don't have any time to waste with silliness like today. I have, essentially, ten days to get this last chapter written before I need to begin getting ready for the trip to New England, but, at the same time, I know I can't rush this. This book is precious to me, as are all my books, and if I rush the ending I'll hate myself forever.
Or so long as my consciousness survives.
So, here I am. Uncertain what comes next. Or afraid that what comes next will make me happy and everyone else will hate it. Or only the critics will hate it. Or whatever.
I think being unable to write, when writing is what you do, must be a bit like sexual impotence, though I wouldn't know from experience. But it feels like I imagine that would feel. It's a horrible, infuriating feeling.
I have Blake and Milton and Yeats stacked on my desk. You'd think these guys could help.
Being out was good. It bought me a much needed twenty-four hours to think about where Murder of Angels is going, here at the very end. Spooky and I went to Underground Atlanta, because they have one of the few hat shops in town and I bought a new bowler. New hats are good for the soul. Then we had Orange Julius (well, I had strawberry) and I talked to a rather strange young black man from Vancouver who was suprised to see goths in Atlanta. We went to a gaming shop (I needed a particular die) and a bookstore. I found a review of the forthcoming Shadows Over Baker Street, wherein nice things were said about my story, "The Drowned Geologist." We had a huge dinner of Caribbean food. Then saw Underworld, which was fun, but somewhat disappointing, even though all I'd wanted from this film was eye candy and action.
So, yes, it was wise to sacrifice a day to nothing in particular.
As I was getting dressed yesterday morning, I thought, as I sometimes think these says, these last few years as time takes her inevitable toll, whether or not I'm getting too old to dress as I do. I thought it aloud to Spooky: "Am I getting too old to dress like this?" And she asked the ever salient question, "What's the alternative?" Well, I knew all the answers, of course, but, nontheless, vowed to spend the day watching people and how they dressed, trying to imagine myself dressed as contemporary "normals," instead of in my usual pseudo-neo-cyberVictorian postgoth steampunky couture. And I don't know what was worse, all the grown men in shorts and t-shirts and baseball caps, or the grown women in flip-flops (shudder). Well, the worst, the very worst, was the largish woman in a bright pink velour jogging suit. Most the adults on the street and at the malls look like they're either on their way to summer camp, little league, a rap video or a whore house (and, sometimes, all four at once). So, after a few hours, I felt much better about the way I dress and decided I'd give the issue more serious thought when high fashion doesn't include halter tops.
And now I am faced with beginning this, the last chapter. And, even though I think I know something important that I didn't know day before yesterday, still, it frightens me. Committing myself to an ending, choosing the one that is right. Every story has an infinite number of possible endings. And, in a sense, all those endings are legitimate, somewhere, sometime. But here and now there can be only one conclusion and it must be the one that follows from all that has come before. It must be the one that closes the circuit, so to speak, and throws the spark that brings the book to life. It's enough to make me want to go back to bed with a bottle of tequila and a lime.
P.S. - Click here and buy or bid on something. There's a Low Red Moon ARC up right now. I think this is the next to the last one I'll be able to auction. Act now, brown cow.
Friday, September 19, 2003
Yesterday, Spooky and I read, and, in the end, the reading left me even more filled with doubt about the merit and future of Murder of Angels than I'd been to start with. I always hope it will work the other way, that reading back I'll be reassured that I'm a much better writer than I think I am. But, more often than not, it goes like yesterday. Spooky yelled at me (she does that) for being "too hard" on myself. Personally, I deny the possibility that a writer can be too hard on herself. Other people can be, those people whose child the book or short story or poem is not, those people who have no business opening their mouths because they can't begin to guess the bottomless horror of a blank sheet of paper (okay, in 2003, "blank sheet of paper" must stand as a metaphor, but you know what I mean). And, while I'm in this mood, those people who whine about my stories not being "scary" enough (may they all rot in the most forgotten crevices of every culture's version of eternal damnation, the morons), they ought to spend a few years as an author, an author dependant on her work for her livelihood, if they wan't to see something really scary.
Anyway, after three chapters, I was so dispirited that I no longer felt like going to the theatre and just laid around all evening, mostly. And I'm not going to start Chapter Ten until tomorrow; today I'll spend at a museum or a park or a landfill or something, trying my best not to think about the goddamn novel.
I'm getting conflicting reports of how many people have died in Isabel. Thirteen or fifteen, one or the other. I also get the impression that a lot of people have misunderstood what I've said here about hurricanes. And I'm not much in the mood to explain myself. Yes, violent natural phenomena often kill people. This does not, in any way, diminish their ability to inspire awe and wonder. I never said that I thought people who choose to live in what is, historically, the path of hurricanes "have it coming." It seems to me that people who live, by choice or chance, in hurricane-prone areas have to learn to live with and accept the storms as a regular part of their lives, and deaths. I think that most of them do. Because the storms aren't going away. And when I marvel at Isabel, I'm not disregarding the lives that might be lost, I'm simply refusing to see humanity as the only thing on the planet worthy of consideration.
Maybe I'll just find a good bar and spend the whole day drinking . . .
Thursday, September 18, 2003
Yesterday, I wrote 1,189 words and finished Chapter Nine of Murder of Angels. As of today, the novel stands at about 101,985 words, about 470 pp. I estimate the finished ms. will weigh in at roughly 112,000 words, shorter than Low Red Moon, but longer than Silk. Anyway, as you can see, this puts me very, very near The End. Yet, even at this proximity, some of my doubts about the book are enormous. The possibility of an eleventh chapter keeps creeping up on me, for example. And have I really done what I set out to do? What did set out to do? Yes, this is a sequel to Silk, in that it involves the primary characters who survived that novel (Niki and Daria, Spyder, Walter) and the long-term consequences of the book's events, but it's probably not what anyone would expect from a sequel to Silk. And we know what happens when a reader's expectations are thwarted. We have the Ja're's of the world to remind us, lest we forget. Actually, Murder of Angels is, more accurately, a novel about the long-term effects upon the human psyche of exposure to the paranormal, and a "falling farther in" (to borrow from October Project) as regards to original paranormal phenomena. Much, much farther in. Remember, in Ghostbusters, Egon Spengler's analogy with the Twinkie®? Well, if the weird in Silk were a normal-sized Twinkie®, then the weird in Murder of Angels would be a Twinkie® the size of any given neutron star. I think that just about says it all.
Today, Spooky and I will read chapters Seven, Eight, and Nine, as planned. Tonight, I hope to see a movie.
I didn't get around to reading George R. R. Martin's "A Song for Lya" last night, but we did watch From Hell on DVD. I bought it about a year ago and only just now got around to watching it. The DVD is great, if only for all the scenes that were deleted from the theatrical release. I think I actually liked the film better the second time, because I was not so weighed down by the baggage of what I expected it to be (a faithful adaptation of Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's graphic novel) and enjoyed it for what it is (a pretty good and beautifully-filmed take on Jack the Ripper).
I also watched Enterprise. I'd meant to see the season premiere last week, but forgot about it. It's easy to forget about Enterprise. But I will say that at least the new season, if last night's episode was any indication, is trying to be better that the series has been. Freed from Vulcan High Command, T'Pol adds a splash of colour to the overall drabness, even if that splash of colour is a rather intestinally disquieting salmon pink. The attack on the Earth has turned Captain Archer into a man possessed, which is a definite improvement over his former incarnation as a man asleep, but, when push comes to shove, he's still just Scott Bakula. The lighting's better. It looks like more money is going into SFX, a good thing, and someone's trying to bring a little style to the camera work. The rest of the cast seems as droll as ever, and it still appears as though most alien races differ from humans only in the structure of their foreheads. Mostly, it made me miss Farscape that much more. Maybe if the makers of Enterprise had ditched the gawdawful, frelling theme song, the series would have been improved by about 30% in one fell swoop. I mean, hey, they could get something cool to take its place, surely. Dave Matthews, maybe. After all, Dave Matthews was raised by apes in Africa, which is what makes him such a great artist.
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
I just don't seem to be able to wake up this morning.
Yesterday, I wrote 1,524 words on Chapter Nine and, I think, I will be finishing it today after all. Good for me. Yesterday did not start out well, though. I read back over the pages I'd written on Monday and it all looked like garbage and I did lots and lots of rewriting. Only then did I proceed to the next scene (the next to last scene of the chapter), but it makes the going more difficult, that sour taste at the back of my mind that always lingers after I discover that something which looked good on one day looks like dren the next. It was almost 6:30 p.m. when I finished for the day. Assuming that I really do finish Chapter Nine today, tomorrow will be spent reading back over chapters Seven, Eight, and Nine, prefatory to beginning Chapter Ten on Friday. And it looks like there won't be an eleventh chapter after all, which is good, because this book needs the symmetry of ten chapters.
I had to pause in the middle of writing yesterday, because my film agent at UTA called and I was mopey and the whole thing devolved into a weird sort of pep talk.
Let's see. Miscellania. Thanks to Aimee and Sandrah for e-mailing to ask me not to give up writing for beadwork, and to Teri, for the beautiful umbrella. Thanks to Meghan for blaming me for her newfound Farscape addiction, and to Franklin for the flattery. Sounds like as Oscar speech, doesn't it? Quick, quick, quick! The orchestra is playing. Also, Subterranean Press is having a half-price sale, and one of the books on the sale list is In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers. So if you haven't bought it (you sluggard), do so now, or if you have, (you discerning thing, you) grab a copy to give a friend for Halloween, which is coming up faster than I'd like to admit.
Last night, I read "Sandkings" by George R. R. Martin. I'm trying to cajole myself into reading more. It's an odd and shameful thing, a writer who spends more time flossing her teeth than reading. Tonight, I'll read "A Song for Lya" by Martin. And I need to get back to A Winter's Tale, and I have Dan Simmons' Ilium and Poppy's The Value of X to get to, after that. I'm probably one of the five sentient beings on earth who haven't read a single Harry Potter book. When the aliens come, the ones who have encoded all those Harry Potter books with subliminal messages to render all earthlings drooling idiots at the assigned time, on the assigned day, only we five shall stand against them. Ah, to hezmana with that. The aliens can have this place. Maybe they'd at least do a more efficient job of frelling it up than we have. So, forget everything I just said. Yo, aliens! Right down here. Easy pickings!
I wish I were on the Outer Banks right now, waiting for Isabel. She may have dropped to a Category 2, but she still has the Gulf Stream to cross, that little boost before landfall. From space, she is more beautiful than any words I have.
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Yesterday, I wrote 1,356 words on Chapter Nine of Murder of Angels, and discovered that the chapter's going to be just a little longer than I expected. So, it should be done on Thursday evening, instead of tomorrow. It felt good to get it moving again yesterday. This near The End, an interruption in the flow, in the momentum, is disquieting. My reward for finishing this chapter will be The Order on Thursday and Underworld on Friday.
On September 21st, in approximately five days and two hours, the Galileo spacecraft will end its mission by plunging into the atmosphere of Jupiter, almost fourteen years after its launch from the space shuttle Atlantis, almost eight years after the spacecraft finally reached Jupiter. I think it's healthy, in a looking-forward, exaptive sort of way, to find oneself feeling sympathy for a machine, especially one that's given us as much as Galileo (and reading back, that comment even feels condescending). The wonders she has seen. The wonders we have seen through her. The Jovian atmosphere has been waiting for her all along, calling her down with each flyby. Some things end as they should.
My entries have been running long and I haven't much more to say today. The Low Red Moon ARCs I promised to sacrifice to eBay are going fast, so visit the auction. The photos from Sunday's shoot at Fernbank came back and I found exactly the one I was looking for. The one below isn't that one, but I am very fond of it.
author's photo copyright © 2003 by Kathryn A. Pollnac
Monday, September 15, 2003
I have D&D friends who have not stopped smoking and this morning my eyeballs are wishing that they had. I think D&D is the geek equivalent of poker. Last night I kicked serious gnoll ass. But anyway . . .
We had a good trip to the museum for jacket photos yesterday. Spooky will have the prints for me to see in an hour or so. A lot of people think I'm a camera whore, but I'm actually very, very nervous about being photographed. There should be some good ones in this batch, though. It was great being with the dinosaurs again. The Argentinosaurus (the largest known sauropod, by some estimates), will never cease to amaze me.
Today it's back to work on Murder of Angels. I figure I should finish Chapter Nine either tomorrow afternoon or on Wednesday. And I have to call my Hollywood agent today, as well. It's kind of neat having an agent on each coast. They're like bookends. Bookends who get a percentage. But that's fair. They keep my books from falling over.
Hurricane Isabel bears down on the Carolinas, hovering just below a Category 5 now, losing a little speed as she moves out over cooler waters at 10mph, her top windspeed somewhere around 150 mph. The satellite images are beautiful. And I want to pack up Spooky and the van and head north and east to watch her approach. I know it's insane, but I've done it before. Those final hours as the storm approaches land, as that towering outer wall comes into view, are so spectacular. The quality to the air and the light. The sound of the sea.
I got this e-mail from Katrina James yesterday, regarding Ja're and Amazon.com reviews:
My Amazon.com wish list has carried this statement for a couple of months
Unique facts: Until Amazon changes their questionable user "review" practices, I'd prefer that this list be used only as a reference guide and that the items be purchased from independently-owned businesses (like Borderlands Books).
Good idea. I actually have an Amazon.com wishlist and wish I'd thought of this first. I shall add it today. And I urge you to buy books by me published by Subterranean Press directly from Subterranean Press, rather than through Amazon or Barnes and Noble.com (which has an equally questionable, though far less popular, "review" feature).
There's a new "review" of Silk up, which I just noticed this morning. The reader, someone who goes by icestormtx, liked the novel, but reports that "the ending did not live up to the rest of the book." This is, of course, a not uncommon complaint about Silk. I think I spoke of it very recently. The people who mistake metaphor for actuality, who want dueling angels, Prophecy 4, or a giant killer were-spider, or something silly of that sort, and are disappointed at the book's purposefully quiet ending. The first ending I wrote for Silk was much more graphic and traditionally horrific. And I didn't like it and immediately wrote the far more subtle ending it was published with. But readers who approach it a) believing the cover copy (that usually misleading stuff on the back cover that tells you what the book's "about"), b) expecting Silk to be a traditional, by-the-numbers "horror" novel, and/or c)mistaking the "plot" (ugly word) as a thing more important than, or even half as important as, the characters, are very often disappointed by the ending. They want a scream and get a sigh. People like Ja're had similar problems with the ending of Threshold, because it goes somewhere they probably didn't expect it to. Not because it's the wrong place for the book to go, but because we've so recently confused dark fantasy/weird novels with action films. These people will be a little happier with Low Red Moon, I think. But then they will be totally flumoxed by Murder of Angels.
Gods, it's depressing knowing that I could be a much more popular author (i.e., sell more books) if only I would bow to the pressure of readers and industry and set aside my own agenda as an author. It's enough to make me want to quit and spend my days sitting on a street corner at Little Five Points, stringing beads for spare change. And when I've written a sentence like that, I know it's time to end the entry, lest my morale dip so low that I can't face the words today.
Sunday, September 14, 2003
Sunday and I shan't be writing today, which I genuinely, and to my surprise, regret. I have to do a photoshoot at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History (the jacket photo for the Subterranean Press edition of Low Red Moon) and then I have D&D all evening at a friend's house. I have my guilty pleasures. See my entry of August 25th, and, if you must know, half-drow/half-blue dragon sorcerer.
I'm listening to Peter Gabriel and Deep Forest and thinking about Hurricane Isabel, her beautiful graywhite vortex, spinning at 160 mph as she heads for land after her long journey across the Atlantic. Yes, I fear the damage she will do, but I can't ignore this beauty, this sublime grace, such power and terror and perfection, nature to remind us that it's still Nature and we're still just apes who learned to make things out of other things. I've been through one hurricane (and several tornadoes), and still I have this admiration for them. Isabel is a godly beast of wind.
I did make it out for Thai and Once Upon a Time in Mexico last night. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Johnny Depp can do no wrong and steals the show, as he always does.
Anyway, I'll be back on the book to-morrow. This afternoon I'll visit the Argentinosaurus and Giganotosaurus and frown for the camera. And then the dice . . .
Saturday, September 13, 2003
Yesterday, I wrote 1,473 words on Chapter Nine of Murder of Angels. And was dumbfounded to discover that almost two weeks have passed since Dragon*Con. It feels like a few days, four or five, but I've been wrapped up in this fuzzy, sticky coccoon of words and time flows differently in here than it does out there where all of you are. I've only left the apartment three times, I think, since we got home from Dragon*Con. Tonight I might reward myself with a movie, perhaps Once Upon a Time in Mexico, because it has Johnny Depp and Willem Dafoe and Antonio Banderas and Mickey Rourke and Salma Hayek and it was directed by Robert Rodriquez, so what more reason could I need. I don't think I've seen a new movie, at the theatre, since . . . I can't remember. Pirates of the Caribbean? Good heavens, worse than I thought. I takes Johnny Depp to get me into a theatre these days. Of course, what better reason might one have. But I begin to repeat myself, don't I?
I wish that I had been sentenced to be a writer in an age before Amazon.com. Or I'd have settled for doing my time later on in this timeline, any time after 2017 when Amazon.com stops carrying books so that they'll have more room in their warehouses for the v.4.2 GameBoy neocortical implant units. Either would have sufficed. Better yet, an alternate timeline where Amazon.com never included the idiotic "review" feature as part of its format. Yes, I am going on about that again. Every Don Quixote needs windmills at which to tilt her lance. One of mine is those inane Amazon.com "reviews." Everyman may be heard. Blah, blah, blah. This latest "review" was pecked out by some frellnik named Ja're Smcha (name changed via a Star Wars name generator) from Charlotte, NC, Amazon Reviewer Rank 225,511 (they get numbers, just like prisoners and dog-show contestants). He'd be ranked higher, but he's only written 22 reviews, the poor dear.
Anyway and as I was saying, he wrote a "review" of Threshold back in early August, in which he claims that the book is "incomplete." That's not so uncommon a complaint with my work. I know it's finished, because I came to the end of that which I'd intended to do, but as the standard plot structure doesn't obey the conventions that we've been spoonfeeding our children and ourselves (royal "our," not including me) for decades, Ja're's expectations were not appeased. And we (royal "we") all know that good fiction is about appeasing the expectations of the multitudes. Yes, well. Then I am a total failure.
Ja're, should you be ego-surfing one day and read this, if you'll send me your name and address, I'll send you a Webster's dictionary, free of charge, no frelling fooling.
Never mind that he finishes his first sentence, which isn't a question, with a question mark. Or that he engages in the obscenely common use of capital letters and strung-together punctuation to achieve emphasis ("!!!!" - because "!!" just wouldn't do). Or that he only seems to have a faint grasp of adverbs and none of commas. All that dren, I can look the other way. It's his spelling that drives me fahrbot. For example, "archeological" is spelled "archeoligical" (never mind that the book involves geology and paleontolgy, not archeology). He uses "aloud" when he means "allowed," so I'm guessing he has some homonym trauma lurking about in his past somewhere.
But I am nitpicking, aren't I? Poor ol' Ja're. I ought to be ashamed, I know. He can't help it if he was born into a world that allows — indeed, encourages — the marginally literate to publically hold forth on the value of a novel. Or if his grasp of climax and anticlimax is as stunted as a bonsai tree. There should be federal funding available for people like this, the fictionally-challenged, who so need to mouth off about everything they read, but sadly lack the skills to do so without looking like a total goofus. And annoying authors, in the bargain.
Oh, and should Ja're discover this entry at some future date, he will, of course, be completely outraged that I have so taken him to task for having written such a lameheaded and grammatically questionable "review" of Threshold. Someone, somewhere, assured him that it was his sacrosanct right, never to be challenged, and that he should jack off like this in public every chance he gets. He will probably retaliate by writing additional bad "reviews" of my other books. I expect this. It's happened before. It's a sad and vicious cycle. But I'm serious about that free dictionary, Ja're. 'Cause it's not your fault. I blame your English teachers. They should have failed you and obviously hadn't the heart. You are merely a victim of their weaknesses.
I think that I shall go and bite someone now.
Friday, September 12, 2003
At age 71, Johnny Cash is dead. There's really not much you can say about something like that, except to acknowledge the profundity of the loss. This year is taking so many good people from the world. It makes me wonder who will fill the vacancies.
We have a lot of a lot of things on this little planet, but good people are not, I believe, among our surpluses.
Yesterday the words would not come, and they would not come, and they would not come, even when I promised them seven-year-old apple brandy and chocolate-covered apricots and nubile young androgynes. At 3:30 p.m. I was still struggling to find the flow and had just about decided that I was about to lose another day I couldn't afford to lose, and then, mercifully, the floodgates opened. I wrote a very respectable 1,549 words on Chapter Nine in only about three hours, maybe a little less. I was much relieved. The book grows darker and darker and I fear for everyone trapped inside it. That sounds melodramatic (and, Heaven knows, I'd never want to do that), but I honestly do. Some of these people, Niki Ky and Daria Parker and Spyder Baxter, they've been with me since 1993. Others you'll meet, like Archer Day and Alex Singer and Marvin Garby are new, but I fear for them almost as much. I think something of the war with Iraq has seeped into Murder of Angels, the seeming inevitability of war, my mounting post-Cold War suspicion that no one is in control. I think that's definitely in this novel. There are worse things than secret conspiracies and cabals of evil men. I'll take an Illuminati or Vatican shadow-government over what I see actually happening any day. I don't see evil men. I see stupid men and stupid, hateful men with no clue, toddlers at the controls of a runaway locomotive. But I'm getting off topic. I was talking about the book. I'm beginning the think that maybe, just maybe, there's an eleventh chapter brewing, but I sincerely hope not. Fortunately, I'll not be leaving for New England until mid-October, so I'll have the little bit of extra time to write an eleventh chapter, should it be required. Let's hope it's not.
And speaking of New England, I'll be doing a show with The Crüxshadows at Man Ray in Cambridge, MA, on Wednesday, October 22nd. I think the way this thing will work out, I'll be doing a reading early in the evening, than another just before the band goes on stage. Anyway, I'm very much looking forward to this event and hope those who can attend will. It'll be sort of an unofficial release party for Low Red Moon. I'll post more details as they become available.
And I think that I have decided to forego World Fantasy again this year. I feel irresponsible doing so, but I always feel like a fifth wheel, or a wallflower, or simply an irrelevance, at those things, anyway, and New Orleans and the delights of Halloween in the French Quarter are calling so very loudly. Writers need fun, too. So, I expect Spooky and I will be heading from Rhode Island to Louisiana at the end of October. And after that, I have to come home and start writing again. There will be the rewrites on Murder of Angels, and I have a novella to do for Subterranean Press, and there's the screenplay for Threshold (which only thinks I've forgotten about it).
Remember the auctions?
Thursday, September 11, 2003
I think that, no matter how one feels about Bush and the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, or kneejerk patriotism, or the steady erosion of our civil liberties in the wake of September 11th, it's impossible to face this date without a sense of dread and sorrow. And that particular I-was-right-there-when-I-first-heard-the-news sensation that attends certain infamous days. That it has been two years seems inconceivable.
I don't know if I've ever recorded one of my dreams in this journal before. Dreams fall into the class of things that I generally reserve for my "old-fashioned" paper journal. My dreams are usually unpleasantly vivid experiences, thanks to my Klonopin use, and they tend to linger in my head for hours after I awake. Anyway, this one, from this morning, just seemed like something that belonged here. I don't know why, why this one and not the others. It doesn't seem that remarkable.
I may have been this me, and I may have been one of those countless alternate me's that populate my subsconscious mind. I had found a strange little creature lying on the floor. It was small enough to almost fit into my palm, but sort of more substantial than it's size would have led me to expect. I can only describe it was a cross between a manta ray and a very large moth. It was on the floor, gasping for breath, like a fish out of water. I think it had gills, but I'm not sure. In my hand, its smooth skin had a distinctly rubbery texture. The mouth was much like a manta rays and, I discovered by probing with a finger, lined with very fine, very sharp teeth. When I picked it up it was white, and I understood that this meant it was dehydrated, that it was supposed to be in water, and I immediately ran water over it from the tap. This restored it to a brilliant yellow-green, and there may have been darker speckles across its back. I knew it had to be returned to a lake, a particular lake that I knew of in the dream. I put the creature in a thing that was neither a shoebox nor a cloth bag, but somewhat like both.
And the dream goes on and on and on. Me carrying the box-bag, walking across a city I've never visited, looking for the lake, which I knew lay somewhere to the west. There were people, none of whom I've ever met in my waking life. Some of them were helpful and some were not.
At one point, I found myself in a congressman's office and while talking with him realized that the manta ray-moth had become a snake, and that it had really been a snake all along. A long green water snake, of a species I'm familiar with in my waking life. In the congressman's office, it escaped from the box-bag and his secretary helped me try to recapture it. At one point, it slithered away into a largish hole in the wall and almost got away from me, but I caught it at the last moment and returned it to the box-bag.
And later I was in a kitchen of a house, and, in the dream, I knew the people who owned the house. The snake was no longer a snake, but a strange child with slightly greenish skin and large black eyes. I understood that it was hungry and I was searching for something it might eat. I found a box of cheese-flavoured crackers and gave it one. It took a bite and then spit it out, and I continued looking for something it could eat.
And finally, I was approaching the lake, by way of a paved country road. It lay on both sides of a broad curve in the road, fringed by hardwood trees and marshes, the silverblack water reflecting the foliage and the sky. The child had become a green water snake again and was in the box-bag. I began descending the steep, right (north?) bank leading down to the shore of the lake. The bank was quite weathered, exposing a flinty, cherty sort of gray sedimentary rock that had weathered to orange. I guessed its age was Ordovician, and that it might be fossiliferous, but I didn't stop to examine the stones closer.
Having reached the bottom of the bank, I realized, as I'd known all along but forgotten, that most of the lake had been drained years ago and two hideous brick apartment complexes had been built there. A policeman guarded them and eyed me suspiciously. Not wanting to draw attention to myself, and fearing for the safety of the snake, I kept my eyes on the ground, as I walked around to the back of the nearest of the two apartment buildings, where I hoped a bit of the lake might remain. There was no grass. Only the cherty stone. At regular intervals, largish blackblue fish were stretched out across the ground. They were bizarre, grotesque things, which I thought must all be strange deepsea sharks, frill sharks, mostly, but, on waking, I knew they were hybrids of frill sharks and black swallowers and anglerfish and viperfish. They stared skyward with dead eyes, their bodies desiccating beneath the sun.
And that's the last of it I can recall. I woke shortly thereafter.
Yesterday, I wrote 1,350 words on Chapter Nine of Murder of Angels. The novel keeps amazing me. There were pirates yesterday, and will be again tomorrow.
This is already a very, very long entry, but I wanted to thank Jean M., for taking time to write me an fan letter typed on actual paper and mailed with a stamp. To me, each of these is worth at least fifty e-mails. I also wanted to include the following e-mail from Loren (Lomer), a theatre student and fellow Nebari costumer whom I first met at Dragon*Con year before last. It refers back to my blog entry of August 25th:
Hey, I was playing a wonderous game of "follow the link" and once again found your blog and had fun reading entry after entry.
I just wanted to thank you for your post on role playing. I recently joined a Vampire LARP and despite being a theatre student, I scoffed at the idea of LARPing... that's what freaks do, not respectable little actor-wannabes. I was so incredibly wrong though. After finally letting go of my hang ups about what society told me to think about LARPing and LARPers, I discovered it's incredibly fun! Most of the people there are great, and I get to actively choose what my character says and does as opposed to stage work where there are clearly set boundries in most cases (unless I'm doing improv, which even then the longest improv I've ever done was an hour long set of connecting scenes). There is an amazing sense of power in getting inside a characters head, carefully choosing what to wear for the evening, then showing up and speaking and interacting with people as that character... it's exactly what I do on stage, but with so much more freedom.
Actually that freedom can be damn intimidating. When you're used to being given a bunch of lines and having someone tell you where to go and what to do, to suddenly have every door open and every page blank...that's kinda scary. I've been doing this Vampire game for four months now and I've only recently begun to really let myself play without worrying so much about the list of rules I subconciously set for myself. For that alone I'm happy I found LARPing...
Anyway, just wanted to say nifty blog. *g*
-Loren (Chiana from DragonCon)
And, while I'm at it, here's a photo of Loren and me from the SaveFarscape party at The Chamber last October, in our Nebari personae (I so rarely include photos, so what the frell). Loren's the one on the left. Please do not ask why we appear to be in a broom closet:
And now, having prattled on for the better part of an hour, I must go write for real.
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Wake up. Wake up. Wake up.
Yesterday I started Chapter Nine, and wrote 1,468 words in only three and a half hours. That was a good day. I should do so well today. And Spooky did some research for me, including a call to the coroner's office in Oakland, CA. I spent much of the day staring at John Everett Millias' Ophelia (you'll understand later) and reading portions of Hamlet.
The trip to Rhode Island and Massachusetts is starting to come together nicely.
Last night, TCM was having this Rita Hayworth thing, with an hour long bio, which I watched (twice, actually), along with Gilda and the peculiar The Lady from Shanghai. And watching Gilda, which is surely a successful — indeed, a great — film by anyone's standards, I was struck by how utterly detestable almost all the characters are. Did the sympathetic-character police have a deal going with film noir? Or is this infantile obssession with "sympathetic" characters afflicting so many readers and filmgoers today a fairly recent development? Isn't it perfectly reasonable to imagine great stories where every single central character is a total louse? Of course it is. Is not the downward spiral, the disintegration of self-destructive human beings, as interesting and (back to Campbell) instructive as the triumph of the virtuous hero? It seems, sometimes, like we can't stomach anything stronger than anti-heroes and whores with hearts of gold. Which is a shame, as it not only ties the hands of artists, but obscures vast tracks of human experience and history.
I cannot bear the reader or filmgoer who whines, "There was no one I could identify with. There was no one to root for." Pigs root, dear.
Personally, I adore heroic stories, and stories with loveable characters, but I also adore films like Gilda, which don't waste time putting virtue where there's really only vice.
I have room for both.
Also, I read Ramsey Campbell's short story, "The Unbeheld." I love how softly Ramsey can speak, and yet deliver words that cut to vulnerable, secret places deep inside.
Poppy's writing some good stuff in her livejournal about "yarns" and toenail clippings, which you should check out (Sept. 8th, then 9th). I have to try to get Rogue (The Crüxshadows) on the phone today. I think he's in Houston. People should follow my example and stay the hell at home. Now tell, what, if anything, is wrong with this paragraph?
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
Somehow, despite going to bed an hour early, and getting up an hour early, I am now an entire hour behind. Argh. The gods of time do loathe me. So, this will be a quickie entry. I didn't get Chapter Nine started yesterday, either, though I did finally figure out what happens next, and so will begin it today. I've lost two writing days now that I didn't have to lose and am not happy about it. I have only 21 days to write two chapters. Argh, again. Yesterday, I also sent all the book-so-far to Neil (who's in New Jersey today) and Jack Morgan, who have agreed to tell me if they think it sucks. I still have to send it to Poppy.
I really haven't much to say today, and less time to say it in. I got my comp copies of The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 14 yesterday, which includes my story "Nor the Demons Down Under the Sea," so that was cool. This morning, we're having plumping problems and the toilet can't be flushed, which is definitely not cool. It has, however, resulted in Thyn and I becoming pee sisters, so, there's the silver, or at least aluminum, lining.
And I'm in the midst of an absolute obsession with Alphaville, one of those bands I never really listened to and am now just discovering.
I've been planning to attend the World Fantasy Convention in Washington D.C. in October, because I do far too few pro cons and there are people whose company I enjoy who hardly get to see because of that. But, yesterday, Thryn and I were discussing the expense of the trip, which, after the hotel, con registration, and travel costs, comes to about a grand, and, you know, I'd just really rather take a fraction of that money and spend Halloween in New Orleans. Hell, there's even a Rasputina show that weekend. So, I may cancel plans for D.C., and do NOLA instead. We'll see. It constantly galls me, the cost of attending cons. $150 for registration. What do they think we are? Lawyers? And it's on Halloween weekend, a fact about WFC that has always annoyed me. For some of us, Halloween is like Xmas. Also, with the big New England trip earlier in October, it might be nice to go west instead of east.
Now I go write, dammit.
Monday, September 08, 2003
Short, short entry today. I did not really begin Chapter Nine of Murder of Angels yesterday. I tried, hard, in a day filled with senseless dren, and finally realized that I didn't know What Happens Next. Now I think I do so hopefully things will move ahead today. I did figure out, yesterday, that the ten chapters should be divided into two parts, not three, and that Part One will be called "Worms at Heaven's Gate" (from Wallace Stevens) and the second part will be called "Wars in Heaven." I think.
And that reminds me of one of my all-time favourite stupid Amazon comments about Silk (Voltaire has written a whole song about stupid Amazon "reviews"), a "review" complaining because the book wasn't more like the Prophecy films, because, after all, here was all this talk of wars in Heaven, right?, and everyone knows Caitlin has a thing for Christopher Walken, and, anyway, all this was already done in Prophecy already, right?, and who wants to read it, anyway.
It was just about that coherent. I wish I could be someone else today.
Sunday, September 07, 2003
Yesterday, I wrote 1,541 words and finished Chapter Eight of Murder of Angels. I believe that I now have only two chapters to go. This means I should be able to have the book finished by the beginning of October, as planned.
There's an e-mail, which I received a couple of days ago, from gH0StLy_sEr1oUs@webtribe.net, that I wanted to include in this entry:
"Just to thank you for your diary entry for Thursday, September 04, 2003, which I found very thought provoking. It reminded me of a quote by Lisa Gerrard that I've got stuck above my computer concerning art -
'We can encourage other people, no matter how small what they do, that it's probably more worthwhile than what Madonna's doing. You might not be earning any money, but you're telling the truth. You're creating a place where the truth can be told. And that's important for our kids, that they have somewhere to go where the truth is being told and people are allowed to express themselves and come into contact with something that exists outside the bullshit. People can so easily build a crystal palace out of other people's work, other people's magic, other peoples vocabulary — by doing that, we're cheating the very thing that's integral to our ability to communicate something that's from the heart. I don't really understand. I don't think we'll ever understand, not in this lifetime anyway.' -- Lisa Gerrard, March 1997"
Outside the bullshit. I probably could not have found a better way of saying that. I think I've been trying to find any way of saying that for some time, and there it is in a Lisa Gerrard quote, so thank you, gH0StLy_sEr1oUs@webtribe.net.
I spent my teens and twenties lost inside the bullshit, and now I try to keep myself clear of it, that deafening, numbing cultureshock, the shock of so much "culture" existing only to perpetuate itself, the culture of viruses and bacteria. So much of what we take for the truth is only part of a cycle of consumption, and it's all too easy never to see beyond that. I know that I almost didn't. I thought I had, time and again, but I hadn't. Even now, on the bad days, I lose my way again. I forget that this writing thing is about telling the truth, as I see it, my version of the truth. Which is not to say that I know the truth, in any finalized, abolute sense. I find it for moments at a time, or I at least suspect it, and then I bury it in the stories that I write.
I bury it that I might find it again later, when I have forgotten that there is truth.
This all goes back to my post of September 4th. Mistaking one thing for another. Mistaking — no, failing to see — my own success as an artist, because I'm too busy longing for "crystal palaces," as Lisa Gerrard so aptly put it. Too busy envying those who have written the "Break Out" novel, the one that launches them into the mass consciousness. Was Envy one of the nine of my Seven Deady Sins of Writing? If not, I'll have to revise. Or it may be that envy is only a very pernicious specie of Distraction.
So much of this follows, I'm sorry to say, from three days at Dragon*Con, which is a dizzying, seductive Bacchanal of consumerism, the consumption of the shards of a thousand "crystal palaces." Art becomes only Product. Concern for truth disintegrates into a desire, or even need, to possess. A quest for ownership. I don't want to be unfair to Dragon*Con, because I really do love it. If I didn't love it, I wouldn't have attended ten years straight. But there is this side of it, and it Distracts me.
It needs to be enough to tell the story from the heart and mind, and to listen to the story and carry it away with you in your heart and mind. Words like "merchandise," "franchise," and "collectible" have less than nothing to do with the art itself. They may be a necessary evil that ultimately allows the artist the luxury to create, and even allows the society the luxury to endure the artist, but that's the best they can ever be.
It's Sunday morning and I have a headache. And today I will begin Chapter Nine.
Saturday, September 06, 2003
So, today it's been one year since David Kemper and Ben Browder leaked the news that the Sci-Fi Channel had refused to honour their commitment to a fifth season of Farscape. I didn't actually learn of the cancellation until the following day, September 7th. I frelling hate anniversaries. But the campaign to save the show is still going strong (visit SaveFarscape.com for the latest news and to learn what you can do to help). Two of my essays on th e show are still available online, at SF Site and RevolutionSF. I never imagined I would fall so entirely in love with a television series, but I did, and, a year after the news of the cancellation, I'm more in love with it than ever. The same passion that keeps me working for the continuation of Farscape keeps me coming back to my writing desk day after day. It's the love of character and story, the desire to see What Happens Next.
This has been the shortest year of my life.
And as long as we're on the subject of mass-media and lame-headed decisions, you may have heard by now that White Wolf Publishing, creators of Vampire: The Masquerade and the other "World of Darkness" role-playing games, along with author Nancy A. Collins (Sunglasses After Dark, etc.) have filed suit against Sony Pictures, Screen Gems, and Lakeshore Entertainment, alleging copyright infringement. WW and Collins claim that Underworld, the soon-to-be-released (Sept. 19th) vampire/werewolf take on Romeo and Juliet, was lifted directly from the "World of Darkness" rpg system and from Collins' short story, "Love of Monsters" (set in WW's "World of Darkness"). Of course, anyone familiar with the WW game Vampire: the Masquerade knows that huge portions of the games' millieu were taken directly from the works of Anne Rice and a number of other authors, with little attempt to disguise the source material. Which is to say that people in glass house shouldn't throw tantrums, or something like that. As for Collins, you may recall her recent suit against the now-defunct Chaos! Comics, claiming that they'd taken the idea for their Chastity character and storyline from her Sonya Blue character. Chaos! countersued and Collins immediately backed down. This thing with Underworld is a load, of course, as you may not copyright a broad concept, in this case warring clans of vampires and werewolves and a love affair that spans the conflict. Were I to wish to ever do such a foolish thing, I would be free to write such a story myself. And why did WW and Collins wait so damn long to bring their suit, when the plot of the movie has been public knowledge for quite some time? I wouldn't think of denying WW and Collins their "right" to be litigious in our eternally-litigious society, but I do find this sort of thing extremely distasteful. Anyway, for my part, I look forward to Underworld, which ought to at least serve up some sweet eye-candy and killer music.
Yesterday, I did not finish Chapter Eight of Murder of Angels. I wrote 1,469 words and discovered that the chapter's closing scene would be roughly twice as long as expected. So, hopefully, I'll finish the chapter today ("No alarms and no surprises please").
Last night was Kid Food/Horror Movie night. Spooky and I began this ritual a couple of months back, as a means of winding down at the end of the week. We have "kid food" for dinner (for example, hot dogs, French fries, and mac and cheese, followed by Klondike bars and popcorn) and (usually) cheesey horror films. Last night was our "In" fesitival, which included Infested (a bizarre spoof of The Big Chill with mutant, brain-eating, zombie-spawning flies) and Inhabited (Michael McDowell trapped in an odd tale of a little girl whose imaginary fairy playmates are real). And we sleep on the floor in front of the television. It's small things like this that get me from one day to the next.
Friday, September 05, 2003
Yesterday I wrote 917 words on Chapter Eight of Murder of Angels, after rewriting the 550 or so words from Wednesday. Today I hope to finish the chapter and move on to Chapter Nine tomorrow. I'm good to go, so long as the absinthe holds out. I have two more chapters to write in September and the book will be finished. I did very well when I set forth the 1,071-words-per-day challenge for myself last month, so I do have hope.
Also yesterday I was rereading Percy E. Raymond's Prehistoric Life. Published in 1939, it's one of those old palaentology texts I like to pull out and read every now and then, because it's comfortable and serves as a reminder of the fallibility of science and, perhaps, its ability to progress despite that fallibility. There's a marvelous passage, which I will quote, from Chapter XVI ("Marine Reptiles"), concerning the causal agent of the mass extinction that marks the close of Cretaceous Period:
One theory in explanation of the decline and fall of the reptiles at the close of the Mesozoic, suggested by the all too prevalent habit of judging all other phenomena in light of man's experience, compares racial history with the life story of the individual. Thus reptiles as a group were in a youthful stage at the beginning of the Mesozoic, endowed with abundant energy and fecundity. Having no competitors on the land, they increased and multiplied and peopled the earth. Though they were carnivorous at first, the abundant food led some of them to vegetarian habits. Before the end of the Mesozoic all reptilian phyla were ages old, and it may be that, like old men, they had lost their youthful vitality and fertility, and were no longer resistant to disease. Energy had run down; old age had overtaken the race. In their doddering senility some had lost part or all of their teeth; a few had actually grown spines, considered by some students a sure sign of approaching extinction.
Contemporary students of palaeontology (espcially those ignorant of the history of their own science) might balk at the passage, but Raymond was no crackpot. His Prehistoric Life was the end-product of his Harvard lectures and the book was published by Harvard University Press. The idea of "racial senescence" was still in vogue in biology in the 1930s, and palaeontologists had yet to realize that the end-Cretaceous phenomenon affected not only dinosaurs, but most species - animal, plant, and protist - on the planet, and they had yet to consider extraterrestrial agents. Also, as their understanding of dinosaurian physiology was more limited than our own, they'd yet to learn that many of the dinosaurs at the very end of the Mesozoic were most likely "warm-blooded," active creatures, more closely allied to living birds than to lizards and turtles. And Prehistoric Life was published only 64 years ago. It makes me wonder how quaint and misguided palaeontology texts published in 2003 will appear in 2067. If nothing else, reading the old books gives us perspective on the scientific enterprise. Just as we need to study the history of life to understand its present situation, we must study the history of science to understand its current state.
I am going on, aren't I? But, since I essentially gave up palaeo' in March '02, it's good to stretch this part of my brain every now and then. To see that it's all still there.
Last night, Spooky and I gorged ourselves on a cheesy vampire double-feature, beginning with Wes Craven's Dracula II: Ascencion (silly, but enjoyable) and proceeding to Tsui Hark's Vampire Hunters (laughable and not very enjoyable at all).
And now it's time to plug the auction. Click here and buy something. Come on. You know there's something there you can't live without.
Thursday, September 04, 2003
This is one of those mornings when, perhaps because of my uneasy dreams, and perhaps for no knowable reason, I wake with a head full of thoughts that make it very, very difficult to get into the writing place. The resolve to set aside everything else and look only at The Story is weak and just getting started takes three or four times the effort it would take on most days. So, I'm sitting here, staring at the screen (the screen, not the blank page), listening to the new Crüxshadows ep, Frozen Embers (which is quite good), looking for a way in, and a way around, or through, the obstructing thoughts.
As a writer, my first concern, my foremost concern, should be for my words, stories, characters, the worlds I create and must bear responsibility for. That's all simple enough. It ought to be simple enough. I am a writer. I write. I write what I need to write, to please myself or pay the bills, whichever is most important at any given moment.
I do not write to please or entertain you - the collective You - and I can only hope that this doesn't come as a dissappointment to any of the singular You. If you are entertained or enlightened or, well, whatever, then that's a marvelous by-product of my work. But it's not my purpose. It never has been, and I doubt it ever shall be. I am not an entertainer, or a teacher. I'm just a writer. I'm not a celebrity or a hipster maven. I think I spent the earliest years of my career thinking that, in order to be a successful writer, I had to be all of those things, too. But now I see that I am a successful writer and I am none of these things. I am free to write what I need to write - to please myself and pay the bills - and the rest of it is only Distraction. I am slowly coming to understand, and accept, that.
In an age when celebrity and wealth seem the only worthwhile pursuits, it's much too easy to lose your way, when you are, in fact, a writer. Not only a writer, mind you. When you are a writer.
I have friends who are writers and who are also celebrities and wealthy. And too often I make the mistake of measuring myself against them. Not against their art, which is all that matters, at the end of things, but against their pop culture or mass-media clout. Pop culture and mass media have almost nothing to do with writing. It matters what I've written, and if I am pleased with it, and if I have been truthful, and if I have brought more light than darkness into the world. These things matter immensely. But how many books I've sold, and whether or not I'm a "household name," and whether I've made the cover of Publisher's Weekly, and whether my signings draw hundreds or thousands, these things matter only in so much as I accept the perverse mantra of this age.
Oh, don't get me wrong. I have the same unhealthy love of money and material possessions as most Americans. I have the same cravings for fame and celebrity that Hollywood and television have imbued so many of us with. And if it comes my way, I'll be waiting for it with roses and chocolates and open arms. But, the thing that I have to keep reminding myself, the thing which I forgot for a long time, is that I am a writer. Fame is a crap-shoot, entirely unrelated to art, entirely unpredicatble and fleeting. I cannot judge my success as an author by market reports and sales figures and the number of fan letters I receive. I can only judge it by how I feel about what I have written, and, perhaps, to a lesser degree, how authors and other thinking people feel about what I have written. The rest of it is hubris and white noise. And deadly Distraction.
I may write films, one day soon, and I may never sell a screenplay so long as I live. I may one day see one of my books on the New York Times Bestseller List, or I may spend the rest of my life labouring in relative obscurity. Someday, my work may be converted to video games, stickers, lunch boxes, action figures, trading cards, television franchises, and theme park rides, and, so far as my agent, my publishers, my bank account, and I'm concerned, that'd be just fine. But to think that any of these things have anything at all to do with my worth as a writer is the worst sort of delusion and idiocy.
I have to watch for the pretty traps, always.
Yesterday, I wrote about 550 words on Murder of Angels, and entirely rewrote the scene I wrote back last Wednesday. I've never much needed to rewrite, but I think this book is asking it of me, more and more. Before all is said and done, I may be rewriting a good portion of its beginning, now that i now where it's going and why it's going there. I hope to finish Chapter Eight in the next couple of days.
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
Some mornings there just isn't enough Distraction. I've had breakfast, read the new National Geographic, checked my e-mail (at five different addresses), the phorum (twice), my book rankings at Amazon.com, ego-surfed Usenet, checked out what's new at SaveFarscape (NBC bought Vivendi), IMDb (I don't know which is worse, that Jeepers Creepers 2 topped the weekend's BO, or that Freaky Friday came in second), checked PZB's livejournal (but she's in Opelousas) . . . and I'm still not awake.
And I can't find the ON switch for this stupid brain thing of mine.
This year, Dragon*Con introduced me to a couple of new indignities. My favorite, the people who want to know if I publish my own books. I suppose, given that few attending the con are interested in authors (unless they're Anne McCaffrey, J. R. R. Tolkien, or write media tie-in "novels"), and that the world has been thoroughly afflicted by the blight of POD, it shouldn't come as a surprise. But it did anyway. I hope the confusion showed.
I looked one woman squarely in the eye and asked her, "Why the hell would I do a damn fool thing like that?" She looked as if I'd slapped her. I wanted to slap her.
And did I mention the rudeness? I was almost driven to attempt to highjack a lift Monday morning, after a particularly rude little butt-monkey mouthed off at me. I was still in full Na'reth mode (and make-up) and, for second or two, thought seriously about drawing my pulse pistol and ordering all their pudgy, pink, unwashed, t-shirt wearing asses off the elevator. The walk down twenty-four flights to the lobby of the Marriott would have done them good. But I figured I'd have spent the rest of the day with security, while they struggled to determine that my pulse pistol isn't a real pulse pistol.
Yes, I had a lot of fun, and it was great getting to see friends I only get to see once or twice a year, but this year's Dragon*Con did nothing to better my worm's-eye view of the human race.
And now I have the frelling novel waiting for me to get back to it.
And finish it by October.
My wicked little fetus, floating impatiently in the amniotic folds of my cerebellum, looking for the moment of its birth-completion. And, I fear, the hour is much too late for an abortion. This misbegotten thing shall be shat out into the world what desverves every twitching mole and wart, every malformed and popeyed inch of the beast.
I need a drink, and then I need to go back to bed.
I'll have to settle for the drink.
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
Yes, it will be tomorrow afternoon before I get back to Murder of Angels. Today is all aftershocks.
Most everything since Saturday afternoon (Aug. 30) seems to have collapsed into mere dream impressions. The characteristic blur of Dragon*Con. My first signing went well, and the reading went very well. Standing room only, two years straight. I read "The Dead and the Moonstruck" (the new short story, not the chapter from Threshold). A surprising number of people from my online forum actually made the con, many of whom I met for the first time. But, overall, the weekend was simply and frustratingly overwhelming. There are reports that attendance this year reached almost 50,000, which, if the reports are true, means D*C more than doubled in size over last year. Certainly, there were many, many more people; that much was clear. And the swell seemed to be accompanied by what I referred to on a writing panel yesterday as "a catastrophic failure of civility."
And I think that I may be coming down with something.
The costuming was fun, but exhausting. Na'reth was grateful to be let out of her box for a couple of days.
Tomorrow, I have to turn the brain on again.
Something short before bed. I'm back from Dragon*Con '03, about which I will write after I've had some sleep. I can't imagine I'm really going to get back to work tomorrow. It may be Wednesday. I can't speak for all writers, but, for my part, novels require a complete lack of disruption, no matter how necessary or pleasant those disruptions might be.