Friday, October 31, 2003
I think it's okay to tell you the little story that I'm about to tell you, if only because it's Halloween and I know that makes it even less likely that you'll believe it. But it is true, or at least my perception of a truth, however anecdotal. Once upon a time, that would have mattered to me. Anyway, it nicely serves to illustrate what I often say about encounters with the paranormal and why so much of my fiction is "unresolved" and "inconclusive."
I awoke last night about 4 a.m. and lay in bed, staring into the dark, because the candle had burned out. Spooky was still asleep beside me. After a minute or so, a minute at the most, I heard someone say something. It was a mumbled sort of a something, and my first reaction was that it must be Jennifer, in her bedroom, which is adjacent to mine and Spooky's. I lay there listening, wondering if she was talking in her sleep, and in a few seconds the voice came again, this time at greater length and I could tell that it was engaged in conversation. It still sounded just a little bit like Jennifer and I thought maybe she was on the telephone, though who she'd be talking to at 4 a.m. was entirely beyond me. I listened. The voice went on. And then I realized that it wasn't coming from the other side of the wall at all. It was coming from somewhere inside our room. At this point, I thought perhaps it was something in the CD we'd put on to sleep to (we always sleep to music), but no, we were listening to a classical disc, strings — violins, violas, cellos. The voice continued, growing very slightly louder, talking slightly faster, and now it seemed to be coming from somewhere near the foot of the bed. I reached over to wake Spooky and it stopped. Just like that. And though I stayed awake for about half an hour, waiting for it to resume, it never did.
It's not the first "ghostly" occurrence we've experienced here. There was, for example, the "ghost" child Spooky encountered in the kitchen last winter. To my surprise, though slightly unnerving, I wasn't frightened as I lay in bed listening to the indecipherable, mumbling voice. I made out not a single word. The voice was almost certainly female. The entire event lasted for less than five minutes. And that is about all I can say about it. That's all there was to it. I have no explanation and I don't feel like making outlandish guesses at "rational" causes. I do wish that Spooky had heard it, if only because it is a weakness of mine (and of many others) that we seem to need the corroborating experiences of others to validate our own experiences, no matter how far beyond the empirical those experiences may rest.
And that's my little Halloween '03 "ghost story." Make of it what you will. A waking dream? An ordinary and misinterpreted noise? A mild case of night terrors (though I exhibited none of those symptoms)? An actual parnormal event? I have made my own provisional conclusion and am comfortable with it.
Yesterday I wrote 1,287 words on "Mercury" and finished it. Then I wrote an additional 601-word afterword sort of thing for the chapbook. So, that's done. I am happy with the results. Deacon Silvey at twenty-one (he's about thirty-six in Threshold and thirty-nine in Low Red Moon).
And speaking of Low Red Moon: I am happy to report that the preorders are going very well on Amazon. And I have a proposal. As there are two (slightly different) editions, the Roc trade paperback and the Subterranean Press hardback, I think you would be wise to purchase both. Yes. That's what I said. Both. That way you get a very inexpensive, convenient (and attractive) trade paperback, which you don't have to worry about the consequences of spilling coffee on or dogearing the pages or loaning it to that friend who never, ever returns books. And you also get the subpress edition, a gorgeous hardback, designed to my exact wishes, with Ryan Obermeyer's exquisite artwork and the free "Mercury" chapbook (with cover by your's truly). The best of both worlds. That way, you're supporting subpress' commitment to producing beautiful, lasting books and helping me get the sales numbers I need to keep Roc happy so that they'll keep publishing my books, so you can keep reading them. I know this is a shameless thing, this proposition, but there is wisdom in it, which I think you'll see.
Last night, I watched the premiere of Eliza Dushku's series, Tru Calling. It was, in a word, awful. This was all done so much better in Run, Lola, Run, and, for that matter, in the X-Files ep, "Monday" (6:15). Indeed, the premiere of True Calling was so close to outright plagiarism of Run, Lola, Run, I was amazed Fox was willing to risk it. Add to this that almost everyone looked like a fashion model, the whole thing had a sort of Highway to Heaven/Touched by an Angel smarminess, and the characters were as flat as unlevened pancakes, and it was nigh on unbearable. At least on Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, Dushku's character, Faith, had a little spunk to her. I predict the series lasts no more than half a season. Spooky predicts it doesn't last that long. To get the taste out of our mouths, we watched more Farscape DVDs, "Self-Inflicted Wounds," parts one and two "("Could'a, Would'a, Should'a" [3:3] and "Wait for the Wheel" [3:4]) and then read Robert Reed's really excellent short story, "Coelacanths."
More thank yous, to Setsuled (Leh'agvoi), who has weathered the flames of San Diego, for the totally krell Nar'eth manga, which will eventually be part of Nebari.Net, as a continuing series. Also, thanks to September (Mouse) for the lengthy and welcomed e-mail this morning.
You have less than thirty-eight hours left to take me up on the little monster doodles. Visit our eBay auctions and either place your bid or, better yet, "Buy it Now." This has been successful beyond my wildest fears and I shall be drawing many little monster doodles. Add to my burden. You may never get another chance.
And that should be just about that. Have a happy Halloween. Remember, this is the holiday that matters. I'm taking the day off. I'll leave you with the following, which is Shannon Hennessy's fault:
The Lion from Fujiyama
Thursday, October 30, 2003
Do I feel better than I felt yesterday? I think it's too early to tell. My eyes are hardly open.
I wrote 1,235 words on "Mercury" yesterday. No one was more surprised than I. Far as I could tell, the day was destined to be a waste. Now, I may be able to finish the piece today. By the way, the short story will be included as a chapbook with every copy of Low Red Moon purchased from Subterranean Press. Earlier, I may have said that it would only be offered with the lettered state. If so, I was wrong. And relievedly so. Nothing sucks quite as much as writing a short story for 26 (or 52) people. Well, I suppose writing a short story for only 10 people would suck even more, and so on. Also, I'll be doing the cover for this chapbook, as I did for "On the Road to Jefferson."
A few thank yous. Thanks to Jaimi, for the e-mail. Thanks to Don (Sa'jathan) for the copy of Endless Nights. Thanks to Jada — who lives in Arkansas now — for the Halloween card. Thanks to Mouse for the apology (though I'm still not sure exactly what he was apologizing for). And thanks to Larne (Llar'en) for introducing me to MojoWorld, which might become a serious addiction and add a whole new dimension to Nebari.Net.
And to Robin (Mella), I hope that you're feeling much, much better very, very soon and can be quickly reunited with your ferrets.
Last night, Spooky and I kinda gorged on the idiot box. First, I watched Enterprise. Just when I'd begun to have some vague hope that this series might amount to something, it spits up "The Shipment," an episode so dull it would have put a Xindi sloth to sleep. Fortunately, the new ep of Angel more than made up for it. And then, since the postman brought me Season Three of Farscape on DVD yesterday, we watched "Season of Death" (3:1) and "Suns and Lovers" (3:2).
And have I mentioned Android Lust's brilliant The Dividing? I haven't felt this strongly about a band in quite some time. Check out the website. Buy the CD. Unless you're a dumb ass, you won't be sorry.
Now I will go try to finish this story . . .
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
What did I say yesterday, about wanting to do everything, and all at once? Strike that. Reverse it. And that's how I feel this morning. Sick of writing. Sick of even thinking about writing. Sick of being sick of writing and thinking about writing. I'm pretty certain that I'm even sick of knowing that I'm sick of being sick of writing and thinking about writing. Sick of issues of publicity and sales and demographics and the whole bloody mess. And doubly sick of knowing it's not something I can walk away from. That's the most sickening part of the whole sickening affair. Here I stay, forever and ever, until I croak and they stick my sad, used-up carcass in the ground, world without end, you get the picture. And the worst part is that the writing has its hooks, its claws, it ugly black talons, sunk deep in all those other things I might still want to do. Without the writing there is nothing, no opportunity, and with the writing there is inevitably this.
It'll pass. Sooner or later. Today I am farthest from whatever personal and dying sun I orbit. Physics dictates I can't stay out here forever. I lack what it takes to escape my own orbital pathway.
If I could lay my hands on my thoughts, or open my mouth and simply let them pour from my lips. If I could render them pure, rather than having to filter it all through this utterly insufficient tool of language. Then maybe you could see what I see, or hear what I hear, or know what I think I know. There would not even be communication, as we tend to think of it. There would only be creation. A dirtectness and purity of art that most art lacks, and which literature never, ever approaches. I am so tired of pushing words against words, in the faint hope that someone will see exactly what I need them to see. Not some rough approximation which she or he is then free to misunderstand. All I have is words, for this task of releasing the worlds trapped inside my head, the worlds my head seems helpless to stop spawning. No, no, no. That's not even the truth. I think that's only something that I'd like to be the truth. I will never be the writer I need to be, and neither will any other writer. No one can bridge the psychoperceptual gap between minds with mere fucking words.
Today, with all my heart, and all my mind, I know this to be true.
We'll see about tomorrow. It's an inconvenient place to be, this "mood," with a new book "hitting the shelves."
The cryosphere in spraying prominances all around me, and here it's only the end of October.
Yesterday, I wrote 913 words on "Mercury," which might not seem like much to you, but you didn't have to write them. I may sit it out today. We'll see. We always do.
Last night, Spooky and I had passes to an advance screening of Alien: The Directors Cut. The experience must be divided into two categories. On the one hand — the left — this is a absolutely beautiful extension of the original cut. It slows the film down just a little, allowing the events to unfold at a less clipped pace, and providing more "space" for dread and anticipation. The new version creates an even starker, lonelier view of the Nostromo and LV4 and the derelict alien starship. If you love this film as much as I do, it's a must see on the big screen and a must-own when it reaches DVD. On the other hand — the right — we were shoved into a little theatre with a curved screen. That much I expected. What I hadn't expected was an audience that would laugh through the first three-quarters of the film. Where are these fucking morons coming from? Exactly what about Kane being attacked by the face hugger, or Dallas' encounter with the adult alien in the air shafts, or the discovery that Ash is an android, what out of all that is fit to provoke gails of snickering laughter? I literally had to stop myself from standing up and screaming at these people to shut the hell up. What were they seeing up there? Or is it that we've (a "we" exclusive of Me) become something that can't get past Jason vs. Freddy and Scary Movie 3 to actually allow ourselves to experience the horror and terror and awe and beauty of a film like Alien? It's been some time since I've been subjected to an audience intent on inappropriate laughter. I thought maybe that was passé. It's as if there are a lot of people who can only face the world in terms of something that is there to amuse or entertain them, so everything becomes comedy (in the modern sense), whether it's meant as such or not. My only other complaint, and my only complaint about the Director's Cut itself, is that so little of the cocooning scene was actually restored. I've seen the scene as it was originally shot and it's far more effective than the quick bit we get in this cut. There's very powerful dialogue between Dallas and Ripley, as he begs her to kill him, that would have added much. Sadly, it's not here. Regardless, see this. Try to ignore the inappropriate, sociopathic laughter and see this.
Is that enough for today? Can I please go now?
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
After reviewing my contract for Threshold, to be sure that what I thought was true was true, that Roc had to ask my permission before licensing any electronic version of the novel, I spoke with my agent, who spoke with my publisher. Turns out, my publisher specifically requested that their books not be included in Amazon.com's searchable database, but Amazon did it anyway. How sweet. And illegal. My editor assures my agent that steps have been taken to have Threshold removed from the new database. I assume Amazon will have enough sense to comply (though why I assume that, given their history, escapes me at the moment).
I have a new favourite e-business, Fetishize Me, which not only sells the coolest socks on earth, but may have finally delivered unto me protection from the dread cryosphere (which is already in full swing, kiddos). Want some long socks? Want some crazy long socks? How about 50-100" socks? No, really. Fetishize Me is a must for hosiery hounds. Check them out.
Meanwhile, my favourite noncommercial website at the moment has to be Jeff Russel's Starship Dimensions. Wanna see how a Boeing 747 stacks up next to an Imperial Lambda Class Shuttle? Or a Klingon Military Transport to a Vorlon Transport? Frell, there's even a Nebari transport pod (star runner) in among the hundreds of starships and giant robots. A must for any geek worth her or his weight in Star Wars technical manuals.
Yesterday, I wrote 1,133 words on "Mercury." It's coming along nicely, I think. I see exactly the sort of non-plot driven narrative I was hoping for. Things will happen, but they are in the service of understanding Deacon Silvey, and exploring issues of transhumanism and metamorphosis, not the damnable monotony of storytelling. Sorry. Truth is, I love good stories, but sometimes I want to break away and just write. The world's stories bear very little resemblance to the stories of literature, and sometimes I want to tell a world story.
I'm writing to Android Lust's The Dividing which, I dren you not, has to be one of the most brilliant discs I've heard in years. I find it almost beyond description. Shikee is a genius and you must listen to her.
Speaking of Nebari.Net, thanks to the amazing Larne Pekowsky (who needs a proper Nebari name, I'll grant you), whom I have appointed Nebari System Astrophysicist Extraordinaire. Thanks to him, the site will soon include a comprehensive and accurate look at everything from the surface temperature of Nay'savevyen to the length of the Nebari year.
Anyway, I think this is one of the most rambling post in the history of the blog. Don't forget the auctions. Go forth and spend some cold, hard dinero. Give me the sweat of your brows. Don't worry. It's okay. You'll make more. We all do. You still have five days to take me up on the offer of one of my little monster doodles for every book you buy. So far, I have to draw something like 26 little monsters.
Monday, October 27, 2003
Yesterday, I wrote about 1,500 words on "Mercury." I think the story will run about 5,000-6,000 words. It's going to be exactly the sort of story that once prompted a prominent small-press fantasy publisher and author (no names, 'cause that wouldn't be ladylike) to remark "I can never find the story in a Caitlin Kiernan story." More than anything, it's a study in character and an opportunity for me to talk to myself about various aspects of physical modification, transhumanism, posthumanism, etc. that have been going around in my head lately. And it's good to be with Deacon again. But it's not the sort of story that follows Aristotlean dictates of plot, no convenient beginning and middle and end, because I say so, because it will be the story I frelling well need it to be, and that's that. Because, in the worlds of my story, I am the only true god-like thing (and so I pity the characters more than I can ever say). It's also only the third time that I've written a transsexual character in my prose work (the first, of course, was Wanda Mann in "Escape Artist" for The Sandman: Book of Dreams, and the second was Chantel Jackson in "Breakfast in the House of the Rising Sun" for Tales of Pain and Wonder).
Apparently, the Roc edition of Low Red Moon is showing up early in a few bookstores here and there. This happens. Sometimes clerks put books out ahead of their release dates (they usually arrive well ahead of the time the publisher has scheduled them for release). It's weird, my third novel from Roc. Anyway, if you want a copy from the first-printing, you should probably preorder now. The first printing of Threshold sold out before its release date. Thanks to Allen on the phorum for the heads-up. I'm very nervous about how Low Red Moon is going to be received by readers. Personally, I believe it to be my best book yet, by far. But readers often disagree with writers. I'd think anyone who loved Threshold will adore Low Red Moon, though, as reviewers are noting, it's a very different sort of novel.
Also, I worked on Nebari.Net yesterday. Working with html and java and Photoshop almost feels like working with my hands.
Reminder: you still have six days in which to take advantage of the "tiny monster" offer. Which is to say, anyone who buys or bids on our eBay auctions before midnight, November 1, will get one of the little monster doodles that I'm always doodling. This is proving a very popular offer and I'm glad I have Spooky to keep up with who gets what. It seems I shall soon spend the better part of a day doodling monsters.
For Halloween, I shall be something with pointy ears and fangs, and Spooky shall be something with horns and autumnal herbage in her hair.
And I should probably wrap this up. Much to do today. Too little of me to do it. I sat up last night to watch I Walked With a Zombie on TCM and fell asleep in the middle of a silent German film that was supposed to be set in Egypt, but was actually set in an abandoned German chalk mine. When I woke up on the sofa, The Cat People was just coming on, but I woke Spooky, stumbled off the brush my teeth, and went to bed.
Sunday, October 26, 2003
Nothing new on "Mercury" yesterday. Maybe today. The responsible voice that lives in the back of my head says I should do at least 500 words on the story this afternoon. The bitter voice, which lives in front of it, notes that today is the day I should be returning from Rhode Island and that I've been working my butt off without a "vacation" (definition, please) since sometime in July. So, we'll see who wins.
I did spend about four hours on Nebari.Net yesterday, but I mentioned that already, didn't I?
Last night, Spooky and I watched The Bone Snatcher on the Sci-Fi Channel, mainly because we were bored and there was nothing else on and we'd talked about going out to The Chamber but didn't have the energy to get dressed, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, The Bone Snatcher, a South African film, was suprisingly entertaining. It had an absolutely great monster. A shame the SFC felt it necessary the bleep out all the profanity, making for very choppy viewing. It's interesting that "fuck" (and all variations thereof), "shit" and "goddamn," were bleeped, but "bitch" was accepatble. Were I the sort to drone on about sexism, well, never mind. I'm not, usually. Where the movie had been cut up for commercials, the SFC treated us to ads for its upcoming remake of Battlestar Galatica. It looks at least as idiotic as I'd feared. "Let's go kick some Cylon butt!" Yeah. Right. The original was so goddamned awful and unpopular, why drag this mouldering hunk of '70s cheese back out into the light? Was this Dame Bonnie Hammer's idea, or the brainchild of one of her underling suits? Perhaps we'll get a remake of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century next. Or maybe that's not nearly cheesey enough for the SFC. How about a remake of The Man from Atlantis?
I hate sounding shrill. But I feel shrill.
After the movie, we listened to Lunar Cycles on Live365 and read DeMatteis and Muth's Moonshadow. I'd forgotton how much I love Ira and Frodo the cat.
Spring forward, fall back. I'm still falling. This time yesterday it was 12:55 p.m. Someday, Poppa Time's gonna get righteously pissed . . .
Saturday, October 25, 2003
So, the "Nebari Prime" page is up at Nebari.Net, with a link to the "Encyclopedia Nebari." Other pages coming eventually, whenever I can allow myself to slack off enough to get them done. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. Just e-mail them to the email@example.com account. And don't bother writing to tell me I'm a big ol' geek. I know that much already.
Nothing new on the story yesterday. It just didn't happen.
Amazon.com has put the entire text of Threshold online. Previously, they'd put up a preview of the first few pages. I wasn't sure they had the right, legally, to do even that much, but it seemed like a good idea, so as long as my publisher didn't complain, I figured neither would I. But the whole frelling novel? It should now be possible, with a little patience, to read the whole book online and, perhaps, even make copies of it. This seems to me like a gross copyright violation, but one never knows what deals publishers are making with distributors and booksellers and not bothering to inform the authors of, because, after all, we only write the things. I sold electronic rights to Penguin-Putnam. They could have granted permisison to Amazon to do this, but I have a suspicion Amazon may not have bothered to ask. But surely they have an all-power, labyrinthine legal department that would have stopped them from doing anything so stupid. Surely.
I will admit that I'm a little cynical as regards Amazon. And I'm not putting a link to this. If you want to see (and learn how many times the word "shit" appears in Threshold), you can find it on your own.
I did spend a few hours working on Nebari.Net yesterday, and may get the Nebari Prime and Encyclopedia Nebari pages up this evening. I'm pretending this is work.
Spooky and I gorged on movies last night: A Portrait of Jennie, followed by The Haunting. Neither of us had ever seen the latter widescreen and doing so was a revelation. The film, beautiful and eerie even in butchered pan-and-scan format, has so much going on around the edges. And, I suspect, this was the intention of Director Robert Wise. Theodora (Claire Bloom) even remarks, in one scene, how nothing ever seems to move in Hill House, until you look away, and then you just get a glance out of the corner of your eye. And there's so much of mirrors, and mirrors seen through mirrors, and ever-watchful statuary, lending to the feelings of disorientation and paranoia, all of which was lost in pan-and-scan. If you've never seen The Haunting (I was probably nine the first time I saw it), it has recently been released on DVD and you should seek it out forthwith. It does something very close to justice to Shirley Jackson's amazing novel.
After The Haunting, we watched the Sci-Fi Channel's purposefully obfuscatory documentary on the December 9th, 1965 crash of an unidentified flying object in Kecksburg, Pennsylvania. Is Bryant Gumbel really this desperate for a job? I do not discount extraterrestrial explanations of UFO phenomena out of hand. Far, far from it. But there's probably a lot less mystery surrounding whatever happened in Kecksburg than the SFC is letting on, with its dramatic reenactments, "town meeting" (groan), sloppy science, and rambling witness recollections. The network did grudgingly acknowledge the crash of the Soviet Kosmos 96 probe, which is known to have occurred the same day, in the same hemisphere, and which could have dropped a capsule identical to the "acorn-shaped" object that reportedly fell in Kecksburg. But lost Soviet probes and Cold War hysteria draw fewer viewers than alien spacecraft.
After the Kecksburg thing, we were going to watch Vampyr, but we both fell asleep.
My offer of little monster drawings with eBay purchases has proven much more popular than I thought it would. Which is cool. Click here to visit the auction page. The offer's good through November 1st. And yes, you will get a little monster for each book or CD you buy - 3 books, three monsters, and so forth. Now I shall try to make something useful of my self . . .
Friday, October 24, 2003
Yesterday, I began a new story, "Mercury," which turned out to be a new Deacon Silvey story. It will be published as a chapbook by Subterranean Press, included with the lettered edition of Low Red Moon. It was almost comforting, going back to Deacon, who I'd not written since finishing LRM last August. He's my oldest recurring character, the one who started what would become Tales of Pain and Wonder and so many other things. I wrote him first in May 1994, in "Anamorphosis," shortly after moving to Athens, Georgia. I did a little more than 500 words yesterday.
I need more bookshelves, which is really kind of ridiculous. There are eleven in my office already.
I've half a mind to go somewhere today. Almost anywhere would do. Athens, maybe.
Thursday, October 23, 2003
The less said about last night, the better. That nagging certainty that I was not where I should have been, and that, because of that temporal and spacial mislocation, all things will come out somehow differently. That was the predominant sensation of the evening.
Yesterday, Spooky and I went to the Farmer's Market in Decatur and got two exquisitely huge pumpkins for carving.
The news of Elliot Smith's death was an odd, sad sort of shock. We listened to "Miss Misery" and "Needle in the Hay," and thought about him a bit.
I have three stories to write, and not a single "idea." Of course, I rarely "get ideas," in any case. I get impressions that set me to writing and slowly coalesce into stories. I've talked about this before. Probably lots of times. Anyway, at the moment I haven't even any decent impressions. But, nonetheless, I have three stories to write. And I need to begin reading through Murder of Angels, reading it as a whole, which I've not yet done. But that's changing the subject. Three stories. And I tell myself, hey self, stories are easy. They're not like those damned novels. They're a breeze. They're short. Well, my self replies, they are short, and I'd certainly rather write them than novels, which are always too long and therefore usually forced, but I wouldn't say that they are easy. None of it's ever easy. And I have to sigh and agree, because my self is older and wiser than me and too often right. They do take less time, I add. That's something. True, my self concedes. That is something, I'm just not sure what.
Sometimes we go on like this for hours, my self and I.
Meanwhile, to celebrate Halloween, anyone who snags a book or CD or t-shirt from the eBay auctions between now and midnight on November 1st will receive one of the little monsters that I'm always doodling. Each one is unique and I'll even sign and date them. Your monster will be yours and yours alone, unlike anyone else's little monster. Some have tentacles. Some have claws. Some have big, bulgy eyeballs. One free, with every item purchased on eBay. This is called incentive. I thought about sending candy, but then I thought it might melt and get sticky in the mail, so I'm sending little monsters, instead.
I finally upgraded from the Safari beta to Safari 1.0 yesterday. The best browser I've ever used.
And that means that I've probably run out of things to write about this morning. Well, bloggish things, at least. Thanks to David LeMoine, for sharing his thoughts on fate and freewill. And to Vicky Gashe, for sparing a few nice words for the mad woman. And to Rick ("dethbird"), for sharing with me his own unhappy experiences with the publishing industry. You are all little voices in the darkness, and voices are the same as lights.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Tonight I should be reading at ManRay in Cambridge. It's been almost one week since I whacked my knee. The bruise looks like something Hubble would photograph: a halo of claret and puce, surrounding a dull sort of ocher expanse which, in places, is punctuated by darker splotches. My knee could be a supernova. I think it's healing, though. It only popped twice last night.
The next story is still looking for itself inside my head somewhere. It may concern Lake Vostok in Antarctica, which I've been wanting to write about for a long time now.
Note to self: it's time to stop putting off the living will. No, really. After all, the way things are going, King Dubya might decide appoint his idiot brother Jeb the Grand Exalted Emperor of Dixie or some shit, and I might crack my skull running to the bathroom one night and wind up a vegetable in a hospital bed, breathing and eating and pissing through machines for ten or fifteen years. Why is it that so many of the people who claim most fervently to believe in an eternal afterlife are also the ones who cling most tenaciously to this life, and force others to do the same, even beyond all reason and at the cost of all dignity? Terri Schiavo has become the latest comtose poster woman in a witless and cruel campaign to force life upon the "breathing" dead. May I ever be spared such kindness.
Watch it, Kiernan. You might say something worth saying, if you're not careful.
Last night, Spooky and I read "Halo" by Charles Stross. I watched Titan A.E. for about the twenty-fourth time, trying to get sleepy.
See. That's ever so much better. Now we're back on solid ground.
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
It's a bright fall day outside. If each season has a particular sentiment for each of us, then, to me, the sentiment of Autumn is sorrow. Spooky would strongly disagree, but fall has always seemed a reminder of the end of things. It scatters my thoughts, the too-blue skies, the dying, falling leaves, the changes in the quality of sunlight and sound, the days growing shorter and colder. It becomes very hard to concentrate, with Autumn all around me, constantly reminding me. I do not exactly hate this season, though I do wish it were followed by spring instead of winter. I can barely endure winter. Today, the sunlight is making me think of places I should be today, places far to the north and east, but for the bumping of my knee against a doorframe.
So, my mind seems everywhere, all at once. Yesterday I talked with Bill Schafer about upcoming projects and then sat down to begin a new story. But it occured to me, suddenly, that I didn't feel like writing and that, by all rights, I shouldn't even be here. So I spent the day doing something that I wanted to do, just because I wanted to do it. I worked on Nebari.Net for the first time in ages. The Nebari Prime page should be up in the next day or so, and the beginnings of an encyclopedia sort of thing. Writing things that no one will ever pay me for can be very, very liberating. Things that are for me and me alone, and are only incidentally meant for others. I can escape the tyranny of readers that way. It doesn't matter if what I'm doing seems, even to me, trivial and fannish. It isn't. Not really.
We had pizza at Fellini's for dinner last night. I've fallen in love with their mushroom-spinich slices, peppered with big chunks of fresh, only slightly roasted garlic. Spooky and I spent most of the evening reading. First Bruce Sterling's amusing and timely "In Paradise," and then Ian MacLeod's "Breathmoss." I really loved the latter, and it, and the work on Nebari.Net, has me thinking again about science fiction and how I think that's the direction that my writing has to start to take.
And that leads, rather directly, to worries, to my doubts about Murder of Angels, how it's different, and the crap Poppy's been getting from some of her readers, the ones who only want more of the same when she knows, as all writers know, that stagnation is death. I cannot write Gothic novels all my life. In fact, I suspect I have exactly and only one more left in me. And I have to hope that, after that one, that my readers will follow me to other sorts of stories. It should really come as no surprise. After all, my first two short fiction sales, way back in '93 and '94, were sf — "Between the Flatirons and the Deep Green Sea" and "Persephone" (reprinted in From Weird and Distant Shores). It's a place I've been meaning to get back to for almost ten years. I did write "Riding the White Bull" this past spring, an sf story which will appear in the first issue of the new incarnation of Argosy.
I know these thoughts are rambling. It the damned weather, the damned sky, the low humidity.
I'm still waiting for my agent's opinion of Murder of Angels.
Waiting is, absolutely and without a doubt, the worst part of being a writer.
A rather important news story on CNN.com was brought to my attention yesterday. It came as no surprise. It's exactly the sort of discovery I've been predicting since my days teaching undergradute biology labs. It's the sort of thing I predicted back when E. O. Wilson was being crucified for the foresight of his closing thoughts to Sociobiology. I've always been of the belief that mind is body and, gradually, biology is bearing this out. Yes, it's only one study, for now (but there have been other pertinent studies), only a very little bit of vindication. For now, it is enough, though. I've often been chided by others who saw my belief that gender and sexuality have a predominantly biological basis as something born of an unwillingness on my part to take responsibility for "choices." But, mostly, I suspect that "choice" is another sort of illusion, one that many of us cling to so ferociously because it reinforces cherished ideas about freedom and freewill and keeps unpleasant thoughts of Fate at bay. I've rarely needed the comfort of choice. I do what I do because of all the things that have happened before any given moment of decision, all the things that I have lived through, that those before me have done and lived through, ad infinitum (and, I sometimes think, because of things that will be done in the future). Actions are, perhaps, almost inevitable. Being who we are, we make the choices we do, and every choice reaffirms who we are and echoes what we've experienced. We may be helpless to do otherwise. I don't find this unsettling. But I'm am going on, aren't I? Sorry.
It's the weather, and the aborted trip. It has everything running kind of sideways. Last night, just before dawn, Spooky awoke (I was already awake), and we had a strange little conversation about bowling alleys. It occured to me that Deacon Silvey had once worked in a bowling alley, and I asked if there were bowling alleys in the northeast (I am ever ignorant of Yankee ways). Spooky said that yes, there were most certainly bowling alleys in the northeast, and then she mumbled something about "Bowling with Jesus and The Dude," and I realized she wasn't really awake. I dozed off again and dreamed that I was, simultaneously, living in an episode of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and Scooby Doo and that I was the villian. I woke up before my undoing, which was kind of a disappointment.
I think today will be another day spent doing what I want to do. The next story is fermenting in my head. It needs the time, as do I.
Monday, October 20, 2003
There really wasn't much to write about Saturday, hence the skipping of a day yesterday. I have to admit to being a bit down about the missed trip, and Spooky is even more disappointed than I am. We spent part of the day out, because my knee was feeling better, and I hobbled about a fall festival in Candler Park for a while. But there were no candy or caramel apples, or even any cotton candy, to be had. What the frell is a fall festival without candy apples? Mostly, there were a lot of hippies and dogs and atrocious music and beer. I don't think I saw a single pumpkin anywhere in the park. Which is not to say that Atlanta is short on pumpkins. This year must have produced a bumper crop. They're everywhere, and plenty of cheap, pretty ones, too. So, this Halloween I shall have two jack-o'lanterns: one to sit on the back porch and one to sit near the front door.
Last night, I watched Lon Chaney in The Unknown (I still find it difficult to watch the climax, with the two horses on treadmills) and then tried to stay awake for all of the 1939 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which I adore, but I dozed off about three-quarters of the way through, just as the Court of Miracles was storming the cathedral and being resisted by the Parisian tradesmen who wanted to protect the Church's right to grant sanctuary.
The past few days, PZB has had interesting things to say about Catholicism, her feelings towards the Church, and it's place in the culture of Louisiana. You should check it out. They are cogent and worthy thoughts. The entries in question begin with the "Our Father" entry. It's a shame that some of her readers are too busy with reactionary rebelliousness to get the point. I know what she means, even if there is far greater distance between me and the Church than I think exists between the Church and Poppy (please forgive me, Poppy, if I'm being presumptious). My doubts — and suspicions — are of such a fundamental and inclusive nature as to render all the beautiful and admittedly comforting pageantry hollow. But I've always envied those who didn't lose they're faith, or who've found it again. See Anne Sexton, in particular, see her poem, "With Mercy for the Greedy."
My agent is reading Murder of Angels, and I'm nervously awaiting her comments.
The Roc edition of Low Red Moon will be in bookstores very, very soon. I believe that November 4th is the "official" release date, though they might show up a few days earlier. Sometimes they do. You should have no trouble finding the book at Barnes and Noble, Borders, or the other chains, but if you can't, there's always Amazon.com. So, that's just a little more than two weeks.
A long neglected bit of unfinished business: Way back on April 18th, 2002, I announced the winner of a "Name-a-Character" contest. The winner was Carol Murray, who submitted the delightful Eponine Chattox. The deal was, I'd use the best name in a future story or novel. For a long, long time I'd forgotten all about the contest, but was reminded of Eponine while writing Murder of Angels and found the perfect character for that name. So, Carol Murray, whether or not you're still out there reading this, thank you again.
Now, I have a short story to write for Bill Schafer, and then a 30K-word novella, and I suppose I should get started . . .
Saturday, October 18, 2003
I was going to bitch about my frelling knee and not being in Rhode Island, but, on second thought, the less said the better. So never mind.
I owe Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press a short story, so I suppose that's what's next. I sat at the iBook all yesterday afternoon waiting for the Right Idea, but it still hasn't come. Perhaps I will find it today. Perhaps it will find me. And I have to get back to the Threshold screenplay, because certain people have shown me an enormous amount of patience, waiting while I finished Murder of Angels a month late and all that. And blah, blah, blah.
Last night, Spooky and I watched the first Larry Fessenden film, No Telling, which was highly peculiar and a little clunky, over-acted at times, looking for a script at others, but still very disquieting in the end. We followed that with Equilibrium, which neither of us had seen before. A curious sort of film, part Fahrenheit 451, part 1984, part The Matrix, and really very little that was it's own, and yet it was still compelling. I did like the idea of the Grammaton clerics, though the whole thing felt a little rushed and shallow, as if the filmmakers were afraid of alienating their male target audience by looking very deeply into the complex world they had created (and Christian Bale was much better in Reign of Fire). I fell asleep to The Island of the Burning Doomed, which is a shame, because I love that film.
I think we're going to acquire pumpkins today.
Meanwhile, the eBay auctions are running again.
And a reminder: if you still haven't tried LunarCycles on Live365, well, what the hezmanna are you waiting for? An engraved invitation? (That's something my mother says. "What are you waiting for? An engraved invitation?" I think engraved invitations must be more important than the usual sort.) Kat and Shannon play the best of the best, dark electronica, goth, darkwave, industrial, you-name-it-and-they-play-it spooky goodness. So, don't be a fekkik. Tune in at 8 p.m.. And if you are waiting for an engraved invitation, give it up, silly.
Friday, October 17, 2003
No, I am not in Rhode Island. Not even close. I am, in fact, in my office in Atlanta.
I think that I have become caught in some perverse and ridiculous cycle of Trips Not Taken. It's sort of a Bermuda Triangle phenomenon, turned sideways or inside out. Though I never reach my destination, I never vanish, either, because the trips never actually occur, no matter how much planning and forethought and precaution goes into the effort. I am a landlocked Mary Celeste. They'll find the car packed and filled with gas, fresh oil, a road atlas open on the front seat, but the vehicle never moves an inch. First San Francisco, then Ft. Lauderdale, and now Rhode Island.
And, yes, of course I have a good excuse. I always have a very good excuse. Like I said yesterday morning, Wednesday night I almost broke my knee.
We did leave yesterday, about noon. Never mind that my knee was swollen and feverish and various shades of red, green, black, and violet. Never mind the pain had kept me awake most of the night before. I was determined. Spooky was determined. We were going on this trip. We had places to be and things to do. I haven't had a decent trip anywhere in almost two years. We were going.
We made it as far as Fayetteville, North Carolina.
And the pain in my knee finally became too intense to ignore, and the fact that sitting for hours, unable to straighten my leg was making things worse. We stopped at a Scary Truckstop® and weighed our options and made the decision and came home. I had my knee looked at by a doctor and it isn't broken or even dislocated, it's just bruised as hell. She gave me a script for pain and inflammation and said try to stay off it for a few days, then mumbled something ominous about fluid build up that I've been trying not to think about.
And here I am. At home.
I will not visit Stonington, or Swan Point Cemetery, or Cape Ann. We won't see the Edward Gorey Museum or go whale watching or any of the other things we'd talked about doing. I won't be appearing Wednesday night at ManRay with The Crüxshadows. Because I am an idiot and ran into the bathroom door frame on my way to take a piss and almost broke my knee.
So. There you go. My New Year's resolution for 2004 is not to plan any trips that I don't actually make, regardless of circumstance. My apologies to anyone who was planning to come to the ManRay reading. My thanks the Chris Ewen for going to the trouble to arrange it.
And, as alpaca ranchers are wont to say, that's that.
Thursday, October 16, 2003
I almost broke my knee last night. It was that sort of day yesterday. Anyway, we should be on the road soon.
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Yesterday I spent several hours working on "From Cabinet 34, Drawer 6." I'd only meant to read through it once before e-mailing it, but I'd not even looked at the story since late in 2001 and I found myself reworking bits and pieces, and it's over 11,000 words long, so that took some time. And there was e-mail from Peter Straub, which is always nice. Last night, Spooky and I watched Sleepy Hollow for the umpteenth time.
In the morning, we leave for Providence, so today will be consumed by all the last minute things that must be done.
I'm going to try to make blogger entries while we're gone, but I can't predict how busy I'll be or how sketchy intrernet connections will be. It would be nice to make entries that consist of something more than word counts and ruminations on my porcelain sanity. I used to travel so much, but this is my first real trip since Chicago in April (or was it March?) 2002. There's been so much else occupying my mind, traveling has hardly seemed more than an annoyance to be avoided. At my heyday as a traveler I was constantly on the go. The first half of 1996, for example, NYC in February, Ireland in March-April, then LA-San Francisco-Oregon in May. I don't know how I ever got anything done. I don't know how writers who travel a great deal (such as Neil) find the time and the presence of mind to get anything written.
I think that writing two books in only two years is something that I want never to have to do again. Next time I'm offered a multi-book contract, I hope that I have the good sense to ask for much more time between deadlines. I fully intend to take at least two years on the next novel, the one I'll write later, now that Murder of Angels is done. I require time to recharge and make mistakes and false starts and such. Novels are just too enormous, as for as I'm concerned, to be executed in such quick succession. It feels strange to have two of the things completed and awaiting publication. It's like trying to keep secrets. Here, I've made it all the way through the events in Murder of Angels and most of you haven't even read Low Red Moon. But you will soon. By the way, I strongly recommend the Subterranean Press edition . I expect it to be the only hardback of the novel printed. There's a jpeg of the front cover up on the subpress website now (follow that link). I'm so pleased with Ryan Obermeyer's work on this book. You can order directly from the publisher (that link again) and avoid delays, or save a few bucks through Amazon.com. Regardless, it's going to be a handsome book. All parties involved have worked overtime on this one.
And now I must go attend to errands. I may try to make a short, short entry in the morning, before we leave.
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Short entry today. The trip looms and there's too much to be done. We've pushed the departure date ahead to Thursday, to buy some time.
Most of yesterday was spent typing up my corrections to the very last of the subpress Low Red Moon galleys. It's good to have that out of the way, finally. Also, I e-mailed an rtf. of the "finished" ms. of Murder of Angels to my agent in NYC, and also to Neil. Today I have to get an electronic copy of my short story, "From Cabinet 34, Drawer 6," to an editor in London. I wrote the story in November-December 2001 and I need to read through it again before I send it. Also, since first publication will be in England, I need to Britishize the spellings ("grey," "kerb," "tyres," etc.).
I heard from John Pelan yesterday, who co-edited (and wrote a story for) Shadows Over Baker Street. He reports that Del Rey took the liberty of Amercanizing all his British spellings (and obviously, that's stupid), and, in his introduction to the book, changed "Jeremy Irons" to "Jeremy Brett"! So, it's not just me. He's promised to do his best to see that my story is restored to its original form for the trade paperback.
And now I go, because I'm out of time.
Monday, October 13, 2003
I don't know which feels thinner this morning, me or reality. The me of ten years ago would have been quick to point out that there may be no difference between the two. The me of now lacks the arrogance or faith for even that much certainty. I think therefore . . . what? René Descartes wasn't trying hard enough.
Or he was trying too hard, to hold on to something. Something that can be sensed, if not grasped. I suspect he knew more than he was willing to say.
The leafblower men are outside. They come every Monday and wander about the grounds, blowing this pile of leaves over there and that pile of leaves over here, so that next week they can come back and reverse the whole exercise, which allows them to start anew the following week. I have almost begun to suspect that the leafblower men are some minor expression of a supernature. They seem to be possessed of no particular emotions. They wander about, eyes trained intently on the nozzles of their leafblowers, raising clouds of dust and grit like veils to mask the progress they're not making. Really, it's the noise that bothers me, and the exhaust that leaks in through the windows and the cracks in the walls. Otherwise, the leafblower men are fairly innocuous phantoms, as phantoms go. I don't think they've ever heard of a rake. In the yard the leafblower men come and go/Talking of Michelangelo. Truthfully, though (and that's several different sorts of lies), I'm not sure they have voices beyond the machine noises that their leafblowers make. If they do, I've never heard them. And I listen.
I need thicker walls. The world of phantoms presses too near, and I can honestly do without the distraction.
If there is a consensual reality, as I have often argued, than, perforce, must there not also be a consensual insanity? Or is every madwoman an anarchist, her madness determined solely by her particular, unique deviance from the present reality of consensus? I think the latter. The phantoms divide madwomen — diagnostically, pharmecologically, psychologically, institutionally — to protect the illusion fostered by consensual reality. Together, they might be a threat. Apart, they are only dissmissable mutterings lost in the gales of day to day to day existence (assuming, for that moment just passed, the conceit of existence). They threaten the insubstantial lives of phantoms, and phantoms are The Everytyrant. Like the leafblower men, but in six billion shades of oblivion. They must sweep constantly along, here to there, and back, waltzing because if they stop, if they become mired in something beyond consensual reality — they begin to solidify, becoming mad, and, in the stream of CR, madness is stones that slow the stream, stones that must be weathered away to sand and carried down to the sea.
Grain by grain.
Water breaks stone.
Sunday, October 12, 2003
I spent pretty much the entire day yesterday proofreading material for the Subterranean Press Low Red Moon edition, including my afterword and Jack Morgan's introduction. I'll be going over some of it again this morning, but this afternoon is my monthly AD&D session.
Last night, Spooky and I rented the remake of Willard, which I thought was actually really very good, a beautiful and funny and strangely haunting film. Crispin Glover's cover of "Ben" was superbly creepy. In fact, Crispin Glover is superbly creepy. Sadly, we also rented the lamentable Final Destination 2, which somehow manages to be worse than the original.
I hadn't allowed myself to get particularly angry about Del Rey's hatchet-job on "The Drowned Geologist" until I made yesterday's blog entry and began to write about it. I mean, this is the third time they've done something like this to one of my stories. I ought to be used to it by now. Hell, I even half expected it of them, despite my previous complaints. I am becoming cynical and I hate that, but it's getting hard to deny. This job can make cynics of the most determined idealists. Bill Schafer has offered to release a limited version of the story, in "handwritten" letter form, complete with envelope. A very cool idea, but I have to check the contract and see what sort of exclusivity I've granted Del Rey on the piece. I think I've reached a point in my career where I may need to be a little less willing to sell my short fiction to just anyone, no matter how many times they've fucked me over. It's hard to get over that "oh-you-like-me-you-really-want-to-publish-me" reaction I usually experience when asked to write a story.
My favorite personal Del Rey horror story, because it has a sort of happy ending: When John Pelan (who also edited Shadows Over Baker Street) was working on Children of Cthulhu, he had to argue with an editor at Del Rey who wanted to cut "Nor the Demons Down Under the Sea" because, said he, it "wasn't Lovecraftian enough" and didn't belong in the book. John insisted that the story be included. Del Rey even sent me a list of the changes they wanted, changes that indicated that the editor in question had serious problems with reading comprehension. I ignored the list and thanked John for standing by me. So, the book comes out and "Nor the Demons Down Under the Sea," along with China Miéville's "Details," was chosen by Steve Jones for The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, which was all the satisfaction I needed. Anyway, I'll keep you posted as to whether or not there will be a Subterranean Press edition of "The Drowned Geologist." The correct text will certainly be included in my next collection, To Charles Fort, With Love (due out late next year).
There are good reasons for buying Shadows Over Baker Street. It includes some great authors and is a wonderful concept. But please, if your only reason for buying it is to read my story, don't buy it. Wait for the story to appear somewhere else.
Saturday, October 11, 2003
Last night we saw Kill Bill (Volume 1) and I found it so perfect and amazing that I'm still not sure I can put my thoughts about this film into words. In fact, I think my thoughts on it are still waiting to solidify. But, it was truly excellent, and certainly worth the long wait since Jackie Brown. Tarantino is at the top of his form.
Also, we got trailers for The Matrix Revolutions, which I think will be very good and not suffer from the "saggy middle" problems of the second film, and The Return of the King, which I know will be wonderful. It's good to have movies to look forward to.
Today I have to proof the "extra" material of the Subterranean Press lettered edition (notes made before I began the book, blogger excerpts, my afterword, etc.). Outside, the weather is misty and grey, more Novembery than Octobery. Of course, November will be on us before we know it. It's good to have something simple to work on, like this proofreading, so I won't be tempted to go out into this crappy excuse for an afternoon.
Yesterday I got my first look at Shadows Over Baker Street, the anthology of Lovecraftian Sherlock Holmes stories to which I contributed "The Drowned Geologist." My story is written entirely in epistollary form, a letter dating from 1898. As I always do when writing period fiction, I took great care to write in a voice suited to the time. This was, of course, a lot of trouble. And now I find that someone at Del Rey, who published the anthology, has "corrected" a good deal of the purposefully antiquated language and spelling in the piece. They didn't ask first. They didn't show me galleys. They just fucking did it. I've run into this sort of shit from Del Rey before. Worse, actually. My story "The King of Birds," first published in The Crow: Shattered Lives and Broken Dreams, was essentially rewritten by someone at Del Rey. I entirely disowned the story as it appeared in the original hardback edition. It wasn't mine. It wasn't what I wrote, or what I sold them, or what I'd granted them permission to print under my name. I bitched a lot and the story was restored to my text for the trade paperback. Anyway, it's always disappointing to see this, that some editorial feeb has taken the liberty of undoing something I've done, something I've done on purpose, and once again I'm tempted to disown the story until such time as it appears in the form in which I meant for it to be read. Indeed, it's tempting to post the text of the story to my website, so you have the choice of reading it as I meant it to be read. I think Shadows Over Baker Street may be the last Del Rey anthology I agree to write for. The world is annoying enough without have to contend with publishers who think they're writers.
Friday, October 10, 2003
Since June 1992, I have written six novels, sixty or so short stories, a handful of chapbooks, and forty-five comic scripts. All of these have been sold (at least once) and published. In the space of only eleven years. Oh, and you have to squeeze Death's Little Sister in there somewhere, as well. It's no wonder that I'm beginning to wonder if I've anything left to say. I didn't even count the hundreds of thousands of words that have gone into this blog since Nov. '01. The circuitous road between The Five of Cups and Murder of Angels. My trail (and trials) of broken sentences. In that eleven-year period, I can discern at least three people I have been, two discarded and the third speaking now to you. I'm not the unspeakably angry person who wrote The Five of Cups, nor am I quite the NeoVictorian, quasi-Romantic who wrote the stories of Tales of Pain and Wonder. I am the confused woman who wrote Murder of Angels, and Waycross, and Low Red Moon, and "Riding the White Bull," and "La Peau Verte." Searching for the next incarnation, and I may have found her already, sure, but one can never be too careful about these things. I do not know how common it is that writers reinvent themselves this way. Wait. I don't think it's an issue of me reinventing myself as a writer, per se, but, rather, as a person. And then there's the inevitable reflection of that reinvention in my work.
I'm not even sure if it's something that I do on purpose.
This me, the "present" me, writing these words for you on this cloudy October afternoon, would appall the me who wrote Threshold, who would have annoyed the hell out of the me who wrote Silk.
At least for me, this me, there is no distinction between Me and The Work (convenient, that phrase — "The Work" — it appears in most contracts I've signed). I am what I write. I was The Five of Cups and Silk. Then I was all those songs I wrote for DLS and I was the stories about Jimmy DeSade and Salmagundi and the Children of the Yard. A little later, I was Threshold and the last few issues of The Dreaming, and there was an air of transition in there. Shift again, and this is me, and near as I can tell, clutching at straws in the dark, slipping on wet shingles, I'm all these unbound pages of Murder of Angels and the science-fiction stories I'll write this winter and the unfinished screenplay for Threshold.
I expect I'm making too much of this. I have a talent for exaggeration. Maybe it comes with the territory.
But I do feel peculiarly out of focus these days, this past couple of years, and I expect it to begin to manifest itself in what I write. There was once clean definition. Now there is a kaliedoscopic turmoil. Surely it will show.
Thursday, October 09, 2003
I worked yesterday, which seemed to help my mood a bit. Little bits of this and that, things that needed doing, and I added a 504-word scene to Chapter Six of Murder of Angels. I might add a slightly shorter scene to that same chapter today. I expect there will be quite a lot of adding-on with this manuscript as the months pass. It may have small holes here and there that need plugging, bridges that need building, and so forth.
And we are getting ready now to leave for New England, probably on Wednesday. I have grown to detest travel over the years, and the long drive to Rhode Island, while certainly preferable to flying, is a chore. (I'm not afraid of flying. Not at all. But I hate the cramped cabins and all the people and having to breathe that desicated, germ-filled, recirculated air, and I'm too cheap to buy first-class tickets.) That long stretch between Atlanta and Pennsylvania, which will be the first day on the road, is so dreadfully dull. Anyway, too many last minute things to be done.
Last night's episode of Enterprise, "Impulse," demonstrated once again that the series is indeed improving, if only by slow degrees. It's actually become watchable, which I would never have believed possible. The Vulcan zombies were pretty neat. But I have to ask that question that thinking people have been asking of Star Trek for decades: Why insist on sending commanding officers, especially the captian, on virtually every single away team? And I also have to suggest that the plot device of having T'Pol freak out has probably been played for all it's worth, at least for the time being. I say, let the Vulcan keep her cool for a while, unless the show's going to do something interesting, like have her consciously renounce discipline and logic. Anyway, I'll miss next week, but that's probably for the best. The episode centers on Ensign Hoshi Sato, who has, thus far, proven about as exciting as a cold bowl of Cream of Wheat. A shame she won't be killed off horribly and replaced with a sexy, evil, alien something or another. That would be asking too much. Last night's episode of Angel was also a marked improvement over last week's; David Fury's scripting is much preferable to Joss Whedon's.
Spooky read me The Shrinking of Treehorn last night and I slept decently for the second night in a row. Also, Peter Straub sent me a copy of his latest, Low Boy Lost Girl, and maybe I'll take it on the road with us.
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
It's true. Arnold Schwarrzenegger has been handed the governorship of California. Somehow, I'm stunned, but not surprised. I mean, didn't Reagan set a precedent for this? Anyway . . .
I think I'm not in a blogging sort of mood. I wonder what someone from 1977 would make of that last sentence?
Perhaps later. I slept well last night, after two nights of insomnia, and my head's still full of sleep, I think.
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
What else should I be
At some point last night, in a bright crevice between self-doubt and depression, it occurred to me that perhaps it's time to "lighten up" here in the blog, before someone else at a reading asks Neil Gaiman to tell me to lighten up. So, I sat down at the iBook this morning with every intention of all but apologizing for my concerted and unrelenting glumness. After all, I finished the book. It was a very hard book to finish, the hardest to date, and now I should be glad of THE END and, if not celebrate, at least lighten up. Yeah? But as Poppy so eloquently wrote of her own newborn, The Big D, in her latest livejournal entry, it's not really finished. Sure, the pregnancy has ended, but where the hell's the money for a good pre-school coming from? Murder of Angels won't really be finished for quite some time, and, meanwhile, there's all this other dren. I'd love to lighten up. I would. Really.
I think, though, that I feel some duty (probably misguided, I'll grant that) to exist here, in this space, as a counterbalance to writers who drone on and on about the "joys of the craft" and blah, blah, blah. There seem to be so many of that sort, those pleasant souls, and so few who, like me, find that writing — the act, the business, the art, the theory, etc. — is not dissimilar from any other chronic pain. I swear, sometimes it seems there are writers who are trying to recruit other unsuspecting innocents to this life of constant uncertainty and unbounded frustration. Then maybe I'm the anti-recruiter. Of course, I've become a cynical anti-recruiter, so I know that none of what I say will sink in, that I'm no match for the anglerfish lure romance of the "writer's life."
Pretty lights. All you ever desire in that dangling glow. Just reach out and grab it.
Pretty lights and fast jaws and sharp teeth.
If I had a choice in the matter, I think I would be no one's inspiration, ever, at least not as regards writing. Or, rather, if I must inspire, if I have no say in the matter, let it be only by way of my work, not these damned footnotes.
Footnotes, at best.
As Jhonen V. said, "I feel sick."
Anyway. Smiles and happiness and sunshine.
I'm still pondering whether or not to change the title of Murder of Angels, to avoid confusing the excessively literal of mind. I feel like I should at least say that this isn't really a book about angels because, yes, Virginia, people really are that stupid. I keep thinking of the readers who complained about Silk not really being about "a war in Heaven," you know, the way that all those Prophecy movies were. Or the Publisher's Weekly reviewer who complained that despite the title, Silk was neither smooth nor sexy.
And speaking of Silk, here's a paragraph from a recent Amazon.com "review" that does absolutely nothing to spark that faith I've never had in humanity:
The characters, however, are a weakness in my opinion: they're losers, people who actually care about the difference between deathrock and Goth, kids who have no apparent interests, goals or dreams beyond drugs, casual affairs and garage bands. I'd say that -- without using the criterion of literal age -- there are no adults in this book. I had a hard time sympathizing with these pathetic, soullessly conformist waifs.
Jesus. Why do I even bother?
Monday, October 06, 2003
It's 9:42 a.m. on a Monday morning and I've felt better. You will note that Blogger posts in Central Time, so trust what I say, always, and not what it says. Strike that. Never trust a word I say.
Yesterday, I reworked the epilogue, added chapter titles to the first half of Murder of Angels (I only decided the chapters would be titled halfway through the writing of the novel), changed the word "hounds" to "jackals" throughout (to avoid confusion with the "hounds" sensu "So Runs the World Away," "The Dead and the Moonstruck," and Low Red Moon), added epigraphs before Part One and Part Two, and so on and such like.
I had to resend my afterword and all the lettered "extras" to Bill Schafer for the Subterranean Press edition of Low Red Moon. I read "Red Clay" by Michael Reaves (in The Children of Cthulhu).
I kept hoping that the emptiness (which, by the by, Poppy mentions dreading as she finishes The Big D) would abate somewhat with the normalcy of work. That I could drive it away with details. But it only grew more profound as the day progressed.
I imagine myself eating the manuscript, stuffing it all back inside, in an attempt to fill the hole it's left.
(This morning I prefer short paragraphs.)
I probably shouldn't do this, but here's the review of Low Red Moon (by Tim Pratt) from Locus (October, 2003). Be warned, some of the following may constitute the mildest sorts of spoilers:
Low Red Moon is a sequel of sorts to Kiernan's IHG-award-winning novel Threshold, though not in a linear sense. The same principle characters from Threshold — alcoholic psychic Deacon, hard headed geologist Chance, and goth/punk would-be writer Sadie — are once again brought together, this time in a world in which the reality rupturing events of Threshold never took place. In the universe of Low Red Moon, the lives of these characters divereged somewhat, at a point in time before the previous novel began (Those who've read Threshold and recall Kiernan's unusual ending will realize that this is not as large a divergence as it seems.) As such, the novel stands alone quite well, though it is enriched by knowledge of the previous work, and Kiernan provides a number of small references to What Might Have Been.
In this reality, Deacon and Chance are married, and expecting their first child, while Sadie and Deacon (who were lovers in Threshold) are casual friends and uneasy confidants. Their lives, while far from perfect, are at least ordinary, filled with understandable struggle — Sadie's aimlessness, Deacon's struggle with alcohol, Chance's difficulty maintaning her career while nine months pregnant.
Enter Narcissa Snow, a serial murderer with a deeply twisted past and a burning desire to transform herself, literally, into a monster. For complex reasons, she beleives that Deacon, Chance, and especially their unborn child, are the key that will enable her to achieve that goal.
The story is fast paced, emotionally wrenching, and thoroughly captivating. Low Red Moon is a very different book than Threshold, where the pleasures were mostly in Kiernan's lush prose and masterly evocation of atmosphere. Here she eschews that style, with its echoes of Joyce and Faulkner, for a more straightforward approach to language, and even has writer Saide make a comment about it: "Oh, you mean the way I liked to run words together to make new adjectives? Well, I don't do that anymore. It just kept pissing people off." It didn't piss everyone off, but it's true that the style would not have been well suited for Low Red Moon, an altogether more plot oriented book, which combines the best elements of quiet supernatural horror, over the top violence, serial killer mystique and chase/suspense tales. Low Red Moon is more compulsively readable than Kiernan's previous novels, and while it does not seem quite so ambitious, that does not necessarily lessen its worth.
In a way, this book is the culmanation of much of Kiernan's recent work in the short form, bringing in elements, scenes and characters from her first rate novella, In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers and stories like "The Road of Pins" and "The Long Hall on the Top Floor," expanding on the ideas and interactions she first explored at shorter length, with marvelous results. Kiernan only grows in versatility, and readers should continue to expect great things from her.
I can live with a review like that.
Last night, I watched The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (Bradbury and Harryhausen, *sigh*) and then fell asleep to Key Largo (Bogey and Bacall, *sigh*). I slept uneasily. At best. Anyway, now I go and work, because that's what keeps the normal people . . . er, I mean the monsters . . . yeah, that's what I mean . . . under the bed . . .
Sunday, October 05, 2003
A. When I write a novel, at the end of a day of writing, I print that day's pages and place them face down in a roughly 8.5"x11.5" cardboard ms. box. Hence, as the days, weeks, months pass and the pages pile up, they do so with the most recent, higher-numbered ones towards the top. Then on the "final" day of writing, I turn the manuscript, so that the title page faces upwards. It has become a pseudo-ritual, turning the manuscript. And it occurred to me yesterday that it's not so different from "rolling the jacket" in vertebrate paleontology. When a bone or skeleton is being removed, it is carefully covered with a sturdy layer of plaster-of-Paris bandages and other reinforcing materials (the jacket) to protect the fossil until it can be prepared in the laboratory. But the jacketing comes after days, weeks, months of excavation. Finally, when the jacket is on and dry and the block has been undercut and pried free of the underlying matrix, the block is rolled. That is, the up side becomes the down side, so that the down side can be jacketed and braced the same way the up side was. "Rolling the block" is a moment of great anxiety, as a flaw in the block or jacket may result in all the contents spilling out of the jacket and subsequent destruction of the fossil upon which so much time has been lavished. Turning the manuscript does not have quite so much attendant anxiety, but it's sort of the same thing, backwards. Except mss. usually weigh only a few pounds, not tons or hundreds of pounds.
B. This afternoon I was "ego surfing" and bumped into the following:
I read Kiernan's Silk a month or two ago, and I liked it much more than Threshold, not that Threshold sucked or anything. Silk is a full length novel, whereas Threshold was more on the lines of a novella-a literary art form that is nearly extinct these days: longer than a short story, but not quite a novel. So from that perspective alone, Silk was more enjoyable simply because there was more of it to enjoy.
I won't name names or say where I found it. After all, this kind soul actually likes my writing, and liked Silk more than Threshold, which is unusual. But I must point something out. It's true that Threshold is a shorter novel than Silk. To be precise, Silk is about about 114,000 words long, while Threshold, is 108,000 words long. A difference of only 6,000 words (about the length of a mediumish short story) or 5.2%. Now, by no means, and by no definition of which I am aware, do novellas weigh in at 108,000 words, nor would the differences in length between these two books be noticeable to most readers, I think. My contracts with Penguin set the minimum length for my novels at 100,000 words (Low Red Moon and Murder of Angels are both quite a bit longer than the first two books I did for Penguin). My point, Threshold is a) not a novella and b) not particularly shorter than Silk. I pondered why the reader had arrived at this conclusion and came up with two likelihoods: a) the reader has no idea what constitutes a novella-length work of fiction and b) was thrown by the trade paperback format of Threshold, which makes it seem "thinner" than the original paperback of Silk (the second likelihood rests on the assumption that the reader read Silk in pb, not tpb, which is valid, given that the message was written prior to the release of Silk in tpb format). The former is only 1.5 cm thick, while the latter is 2.5 cm thick. Also, the paperback of Silk has 353 pp., while the trade paperback of Threshold is 259 pages long. So, format conspires the create the illusion that Silk is considerably longer, indeed almost twice to one-third again as long, as Threshold. To complicate matters (and matters should be complicated whenever possible), the tpb edition of Silk, released last November, is 353 pp. long and about 2.2 cm thick, not at all what would be expected based on the Threshold tpb. The discrepency arises primarly from the fact that the Threshold tpb is 1.5 cm wider and 2.5 cm taller than the Silk tpb. To which I say, pay attention, people. The world ain't so simple as it seems.
I tore another one out, shat it out, spat it out, vomited it, and this morning I can feel the great, empty space left behind.
The post-pardum, post-coital darkness that always follows completion, and follows the completion of novels ten-fold, has come earlier and harder than I'd expected. I should not have taken yesterday off. That didn't help. I should have kept working, kept my mind occupied and all those silly thoughts of rest could have waited a few decades. I didn't rest. I only grew increasingly taciturn and uncertain. I would like to be one of those authors who finishes and feels a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, please. Something more than this emptiness. It threatens to collapse me like an old star, done with being itself. Oh, but yesterday. Anyway. Yes, yesterday. I didn't get out of the house until almost 3 p.m. and I'd have been better off staying in. The only redeeming portion of the afternoon was the half-hour or so spent in the Apple Store, drooling over the new G5s. A sat through a presentation on the G5s and dreamed of having enough disposable income to construct a Beowulf cluster from them to devote to nothing but processing SETI data units.
Last night, Spooky and I listened to LunarCycles and drank a lot of absinthe and I smoked for the first time in almost a year. This morning, my lungs feel like someone filled them with sludge while I was sleeping. Anyway, a great LunarCycles and if you didn't tune in this week, and the weasels have devoured your toes, you'll have another chance next weekend, and then the weasels won't have to start in on your fingers, as well.
A few thank yous. Thanks to Jackie and everyone on the phorum for being happier about my having finished Murder of Angels than I could ever be. Thanks to Chris for sending me Depraved English (how very apropos). Thanks to Maria for the letter, handwritten in an envelope and with a stamp and everything. Thanks to Crow for the postcard, which is almost as good as a letter. Thanks to Carlo and Jordan for e-mail. And apologies to anyone I should be thanking and am not. I'm thanking you anyway. But those are invisible thank yous.
I did pick up the last issue (for now) of How Loathsome yesterday. I read it this morning. You must find this and read it. Trust me.
There's no reason to trust me, of course. I wouldn't trust me. I don't trust me. You get stuck with someone as long as I've been stuck with me and you learn better.
Saturday, October 04, 2003
I have that shell-shocked feeling. It comes after finishing things. After a short story, it's only a faint ringing in my ears. After a novel, it's a veil between me and everything else.
A veil that renders me fairly useless and prone to a particular melancholy.
And looking for what I'm supposed to do next.
There's a very nice review of Low Red Moon in the October issue of Locus. I love it when someone "gets it." So often, they don't and I think that means that I've failed. But when just one person understands, I begin to believe I didn't fail at all, but that there's just an awful lot of dense people in the world. Thanks to Ginger at Writer's House for taking time to type out the review and e-mail it to me. It's the sort of review that makes me smile and regret everything a little bit less.
I'm looking at the ms. box on the floor, more pages of Murder of Angels than there is box, actually. It's not like it's really finished, but still, it's all there. It's like on Monster House, when they come in under the clock and all the major construction goals have been met and the Tiki God fireplace breathes fire and everyone gets their tools, but the decorators still have to come in and make it all pretty. That's what the book is like right now. It's a tad homely. But that's why writers have no social lives.
Last night was "kid night, " o'course, and we had fishsticks and Velveeta shells and cheese and fries and orange soda, and then two scary movies, an indie vampire flick, Habit (1997), and the superbly understated Deliverance (1972). I'm probably the only person on earth who'd describe Deliverance as understated, but there you go. Anyway, somehow I'd missed Larry Fessenden's Habit (he also directed to moody Wendigo ), which Spooky and I both loved. Anyway, I just wanted to take a sec to reccommend Habit. It was a very pleasant surprise. The best vampire movie (sexy, funny, creepy, and a little sad) that anyone's ever made on $60K, and the DVD comes loaded with lots of extras.
After the movies, I read George R. R. Martin's "The Second Kind of Loneliness" (1972). And if you wonder why I've been reading so much Martin lately, it's because Subterranean Press has just done a gigantic (1,279 pp.) collection of his work, GRRM: A Retrospective. Lots of good things all in one place. And, what's more, you could crush a skull with this thing. It's huge.
Anyway, this is supposedly a day off, so I should stop and go do the things with Spooky we'd planned to do. But, tonight, from 8-12 (that's Eastern Time!), we'll have our glasses of absinthe ready and LunarCycles coming through one or another of the iBooks. You should do the same. See yesterday's entry for more details and a handy hyperlink. Wow . . . there are a lot of pages in that box.
Oh, yeah . . . wait. Also, the VERY ABSOLUTELY LAST AND FINAL ARC of Low Red Moon that I will make available for auction is NOW up on eBay. We got them all ready to go out to people and there was (ta-da!) a spare. Who'd a thunk it. We've sold three of these thus far, but this is the last. Really. Anyway, Spooky put it up yesterday.
Friday, October 03, 2003
I have just, this moment, a few moments before this moment, finished the epilogue of Murder of Angels and typed THE END. So, all the millions of loose threads aside, it's finished, this, my sixth novel. The epilogue's only 651 words long, which seemed kind of short to me, but Spooky declared it perfect. So, there it is. Now I will have a night and a day of rest, and come back to the ms. on Sunday. My NYC agent's off to Frankfurt, and so I won't need to send it to her for a few days yet. Tweaking time. The ms. has come to 555 pages, fifteen more than Low Red Moon.
Also, if you have any interest in my checkered musical past, you might want to check out Sissy, Kat, and Shannon's superb LunarCycles broadcast this Saturday night, 8 p.m.-midnight. Rumour has it they'll be playing the "music box" remix of "House of the Rising Sun," one of the very few surviving DLS tracks. And even if you aren't interested in my checkered musical past, these three can be counted on to serve up a fine feast for the ears, be your tastes goth, etherial, darkwave, dark ambient, industrial, or stranger, finer things. Tune in or starving weasels might eat your toes.
It's almost done now.
I finished Chapter Eleven yesterday, an emotionally and spiritually exhausting 2,603 words (the most I've ever written in one day, by about 600 words). There was a nosebleed in there somewhere, but mostly it's a blur. The end of this thing is sheer surreality, Alice's Adventures in Animéland, fuck, I don't know. Somewhere beautiful and terrible and bizzare that I've rarely ventured and never at novel length. Finishing that chapter was such a singular experience for me, as a writer. I don't think that a piece of fiction has ever left me feeling so entirely battered. When I was finally done, I let Jennifer print the pages and Spooky led to me to the shower and I stripped off the filthy clothes I'd been wearing for four days (me and the end of a novel is never a pretty, nor hygenic, sight) and she made me bathe. I stood in the shower and wept. I'm never comfortable putting such personal details in my blogger, but somehow that one moment was the perfect summation of the experience of writing Murder of Angels, so I'm making an exception.
I've often said that Threshold is the book that almost killed me, the one in which I got so entirely lost that I allowed myself to become very ill. I lost about twenty pounds towards the end of Threshold. I think I still have physical scars from that damned book. Murder of Angels has been kinder to my body, but harder on my mind. It's the novel that almost drove me (and everyone who has to live with and around me) on beyond insane.
After the shower, and a nap, and a tuna sandwich, I don't know, there was stuff, and later I watched a few minutes of Rebecca and then went to bed and read George R. R. Martin's "Nightflyers." I think I was asleep my 12:30, which is amazing in and of itself.
And now, all that's left me is the epilogue. A thousand words maybe, and lots and lots of polishing, and so on and so forth, but, for all intents and purposes, I will "finish" the novel today.
Thursday, October 02, 2003
Only twice has my own writing moved me to tears — not tears of frustration or anger, but tears of genuine sorrow. The first time was last August, during a scene near the end of Low Red Moon. And the second time was yesterday, after having completed a scene in Chapter Eleven of Murder of Angels. It hit me hard and is probably the reason that I only wrote 1,321 words yesterday, instead of the 2,000 that I'd aimed for. But today I will finish Chapter Eleven, I believe, and tomorrow I will write the epilogue, and make an end of this thing.
And I may have decided to change the title after all.
Last night, I saw the first episode of Enterprise which I've actually found interesting. There's been a lot of hype about the changes to the series for this season, but until last night, so far as I could tell, it was only cosmetic. Last night, though, even Jennifer and Spooky (who've both really hated the show and been baffled by my willingness to sit through it, week after week) had to admit it was an improvement. There was drama and action and even a bit of wonder. There were aliens who seemed alien (i.e., something more than prosthetic foreheads) and there was even, almost, sex. And here's the thing — it should be obvious to anyone who's a fan of (or just very familiar with) Farscape that a lot of the changes that have been made to Enterprise have been modeled on the look and feel and "voice" of Farscape. Which is a little ironic, considering the show's cancellation, but I think it's clear that someone in the Enterprise chain of command recognized the series' innovation and genius and, either consciously or unconsciously, followed its lead. After all, Farscape is a critics' darling and Enterprise has even turned off the hardcore Trekkers. So, it makes sense, and that's not a bad thing. I think Farscape fixed a lot of the problems that have always existed in TV sci-fi, including the various incarnations of Star Trek (of which ST: TNG and Deep Space Nine were actually quite good). Suddenly, Enterprise has a story, something beyond the boldy-going in a clanky proto-starship business that was interesting for exactly one epsiode ("Broken Bow" 1:1). It has genuine conflict which carries from one episode into the next, and the actors (an uninteresting lot, sadly) are being given the opportunity to act. Captian Archer's vindetta against the Xindi has unlocked him, made him something more than the stodgy captain of the first Enterprise. Indeed, he's becoming a portrait of a man who's lost a grand naivete and is perilously close to fullblown xenophobia — and that might lose him a place as the sparkly-clean hero on on Wheaties boxes, but it makes him someone worth writing about. He is now conflicted, as is Sub-Commander T'Pol, distanced now from Vulcan High Command. It's still a long way from great, but I do think that Enterprise is finally headed in the right direction and I'll stick with it. If I'm right and Farscape played some role in this shift, imitation being sincere flattery and all, then that's another feather is Farscape's already feathery cap.
Also caught the season premiere of Angel. Not too bad. The show still has potential, though I was, as always, annoyed by Joss Whedon's trademark comedic stumblings. Hopefully, he will not write many more episodes.
Okay, it's getting late and I gotta go write.
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Happy Halloween the First.
Yesterday was another remarkable writing day. By dinner time, I'd done 2,037 words on Chapter Eleven. That's after the rewrite I did on Tuesday's pages. It is my goal to do as much today, then slow down tomorrow. The novel should be "finished" by Thursday or Friday. With hope. Cross your fingers for me. Productivity-wise, October was amazing. I had 24/30 productive writing days. When you factor in my having lost the 1st and 2nd to Dragon*Con, and one day to proofreading, and another to the photoshoot for the Low Red Moon author's photo (all these things are pseudo-work), it's more like 24/26, based on days available for potential productivity, and I get a 92.3% productivity rate for September (I think). There was only one real off-day. Yay for me. Anyway, there's something bizarrely bouyant in the ending of this book. It's so dark, and such terrible things are coming, but there's still triumph and courage, and it seems to be lifting me. Yes, that all sounds strange. I know. But I was almost this same way at the end of Low Red Moon. I've never written anything so sad, I think, as Low Red Moon, and yet I found a triumph in the conclusion. I would explain it better if I could. When I strip away from a character everything, and I mean everything, all dignity and health and hope and the people whom they love and yet, still, I find some route whereby to imbue them with the courage to continue and triumph, however dark that triumph may be, it gives me hope and I begin to understand the truth of why I write. Maybe all those agents and editors weren't rooting for Gin in The Five of Cups, but I did. We go as far as we can, and then we keep going.
Last night, Spooky and I watched In Dreams. I'd not seen it since it's initial theatrical release in 1999. And having seen it again, I still think it's a beautiful, powerful film, and far more deserving than people think. It's like a second take on The Company of Wolves, almost, only the wolves stay hairy on the inside. Great casting. Elliot Goldenthal's score is great and Darius Khondji's cinematography is Oscar-quality. Annette Bening's performace is a little shrill here and there, and Stephen Rhea would have done better without the heavy New York accent. But otherwise, only one huge gripe . . .
As I said when I first saw it, I believe In Dreams bears the heavy hand of studio interference. Claire and Vivian go over the edge of the damn into the resevoir and the film draws to a beautiful (and darkly triumphant) conclusion as Claire drowns and is reconciled with her murdered daughter. Beautiful. The camera gives us a gorgeous low-angle shot of Claire and Rebecca backlit by the surface of the water and a brilliant autumn sun shining through it. And that's the end of the film, right there. But. It continues for several more minutes with a peculiar, idiotic epilogue of sorts, in which we see that Vivian didn't die in the fall and has been sentenced to life in prison, where he'll be haunted by Claire's vengeful ghost. Suddenly, we have an entirely different film. Robert Downey, Jr. isn't even playing the character here and the direction doesn't feel like Jordan. The soft-spokeness of the film is suddenly shattered by bleeding walls and spectral hands emerging from a mirror. And I pray that this is not the director's doing. It can't be. This is the work of studio pressure following a screening for the execs or some lamentable series of "test" screenings. Some moron (or morons) didn't get it, or they thought the end was too much of a downer, or they thought it was too morally ambiguous and we had to see Vivian get his comeupance. Some silly dren like that. I haven't confirmed this, but I believe it. Those last few minutes simply are not part of the whole of In Dreams and they turn an artful supernatural thriller in Freddy Kruegeresque nonsense. I blame, expectation, of course. In it's original form, I suspect this film was not what was expected of a supernatural thriller so someone forced it into the mold of expectation and, viola, something fit for the scuttlefish! It's so painfully reminiscent of what I went through with the ending of The Girl Who Would Be Death (but that's another story for another time, kiddos). Anyway, believe me, if you appreciate Neil Jordan (I adore him), and haven't seen this film, rent it, just be sure to hit STOP after the aforementioned low-angle shot (and I apologize for the spoilers — the greater good and all, you know). You might fast forward to the credits, so you can hear the lucious Roy Orbison. Trust me.
Take a moment to check out the eBay auctions and the Species of One shop. Gas money for New England, you know.
Oh, and a huge thank you to Bert G. of Amazon.com for shutting up an asshole.