Saturday, October 30, 2004
So, I looked at the prologue yesterday, trying to decide if the eighth section is needed, but came away annoyed and flustered and indecisive. It might be. It might not be. I'll look again on Monday. Needed, of course, is a loaded term, and if I think of it that way, I'll deceive myself with fantasies of nonsubjective art. A few years back, I was all about those fantasies (thank you, Mr. Harold Bloom), but I've grown more wary. Maybe I've only grown more tired and sloppy. Either way, I'm letting the prologue of Daughter of Hounds sit until Monday morning.
Also yesterday? Hmmm. Ted sent me some preliminary sketches for "Alabaster." It's going to be another cool little chapbook, largely thanks to him. I read back over the Bookslut interview, which I think will be appearing very, very soon. But that was about it.
There was The Kindernacht Before Halloween, and that was nice. We rented Candyman, so at least one movie wouldn't suck. But we also rented something from 1986 called Breeders. Is this one even worth complaining about? I mean, I did rent it. Spooky has better sense. A bunch of naked women with startling tan lines. Terrible lighting and a complete absence of cinematography. And what was surely the very worst rubber monster suit of the last three decades. I mean, I suppose that's something. The film had two morals: Moral #1- It's better to be a slut, because virgins will get knocked up by aliens and die horribly; Moral #2 - It's better the be a straight man, because gay men go "looking for antiques" in the subterranean passages beneath Manhattan, get knocked up by aliens, and die horribly. I'm glad I know all this now. Thank you, Breeders.
Afterwards, we played BloodRayne 2 which, much to my surprise, is my new favorite XBox game. They should have just named this thing Kick the Holy Crap Out of Manson Babies and been done with it. You play a cool as dren dhampire chick who, well, kicks Manson baby butt. An endless, primping parade of pretty boys and girls present themselves for the slaughter. There's camp and cool-ass weapons and enough blood for a Yakuza film. Almost everything in the game is breakable, a big plus, and, truthfully, when Rayne feeds on one of the Manson babies, it's just frelling sexy. What more could one want? I don't think a video game has ever given me that...special feeling before. So, yes, BloodRayne 2 is good.
Wherever you are, hope you're having a good weekend. Do some spooky shit. Over indulge (isn't that an oxymoron?). Stand in awe at the death of summer and the coming of winter. Have some goddamn candy corn. Hug a monster. Try something harder than beer or whiskey. Get trashed in a cemetery. Don't forget the sex. Make a pumpkin smile. We're all dead, anyway.
All dressed up with nowhere to go
Walkin' with a dead man
Waitin' for an invitation to arrive
With a dead man . . . dead man . . .
Got my best suit and my tie
Shiny silver dollar on either eye
I hear the chauffeur comin' to my door
He Says there's room for maybe just one more . . .
Friday, October 29, 2004
Thanks to Spooky's untiring search, we seem to have finally located a house. It's a huge thing, built in the twenties or thirties, occassionally added onto for a sprawling, labyrinthine effect. Perfect for our purposes. I wouldn't be surprised to discover a five-and-half-minute hallway in there somewhere. And it is well back from the road, with a large, wooded lot. Again, perfect. The imperfections are minor. And Jenny's already had a ghostly encounter there. We should know early next week whether it's a go or not, and then I'll only have to begin dreading the move and all the attendant disruption. As soon as we get back from Fiddler's Green in Minneapolis (brrrrrr), we'll be doing the move, and it'll be time to give the frelling cryosphere the big kiss-off!
Yesterday, I wrote 1,425 words is just over two hours, which, for me, is nothing short of frelling amazing. I did most of it to a scratchy old recording of Doris Day singing "You Are My Sunshine," which was actually creepy as hell and well-suited to the scene. The last part, I wrote to David Bowie. The prologue may be finished. I have to look back over it again today. There might be a Part VIII, the purpose of which would be to strengthen the connection between the prologue's three interconnected narratives. But it's already 12,914 words long, and (with reference to what I said yetserday about excessively thick fantasy novels) I'm going to have to be truly convinced that such an extra bit of connecting is needed before I add even another two or three hundred words. I feel so much better having a big chunk of this book done. It's happening now, and I know that means I will find The End again. Murder of Angels has weighed so heavily on me the last year, year and a half, I feel like I'm finally disconnecting with that novel. Like it's finally finished with me.
Oh, I was going to mention a somewhat odd dream yesterday which, were I more concerned with alchemical, hermeneutical affairs, I'd find extremely significant. I was visiting my mother in a town by the sea where she's never lived, in a house that has perhaps never existed (at least not in this worldline). We were standing outside talking, standing next to the black Monte Carlo she used to drive in the '80s (which I used to call the "pimp mobile"). Anyway, I looked at the car, at the driver's side, and a very large black and white salamander, easily as long as my hand, was crawling into the car, squeezing itself between the windowpane and the car. I opened the door at once, to dicover that there were now two salamanders clinging to the inside of the rear windshield — a black on and a white one. The black salamander was vigourously fucking the white salamander. They didn't seem to mind me watching.
And now some news concerning The Dry Salvages, from Derek c. f. Pegritz and Nyarlathotep: The Crawling Chaos (the folks who brought you the Our Thoughts Make Spirals in Their World CD that accompanied the chapbook, Trilobite: The Writing of Threshold:
Me n' the boyz here at HPL Laboratories have struck a deal with Subterranean Press to release a short EP of incidental musick we did to Cait's forthcoming The Dry Salvages! We've been working on these tracks for a couple of weeks now, and are really quite thrilled at the way they've turned out, and they're not even entirely done yet. For those of you who enjoyed Our thoughts make spirals in their world, this EP will be a further helping of the same good ol' Crawling Chaos weirdness...further enriched with hundreds of huge, deep-space sounds and all-new synth weirdness. Expect ominous soundscapes, skittery short-circuiting beats, amorphous antediluvian bass and sharp, insectile high-end, all beautifully packaged in a nifty new CD format complete with access to a website full of track listings, extra information, facts about the star Gliese 876, and so forth. This isn't just going to be an EP of music...it's going to be a full-fledged multimedia experience.
Right now, the plans are thus: The CD will accompany the LIMITED EDITION of The Dry Salvages, which will also come with an extra chapbook by Cait (The Worm in My Mind's Eye) — all three items for only $40. However, those who order the trade edition of The Dry Salvages for $25 will be getting the novella alone. There are still details about distribution, printing, and whatnot in the works, and I'll let everyone know what's up with that as soon as I know...but in the meantime, here are some sample mp3s to check out to whet your appetite for enormous labors and self-contemplating shadowy ambient:
Now, remember: These mp3s are still pretty raw....We're currently in the process of cleaning up the tracks, adding a little more noise here and there, and otherwise mastering these for the EP—but nonetheless, these mp3s will give you a good idea of what's coming. Feel free to share any questions, comments, suggestions, death-threats, etc. with me and everyone here from Nyarlathotep. Just send me/us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested! And don't keep comments--positive or negative--to yourself! After all...we're writing this music for you folks as well as for ourselves, and as such, ANY AND ALL input is welcome!
Hope you enjoy the spooky, deep-space, event-horizoning, wormhole weirdness of our new stuff!
I'll be helping out with the webiste content, adding virtual "liner" notes, etc. I'm very pleased we were able to pull this together at the last minute.
It's a rainy, foggy day out there, perfect as we head towards Halloween. Once I'm done with work today, it's nothing but Halloween for me until Monday morning!
You wrote the rules to try and contain me
You broke 'em
Now you have untamed me
And I'm wild...
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Yesterday, even though I didn't start writing until 3 p.m., I did an extremely respectable 1,479 words on the prologue, making it all the way through sections V and VI. All that's left is VII. I've suspected, since I first began imagining this novel, that this would be a somewhat longer book than I'm accustomed to writing. The prologue seems to be confirming that. Already, it's 11,473 words long (54 typescript pp.), more than twice the length of any of my earlier novels' prologues. In and of itself, this is neither good nor bad. But, still, I look askance at those doorstop fantasy novels. Many years ago, sometime in 1993, I think, Kathe Koja told me, and I quote, "six hundred page books ought to be shot on sight unless the writer's last name happens to be Faulkner." I rather took that to heart, if only because I was so hard in love with Kathe's prose back then. For a few years there, The Cipher and Skin were practically my Bible. But, anyway, like I said, I took that to heart, and my novels have always been of modest length. Hardly anyone has complained. But this one might actually push towards the six-hundred page mark (currently, Murder of Angels is my longest book, though Low Red Moon came out longer in print by two pages @ 337 pp.). Harlan blames computers for those painfully long, long books. But I think it's just the same "superisize" phenomenon we're seeing with just about everything else — food, cars, waistlines, etc. Anyway, with luck and no interruptions, I shall finish the prologue today. Oh, and it will be written to David Bowie and Doris Day, because my life isn't weird enough already.
I also have to talk to my publicist about an interview/review of Murder of Angels thing, and I have to talk to Ted Naifeh about "Alabaster," and I have to talk to Fiddler's Green about programming. But otherwise, all I shall do is write.
Spooky scored two nice fat pumpkins yesterday (she had to dig for 'em). Now they only have to be carved.
Last night, of course, was the Full Hunger Moon and the last total lunar eclipse until 2008. After Spooky cooked an enormous pot of chicken stew (chicken, carrots, mushrooms, kale, onions, many cloves of garlic, green bell pepper, a pint of Bass, and so forth), we went outside to watch the shadow of the Earth slip across the moon. I had one of Those Moments (the last one was standing in the sea at the base of the Beavertail Lighthouse in Rhode Island back in July), one of those Moments of Utter and Transcendent Insignificance. Here I was, gazing across hundreds of thousands of kilometres of near vacuum, so very small on the face of this troubled blue planet, only a speck of the mass casting such a great shadow. Out there (not up there), the orangeyellow autumn gloom spread quickly from left to right, swallowing the Mare Humorum and Crater Tycho, then sweeping out across Mare Nubium and Mare Procellarum, finally claiming the Sea of Tranquility, and then, finally, there was only a sterling bright rind near Crater Endymion. And I wanted to be standing on those dusty gray plains, those "seas" that have never known water, watching as the autumn-coloured twilight claimed that world. Spooky took some photos with the digital (while I watched through the binoculars), but you can't make out any details. We need a better camera. I need a frelling telescope. Just as the eclipse reached umbra, a bank of clouds swept in from the north and obscured our view. Later, about midnight, the clouds were gone, and we watched as some vast cosmic serpent spat the moon out again.
Later, Spooky read me Moon Mouse by Adelaide Holl (1969; illustrated by Cyndy Szekeres), one of our favourite children's books. And that was our Full Hunger Moon. I fell asleep to Blade Runner, thinking about Daughter of Hounds and how the prologue ends.
There are photos (by Spooky):
The swallowing of the moon.
Moon Mouse! (and some freak in goggles)
Sophie, who couldn't give a dren
I was going to say something about Dominar G. W. Bush and the New American Gestapo, but this has turned into a longish post and, more importantly, I'm in a good mood I don't want spoil'd.
It's there that no one will stare
At your jaws and your long hair, the claws on your fingers...
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
No, you won't fool the children of the revolution...
Okay. But what about the children of the children of the revolution?
This presidential thing is looking grim. Bush is leading in the polls again. What, exactly, does it take for the people of America to notice that they're being vigourously ass-fucked by a bunch of hateful old men with a hard-on for nothing but money and military expansionism? Let's see...it takes more than getting us all stuck in an unjust, unwinnable war. It takes more than learning that the hateful old men lied to get us to let them go to war. It takes more than a disregard for education, fair taxes, and the poor. It takes more than seeing that an administration is willing to wipe its ass with the Bill of Rights. It takes more than an impending draft, deemed necessary to keep the aforementioned unjust, unwinnable war stocked with cannon fodder. Maybe it takes just a little bit more apocalypse and ass-fuckery than we've seen so far.
Maybe I'm just impatient.
And I'm growing cynical, again.
This is it, folks. Like it or not, we're the most powerful nation on earth. Right or wrong, our will shall most likely determine the fate of this particular civilization and, perhaps, the fate of the planet, as well. You take a thing just so goddamn far, and maybe you don't get more than fourteen or fifteen second chances.
What about me? Well, all sorts of business-of-writing crap conspired to prevent me from writing yesterday. Today might be better, if I can shake this funk. If I can strike the spark.
I watched a lot of television last night. I hate that sluggish, icky feeling I get after about four or five hours of television, even good television. Last night, it began with a National Geographic documentary on a climbing disaster on Mt. Hood, followed by another National Geographic documentary, this time one about Chernobyl. I suppose I should have stopped there. The foggy thing hadn't settled over my brain yet. But I continued on. Spooky and I watched the skateboard doc Dogtown and Z-Boys on IFC, which was really very, very wonderful, and I'd been wanting to see it since I missed it in the theatres, but, by the end, I still felt gorged on TV. I crawled off to bed and thought about reading. I fell asleep instead.
Why didn't we go to see the Chihuly exhibit? I was entirely too bummed by all the crap to get dressed, mostly. Maybe we'll go Thursday night. Tomorrow night. Weeks like sand in my hand, slipping between fingers.
You know about the lunar eclipse tonight, right? Yes, indeed. It should start about 9:14 p.m., with a total duration of some three and a half hours. It'll be visible from Alaska to Afghanistan. We'd planned on going up to the observatory at the Fernbank Science Center, but I'm running so far behind, we may have to content ourselves with the view from here. This will be the last lunar eclipse of 2004 and the last total lunar eclipse until 2008. Totality should be reached about 10:23 and last about an hour. Look upwards, kiddos.
Spooky has to go out and find pumpkins this afternoon, because we still haven't done that, either. What noisy cats are we...
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Addendum: Just in case I've never mentioned it, Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press is a spectacularly tolerant and patient fellow. Why do I say this now, you ask? Last night, lying in bed, I became convinced that the decision to swap "Alabaster" for "Andromeda Among the Stones" in the second issue of Subterranean Magazine was a very bad bit of judgement on my part. Why? "Alabaster" was meant as a stand-alone chapbooky sort of story. That's what it was written to be, tailored to that sort of presentation. So, I called Bill this morning and asked him if we could switch back. Without even pausing to tell me that I was a frustrating, indecisive loon, he agreed. So. "Alabaster" will be published as a chapbook, illustrated by Ted Naifeh, as originally planned, and "Andromeda Among the Stones" will join "Bradbury Weather" (illustrated by Rick Kirk) as the two stories by me included in Subterranean Magazine #2, also as originally planned. Sorry for any confusion.
Today, I can go back to work on Daughter of Hounds, which is an odd sort of relief.
Yesterday, in a unanimous 7-0 vote, the Georgia State Supreme Court threw out our hate-crime law, decreeing it "too vague." Georgia now takes its rightful place among the thimbleful of states without hate-crime legislation (46 states presently have such laws, in some form). Next week, or so I understand, large, inviting signs will be posted at the state line, We're Glad Georgia's on Your Mind. Violent Bigots Welcome!.
The new National Georgraphic came yesterday, and it contains a superb piece on evolutionary theory. The cover will be misleading, especially to those creationists always desperately looking for some mainstream media acceptance. The question "Was Darwin Wrong?" floats suggestively above the head of an Hispaniolan twig anole. Turn to page two, and the question is repeated, this time superimposed over a photograph of one of Charles Darwin's beloved pigeons. Turn the page again, however, and the question is answered: No. The Evidence for Evolution is Overwhelming. Thank you, National Georgraphic, for having a backbone. There are plenty enough invertebrates in the world. But there is disturbing stuff in this article, such as the following:
According to a Gallup poll drawn from more than a thousand telephone interviews conducted in February 2001, no less than 45 percent of responding U.S. adults agreed that "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so." ... "Only 37 percent of the polled Americans were satisfied with allowing room for both God and Darwin—that is, divine initiative to get things started, evolution as the creative means. (This view, according to more than one papal pronouncement, is compatible with Roman Catholic dogma.) Still fewer Americans, only 12 percent, believed that humans evolved from other life-forms without any involvement of a god.
And, of course, the world is flat. And the stars are pinholes in the velvet dome of Heaven. And the Apollo moon landings were a hoax. And babies come from cabbage patches. And Santa Claus bring Xmas presents from his candy-cane house at the North Pole. And Iraq was hiding WMDs. And, in case you were wondering, George W. Bush is a Really Good Man.
Round and round and round, kiddos. Round and round and round.
My head hurts. My stomach is sour.
Last night, we finally watched Supersize Me, and while it wasn't quite as horrifying as I'd expected, it did make me glad that I've only eaten food from McDonalds three times in the last two years.
Later, I read T. S. Eliot aloud to Spooky. "The Dry Salvages" (Eliot's poem, not my story) never ceases to amaze me. It's one of the most eloquent discourses on time and the human mind that I have yet to read (though it's best read in context with the other three poems of Four Quartets).
Tonight, Spooky and I are going to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens to see the Dale Chihuly exhibit.
My thanks to Poppy for the things she said in her LJ yesterday about brilliance and writing and so forth. Damn straight.
Oh, and I know I said that I'd post more thoughts on Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars after seeing the whole mini again on Sunday afternoon, but, in truth, I think I've already said most of what I have to say. Seeing it again served more in strengthen previous conclusions than to change them. The first half is too rushed. The second half is beautiful and brilliant, and I am grateful for it. I wish they hadn't changed Sikozu and Jothee. I wished the Scarrans hadn't been blue. I wish they'd left Chiana's wig alone. I will say that, the second time through, I cried at D'argo's death. I didn't cry the first time. I don't think it felt real the first time. I also cried at the ending, when Aeryn and John took the baby up to behold his "playground." It was the sort of darkly hopeful ending that the series warranted. It was fitting. I am pleased.
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Okay. Would-be authors take note. It's important that you learn this. All that stuff about commas and dangling participles is optional, but this one you must know. When you have succeeded and become a published author (or, for that matter, have achieved public success at any art), you have always silently agreed to make of yourself a target for the disgruntled, vocal anonyms of the world. You have very little, if any, say in this. But, still, this is how it works. If you'tre lucky, without warning you will be showered with praise, but you'll also be showered with shit and often by people who are nameless and faceless and who lack the decency to even sign their names to what they write. And, as Neil Gaiman instructed me many years ago, the bad reviews almost always carry a hundred times more weight than the good ones, at least in the mind of the author.
Which brings us, unfortunately, to the most recent "review" of Murder of Angels posted to Amazon.com. Ah, but wait. This isn't going to be just another case of Caitlín kvetching because someone obviously lacked the mental faculties to appreciate her brilliant work. No, kiddos. This one I'm offerring up as a caveat to the above statement regarding being shat upon.
You may indeed tell me that my prose is "vapid," that it "is clumsy, straining to be experimental and edgy, with the result that it's jarring, discordant, and trite." That's your perogative. I put the book out there, knowing this would happen, and all my bitching and moaning about my sweat and tears doesn't change a thing. If you think "the sequence of mostly blank pages chronicling one character's fall is less innovative than hackneyed, a technique that many other authors have employed to similar juvenile effect," you have every right to say so, even if you do so at the risk of looking like a putz. We all have an inalienable right to make putzes of ourselves.
But you do not have the right to acuse me of, oh, say, plagiarism, unless you have some damn good evidence upon which to base your claims. That, kiddos, is what we call libel (if you do it verbally, it's merely slander). Consider the following, courtesy the recently spawned anonym "Bookfiend" (reputedly from Georgia):
Also, no one else [reviewing Murder of Angels] has mentioned an aspect that particularly bothers me: the heavy borrowing of lines from songs. While Kiernan seems to expect—and rightly so—that her readers will recognize lyrics from bands such as the Cure and the Sisters of Mercy, to include these segments as part of the story, without attributing them to the bands or even enclosing them in quotation marks, is, unless the definition has changed lately, plagiarism.
Now, rest assured, the folks at Penguin Legal don't let me cross a frelling "t" or dot a lowercase "j" if they think there's even the remotest possibility of getting them or myself (and, by extension, themselves) into hot water with copyright and trademark law (remember Realtor vs. realtor?). If I plagarized in Murder of Angels (which I didn't), then it follows that every time you see a film,and there's a pop song in the background that the film does not immediately pause to identify and list a copyright notice for, you're seeing a filmmaker blatantly engaging in plagiarism. This, of course, is not the case. Usually, the songs' copyrights are listed in the trailers. Here's the deal: under U.S. Copyright Law, I may quote two lines from any song without first getting permission from the song's author. Whether or not I decide to note the songwriter's copyright is at my discretion. If I wish to use more than two lines, we have exited the protective umbrella of "fair use," and I must obtain permission and pay licensing fees and so forth (for example, I had to jump through lots of legalistic hoops to quote from T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land in The Five of Cups).
It's both curious and telling that "Bookfiend" complains about song lyrics, but fails to scold me for using lines of poetry without citing the authors. I suspect that's because he or she has never gotten around to reading Blake or Milton or Lewis Carroll. Also, note that she or he's never reviewed anything but this one novel.
So, yes, you may insult my prose all you please. But you may not engage in libelous (or slanderous) speech upon my person without consequences. This review clearly violates Amazon.com's TOS as they relate to customer "reviews." And that means that it will soon be removed. That's the silver lining to the shitty little black raincloud of anonymous internet criticism. In the past, Amazon has always removed the few "reviews" that I (or my agent) have requested be removed. A shame they can't screen the "reviews" in the first frelling place so that this foolishness doesn't happen.
Also, I know I'm a conspiracy-minded nutjob, but I find it extremely suspicious that Bookfiend (who could, by its own implicit admission, be anyone in the world — even me) chose to post this review right after my comments about Mr. John Philpott. There's a certain similarity to both reviews, and they harp on more or less all the same things (dialogue, for example, and the passage containing unorthodox formatting at the end of Chapter Five). Likely as not I'm wrong, but it's an interesting coincidence. No one else has complained about either that I've seen.
Anyway, I spent last night practising various meditation techniques to prevent Bookfiend from ruining my Saturday night. If you think it's ridiculous that I let crap like this get to me, I refer you back to paragraph one of this entry.
As for yesterday, despite not having slept much at all the night before, I managed to revise everything I'd written on Friday and write 1,247 additional words, completing Part IV of the prologue. The ms. currently stands at 48 pp., or 9,995 words (which is about twice as long as any previous prologue I've done, I think). Oh, and yesterday I engaged in some formatting that would have given Mr. Bookfiend the screaming heebie-jeebies. I'm really pleased with where this book is going, but now I have to set the prologue aside until Wednesday and spend Monday and Tuesday on a thing for Marvel Comics. When I know if anything's going to come of it, I'll let you know. But then it's right back to Daughter of Hounds. At this point, I'm loathe to pause. I actually want to be writing this book (and how often does that happen for me?).
Back in July, the fact that I've been working myself ragged and letting the attendant stress tear me apart was rather forcibly brought to my attention. I called my agent and told her that I had to slow down, and we renegotiated the contract for Daughter of Hounds, giving me much more time to complete the book. My publisher wasn't terribly happy, as they'd like a book a year, but I finally had to admit that my health and sanity comes first. Lately, however, I've been backsliding. I was entirely too frazzeled yesterday to spend all the hours I spent writing. I'd not eaten much. I was running on caffeine and desire (a poor mix). When I'd finished Part IV, I took a hot bath, got out and promptly frelling fainted in the kitchen. This is only the third time in my life that I've fainted. Fortunately, the fall didn't do me any serious harm, just a banged-up elbow. When I could walk, Spooky and Jennifer helped me to the sofa, and I slept until about 7 p.m. I felt like ass all night long. I am taking this as a not so gentle reminder from my body that I have to watch the stress and slow the frell down.
Last night, after the fainting and napping, we watched some crap on TV, and then I played a little Morrowind. First time in weeks. Nar'eth the Dunmer left her abode in Balmora and journeyed far north to Solsthiem. I thought there might be some action up there, because everyone in Vvardenfell seems so damned terrified of the place. But I walked from Fort Frostmoth north and then northeast and then north again until I reached the sea. Then, I headed west until I encountered the barrier of a vast glacier, which I skirted and headed south, back to Fort Frostmouth, where I took a ship back to Khuul. Other than a few wolves and bears (including snow wolves and snow bears and grizzly bears, oh my) and one cranky mage (whom I killed), I encountered nothing ominous, in my entire circumnavigtion of the island. I saw no sign of the fabled werewolves, and I even violated a tomb looking for them. But, hey, it was a calm way to pass an hour or so. Afterwards, I went to bed and began reading Alastair Reynolds' novella "Diamond Dogs" (thanks, Bill), which promises to be quite wonderful. I took an Ambien, to be sure that I'd get back to sleep after that nap. When I woke up at six a.m., suddenly wide awake, I took another half Ambien and slept untl ten. I had a huge breakfast of leftover spaghetti and feel much, much better this morning. I'm taking the day off (though I want to be writing — how weird is that?), and a little later, Spooky and I are going to the Dekalb Farmer's Market to buy pumpkins from which to carve jack-o'-lanterns. At 3 p.m., I'll be watching Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, of course. I preordered the DVD yesterday (more on that later).
Oh, make sure you read the latest chapter of The Adventures of Boschen and Nesuko. To quote the series' creator, the unflappable Setsuled (known to us Nebari as Leh'agvoi), "Not a whole lot happens in it, but I made a special effort to make Nesuko sexy. So go see!." He's not kidding. I think I have a serious thing for Nesuko. I can't decide if it's the ears or the teeth.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
I have, on occassion, written here about the peculiar goings on which I experience from time to time, especially since we moved to this apartment. From the start, this place has seemed particularly plagued with "ghostly" activity. Note that I place "ghostly" in quotation marks because, while I do accept the reality of various sorts of paranormal phenomena, when I say ghost I don't generally mean what a lot of other people mean when they say ghost. At this point, I don't believe in souls, spirits, or an afterlife, so I can't very well accept an explanation of ghosts as restless spirits. Anyway, we had a doozy of an experience yesterday, which is why I'm running late today.
Jennifer was at work. Spooky had gone to the post office to mail a batch of eBay stuff. And I was at home working on Part IV of the prologue of Daughter of Hounds. Oh, I have to explain something. Because I'm almost completely blind in my left eye and write with my headphones on very loud, we've worked out a system whereby Spooky or Jennifer can enter my office (I sit with my back to the door) without startling me. They walk past and sort of swoosh the air. It sounds silly, but it lets me know someone has entered from my left and behind me without freaking me out. So, I was sitting here yesterday, and I feel the whoosh. It was a big whoosh, which usually means it's Spooky, not Jennifer, whose whoosh is more subtle. I turned my head to the left, towards the door, which was open (I always leave it open when I'm here alone). And I very clearly saw a tall jet-black figure (I can't say if it was naked with black skin or clothed all in black or some combination thereof) walking past my door. Judging by my doorway, which is 7'5" (we just measured it), the figure was about eight feet tall (the top of its head was obscured by the top of the doorway). This is the clearest I've ever seen one of our apparitions. I was too stunned to do anything but watch. As it passed the doorway, heading down the hall towards the bedrooms, it looked at me. We made eye contact. There was no sound as it passed, unless the sound was muffled by my headphones. When it had gone, I took off the headphones and ran to the front of the apartment. I opened a door, turned on lights, pulled up windows shades, made noise. After maybe five minutes there had been no sound from the back of the apartment, and I walked back to my office. Still no sign of anything, so I checked out Jennifer's bedroom and then mine and Spooky's. Nothing. Nothing but Sophie, who seemed utterly oblivious.
I walked back to the living room, figuring I'd just wait out front until Spooky came back. I pulled back a curtain and saw that she'd just pulled into the parking lot. I opened the door and remarked on her good timing as she was coming up the walk. She asked what I was talking about, and I told her a rather rushed, rambly version of what I've just written down. This sort of thing never seems to surprise her. I think she deals with it better than I do. She listened, nodded her head, walked through the apartment with me, and then told me that on the way home, she'd been startled by something in the rearview mirror, a dark figure, something which she thought she'd seen in the backseat. Based of where she was at the time, this would have happened at roughly the same time as my own sighting.
I tried not to think about it, went back to writing, and tried to have a normal day. But I awoke last night about six, started thinking about the apparition and didn't fall asleep again until nine o'clock, when I slept until ten. I think I slept three hours total last night.
As usual, I won't presently speculate on an explanation. I will say that I was not drinking absinthe yesterday or taking anything else which might have produced an hallucination.
It's a weird goddamn universe. I think I'm glad we're moving in another month.
So, I did manage to make good progress on the prologue yesterday. I did 1,058 words and should finish Part IV today, if I can ever get started. I'm thinking I'll have the prologue finished by Wednesday evening.
And I have a related announcement. I spoke with Bill Schafer this morning, and we've decided that instead of releasing "Alabaster" as a chapbook, it'll replace the reprint of "Andromeda Among the Stones" in issue #2 of Subterranean Magazine. That means that if you pick up the zine, you get two new stories of mine, plus the interview. Ted Naifeh will still be illustrating "Alabaster." But instead of having to pay for a magazine and a chapbook, you'll only have to buy the magazine. You can read "Andromeda Among the Stones" in Steve Jones' Mammoth Book of New Terror (available via Amazon). So, consider yourselves updated.
We had a good Kid Night last night, though the movies were ass. I made big messy cheeseburgers. We rented something called 13 Seconds, an independent horror film that had supposedly won a bunch of awards. I almost dozed halfway through. Despite some nice visuals and make-up FX, the acting was atrocious and the script and plot virtaully nonexistent. However, near the end the whole thing took a surreal turn, becoming the cinematic equivalent of a Jack Chick track. Do heroin and go to Hell. The movie blatantly stole dialogue from Alien, took visuals from Jacob's Ladder (in fact, it took its very premise from Jacob's Ladder) and lifted the basic gimmick of Night Gallery. But the weird Christian stuff elevated it above the merely awful to the profoundly peculiar. Next we watched Ghostwatcher, which had slightly better production values, a little bit of a script, a dab of plot, and a few theatre students, but not much else going for it. Fortunately, the burgers made up for the lousy movies. I fell asleep to Ida Lupino in Moontide (1942) on TMC, an amazingly beautiful film, the sort of film that makes me wish contemporary filmmakers would shoot exterior shots on soundstages and film everything in black and white. Later, when the insomnia began, I watched The Password is Courage (1962), which was entertaining but amounted to little more than one part Stalag 17 to one part The Great Escape. Then, as the sun rose, I watched the utterly unremarkable Cause for Alarm! (1951), and then MGM Parade Show #28 (1955), which had John Carradine introducing Part Two of Captains Courageous (1937) with Spencer Tracy. Somewhere in there I dozed for an hour and awoke at ten and watched Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends
I'm gonna go write now. Hopefully, it will be a ghost-free day.
Friday, October 22, 2004
Not quite sure why, but I'm running about half an hour late this morning. Sometimes it just happens that way.
The writing went quite well yesterday, Mr. Philpott's commentary aside, and I did another 1,015 words on the prologue, getting Part IV started. As I said late yesterday, the book has begun to unfold in my mind. This one had me pretty freaked out for a while. The story just wasn't coming. I was beginning to think that it never would. And then it did. The infinity of possibilities resolved into only a handful of probable outcomes, with one or two shining most brightly in my mind's eye. This is often the way it is for me. And for those who've asked questions about the subject matter, yes, this is a book about the ghouls, glimpsed or mentioned in both Low Red Moon and Murder of Angels. It follows from Low Red Moon (and a couple of my short stories, "So Runs the World Away," "The Dead and the Moonstruck," and, to a lesser extent, In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers), with about ten years having occurred between the two books. It looks as though it will be set entirely in New England. As for returning characters, you'll see Deacon and Sadie. More I shall not yet say. I think I'm going to like this book immensely. Yesterday, I wrote to The Guess Who, The Rolling Stones, The Searchers, and Zager and Evans' "In the Year 2525." Not at all my usual writing music, but perfect for the scene.
Also yesterday, before I could get to the writing, I did an 850-word bio for the Fiddler's Green souvenir book and picked out a photo for them to use (me with the Argentinosaurus at the Fernbank Science Center).
Also, my contributor's copies of The Last Pentacle of the Sun: Writings in Support of the West Memphis 3 arrived, which includes "Night Story 1973" by Poppy and me, as well as artwork by Clive Barker, and fiction, lyrics, and commentary by such folks as Margaret Cho, James Hetfield, Peter Straub, and Bentley Little. I urge you to pick up a copy of the anthology. All proceeds go to the Damien Echols Defence Fund. I asssume that most of you are familiar with the plight of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, but if you aren't, proceed to this site. This nightmare has been going on for eleven years now, and it's long past time to bring it to an end.
I need to try and reach Bernie Wrightson today. I need to e-mail my editor at Penguin. I need to ask Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press a question, and e-mail Derek Pegritz (he of Nyarlathotep). But mostly, I just need to frelling write.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Addendum: I suppose I owe you guys a genuine entry for the day. It's gonna be very short, though, because I am way the frell pooped.
I did well yesterday. I wrote 1,068 words on Daughter of Hounds, finishing with Part III of the prologue. The story has begun to unfold in my mind very rapidly. Oh, and Spooky and I filed stuff that had been piling up about the office. And I finally wrote down my thoughts on Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars.
Later, we made spaghetti, and I played Sudeki. Later still, we read two sf stories, "Strong Medicine" by William Shunn (which was quite short and read like a episode from the original Twilight Zone) and King Dragon by Michael Swanwick (a very entertaining blend of "high" fantasy and sf).
And really, that was yesterday. I'll write about today in the morning, for fear of having nothing else to write about in the morning.
You know, life as a moderately successful fiction writer isn't crappy enough, between the stress and uncertainty and the money problems, the deadlines and the critics who aren't idiots who you actually have to listen to. No. I also have to contend with illiterate shit weasels who have somehow gotten it in their tiny prosimian noggins that they're qualified to write book reviews. And no, this time I'm not talking about the "reviews" on Amazon.com.
Ibsen wrote, "To live is to war with trolls." I've always loved that quote. But I would hasten to add, "To live as a novelist is war with the short-bus trolls."
To wit, a review of Murder of Angels in the October issue of Fangoria*, which was only just brought to my attention yesterday. On the one hand, this is easily the worst published review I've ever gotten, the only truly negative published review I've ever gotten (to my knowledge), but on the other hand, that's only a small comfort. Long ago, when I was just a little baby writer, Doc Brite advised me never to respond to my critics. But even she seems to have abandoned that policy. So what the hell. I'm in such a sweet mood today that I just want to frelling share.
*A caveat: I do not read Fangoria. I stopped reading it way back in the early nineties, as the zine just seemed to get dumber and dumber and dumber, and I've never really been part of the boobies and blood crowd. This is only the second time Fangoria has bothered to comment on my writing. The first was a lukewarm review of Silk. I have been grateful of their disregard.
Mr. John Philpott writes:
There's much to admire about the way Caitlín R. Kiernan writes, her work belies an artful care. Meticulous horror that aspires to be eerie rather than dumb deserves as wide an audience as it can find. For all that, this novel is redolent of comic books, a failing that fatally undercuts the author's strengths and makes her Lovecraft-describing-MTV passages piss-elegant. She might get away with it if she weren't so serious in her author's note. Do we really need to know what Bob Dylan songs she listened to while typing? Save that stuff for the press release.
Murder of Angels centers on rock star Daria Parker who keeps a home in Alabama with a paid guard to watch over her insane friend Niki and prevent Niki from sliding into what I'm guessing is the Qliphoth of the Kabbala. (That'd be "hell" to you and me.) Eventually, Niki reaches this place and finds the beings there address her as the Hierophant. Often Kiernan's dialogue, like her writing in general, tends towards a sophomoric cleverness. When Niki converses with beings in the other realm, however, the critters sound goofy. The latter half of Murder of Angels livens up a great deal, yet also features some tricksy "poetic effects" that are just corny. When a certain character dies and leaves this mortal plane, a series of single sentences and then phrases and finally individual words appear, one to a page, for ten pages. Huh?
Kiernan is a literary stylist, a master of her particular mood — and a poor storyteller. In general, her prose suffers from a static quality, because even when some event finally disrupts the angst, the action still feels empty and plotted. She creates characters in extreme emotional states, but it's not as if they change to become that way. We have no idea what these people might be like when thye're not desperate or insane, and this book doesn't read as though Kiernan does either.
What am I supposed to say in response to a reviewer who's reading comprehension is so low that he couldn't even catch the fact that Daria's house is located in San Francisco, not Alabama? How would I reply to someone with such an obvious contempt for poetry or any sort of experimental prose that he isn't ashamed to employ a phrase like "tricksy 'poetic effects'"? I just don't know. How about, "Asshole, meet Opinion. Opinion, meet Asshole"?
I have written my publicist and editors letters asking that they never again send review copies to Fangoria.
And Mr. Philpott, if you are out there ego-surfing one day and happen across these comments, just remember, though it might be trite of me to say so, an A- from Entertainment Weekly trumps an F+ from a titties and gore mag any old day of the week. In short, please feel free to kiss my sophomoric ass. That is if you can first manage to extract your head from out your own.
Also, my thanks to Spooky who hid in a corner at Borders and copied Mr. Philpott's foolishness down on two Priority Mail labels (front and back). I wasn't about to pay $8 for the pleasure of being insulted by this snide little idiot.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Addendum: Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars.
There are very significant spoilers. If you want to read on anyway, then click here.
A few days back, maybe a week or so ago, I was watching Jimmy Durante in Music for Millions (1944) and someone says to him, "Money is not everything, you know," and he frowns and nods his head and replies, "Maybe not, but I'd like to have it around until I can choose the type of misery that is most agreeable to me." Damn straight.
Some mornings, it seems that I finally pull free of the dreams as if through some great unconscious force of will, some force of which I'm never actually, directly, aware, but can only postulate upon waking. It's very much like rising from deep, cold water, if you've ever done that, certain that I'm running out of air, that burning ache in my lungs, the feeling that it would be so much easier to blackout than go on, the surface so near but not ever near enough. And then I'm awake, nauseous, dizzy, disoriented, exhausted, and I stumble about for hours, "wet" with the thoughts that have followed me back, the clinging memories of that dreamspace. This is one of those mornings.
What the hell was I going to say?
Well, yesterday I wrote 1,134 words on the prologue of Daughter of Hounds. If only I could write that much every day. If only I could write that much five days a week.
Here's an update on my various Subterranean Press projects: It's looking now as if the long-delayed hardback edition of Low Red Moon will be released in November, hopefully on the same day as The Dry Salvages and the "Mercury" chapbook (if you ordered Low Red Moon directly from subpress, you'll get "Mercury" free). The next Dancy chapbook, "Alabaster," will probably be out early in 2005, with illustrations by Ted Naifeh. To Charles Fort, With Love, my third short fiction collection, with illustrations by Richard Kirk (Tales of Pain and Wonder, From Weird and Distant Shores) and a preface by Ramsey Campbell, should be along in late summer or autumn of 2005. Also, Subterranean Press has made a deal with Derek c. f. Pegritz and Nyarlathotep to release a second "soundtrack" CD to accompany my work, this time an accompaniment to The Dry Salvages, which will come free with the limited edition. My thanks to everyone who offerred an opinion on the release of the prologue of Daughter of Hounds prior to the novel's publication. Right now, the plan is that the prologue will be included in a future issue of Subterranean Magazine, sometime in 2005. I think that's just about it for now.
I'd hoped that would help center me, ticking off mundane things. I don't think it has.
As Darren McKeeman has already announced, I will not be attending SpookyCon on Halloween weekend. My apologies to anyone who was hoping to see me there. Perhaps I can get to San Francisco sometime next year. Perhaps.
This entry isn't nearly so ramblesome as you might think. But you do need to squinch up your eyes just the right way and then look at it in a mirror to see the symmetry. It's an anamorphic procession.
Spooky and I spent a few more hours with Phil Hine's Chaos Condensed last night. This book was recommended to me by a number of people who's opinion on such things I respect, but I have to confess that I'm finding it extremely frustrating. Hine's logic often comes across as slipshod and circular, filled with ad hoc reasoning, and much of the book seems even more ramblesome and unfocused than this blog entry. I'm coming to chaos magic with a need for intellectual rigor that I've inherited from my background as a natural scientist and from my studies in philosophy and psychology over the last decade and a half. I'd hoped that, drawing as it does upon quantum physics and chaos theory, chaos magic would offer a more reasoned and "scientific" approach to magic than other schools. Indeed, Hine begins by claiming that this is, in fact, the case. But I've not seen much actual evidence of it so far. However, I will say that things did seem to be getting a little better round about pages 100-115 or so, with the discussion of servitors. We'll see how this thing goes. I feel like an interloper. It's a strange, strange land, and I'm a stranger here. Spooky seems to have much more patience in these matters than I do.
I think I've dripped a whole puddle of dream onto the floor at my feet. It will surely freeze in the cryosphere.
I spent about an hour yesterday evening, after I'd finished up with Daughter of Hounds, putting together my comments on Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, but they are still unfinished. Hopefully, I'll have them up this evening.
Enough for now. I must pretend to move ahead.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
I'm going to wait until this evening to write about Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, because I really need to write more Daughter of Hounds today, and I have a feeling that once I start writing about the mini-series I shall grow even longer of wind than usual.
Yesterday was consumed by minutiae, bits of this and that which needed doing, e-mails, the signature sheets. By the time all the minutiae was done, the day was mostly over and I was no longer in the mood for writing. So, no progress yesterday. Today shall be different. But I also need to get a biography done for Fiddler's Green. Here's a fact not widely known: You know those biographies of authors that you see in books and convention programmes and other such places? Usually, they're written by the author. I've long since become accumstomed of writing about myself in third person, and that can't be healthy.
Spooky brought home a copy of the new Entertainment Weekly yesterday, the one with the review of Murder of Angels. It's entirely surreal, finding my name, my book, inside EW. I'm very happy with this, and my editor and lit agent are both very pleased.
It's raining, and there's thunder. I'd rather spend the day in a bar somewhere.
I feel very out of sorts this morning, and feeling out of sorts always makes me feel inarticulate. A night crammed with bright, bright dreams, Benadryl all day yesterday, and so forth. I seem, somehow, to be thinking several seconds behind the place where I'm actually located on this worldline. I don't know how to stop and catch up with myself.
I did find time for two short stories yesterday, "Dragonhead" by Nick DiChario and "Night of Time" by Robert Reed. "Dragonhead" was extraordinarily short, and I've never much cared for extraordinarily short stories. There's no time to gather momentum, or if momentum is gathered, there's no time for it to carry the reader anywhere before the conclusion. The Robert Reed story, however, was very good, and it was a nice note on which to go to sleep. It contains one of the most superb descriptions of the multiverse I've ever found in a work of fiction. I quote:
"This concept of each electron existing in countless realities, swimming through an endless sea of potential, with every possible outcome achieved to what resembles an infinite number of outcomes—"
Monday, October 18, 2004
I'm going to wait until tomorrow to talk about Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. I will say that if you missed Part One last night, you can catch it tonight, at 7 p.m. (EST), immediately before Part Two airs. Also, when I do talk about the mini tomorrow, I've already promised to place my comments behind a cut, so you shan't have to worry about spoliers (for Blogger, there will be a link from the entry to the LJ cut page).
Not much to say about yesterday. No writing and no non-writing writing work. I did some housecleaning. I watched seven straight hours of Farscape.
Thanks to all the smoke at the Dresden Dolls show on Saturday night, my cough has returned full force. I knew that it would, and went anyway, full in that knowledge. To a degree, it's my own silly fault. But I do very much wish for the day when Atlanta bans public smoking. I fully support the legalization of most all drugs and use a number of them myself. I'm really not being a hypocrite. I mean, what if you bumped into me at a show or a restaurant or a bar, and you had to get a big dose of some benzodiazapene or another, just because it's a drug that I use? What if you had to drink absinthe every time you were near me? I mean some people hate the taste of anise. I quit smoking many years ago and, while I'd support anyone's right to use nicotine, I don't think I should have to start again anytime I want to go to a show.
So, I'm on Benadryl again.
I have an idea for releasing the prologue of Daughter of Hounds as a chapbook prior to the release of the novel, and I'm going to talk to Bill Schafer about it today. Normally, I wouldn't consider such a thing, but a) the novel probably won't be released until January 2006, and b) this prologue is going to be about ten-thousand words long and feel more like a short story than my prologues usually do. Do you like this idea? LJ people say so if you do (or if you don't). My thought is that it would whet people's appetites and give them something to tide them over, given that the release date is so far off.
As for today, I have to sign the signature sheets for "Mercury," and I have to begin the third section of the prologue. That sounds like more than enough to keep me busy. Toss in a few e-mails I must attend to, and it becomes a very full day.
I had a rather disquieting dream last night. It's not the usual sort I bother to write down. I can see where it came from, more or less. Just toss The Haunting of Hill House, House of Leaves, "Hotel California," and the Heaven's Gate Cult into a blender (those repeating H's are interesting) and, voila, you'd have this dream. I accompanied a group of people (in the dream I knew who they were and why I was with them, but I lost that knowledge upon waking) to a vast house. Almost from the beginning, I understood the house was a sentient and, perhaps, malign thing. These people served it somehow, though exactly how remains unclear to me. It needed them, and they adored it unconditionally. They were uncomfortable with my being there. I felt alienated, alone, and when the house suddenly began to show interest in me, even favour towards me, I felt elation and peace, even though I knew that the house was a Bad Thing. The others became jealous and spiteful. At one point, we entered a room where a large number of cots had been set up. They were arranged rather haphazardly about the room. They were unmade, and the bedclothes were stained with blood. It was explained to me that this is where a group of people loyal to the house had last slept. There was no sign of bodies, just the blood. When I awoke, I actually had a terrible sense of loss, that my mental and spiritual connection to the house had been severed. The sun was coming up, and as I lay there, running the dream over and over in my head, trying not to forget it, that sensation of loss faded to a general strangeness that still hasn't left me. There was no lucidity involved.
Our eBay auctions continue. Click here.
Now, I fear it's time to begin this day.
Sunday, October 17, 2004
Let me just say, I am getting old. You can only deny a thing like this so long. Eventually, it becomes obvious. Eventually, you acknowledge a thing like this and you do so with poise and dignity, or you wind up like Mick Jagger. I'm getting too old for shows that keep me out all damn night long. Me and Spooky both, and she's six years my junior. We didn't get to sleep until after four, after the Dresden Dolls show, and I woke up this morning feeling sort of dried out and trampled. It's a good thing I decided not to do the Icon of Coil show on Friday night. I'd probably be frelling dead right now. We warmed up Thai leftovers for breakfast, and I fried some eggs. The food, along with vast amounts of Gatorade, and I feel halfway decent again.
Anyway, yesterday I let responsibility get the better of me and stayed home and finished up the Bookslut interview. Spooky and Jennifer have better sense and went to the free Dresden Dolls show at Criminal Records. Spooky took many fine photos, some of which she'll be putting in her LJ. I'll tell you when she does. The three of us had dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant (hence the aforementioned leftovers), then Jenny stayed home while Spooky and I went to the show at the Echo Lounge. The first band, The Selmanaires, of whom I'd never heard, were absolutely fantastic. Think Devo crossed with the Buzzcocks crossed with The Cramps. And the drummer and guitar player were identical twins. A very nice surprise. Spooky was looking forward to the second band, Count Zero (who are touring with the Dolls), as the lead singer was formerly of Think Tree, of which she was very fond (the only band to ever use Iguanodon as a song title). Unfortunately, they were plagued by terrible sound problems. I got the impression they hadn't had a chance to fully sound check. That and the fact that the Echo just isn't set up for big bands with lots of gizmos. But I could tell they'd be awesome, under better circumstances. Amanda and Brian came on, hell, I don't know, well after midnight, and were, as always, brilliant. They played some new stuff, including a song called "The Shores of California," that proves they're only getting betterer. They did a frelling marvelous Bush-bashing cover of "War Pigs." The crowd was good, even if Spooky and I were the only ones dressed for the show. Everyone else seemed intent on defying the band's request that the audience get into the spirit of punk-rock/freak cabaret. Instead, the slackers stood about looking clueless in their Wal-Mart/Urban Outfitters chic. Well, yes, this is Atlanta.
But gods, I go to so few shows these days that I forget all the things about shows that annoy the dren out of me. For example, the inevitable Drunken Mousey Girl. There always seems to be one. Usually, she's pressed against the front of the stage. She's usually the kind of fan who scares performers. She usually has a drunken male accomplice. She's the sort of girl who leads a meek life, has no social skills, and the only way she can enjoy herself at a show is to get drunk as a skunk and act like a fool. Last night, we had the Queen Bitch of all Drunken Mousey Girls. At one point, I almost stabbed her to death with a discarded, broken drumstick I'd snagged from the edge of the stage. It probably would have earned me a round of applause. You'd have thought this girl was in the presence of Jesus or Allah or something, the way she carried on. She cried. She sang. She writhed. She strained to touch Amanda whenever she came near. She tearfully shouted, "Amanda, I looooovvvvveeee youuuuuuuu!" Christ. Don't people know this is creepy? Amanda looked genuinely terrified of the girl. Oh, and she chainsmoked, the Queen Bitch of Drunken Mousey Girls, which was the final straw.
Today is, of course, October 17th, the day that Farscape fans have awaited since the final episode of Season Four aired way back on March 21, 2003 (well, truthfully, we've been waiting for it since news of the cancellation was leaked by the series' creators on September 6, 2002). Today, the story moves forward. Tonight, at 9 p.m. EST (8 p.m. Central), the promise of the "to be continued" thingy at the close of the aptly named "Bad Timing" will finally be fulfilled. Aeryn and John, Chiana and D'argo, Rygel and Noranti, Pilot and Moya, Scorpius and Sikozu, Grayza and Braca, the Scarrans and Peacekeepers and Luxans...everyone will be back for the more we knew there had to be. Stories do not end with "to be continued," especially stories that need telling. It's the Prime Law of the Monomyth, a dictate of the collective psyhcocosm. I mean, what if you were reading the frelling Iliad, reached Part IV, and it ended with "to be continued," but Part V never came?
This morning I got an e-mail from
(Meh'dra to us Nebari), which nicely summed up how I feel today:
So here we are, it's October the 17th, and Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars is today.? All of our efforts have come to fruition, and we stand at the precipice of what is Farscape's future.? I am, all at once, elated and nervous at the notion.
And I think, for those of us who worked and continue to work in the campaign to keep the show alive, in whatever form, the day really is something amazing. When we began, we faced a tide of naysayers, people, some of them Farscape fans themselves, who insisted we were naive and all our effort and time and fund-raising was a waste. The Sci-Fi Channel is an all-powerful monolith, they insisted. Fan loyalty is irrelevant. Only the Nielsen ratings matter. Too few people watch the show. It's too expensive to produce. And so on and so forth. But now, almost two years, one month, and eleven days after the campaign began, we know otherwise. There is no doubt that without our efforts the story would not be continuing. We did it. And tonight we get more.
One more time, the banner (click to see the trailer):
Spooky and I are going to spend the afternoon watching the last few episodes of Season Four on DVD, take a supper break at seven, then watch the "final" episode at eight, so I can move seamlessly into the mini.
Yeah, I know I'm a geek. I just don't give a dren.
Despite the wisdom of defeat, I bore my heart for all to see the wonders I had seen. -- VNV Nation, "Standing"
My name is John Crichton, an astronaut. Three years ago, I got shot through a wormhole. I'm in a distant part of the universe, aboard this living ship of escaped prisoners...my friends. I've made enemies. Powerful. Dangerous. Now all I want is to find a way home to warn Earth. Look upward and share the wonders I have seen. -- John Crichton, IASA astronaut, Farscape Project
Saturday, October 16, 2004
You say something enough times, people start to listen. Which is to say, even though I haven't yet actually seen a copy of the Entertainment Weekly which includes a review of Murder of Angels, I have already been provided with the text of said review. I'm not sitting about unable to write for the anxiety and anticipation which uncertainty inspires in me. My grateful thanks to Robyn_ma (who first told me about it), Listeningowl (who took the time to type it out), and Ginger Clark of Writer's House (who e-mailed the text of the review to me about 1:30 a.m. this morning). Because of you three, I'm not a nervous wreck right now. As for the review itself, I got an A-, which is plenty good enough for me. In the same issue, John Updike got a B and Peter Straub only got a C. I couldn't care less about Updike, but Peter's a genius, and over the years he's practically become the- loveable- uncle- no- one- ever- talks- about for me. It seems somehow very, very wrong that my new book should get an A- and In the Night Room should only get a C. Someone's smoking crack. Anyway, the MoA review is short, mostly synopsis, though I'm rather fond of the last bit: ...her punk-rock prose, and the brutally realistic portrayal of addiction and mental illness, make Angels fly.. I never would have described the prose as "punk rock," but it has a nice ring to it, regardless. In terms of sales and market exposure, this is probably the most important review I have ever received. If you'd like to see it, you'll find it on page 103 of the issue with Mel Gibson on the cover, which should be on newstands next week.
The writing went quite well yesterday, despite various sorts of kerfuffle and distraction (not the least of which was the Entertainment Weekly review). I did 848 words on the prologue and finished Section II. In the last couple of days, I've made enormous strides with Daughter of Hounds, figuring out major plot points which had previously eluded me. Which is good, considering the first check just arrived and all.
Oh, and my thanks to whoever wrote the most recent review of Murder of Angels for Amazon.com ("It Cuts Me Inside, and Often I've Bled", October 15, 2004). You may read it here (click the word "here," silly, and scroll down). I hardly agree that I "just might be America's best writer," but it's a good review with a much better than average, spoiler-free synopsis, and it makes me smile whenever people get my more round about allusions (in this case, the Suzanne Vega song, "The Queen and the Soldier").
Kid Night was superb, with slices from Fellini's and an absolutely stunning animated film (all CGI) from France, Kaena: La prophétie. It is no understatement to say that my eyeballs drooled. It's the same sort of jaw-dropping, drop-dead beauty I experienced with, say, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Alien, Dark City, and the films of the Bros. Quay. But Kaena is not all style and no substance (as some annoying people are wont to say of pretty things). Yes, it's breathtakingly gorgeous, but it also just might be one of the finest sf films I've ever seen. Directed by Chris Delaporte and Pascal Pinon, Kaena began as plans for videogame and then grew into a feature film. It's out on DVD, and I strongly recommend you hunt it down and prepare to be amazed. It should be easy to find. Even Blockbuster is carrying it. Oh, and the DVD includes a preview of MirrorMask, which was my first real look at the project. What can I say? Dave McKean paintings that move. Unbelievable. After the movie, I played Sudeki until almost two, when Elco met up with some anit-virus bot deep in the bowels of the massive computer that's taken control of Transentia, and i was just too bleary to go on.
I need to spend the weekend writing, finishing the Bookslut interview, signing signature sheets, and studying chaos magic, but today there are two Dresden Dolls shows and tomorrow...wait for it...the first half of Farscape: The Peackeeper Wars. So, there might be some slacking off until Monday morning. No one's perfect, not even those of us who get A-'s from Entertainment Weekly.
Oh, and my hair is black again. I'm pleased, though it'll be a few days before I recognize the face in the mirror.
Friday, October 15, 2004
Yesterday (that word with which we begin), I sat down to face the second section of the long prologue of Daughter of Hounds, wherein we first meet one of the story's protagonists (she's also an antagonist, for what it's worth) and where the story begins to move ahead in earnest. I was quite entirely terrified. I began the prologue on October 1st and proceeded to take two frelling weeks to get through the first two thousand words or so. But that thing happened, that thing that happens inside me when the story is finally ready to begin. The words came, like water, and I saw the character, and I began to understand her motives and actions and the things that are waiting for her. I wrote 1,052 words, a rainy night in Ipswich, a 1948 Cadillac hearse on its way to a fateful rendezvous. I finished up about 7 p.m., and this morning I'm actually eager to see what happens next. More than almost anything, anything except the need to pay my bills, that's what keeps me writing and why I shy away from outlines: the suspense of waiting to see what happens next. I've never written a prologue so complex as this. Generally, my prologues have been written either to set the novel's mood or to introduce characters. This one is meant to do both those things, but it's also being constructed as a sort of thesis statement for the entire book.
Things could still stall out. In fact, I'm sure they will, sooner or later. But this doesn't feel like a false start, and this novel is at last begun (and for those who find such things interesting, here it is, just four days past the eleventh anniversary of the day I began writing Silk).
And this morning, the first half of the advance for Daughter of Hounds arrived. Other than the fact that we need the money, I'd have preferred that it hadn't. I really detest taking money for unwritten books and novels, to the point that, on more than one occassion, I've asked Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press to wait and pay me after a story is written. I don't need that extra pressure, the knowledge that I owe someone a story, that it has to be written by X date.
Today shall be a busy day. The signature sheets for "Mercury" have just arrived. I expect I shall sign those tomorrow. I have the last set of questions for the Bookslut.com interview to do; they need to be done by Monday. And then there's non-writing stuff. My hair goes back to black today. I'm skipping an Icon of Coil show tonight because there's just too much to be done (and, besides, tonight is Kid Night). Tomorrow, though, is the Dresden Dolls. We found out yesterday that they're doing a free show in the parking lot at Criminal Records (L5P) prior to their evening show at the Echo Lounge. I expect Spooky and I shall be at both.
My thanks to Carol Murray for her e-mail. She writes:
I just wanted to email you to say how much I agree with what you said regarding poverty and the terrible impact it has on everyday life. I work for an anti-poverty organisation in Scotland, specifically relating to low paid work, and one of the most frustrating things we deal with is the attitude that poverty (for the citizens of so-called 'developed' countries at least) is just a minor inconvenience. Those who've never had those worries don't understand how poverty controls and hampers every single area of life. It was nice to see you addressing that fact; thank you.
You're welcome. It's hard to imagine, much less understand or forgive, the atitude that poverty is a "minor inconvenience," especially when it means one does not have access to such basic things as health care, housing, and education, but there's really no accounting for "humanity," is there?
Also, with regard to your feeling that you 'blow out of proportion' the significance of your communication with the reader via novels, I would encourage you to keep on blowing it out of proportion! I'm not an expert on creativity or literary matters, but I have a suspicion that it's this very thing which makes the stories and worlds you create seem like such vast and yet familiar territories; perhaps in trying your very hardest to communicate to us exactly what your vision is, you achieve that particular type of excellence which escapes virtually every other writer in modern times.
I actually blushed when I read that, which is odd as Nebari lack a blush response. Thank you, Carol.
My thanks also to hewet_ka_ptah for her tip regarding lucid dreaming.
Also, we're starting a new round of eBay auctions. Click here.
Last night, I read parts of "Andromeda Among the Stones" in The Mammoth Book of New Terror and found a few annoying typos that made it into print (my bad). I played a couple of hours of Sudeki, which becomes ever more difficult and addictive, and then Spooky read me James Van Pelt's excellent story, "The Long Way Home." And, all that said, it's time to make the frelling doughnuts. I shall close with yet another reminder, nay declaration, that you'd better not miss Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars this Sunday night at 9 p.m. EST (8 Central; part two to air Monday night) on the otherwise fairly loathsome Sci-Fi Channel. Not no way, not no how. Click the banner below to see the kick-ass (kick-eema) trailer:
Those without access to the SFC will be excused until such time as the DVD is released.
Thursday, October 14, 2004
I could file yesterday under frustration. I worked on the book most of the day and managed to write virtually nothing. I made extensive notes for the next section of the prologue (not something I often do), which I will hopefully begin today. I gathered up the music I need to set the mood for that section (lots of sixties, early seventies stuff, Procol Harum, Jefferson Airplane, Eric Burden and the Animals, etc.). I read back over the first section and revised, tweaked, polished, and so forth. I looked at photos Spooky and I took of Ipswich, MA back in July when we were scouting locations for the book. I did some research on shotguns. Stuff like that, all necessary to the book moving forward, but none of it actually writing. And there was other business, e-mail with my film agent about The Dry Salvages, e-mail with Ted Naifeh about "Alabaster," e-mail with an editor at Marvel about a couple of projects, news from Subterranean Press that the signature sheets for the "Mercury" chapbook will be arriving soon.
Today, perhaps I can actually begin to write the second section of the prologue.
I think I'm labouring beneath more than the usual weight, the weight that must be managed if I am to write. The weight that would rather have me do nothing at all. Yesterday, sitting here, I thought, It's really such a small thing. It took me a moment to realize what I was saying to myself. Slowly, I realized that I was saying that the act of communication which occurs between me and any given reader via a novel or short story, that connection, is such a small thing. I'm not saying that it isn't significant or important. Hell, it's one of the two or three reasons I keep doing this. But it is, nonetheless, a small thing. And sometimes it gets blown out of proportion. In my head, at least. Frell. I'm lost in this paragraph. Lost in this thought. Lately, I seem plagued with inarticulate moments, one thing I absolutely cannot afford, ever. Never mind.
The following comment was posted to my LJ day before yesterday: Artists do better work when they're suffering, or at least broke...An empty wallet is the fastest acting remedy to writers block.
Poppy has already said much about this wrongheaded and rather sadistic comment, and she's probably said it better than I can. But I feel I shouldn't let it pass without having at least said something. Speaking for myself, speaking as someone who spent her childhood and much of her early adulthood in terrible poverty which I wish never to revisit — bullshit. Some people confuse cause and effect. They prefer that carts precede horses. They mistake the degrading situation in which authors so often find themselves, the poverty that arises because society has so little concern for art and even less for artists, as the creative spark itself. They believe, wrongly, that squalor and suffering is a state prerequisite for inspiration. They think that because it's necessary that an author has experienced a given situation to skillfully, knowledgeably write about it, that said state must continue indefinitely. They romanticize hardship, finding virtue in squalor, perhaps even believing it might be a shortcut to enlightenment and genius. They point at the legions of starving artists as justification for their beliefs. But they're wrong.
Though I am presently far from free of financial concerns, my writing has allowed me to rise above my former poverty. I have health insurance for the first time in my life (I've only had it for two years). My teeth, which kept me ill throughout my twenties and early thirties, are finally in decent shape. I am finally in a position to carry my own weight, something that's very important to me. I don't have to fret about the rent or groceries or the electric bill. And because my health has improved, and I am freed from so many of the worries that once dominated my life, my writing has, not surprisingly, improved dramatically. I don't think there are many people who would argue that The Five of Cups, written in the last years of my own poverty, is a better novel than, say, Threshold, which was written at the height (so far) of my fiscal success, when I was doing a monthly title for DC/Vertigo. Likewise, I believe Low Red Moon and Murder of Angels are both far superior to Threshold, and one reason is that Threshold was written when I was very ill from the effects of two abscessed teeth, teeth that had been neglected because I'd not previously been in a position to afford dental care. I was horribly sick and almost constantly in great pain and then recuperating during the entire writing of Threshold. It's my sick book, just as The Five of Cups is my "poor" book. And neither of them, in my opinion, can hold a candle to Low Red Moon and Murder of Angels, both of which I was able to write relatively free of illness and money worries. The Five of Cups, Silk, and Threshold are, for me, triumphs not because the going was hard, but in spite of the fact that the going was hard.
For me, writing requires an enormous effort. It requires a clear mind. It requires focus and concentration. It requires some degree of physical comfort. The more of these things I have, the better my work becomes. A sense of security is good thing. Anyone who would suggest that writers should keep themselves in poverty and sickness for the sake of their art is an asshole or an idiot or both.
And that's quite enough said about that.
Is there anything else interesting from yesterday? Well, I saw Ben Browder on The Screen Savers yesterday, which was cool, even though the guy interviewing him was a doofus and had clearly never seen a single episode of Farscape. I loved Browder's description of Farscape as the anti-Star Trek (something I said in 2001, when I also described Farscape as "Star Trek for goths") and his candid admission that "our science is crap." Browder seemed very aware that the strength of the series, as with all good fiction, derives from the strength of its characters, not the peripheral, cosmetic trappings of science fiction. The buzz about a possible Farscape feature film continues to grow. Oh, and they aired about a thirty-second clip from Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. We only have three days to go, four if you count today, until the mini. I almost wish there were more time. It's going to be over far too soon.
For dinner, we made udon noodles with a blistering concoction of asparagus, beef, red bell peppers, red curry paste, zuchinni, and baby porta bella mushrooms.
And I see it's getting late, so I have to go. The words will, hopefully, have their way with me.
P.S. -- Lest anyone take offence at the above comments regarding Star Trek, be assured that I'm actually quite fond of the original series, ST: TNG, and ST:DSN. I wasn't trying to praise Farscape at the expense of Star Trek, nor do I think that was Ben Browder's intention.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
First things frelling first: This whole affair about Nancy Kilpatrick's new book, The Goth Bible, and Barnes and Noble. As I've already said in the comments section to my second post yesterday, I was only relating information provided me by someone who ought to have known what she was talking about. But it has become quite evident that Barnes and Noble stores outside of NY and CA are, in fact, carrying the book. You can even order it on the B&N website for 10% off (click here). And frankly, that's all I know.
Yesterday I thought that the words would never come. I sat and stared at the screen and the screen stared back. I paced. I cursed. I prepared to give up, go to a bar and get drunk. Finally, I took something (not absinthe; something a little stronger) and sat down in front of the stereo, which I cranked up really frelling loud. And I just sat there for about forty-five minutes, trying to lose myself in the music, looking for the storytelling place, the word place, all the requisite moods. At times like this, music is my saviour. At other times, too, but especially at times like this. Slowly, I relaxed, and when I went back to the iBook I had a better command of focus and concentration. And I wrote four hours worth of words (1,201, to be precise) in only about two hours. The first section of the prologue is done, some 2,505 words (or twelve pages). And I see now that the prologue's structure, which had eluded me, calls for six subdivisions. One down, five to go. Finally, I feel as though Daughter of Hounds has begun. Now, I just have to keep it on track.
If you haven't yet picked up a copy of Murder of Angels, I hope you'll do so soon. With luck, the sales figures for the book's first period will be as good as Threshold's were. It's entirely asinine to have to worry about this crap, but worry about it I must if I am to continue to write and publish books, pay my rent, eat, and play videogames. Also, if you're buying from Amazon, I urge you to please pick up a new copy, not one of the used or "new used" they allow people to sell via Amazon. I just keep asking myself, how deep must Amazon's ass be to accomodate it's own head so well?
I got my comp copies of Steve Jones' new anthology, The Mammoth Book of New Terror yesterday, which reprints my story, "Andromeda Among the Stones." It also includes stories (some new, some reprints) from such authors as Ramsey Campbell, Brian Lumley, Neil Gaiman, Graham Masterson, Karl Edward Wagner, Tanith Lee, Michael Marshall Smith, David J. Schow, and many others. Check it out.
Last night, when I probably should have been reading, I played a few more hours of Sudeki. I can't for the life of me figure out why X-Play only saw fit to give this game a 2 (out of 5). I'd have scored it higher. Last night, with the help of Buki (swoon), Tal, Allish, and Elco, I kicked undead, zombie, cyborg werewoluf eema, acquired various mystical doodads, talked to a creepy vulture dude and a god, returned from the Shadow Lands, and pissed of the Queen of Illumina (who's a bitch, if you ask me). Now, Buki and Allish are off to Transitia to get more crystals for Elco's defence weapon thingy. Oh, and Spooky seems finally to have reached her Morrowind saturation point. She's talking about finding a vampire to bite her, in hopes that maybe something interesting will follow.
Okay, I've prattled on long enough. Time to make the doughnuts.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Addendum: Today I received the following e-mail (Thank you, Deathbird), regarding The Goth Bible, Barnes and Noble, and Those In Charge:
My experience with Barnes and Noble has been a very interesting one. For years, I sold legal study aids to the law school bookstore market. Barnes and Noble runs a line of college bookstores, so I was in frequent (read "daily") contact with bookstore managers. This is what I have learned about that company.
It has it's head so far up its own ass it has come to believe that it has no head. It is neurotic. It is amorphous.
Occasionally, in the course of my dealings with its component bookstores, it became necessary to speak with "someone in charge" of the company. There was no way to contact a central personage. There may be no central personage. There is no one "at the top" that one may speak with. Even when it would have been in the best interest of someone "in the know" at B and N to talk to me (I could have saved them tens of thousands of dollars in shipping charges.) there was no one to talk to. Even if I did get a phone number for some mysterious "being", there was always only voice mail, and never a returned call. Same result for emails.
So, the ongoing problem with this company (including the most recent one with this Goth Bible) may well be that there is no one in charge of this behemoth. The motherfucker just runs itself. Boat adrift. Crew overboard.
All hands. Abandon ship.
I am not even the least bit surprised. And I'm tired of being appalled.
Yesterday, I wrote 524 words on the prologue of Daughter of Hounds, became moderately convinced that it's finally on the right track, read to Spooky what I've written so far, and then I made myself step away from it. I wanted to be sure that I'm sure. Sometimes I have to do that, even when I can still hear words in my head, even when I know I could write more immediately. So, today I will finish the first third or first quarter of the prologue, I think. Slowly, we creep forwards.
Some of you have asked about the cough. It's better, thank you. It comes and goes. I had to resort to an antihistamine again late last night, so I'm a bit groggy today. I really wanted to stay in bed.
I should take a second to plug a couple of things. The premiere issue of Subterranean Magazine will be available soon. Created by Subterranean Press as a showcase for short fiction, it has the potential to breathe a little life into the long-moribund dark fantasy/horror short-story market. The line-up for the first issue is superb, and I strongly encourage you to give it a chance. It'll include new fiction by Harlan Ellison, Joe R. Lansdale, Norman Partridge, and Peter Crowther, along with a George R. R. Martin Twilight Zone screenplay and an interview with Thomas Ligotti. If you spring for the hardcover edition, you'll get an exclusive, not-for-sale chapbook of additional fiction by Thomas Ligotti. I'll be featured in the second issue, which will include a new story, "Bradbury Weather," and reprint "Andromeda Among the Stones." I'm also giving Bill an interview for the second issue of Subterranean Magazine, one of my first since I decided to take a vacation from interviews in 2002. So, what are you waiting for.
Also, I've received a review copy of Nancy Kilpatrick's The Gothic Bible. If you read Poppy's blog, you'll have already heard about this book and the trouble it's having with gothphobic US book distributors. It's a great volume, a somewhat more light-hearted and comprehensive look at goth than that offered by some previous books on the subculture. There's even a sort of quasi-interview type thing with Storm Constantine, Freda Warrington, and me in the section on contemporary gothic novels.
And while I'm pushing other people's babies, here's an interesting fact: more than 83 million US households, about half of all those with televisions, now have the Sci-Fi Channel. That means that an awful lot of people reading this blog should either have access to Sunday night's premiere of Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars or know someone else who does.
I think it's safe to say that my devotion to Farscape has garnered me more than a few odd glances from readers and fellow authors, so maybe I should again explain something I explained a long time ago. After I wrote Threshold, my desire to continue writing was hovering near zero. In short, I'd lost the passion for storytelling and without the passion all the pretty words in the world won't make a novel. I seriously considered giving up writing and going back to paleontology. I went through a period of not-writing, and during this time I found myself drawn deeper and deeper into Farscape. And then, quite unexpectedly, I found that my love for the story the show was telling had somehow reawakened my own passion for storytelling. So, if not for Farscape, I'd have probably never written Low Red Moon, Murder of Angels, The Dry Salvages, and all the short fiction I've done in the last couple of years. I almost certainly wouldn't be writing Daughter of Hounds now. I'm not exaggerating, and I don't care if you think this sounds silly or far-fetched. Watching Farscape unfold, I rediscovered the passion, and without it, I might never have done so. Something about the series' own passion for its story and characters, its scope and grandeur, reawoke in me the need to tell my stories. So, if you've enjoyed my last two novels, you have the cast, crew, and creators of Farscape to thank as much as me. How do you show your gratitude? It's easy. Watch the frelling mini-series.
By the way, later today I'll post when exactly you can see "A Constellation of Doubt" (the Farscape ep I talked about yesterday) on the Sci-Fi Channel, if I can figure out exactly when it's set to air. And my thanks to Teri Goulding for sending me the links to the Chicago Tribune stories ("The Farscape Factor: Will programmers, viewers become one and the same?", etc.), which I'd post here if it wasn't necessary to register with the Tribune to read the articles. Suffice it to say, the unprecedented role that Farscape fans have played in rescuing the show from cancellation is having far-flung repercussions, demonstrating that we've reached a point where a union of fans, financiers, and creators can tap niche demand and circumvent and subvert the networks' out-dated, Nielsen-driven machinations.
Now, if only novelists and their readers could figure out how to do the same thing with hit-obsessed publishers.
Monday, October 11, 2004
Not so much to say about yesterday. Spooky and I read more of the Hine book and spent a lot of time talking about magic, religion, epistemology, and suchlike. Jennifer went out looking at potential new apartments/houses (the move is almost on top of us). I made notes for the prologue of Daughter of Hounds, notes which may actually constitute a skeletal outline and should allow me to get back to work on the book this afternoon. We made a trip to the market. I played Sudeki, and before bed we watched another ep of Farscape, "A Constellation of Doubt."
And now it's Monday, and now I have to write.
Just seven days left until Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. I wish I had the time and could spare the energy, energy that must, instead, go into The Daughter of Hounds, to write another empassioned appeal to all of you with access to the Sci-Fi Channel to tune in Sunday night to the continuation of an amazing story. Seeing "A Constellation of Doubt" again last night, I was seized with the certainty that if I could just get people to watch this one episode, they would immediately see the genius of Farscape (especailly if they could also see the extended and deleted scenes from that episode included on the DVD). Of course, that's not at all true. You click with something or you don't. It hits you or misses you entirely. Art sucks like that.
It's been more than two years now since the series was cancelled, more than two years since I wrote my Farscape essays for RevolutionSF and SFsite.com and Gothic.net in a feverish expression of my hope that Farscape might somehow be saved. I remain as in love with the series as ever. There has never been finer fantastic fiction created for television. That's how I felt two years ago, and that's still how I feel today. There is power and beauty and magic in Farscape, but I cannot convince you. I know now that it doesn't work that way. But. If you'd like to read the essays I wrote way back in September 2002, two of them are still online:
"Crackers Do Matter: Why Farscape Is Worth Saving" (@ RevolutionSF.com).
"Worlds Glimpsed, Worlds Lost: Why Farscape Should Be Saved" (@SFsite.com)
And if you'd like to see "A Constellation of Doubt" (Season Four, episode 83) and don't have access to the DVD collections, perhaps you can catch it when it airs on the Sci-Fi Channel later this week. Or, frell, download it from Kazaa or Aquisition or whatever you prefer.
I should go now. I have to brush my teeth and somehow clear my head of everything that isn't Daughter of Hounds
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Yesterday, freed of the actual task of writing or trying to write, was a nice day. Spooky and I had hot dogs for lunch and wore our Halloween pajamas all damn day, most of which was spent camped out in the bed, reading aloud from Phil Hine's Condensed Chaos, with frequent pauses to discuss what we were reading. I am intrigued to have discovered that the phrase "consensual reality" (or "consensus reality") which I thought I'd invented about a year and a half ago, is a concept integral to chaos magic. I mean, I did invent the phrase, independantly, and am now discovering that others have found the concept or one very like it. I think, at the time I coined the phrase, that I was looking for something to help explain some of my feelings about dreams and the sloppy way we consider dreams. Specifically, countering the simplistic assertion that we can demonstrate dreams are "not real" and waking consciousness is on the basis of continuity or lack thereof. That is, there seems to exist little continuity from dream to dream to dream, while there seems to exist a great deal of continuity from waking to waking to waking, and a lot of people base their most fundamental beliefs about dream on the a priori assumption that there's a particular sort of correlation between continuty and reality, which, of course, has not been demonstrated.
What else? I had a rough night, and none of my vivid Technicolor dreams were lucid. I awoke feeling as though I'd hardly slept, even though I must have been in bed a good eight hours. Before I dozed off last night, Spooky and I talked through most of the prologue of Daughter of Hounds (and a little of the book beyond), and I'm beginning to solve a few of the problems that were making the writing so difficult last week. I'm hoping that I can sit down in this chair on Monday and get the frell on with it. I played a great deal of Sudeki last night. This game just totally rocks, even if it is hard as hell and frustrating and a lot more than my non-multitasking brain can handle. I appreciate it nonetheless. Buki is my new hero. Also, I've begun to realize one thing that made Morrowind seem so dull to me. I must have played, hell, I don't know, hundreds of hours it seems. And yet not once was there any skill involved. Proficiency at Morrowind seems to come mainly through the expenditure of time. There's no skill to the fighting, that's for certain. The outcome is largely predetermined by your stats. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a challenge whore. But I do need to be engaged.
We also watched an ep of Farscape ("Bringing Home the Beacon"). Just eight days left until the mini, so I'll likely be talking about Farscape quite a bit this coming week. The mini is approaching too, too fast. Soon it will be over, and I'll be left to wait until the next mini or the feature film or whichever direction the story takes. Anyway, do not forget, next Sunday night on the (ugh) Sci-Fi Channel:
Just click the banner to see the trailer.
There's a very nice review of both Silk and Murder of Angels at Blogcritics.org. I think it's one of the better reviews of my work that I've ever read, not merely because the author liked and clearly understood the books in question, but because it is a review, instead of being just a book report with a bit of opinion tacked on. I wish the critics at such presumably august magazines as Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus Reviews would try as hard to have something to say worth saying. My sincere thanks to the author of this review.
And I guess that's about it for today.
Saturday, October 09, 2004
Yesterday, I spent three hours "writing" and wrote only 252 words, crawling through what might be page four of Daughter of Hounds. This book just isn't beginning. There's something I don't know, or many, many things I don't know, that are preventing me from moving forward. In a lot of ways, beginnings can be the worst part of writing. Beginnings are where we begin to eliminate possibilities. Every page I write, I eliminate that much possibility. Anyway, I'm so disgusted with this that I'm not touching it again until Monday. Maybe two days just trying to think about the book will help me figure something out. And then I can kill possibility with more efficiency.
The cough is much better. I think the frelling Benadryl actually helped.
My cat is suing me for putting nude pictures of her on the web. I think I may trade her in on a tarantula.
No, I didn't watch the debates. Why would I want to watch two people who hate each other yammering back and forth? I mean, didn't I get enough of that as a kid? I do not need to watch the debates to know which is the lesser of two evils. And that's all this is, the choosing of little e over Big E. That's the game. I'm too old to entertain fantasies of third-party big G (or even little g, which is the best Ralph Nader et. al. could ever muster). I have no doubt Kerry is a dispicable, greedy, coniving slug. He is, after all, a successful politician. But he's still a better choice than the Big E from Texas. Maybe it's not even a matter of little e and Big E; maybe it's Big E and Bigger E, or little e and littler e, or only various shades of indifference (which might be the Biggest E of all). Whatever. I didn't need to watch the frelling debates to know who I'll vote for. Or rather, I didn't need to watch the frelling debates to know who I'll be voting against. And politics bores me sideways, to boot.
After the brief, resounding disappointment of Star Wars: Battlefront (I know this is the first time I've mentioned it; shut up and bear with me), we picked up Sudeki last night. So far, it's proving quite delightful, despite requiring multitasking skills that I entirely lack. It's one of those games that can only be fully appreciated by someone born after, say, 1985. Someone who grew up playing videogames (and I don't mean the old-school arcade kind that I grew up playing). Preferably, someone Japanese with an IQ in excess of 170 (mine is a mere 149). Nonetheless, it's a fun game, which is more than I could ever say for Star Wars: Battlefront. Sexy anime kids, terrible dialogue, sappy jpop, colours that don't exist in nature, implied bestiality, and lots of ass-kicking. That's what I call fun. I played until three a.m.
Spooky's still hooked on Morrowind. I think she actually enjoys it. Anyway, blah, blah, blah. Same day, different dren. You know the routine. Later.
Friday, October 08, 2004
as of the last time I looked, ten or fifteen minutes ago, the nude photo vote stood at 114 "yes" and 13 "no." Who am I to argue with the more lascivious wants and desires of my readers? But I'm placing the photo behind a cut, so those 13 who voted "no" shall not have to look (right now, you Blogger people are probably wondering what the frell I'm going on about). And if you do decide to look, you do so at your own risk. I'm certain that this one photo will forever change the way you look at me. So, be sure.
Link for Bloggerfolk
Glad to have that out of the way.
I was so wasted on Benadryl yesterday that I accomplished next to nothing. I wrote a few e-mails, then began proofing the three pages I'd written on Wednesday. I managed to get that done, did a little revision, and then realized I was falling asleep. I somehow made it to the sofa before I lost consciousness. Spooky came home about five to find me zonked out, asleep in a sunbeam with my goggles on. The cough seems better today, so maybe I'll make it to page four.
There were all sorts of things I was going to write about in the blog yesterday, all of which slipped my mind. Like Spooky being stalked through the grocery store by an old man with a plumbing fetsih. I may switch to Claritin today, in the hope that it will have less of a zombiefying affect.
Late yesterday afternoon, we read part of Phil Hines' Prime Chaos, then Spooky made quessadillas for dinner. We watched an ep of Farscape ("Mental as Anything") and then John Lee Hancock's The Alamo. It was a so-so film at best, with an overbearing score that seemed intent on stressing the film's weaknesses and drowning the whole affair in overwrought sentimentality. I enjoyed it well enough, but at the end was left feeling as though I'd seen a made-for-TV movie. Billy Bob's kind of fun as Davy Crockett, but that's the best of it. The 1960 version was a better film, even if it wasn't as close to "the truth" of things. Screw the truth. "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." Or film the legend, as the case may be.
Whoops. Time to feed the pussy...um, cat.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
So, this morning, after finally dragging my sorry ass out of bed at 10:45, we're having breakfast, and—
"I'm going to take another fucking Benadryl," I say.
"Okay, but don't drink absinthe today," Spooky repiles.
"I won't," I assure her.
Not that I need too. I am so frelling stoned. But the antihistamines are helping a little with this goddamn cough.
Yesterday, I drank absinthe and wrote what's starting to look like the first three pages of Daughter of Hounds, a little more than 500 words. It starts out with the ghouls, Madam Terpsichore and her students, beneath the Old North Burying Ground in Providence. Familiar territory, but the words are coming very slowly. I'm still not 100% sure this is the right beginning. I tossed the first beginning, the one I began last week. But I do want this one to be the right one.
What else happened yesterday? Well, you know about the lucid dreaming. I'm a little disappointed that, out of all the LJ comments I got yesterday, only one person even mentioned the dream (thank you, Mellá). Everyone was too busy with the subject of The Naked Me, even though the dream was clearly the primary focus of yesterday's entry. But, like I said, sex is the Great Motivator. It'll make the mute talk and the blind see. Or does that go the other way 'round?
On the subject of the nude self-portraits, as of this morning the vote stands 109 for, 12 against. So, I know what most of you want, or, rather, I know what most of you who voted want. Now, I will think about it. There were some good points raised by the "no" camp, and Spooky thinks it's a bad idea, if only because the world is so full of assholes. I'll make a decision between now and tomorrow morning. My thanks to everyone who voted. This is oddly important to me.
I offer the following from Gardner Dozois' annual "summation" of the SF market (from The Year's Best Science Fiction 21):
Therefore, I'm going to urge everyone reading these words to subscribe to your favorite SF or fantasy magazine, and to do it today, right now, before your good intentions get buried under the press of daily events and you forget about it. It's the one practical thing you can do to ensure the survival of a strong SF/fantasy market, with lots of diversity. And it's easier to subscribe to genre magazines today than ever before, as most of them have the capability to issue subscriptions online on their Web sites, with all that's called for a credit card and a few clicks of a button, with no stamps, no envelopes, and no trips to the post office required. Additionally, you can subscribe from overseas just as easily as you can from the United States, something formerly difficult-to-impossible. Internet sites such as Peanut Press and Fictionwise, sell downloadable versions of the magazines to be read on your PDA or PC, something becoming increasingly popular with the computer savvy set.
Dozois goes on to list the websites for Asimov's; Analog; The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction; and Interzone. Thing is, all these magazines continue to suffer losses in circulation. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Interzone each lost as much as 10% of their circulation last year. Both Asimov's and Analog, citing similar losses, are cuttiung their publishing schedules from eleven issues a year to only ten. Dozois writes, "This makes the upcoming year the first time since the launch of Weird Tales in 1923 that the field has officially been without a monthly fiction magazine." So, do a good deed. Buy a subscription. Support short fantastic fiction.
I would add something here about supporting "horror" magazines, as well, but, excepting Cemetery Dance, they were all killed off in the magazine mass-extinction events of the 1990s. They're long-since dead as do-dos, or ceratopsian dinosaurs, or woolly frelling mammoths, or George W. Bush's charisma. Take your pick.
Blah, blah, blah. Did I mention that I'm stoned?
Well, I am.
I have to go try to write page four. Second verse, same as the first.
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
I think, mostly, I'm amused that a poll to determine whether or not I'll post nude photos of myself got more votes in seven hours than a poll asking which of my novels is the best got in seventy-two hours. Sex, whether you're pro or con, is the Great Motivator.
Right now, the total stands at 67 for, 8 against. Interesting. Will it go to 100 "yes" votes? Will the anti-Nude Caitlín camp rally and carry the day? I think I'll watch this thing a little longer. I am indecisive, as usual.
Spooky thinks I'm an idiot.
Again, as usual.
This morning, I had what seems a momentous dream event. Momentous because it was no doubt one of the geekiest goddamn dreams I've ever dreamt, but also because I achieved "lucid" dreaming for only the second time in my life (the first time was about two months ago). And also because it's my first Nebari dream (hence the geeky part). I was a Nebari woman, possibly Nar'eth (I find it curious that I'm not sure on this point), and, along with a number of other Nebari, women and men, was fleeing through a high mountain pass, driven on through the snow and ice by an unseen threat. There were two sleds, drawn by shaggy, red-haired oxish creatures, and I was driving one of them. They were heaped with furs and plastic crates and such, and a couple of Nebari children were riding on them, as well. I know the furs were from wolf-like animals called kragats. The wind was freezing, blowing the snow so furiously it was impossible to see more than a few feet ahead. Above us, there was thunder and a sound like falling rocks. All of this was so vivid, but that isn't unusual. My dreams are almost always very vivid, often unpleasantly so. I kept looking back over my shoulder, sure that whatever we were running from was about to catch up. This part seemed to go on a long, long time. Hours and hours. I was freezing and breathless and my legs ached. Eventually, we came down from the mountains and out of the storm. We were now in a small, narrow valley, the mountains rising up steeply on either side, the rocks showing through black wherever the snow wasn't covering them. Down there, the wind wasn't so bad. We stopped to let the animals rest. One of the children was crying. I kept saying that we should hurry, that there wasn't time to stop. One of the men told me the animals drawing the sleds would soon drop dead if we didn't let them rest. And then I looked over my shoulder again, back up at the clouds hanging about the peaks, the storm clouds we'd passed through, and a couple of aircraft that looked a lot like Vietnam-era helicopters emerged through the mist. They hovered a moment, then tilted forward and rushed down the slopes towards us, skimming only a few meters above the rocks and snow. Someone began to scream, and someone else was shouting, "Run! Run! Run!" I turned and looked across the valley, and there was what looked like the entrance to a cave on the other side.
And then we were racing across the snow, and the helicopter things were sweeping in right behind us. They began shooting, not lasers or plasma weapons or any such sf weaponry, just bullets that whizzed through the air and buried themselves in the snow crust with a dull thwup noise. And then one of the animals pulling my sled slipped or collapsed or was hit by one of the gunners. It went down, and the sled and everything on the sled and the other animals drawing the sled went down on top of it. I was thrown forward. I seemed to lie in the snow a long time, face down, shivering, listening to the bullets and hurting animals and screams, afraid to look. When I finally did look, the two helicopter things were circling us. A couple of the others were huddled behind rocks, shooting back. I remembered the child who'd been on my sled and frantically began looking for her (I think it was a her) and panicked when she was nowhere to be found. We were still a good hundred yards from the entrance of the cavern. There were other people there, also shooting at the helicopters, shouting for us to hurry. I was terrified and angry, pushing aside piles of kragat hides to find the missing child, and I realized that I was muttering "Run, run, run," over and over and over again. And then I realised that I was me. That is, I realised that I was the waking me. I looked up from the mess from the wrecked sled, and Spooky was standing in the snow a few feet away from me. Her lips were moving, but I couldn't hear her. She looked up at the heilcopter things, and then she became the waking me. And there I was, a dream me looking at the waking me, and at first I was startled at this strange pink person. Then, in another moment of realisation, I became aware that there was no distinction between that person and my dream self. "Pull me out," I said to myself. All around, the chaos continued, gunfire and people screaming and there was blood all over the snow, blue Nebari blood, and though it felt very wrong to leave them behind, I reached out for myself and woke up.
Spooky was awake. I'd been talking in my sleep (she heard me say "hurry" and "pull me out"). She'd been trying to wake me and had finally clapped her hands very loudly, which is what apparently woke me. But, as I said, this is only the second time in my life, that I am aware of, where I've realised that I was dreaming. Both times, it's left me feeling very strange, as though waking reality might shift at any moment, revealing itself merely another layer of dream. It's sort of the mental equivalent of that funny feeling you get after an elevator ride, as though you're still falling. And I expect I'll spend much of the next day or so playing this dream over in my mind. It seems particularly meaningful in light of some of the material I've been reading on chaos magick, pop-culture magick, and shamanism.
Which brings us to yesterday, when I did not write. I did work on other things that needed doing. I spent two hours on the signature sheets for The Dry Salvages, finished with them at about 2:30 p.m., then took them to the post office. While I signed (and got a paper cut), I listened to Concrete Blonde and P. J. Harvey (Walking in London, Mexican Moon, and To Bring You My Love). I forget sometimes how important Concrete Blonde once was to me and what an amazing voice Johnette Napolitano has. I exchanged e-mail with Nancy Kilpatrick regarding The Gothic Bible and Outsiders: An Anthology of Misfits. The latter is a book to which I contributed an sf short story, "Faces in Revolving Souls," and it also includes stories by the likes of Neil Gaiman, Steve Rasnic Tem, Léa Silhol, Tanith Lee, David J. Schow, Freda Warrington, Elizabeth Massie, Melanie Tem, Kathe Koja, Brett Alexander Savory, Katherine Ramsland, Yvonne Navarro, Thomas S. Roche, Michael Marano, Bentley Little, John Shirley, Poppy Z. Brite, Brian Hodge, Elizabeth Engstrom, and Joe R. Lansdale. Outsiders is scheduled for an October 5th release. Does that mean it's out now? I don't know. Anyway, that's the sort of stuff I did yesterday instead of write.
Later, I read a couple of papers in the latest Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology — "A Late Cretaceous gaviloid crocodylian from eastern North America and the phylogenetic relationships of thoracosaurs" and "Description of the skull of Ctenochasma (Pterosauria) from the latest Jurassic of eastern France, with a taxonomic revision of European Tithonian Pterodactyloidea." Spooky and I played a really long game of Scrabble (it's becoming a habit), and watched astronomy shows on the Science Channel. Later still, I played the last few levels of Armed and Dangerous. This was such a fun game to play, I just wish it had been better written. If you're going to bother to do a weird Douglas Adams-Monty Python-Terry Gilliam sort of high fantasy with guns riff on Stars Wars, you should really find writers with wit to match the inspirational matter. Neil could have done a marvelous job on this, as could have Terry Pratchett.
Oh, and I coughed a lot.
And that, kiddos, brings us to Now. Tiddley pom. I'll keep watching the poll (Blogger people who wish to see it, follow this link and scroll down). You people are a bunch of damn perverts...
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Okay, so yesterday I was mostly just pondering and did not mean to suggest that I was seriously considering an end to this blog. I think out loud a lot. It's one reason people have always looked at me funny. This journal has become a habit and will continue indefinately, I suspect. But many thanks for the comments and the e-mail. It's good to know that someone's listening because, as I've said from the start, this is not my private journal. This is written for the people who read my fiction (or who may eventually get around to it). I was particularly taken with the following e-mail, if only because it links me, however tenuously, with Allen Ginsberg and Charles Schulz, and no one's ever done that before. From Steve H. (and slightly edited for length):
I'm no fanboy - I've written letters to 3 writers (and NO celebrities otherwise) in my life - Charles M. Schulz, Allen Ginsberg, and now you. Schulz sent back autographed Snoopy cartoons, and that's it; Ginsberg - with Allen I did the classic stupid young thoughtless writer thing and sent him samples of my work. What he wrote me in response is among my most treasured things - and now you. I am not looking for a response in this case, but expressing a kind of
webjournalist to webjournalist opinion - that proverbial bug in your ear.
I read and liked Low Red Moon and am in the middle of Silk right now and truly enjoying it - I will read Murder of Angels as soon as I'm done. But as much as anything I'm enjoy your blog, too.
One reason is the way you lay out the realities of the writing business, the frustrations you experience as well as the excitement. It is educational and eye-opening, in short, fascinating. That, and your "voice" as an individual comes across in a separate space from your novels. While as a reader I've found your voice in the novels to be an intensely poetic and dark one - I am surprised no one has picked up on the cinematic potential all your work seems to have before now, and no, I don't think you write with that in mind - as a web journalist you are blunt, observant, and unfailingly honest. For anyone who writes themselves, wants to write, it is not just entertaining but enlightening. Even inspiring.
While I've never had the kinds of things riding on my ability to write that you do, it being your living and mostly an avocation for me - I can imagine that any kind of writer's block, while depressing for someone like me, must be a bit of a panicky feeling for you. Reading your entry from today I also thought of what Autumn tends to do to me, and wondered if you go through the same crap - the spiralling of mood downward matching the spinning of dead leaves to the ground. That can not only drain the desire to write but the desire to just get out of bed in the morning.
So I'm one reader of your work as well as the journal who would be greatly disappointed if you chose to close it off. I know I must be one of many who have probably e-mailed you already begging you not to do so. I don't beg anyone for anything ever, so I can just tell you that web journals by writers as thought-provoking, insightful, intelligent as you are truly vital to making anyone's web reading worthwhile, and add a dimension to your work that writers in generations past didn't have the chance to provide their readers.
I do hope that beneath the piles of autumn leaves there's not an undertow for you that pulls you away from your craft.
Not so much an undertow, though I know what you mean. For me, it's the sharp, rusty tines of a garden rake that some asshole left hidden beneath the pile of leaves. And if I allow myself to be seduced by the pretty colours and the crisp, cidery air, throw caution to the winds (as they say), and jump into those leaves...well, ouch. Like I said before, I wish I loved autumn, but, yes, it wears on me. Thanks, Steve. It was very sweet of you to write that letter and not at all fanboyish.
News pollution of the day. Well, first there was a headline at Yahoo that definitely did not read "Bush blows Kerry," but that's what I saw when I glanced at it, being as how I'm a born-again pervert and all. What's a born-again pervert? I'll save that for another time. Anyway, noise pollution:
Cities across the country are manipulating the results of tests used to detect lead in water, violating federal law and putting millions of Americans at risk of drinking more of the contaminant than their suppliers are reporting. (from the Washington Post).
Not much to say about yesterday. I didn't write. Spooky and I ran some errands ? the post office, the market, etc. We stopped by Borders (and please note that I am not about to kvetch about bookstores, no matter how much I want to), and I picked up a copy of Gardner Dozois' The Year's Best Science Fiction (Vol. 21). We got Dunkin' Donuts, because we're bad. Late in the afternoon, I took nude photographs of myself in the bedroom vanity mirror. This is an odd new fascination of mine, digital self-portraiture. I say "odd" because I hate my body so much. It's like, I don't know, doing very personal studies in the grotesque. I'm tempted to post one or two of these to the blog. Perhaps that calls for another poll? Anyway, later on, we made spagetti for dinner, watched crap on television, played two games of Scrabble, and then I played Armed and Dangerous. I'm starting to love this seriously flawed game. A shame it wasn't better written. Finally, we went to bed, and Spooky read me "Dead Worlds" by Jack Skellingstead (from the aforementioned sf anthology), which was really wonderful. I'd never run across this author before, but will seek out more of his work. And then I talked about Daughter of Hounds until Spooky fell asleep in self-defence.
The cough is better. Thanks to everyone who has made suggestions for remedies and such. I've had this cough, usually once or twice a year, since about 1987. We are old foes, this cough and I. I could write an entire entry about the history of this frelling cough. But the Benadryl is helping noticeably, and it's not so bad being a zombie.
I've gotten a few requests to resume the eBay auctions. Spooky's still trying to get the last few packages from the last auction in the mail, but yes, we'll have more copies of Murder of Angels, etc. up very soon. I just haven't felt up to dealing with relisting things the last week or so.
But, really, please stop worrying about me shutting down the journal. I'll bitch about it from time to time, that I can't think of things to say, that it's all an ego stroke, and blah and blah and blah, but it's something I would miss if it went away. Again, thanks for reading; you can ask another for no more precious gift than her or his time.
Monday, October 04, 2004
I've fallen, or slipped, into that place where the words aren't coming. And it's even affecting this journal. There's too much noise in my head. The noise obscures the words. The noise turns writing into a task not unlike finding Horton's particular Who-haunted clover after it's been dropped into a field of other, Who-less clover.
Lately, I've been wondering if I should even continue this journal. I mean, I started it to chronicle the writing of Low Red Moon (hence the name) and to promote the finished novel. Well, it served those purposes. Then I decided I'd extend it to cover the writing of another novel, Murder of Angels. That's done, too. Surely, by this time, I've said everything I've got to say about writing. Most of the time, it feels that way. It's become a comfortable habit. Maybe the journal has evolved beyond its original intent, rather than outliving that intent.
Maybe I should do another poll: Would you like to see this journal continue?
It doesn't help that I finally broke down and took Benadryl last night — for this damned cough — and it interacts with other drugs I take. I'm a zombie this afternoon, and not the running kind, either. The slow, lurching kind. And the cough isn't much better. And my dreams were even brighter and more insistent than usual.
Last night, we watched the last four eps of Season One of Dead Like Me. I'm now in love with this series.
Leh'agvoi has sent me a new Nar'eth pinup, and Sa'jathan has finished the Nebari alphabet/font he's been working on for quite some time. There should be new stuff at Nebari.net soonish.
And speaking of Farscape, it's just two weeks until the mini. Don't forget:
Sunday, October 03, 2004
I am entirely at a loss for anything to write here this morning. I'm not awake, following a night of very difficult, vivid dreams, so that surely doesn't help. Daughter of Hounds is playing stillborn. There's this cough. The summer's gone. I could not be much more out of sorts. I probably have a low out-of-sorts threshold. I bore easily and have a low-out-of-sorts threshold.
Okay. Well. How about this silly, morbid meme I snurched from Poppy's blog and have been saving for just such an uncomfortable silence? Here we go:
What do you think happens after you die?
I having many fears, a few thoughts, but absolutely no idea whatsoever.
Do you believe in heaven?
Do you believe in hell?
Do you think you will be judged after you die?
How many people would attend your funeral?
Fifteen to twenty.
Would you rather that people cry or laugh at your funeral?
Why should I have a preference? It's not for me to tell them how to grieve.
What's better? A shot in the head or downing pills?
Depends on the gun, the expertise of the person pulling the trigger, and the what kind of pills we're talking about. But, answering this dumb question of its own terms, I'll take the pills.
What should be written on your tombstone?
Would you rather die childless or divorced?
Do you want to die in the morning, afternoon, or night?
Afternoon would be nice. A summer's afternoon.
If you had a million dollars to leave, who would you leave it to?
What kind of flowers do you want at your funeral?
A variety of roses.
On your deathbed, which moment will you most remember?
It hasn't happened yet, I hope.
Have you ever watched someone die?
What's the most gruesome death you can imagine?
Let's not go there.
How often do you think about death?
Continuously. So, I don't know, Hundreds of time a day? (This is not hyperbole.)
Is fear of dying your number one fear?
Do you believe in reincarnation?
Have you ever wished someone you loved were dead?
Do you consider life short or long?
Do you think you have a soul?
Assisted suicide for a terminally ill person is:
Would you choose to be immortal, if you could be?
Perhaps not immortal, but certainly very, very long-lived. Give me a few millennia, at least. Enough time to understand just how little I know.
Yep. That was lame.
Saturday, October 02, 2004
I haven't read back over the paragraph that I wrote yesterday. I'm not sure that I will, at least not today. I may just begin again. Yesterday, my head was not where it needed to be to deal with the beginning of Daughter of Hounds. It isn't there today, either, but maybe it will be tomorrow. I keep seeing this book as four or five strands of yarn, held apart at the start, leading away into the distance, and as they go, they tangle and intertwine, becoming increasing relevant to one another, and finally vanishing into darkness. The darkness represents all that I don't yet understand about the book, and THE END lies on the other side of that darkness. That's how I see the architecture of this story. It's sort of frightening, imagining the book that way. It keeps threatening to lock me up. "Prolegomena" will be the setting forth of each strand as a thing unto itself, each individual prolegomenon for each strand of the story.
The business with the Locus review of The Dry Salvages was resolved last night. It's neither the best nor the worst review I've ever received. I may post it here, later. I'm just grateful the whole thing didn't drag on forever, as I feared it would. I am sort of amazed and annoyed at how bent out of shape I get about reviews published in trade and genre magazines that neither I nor the majority of my readers read. It's Kirkus Syndrome, and it's very damn silly.
This frelling cough is trying to kill me, I kid you not.
Neil called about an hour ago, somewhere on the road. It was a very bad connection. I think I heard more static than I heard Neil.
Kindernacht last night. We rented two films I'd never heard of and for which I had absolutely no expectations. Close You Eyes (aka, Doctor Sleep, 2002; directed by Nick Willing) was a so-so sort of occult thriller with a few chilling moments. Death and the Compass (1992, directed by Alex Cox) was an utterly baffling, notably dull adaptation of a Borges story. I expect more from Alex Cox, and I find myself unable to recommend either film. Afterwards, I played Armed and Dangerous until three a.m.
I'm fighting the urge to get drunk and see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow again. Right now, that's the best thing I can imagine doing with today.
But I fear there are things I probably need to do, instead. Crap. Sometimes, I really miss the long-lost irresponsibility of my youth.
Friday, October 01, 2004
Addendum: I wrote a few dingy sentences. I doubt I'll keep any of them, but, for the moment, they are resting under the heading of "Prolegomena," a possible beginning to Daughter of Hounds. I "typed" a title page, as well. So I can at least claim the book was begun on October 1st, and it will only be sort of not the truth. Let me rephrase that: It's not not true.
No word yet on the Locus review, the unseen one that has so derailed the day, except conformation that the review is, indeed, appearing in the October issue. Were I better at this, I would be feeling only anticipation, curiousity, perhaps a slight touch of nerves. But I am not better at this. Still, I have to not allow it to derail the weekend and then the week that follows.
Oh. And, because I forgot earlier, Happy Halloween the 1st.
I awoke this morning, and I thought, Okay. Today might be the day that I begin the book. The book being, of course, Daughter of Hounds, which I had intended to begin two weeks after returning from New England way the frell back in July. I set that thought before me, before all others. As I sat reading an article on Eric Drexler ("father of nanotechnology") in Wired while Spooky fixed breakfast, this thought lingered in my mind, a distinct possibility. While I was eating, I admitted it aloud.
"I think today may be the day that I start the book," I said.
"Oh. Well, that's why you've been so quiet," she replied.
"Mmmhhhmmm," I mumbled noncommittally.
I finished breakfast, sat down at the iBook, read two comments to yesterday's LJ entry, responded to those comments, took care of two important e-mails, and then the phone rang. It was Bill Schafer calling to tell me that there appears to be a review of The Dry Salvages by Gary Wolfe in the October issue of Locus. He didn't have it yet, but would let me know as soon he did. My stomach rolled. My arms felt weak, and my hands actually began to shake (I kid you not). I'm never good with the news of a review, but I've gotten significantly better lately, so this was a bit of a slipping backwards for me. I've asked Bill (and my lit agent, too, for that matter) not to do this to me. If you have the review in hand and can read it to me, then call. But please, for Heaven's sake, do not call and tell me that there's a review, especially one by a reviewer whom I respect, and then tell me I'll have to wait some undeterminable length of time to actually know what was said. I'm assuming Bill forgot that he agreed not to do this. I'm a charitable soul.
So, now my plans to begin the novel today seem far less reasonable, as I can't push my anxiety about this review to the back of my mind and get on with things.
I'm supposed to e-mail Storm Constantine and Louisa John-Krol (both very overdue). I need to do other things. I need to begin the novel. And all I can do is wonder what Gary Wolfe thought of The Dry Salvages.
Okay, well what about yesterday? The day off? Not much to say. The bar stool won out over the botanical gardens. We spent the evening watching five more episodes of Dead Like Me. There you go. Yesterday.