Thursday, March 31, 2005
The long-promised Nebari.net "Winter Special," Prophecy, is now online. Just follow this link. Thank you, Leh'agvoi! I'll say something more about Prophecy in the morning. Right now, I'm too tired to be trusted at a keyboard.
Yesterday, a friend brought to my attention a conversation she'd had with a friend of hers who'd read Silk, loved it, started reading Threshold, then saw that bit of drek that the SFC released a while back, a monster movie which was also called Threshold, and she'd assumed it was an adaptation of my novel and promptly lost all interest. It was very funny at first. Then I got to thinking, it's not a secret that Threshold (my novel) has been all over Hollywood the last three years, and what if a lot of people made that assumption about the film released by the SFC and on that account lost interest in my writing as this person had done. I couldn't rightly blame them. Anyway, for the record, there is no connection between my novel, Threshold, and the film of the same title directed by Chuck Bowman, written by Kim LeMasters, and unwisely aired on the SFC. For that matter, there's no connection between my novel and two other films titled Threshold, one from 1997 and one from 1981. You know, at least when everyone thought that awful Lost Souls movie, directed by Janusz Kaminski, was based on Poppy's novel, at least her book was confused with a movie with Winona Ryder and John Hurt, even if it was still an ass movie.
Yesterday was mostly spent on an interview I'd been putting off, spent talking with Marvel (good news), and making plans to finally talk with my new editor at Penguin today. I e-mailed her everything that's been written on Daughter of Hounds. I told her it could go to at least 150K words. There was some confusion over time zones. Last night, I worked on Nebari.net.
Speaking of which, Leh'agvoi (aka,
) and I have at last finished with the Nebari.net "winter special" manga. Twelve pages in full colour. It should go up sometime tonight. Think of it as a winter special for early spring. Hey, we only missed it by about twelve days. Later on, I'll be posting a bunch of stuff to accompany it — conceptual artwork, storyboards, the script, etc. — you know, like the the extra goodies on a DVD. Anyway, I'll post something here when the manga goes online.
I don't generally read "genre horror" anymore. I mean, I don't actively seek it out, and I tend to be skeptical that anything new will be worth reading. If I feel like dark fiction, I usually turn to something familiar, something I've read already — Lovecraft, Blackwood, Bradbury, Jackson, Angela Carter, Ramsey Campbell, & etc.. But I keep hearing interesting things about Tom Piccirilli's Choir of Ill Children, so I may include it in the next batch of That Which Must Be Read. We shall see.
There was quite a bit of e-mail yesterday, mostly regarding the vegetarian thing. After some of the comments to the journal back on — was it Tuesday? Anyway, after some of those comments, I'd half expected hate mail. But it was all very encouraging. So, my thanks to all who wrote and anyone who may yet write me on this subject. There was an interesting bit from Ben Garrison (
), who wrote: You may remember I posted in your journal a few weeks ago that I don't believe in justice. I don't think we will be judged, that we will pay for our deeds in this life. I have never reconciled this with my lifestyle. It bugs me constantly. Giving up food I love for something I have no certainty about is never easy. But I sleep a little better. I know I am doing a good thing. I know that I am making a smaller impact. It's a step. This echoes a lot of the feelings in back of my own decision. It's a little jab I'm taking at my own despair. I spend so much time gnawing over my certainty that humanity is circling the drain, that, before too much longer, humans will have plundered and used and wasted and taken and destroyed and hated themselves and everything else on Earth into near oblivion. And I know that my little masochistic protest against turning animals into a mass-produced means of satiating six billion people will, ultimately, make no difference whatsoever. But we can fight, if we believe we are right we must fight, even if we know it's a losing battle, simply because to do otherwise is to give oneself over to despair.
And I've spent far too much of my life courting despair.
Er...on a brighter note, I'm looking forward to Sin City. I see Ebert liked it.
Here's a photo I came across last night while neatening up the iBook. It was taken in about 1996 in a photo booth in Athens, Georgia, back when I was still a wee, young, gothedy lass. It only cost me a buck and is still one of my favorite photos anyone's ever taken of me. Back then, my hair was still red and the bags under my eyes had yet to take over my whole frelling face...
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
After a lot of consideration, I've decided that, beginning with this entry, I'm taking a cue from Poppy and removing the comments option from this journal. I don't want anyone to think that I'm not interested in what they have to say. It's mostly a matter of time, or, more precisely, the lack thereof. When I was considering ending the journal, I had so many people tell me that they wanted it to keep going, and this is one way that I can keep it from taking too much of my time. When I allow comments, I watch for them, read them, and, in many cases, feel obligated to reply. I mean, if you take the time to write it, I ought to take the time to reply to it. It would be rude to do otherwise. Also, this is a journal, not a public forum, though the last couple of days it's felt a little more like the latter than the former. It is in my nature that I will often comment on controversial and prickly subjects, but in doing so, I do not mean to invite opposing views and argument. Not here. Because then, again, I feel obligated to respond, to try and explain myself, and that eats up a lot of time. In the future, if you want to reply, please direct your comments to the Species of One LJ community or to the phorum attached to my website. Or, for that matter, e-mail me (email@example.com) or post comments to your own LJ or Blog or whatever. I won't necessarily be able to reply, but I may, from time to time, especially in the phorum. I'm sorry to do this, to have to do this. I have often been pleased to have the comments here, but I have to write four chapters of Daughter of Hounds in two months. That's two weeks per chapter, plus all the other dren that's piled up. Perhaps, when the novel is done, late in the summer, I'll restore the comments feature.
I've been so wrapped up in so many things, mostly trying to puzzle out this frelling novel, trying to find the plot of Daughter of Hounds, that I haven't been keeping up with the results of the ESA's Mars Express spacecraft. And they are amazing results. I hope NASA's feeling a little shame, after Titan and now these new Martian discoveries. Anyway, here are a couple of the more wonderful photographs:
Water ice at the Martian north pole, along with fluvial, aeolian, and volcanic features.
Martian pack ice on the Elysium Planitia.
You can find news on these discoveries and many more photographs at the ESA's Mars Express homepage, which I hope you will visit.
So far, the "organic" vegetarian thing is working out very well. I'm missing meat, sure. Part of me will always be an inveterate carnivore, but I just couldn't continue to deny the deeply disturbing and often horrible facts regarding where all that meat was coming from, the moral issues that I have with how the animals we raise and harvest are treated, the implications that this treatment has for my health, the harm being done to the environment so that I might eat meat, the fact that I do have very good alternatives to an ominvorous diet which might actually make me healthier. I understand that my giving up meat won't change much of anything beyond myself. The animals will still be mistreated, and they will still die. But I'd reached the point where, no matter how good meat might taste, I was beginning to experience revulsion and actual nausea almost every time I ate it. So, that is why I've stopped eating meat. I hope that I have the willpower to keep it up. Spooky's doing a great deal of research on the healthy way to be vegatarian. Jennifer's been wanting to go vegetarian for years. It seems to suit the three of us.
I spent a good part of yesterday at the Emory library, making notes for Chapter Four, looking into the history of Woonsocket, and just enjoying the spring weather and being out of the house. I also finished The Mistaken Extinction, which I recommend to anyone interested in the origin of birds, their relationship to non-avian dinosaurs, and the current mass extinction humans are inflicting upon bird populations worldwide. I also picked up William Hope Hodgson's short-fiction collection, Deep Waters (Arkham House, 1967), Paul Semonin's American Monster: How the Nation's First Prehistoric Creature Became a Symbol of National Identity (New York University Press, 2000), and Richard A. Lupoff's Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure (Canaveral Press, 1965). It wasn't a bad day, though I still have some rather large and unanswered questions about Chapter Four which are holding things up. I need to e-mail my new editor at Penguin, who I've not yet spoken with (my doing) and set up a call. I need to call Marvel. Mostly, I need to frelling write.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
I think I'm getting ready to come out of hiding. I may spend the afternoon at Emory. Spooky and I read through Chapter Two day before yesterday, and I've been making notes for Chapter Four, though I've yet to get it started. And yes, I am terrified by this fact. I need to have the first half of a very long novel finished by June 1st. Of course, that's someone else's arbitrary deadline. The book and I will do as we need to do. There's nothing for it. I do not churn or crank or whatever it is the Nora Robertses of the world do. I'm still finding the story, the disturbingly large story, still making actuality out of infinite potential. Maybe "God" should have taken more than six days. Who's deadline was that, anyway? What was "he" trying to prove, exactly? The very idea of hack work is built into the Judeo-Christian mythos of Creation. But. As I was saying, I still need to get through a lot of the stuff I have on Woonsocket. Portentious things are coming in Chapter Four. I'll find the words. I always frelling do.
"No sleep for dreaming" say the architects of life...
My head is too full just now. The day is waiting for me.
Monday, March 28, 2005
"You're not an artist if you don't piss people off." — Spike Lee
And this long quote from the liner notes of Moby's 1995 album, Everything is Wrong:
By "everything is wrong" I mean EVERYTHING. I look around me — I'm typing on a plastic and metal and glass computer perched on a desk made from cut-down trees and tpxic paint. I sit in a building made of wood and bricks that were taken from the earth on a street made of poisonous asphalt that was laid over an ecosystem that had thrived for hundreds of thousands of years. I'm clothed in cotton that was saturated in pesticides while it grew and treated and dyed with toxic chemicals while it was being processed. All my possessions were made hundreds or thousands of miles away and shipped in styrofoam and plastic wrap via gas-burning engines and destructive roads and airways to me. My food, although organically grown and completely vegan, is shipped from where it was grown to my local store and is often packaged in paper, plastic, metal, and toxic inks. I know tons of people who eat meat, smoke cigarettes, drive cars, use drugs, etc., even though they know that these things will ultimately hurt the quality (and length) of their lives. I live in an apartment building where no-one is on a first-name basis. I know more about idiot actors in Hollywood whom I've never met than I do about the woman who lives next door to me (and who is probably more interesting). While walking to work I inhale toxic exhaust from cars sitting in traffic.
To make sure that eating three cans of oven cleaner will make you sick, or to make sure that pouring nail polish remover into your eyes will hurt you, we torture mice, rabbits, dogs, cats, etc. We use toxic chlorine bleach to keep our underpants white. We cut down the rainforests to drill for oil so that we can drive to the video store. Do you see what I mean? Everything really is wrong. Even the back-to-nature people still drive cars and use products made from materials ripped out of the Earth. People struggle all of their lives doing work that they hate just to be a functioning member of a system that is wasteful, destructive, and unhealthy.
What I advocate is this — a sensible, pragmatic, and non-destructive approach towards existence. We need to re-evaluate our practices. Just as it doesn't make sense to hire an elevator operator to run an automatic elevator, it doesn't make sense for billions of people to drive to work alone in their cars. It doesn't make sense to consume animal products. It doesn't make sense to use pesticides on agricultural products. It doesn't make sense to derive power from nuclear, coal, and petroleum when we have solar, hydro, and wind power. It doesn't make sense to maintain destructive systems just because people earn their livings from them. It doesn't make sense to pour billions of tons of toxic chemicals onto our lawns so that they'll look pretty and green. I could go on, but you're probably either bored or overwhelmed by now. I advocate change, massive, massive change.
Basically, we should stop doing those things that are destructive to the environment, other creatures, and ourselves, and figure out new ways of existing.
Saturday, March 26, 2005
I am in a sort of hiding for the moment. I should reemerge somewhere near or just past Tuesday. All those responsible for getting messages to me have been informed. Here, the weather has turned marvelous, and I am devoting myself, for the moment, to the sun and to healing some of the harm the winter did to me. I'm only saying this here because journal entries may be scarce for a couple more days.
Set me aflame and cast me free,
Away, you wrteched world of tethers.
Through the endless nights and days,
I have never wanted more.
We've been needing a big Cohen Brothers fix, and last night we got it. Though my original plan was to rent Miller's Crossing and The Big Lebowski, my two favourite Los Bros Cohen films, Spooky reminded me that we still had seen neither The Ladykillers or Intolerable Cruelty. So we rented them instead. Both are superb. Tom Hanks was at his very best in The Ladykillers, and it was neat to catch, in the credits, that the Henson Creature Shop did effects, the cat Pickles and that horrid dog that Mr. Pancake gives mouth-to-mouth. Intolerable Cruelty was a subtler thing, but charming and somewhat adorable (don't let those two words, charming and aborable scare you off; keep in mind that I have used both to describe various species of insects and mollusks). Clearly, the Cohen's were aiming for a sort of "screwball" comedy that saw its heyday in the thirties and forties, and I felt like I kept catching bits of Jimmy Stewert and Cary Grant in George Clooney's expressions and body language. All together very nice, though I do wish that Nicole Kidman might have been cast in the role of Marylin Rexroth instead of Catherine Zeta-Jones. Still, it's a small complaint.
I had a Nebari dream last night, the first since the harrowing one back on October 6th, 2004. It was nothing so elbaorate, not what I can recall. I was a Nebari woman, possibly Nar'eth, possibly Tai'lah, possibly someone else, standing on the shore of a sea, watching the small waves break against a black and grey pebbly beach. It looked like places I've been in northern California or Oregon, wherever it was. Behind me, there was a great forest. I was waiting on something, but didn't know what. I knew, or had known, but couldn't remember. A ship raced across the sky, maybe a thousand feet above me, followed by two others. They sounded like gigantic metal birds. I bent down and picked up one of the shells washing back in forth in the surf. It was violet and red and perfectly octagonal with a hinge about its middle. I put it back in the water and sat down on the beach. And that's all that I can recall.
Okay. Hiding. There's sun on the front porch with my name on it, and I've still not had breakfast.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
I really do wish that my first thought upon waking this morning could have been something besides, "Oh crap. I have a new editor. I'm one-third of the way through a new novel, and I have a new editor." But there you go.
I do not want to spend all day trapped in the house, but I have very little choice in the matter.
No writing yesterday. The talk with Marvel went well, but no writing.
I typed CHAPTER FOUR, read William Blake, tried to find a chapter title, read back over part of Chapter Two, and that's when the phone rang with the news about my editor leaving Penguin. Which effectively ended the writing (or, rather, the possibility of writing) for the day. Like I said earlier in the week, the chaos shows no sign of abating.
Anything else of note about yesterday? Not really. Subterranean Press kindly sent me a copy of Brian Lumley's Freaks. I read a chapter of The Mistaken Extinction, and then, later, read Sonia H. Greene's "The Horror at Martin's Beach" (revised by her husband, H. P. Lovecraft) and R. H. Barlow's "Till A' the Seas" (also revised by Lovecraft). There was little to like about the former, save it was very short, and the latter was not much more than an extended outline trying to pass itself off as a short story. There was great potential in "Till A' the Seas," if it had been a novella, perhaps, or even a novel.
I need to be reading over my notes on Woonsocket, looking at the photos I took there this past summer, reading the two books on the town sent to me by Spooky's mother, thinking about What Happens in Chapter Four. I've been doing very little of any of that.
I've sort of reversed my opinion of the new CD by The Wedding Present, Take Fountain. I really, really like the first track, "Interstate 5," but after that the tone changes radically, and the grim wit and edge of the first song dissolves to whimsy and poor irony. It was a disappointment. But I do like that first track. Too bad it was not indicative of the entire disc.
Okay. I'm just rambling on. Move along. There's nothing more to see here. The men with the firehoses will be along shortly to wash away the stains.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Well, I've found nothing suitablly fragile to mangle, or perhaps I merely am lacking in the requisite will, so I'll pass along this story from CNN, courtesy
, proving yet again that some parts of the South might clean up pretty nice and all, but the wages of inbreeding and fundamentalist religion run deep:
IMAX theaters reject film over evolution: Some theaters in South believe 'Volcanoes' a tough sell (Wednesday, March 23, 2005 Posted: 9:48 AM EST [1448 GMT])
Someday, Southerners may finally get tired of looking like ignorant assholes, but I doubt it. Mostly, I want a warm, tectonically stable, politically progressive alternative that I might at last flee these accurs'd lands once and for all.
This day has devolved from merely the usual sort of annoyance and uncertainty into full-blown Confusion and Incertitude. My agent just called to tell me that my editor at Penguin, John Morgan, is leaving for a job at DC Comics. My new editor will be Liz Shire. I don't know what to expect from Liz. We haven't spoken yet; that happens tomorrow. Regardless, John will be missed. He was very good at not getting in the way, not trying to coauthor by editorial proxy and suchlike. His enthusiasm for Murder of Angels was wonderful. He called me a moment ago. Bang. Bang. This is the first time I've lost an editor during the writing of a novel.
So. Crap. It doesn't change anything about the publication schedule of Daughter of Hounds, and my agent was very encouraging about the new editor, but it's still not the sort of thing I needed just now.
Maybe it'll make me feel better if I complain about something. For example, it's been eating at me lately how many people have read Low Red Moon and mistakenly concluded that Narcissa Snow is, literally, a werewolf. She is not. At no point in the book does Narcissa transform into anything (which is rather her problem, actually) except in visions and bad dreams and Chance's morphine-induced hallucinations. It makes sense that Chance would think of Narcissa as "the werewolf," because she has no knowledge of the ghul, no point of reference. And no, the ghouls are not werewolves, either, though I've seen comments from readers to that effect, as well. There are no actual werewolves in Low Red Moon.
Nope. That didn't really make me feel any better.
Another weird online pharmacy spam today. This time the extraneous text conisisted of quotes from Aristotle, David Copperfield, and a number of other sources. Why? I don't know.
I shall go break something fragile now.
Yesterday went as well as one can ever expect a tedious day filled with the tedious busyness of writing which is not writing to go. I went back through "Bradbury Weather" again for Subterreanean Magazine. I read over "Alabaster" and decided it was as polished as it should be. I made arrangements for an interview. Spooky and I made plans for the author's photo for To Charles Fort, With Love. Stuff like that. But I did get through a very rough outline for Daughter of Hounds. Right now, I'm thinking 170,000 words is a more realistic final word count than 150,000, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
By the way, should you like to read "Alabaster" before the Dancy collection is released this autumn, you should go to the Subterranean Press website and sign-up for their free e-mail newsletter. The story will be serialized in the newsletter in two parts, beginning next week.
Ah. What else. I'm having to be quick about this, because I have an 11:30 thing with an editor at Marvel Comics. I keep shoving this project to the proverbial backburner, and it keeps getting pushed back to the front again.
Last night I read "The Night Ocean" by R. H. Barlow (and H. P. Lovecraft; this is one of his "collaborations") to Spooky. It's a very, very effective piece, despite the fact that Barlow too often veers into excessive simile, metaphor, and wild flights of exposition. I am always especially impressed when a story is so very effective when it's not particularly well worded. Sometimes, clumsy, inexpert magic is the best magic. "The Night Ocean," which Ramsey Campbell recently brought to my attention, is truly haunting, and I expect I shall have it in my head all day.
Spooky used the last of our credit at Criminal Records yesterday (credit from trading in all the CDs I got rid of when we moved) to get the new Moby and the new CD from The Wedding Present. I am especially enjoying the latter. The Moby is a two-disc set, one of which is ambient and reminds me of a blending of the soundtracks for Blade Runner and The Fifth Element (which is a good thing).
As though I needed some evidence that my...let's not say hate...let's say extreme disdain...for humans is in large part justified, I happened to bump into a joke about the Red Lake Reservation school shooting this morning. A joke. A child murders nine people, and it's fit matter for humour. I think humans will never need Great Cthulhu (literally or figuratively) to finish them off. They'll be laughing the day they finally get their shit together, organize, and hit that Big Red Auto-Extinction button. And I have no doubt that they'll still be laughing when they're but radioactive dust blowing through burned-out cities.
I'm beginning to suspect that consciousness simply drives some species insane. It might be as simple as that,
Okay. I gotta go. It's already nine after. Ugh. Telephones. Ugh. There's still a copy of the hardback of Low Red Moon on our eBay auction. Check it out, please and thank you.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Since a number of you seem to be amused with my creepy spam, here's another, of the non-Jesusy variety. It was sent, purportedly, by someone whose Moma and/or Daddy was sadistic enough to name them Malignancies U. Bonging (firstname.lastname@example.org). After the first line of text, note that there is a large graphic inserted, an add for TotalPharmancy ("Your Online Pharmacy Store"), listing prices for Codeine, Viagra, Cialis, Valium, and Xanax (which, by the way, is one of the finest substances ever crafted by the alchemies of you hairless apes). The e-mail is as follows:
Subject: What's up, then?
[insert TotalPharmacy ad here]
If your capacity to acquire has outstripped your capacity to enjoy, you are on the way to the scrap-heap. For man is not the creature and product of Mechanism but, in a far truer sense, its creator and producer.
In the long run we are all dead. The good things of prosperity are to be wished but the good things that belong to adversity are to be admired.
A pessimist and an optimist, so much the worse so much the better. The one thing people are the most liberal with, is their advice. Events of great consequence often spring from trifling circumstances.
Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of the fact.
There is nothing so fatal to character as half finished tasks.
You can change your beliefs so they empower your dreams and desires. Create a strong belief in yourself and what you want. We are all geniuses up to the age of ten. Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.
Art, like Nature, has her monsters, things of bestial shape and with hideous voices. Marriage, it seems, confines every man to his proper rank. Man only likes to count his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If you stand up to be counted, someone will take your seat.
No matter how ephemeral it is, a novel is something, while despair is nothing. The truth that survives is simply the lie that is pleasantest to believe.
It ends with large (35 pt.?) green letters declaring BE REMOVED NOW! What the frell's that? Some sort of frelling predispensationalist battle cry?
Personally, this all just serves to reinforce my belief that the deus ex machina is trying to get my attention, that I might awaken those imprisoned by some dark lord or another. Of course, I also believe Velveeta is actually manufactured by Dow Chemicals from retroengineered alien tech recovered from Roswell, so you might want to take that with a grain of salt.
There was no writing again yesterday, mostly becasue of the idiotic events of Sunday. I also didn't go to Birmingham. I managed to accomplish very little hereabouts. I signed some eBay books. That was about it. Oh, and Spooky took photos of Nar'eth's pulse-pistol holster for Leh'agvoi, for the "winter special" manga that he's drawing, and I e-mailed them to him. I know that doesn't really count, but there you go. Late in the day, I came very close to choking to death on a frelling red apple Jelly Belly jellybean. Once I had dislodged it from my windpipe, I started laughing, which seemed appropriate then, no matter how inappropriate it might seem now. Last night, we watched Kill Bill, vols. 1 and 2.
I have allowed my ability to work to become too dependant on the stability of my environment. This is not something that happened overnight. I spent years letting this happen. A decade, maybe. Now, though, when there is chaos, I stop writing. And, with the load I have at the moment, that's going to do me in almost as quickly as the jellybean would have done. I have to write. I have to write regardless. I does not matter if I've had a bad day. It does not matter if I am depressed or in some other sort of mood not conducive to writing. I still have to write. I does not matter if the weather is crappy or if there's trouble in my family. It does not matter if I'd rather do something else. It does not matter if, in some objective, cosmic sense, I've earned the right to do something else. It does not matter if it's not my fault. It does not matter. I have to write. Nothing else matters, ever. Nothing else matters more. Them's the rules. I knew them when I signed on, and now I'm stuck with them. I have to find a way to write in spite of chaos. That's the only option, because clearly things have no intention of becoming any less chaotic.
Today, I have to attend to a number of things for Subterranean Press, little things that I've let build up until they have become, collectively, one big thing. Also, I plan to turn my attention, finally, to Chapter Four of Daughter of Hounds. It looks as if, because of those aforementioned concerns about ms. length, I'm going to have to do that thing I dislike doing and make at least a roughish sort of outline for much of the book. Nothing I'll have to stick to, of course, not if the story insists it must go elsewhere (and it will), but something to lay the story as a whole out before me so that I can keep it from sprawling too much. So, that's today, I think.
This next bit is for Leh'agvoi, who asked me to about the significance that the lines I quoted yesterday from the script for The Return of the King (the dream which, he recalled, had been Faramir's in the novel) had to J. R. R. Tolkien:
Occasionally, a strange dream came to him: a great wave towering up and advancing ineluctably over the trees and green fields, poised to engulf him and all around him. The dream was to recur for many years. Later he came to think of it as 'my Atlantis complex'.
Tolkien's legend of Númenor, the great island in the West that is given to the men who aided the Elves in the wars against Morgoth, was probably composed before the writing of the 'The Lost Road', perhaps in the late nineteen-twenties or early thirties. It had one of its origins in the nightmare that had disturbed him since childhood, his 'Atlantis-haunting' in which he 'had the dreadful dream of the ineluctable Wave, either coming up out of a quiet sea, or coming in towering over the green inlands.' When the inhabitants of Númenor are beguiled by Sauron (the lieutenant of Morgoth who had already appeared in the long poem about Beren and Lúthien) into breaking a divine commandment and sailing West towards the forbidden lands, a great storm rises, a huge wave crashes over on Númenor, and the entire island is cast into the abyss. Atlantis is sunk.
(From Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter, 1977)
Turns out, VNV Nation will be playing Atlanta on May 11th, and I would love to go. But whether or not I do will depend on several factors. First, whether of not the venue is non-smoking, because I try not to do smoky shows anymore. Secondly, whether there will actually be tickets. Georgia's pro-scalping law makes getting tickets very, very hard and/or very, very expensive. So, we'll see. I would dearly love to go. Also, the new Moby CD is out today. That's a good thing. And Moby will be making an in-store appearance at Criminal Records here in Atlanta on March 24th, which has Spooky rather excited.
There's still a copy of the hardback edition of Low Red Moon up on our almost-for-now-concluded Ebay auctions. Don't make me eat the listing fee on this one, folks. Someone bid. Hell, twelve someones bid. The more the...well, you know how it goes.
Monday, March 21, 2005
There was no writing yesterday, but I can honestly say that it was through no fault of my own. It was, indeed, a day of utter waste and idiocy and is best forgotten almost entirely. I did enjoy Deadwood and the Animal Planet's Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real last night. The "prehistoric dragon" segment was the best, the confrontation of with Tyrannosaurus, mostly because it was the best designed and most believable of all the dragons presented. The bit where the mating "mountain dragons" plummet towards the ground, talons locked, after the fashion of sea eages, that was nice, as well. I was annoyed that, somehow, in the evolution from the "prehistoric dragon" to the "marine dragon," dragons seemed to have acquired a third pair of limbs, at which point, it all sort of became a fantasy made real made fantasy again.
I may be going to Birmingham this evening.
This, though, from the script for The Return of the King (extended version):
Éowyn: I dreamed I saw a great wave climbing over green lands and above the hills. I stood upon the brink. It was utterly dark in the abyss before my feet. A light shone behind me, but I could not turn. I could only stand there, waiting.
Aragorn: Night changes many thoughts. Sleep, Éowyn. Sleep while you can.
We're winding up this round of eBay auctions. Again, my grateful thanks to all who have participated this time. Books are still being sent out, but you should all have your orders soon. There are a couple of things still listed, so if anyone wants to get in on the very last of it, please do. Otherwise, we'll probably start relisting books in about three weeks.
Postscript: Morgan Page, just in case you have any doubt in this regard, you are a wonderful creature — boots, bathtub, and all.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
I woke a few minutes past five this morning, after falling asleep sometime around two. I lay in bed an hour, not sleeping, almost sleeping. A police siren finally put all all hope of any additional sleep to rest (ha, ha, ha). So, I got up and watched the sunrise over our street. It was nice. I love sunrise, even though I'm not a morning person, but I would rather have been asleep. Three hours. What the frell am I supposed to do with three hours sleep?
And here is the equinox. I made it through another winter, and Ena sn'ial shall be set aside until next year. The weather geeks are saying we'll reach only 69F today, which is disappointing for the first day of spring, but which is still a far sight better than the chilly, miserable days we had most of last week. And it's sunny, which helps.
A very frustrating writing day yesterday. I began one vignette, wrote 567 words, realized that it was all story, not a hint of sex in sight — decent start for a story, but not for one of the Frog Toes and Tenctacles pieces. So, I set it aside, went out to a 3:30 appointment (somewhat inebriated, thank you Green Fairy), then came back and began a second piece about 4:30. It seemed to have great promise, and I titled it "Ancient of Days." I cut directly to the chase, no prefacing story, no set-up, and I did a decent 465 words when it abruptly sputtered out on me. So, a total of 1,032 words, but nothing finished. I'm hopeful I can actually see "Ancient of Days" through to the end today, and the weekend will not be a total loss; I'll have added one more piece to the erotica volume.
My primary hurdle with this project remains the fact that erotica is best served by a visual medium, not by mere words. It's like trying to use water to start a fire. It only works under very special circumstances. If I could draw or paint, I could get straight to the point. I wouldn't waste my time trying to convey these images. That's all I'm doing. Trying to convey images. With words. Half the time, a camera and a good make-up artist would be better suited to the task.
I wish the Jesus spam people would lay the hell off, by the way.
Well, I seem to have nothing left to say this morning. But I will remind you that the ten dollar Silk sale ends in about fifteen hours. So, if you want a copy at that price, you should visit our eBay auctions now. Also, there's a copy of the hardback of Low Red Moon up and a copy of Murder of Angels. What better way to celebrate Day 1 of Spring? I mean, besides a drunken orgy with lots of nymphs and dryads and the like.
Saturday, March 19, 2005
We had sun for most of yesterday. Now it's dreary out again. The weather geeks keep promising warmer weather, truly warmer weather, and it keeps getting put off. Sort of like the End of the World. Weather geeks and prophets of doom have much in common. Both have chaos theory to cover their butts.
Nonetheless, I was reflecting this morning on how much better I usually feel when I'm working, as opposed to when I'm not working. That is, the last couple of days have been much better, the last three or four, really, thanks to getting Daughter of Hounds back on track and then finishing Chapter Three. I'm improved considerably from my latest low point, which would have been back on Thursday, March 10th, when I was ready to call down Hellfire and Cthulhu on all of humanity on general principle. It's not that I hate people less when I'm working, just that it's easier not to dwell on them.
Yesterday, as planned, we read through Chapter Three. I like it. Also, Richard Kirk sent me the three interior illustrations for To Charles Fort, With Love. They will accompany the three stories of the Dandridge House cycle, and they are utterly frelling gorgeous. I've gotten used to being wowed by Rick's work, but these three are extra superb. So, that was a much needed bright spot. Also, on a related note, Bill Schafer sent me the cover for the second issue of Subterranean Magazine, which I am inserting below:
Not only will the issue include "Bradbury Weather," it will also reprint "Andromeda Among the Stones," one of the Dandridge stories and will include Rick's illustration (which will, of course, be reprinted in To Charles Fort, With Love).
Returning to the matter of me being in a better mood, I'll be making an effort over the next couple of months to pick up my paleontological research again. I have an undescribed fauna from the Bluffport Marl (Upper Cretaceous) of Sumter County, Alabama, collected by me and Jennifer back in 2001-2002, including a large sea turtle and a bird, awaiting preparation and description. I need that work. I need to be using my hands in that way and to be waking up that part of my brain.
Last night, Spooky and I watched Julien Magnat's very funny Bloody Mallory (French; 2002). Sexy, hilarious, neat monsters, and fun. Spooky remarked, "It has the camp that Buffy was going for, but never got right." Which is, I think, spot on. Highly recommended.
Okay, this has rambled on a bit, but before I close, I need to say thanks to Marrije way off in The Netherlands for her donation to the car fund, and remind you all that we'll only be offering Silk for ten dollars via the eBay auctions until midnight Sunday. Now, I'm off to write some smut and drink some absinthe!
Friday, March 18, 2005
So, my body decided to make up for having not slept by sleeping eight or nine hours straight last night and this morning. I'm not sure which leaves me feeling worse, sleeping too little or sleeping too much. But, at least I don't recall the dreams this afternoon. Small frelling mercies.
Chapter Three of Daughter of Hounds is written. I did 1,342 words yesterday, winding it up. Now I will go on to Chapter Four, back to Soldier and Saben White, Odd Willie Lothrop and the Bailiff. I did have an alarming sort of epiphany regarding the novel on Wednesday night, the sudden awareness of a possibility that, after only a moment's thought and the speaking of this possibility to Spooky, suddenly became a probability. This realization, this understanding of what's to come of one of the characters, will violate, to some degree, my promise to my agent that this book wouldn't be so "grim." But I'm pretty sure it's what's supposed to happen, and if I do otherwise, I'd be forcing the story somewhere it isn't "meant" to go. I know this is vague, but I'm not about to drop a spoiler of this magnitude when the novel's still only about a third written.
Also, I had a good conversation with my editor at Penguin, regarding Daughter of Hounds and other things. I told him this book would be longer than any of those so far, and he's asked me to try and keep it down to 150,000 words, so we don't have to come to that point where things have to be cut. I think I can manage this, maybe. Maybe not. Right now, the ms. stands at 46,093 words. That gives me 103,907 left before I'm over the line. One thing all this means is that there might be scenes in the Subterranean Press edition that won't be in the Penguin edition. It's possible, in the end, I could have a ms. of 200,000 words, and have to excise 50,000 for the Penguin edition. We'll see. In my head, this is a very big story. And, too, it's the tying up of many loose ends begun way back in Threshold. Anyway, he also told me not the worry so much about the sequel thing. He's pleased with the novel thus far and doesn't see it as a problem.
Before I begin Chapter Four, though, I'm going to do another couple of the erotic vignettes for Frog Toes and Tentacles. Hopefully, I can do two of those by Monday, which will mean I'll have five done and only three or four left to write. I have to deliver that ms. to subpress by May 1st. Also, I need to read over "Alabaster" again (remember that story?), decide what I'm going to write for John Pelan's Cthulian Singularity anthology, and finally decide if I'm doing any revision to the end of "Bradbury Weather." The latter is most urgent, as subpress has already laid out the cover for the second issue of Subterrean Magazine (I'll post it here a little later). So, far too much work, far too little time.
Today, Spooky and I will be reading through Chapter Four for typos and continuity problems.
Last night, after dinner and beer, we watched the deliriously dumb Mansquito on the SFC, which had fairly nice creature design and make-up effects, but absolutely no sense to it whatsoever. I rarely ever watch anything on the SFC these days. My anger over Farcsape runs much too deep, and all those Stargate SG-1 commercials drive me to want to mutilate small woodland animals. But I was flipping channels and there was Mansquito, which I'd read about in Wired many months ago, and I was helpless not to watch such silliness unfold.
It's still cold.
Okay. Time to buzz. Thanks to everyone who's bought stuff or bid on eBay that last 24 hours or so. It helps. Also, a big thanks to Bill Schafer for his generous and unexpected contribution to the "car fund." The auctions will continue for a few more days and then we'll be taking a break. Sunday will be the very last day we'll be offering Silk for only ten dollars.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Okay. I think the Red Bull just hit me. Let's try this thing again.
First off, the car situation actually worsened yesterday, so this morning I'm going to begin by plugging the eBay auctions. If you've been thinking about picking up a copy of the (sold out) hardback of Low Red Moon, or getting an extra copy of Murder of Angels, or taking advantage of the tag-end of our $10 Silk sale, this would be a really frelling good time to do so. If you want something and don't see it listed, e-mail Spooky at email@example.com and she'll try to accomodate your needs and desires and whatnot. Please, have a look. "Buy it now" would be nice, if it's in your budget. Your purchases will be greatly appreciated. I know I sound like a goddamned televangelist, but there you go. Thanks.
Oh, and I promise Jesus won't get a dime of your money.
Yesterday was a spectacularly awful day. Just a series of unfortunate events, as Mr. Snickett might say, combined with some truly vile weather. Someone needs to tell the frelling meteorologists that we're just a couple of days shy of spring. The weather gods clearly have no idea. Cold and rain, rain and cold. Temperatures hardly better than freezing (and more of that today). Mud. Dark grey skies. Me trying to get a dead battery out of Spooky's car and stripping a nut because I was shivering too much to hold the wrench steady. Having to slog out to Borders, then the market. Yuck. I will not set foot outside this house again until the weather gets frelling warm! I can do that, you know. Self-imposed isolation. It's one of my superpowers. So, yes, an evil day yesterday, and then I only slept three hours.
And yet, despite all the chaos, I managed to write an extremely respectable 1,616 words of Chapter Three of Daughter of Hounds yesterday. I will almost certainly finish the chapter this afternoon. I have hope for this book once more. Day before yesterday, I passed the 200-page mark. It moves forward.
We'll be doing the St. Patrick's thing this evening. These days, other than Halloween, it's about as close as I get to observing a holiday. I'll hang my Irish flag on the front porch, and for dinner I'll be cooking a brisket of corned beef with cabbage and a pot of colcannon. We'll have Guinness. If we have enough Guinness, I'll probably wind up playing the frelling Pogues until the neighbors start hurling rocks at the house. So — Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig agat!
I shall most likely not wear anything green.
I was thinking last night, when I was trying not to fall asleep, that I'd write something today about networking as it pertains to publishing, about how I used to be very good at it, when I wasn't quite so Howard Hughes, how I hardly make the effort these days, how that might not be such a good thing, and so forth. But It's 8:44, and I suppose if I have to be awake at this hour, I should be writing, not talking about writing, or, worse still, talking about publishing. So, we'll do that later.
Thanks to Annie M. for the drad twilek icon. Now, if someone would just send me one of Jean-Baptiste Immanuel Zorg...
Six-thirty, and I come suddenly wide awake from The Dreams. And I know within five minutes or so that it's no use trying to get back to sleep, not without more Ambien, which I don't need and don't want. So, I am awake. Awake and typing this at 7:47 a.m. in my frelling cold office. I'd say something about the blood-orange horror of sunrise, but it's so damned overcast out there's only the smudgy purple horror of sunrise. Okay. Blegh. I'll make a real entry after stimulants...
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
I have many words in front of me today and the hope that I might reach the end of Chapter Three before nightfall, so this will, hopefully, be brief.
Yesterday, I did 1,002 words on Chapter Three of Daughter of Hounds. What I thought at the start of the day would be a short two- to three-hundred word scene grew into a thousand-word scene, Sadie reading to Emmie from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and discussing wormholes. Sadie has become more important to this novel than I ever expected her to be. I thought she'd only be Emmie's stepmother, off in Manhattan, mentioned in little more than passing, and now she's become awfully close to a central character. I think what this means, and it frightens me to say so, is that the book wants to be bigger than were my original intentions. Bigger means more months spent in the writing.
I can happily announce that To Charles Fort, With Love is pretty much on schedule. I just got Ramsey Campbell's afterword this morning (and if ever something could inspire me to spend the day sitting here slamming these keys, that was it), which I will be forwarding to subpress. Now the book can be laid out and the ARCs printed for reviewers and copyediting. Also, Bill Schafer has the cover art from Ryan Obermeyer (who did such gorgeous work on Low Red Moon) and will soon have the interior artwork from Rick Kirk.
Speaking of copyediting, a subject so near and dear to my heart, I meant to mention the trouble that Tolkien had with the CEs at Unwin and Allen in 1953, which just goes to show that some things never change. As recounted in Carpenter's biography, dwarves was changed to dwarfs, elvish to elfish, further to farther, and ("worst of all," said Tolkien) "elven to elfin. Fortunately, all these changes were caught in the galleys and uncorrected. Uncorrecting the correcting work of CEs forms a great part of the work of authors, I have found. In the case of these changes to the text of The Lord of the Rings, the defence offered by the CEs was that they followed dictionary spellings! Never mind that Tolkien was an Oxford professor and philologist and certainly would have known what he meant, or that the dictionary excuse hardly explains the insistence upon further over farther, which certainly are not interchangeable.
The chilly weather is back, making me miserable.
Okay, that's more than I meant to write. Off to make the doughnuts...
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
So, I seem to have made it over the wall, at least for now. I did 1,397 words on Chapter Three of Daughter of Hounds yesterday, which finally got me through the section of the book that's had me sitting on pause (or paws) since about February 24th. Hopefully, it will continue to move forward today.
Also, yesterday evening, just before dinner, I completed my 300th data unit for Seti@Home. That makes 300 units since Wednesday, July 9th, 2003, a total of 1.060 years CPU time I've given to the project. It's something I'm glad I've been able to do, and I'm pleased to have contributed so much time, because, though I recognize it as a very long shot, I believe SETI to be an extremely important experiment. I'll be taking a break from SETI, having reached the goal I set for myself almost two years ago and thinking I should give the iBook a rest now. I strongly encourage others to take part.
Okay, it's a short entry, I know, but the timer's ticking and the words are waiting for me. Please have a look at our current eBay auctions. Thanks!
Monday, March 14, 2005
Yesterday, I was a bad, bad nixar. Knowing that the day would be so warm and that the coming week would bring a slight cooling off, I succumbed to my own recent lack of discipline and went to Piedmont Park instead of writing. Spooky made her Stern and I-Will-Brook-No-Further-Bulldren-From-You-Little-Lady face and said, "Okay, but tomorrow you have to write." It was wonderful (despite the guilt). I lay on my back in the grass watching the clouds, imagining them to be shifting continents, imagining that every heartbeat was a million years. White, grey, blue-grey, charcoal granite sailed across a perfect blue sea. I think I got bugs in my hair. There were butterflies. It was the most outside I've had in months. We also dropped by the Fernbank about fifteen minutes before closing to see the frogs again (this was Spooky's idea), and I spent a few minutes with the Argentinosaurus and Giganotosaurus. So, yesterday included absolutely no writing, but it was marvelous. And the Equinox is only six days off.
New Deadwood last night. The writing on this show, especially the dialogue, continues to astound me. Beautiful. A thunderstorm rolled in around ten. I like thunderstorms even more than bumblebees. Later, I finished Humphrey Carpenter's Tolkien biography. There were some good bits near the end, quotes fron Tolkien, such as those regarding the anxiety he felt in the days preceeding the release of the The Fellowship of the Ring (August 1954). He wrote:
I am dreading the publication, for it will be impossible not to mind what is said. I have exposed my heart to be shot at.
I've never heard anyone say it better. Indeed, that's what we do. We expose our hearts to be shot at. Also, the whole affair with Tolkien trying to scare Stanley Unwin away from The Lord of the Rings, because he'd decided he wanted it published by Collins (though Allen and Unwin had dibs). In February 1950, Tolkien wrote to Unwin:
My work has escaped my control, and I have produced a monster; an immensely long, complex, rather bitter, and rather terrifying romance, quite unfit for children (if fit for anybody); and it is not really a sequel to The Hobbit, but to The Silmarillion. Ridiculous and tiresome as you may think me, I want to publish them both — The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings. That is what I should like. Or I will let it all be. I cannot contemplate any drastic rewriting or compression. But I shall not have any just grievance (nor shall I be dreadfully surprised) if decline so obviously unprofitable a proposition.
Just once, I'd love to be able to get away with writing a letter like that to a publisher. Of course, as things turned out, Allen and Unwin were the first to publish LotR.
I have an e-mail from Marko Palin, who wants to know when I'll make good on my promise to provide Death's Little Sister mp3s via my website (for those not in the know, I was vocalist and lyricist for Death's Little Sister in 1996-'97). I made that promise, frell, way back in 2000, I suppose. Here's the thing, Marko (and anyone else who cares). All I have are cassettes and videos. No CDs. No DATs (those were apparently destroyed by another band member). So, until such time as someone can transfer the cassette stuff to disc for me, no mp3s. And, I should add, eight years after leaving the band, I'm not sure I still want the songs out there. That's ancient frelling history, you know? Maybe, someday, I'll allow them to be released as a CD to accompany some Subterranean Press book or another. Maybe. DLS wasn't very good, really. We might have been, eventually, had I not left to pursue my writing. But I do appreciate your interest and enthusiasm, Marko.
Speaking of things musikal, we get a new Moby CD, Hotel, on March 22nd and new VNV Nation, Matter and Form, on April 12th! These days, I do not often get excited about new CD releases.
Okay. I gotta go write. I must — aboslutely must — finish Chapter Three of Daughter of Hounds by the 20th, which gives me only a week. But please check out the eBay auctions, please; there are only a few more days remaining on the $10 Silk sale.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
The weather geeks are saying we'll reach 77F today, which makes it very, very hard for me to sit here and try again to write all damn day. I want to go to Piedmont Park. I want to sit beneath a tree and smell spring coming. I want to run my fingers through clover and dandelions and henbit. I want see a bumblebee.
I am very fond of bumblebees, as it turns out.
I wanted to quote a bit from Andisheh Nouraee's latest "Don't Panic" column (from Creative Loafing):
Are Americans really torturing people?
As sure as the handcuffs in my dresser drawer are fur-lined, Americans enjoy inflicting pain on others. In a January 2004 about the popularity of sadomasochism, Time estimated that the United States is home to 250 S&M organizations. What the article didn't mention was that two of those organizations are the CIA and the U.S, Department of Defense.
Of course, now I'm stuck with this image of Donald Rumsfeld in stiletto heels.
Ah, what do I care about silly human politics. I have this book to write. This book that wants to be written, and yet, simultaneously vexes me. I think it's the scope of the thing. I think it's mostly having to deal with the weight of Sadie and Deacon's past, with what happened to Chance, with the whole bothersome issue of Narcissa Snow. At the moment, it's Sadie who's giving me trouble. In 2010, the present day of Daughter of Hounds, she's still trying to come to terms with the things that happened to her way back in November 2002. Which means, because this is not simply a sequel but a more-or-les stand-alone novel, that I have to relay to the reader exactly what did happen to her, the same way that, in Murderr of Angels, I had to let the reader know about Keith Barry and the bad things that happened in the old house on Cullom Street. I do not have the luxury of J. K. Rowling. I cannot assume a zillion people read Threshold and Low Red Moon and are now clamouring for What Happens Next. In fact, I can assume that they aren't. So, I have to artfully include lots of backstory. And that's where I've gotten stuck. There's so much of it, and I have to weed out everything but the moments that were truly defining. I have to be economical. Anyway, I was at it for several hours yesterday and managed to write only 301 words; I dren you not. Chapter Two was completed back on January 23rd. Sheesh.
At least I'm sleeping better, these past two or three nights. I got an e-mail from Ramsey Campbell this morning, asking about my insomnia. It comes and goes. It's been a companion most of my life. I do not like to dream, that's part of it. I do not like to dream because I suspect that dreams are not what they are so often dismissed as, merely the subconscious letting off steam, but some greater facet of "reality." Oh, Caitlín, do not get started on that. You only have five minutes left.
Right. Five minutes. And I must mention the eBay auctions, because work still needs to be done on Spooky's car. Were I J. K. Rowling, this would not be an issue. I'd just license a bunch of inflatable Gryffindor kiddy pools or something of the like and impoverished Chinese factory workers would churn them out faster than you could say Hufflepuff. But, clearly, I am not J. K. Rowling. So, instead, I ask that you have a look at the auctions. Thank you. Spooky's car would thank you, too, if only it could.
Saturday, March 12, 2005
I might well have titled this entry, "Howard Hughes eats a barbecue pork sandwich." (Of course, if you're reading this via Blogger and not LJ, you may well wonder what the frell I'm on about, titling entries and such.)
I may be able to work on Daughter of Hounds again today. The fog seems to be lifting.
Outside, the temperature is supposed to climb to 70F, which I know has something to do with my being in better spirits today. I hate having my emotions jacked directly into the climate like this. I've been this way since sometime in high school.
The postman just brought a check from Gardner Dozois for "Riding the White Bull," which he has chosen for The Year's Best Science Fiction, Twenty-Second Annual Collection. I am quite proud of this. For one thing, I'm pleased that "Riding the White Bull" will be reaching a wider audience.
Little thoughts spinning off from me this morning, little bits of light, little vortices.
Last night, Spooky and I watched the very excellent Collateral and the somewhat duller-than-expected The Bourne Supremacy.
That was a little thought.
Here's a bigger one. I'm pressing on through the Humphrey Carpenter biography of Tolkien, even though Carpenter's approach to biography has begun to annoy me considerably. Why is it that so many biographers are obsessed with clearing their subjects of any suspicion of homosexuality? I've been through this same thing, recently, with Algernon Blackwood (who may well have had same-sex relations early in his adulthood), and it's been an ongoing thing with Lovecraft (who I don't believe was gay, but still, I'm tired of people insisting stridently that he was heterosexual). As for Tolkien, yes, I'm quite sure he was a straight man, that he was, in fact, a homophobe, being such an ardent Catholic and all, and that his close friendship with C. S. Lewis and the other Inklings was strictly platonic. I'd never thought otherwise. But the way Carpenter keeps bringing this up, well, you'd think we had just cause to think otherwise. For example, this bit:
Friendship of this kind was remarkable, and at the same time entirely natural and inevitable. It was not homosexual (Lewis dismisses that suggestion with deserved ridicule), yet it excluded women.
I suppose we are to conclude from this that had Lewis and Tolkien's relationship been homosexual, it would have been unnatural, because homosexuality is, of course, unnatural. Naturally, of course. This sort of dren is less common in more recent biographies; Carpenter's was published in 1977.
Okay. Taylor the Egg Timer just screamed at me, so I gotta scoot. Please, please, please have a look at the eBay auctions today. Your bids and purchases are much appreciated. Note that we will only be offering Silk for the price of $10 for the next week (including today). After that, we'll be selling it at cover price, so act now if you want the discount. Thanks!
Friday, March 11, 2005
I thought about calling this entry, "Howard Hughes goes to the video store," but simplicity won out in the end.
Another halfway decent night's sleep (if I discount the nightmares), but I still feel no nearer the word place. This is becoming serious. I am very far behind on the novel. At least a month.
I wanted to quote this bit from Tolkien, speaking on his intentions for Middle-Earth when he first envisioned it, as quoted in Humphrey Carpenter's biography:
I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only placed in the scheme and sketched. The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama.
It's interesting to see an author invite others to work within his mythology. Lovecraft did it, of course, but it's rather the execption, not the rule.
Oh, and this, a quote from Christopher Wiseman, which I think I understand:
Why these creatures live to you is because you are still creating them. When you have finished creating them they will be as dead to you as the atoms that make our living food.
Late yesterday, we went to the market and stopped to rent a DVD. At least it got me out of the house. We watched the director's cut of Donnie Darko. I haven't seen the original since fairly early 2002, and I feel like I need to see it again before I opine very much on the director's cut. My memory is not to be trusted. But this seemed in tone a darker, crueler, and less whimsical vision than the theatrical cut. I must prefer the director's cut, if only because I must always defer to the intentions of the artist. But, beyond that, I think this was a better, fuller film. I'll say more after we watch the theatrical version again.
If I had great ambition, I'd make the library today. It's unlikely. I have to find a portal.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Really not much to say about yesterday or the day before, nothing much that's worth saying. The insomnia has ruled my life the last few days, laughing at Ambien, at any thought of sleep. I was up before dawn yesterday, in time to see the blood-orange sunrise, after not falling alseep until well after four. No writing. Hardly any sleep, and when I do sleep, there are the dreams. Last night, though, thoroughly, insensibly exhausted, I finally slept. At least eight hours, maybe closer to nine, and I feel some scrap of hope today that I can shake this off.
I'm feeling too, too Howard Hughes.
I did manage some reading yesterday — three chapters of the Tolkien biography and then "The Call of Cthulhu." I always find some small comfort in the latter. I can make-believe Lovecraft's cosmic horrors might bring some justice to this sorry human drama. Yo, George W. Bush! You want some shock and frelling awe? Just wait until the stars are right again and R'lyeh pops up from the deep, and ol' Mister Tentacles, he ain't gonna give two hoots and a holler if you're American or Iraqi, Christian or Muslim. You can all scream.
It is true, of course, even if it's not factual. Just like the rest of the universe, Homo sapiens' days are numbered. So what if it won't be towering, ancient gods awakening to devour the world. The particulars don't matter here. So, it'll be an asteroid the size of Manhatten, or a comet, or a nearby supernova, or the gargantuan black hole at the center of the Milky Way, gobbling stars like candy. It'll be nuclear war or sudden climate change, bioweapons or starvation. Extinction is inevitable, if not in your lifetime, then in someone else's. It's only a question of time. Extinction is the Great Leveler. It hardly discriminates at all. And this gives me the oddest, hardest sort of comfort.
It won't even matter that you wouldn't get your shit together and play nice like good little meat-bags while you had the chance. It won't even matter at all.
Yes, I am raving, I know. But that doesn't change a thing.
Spooky was reading me Margaret Cho's blog yesterday. There was something I wanted to quote because it bears repeating, something she wrote after viewing a clip on the web, one of the Iraqi beheading videos:
I don't know where sorrow is anymore, its presence in the world has vanished, leaving behind greed and the false claims of democracy. I mourn for the victims of Tawid and Jihad, headless and hopeless and names forgotten, their lives used as bargaining chips between corrupt governments where the gangsters rule all. I must also grieve for Tawid and Jihad, that our actions led to their inestimable anger. I beat my chest and cry out hardest of all for our country, with its government so far from its people that most of us cannot see why anyone might want to harm us, take us hostage, fly planes into our towers, kill us and die trying. Most of us don't even know why, which is the saddest fact of all.
A word to "the wise," to the topmost hairless ape-in-charge, wherever He may be: Read your history, man. The comics are always right.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Finally, I ended up in a familiar bar yesterday, somewhat pleasantly drunk, with an unfamiliar lesbian trying to buy me and Spooky drinks. No, it wasn't a productive day. It may be even less so today.
We have HBO. I've never had HBO before. Deadwood is the first thing they've done that I like so much I was willing to subscribe. So, Sunday night we saw the first ep. of the new season, which was brilliant. This might be the best writing I've ever seen on television. Ian McShane and Robin Weigert both deserve Emmys. Actually, they deserve something better than Emmys. Deadwood is the first TV show since Dead Like Me (which was the first since Farscape) that I've been absolutely in love with. Anyway, afterwards, we watched an ep of Carnivale, because a number of people had said I should. I was underwhelmed. It felt a bit like something Ray Bradbury and Stephen King might have written together, poorly adapted for television. Flat, obvious, uninspired, unaccomplished, listless, and so forth.
Do I still feel lost? See the heading for this post.
Daughter of Hounds is a train rattling by, and I'm trying to jump on, but there's a little too much distance to cross, and I have no faith, and little interest, in my athleticism.
Set me aflame and cast me free,
Away you wretched world of tethers.
More news from Spooky's dad this morning. He's still out on Little Diomede Island. The windchill's -45F (which makes our own oogy forecast high of 45F and forecast low of 30F seem positively balmy by comparison). He was having smoked salmon, rice, shrimp, and sushi for dinner.
I see that the Senate thinks minimum wage should stay the same. There's a big frelling surprise.
Well, I'm down to five minutes with nothing left to say.
Except, please, please have a look at the ebay auctions. Bid or buy. I'll inscribe a book almost any way that you wish. No, I won't write, To [ ], the best piece of snatch I've ever had, or To [ ], thanks for those nifty blueprints for a nuclear device, but between those extremes lies quite a bit of latitude. Thanks.
Monday, March 07, 2005
It's warm today, a forcast high of 67F, but the cold's coming back tomorrow.
I last left the house Thursday night. I should go back to work on Daughter of Hounds today, but, knowing the cold is coming, I don't think that I can. Instead, I may go to Emory, or somewhere else.
I feel rather lost at the moment.
We'd thought about going to the NIN/Dresden Dolls show in May, but the show — two shows, actually — sold out in about three minutes. Which is just as well. Concert tickets are grostesquesly overpriced, and I can hardly bear the crowds anymore. It is good to see how well the Dolls are doing, though.
An e-mail from Spooky's father this morning. He's in Alaska again, doing field work on Little Domede Island in the Bering Strait, maybe fifty miles from the Arctic Circle (to the north) and Russia (to the west).
I cannot escape the sensation that I should be somewhere else.
Sunday, March 06, 2005
I think this will be short today. I'm not getting nearly enough sleep. Too much work. Too much Deadwood (all of Season One since Wednesday, five hours last night, the season premiere tonight). Too much everything but sleep.
I will answer an e-mail. This is from Ryan, who thought I should know that he was both English and drunk:
Hey Caitlin, I've just been to www.lowredmoon.com (having seen it in my lovely brand spanking new copy of Low Red Moon) and am curious as to what exactly the site is about.
Here the deal. When I handed Low Red Moon into my publisher (early September 2002, I think), I registered the domain, lowredmoon.com, intending to place a site there promoting the novel. I asked that the URL be included in the book. However, it was a very busy autumn, what with the move to Atlanta, then a chaotic year followed, and when the book was released late in 2003, I still hadn't gotten around to the website. So, after two years, I let the domain lapse. Obviously, someone else picked it up. It seems to be an RPG site, perhaps involving werewolves, perhaps related to White Wolf. Anyway, nothing to do with my novel. Sorry for the confusion.
Mr. Egg Timer has a name, by the way. Taylor. I'll include his photo someday.
Day before yesterday, I e-mail Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press one of the vignettes for Frog Toes and Tentacles, specifically, I sent him "Untitled 3," but have not yet heard from him. I hope I have not been responsible for a heart attack or sudden religious conversion or any such inconvenience.
Yep. I was right. It's gonna be short.
Please have a look at our eBay auctions. Thanks!
Saturday, March 05, 2005
Just so you know, in case my gayness was in any way a subject of contention, in case my status as queer was ever in doubt, in case you somehow missed the fact that Spooky is my girlfriend, last night I watched The Spongebob Squarepants Movie. And now I'm admitting it. In public. So there. For the most part, fundamentalist Xtian crusaders might well be ass-widgets, but, in my own humble, queer opinion, this is one damned gay movie.
And I'm not just talking about those singing pirates...
Yesterday, I wrote 1,945 words in two hours, almost repeating Thursday's Herculean feat. And we have the third vignette for Frog Toes and Tentacles. Now that I feel I have a firm beginning on that book, I'll be switching back to Daughter of Hounds on Monday. Hopefully, the transition will come off without a hitch. I'd try to get through a couple more of the erotic vignettes, but I think I need to clear my palate and all. As I've long suspected, writing about sex must be done always with one eye on the danger of repetition. Well, I mean unless your aiming for Penthouse Forum, and I'm not. Arkham Forum, maybe. Also, I'm discovering that I'm putting in quite a bit more story than I'd expected to, than I said I would. I can't write the literary equivalent of a painting or a photograph, as I'd wished. Indeed, no such thing may exist. Which is sort of sad.
Today, however, I have set aside as a grooming day. I need a bath. I need to wash my hair. Etc. & etc.
For the moment, I remain as loyal to Apple as ever, but I still must admit to being disturbed and disappointed by the following Forbe's article — "Is Apple the new Microsoft?". I've been loyal to Apple since 1986, when I first sat down at an SE II and discovered how straightforward computing could be. And it's probably somewhat naive of me to express any surprise or disappointment over a thing like this. We live in an America where the Bill of Rights is being dismantled in the service of corporate politics and nationalism, and Apple is as surely a corporation as any other.
Okay. Mr. Egg Timer says that's quite enough for today. Please have a look at the eBay auctions
Friday, March 04, 2005
Small mercies. Yesterday, after lunch, after a lot of caffeine and a glass of absinthe, I sat back down at the iBook and started typing. Call it writing, if you will. At the time, I didn't want to be so bold. Expectation can be my worst enemy. Just typing. And within half an hour, the momentum had returned, and the words were pouring from me faster than I could type (literally), tumbling over one another, jostling one another for subject and predicate and so forth. When all was said and done, in only a little more than two hours, I'd written 2,147 words, not quite my daily record, but surely the most I've ever written in two short frelling hours. Floodgates. Effluvia. So, there is now another completed vignette for Frog Toes and Tentacles, one that does not as yet have a title (and some of these may be published sans titles), but may later on. That I may do half so well today.
I am relieved.
Today, I'll try to do another vingette, but on Monday, at the latest, it's back to work on Daughter of Hounds.
We had tuna sandwiches for dinner, and then I played about an hour's worth of Star Wars: Republic Commando on the XBox. I have a general disdain for the Star Wars games, as they tend to be clunky, obtuse, and dull, lately hampered with half-assed RPG elements (yes, I hated Knights of the Old Republic). But Republic Commando is a little more playable, I discovered, a lot less tedious, basically a first-person point and shoot, which was all I was in the mood for yesterday evening. Of course, the whole game is centered on your ability to bark commands at other members of your squad, so this will get old fast. Sadly, I'm too anti-social for even pretend teamwork, and I am surely so when the other characters are faceless clones. I mean, sure, their armour is coloured differently, but Jesus, I don't care if one's into explosives and another's a sniper and so on and on, they are all four the same damned person. We call this uninspired, or unimaginative. Take your pick. Afterwards, Spooky and I watched two more eps of Deadwood, and when we were done, we were so impatient for more than, though it was eleven o'clock, we drove over to Videodrome and rented the disc with eps. 5-7. This series is so very good. It's so rare these days that I become utterly engrossed in fiction. So, anyway, I finally crawled off to bed about 3:30, after five straight hours of Deadwood. I don't get anymore until Saturday.
I think I slept about four hours.
That's it for today. More later. I got to the word place. Please have a look at our eBay auctions. There's another copy of the hb of Low Red Moon up now. Thanks.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
The weather is better today. Warmer. Sunny again. Spooky and I went out for coffee and then a light lunch. And it's very annoying trying to write with the tick-tick-tick of the egg timer counting off the seconds. Duh.
This not writing thing is wearing me down. Sometimes, I think the only thing worse than writing is not being able to write. Sitting here and nothing coming out. Or, like yesterday, words that don't actually add up to anything. Nothing that I want. Nothing anyone else wants. I did write yesterday, technically. I wrote more than 700 words. I began one vignette for Frog Toes and Tentacles, an odd piece in screenplay format, wrote about 500 words and stopped. I started a second piece, in first person, wrote about 250 words, and stopped. Neither of them were leading me anywhere. Or they were leading me somewhere inappropriate to this book. So, today, I try again. I dig for the focus, the passion, the flow of words.
Tick, tick, tick.
Last night, Spooky and watched the first two eps of Deadwood. Wonderful. Really wonderful. Superb. Dark and gritty and engaging. Give it a try, even if you dislike westerns (I'm rather fond of westerns, myself). If only HBO needed a blurb from the likes of me, they'd have one. It's amazing how Showtime and HBO are producing such frelling good television. Is it the absence of censors? Can they just afford better writers? Higher production values? Is it just that they're willing to take chances on edgier stuff? Whatever. Deadwood is a joy. Brad Dourif is a joy, too. Anyway...
Found this piece yesterday in the San Francisco Chronicle, and it's always good to see someone taking Michael Crichton to task for his inevitably, peristently lousy science, especially when it's a subject where so much is at stake. I do disagree with the last bit, though — Crichton is a novelist, and he knows how to write fiction. If only we could all do so well by being so bad at what we do. For more on Crichton's bad science, check out The Science of Jurassic Park and The Lost World, or, How to Build a Dinosaur (HarperCollins, 1997) by Rob DeSalle and David Lindley (a curator at the American Museum of Natural History and a physicist, respectively).
Congrats to the winner of the auction for The Five of Cups lettered edition. We still have ten-dollar copies of Silk, copies of Murder of Angels, In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers, etc. Check it out.
Aigh. Okay. The timer says that's all. See you tomorrow.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
This news is coming in a little late, but I think I've only just had time and presence of mind to reflect on it today. Polish painter of the bizarre and macabre Zdzislaw Beksinski was murdered last week, stabbed to death. The story is here. The news was passed along to me by Richard Kirk, otherwise, I likely wouldn't know.
(Zdzislaw Beksinski, 1929-2005)
Well, it's far from warm, but it isn't snowing, so I shall count myself more fortunate today than I was yesterday. And they say I'm a pessimist! Hah!
Anyway, grateful thanks to everyone who took time to comment or e-mail me about the LJ/Blog thing yesterday. There were many thoughtful and helpful (I hate using two -ful words in a row like that) comments. I liked this bit from Mapultoid:
What I am saying is I would understand if you closed this journal down. I have enjoyed following you, following your writing and Spooky and your thoughts on Life, the Universe, and Everything. The peek behind the curtain has been nice, but I stick with you because of the big show: Low Red Moon, Silk, Threshold, &c.
Because, you know, this really is only a peek behind the curtain. This was never meant to be a thing unto itself, just some odd footnotes. The novels, the short stories, the comics, and so forth, those are the things that matter. The rest may be interesting, insightful, even enjoyable, but it all takes a back seat to the real writing that I have to do. And, these days, I have to do a lot of it. Argh. This is likely to be a ramblesome entry, as I have some notes scribbled over here, and they seem to be in no order at all. Just stuff I wrote down yesterday while reading people's comments.
I have decided that I will be scaling back, not shutting down. The blog is beneficial to me in a number of ways — it has greatly increased my small press sales (far less so my mainstream sales), has given me a forum for meeting and talking with my readers, allows me to promote my work by getting out news of new projects, releases, etc., lets me hear a little feedback, helps a lot with our eBay sales (which are important these days), and so forth. But, instead of these long, long posts, I'm going to limit myself, at first, beginning tomorrow, to writing only what may be written in half an hour. I'll use the egg timer from the kitchen. Beginning a week from tomorrow, I'm going to cut that back to fifteen minutes. And at some point thereafter, will be writing only occassional posts, two or three a month, as a means of announcing news, venting spleen, sharing those rare good days, and so forth. Make sense? I'm not in the mood to go cold turkey on this one, but I do believe that scaling way back is the right solution. I will also leave the phorum in place, for now, but it may go in another month or so. Mostly, these days it strikes me as a troll magnet. My website will always be there, of course, and we'll try to do better about keeping it updated. And I will most likely cease reading any other blogs, as that's one of the very serious time sucks. So there. It is decided.
I've been online since sometime early in 1994, online a great deal. I'm not sure what life would be like without some net presence.
Were the novel going well, I might have let this slide a while. But the novel is not going well. When things are going well with my writing, which they haven't been lately, I can afford to be more careless with my time. But I haven't written anything on Daughter of Hounds since , I think, February 19th. Supposedly, I stopped then to do research, but I've mostly done nothing at all. This is suicide for a freelance writer. You are free to frell off whenever you see fit. No one's gonna stop you. But sooner or later, and usually sooner, you will be sorry. You don't write, you don't get paid. Muse or no muse, inspiration or not, you write, because that's what you do. Now, at the moment, there are many reasons I'm having trouble with this book, and the time I devote to LJ/Blog is only one of them, yes, but it's one of the ones I can easily deal with.
On to other things...
Something I've harped on a million times, but I'm gonna harp on it again, because it came up yesterday, and it's important. My books, though they might be scarce in many American bookshops and absent in most foreign bookshops, are equally available to everyone who is in possession of a credit card (with credit) and an internet connection. Everything I've done that is in print is available from Amazon, B&N.com, booksamillion, subterraneanpress.com, my eBay auctions, and at least dozens of other places. Poppy says that every time someone says to an author, "I can't find your books," the Baby Jesus cries. Damn straight. So, don't say it. It's not true. Bookselling has changed a great deal in the last ten years, and book buying must change as well, or many authors, those of us who don't get mountains of publicity from publishers (and that means most of us), who have publishers who don't pay the chain stores to stock heaps of our latest title right up front, will most certainly perish. It might not have all the romance of the old days, browsing the shelves of a dusty Mom & Pop store, but it's easier, reliable, cheap, and almost everyone, everywhere, can do it. No, really. My books are not hard to find. Not even in Peru, Thailand, and New Zealand. All you have to do is look.
Okay, there was this other thing, about publishers and publicity, ARCs, Low Red Moon, and what Poppy recently went through with the advance-reading copies of Prime, but this entry's gotten way the frell too long. So I'll save that for later.
As for yesterday, it was another waste, more or less. Today must be better. Was there anything worth mentioning? Spooky and I watched Some Kind of Monster last night. Leh'agvoi sent me the first six pages of the Nebari.net winter special. I fretted about my office, cleaning and rearranging, which was not writing. I thought about moving to Albuquerque. That was yesterday.
Before you go, please look at the eBay auctions, which have slowed down the last couple of days. Thanks. And thanks also, and again, for all the comments yesterday. Truly, they have been much appreciated.
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
It's snowing outside. Just flurries, nothing that will stick, a few sizable flakes. But Jesus. It's March first. In Atlanta. I've had enough of this crap.
And here's that sickness I spoke of. Not the sniffles, the other thing: I do not feel well this morning. I don't feel sick, I just don't feel well, either. Sort of the way that an absence of war is not peace, peace being a positive state in and unto itself (like war). Wellness is not a negative state, not merely the absence of sickness. So what's in between? That's the sickness I mean. It's very much in evidence this morning.
I've been considering, for about a month now, ending this journal. After all, it's stated purpose was to chronicle the writing of Low Red Moon, a book I finished long ago. I suppose the release of the Subterranean Press edition means that chapter of my writing career is probably closed. I said I wanted to show my readers what it was like for me to write a novel. Done, repeatedly. Truthfully, I'm considering ditching all web presence except my work on Nebari.net. I could just write my books and stories and send them out into the world to sink or swim.
It's not that I haven't enjoyed your company, because I have (well, most of you), just that I fear part of this sickness arises from all the time I spend online, all the silly fretting over what people think of me and my writing. And it's a lot of time. A fearful lot. I spend, on average one hour each day writing and posting my journal entries. That's a minimum of seven hours a week. And, since I often take as long as two hours, the actual number of hours per week is much higher. And that doesn't figure in the time I spend reading other people's journals. Five hours a day is probably closer to the truth. But let's go with the minimum. At one hour per day, that's about 28 hours a month, 1,540 hours a year. That's frelling insane, even that number which I know to be a gross underestimation, when I have so much to write.
At some point, this journal stopped being about writing and promoting my books and became an end unto itself, an end I don't need. But this isn't a done deal. I've not yet decided. I just thought you guys deserved to know that there's a possibility it may wrap. I just need to think about it some more.
I've been feeling especially bad for Alan Alda. How's that for weird? He was so good in The Aviator, and I thought, it would be so frelling cool to see Hawkeye win an Oscar. But it went to Morgan Freeman, instead. And Morgan's cool and deserving, but it felt too much like last year, when Bill Murray didn't win.
My brief essay on Skin has been sent away to England.
Perhaps I can bring myself to work on a new vignette for Frog Toes and Tentacles today. I hope so.
Please have a look at the eBay auctions. Note that we have copies of Murder of Angels.