September 28th, 2004

bear by san

Idyll, with sick dog

So I've decided not to work on any of the novels no matter how much they pester, until I've reduced my to-read pile by a significant fraction. I'm still working on Tales of Beatnik Glory and Savage Beauty--those are both not very fast going, although they're interesting. On the other hand, I started Matt Ruff's Tiptree Award-winning novel Set this House in Order last night, and expect to finish it today. It was advertised by the presenters at the Tiptree ceremony as "really really really really really really really really really good," and it is.

There's an excerpt here, but be warned before you start reading, it's not available in mass-market yet.


I have a stack of other books here--some genre fiction, some nonfiction, some mainstream fiction, some slipstream fiction. I have all these books on Russia I should get cracking on, for when I write my Industrial Soviet Fantasy Novel With No Title. And I still keep thinking I should write a spy thriller one of these days. And I need to start stewing on another novel-length SF idea, 'cause I'll probably have to write one in 2005. (I have lots and lots of fantasy novels already written and lying around waiting for people to give me money for them. Unfortunately, I have now handed in all the SF novel ideas I had, except a sequel to the Jenny books set sometime a few centuries later, but which needs, as they say, adequate cooking time.)

The thought baboons are sluggish in the early morning chill. The guilt gorilla can barely be arsed to scratch his chest thoughtfully and slump over onto the other buttock. The lemurs of smut are nowhere to be seen--perhaps they're hibernating, as some lemurs apparently do. The suck monkey... ahhh, the suck monkey. The suck monkey is blinking thoughtfully at me from the branches. He may almost be in a doze. I'm not sure where the orang-utang and the gibbons are. Waiting to join the bestiary, no doubt.

The good news is, I seem to be having a good confidence week, skill wise. I'm not sure I've taken another skill jump, but I'm pretty happy with my ability to put words on paper and have them come out as a story, structured and interesting and affecting, with good narrative push. I'm also feeling absolutely no urge to write whatsoever. Which I refuse to let bother me; I've been madly productive this year and I'm not just caught up--I'm ahead.

And so far, three out of three readers agree that the ending of Worldwired, which I was so very neurotic about, works. Works well enough not to be worth mention in their critiques, as I had to email each one of them back and go "So.... nevermind all these other problems you cleverly spotted--how'd the ending?" "Hmm? Oh, it's good." Which is a reassurement.

I hate bagging endings.

I didn't go into work today but I've been up since 3:30 anyway, after a night of very intermittent sleep. The dawg is sick to his stomach; it was deemed better to miss a four-hour shift than come home and clean up piles and piles of mastiff effluvia. They tend to be very BIG piles, you see. I love early mornings--it's time without time, and the air is cool, and the sky is grey and gold even here in the Hot Place. I also love late nights. My inner loner, I guess--the quiet hours are very good to me.

My ideal sleep cycle seems to have me asleep between one and five am and then again between one and four in the afternoon. Needless to say, holding down a job is not conducive to this.

Alas, the cold quiet part of the morning is over. But I'm still enjoying the peanut butter toast and the Russian caravan tea, and Matt Ruff, and a day of vacation.
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