July 16th, 2006

bear by san

you might be lord of half the world, you'll not own me as well

I wish for peace.

I sometimes wonder, if we had a global reset button, if we could irrevocably and completely, as a species, look at one another and the marriage counselors and go "Yanno what? Fuckit. I'm really sorry for all the shit I've done to you, and I am going to try to forgive all the shit you did to me, can we maybe still work this out?" we might have a chance.

There's no justice. You can't go back far enough to figure out who started the shoving, or, if you can, there's no way to patch the holes.

It's impossible, of course. Anybody who's ever been in a dysfunctional relationship knows that you never surrender your moral high ground, even if you have to manufacture it. If you have to be right, either you are going to be enforcing constant conflict, or constant resentment.

But as long as we're still hitting each other, still self-justifying, over grudges that started when our idea of a good book was grain records poked into a clay tablet with a stick, well, peace is something we wish for, not something we get.

Global amnesia. And burn all the books. Then we'd have peace for an hour, until somebody started fighting over who got the last box of Cheerios.

...god, I sound like Peter. :-P Time for a pot of tea.

deserve's got nothing to do with it, kid.

Okay, a little bemused by the amount of genderfuck going on the 1999 anniversary edition of "Hair," which I've had for a while but just managed to listen to. ("White Boys" appears to be sung in large part by men.)

My refrigerator magnets currently consist of the "Moscow Rules" and a whole bunch of magnetic poetry. Featured are the Shakespeare, Genius, and Erotic editions. (The latter was a gift from stillnotbored. Now you know how she got her username.)

On consideration, if I had room for the Dog and Cat ones, I suspect this pretty much sums up everything you need to know about me.

What's on your refrigerator?

You know, the better I get at this writing thing, the more I need to be told what I'm doing right. Which is a funny sort of thing.

Several of my friends were gracious enough to read the new novelette last night in rough draft, and let me know what they thought. And I agreed with the critique in every case--they identified what I had already thought needed shoring up--but I kept finding myself having to ask "did it work? does the ending work? does it make emotional sense?" and in pretty much every case the response I got was "Oh, yeah, I liked it fine, but I like these characters a lot." or "Yanno, it's not actually very smutty."

And yeah, there's a thing I need to fix (One of the two POVs is much stronger than the other one, so it's flapping with one wing, currently, and I need to find a way to get more spec element up front without abrogating the very, very understated magic that's the hallmark of the Promethean universe) but what nobody was telling me was, hey, is there an emotional arc? Are you rooting for these guys? Is there any thematic impact?

Or am I masturbating, here?

'Cause I can always slap it on a website as backstory for Blood & Iron if it's not good enough to sell. And I was kind of suspecting that that was all it was, was backstory, and not a real, live story of its own.

I was actually kind of spiralling down into a pretty serious "Well, I'm totally out of love with this story--it's a piece of shit and nobody wants to tell me, guess I'll trunk it now and save myself the embarrassment of forcing editors to read about penile tattooing," (it's on page one; I mean, you can't miss it) when I realized I was getting depressed and unreasonable.

So I sent  truepenny a forlorn plaintive email asking "Is there anything you liked about it?" And she came through with a list, and identified Actual Thematic Elements.

So I guess it's worth saving after all.

I used to be far more certain about the good things about my work--even certain about the good things that didn't exist. Now, I can spot what's wrong with it in a heartbeat, but I have no idea any more if the part that isn't obviously broken is of interest to anyone at all.

Isn't that funny?

Finally got that slush taken care of. Phew. My to-do list is appreciably shrinking.

There is this thing about novels, especially in the end stages of the first draft. They expand to fill every available niche of your life. Every cranny, every surface, every crack. Until the list of things that Haven't Got Done because first, you have to finish the novel, takes on a life of its own.

For me, a long list of Things That Aren't Done is a huge stressor. My primary motivator, in many ways, is Finishing Things. I like things that are Done. So last night I sat down and read a month's worth of neglected Ideomancer slush. That felt pretty good.

I wasn't the only one slushing last night....

(In case you thought editbeings were always coolly professional)

So, because I like lists (they make me feel in control of a situation), here are things I crossed off my to-do list this weekend.

First draft of "The Rest of your Life in a Day," which probably needs a new title because I stopped it in the thirty seconds where it still has a happy ending. (What kind of an ending you get is entirely a function where you stop telling the story.)
Work on "War Stories"
Carnival proofreader queries
Line edits for "Sonny Liston Takes the Fall"
Readover final version of "Sonny Liston Takes the Fall"

There. That feels better.

Things I still need to do before oh, August 15 or so:

Article for Broad Universe
Article for ASIM
Submission draft of Undertow (I got my deadline pushed back a little, but I'm still going to try to make the original one)
Revisions to A Companion to Wolves.
Write either "Limerent" or "Chatoyant"
Write "War Stories"
Revise "The Rest of Your Life in a Day."

Fortunately, the day job should be dropping from a 40-hour-week to a 32-hour-week in here somewhere, if All Goes According To Plan.

One of the many gorgeous tattoos created by the artist who is working on one of the people who agreed to help me with the tattooing scene in that last story.

I really want to thank everybody who helped out with that. Y'all rock. The internets, they are powerful.

And a meme:

Collapse )

Somebody needs to explain to the Promethean Age crew that they don't get any more books written until at least 2009, and that they can stop supplying me with seductive soundtrack music.

That said. the Dorothy Wallace version of "Where to Now, St. Peter?" is a creepy little song. It's sort of Loreena McKennitt byt way of Fiona Apple, or something.

I took myself a blue canoe
And I floated like a leaf
Dazzling, dancing, helf-enchanted
In my Merlin sleep--

Crazy was the feeling
Restless were my eyes
Insane they took the paddles
My arms they paralyzed.

So where to now, St. Peter?
If it's true I'm in your hands--
I may not be a Christian,
But I've done all one man can.

And having had a busy morning of accomplishing not a damned thing, I think it's time for my nap.
  • Current Music
    Hair - Hare Krishna / Chess - Opening Ceremony
  • Tags
lion in winter dead

She wasn't a stranger to loneliness. She'd grown up and spent her life there.

leahbobet, tanaise, I am giving Josh Ritter another chance. And I discover, I still really dislike his voice and singing style (let us all, aye, an entire generation of boy singers, rip off Bob Dylan. Gah. Why can't they rip off Phil Ochs instead?), but some of his lyrics, I like enough to ignore the voice for. So far, Harrisburg (Having been to that part of Pennsylvania--like Hugh Blumenfeld's "Thread City," it's one of those songs about dying America that's profoundly, searingly true) and "Girl in the War."

It's a long way to Heaven; it's closer to Harrisburg
And that's still a long way from the place where we are
And if evil exists it's a pair of train tracks
And the Devil is a railroad car.

Progress notes for 16 July 2006:

"War Stories."

New Words:  1080
Total Words: 4263
Pages: 18
Deadline: September 1
Reason for stopping: end of scene

I have two and a half scenes left to write. This one may actually stay a short story.


Everybody pretend that we can't tell that the only spec element in this thing is that it's set twenty-off years from now, all right?

Stimulants:  chocolate truffles and Caol Ila
Exercise: none

Jack Tingle gives B&I the thumbs up, and Chains a more qualified thumbs-up, on Usenet. He ran hot and cold on the Jenny books, as I recall. (Those were back in the days before I was actually narcissistic enough to link Usenet posts, but hey, if I'm linking blogs...)

hawkwing_lb expands on her earlier comments on Blood & Iron. She also wrote up a dive today, which I will link under cool things.

truepenny provides a thematic explication of one aspect of the same book.

I'm glad Sarah wrote that, because I'm sort of incapable of talking really intelligently about the themes in my work except in general terms. In part, this is because I am inductive & kinesthetic, rather than deductive & verbal/visual. And in part, it's because, as coffeeem said once memorably, if I could explain it in any less space than it took to write the book, I would have. And in part, it's because my books are invariably about problems I don't have answers to.

If I have an answer to an issue, I write a fucking essay. Fiction, in my opinion, is for things that are not amenable to solutions, only argument and compromise.

I think... I think, reading the last week's responses to Blood & Iron, that this one is really truly out of my hands, in a way the Jenny books never quite managed. People are talking about it, in interesting ways, on all sorts of levels, and I find that both heartening and a little intimidating. It's weird to watch it go out there and make a splash.

commodorified thinks that The Stratford Man is going to have me burned in effigy, for the theology if not the Angel Smut. I just chuckle, for she has not read Whiskey & Water yet. Which has, aye, less angel smut. But also the most subversive sex scene I've ever faded to black on, though it's not evident until the end of the book. I suspect it's one that will have people going "Oh. Oh." if they ever go back and reread the book. 

The other cool weird thing, of course, is not just looking at the book living in other people's heads, and the ways it isn't the same book any more at all--it's trying to guess ahead of the curve which way things are going to break when they hit the collective mind.

And that's how a book goes into the world. It's on its own gray wings--going, gone. It's still my book--the same way my daughter would always be my daughter--but then there's a point where it becomes its own thing, and I don't have it to myself any more.

Bye bye little book.

Send postcards.

Wish I'd gotten rid of a little more of that blinking before you went out and got famous, but we do the best we can. *g*

Mean Things: the nasty clerk at the interment center used a racial slur on cute little ten-year-old Razorface.
Tyop du jour: bust his tow
Darling du jour:  Somehow, Carter must get through, jinky radio and all, because the next thing I know there's a helicopter slamming over like the Archangel Michael on a three day bender.

...yeah, I still like writing Jenny. On a good day, she just takes over and starts talking, and I type up what she says.

I also liked:

The light from fifty-five takes a million years to reach eighteen.

But really. She just comes out with this stuff.

Jerry-rigging: Hmm. I wonder if I left a spec element in my other pants. Maybe I can turn this into a commentary on Iraq somehow, and then the war-on-American-soil will suffice.
There's always one more quirk in the character: Jenny keeps her engagement ring in a money belt when she's on duty. She's so cute at that age.

Other writing-related work: Read truepenny's ch. 14, revised.
Books in progress: Martin Cruz Smith, Stallion Gate; Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice;
Things I'm glad I didn't go to my grave without: hawkwing_lb went diving today and wrote it up.
The glamour!: Decided to do laundry for ComiCon after I get to Las Vegas. *g* Also, I think I'm just not taking the laptop. Screw it.