And I kind of assume that most people reading this haven't read my stuff. Which is kind of fun, because here I am spouting off about it every day. And I always kind of am startled to find somebody reading me, and wanting to talk about it.
Excellent! How weird is it that strangers read my books?
So, after I get this proposal finished (which may even be today), I think I am going to take January and February Off From Novels. Which might allow a few of these short stories to fall out of my head, and let me recuperate for a long push over the summer and autumn. In March, I have to write "Perisastron," and then after that I have to rewrite All the Windwracked Stars and revise Ink & Pen and write dust.
But before then, I have a bunch of short stories started I'd like to write.
(nothing written yet except a page of notes including the words Bund Deutscher Mädel.)
"The Death of Terrestrial Radio"
The first word was meant to be spoken quietly, if it should ever be spoken at all.
"Smile" [because I don't write ghost stories.]
He's a better ghost than he was a man.
[Nothing written yet except two pages of notes, and this one is due early April.]
"On Safari in R'lyeh and Carcosa with Gun and Camera"
"We wouldn’t be having this problem if you'd flunked Algebra."
"King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree"
The ghosts from the dam always come in the summer.
"Bone and Jewel Creatures"
As Bijou grew more frail, her creations grew more Byzantine.
"Black is the Color"
Along the north bank of the River Clyde, the oblong cobbles were glazed with sunrise light.
At the corner of the window, a waxen spider spun.
All the Windwracked Stars
He was born white, until she burned him.
Ink & Pen [the novel formerly knows as The Stratford Man]
Christofer Marley died as he was born: on the bank of a river, within the sound and stench of slaughterhouses.
Hell & Earth [the novel formerly known as The Journeyman Devil]
London had never seemed so gray and chill, but Will was warm enough in the corner by the fire.
Really, I need to cut myself more slack. I mean, I tend to think I don't accomplish as much in any given day as I probably should. But this is what I did today:
wrote ten pages
cleaned the kitchen
cleaned off the coffee table
went to the gym
closed up a bunch of boxes and threw them out
took the garbage out
stole a chair from the dumpster (woot! dumpster diving. it's a perfectly good straight-backed wooden chair, both attractive and sturdy, that mostly just needs to be refinished on the seat.)
answered a question from my editor
watched an hour of television
and read some of my research book
...yanno, that's a pretty good day. But I keep thinking of all the things I did not do.
So, tonight, I have just invented a brand new way to hurt myself. Which I know you are dying to hear about.
But first, some backstory.
So, my left shoulder kind of sucks. Which is to say, when I was 21, I slipped down a flight of icy granite steps at the Wilbur Cross building at UConn, and was only saved from dashing my brains all over the place by my left forearm slipping between the uprights on the wrought iron bannister, so my weight fell against my left arm, and I did not actually go arse over teakettle.
Because I am an ox (I have a heavier bone structure than many men a good five inches taller than me), I did not wind up on the receiving end of a compound fracture. Instead, I bounced on my ass cheek on the steps, said "ow," and a few other choice words, extricated my arm from the uprights, assured the semi-hysterical witness that no, my arm was not broken and I did not need to go to the ER.
Um, anyway, several years later I started having pretty serious pain in my left shoulder, which was aggravated by typing. At that time, I was... a typesetter.
Anyway, I figured out some ergonomic workarounds and made it get better, and carried on. Until 1998, when I was working updating Microbiology procedure manuals at an inner-city hospital (I loved that job) and the old problem came back and started getting worse. Until I had the semi-constant sensation that somebody had the blade of a butterknife under my shoulderblade and was leaning on it while prying the scapula away from the rib cage.
I have... a really high pain tolerance. [which will be relevant later] And this was quite unbearable.
Um, I went to see my doctor, who diagnosed bursitis, and collectively we decided to try to address it through ergo again, because not so much with the cortisone shots. Anyway, we fixed it, it went away again. Nowhere in here did I twig that this was in any way related to my injury.
In 2000, I was in a car accident. Afterwards, because I had lost all grip strength in both hands, I went to see a chiropractor. Who took some x-rays and said, quite promptly, "What on earth did you do to your shoulder?"
And I said, "Nothing."
And she said, "No, look here, this is all scar tissue. Did you do something to yourself about seven years ago?"
...the sound you hear is a penny dropping. Anyway, apparently at the time I had separated the shoulder and, ah, never noticed. Because, see above, high pain tolerance, right?
Anyway. I have this shoulder which sometimes hurts a lot. (One of the reasons that I lift weights is that it helps my back and helps my shoulder release. As does yoga. And the juggling and weight lifting and now the guitar seem to help a lot with the aching hands that are part and parcel of my job.) So, to cope with the shoulder that sometimes hurts a lot, I now have this giant VROOM vibrator massager thingy.
Which I'm certain has an industry second life as a sex toy, but that's neither here nor there. And I'm no doubt a vast disappointment to any voyeurs on my block, because one will usually find me face down on the sofa with this thing on my back.
Anyway, the massager thingy's vibrations make my inner ears itch.
So here I am with the thing on my back, and I idly and absently poke my pinky finger into my ear to itch it.
...except my fingernail is apparently longer than it's ever been.
...are you with me so far?...
And all of a sudden OMG BLOOD EVERYWHERE GOAT SLAUGHTERING TIME. I mean, we're talking Saturday Night Live quantities of blood. Titus Andronicus, The Massacre at Paris, The Revenger's Tragedy quantities of blood. "Who would have thought the old man had so much blood in him" quantities of blood.
One's ear canal is... apparently very vascular.
(I'm really glad I got the bleeding stopped in about thirty seconds, because explaining that one in the E.R... well.)