And it is currently 68˚F in Providence. I long for warm and stable and predictable weather, hazy skies, sultry nights, a true summer. Fuck green autumn; this will be my third consecutive year without a summer.
Yesterday began, before was awake, with a FedEx package from China bearing galleys of the Centipede Press edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Before I even had time to look at those, however, I got an email from my editor at Penguin (still before I was awake) informing me:
It has come to my attention that the ebook format will not support the characters ā and ū. We have two options. One is to replace the characters with a supported version (see list below). The other is to take every instance where the character appears and, instead of using text, replace it with a tiny picture of the character. The problem with this is that it will not render correctly across all e-readers. Some people may see something like “Gh□l” instead. I strongly recommend the first option. Please let me know what you would like to do, and, if choosing a different set of characters, let me know if you want that change made just in the ebook or in the print as well.
Yes, seriously. No macrons allowed. So, in the print version of Cherry Bomb the Arabic word الغول will be correctly romanized to ghūl, but in the ebook it will appear incorrectly as ghul. And there are other words that will be affected. I was reminded of line from 1984, a line I am often reminded of in this shoddy, ignorant future we've built for ourselves: “It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words." Now, to be clear, I certainly do not blame my editor for this idiocy. I have to blame the entire publishing industry. And it's not a problem with Penguin's electronic publishing platform. To again quote my editor, "We don’t have a platform. This is a problem with the epub and MOBI file formats that all ebooks use, and with the software in ereaders that recognizes text."
What the hell. People who read ebooks get what they deserve.
So, after that, I quit a job on a development team for a new video game being developed in cooperation with Sony for the PS4. Truthfully, I'd only accepted the position because the pay was good. I have less than zero interest in interactive narratives, which, to me, are anathema to literature. I just needed the money. But I just couldn't take the nonsense that was being sent my way, and I can't work as part of a team, and I don't rewrite. For anyone. Well, almost never. Crap like: "The current dialogue script (in screenplay format) for this story is 7 pages long. We're happy with the general arc of the story [sic] but we'd like the dialogue to do a better job of conveying and exploring the girl's feelings." That's not writing. I don't know what that is, but I'm pretty sure it's why we have trained monkeys. By the way, what I quoted there was being called part of my "initial milestone proposal." What the fuck. Who teaches people to talk like that?
Oh, and my comments regarding my loathing of ebooks – predictably – sparked a kerfuffle on fucking Facebook. I banned over twenty people and close to ten "unfriended" me. I don't know what's worse, the ebooks themselves or the ebook zealots. Ray Garton summed them up perfectly yesterday: "I have to read ebooks because I'm allergic to gluten."
So, yes, all in all yesterday was an utter nightmare, and there's personal crap I'm not going to put down here. It was the "perfect storm" of a shitty day. Keeping today from becoming worse will be no mean trick, indeed.
I suppose that if I want to look on the bright side I can say that now, with the video game nonsense gone, I'm free to pursue genuine, actual writing, the sort I was distracted from by the Quinn books. I sent "Interstate Love Song" to my agent yesterday, and she's reading it as something that can be expanded into a novel, my next serious novel, the one that should have been written immediately after The Drowning Girl, instead of my being distracted into then morass of urban fantasy (that was also mostly about money, after the first book, Blood Oranges). I can keep the digest current, and I can decide if I truly am going to write The Dinosaurs of Mars this summer. I can write short stories I owe editors. I can get Alabaster: The Good, The Bad, And The Bird written this autumn. The video game job would have eaten up a lot of my time over the next year, and it would have required me to make repeated trips to Santa Monica (shudder), and I'd have gotten almost nothing written. Also, it was work for hire.
This morning I dreamt of stepped out beneath a star-filled sky, the sort I have not seen since my twenties, a sky devoid of light pollution. The Milky Way was a demon of white light. It was beautiful.
We should get out of here today, if I can stand the bullshit weather. Unless it's in a very, very warm place, I will never again live in a coastal area.