The past two days have been a maddening fucking blur, but I managed – with the help of Kathryn, S.T. Joshi, and Sonya Taaffe – to compile a complete bibliography of my work (5,000+ words), 1985–2015, in only two working days. It will be included as an appendix in Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea. And I can see now that I've written and sold a total of two hundred and twenty-two short stories (not counting The Dry Salvages and Black Helicopters, which I consider short novels, or, if you prefer, novellas). Which is, frankly, a little hard for me to believe. But there it is. Today, I'll be tying up lose ends (updating the biography, looking at the last few pages with sticky notes still attached, expanding the acknowledgments slightly, and, little piddly stuff like that) and writing flap copy, and tomorrow the whole thing will go back to Subterranean Press in a great big damn cardboard box. Likely, you'll be hearing a release date soonish, and I'll let you know when SubPress will begin taking preorders as soon as I know. I still have to pull the art section together (for the limited edition), but I'm sending the corrected galleys back beforehand.
I have a thing that I honestly never thought I'd hear: a dull album from The Decemberists. I began listening to What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World on Tuesday, and I've been through the whole thing six times now. I keep waiting to not be disappointed, and I keep being disappointed. Where's the fire? Not here. There are two or three tracks I like. The only one a like a lot is "Easy Come, Easy Go." And "Carolina Low" isn't bad. "Mistral" is okay. But two good songs and one passable song doesn't make a good album. I will defer to the reviewer at Pitchfork, who writes, Jeremy D. Larson, "gone is the wild-eyed, fearless, nerdy-ass band who once said 'fuck it we’re gonna do a 10-minute song about a revenge-murder inside whale.' To borrow a theme from the album, this is the part of the the Decemberists’ story where you skim to the next chapter." Exactly. And it's sad to hear such brilliant musicians diminish themselves almost to the point of becoming acceptable elevator music. Colin, man, I know you grew up and got married and had a baby and got a three book deal, but can we please get back to the fire in the belly and the swooping, mad imagination, the grand bawdy joy, of The Hazards of Love and Picaresque? Because this is safe, competent pablum.
I think the album's had me in a sour mood all week.