Yesterday, after I went with Spooky to the post office in Olneyville to mail eBay packages, I managed to shake off the worse of a bad hangover and get some work done. The questions for Centipede Press, and I proofread "Whisper Road," which is being reprinted in a year's best anthology. It's very likely the best thing I wrote in 2016, a shining spot in a dark and unproductive year. I was very pleased and relieved to discover that it holds up. Yesterday, I also autographed a twenty-year-old Death's Little Sister sticker. I'd never signed one before, and it was the weirdest, most disconcerting things I've experienced in a very long time. And the postman brought me an ARC of Jeff VanderMeer's forthcoming novel Borne, so that's cool. I finished reading Kai Ashante Wilson's A Taste of Honey, a really fine novella. The dialogue gets especially high marks.
Last night, we made a double feature of two of my favorite Coen Bros. films, The Big Lebowski (1998) and The Hudsucker Proxy (1994).
I've come to understand that a big part of getting over my current writing troubles is understanding what caused them in the first place. And it's clear that one of the major culprits is the Quinn books, the whole disastrous Kathleen Tierney fiasco. These two paragraphs from an April 12th, 2014 LJ entry summarize it nicely:
"1. I want to write out an account of the whole Kathleen Tierney fiasco, which is really an account of how quickly any given publishing project can go to shit, for anyone, but, probably, especially for me. But I'm not sure I'm up to it now, or that I will be up to it any time in the future. The three books were intended to have been written over less than a year (and, all told, Blood Oranges took only 45 days, in the spring and summer of 2011). As a trifle, which is what they were intended to be – a hopefully profitable trifle – they'd have been harmless. But, they turned into a nightmare. Partly, this happened because my agent's initial enthusiasm for the project waned almost immediately. Late that May, May 2011, I met with her to discuss The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but she was more interested in the first chapter of Blood Oranges, which she called 'the most compelling thing you've ever written.' I was flabbergasted (I only sent it too her on a lark, and I'd only written it on a lark), but I also hoped I was onto something. I was riding a wave of optimism (which is another story).
This tale is already boring the shit out of me. Point is, a project begun in 2011 as break from the intensity of having written The Drowning Girl: A Memoir turned into a nightmare that dragged on for almost three years. In 2012-2013 I wrote the second book (much later than planned), Fay Grimmer, then hated it so much I actually pulled it and wrote Pink Delicious. You have to understand how great a financial catastrophe that was. My advance on the second book in the series was effectively cut in half by that decision, and I lost many months. I essentially wrote Pink Delicious for free. And then there was the final book, which I didn't even begin until August 2013 and which I didn't finish until this month. Something that was meant to be fun, give me a bit of a break, and make money, ended up doing none of those things, really. I will not look back upon my pseudonymous affair with the late Ms. Tierney with anything like fondness. I will look back and gnash my fucking rotten teeth. I have emerged from it far more rattled and ill than when I finished The Drowning Girl: A Memoir in the spring of 2011."
For some reason, those hyperlinks are all wonky. Ignore them. And yes, I still say "hyperlink."
You add to this the mess with Dark Horse and Alabaster, a dream job that went to shit hardly six months after I was hired, which truly blew up in my face in March 2012 (but I'll save those details for another entry), and I think we have a firm causal foundation for the present dilemma.
I should get to work, or at least try. It's hard to focus on my little fairy tales, what with the news that Russia really did have major role in Trump's election. I never thought I'd live to see the day when it would fall to liberals to try and explain to conservatives why they should fear Russia tampering with our electoral process. Truly, the world is topsy-turvy.