Yesterday was sort of a disaster as far as the writing of Chapter Seven was concerned. About 250 words in, the teetering Popsicle stick and school paste scaffolding of my focus came clattering down all over the office floor. I'd allowed my thoughts to stray from the story, and that's almost always the fasttrack to an unproductive day. I forced myself to make it as far as 500 words (total, I did 529 words yesterday). Fortunately, the day was not a total waste. We made it through the galley for To Charles Fort, With Love again, double- and triple-checking this and that. But Spooky did most of the work on the galleys. I'm annoyed that no matter how many times we read through this collection I know, from personal experience, there will be errors in the printed text. It has been proofed to hell and back, and still there will be errors. I've reached the point where I give up and resign myself to the fact of them. It will not be perfect. The imperfections, most of which will be invisible to other people, will be the first thing I see whenever I look at the book. Also, yesterday was marred by our attempt to extract blood from a stone, which is to say that we're trying to get a decent black-and-white print from a once-reliable photo developer that's gone mostly digital. First they printed on the wrong paper (matte, when we need glossy), then they cropped where we told them not to, and today I have to decide whether of not to accept the imperfect print or try to make them do this job right. But, mostly, I have to try to reach the end of Chapter Seven. I'm very close, perhaps no more than 2,500 words for Chapter Eight. I found myself writing this particularly Carrollian scene yesterday, and that was another reason I made myself stop, because I'd ceased to trust my own judgement as to whether or not I was making the correct decisions about the book. I was too exhausted. Too little sleep. Far too little sleep.
Phew. Long frelling paragraph.
There's been some very good and much-appreciated conversation in the phorum the last few days, regarding my decision to write under a pseudonym and the pressures of being a working novelist in today's market. You might check it out. Just click here and look at the thread titled "Journal Follow-Ups..." I think the conversation in question begins in the 7/27 entries (or thereabouts).
As evidence of how far out of touch with the vertebrate paleontology community I've gotten, I've only just learned of the death of Professor John Ostrorm. Ostrom was responsible, in large part, for the "Dinosaur Renaissance" of the 1970s, following his discovery of the maniraptoran theropod Deinonychus in 1964. He was mentor to Dr. Robert T. Bakker, who, in turn, was my mentor in the mid-1980s. Our understanding of the evolution of birds owes much to Ostrom's studies of non-avian theropods and fossil birds, especially his work on Archaeopteryx. I met him in 1986 in Philadelphia.
Anything else about yesterday? The signature sheets for both To Charles Fort, With Love and Frog Toes and Tentacles arrived, but I'm not going to be able to get to them until early next week. Last night, I mostly tried to relax, in hopes of getting a good night's sleep. I finished Pariah for the XBox. Few games that I've bothered to finish have suffered from a such a muddled storyline. And, like I said, the fps perspective was even more claustrophobic that usual, sort of like wandering around staring through the cardboard tube at the center of a roll of paper towels. Then Spooky and I watched Val Guest's excellent The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961), a very creepy and understated vision of apocalypse. And that was yesterday.