I'd be wary of all these books written by women that people are suggesting. There are extremely few decent female sci fi authors. They only write about angsty bullshit like family disputes and the spectre of technological interference with reproduction and other victimhood crap.
I spent most of yesterday running errands, waiting on phone calls, and dithering. Not writing. This has to stop today. Today, I go back to work on Chapter Nine. I did speak with my agent yesterday afternoon. She hadn't even thought of the Xmas thing and really didn't see it as a problem. But I'm going to change the dates anyway. I will either move the story ahead one week, or I shall move it all the way ahead to February 2010, during the convenient "winter break" that Southern kids don't get (which is why I didn't use it to start with). I only need cold, snowy weather. As for the rest of yesterday, I spoke very briefly with Neil, tried to reach Poppy, but had trouble getting through (I spoke with her mom early in the afternoon), dealt with some layout questions regarding Frog Toes and Tentacles (which goes to the printer any day now), and made another trip to the Woodruff Library. Spooky snagged a copy of Final Fantasy X off eBay for a mere $2.25. I spent much of the evening reading Daniel Pinchbeck's book on modern shamanism and psychedilic drugs, Breaking Open the Head, along with bits of Barbara Tedlock's The Woman in the Shaman's Body. Then I proceeded to get a really lousy night's sleep, perhaps three or four sound hours.
And I've been trying not to think about New Orleans, trying to push it aside just long enough to finish Daughter of Hounds. Then, yesterday, I came across a photo in the new issue of Time (9/19/05; pp. 30-31), a familiar street in the Garden District in flames, and it was like someone had punched me in the chest. I don't know how people directly effected by the catastrophe are getting on from day to day, those who lost their homes, family members, friends, businesses, neighborhoods. I just can't imagine it. I've never had to live through anything like that. I like to tell myself I'm a tough cookie and I've seen the shit in my lifetime, that I've survived and flourished through difficult things, and so forth. But I've never had to face anything like this. Not even close.
And still...I have to finish this book this month. It seems a trivial thing, my fairy tale, next to the devastation of New Orleans, but I still have to finish it. The living and the lucky have to keep on keeping on, no matter how trivial it all may seem.
The Wrong Things auction has three days and one hour remaining. Please bid if you can. All proceeds go to Poppy. And I think that's all for now. Time to make the doughnuts...
Oh, my thanks to everyone who tried to be helpful about the Xmas thing yesterday, and to everyone who said kind things about the photo.