May 2nd, 2004


X, triangle, L1...

Yesterday, I wrote 648 words on "Faces in Revolving Souls." Two short scenes that left me within easy distance of the story's ending. But I wanted my head to be very clear for the last 800 or so words. It's been a very long time since I've had to work within a 5,000-word limit, and I think the enforced economy has been good for me. Frustration can be constructive.

Though, I have to admit, I actually had just a little too much frustration with Jak II last night. I'd reached the level where Jak and Daxter have to sabotage the Baron's ammo dump, and after about forty tries (at least forty), and each time either being shot or falling to my death, I threw down the controller in a fit of — you guessed it — frustration. Have I finally met a video game that surpasses my stunted multi-tasking skills? Remember, when I was a little kid, Rock'em Sock'em Robots and Battleship were high tech gaming. I didn't discover video games until Pong came along (I think I was in junior high). Gak, I'm frelling old. Anyway, I'll have another go at the ammo dump tonight. I am invincible. My thumbs refuse to admit defeat.

As for the rest of last night, I think Spooky covered it nicely in her three a.m. LJ entry.

I think I may have told this story once already, in some previous entry, but please indulge me. Years ago, when I was mired in The Dreaming and finally beginning to face the fact that it was never going to be even half as popular as The Sandman, I called Neil late one afternoon to vent, well, my frustration. He very patiently listened while I whined and sulked and felt sorry for myself, while I hurled curses at the ungrateful philistines who refused to recognize my obvious genius, while I lamented my thwarted popularity amongst the funny-book reading masses. He listened. And then he said (and I must paraphrase, because I can't recall his exact words), "Caitlín, you need to remember that — in the end, when we're dead — the only thing that will matter is the work. In the end, that's all there is. The work. What we write. That's all." And I was so stunned, I shut the hell up. Some truths are like that. They hit you like a slap in the face. Lately, I've been slapping myself in the face an awful lot.

In the end, the work is all that matters.

Not the popularity contests I did and did not win. Not the good and bad and indifferent reviews. Not the ruthless politics and whims of "the industry." Not the readers I'll never reach. Not the lucky breaks and injustices. Not the sales figures and returns. Not the money. Not the lives I might have lived instead. Not the coveted awards I receieved or never won. Not the bitterness and insecurity and doubt that was with me every step of the way.

In the end, the work is all that matters.

Now, I have to finish this story...

And this ain't me
hold my self down with a knife to my throat
And this ain't me
standing alone as the drugs starts to work
  • Current Music
    Midnight Oil, "The Dead Heart"