May 22nd, 2004


I want a tarantula

Yesterday (the word which begins these entries more than any other word), I wrote 1,022 words on "Alabaster," bringing the total word count to 3,981. I'm guessing, which is all I can ever do, that this story's going to run about 6,000 words, so I can expect to finish it Monday evening. It's proving suprisingly taxing, emotionally. In "Waycross," we saw Dancy at a crossroads, so to speak, the point where she was shown the truth about monsters, and, by extension, the truth about herself (even if she didn't listen), and that should have been harder for me than this. But it wasn't. This is Dancy just beginning to see how long the road in front of her will be, how she's alone, how she's started down a terrible path she won't ever be allowed to stop walking, and she's not so happy about being a hitman for a Seraph. This is the anger and weariness before self-doubt. This is spite and the beginnings of despair, and, in the end, I have to be sure she does the things she's "meant" to do. There are times I just want to let a character off the hook — Dancy especially inspires this feeling in me — tell her she's done a good job, and she can stop now. No more could be fairly expected of anyone, I want to say. But that would be denying the absolute authority and tyranny and greed of Plot. So I drive her on, towards this version of The End.

I sound like a lunatic. I am a lunatic. I think a lot of writers are lunatics.

I'm a really out-of-shape lunatic. And, of course, most writers are out of shape. It's an occupational hazard. I spend six or seven hours a day in this chair, slumped over this keyboard, only getting up to piss. I have the muscle tone of a raw oyster. My wrists are shot. My eyes look like I lose fights on a regular basis. My sight (I'm blind in the left eye to begin with) is going from staring at computer screens everyday for the past twelve years. My hearing's shot from the headphones I've worn everyday for the same period of time, because I have to have loud music to block out the distractions (remember those?). There's the pinched nerve in my right shoulder (another repetitive stress injury) that gets funky if I have several days of very intense writing. There are the pills (I mentioned those yesterday) and caffeine and, occassionally, alcohol, there to keep me focused. There's the depression that would come with the territory, even if I hadn't had it to start with. Etc. & etc. And my body isn't bouncing back the way it used to. There was a time, just a few years back, I could see I was getting soft and beat myself back into shape with only a couple of week's worth of concerted effort.

But now I'm about to turn -0, and I think it really is some sort of frelling magic number. I've been trying to get myself back in shape since January and making damned little headway. At the end of a day of writing, the absolute last thing I can bring myself to do is exercise. I just want to lay somewhere soft and quiet and let myself drool, until I have to get up and do it all again. And again. And again.

It doesn't help that there's only this one way that I can write. I recall Kevin Anderson talking about dictating prose into a tape recorder, and how he often "writes" while hiking on volcanoes in Hawaii and mesas in Arizona and dren like that. I can't even imagine such a thing. I can't even move to a different damned room. I have to be in the room with all my books and my fringey lamp and my Peabody Museum of Natural Museum mug full of pens and pencils and my stapler and file cabinet. That's where I write. Not climbing volcanoes. And it sucks.

And makes me soft. I'm about to begin the latest effort to get back in shape, if only because I have to if I'm going to be Nar'eth at Dragon*Con in September. But it's not an enterprise I begin with any optimism. If only exercise weren't so frelling boring. I'll never understand those people who get off on it, who go on and on about the "endorphin rush" and bulldren like that. People who get off on exercise make lousy goddamn writers, nine times out of ten. I'd bet folding money on it.


Last night, we watched Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, because, although I saw it in the theatre, Spooky hadn't seen it. I was impressed the first time I saw it and, three years later, I think it holds up nicely. No, this is most emphatically not a perfect movie. The script could have used two or three good rewrites. The plot is rather wobbly. The New-Agey Gaia stuff is a little taxing. And the suicidal General Hein would be an entirely unbelievable villian, if I didn't have George W. Bush and Friends for comparison. But still. It's a beautiful and thoroughly enjoyable film. It's an accomplishment that transcends its failures. I love the alien creature design, and those stretches when, for a handful of seconds, you can't tell it's CGI. Afterwards, Spooky fell asleep early (because we're being systematically deprived of sleep by manical redneck housepainters; more on this later) and I listened to Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea on FMC and read Lewis Padgett's "Mimsy Were the Borogroves" for the umpteenth time. Lewis Padgett is actually a pseudonym for Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore; there's your sf trivia for the day. At any rate, I think "Mimsy Were the Borogroves" is one of the best bits of Golden Age sf. Despite the somewhat Norman Rockwell characters, the dialogue is exceptional, the prose is smart and polished, and the concept is just frelling terrific. If you've never read it, you need to ASAP.

I was going to say something about the manical redneck housepainters, but this thing has gone on waaaaay too long.
  • Current Music
    Android Lust, "Heathen"

stone rhinoceri

Addendum: I got so caught up in all that dren about being about of shape, that I forgot stuff I'd intended to mention this morning. For example, a post by borggirl reminded me of a dream I had this morning, just before I awoke. I don't have many pleasant dreams, at least not that I recall (and I seem to recall most of my dreams, so I suspect I don't have many pleasant dreams), but this one was very wonderful. I was an android, but not a human android. I was a Nebari android with silver skin. I was walking through a vast garden, and there were a number of life-sized stone rhinoceri in amongst the greenery. They were very detailed scupltures, and the stone was something yellow-white and very hard and smooth. All of the rhinos were leaning slightly to the left (their left, not mine).

Also, Spooky bought me a "dead duck" yesterday. It's like a conventional rubber duck, but black with a green beak and X's for eyes. Its very red tongue is hanging out of its mouth. It's adorable and squeaks when I squeeze it.

For them what care, the Murder of Angels ARC auction is now in its final hours.

And I wanted to say that Jim Shimkus, who DMs for our gaming group and was one of the people who came over for the last ep of Angel last week, ordered one of the Low Red Moon shirts from the Species of One Shop and reports that it looks great. It's kind of inspired me and Spooky to put a little more energy into cafepress. I think my argument that T-shirts for authors make as much sense as T-shirts for bands still holds. Check it out.
  • Current Music
    Johnny Cash, "Ring of Fire"