September 26th, 2004


idiots, and the books written for them

In a move fraught with misgiving and risk, I've decided not to write today. That's not saying I'm taking the day off, not precisely. There's non-writing stuff in need of doing that I won't have energy to do if I write. This story is taking everything from me. Hyperempathy, remember? But there is a strange strength to be derived from finding oneself swapping places with an unpleasant person of your own creation. After all, she came from me. She is of me. She is nothing that doesn't reside in me, even if that residence is latent. Like Salmagundi Desvernine, Deacon Silvey, Dancy Flammarion, and Narcissa Snow before her, Dorry is only an exercise in self-realizing, literary shamansim. I should not say "only," as that diminishes the importance of an important thing. Through her, I can express things I am myself fearful of expressing, fearful of acknowledging, things of which I am simply fearful.

Yesterday, I wrote 712 words on "Bradbury Weather," which might not be so impressive as the two days preceeding, but I am having to force myself to slow here at the end. Momentum. If I don't step back to see the whole, I'll crash headlong into THE END and ruin the whole damned thing. That's one reason that today will be a not-quite day off. I'll finish the story on Monday and Tuesday. Then there will be nothing remaining between me and the beginning of Daughter of Hounds.

Last night, in search of Phil Hines' books on Chaos Magick, Spooky and I went to Borders on Ponce. The constant reader will recall that I tend to stay out of bookstores. It was one of the sacrifices I made to become a writer. Nowadays, I order books from Amazon or send someone to get whatever I want. Bookstores are, generally, a monument to everything that drives me bugfrell about being an author, everything that makes me wish I were a welder or a bartender, instead. I try not to check to see how many of my books are in stock, but I almost always fail. I almost always look. Last night, there was a single copy each of Murder of Angels, Low Red Moon, and Silk, cringing in the shadows cast by all the King and Koontz. To say that it's disheartening would be a terrible understatement. And then, all about me, stacked like building blocks set up to define that area relegated to the ghetto of horror/sf/fantasy/manga/graphic novels, were towering mounds of those bestselling dark-fantasy authors, some of whom I can respect (Susanna Clarke and Neal Stephenson, for example) and some others I can only loathe (whom I will not name, as it would be poor form, and few authors have ever benefited from bad-mouthing other authors). Stacks. Of course, though these books are bestsellers, most of those copies will be returned by Borders, redeemed for credit, and either pulped or sold in those discount joints specializing in remaindered books. Anyway, I was left feeling as though I should at least be grateful there were three copies of my books, as space is precious and there must be stacks of the books that publishers have chosen the push. Moral: I should stay out of bookstores.

And it turns out, they didn't have anything by Hines, though they had mountains of warm and fuzzy, easy-access Wicca books. Were I Wiccan, I would be seriously offended at titles like The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca Craft, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft, and The Girls' Guide to Spells: Making Magic Happen in Your Life. I'm not making these up. I really wish I'd written more of those titles down. I was immediately reminded of Kate Bush's song, "Sat in Your Lap." You will recall, she wrote, I want to be a lawyer. / I want to be a scholar. / But I really can't be bothered. / Ooh, just gimme it quick, gimme it, gimme gimme gimme gimme!. I know full well that I am an "elitist intellectual" (those were the words my mother used a few months ago), and that's one reason Chaos Magick may appeal to me, but, this is surely enough to set even more egalitarian teeth on edge. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft? Does not the "complete idiot" part make us desirous that the target audience should have no interest in the "Wicca and Witchcraft" part? Can I get a copy of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bioterrorism and Thermonuclear Weaponry?

Some things are hard for a reason.

(A pause here for a phone conversation about Many Impending Projects with Bill Schafer of Subterranean Press.)

Crap. I didn't want to write an angry post today.

What I wanted to do was start promoting The Henson Company's Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, which will air in two-parts on the Sci-Fi Channel on the evenings of October 17th and 18th (9 p.m. Eastern/ 8 p.m. Central). Scapers know this is going to rock, that this is the beginning of the reward of our campaign to save the series, that it will be Farscape realized on an epic scale. The rest of you take heed. If you can gain access to a television that gets the Sci-Fi Channel on those two nights (two hours each night) without actually having to kill someone, do so. The trailer, which can be reached by clicking the link above, should be enough to whet your appetite. This is the wondrous, beautiful, utterly enthralling thing that television sf can be, when given the chance. If you'd like to help promote the series, you might place this banner somewhere online (your website, blog, whatever):

Also, as a lead in to the mini-series, the Sci-Fi Channel will be airing all 88 episodes of the series, Oct. 1st-15th, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and here's another banner:

And if you'd like to learn more ways to help promote the show, visit I'll be saying much, much more about Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars as October 17th nears.

I received the following e-mail a few days ago, which should stand as a shining example of how to deliver praise to a vain and insecure author while bolstering her insecurity and excessive self-consciousness iat the same time:

Have to say with the picture that you added to your journal from dragon con that you are looking good! But I must admit I think your much sexier and better looking with darker hair! What a cool thing to be gourgeous and an awesome writer! Keep it coming! And I will keep reading! From one of your many, many fans! Love ya babe, Mean it!

I can only respond by saying thank you, your kind words are appreciated, I'm very happy you like my work, but the overall effect of your e-mail was rather like being smacked hard across to face with a bouquet of roses, and I might also suggest you read something by, oh, say, Miss Manners? But, as long as we're on the subject, I do agree with you, that I'm better off with black hair, and it will be black again by the time I reach San Francisco on Halloween.

Also, before I sign off to write my proposal for The Complete Idiot's Guide to Complete Idiots, let me remind you that the eBay auctions to get Spooky to Minneapolis continue. Sunday is a very good day to buy my books on eBay, especially using "Buy-It-Now." And I'm still watching the poll you can reach by following this link and scrolling down to 9/24/04.
  • Current Music
    VNV Nation, "Left Behind"

on the folly of leisure

Addendum: It was a bad, bad idea not to write today.

I did the things that needed doing that writing would have left me with no energy to do, things that pertained to writing, but are not writing. I did those things, so it wasn't a waste. But...

I hardly slept last night. Maybe three hours, total. And those were three hours of nightmares. I was awake at seven-thirty, up at eight (though I did manage to let Spooky sleep until about a quarter till ten).

We are beginning to see the first hints of H. Jeanne. Perhaps the tension riding the edges of the storm is affecting my mood as much as anything. I should have gone to Mars today. Dorry is alone somewhere high above the Solis Planum.

Maybe I can lift my spirits with a meaningless meme (ha, ha, ha, oh never mind), snurched from grandmofhelsing and robyn_ma:

Usually Found to Be: At my desk, on my iBook.
Favourite Colour Jelly Bean: Red.
Favourite Chocolate: I'm not a big chocolate fan. Hershey's Kisses w/caramel, I guess.
Always has in hand: Nothing.
Slightly Embarrassing Experience: Acting like a total fangirl when I met Johnette Napolitano.
Favourite Movie: Blade Runner
Favourite Book: Ever? Sheesh. I don't know. That's dumber than the movie question. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.
Favourite TV Program: In a word, Farscape.
Favourite Music: futurepop, darkwave, goth, new wave, movie soundtracks, Kate Bush, Bjork, Nick Cave, P. J. Harvey, Buddy Holly.
Favourite Colour: Burgundy (or some yellow-green or another).
Always Dressed In: Tank tops or dresses. Lots of leather. Goggles.
If She Could Live In One Country/Go On A Holiday There: Well, which? There are lots of places I'd like to visit, but wouldn't want to live. France.
Favourite Joke: I don't know any jokes (no, seriously).
If She Were A Food: Asparagus.
Favourite Saying Or Quote: "One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly." -- Friedrich Nietzsche
Best Suited To: Time travel.
Often Confused For: Those who seem certain. ( I suspect this question meant to ask, "Often Mistaken For," but there you go.)
Most Prized Possession: I lost it years ago.
Nickname: Tai'lah.
Middle Name: Ramey or Rebekah, depending.
Classic Quote: How the hell is this different from "favourite" quote? Um. "His eyes were hard as porphyry..." -- Dorothy Parker.
Unique Talent: There is nothing I can do that could not be done by at least one other, somewhere. There are no "unique" talents.

Nope. That didn't work.
  • Current Music
    Spooky playing Morrowind