February 25th, 2005



Friday already. Ugh. Bleh. Blurg. At least I was able to finish the second of the vignettes yesterday afternoon. I've started writing on the chaise in the front room, in order to avoid e-mail and the telephone. I didn't get much else done, though, aside from finishing "Los Angeles 2162 (December)." I did get to an intro I agreed to write for an intro, the introduction by Jack Morgan that was omitted from the subpress edition of Low Red Moon and will now be released as a separate free chapbook. I did get that done. Spooky went out and found a new wok, which we've only been needing for approximately forever, since the old one died (i.e., its non-sticky stuff finally came unstuck) way back before the move. We got the eBay auctions going again. So, it was an oddly productive day.

When I originally asked if anyone would want to read a book of erotica written by me (and that was less than three weeks ago), the whole thing was a bit of a lark. I thought it would be fun to do. I thought it might even be relatively easy. I may have been wrong on both counts. The vignettes want to become actual stories. That's the main problem. No. That's not true. The main problem is that the Object of these pieces is sex (and, if I consider the reader as part of the equation, sexual arousal), and I never, ever write with an Object in mind. This is one reason I insist that I do not write "horror." I don't sit down to write a story which will evoke horror, or terror, or awe, or whatever. Evoking all those things is fine, and I hope my stories do it. But I sit down to write stories, and there's rarely more of an Object than that. Here, though, there's this thing that has to happen. A thousand words into "Los Angeles 2162 (December)" there'd been no sex, but some pretty good story, and I had to remind myself that this was erotica, which means that something erotic needed to happen. I got to it in the last 800 words or so out of about 2,200. And, of course, this is twisted stuff. Not just kinky. Twisted. So far into perverse that it might be mistaken for something else altogether, and I can't help but think, no one wants to read this. No one but me and Spooky and a few other polymorphously perverse Cthulhu fetishists. *sigh* Indeed, I would back out, but, at this point, I have challenged myself, and that can only ever end one way. I have to win. I have to make this book happen. I have to make it the book I want it to be.

And what about Daughter of Hounds? Maybe tomorrow.

I have only three days left to finish Skin and write my little essay on it for Stephen Jones. I keep finding so many wonderful passages, so many specifics that try to distract me from the whole I need to be concentrating upon. I'd forgotten how much I loved Tess, even though she makes me want to throttle her. I'd forgotten how much Bibi frightens me, because I see so much of myself in her. I'd forgotten what a jerk Michael is or how much I liked Jerome. But mostly, I'd forgotten the beauty of the language:

It's beautiful. —No it isn't. It's worse than beautiful.

I could go on quoting lines until I'd transcribed the entire damn book. I did find a couple or three scenes interesting in a new light (new for me), in regards to recent comments here about the role of sex in fiction, and with regard to my work on Frog Toes and Tentacles. There are three or four sex scenes in Skin, and they are heady things, but they are so seamlessly interwoven with the language and the narrative that there's never that moment I feel in most narratives that include sex, the moment where everything suddenly stops so that we can watch the sex happen, after which the story will resume. There's never a peep-show window cut into the story. The sex is truly part of the story, so deeply embedded it's almost impossible to tease it free of the whole. I wish I could do that. It's one thing I'm struggling to accomplish in these erotica pieces. And, in some ways, "Los Angeles 2162 (December)" might come close, except that it will appear as part of a book of erotica, so certain expectations will be attached a priori. What would come as a surprise, ordinarily, will, instead, be something the reader is waiting on. The story is defeated by the presentation. Indeed, ironically, the erotic element of the story could be defeated by impatience following from the knowledge that the story is in a book of erotica. I think this happens with "horror" all the time. Readers come expecting only "scary" stories and are disappointed if they get anything more.

I just want to do it right. Nothing else matters.

The eBay auctions got off to a good start yesterday. All our thanks. Please have a look, if you haven't already. I've noticed that the graphic for In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers isn't working. I'll try to fix that today.
  • Current Music
    VNV Nation, "Left Behind"


I suppose the whole eBay thing might go better if I'd provided the frelling link. Sorry about that. My head was full of Weird Perversities this morning. Anyway, Silk for only ten dollars. Check it out.

Also, I'm snurching this next bit from brokensymmetry, because I liked it and think it should be read by more people, and I figure it's fair, since he said I played a role in the formation of these thoughts:

The idea stated bluntly is this: the right mathematical language with which to describe magick, assuming you want to describe magick mathematically, would seem to be category theory.

Of course this may be because category theory is the right mathematical language with which to describe everything. It's becoming increasingly important to pure math, physics (including string theory), computer science, and so on.

But I can't explain the idea without explaining category theory, which I have neither the time nor skill to do, and there don't seem to be any good online introductions. And it doesn't help that my understanding of the subject is still very rudimentary.

What I can say is that a lot of magick seems to me to be about defining some sort of equivalences between things (sephiroth, colors, elements, major arcana, deities, etc) and the relationships and processes between things (what is done to the voodoo doll will happen to the person). In particular these equivalences are not equalities but some sort of "equality with regards to a particular attribute or structure." Category theory is all about modeling mappings between things, processes and equivalences in an abstract and general way.

For fans of "Full Metal Alchemist," the law of equivalent exchange could be rephrased as "the only transformations allowed by alchemy are isomorphisms".

My own magickal inquiries have been curtailed by my workload and the glumness that winter brings, but this is headed, essentially, in the direction I was headed, only I'll never be a good enough mathematician to be a very good magickian. Also, this last bit from brokensymmetry, which says it all:

[I should also add by way of clarification that I'm quite prepared to believe magick works, but only for suitable definitions of magick best exemplified by a bit from one of Terry Pratchett's novels where Magrat has fallen off her broom and performs a spell which changes her from a panicked, terrified woman plummeting towards the ground into a calm, rational woman plummeting towards the ground.]
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    Bel Canto, "White-Out Conditions"