October 7th, 2006


homeless robot liquor kitchen

Well, yesterday was far and away better than Thursday, and yet it was also frustrating and disappointing and, yes, it was tedious, too. I managed to get all the way through the five new pieces that will be appearing in Tales from the Woeful Platypus and did the corrections and a little more revision that is usual for me. But I did not manage to get to the four reprints from Sirenia Digest — "Untitled 17," "Untitled 20," "Pony," and "pas-en-arrière." Those I will have to do today, which puts me another day behind. With luck, this evening I'll have the whole ms. together and can e-mail it away to Subterranean Press. Because I need to have started work on The Dinosaurs of Mars two weeks ago.

There is some dim, reckless plan to take two or three days off, beginning tomorrow, but I've already decided to spend one of them cleaning the house.

And before I drift too far afield from the subject of writing, I was over at Elizabeth Bear's LJ (matociquala) and that particularly tiresome old shibboleth, the bit about good prose being akin to a pane of glass, "transparent prose," had come up. And I ought not say anything at all, because anyone who's been reading this journal for any time at all knows a) how I feel about declarations that, when writing fiction, one ought or ought not do any given thing and b) how I feel about the No-Style Style of writing championed by people who like to go on and on about how good prose must be transparent. Bear had many sensible things to say on the subject, and she knows I'm not addressing her. But I started trying to remember where this whole "transparent prose" nonsense got started, because I thought I recalled a quote. The best I can come up with is this bit from George Orwell: "Good prose is like a window pane." (1954, "Why I Write," from A Collection of Essays).

For my part, I'd say that good prose is like a stained-glass window. In fact, I might have already said that here before. It should allow the light through (or the darkness), but it must not be devoid of flavour and texture and sound and all the millions of things which makes each individual writer a unit discrete from all those other writers. I'll take Ray Bradbury over Mary Higgins Clark any damn day. Give me James Joyce or Angela Carter or Mark Twain or Charles Dickens and please, please keep your Robin Cooks and Jonathan Kellermans. I want to hear the writer's voice, because fiction writers are not frelling journalists. We take a story, a story anyone could tell, as all tales have been told and re-told, but then we make it our own. We find a way to tell it that is ours. Breezy, fast-paced, airplane-friendly plots are a dime a dozen. The magic is in the voice, in the point of view conveyed by the voice. The artist is the art is the artist is the art, round and round and round in that familiar Ourobouros dance of tail-swallowing. I do not write transparent prose. I will not write transparent prose. If I'm not there, on every page, in every sentence, I might as well be off somewhere writing copy for the AP.

There's a new e-ish of The Adventures of Boschen and Nesuko, wherein I reprise my role as a topless alien whore. Right there in panel 1. Really, topless alien whore, fiction writer, six of one or a half dozen of the other.

The tediousness of yesterday's editing left me too tired and stupid for anything but television. Good thing there was actually some decent television, for a change. Just a quick recap, because the platypus is crouched here beneath my desk, tapping herhisit's webbed foot. Someone asked me last week if I'd seen Heroes, and I didn't reply, because I hadn't. I was afraid it would just be another festival of pretty, interchangeable faces (i.e., Lost), wrapped up in a rip-off of The X-Men. Last night we watched the second ep, and while I think maybe the X-Men thing might still be an issue, I was surprised that the faces of the actors had character, that the characters had character, and by the end of the hour I was ready for more. So, I remain cautiously optimistic that Heroes may amount to something interesting. Then, of course, I watched the first ep of the "new" season of Dr. Who, which was really my first taste of David Tennant as the Doctor. Confession: I'm not a Dr. Who fan; I'm a Christopher Eccleston fan. That's why I was so nuts about last season. That said, I thought "Tooth and Claw" was actually very good, and I might just be able to get into this next season after all. He's no Christopher Eccleston, but David Tennant might yet win me over. And finally, the two-hour season premiere of Battlestar Galactica. Wow. I think the creators of the series are making very smart moves and have managed to pull the series out of the doldrum it had wandered into midway through the second season. And while I'm at it, let me just say that a) I hate having to say good things about programming on the Sci-Fi Channel and b) at least Friday nights have at last been freed from the bland and tiresome grip of Stargate SG-1.

Oh, and there was half an hour or so of Drakengard 2, just long enough for Manah to kick Caim's sorry ass.

Okay. Must go now. The platypus is showing me those venomous spurs, reminding me that tedium waits for no nixar.