October 24th, 2006


All Cats Are Grey

We had a freeze warning last night. Which is to say, the cold came to Atlanta early this year.

Last night, I finally, finally found the "story" and the narrative structure for The Dinosaurs of Mars. I talked and talked and talked and talked and Spooky wisely scribbled lots of notes so there would be no forgetting. I have to admit, I was beginning to panic. I had a great title and a basic concept I loved, but the whole plot thing wouldn't come together. That can be absolutely frelling terrifying, especially when the book in question has already been sold to a publisher who's very excited about it (in this case, Subterranean Press). But now I have it. And so all I have to do is sit here and write. And, amazingly, I think this vision for The Dinosaurs of Mars has all the disparate elements I wanted it to have. I think it's going to be something very cool, this book.

Speaking of Subterranean Press, I just got word from Bill Schafer that Alabaster will be out of print at the publisher in only a few more days. So, if you want to order directly from subpress, it's pretty much a now-or-never situation.

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting here fretting over not being able to begin The Dinosaurs of Mars (I'd yet to have that "eureka" moment; that came much later in the day), and the fretting and frustration was turning to anger, so Spooky made me get away from the iBook and get dressed. And we wound up at Midtown for the 4:45 matinee of Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. And it wowed me in just about every way that a movie can wow me. Certainly, Marie Antoinette is a worthy follow-up to Lost in Translation, and while it treats a very different time and subject, it still has very much the same feel as LiT. The cast is terrific, starting with Kirsten Dunst, who's come a long way since Interview with a Vampire. I'm always pleased when a child actor can make the transition to adult actor. Plus we get Judy Davis, Rip Torn, Steve Coogan, the painfully sexy Asia Argento, Marianne Faithfull, Molly Shannon, and Shirley Henderson. The soundtrack was perfect, as were all the other little anachronisms placed here and there (the chucks especially delighted Spooky). The cinematography is beautiful. And I very much appreciated the film's attention to the irony of Louis XVI having been advised to aid the American colonists in their revolt against England, only to have the American Revolution inspire the French Revolution and Louis and Antoinette's downfall. As for that nasty business of some members of the French press having booed the film's screening at Cannes, I liked what Roger Ebert had to say on the subject: "Yes, there was booing. But I was present at the screening and would guess not more than five people, maybe ten, booed. Many others applauded. Booing is always shocking to North American critics; I am not sure I have heard booing more than once or twice in all my years at the Toronto, Sundance, Telluride, Chicago, Montreal or New York festivals. In Europe, they boo all the time, sometimes because they think a film is bad, sometimes because it is, according to them, politically incorrect." Ebert gave the film four out of four stars, by the way.

My thanks to the very dear and generous shadowcircus of the Shadow Circus Creature Theatre in San Francisco. One of his signature puppets, Overlord Hatchet the Velociraptor, was retired after years of stalking the Tenderloin and was sent to spend his remaining days with me and Spooky. I'll post photos when I find the time. Drad.

Right. Time to make the doughnuts and whatnot and suchlike. This writing life, it ain't all tea and crumpets and Velociraptors.

Postscript: Bill Schafer (subpress) just called again to say that, actually, it appears now that the Dancy Flammarion collection, Alabaster, illustrated by Ted Naifeh, may be only a couple of hours from selling out at the publisher. So, yeah, what I said above, only more-so. Also, be warned that Tales from the Woeful Platypus is going fast. If it does as well as Frog Toes and Tentacles, it's gonna sell out well in advance of publication, so those who want a copy are encouraged to pre-order now. By the way, I just realised that, since 2002, I've done something like 14 books with subpress. How weird is that?