January 1st, 2007


begin again

I made the grave mistake yesterday of allowing my mind to wander, to reflect, and so lost the day. At least, I lost the work that needed to be done. Though I'd awakened in good spirits, by one thirty p.m. or so (CaST), my mood had soured to such a degree that I could not even imagine sitting in this chair all day, pecking at this dratted keyboard. It had become unthinkable, which is what happens on those days which are not "days off," but on which I cannot write. Writing becomes an unthinkable chore.

But we did get Sirenia Digest 13 (59 pp., as it turns out) e-mailed to all the subscribers. Thank you, Spooky; thank you, Gordon. And hopefully it is being read and enjoyed. Feedback is welcomed, please, as always. Better here, as comments, than by e-mail. I've gotten quite behind with my e-mail.


I think this "new book" thing would not continue to be so weird, and would not seem weirder each time it happens, if each new book did not seem to come and go with so little fanfare. Were I the sort of author lucky enough (and it is a matter of luck) that I enjoyed nationwide publisher-sponsored book tours, actual publicity, reviews in the New York Times Book Review, bestselling status, and so on — if these novels were, as they say, celebrated — I think it would not seem so odd. Because then a novel would be finished, after two or three years of diligent work on it, and there would be this period following publication where it was noticed for a time, before I had to sit down and begin another. Instead, they just come and go. They accumulate like dead leaves. With luck, they sell well for a month or two, get a few good reviews here and there, and then, for me (and most everyone else), they are forgotten. I have to quickly move along to the Next Thing. I have to find the Next Thing, because the Last Thing certainly won't be paying the bills. And so it just seems weird, that there is this book, again.

My thanks to Catherine M. Diedrich for the first Daughter of Hounds fan letter of 2007.


This freakishly warm weather. Last night at midnight (EST), I went out on the front porch pretty much undressed. I do that sometimes at night, when I'm fairly certain no one is watching. It always gets a moan from Spooky, which only tends to encourage me. Anyway, the fireworks started up at midnight, and I walked out onto the front porch. And despite the rain, it felt as though I'd stepped from the house into an early June evening, not a January evening. It is disquieting.

And speaking of disquieting things, a new poll by Associated Press-AOL News found that an unfathomable 25% of those Americans polled believe that the Second Coming of Jesus will occur in 2007. I am going to pretend that the poll is simply flawed beyond all measure (consider the source), as it's much preferable to believing that one in four Americans — people who are allowed to vote and breed and take up space that might otherwise be occupied by trees — is that delusional


Today, as it is New Year's Day, and as I have not entirely abandoned all tradition, we'll be having collards, black-eyed peas, mac and cheese, and cornbread.


Yesterday, having realised there was no hope of work and not wanting to spend the day wallowing, I asked Spooky to begin reading me Cormac McCarthy's The Road. And she did. And by about eleven last night (CaST) we'd finished the novel. It is sheer and utter brilliance. If I could but write a novel half that powerful. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried, in a number of places. It's a heart-breaking book, filled as it is with such terrible loss, with the uttermost end of loss. It is not a novel about finding hope or beauty in despair. It's a story about The End. About survival when survival is its own end, when it has become little else but some burdensome biological imperative. But it's also about love, in a way that too few authors today are able to write of love. McCarthy never relents from the bleakness of his vision. His language is extraordinary. I am quite certain this is the best book I've read since House of Leaves. I suspect one would be better off, emotionally, not reading the whole novel in a single day, though, on the other hand, setting the book down and interrupting the narrative with the events of the everyday, the mundane, would likely weaken the blow. And the blow should not be weakened. The blow should be suffered. It is a blow, The Road, a blow to the illusion that this world is not a thing as fragile as spun sugar, as precious as sunlight and green grass and white snow and a blue sea. Books only rarely bring me to awe, but this one did, and for that I am grateful to its author.

And here we are, and the sky is blue, and the sun is bright, and the only ash is in my cluttered mind. And the platypus says it's 11:53, and we need to get to it.