January 31st, 2007


Howard Hughes finds a hole in the sky.

I think I'm reaching that place where exhaustion is replaced by an abiding desire to simply punish this meatsack and the consciousness it has spawned, see how much the whole wet, bloody mess can take before it begins coming apart at the seams. Kick it until it doesn't even try to crawl.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,146 words. And that makes yesterday the second "best" day of this goddamned Forced March to THE END.

There was a question from the comments to yesterday's entry, and it was a good question, so I'm reposting it here. anthologie asked:

Caitlin, you have said you are a slow writer, that writing as much as 1,500 words in a day is a real struggle. If you'll forgive the question, I was wondering something: How long are your workdays, roughly? Eight-ish hours? I was wondering this because I am a fairly quick writer — 1,500 words takes me two to three hours, which feels a little slow to me, but really isn't. However, even if I have a whole day to do nothing but write, I can't really squeak out more than 2,500 or 3,000 words because once I start going beyond that, the writing starts being really shitty, I start making lots of typos and mistakes — all signs that my brain is completely done. That's frustrating because I have all those hours left in which I could write more, but it just won't come out.

Over the years I have become a faster writer, in the sense that it takes me less time to write X amount of words. But the only significant increase in my daily average word count occurred sometime in 2002, while I was writing Low Red Moon, I think (this could be falsified or confirmed by scanning old blog entries, an effort which is presently beyond me), when I went from about 500 words a day to 1,000. To this day, I doubt I've ever written more than 2,850 words in a day. But, what I wanted to say is that yes, I know what you're talking about, precisely. These days I may write faster, but it feels like I'm simply compressing the same amount of work into an ever smaller space. It seems to have more to do with how much I write than how long I spend writing it. Ignore the Forced March. The Forced March is an aberration. On a normal writing day, when I do 1,000-1,200 words, I usually start writing about 1 p.m. and finish any time between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. So, on average, I'd say I write 4-6 hours a day. Sometimes the words come all in a great rush (those are the good days), and I might do that 1,000-1,200 in only two or three hours. Sometimes, it takes me six or seven. And lately, there is so much work that needs doing, so much that needs writing, I wish I could use every waking hour, as almost every hour in any given day is a waking hour. But most of them feel "wasted." Last night, after dinner, after a very hot bath, I wanted so badly to go back to work. And I tried. But that 2,146 words, written in only about three hours, that was all I had for yesterday.

Gods, this is dull stuff to be writing down.

I have agreed to write a short piece for a forthcoming issue of Weird Tales, just 800 words or so; details to follow.

I did go outside yesterday, very briefly. Just long enough to cut a couple of Narcissus for the altar table, because there should be flowers for Imbolc, and the cold has not yet killed the Narcissus. I stood out front and breathed in the cold air, trying to feel clean, and stared up at the waxing moon, white in the blue sky. Last night, when I had at last given up on getting any more work out of me, I collapsed into a useless lump in front of the television, played a bit of Final Fantasy XII (trekking from Balfonheim Port northwest to the Cerobi Steppe, then west to the Tchita Uplands, then southwest, ending up at the save crystal where the Phon Coast begins), then watched a new ep of Miami Ink and then a documenatry on the Science Channel, Voyage to the Planets and Beyond, a rerun from 2005 I'd somehow missed the first time around. It originally aired in the UK as Space Odyssey. At some unspecified future date, five astronauts attempt a seven-year "grand tour" of the solar system aboard an ESA ship called the Pegasus. The science was a little wonky here and there, and naturally the planetology was already out of date (especially as regards Mars and Titan). But I still thought it was actually pretty good. It's heart was definitely in the right place. It really should have been four hours long instead of two.

I made it to bed sometime after two. I found sleep (or it found me) sometime after four. I woke at 10:30 a.m., more tired than when I fell asleep, with a song from 1994 stuck in my head, Billy Pilgrim's "Insomiac." I'm putting the lyrics behind a cut:

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