We awoke this morning to hazy air and the smell of smoke. I figured there'd been a house fire somewhere nearby, but it turns out all the smoke is coming from the gigantic wildfire that's been burning in the Okefenokee since April 16th. So far, more than 600 square miles of wilderness have burned, and much of the smoke has risen into the upper atmosphere. This morning, a high-pressure center brought a lot of that smoke back down on top of north Georgia. Visibility at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was down to 1.5 miles. I love waking to the stink of apocalypse.
Someone asked why the Death March has to be Mordorian, instead of something pleasant, like Mirkwoodian or Eriadorian. The reason is simple. I generally don't rewrite, and yet I presently find myself forced into rewrites. I don't know why, but since I was a child, I have had zero patience with repetitive tasks. I am not exaggerating when I say that I find them physically painful. Among other things, this led to me devising a writing process whereby I do not proceed to the next sentence until I've made the present sentence as perfect as possible (or nearly so). I don't think I'm "too good" for rewriting, it's just that I cannot stand doing it. It makes me twitch. And worse. But I am presently working in a situation to which I am not accustomed, and I knew from the outset (a year ago now) that rewriting would be involved. It's just that I'd hoped I would deal with it better than I am. It does not help that, in this case, all the changes that are being demanded are genuinely arbitrary. It's not a matter of making it better, but merely making it different. And few things gall me so as having to redo a job that I know was done correctly the first time. Ergo, a Mordorian Death March. And yesterday it did
become a march again, ending the frustrating Death Meander of the last few days. Spooky and I spent most of the day and part of the night on hundreds of line edits. Just piddly, little stuff. The big, scary, pointless
stuff is yet to come. Also, the MDM has been extended from the 23rd, and may not conclude until sometime after the 29th. My editor at HarperCollins and I are doing everything possible to prevent it from spilling over into June.
These are only thoughts, and they fade as morning mist. These are only thoughts, but I send them high, that some kinder wind than that which blows across this scabrous land might carry them east to you, Inwë. When he captured me and stripped me, the man setsuled
took the small book that I have been writing in, the book given me by Dernhelm the morning I departed from the fields of Dunharrow for Minas Tirith. These are only thoughts, borne aloft by the grace of the teachings of Lórien. He says that he is taking me to Seregost and seems to believe that was my intended destination. So, I may at least find some solace in the knowledge that he has not discovered nor guessed my true quest. There might yet be hope, perhaps, though it presently seems a balm too precious to dare allow myself. My hands are bound with coarse rope, and he leads me naked beneath the afternoon sun. He is always talking, either to himself or to me or unto others he imagines travel with us. I have heard it told that the man is insane, and now I do believe it so. Should I have fought him, Inwë, knowing it would have probably meant my death? The sun is a devil in the white sky. These are only thoughts, but may they rise as high as the moon, for what weight have thoughts? There is no breeze. The air does not stir. If I could but reach the river, which still shimmers on my right. Its waters move faster, as we begin to leave the plains and enter these foothills. I am a strong swimmer, and if I could reach the water...Inwë, gladly would I drown before allowing him to take me a second time. Again and again, he asks me my "true name," the name my mother gave me, and it is reassuring that he knows it not. He knows me only as the elves have named me, Sindaseldeonna, though their tongue falls from his lips like stone. I would fall like a stone, Inwë, and lie still now. He has the look of a man of the villges along the Limlaith, so it may be the rumours are true and he is...or was once...a man of Rohan. He mutters in many languages, Inwë, like the yammering Crebain who fill these skies. If I had a good horse. If I had any horse at all, I would ride away west to the lands where the sun is born. I do not know if the guardians still watch over me. I am not yet dead, and he has not guessed what was found in the ruins of Dol Guldur. He calls me beast
and hound's daughter
. These are only thoughts, the thoughts of a captive woman, and I free them to rise far above this blasted, sun-scarred plain.
This morning, I have the pencils for Vince
's illustration for "Outside the Gates of Eden," and he says the final art will be along shortly. So I'm hoping to have Sirenia Digest
#18 out to subscribers by Friday.
With the birthday bearing down on me, the weekend's looking busy. And this is the last time I shall post the wishlist
. Always am I grateful for books and other distractions.
Last night, Spooky and I had a nice walk after dinner. I miss walking at night, which I hardly ever do these days, and when I leave the South, the summer nights are one thing I will dearly miss. There was too much light pollution to see much of the sky, just the waxing sliver of moon and Venus and airplanes. We'd spent the whole day editing, and after our walk, got back to it, working until about 12:30 a.m., when we rewarded ourselves with more Lemony Snicket.
Ah, and there's exciting news from Mars