June 4th, 2007


Howard Hughes needs to go the hell to bed, but first...

Something adorable...

...and something important, this quote from the_urban_monk (I hope he will forgive me "quoting" a whole damn entry):

In the Democratic candidates' debate, I just heard Hillary Clinton declare, "This is President Bush's war. He started it."

Yes, and she voted for it, and has been one of its strongest cheerleaders.

I wonder if even the Democrats, with their talent for putting up the most unelectable candidate, will be suicidal enough to give her the nomination. I have as much chance of becoming Miss America as she has of becoming President.

shoulders, toes, and knees

Last week, one day or another, I got emails from my lit agent and my editor at Penguin (Anne Sowards) discussing when the short synopsis for the novel to be published after Joey Lafaye would be due. Yes, the novel after the novel I have not yet even begun. And I sort of panicked, because even my place-holder synopses are hard to come by. I don't generally know what happens in a novel until it happens. Even though Anne was suggesting it would not be due until August 2008, this synopsis for the book after Joey Lafaye, I freaked out. How the frell would I know, either now or fourteen months from now? Then, last night — no, just after 4 a.m. this morning — as I lay awake in the arms of Madame Insomnia, listening to Spooky sleep, the roughest form of that novel came to me, that it would be another story about Emmie Silvey, that she would be maybe ten or eleven, that something has gone awry in the Providence warrens and the changeling children seek Emmie out, because she's become sort of legendary...and no, it doesn't sound like much. But it's better than nothing at all, and I have fourteen months or so to let it steep. Insomnia is often the mother of necessary invention.

I have been worrying a lot lately about my writing. It started when I reread Silk and looked through Tales of Pain and Wonder for the first time in ages. Sure, I'm a much, much better writer now, but is what I'm writing inherently better than what I was writing then? More importantly, is it about something more than telling stories? Almost ten years after it's original publication, I see lots of flaws with Silk I couldn't see in 1996 or 1998, and parts of it make me groan, but it has something to say, something it says, and for that I will likely always love it. This is even more true of ToPaW. It's true of The Dreaming. But is the same true of Threshold? Low Red Moon? I think so. And I know it's true of Murder of Angels, but I'm not so sure about Daughter of Hounds, even though I also know it's my best-written novel to date. One may write well — one may write exquisitely, even — and have nothing at all to say. Writing "The Ape's Wife" last month, this all seemed suddenly very important to me again. I fear that in the rush to meet deadlines and write enough to keep all the bills paid, somewhere along the way, I may have forgotten that it is not enough to tell a good story, or even to create characters who ring true. These are necessary accomplishments, but they are surely not sufficient. Art requires more than mere craft, more even than talent. It requires meaning. Heading into The Dinosaurs of Mars and Joey Lafaye, these thoughts will be my Beatrice (so to speak). There's something I feel I might have drifted away from, and I want...no, I need to get back to it again.

Yesterday, well, it was day 4 of this vacation. Today is day 5. Likely as not, there won't be a day 6, though I must have earned a day 6. Life is not getting what we've earned, it's making the most of what we get. Anyway, yesterday was mostly spent with Second Life, I am so thoroughly captivated. I think I spent ten or eleven hours in SL yesterday, which means I've done more than 24 hrs. now. Maybe more than 30. And none of the shiny has worn off yet. My thanks to the people who came to the Dark Goddess last night to see Nareth Nishi dance. I saw sovay and her brother, as well as blu_muse. I've been asked to post the times I'm dancing at the Dark Goddess (which is in Dorje), my "work schedule," but I can't seem to locate it at the moment. However, I do know that I'm dancing today from 2-4 p.m. (PST; 5-7 EST) and then again from 6-8 PST (9-11 EST). Tips are very welcome. And if you should happen to sign up for a Second Life account, please be so kind as to say I (Nareth Nishi, not Caitlín Kiernan) recommended you, as that gets me Lindens (SL dollars). blu_muse took some cool snapshots last night, and maybe I'll post a couple of them here tomorrow.

Also yesterday, here in my first life, we had our walk about sunset. I read "Osteology of Ampelosaurus atacis (Titanosauria) from Southern France" by Jean Le Loeuff (and realized I can read French much better than I can speak or write it). Sometime after midnight, we watched Will Smith and Thandie Newton in Gabriele Muccino's The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), which we liked, actually. It was good to see Will Smith in a substantial role. I think that was everything of note as far as yesterday is concerned.

Okay. Back to the waning vacation...

Postscript (2:21 p.m.): Just found my "work" schedule. I dance in SL @ the Dark Goddess—


Note that I will not always be dancing the midday shift. But I will be today. And Second Life Time = PST.