June 5th, 2007


if I only could, be running up that hill

Well, there's no point denying it. Poppy Z. Brite smokes crack. Once again, I am left feeling like a drug pussy.

My thanks to extatika for the heads-up regarding the Order of the Science Scouts of Exemplary Repute and Above Average Physique (O.O.T.S.S.O.E.R.A.A.A.P.). A cursory glance reveals that I am eligible for at least 26 of the merit badges, including the “inordinately fond of invertebrate” badge. I believe that tomorrow I shall post (behind a cut, of course) all the badges to which I am duly entitled.

There were so many good replies to yesterday's entry, including emails, and I can't hope to reply to them all (though most deserve replies). I am grateful for them, even the one or two that cut a little too close to the mark. Thank you.

wolven wrote: Now...I know that you think that you need to impart meaning into to your works, and as a personal sentiment, I agree completely, but (and perhaps this is only a rehash of an old artistic saw) what about the interpretation of the work through the reader? The "active reading" you mentioned last week. What I'm saying is, what about the meaning that someone else finds in something, even if the author had no intent, other than to make money? The syntactical interplay of material and reader, bringing something new to the surface?

I think this touches on my old foe, "reader-response theory" (but I might be wrong). Quick answer: Certainly, a reader may come away from a story with meaning that was not intentionally placed there by the author. Absolutely. But, in my opinion, that's a secondary sort of meaning. Meaning derived from interaction (relative meaning). The primary meaning (inherent meaning) must always be the intent of the author, and if an author writes without intent...well, I find that difficult to even comprehend. But I guess I'm saying yes, the interplay between reader and writer may wring meaning from even the most inherently "meaningless" material. But that should come as no solace to the writer in question. It only reflects well on the reader.

cause_catyljan wrote: I may be grossly out of line saying this but, as much as I love Daughter of Hounds, I felt something was missing from it. Something that I feel is present in your previous works, especially Tales of Pain and Wonder. It's intangible, but it's there. If that makes sense. But then this could just be a single reader's preference.

This was a hard one to read, a harder one to think about, as I am plagued by just this fear — that no matter how well it may have been written, there might be something essential missing from Daughter of Hounds. So, no, you're not grossly out of line. However, I will say that if a comment like this is to be genuinely helpful to me (or to any writer), this "intangible" element that might or might not be missing must be made somehow tangible so that it can be examined. In other words, can you try to be more precise? I would say, up front, Daughter of Hounds was an intentional departure from much of my earlier "goth noir" work, both thematically and stylistically. If that's what you're responding to (and I don't know that it is), then that's not the thing that I'm concerned with here. I know that I will never again write another novel like Silk or the sort of stories that appear in Tales of Pain and Wonder. For better or worse, I have moved along elsewhere.

setsuled wrote: As for Daughter of Hounds, I do think it works as a meditation on innocence and the relationship between perception and reality—that perception has less effect on reality than some people would like to think.

Thank you. This is heartening, as these are elements that were intentionally and with forethought worked into the story. Which brings me to this comment by __hecate__: And only knowing you through your journal (it's hard to say if this statement has any validity) but it seems in DoH that you at least deal with your personal dream-sickness...

Yes, that was, indeed, another issue I was trying to address in Daughter of Hounds, but it's one I've been working into almost everything since The Five of Cups way back in 1992. I think it might even be why some readers find my writing "inaccessible," that blurring of waking and dream reality which I find is necessary if I am to convey what I am experiencing and how I perceive the world.

This is getting long, so I'm going to end it here. But thanks again for the comments. This is one reason I keep a blog, to get this sort of feedback and discussion. It's always, always welcome. And just because I didn't quote your comment here, that doesn't mean it wasn't helpful. I may try to address more of these later.

A really wonderful thing I have found is when I entirely allow a band or musician to slip from my consciousness and then suddenly rediscover them years later. It just happened with Placebo. I'd forgotten how marvelous they are. Awesome stuff. Also, thanks to everyone who has come out to see my Second Life alter-ego Nareth Nishi dance at the Dark Goddess. My "work schedule" is included as a postscript to yesterday's entry. All these LJ tags, I have no idea how I'm going to cross-post this to MySpace.

Postscript (3:30 p.m.) — Just to prove how utterly drad is Second Life, Nareth Nishi is now an actual Nebari, right down to the dusky shading of her nethers. Another reason to see her dance. Yes, I know I'm a dork.