June 6th, 2007

vlad and mina

I've never been an extrovert, but I'm still breathing.

Of all the silly, stupid things, I believe that I am suffering from "vacation guilt." I think it's because I have actually been enjoying myself for most of the past six days. Never mind how much I've written since last August, or that I haven't had a week off in nine months, the guilt comes anyway. But. Today is the last of the vacation. I have to email editors and agents and publishers and producers and let them know I shall be getting back to work tomorrow. My thanks to Spooky (humglum) for convincing me I was deserving of two days more than originally planned. I think I'm ready now to begin The Dinosaurs of Mars and the next new piece for Sirenia Digest and to return to the "Onion" screenplay, and then in July I will begin Joey LaFaye. It is good to feel rested for the first time in almost a year, and it is good to know the work that lies ahead of me.

Speaking of humglum, she was just regaling me with some bizarre nightmare about being trapped in a high school during a zombie attack. Fortunately, though, Tim Gunn was there with her. So, at least it was a stylish apocalypse. All the zombies were students returning to a familiar place, and Spooky and Tim Gunn and whoever else figured out that if the zombies thought you were gay or lesbian or any other sort of "freak," they wouldn't come near you for fear of freak cooties. Since Spooky's such a dyke, this worked to her advantage. And Tim Gunn, well, that's obvious enough. Still, she sharpened a mop handle into a zombie prod.

Getting back to the subject of writing, and my recent misgivings, cause_catyljan commented yesterday:

At best I'll say that I've always felt those earlier works invoked genuine awe and wonder in me as a reader (amongst other things). That they laid me open to something that transcended the stories themselves. Jimmy DeSade's grief was near palpable in "Glass Coffin", as was Narcissa's terrible desperation at the start of Low Red Moon. She tracked blood through every page of that novel which (and I hate sounding like a gushing fanboy) was something I'd never encountered in literature before. I'd never seen that potential so fully realised.

I'm under no illusions that you are not doing the finest writing of your career. It's demonstrated each month when
Sirenia falls into my in-box. I'm not like those infuriating Poppy Z fans who believe she should have pulled down the blinds after Exquisite Corpse.*

This may be my point, such as it is. The sense of meaning in your work may feel illusive because you're branching out in so many new and exciting ways. Again,
Sirenia is the best example of this. It may not seem as obvious to you because of all the demands your life as writer may be making on you, but it's still there. It's continually taking on new forms, and I'll wager the "Onion" screenplay will be further evidence of that...

Okay, setting my concerns about Daughter of Hounds aside for a moment (and I do, truly, consider it my best written novel to date), I think you have managed to tell me what seems to be bothering you personally. Here's the thing. I began writing as a sort of therapy. To say that I was not a happy person would be an understatement of gargantuan proportions. I was a bottomless well of anger and sorrow, and for the first eleven years or so of my writing career (let's say The Five of Cups through Low Red Moon, 1992-2002) almost everything I wrote was me working through that anger and sorrow, which had accumulated throughout my childhood, my teens, and the first half of my twenties. But finally, as I was finishing with Low Red Moon in the summer of '02, I realized that I was getting better. I would go to the story place, the place where I let my emotions run wild, and there was less and less misery to draw upon. And I also realized this meant that my writing would have to change, because I certainly wasn't going to try to fake it. All those characters — Narcissa Snow, Deacon Silvey, Gin Percel, Chance Matthews, Spyder Baxter, Daria Parker, Jimmy DeSade and Salmagundi Desvernine, Jenny Haniver, Keith Barry, Echo, Lucien (as I wrote him), Dancy Flammarion, Crispin and Lark, Sadie Jasper, etc. & etc. — all of them were me. I assume this is obvious to an attentive reader. They were, in fact, avatars, and I think this is why those emotions came through so loud and clear. But when Low Red Moon was finished, I knew something different had to happened. I had to build a bridge. What I actually did was end up writing a whole book about building bridges — Murder of Angels. And that book was me laying the ghosts to rest, as best I could. And when I talk about this sense that I might have lost my way, more than anything, I'm speaking of the last couple of years. Anyway, this paragraph is very long, and I can only hope it helps make sense of your feelings about the Old Stuff vs. the New. It helps me, just to write it out. There was also a very good email from jtglover on this subject, which I will try to get around to tomorrow.

I decided I'm not up to posting all those O.O.T.S.S.O.E.R.A.A.A.P. merit badges right now. Maybe tomorrow. Oh, there was a wonderful thundershower yesterday. I did want to say that. I hope the drought is at an end and soon the park will be green again. Now, I'm off to attend to emails. Then it's back to my Second Life. I swear to the gods, this is the Best Toy Ever, and yet it is more than a toy. Do come and have a look. Sign up. It's free (and if you do sign up, please say that Nareth Nishi referred you). Late last night, early this a.m., I found myself in a wonderful tick-tock city in the company of a certain Doctor and a young woman best known for her work as a mechanic on a Firefly-class starship named Serenity. It's a goddamn box of wonders. And I will be dancing at the Dark Goddess (in Dorje) this evening from 6-8 SL time (PST; 9-11 EST). Okay. See ya, kiddos.

* Good, because those people are what is known in polite company as morons.