November 10th, 2007

dr10-1

"Even the people who love me hate me."

Yesterday was the sort of day that is endured, and that is about the best that can be said for yesterday. Well, no, it got much better after sunset. Byron came by, and we watched the entire first season of Simon Pegg's Spaced. I pretty much stopped watching TV comedy back in the early nineties, because I just didn't "get it" anymore. The characters, the situations, etc., it all seemed hopelessly alien to me. Lately, though, thanks to BBC America, I have been rediscovering funny on television.

I haven't worked on Joey LaFaye since Wednesday. Thursday was lost trying to catch up on a great barrage of email. I talked with Will Hinton, my HarperCollins editor on the Beowulf novelization, and he informed me that it's selling well and that it's being translated into Italian, Korean, Russian, Polish, Japanese, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Oh, and there's a UK edition. I hope the world will forgive me for being just a little bitter that it isn't one of my "real" novels getting this sort of distribution. I also spoke with an editor in the UK whose probably taking a story from Sirenia Digest for an anthology (details TBA). I talked with my lit agent at Writers House about whether the WGA strike will have an effect on my writing the "Onion" screenplay, and there's was a bunch of other stuff I can't recall. But no actual writing.

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We finished reading "The Mist" Thursday night. I'd not read it since sometime in the '80s, and I was afraid I wouldn't enjoy it as much as I once had. But I did. It's a long way from being a genuinely good novella, but the things it does well, it does very well. I think the last section, "The End," remains quite wonderfully chilling. The long, slow drive from the Federal Supermarket to the Howard Johnson's where the manuscript is being written (and I appreciate that King had the good sense to give the first-person narrative that sort of "authenticity") — that is, to me, the cold white heart of "The Mist." I think King had the right attitude about this story in the notes section he wrote for Skeleton Crew, where he speaks of its "cheery cheesiness," and says "you're supposed to see this one in black-and-white, with your arm around your girl's shoulder (or your guy's), and a big speaker stuck in the window." It occurs to me that lots of folks born after this story was written (the late seventies) won't even understand, at first or maybe not ever, what he means about the speaker. At any rate, I do hope that the Frank Darabont adaptation doesn't screw it up, and most of all, that the bleak, unresolved ending of the novella has not been traded for happy-ending resolution in the film, as that would utterly defeat the purpose of the thing.

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Thursday night, we went with Byron and Jim to see a late showing of Anton Corbijn's Control at Midtown. I don't often (or ever) write about Joy Division, because the band and, in particular, Ian Curtis were such a powerful influence on me at such a pivotal point, and the influence was deeply personal. Some things, it's just best not to go on about, I guess. I remember how much it shocked me when I saw Doug Winter's introduction to Tales of Pain and Wonder, and there was Ian Curtis in the first sentence of the first paragraph, though I had intentionally avoided Joy Division references in the stories. Somehow, it came through. Anyway, I thought the film was brilliant, through and through. Brilliant and beautiful. Certainly one of the very best films of this year. Oh, and here's a great article from the The Guardian by Curtis' daughter, Natalie, recounting her experiences on the set of the film.

And my thanks to everyone who sent condolences regarding CMP the Ham.

Okay. The coffee has arrived. As has the copy of Syberia II that Spooky snagged off eBay for cheap, so I guess I know how she'll be spending her spare time for a while...