November 16th, 2008


"She had no heart so hardened, all under the boughs unbowed."

Yesterday, despite the fact that I spent all day at the keyboard, I managed only a paltry 675 words on "The Collier's Venus (1893)." The story continues to confound me. A locked box to which I seem to have never received the key. Or, I have the key, but can't quite figure out how it works. I sent the first three sections to Sonya last night, and she likes it. Spooky likes it. But I am entirely uncertain. It will be finished, because there is not now time to begin a new story. I see this story so clearly in my mind's eye, and yet the words escape me. I think the last time I had this sort of frustration was with "The Ape's Wife." And, I should admit, that turned out quite well, in the end. Or, in THE END. There are precious few mornings when I sit down in this chair and actually look forward to writing. But, usually, at least I do not sit down with an utter dread of the story I'm trying to write. That's the present situation. But I am the sole creatrix of that world, that fictive reality, and, in time, I'll unlock the box. There's just so little time.

Yesterday, I came to a sort of resolution. In large part, it stems from the trouble I'm having with "The Collier's Venus (1893)." In large part, it's just common sense. I'm going to set December and January aside for a "semi-vacation." That is, I'm scaling back work for those two months, limiting myself to Sirenia Digest and the editing of The Red Tree. This means I'll be pulling out of a couple of anthologies I've agreed to write stories for. But it simply cannot be helped. I am too tired. No, I am bloody exhausted. There's been no break since...the move, and that was hardly a break. I didn't even take any sort of decent breather after finishing The Red Tree*, and I simply cannot keep this up. I will be sick again, if I do.

So...I just have to survive writing "The Collier's Venus (1893)," all of Sirenia Digest #36, and the trip to Manhattan next week, and then maybe I'll be fine.

Ah, but there is a little good news. Stephen Jones has selected "Emptiness Spoke Eloquent" for a special Twentieth Anniversary "very best of" The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror. This story and I have a long, long history. It was originally written in November 1993, my third story ever intended for publication. It's probably one of the more interesting pieces of my "naïve period" (let's say '93-'95). Originally, the story placed with a small press zine called Eldritch Tales (long deceased). However, four years later, it still had not been published. Then, at the May 1997 World Horror Convention in Niagara Falls, Steve Jones asked me to write a Dracula-themed story for the '97 World Fantasy Convention souvenir book, Secret City: Strange Tales of London. So, I sent a letter (we still wrote actual letters back then, on paper, with ink) to the editor of the obviously moribund Eldritch Tales, withdrawing the story. I wrote a second draft, adding 1,100 words, and sent it to Steve, who loved it. Later, it was selected for The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (Vol. 9, 1998), and then was reprinted in my second collection, From Weird and Distant Shores (2002). And now, it will be reprinted again, sixteen years after I began it. The book will be released by Earthling Publications as a signed, limited edition, and will include one story from each volume of The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror. More details TBA.

Last night, after Chinese leftovers, we ventured out into the wuthering evening, because I couldn't stand to be shut up in the house with all that wind pressing in at the walls. And I needed more Yacht Club ginger ale. Yacht Club is my new beverage addiction (they also make excellent root beer). Anyway, last night our cashier at Eastside Market just happened to be the girlfriend of the son of the owner of Yacht Club Bottling Works (located in Centredale, RI), which was sort of weird and cool. Back home, there was WoW. Shaharrazad and Suraa slew kobolds, dromaeosaurid theropods, giant spiders, ogres, (at Boulderfist Hall) and laid waist to countless humans at a Syndicate encampment (at Northfold Manor), all in the Arathi Highlands. I posted another entry to crk_blog_vault. Later, we watched the first episode of Deadwood for the zillionth time. And it's still brilliant, and still makes me sad that the idiots at HBO saw fit to cancel what is possibly the best written series in television history. I think we got to bed just before 3:30 a.m.

* I was just looking back over old journal entries, and it appears the last time I took an actual vacation was the first week of June 2007.