May 26th, 2009


The Incalculable Wages of Insomnia (Installment 78)

Yeah, here it is. -05. It's pretty much as strange and disconcerting as I expected.

Yesterday, I actually seem to have reached THE END of "Galápagos," though I'd not expected to do so until this afternoon. I wrote a somewhat impressive 1,455 words, and there it was. No one was more surprised than I. But pleasantly surprised, I will add. This is, by the way, the only short-story length work of science fiction I've produced since "A Season of Broken Dolls," back in March 2007. Well, except some forays into steampunk, but that's not the same. At least, not the same to me. As soon as I can, I'll announce the book in which "Galápagos" will be appearing, and its release date.

On a related note, yesterday ardiril asked, "Have you ever tried writing a story backwards in such instances?" Such instances being those cases where I begin a story with some image from the climax fixed firmly in my mind. Short answer, no, I haven't. I can't. As I've said before, I have this thing, this tick I suppose, that makes it necessary for me to write a story from beginning to end (even in cases of non-linear narratives, such as "In View of Nothing" and, more recently, "At the Gate of Deeper Slumber"). On the one hand, I consider this a sort of literary neurosis. On the other, I think I have a sound methodological reason for writing this way. In a lecture, Shirley Jackson once said (and I paraphrase) that one should never begin a story with the ending in mind and write towards it. I believe this very much, even though I sometimes do begin a story with the ending in mind. For me, a story, and the process of writing it, should be organic, somewhat spontaneous. It should mirror our perceptions of the world. Events occur. They follow one after the next (assuming you accept this view of linear time), and they have consequences. The consequences are the climax of the story. Story results from the natural interplay of cause and effect. In ideal cases, one cannot know a story's conclusion at its start, for the simple reason that it hasn't happened yet. The alternative is a sort of fictional predestination, which I find distasteful, even in those cases when I'm the one doing it.


Last night, the writing had left me pretty close to insensible. I think I was drooling. But we watched a truly bizarre and very funny film, Kit Ryan's Botched (2007). There was a little bit of WoW (though I had to have a Red Bull to manage that level of consciousness), and then Spooky read me another chapter from Andrea Barrett's The Voyage of the Narwahl. I'm enjoying this book a great deal. It even works as a sort of companion piece to Dan Simmons' superb The Terror, since it's a story about an attempt to find and rescue Franklin's lost expedition. I'm keen to track down more of Barrett's books now. Turns out, she was a biologist before she gave it up for writing historical sea-faring novels. And then I didn't wake up until about 11:30 this morning, which means I got more than eight hours sleep. Amazing.

And now I should be going, because we're expecting Sonya (sovay) this evening, and there's stuff to be done.

Oh. Here are a few WoW screencaps, including Shah's embarrassing dance during the L80ETC show the other night:

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