September 20th, 2009

The Red Tree

"While all the women came and went..."

There are many reasons that I love Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower," but perhaps the thing I most love about it is that it feels like a prologue, and then ends with the beginning of a story.

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view,
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.
Outside in the distance, a wildcat did growl.
Two riders were approaching. The wind began to howl.

I am tempted, someday, to write that story...


Yesterday, I didn't write anything. I have been, for over a week now, beset with an especially black, foul mood, with depression and despair. With more anger than usual. There are more reasons to account for this emotional state than I can (or should) go into here. This strange autumn isn't helping, but the seasons are not to be chided for hindering. This is just what is, at this point in my life.

There were some tiny bright spots in the day, though I can't discuss most of them yet. I did have a nice conversation with Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press early in the day. I was brushing my teeth and he called. We talked about very many things, including The Ammonite Violin & Others and if I'll ever actually be able to write The Dinosaurs of Mars.

I should remind you that there are still copies of the trade hardback of A is for Alien available. This is, without a doubt, in my opinion, my best short-fiction collection to date. And if I do say so myself, and I do —— for never have I cared very much for modesty, false or otherwise —— if this were a fair world, A is for Alien would be garnering all sorts of sf awards this year. All those shiny Nebulas and Hugos and what the fuck ever. But it shall not even be nominated, mostly because I am not (and never shall be) one of the Popular Kids of SF. I inhabit this liminal wilderness that lies at the threshold of all genres, and so may never belong to any one of them. But I like the knotty old trees here, and the wreck of abandoned industry, and the sound of the sea in the near-distance. Me and my books, we know that the price of our beloved wilderness is that the Popular Kids won't come near these woods.

The Red Tree continues to garner praise, and I am doing everything I can not to let myself be fooled into thinking it might still have a shot. It doesn't, but I still appreciate the kindly words.

Spooky showed me a first cut of the book trailer yesterday, which I liked parts of, but sent the whole back to editing. Pull it apart, and try again. Yes, this really has become the Heaven's Gate of all book trailers. The book's been out now since early August, and the trailer is still in post.


Night before last, Spooky and I saw a genuinely brilliant film, Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel's Deadgirl (2008), which I urge you to see. Jenny Spain was particularly amazing in the title role. The film's brilliance lies in understanding that the very best weird fiction, and the best "horror," arises from simplicity. And that the real story lies not in some goofy exposition, or tiresome plotting, but in the reaction of human beings to an encounter with something that cannot possibly be, and yet there it is. Really, "brilliant" is not too strong a word. But, I do caution the faint of heart. And if I have any very minor complaints, they are merely that there was a little too much gore. Not because gore is bad; it certainly isn't. But it must be handled as one handles high explosives, or horror becomes comedy, and there was a scene or two that showed just enough too much that the mood was spoiled. But this is a very small criticism. The film is a must-see.


And now it's time to try, again, to make the words come when I call.