August 26th, 2010


"The end of all our pain and strife could be the pearl."

I was still awake last night— no, this morning —at five a.m. I finally took an Ambien (which I'm not supposed to be doing anymore) and got about six hours sleep. Which is better than nothing.

Yesterday, I did 1,020 words on a new story (for Sirenia Digest #57), "Deep Ocean Vast Sea." Yes, the title was taken from the Peter Murphy song. Anyway, today I have to figure out if I have time right now to write the short story this piece wants to be, or if I should shelve it and do a vignette, instead. There was also a mountain of email (which at least include writing a few very cool people, like Peter Straub and Kyle Cassidy).

Last night, we watched the last episode of Season Four of Dexter, and gods, what a beautifully brutal hour of television. The ending actually left us shaken (no mean feat). This has definitely been my favorite season so far, in large part because of John Lithgow's brilliant performance as the "Trinity Killer." I was extremely pleased to learn that he received an Emmy for the role.


Here's an email I got a from a reader, David Parker, three days ago:

I've read much of your stuff, with pleasure and admiration. Every few months I return to your LiveJournal and read up. Much of your experience of things as you narrate it is at least vaguely analogous to mine. And every time I remember how even more than your work I admire your hard working and your bravery: your...what...the way you keep on keeping on, I guess. Is there a secret? What is your fuel? Is it some fortunate gene that I lack? How the eff do you do what you do, work your ass off to put it bluntly, day after day? Can you bottle it and can I get some?

You're some Ishmael who does not fade into any background, a Pierre who isn't stupid. I wish I'd read more so that I could think of women (prot?...)agonists to compare you to. A great dark exemplar, you're one of those who make it all livable.

Those are kind words, and I am grateful for them. But I'm afraid I don't have much in the way of answers to these questions. I work my ass off day after day because that's what it takes, no matter how grim the circumstances, for me to make a living as a writer (and the same is true for most working writers without "day jobs"). You do it, or you fail. And I won't fail. So, I do it. If there is a secret, I don't know it. There's no secret to perseverance, self-discipline, necessity, and resolve. These are simply the things you have to develop and maintain, in abundance, if you're going to survive as an author. That's always been true. My "fuel" is a weird cocktail of very pragmatic, mundane desperation (the bills have to be paid, and this is the only way I can do it), my old fear of being perceived as a slacker, and the knowledge that if I don't write these particular stories, no one else ever will. And really, that's pretty much all there is, so far as questions of work habits and determination are concerned.



Last night, Spooky and I tried to finish up Icecrown with our blood elves— Suraa (paladin) and Shaharrazad (warlock), respectively —only to be thwarted with only five quests (out of one hundred and forty) remaining to complete the region. Which, I will admit, left me very pissed at Blizzard. Their continued insistence that one must socialize and cooperate in order to gain access to all the game's content leaves me exasperated and seething with nerd rage.* Anyway, we're going to make another attempt on those final five quests tonight. Two of them involve especially daunting bosses, meant for groups of five players (fuck you, Blizzard). If you are into WoW and have Level 77-80 characters on the Cenarion Circle server, we would dearly love some assistance. I don't even care if your character isn't Horde. As long was we begin the fight, Alliance players would still be useful. If you'd like to help, just leave a comment and we'll work something out. All we need is two or three players, and I'd rather try to do it this way than attempt to assemble a "pug" inworld. Thanks.

And's time to face the venomous spurs of the platypus.

* Our main Alliance toons are in a very good guild, but our Horde characters, which are like our main mains, have always been loners.