August 31st, 2010

The Red Tree

I am a specialist at clearly delineated ambiguity.

The world is made of suck. Isn't that what kids these days would say, if their world was, indeed, made of suck, as opposed to being covered in teh awesome sauce? Is "awesome sauce" one word or two?

No sleep until four this morning, and then the dreams were a carnival ride. What, in the UK, was once called a ghost train. Maybe it still is. I don't know. I may have slept seven hours, but probably less. But at least I did it without drugs. Sonata, it turns out, is no less fraught with unpleasant side effects than is Ambien. These are drugs with sharp edges, wrapped in thin velvet.

It's a sharp fucking world.

I didn't leave the House yesterday, so its been six days now. I spent the entire damn day trying to find the end of "Fairy Tale of the Maritime," trying to find it without breaking the story. Spooky read the whole thing aloud to me, and I simply could not hear it. The rhythm was escaping me. I heard the words, but not the cadence. The ending seemed inscrutable and beyond my reach. I had Spooky call Sonya (sovay), and ask if she'd read it. She said yes, so I emailed it to her. She didn't hate it, which was a relief (Spooky had already not hated it, but artists can never trust their lovers on such matters, never, ever).

I wrote and erased nine hundred words. I wrote and kept another five hundred and fifty-eight words, and that's what became the ending of "Fairy Tale of the Maritime." It's sort of like whimsy on a bad dose of Lovecraft. Or Lewis Carroll on a good dose of Ketamine. Or it's nothing like either of those things. Anyway, now all I have to do is assemble Sirenia Digest #57, which I will be doing tomorrow, because Spooky refuses to allow me to go another day without leaving the House. My apologies ahead of time to subscribers, but the issue won't be out until September 1st or 2nd.

I presently exist in a state of abject terror, so far as the month of September '10 is concerned.

Last night we watched the first film in the BBC4 Red Riding trilogy (based on David Peace's quartet of novels of the same name). The first film, shot in 16mm and directed by Julian Jarrold, is In the Year of Our Lord 1974. And it was fucking brilliant. It achieved a level of sheer weird creepiness that I tend to think only David Lynch is capable of achieving. I can see myself becoming as obsessed with these films as I am with House of Leaves or Lost Highway or 1. Outside. And, of course we still have two films to go: In the Year of Our Lord 1980 (directed by James Marsh) and In the Year of Our Lord 1983 (directed by Anand Tucker).

I think I'm about to begin reading Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer.

I should go. The mothmen say so, that's why.

Oh, wait. There's a comment following from my post on A is for Alien and my SF work that I found especially insightful, and that I want to post. corucia wrote:

I think that you have similar issues with the reception of your SF as Peter Watts, of 'Blindsight' and 'Starfish' fame ( His work is even more dystopic and hard SF, and he's had trouble with recognition and sales, even though he often gets very favorable reviews (he's currently up for a Hugo for his novelette 'The Island'). I suspect that both of you are butting up against one of the fundamental differences between SF and fantasy - at some deep level, readers can dismiss fantasy as true fiction, no matter how disturbing it may be, but at that same level the reader can't as easily dismiss SF, because it is supposed to be grounded in reality. Thus, the bleaker SF can have a fundamental impact that fantasy cannot, leading to an unconscious rejection of the SF. I'll further argue that the better the science grounding of the SF, the more likely it is to be avoided if the conclusions resulting from it are too disturbing. As most readers don't have a strong science background, it's harder for them to identify flaws that might allow them to dismiss something that appears to be rationally-based, whereas fantasy always has the underlying unreality that permits dismissal.

Okay, mothmen. I'm finished now.