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lost in thought

I'm sitting here sipping at my coffee, listening to Iron and Wine, watching the faint rind of daylight showing at the edge of the curtain straight across from my desk, and trying to decide if I'm less out of sorts than I was this time yesterday. It'll probably be hours yet until I know the answer to that one. The cold weather has me tilting from one side to the other. And yes, it's early February and cold weather is to be expected, and that which is to be expected can't be faulted. But all the warmth and those premature signs of spring had me soaring and hoping, and I remind myself the seasons are "meant" to have no regard for the needs or feelings of mere consciousness. But still. I've hardly left the house this week. I did go four days straight without stepping out the door; that was Saturday—Tuesday, I think. And a long walk in only a sweater would be nice right about now.

Anyway.

We did Chapter Nine of Daughter of Hounds yesterday. It was rougher going than the preceding chapters, as it's the chapter I was halfway through when all the Bullet Girl foolishness began, distracting me from the novel for the better part of two months (September—October). It'll need a bit more polishing. But it's also, I think, one of the most powerful chapters in the novel, especially the second half. The second half holds the second climax and sends the reader spiraling towards the final climax and denouement, such as the denouement will be. To be the novel I promised Merrilee would have a "happy ending," and to have earlier judged that it does in fact have an ending which is much less grim that of Low Red Moon or Murder of Angels, there's an awful lot of sorrow here at the end of it. I wouldn't have it another way. Another way would be untrue. Today we'll finish the read-through. Tomorrow or Monday I'll begin on the revisions. I may go so far as to add a couple of brief scenes. Also, I have to admit that Katee Sackhoff has become Soldier in my mind's eye, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Not much else to yesterday. Well, a little. I exchanged e-mail with Vince as he finished up the very wonderful illustration he's done for "Untitled 17," which will appear in Sirenia Digest #3. We got four new subscribers yesterday, which is very drad, indeed, and I thank you one and all. This means I only need 76 additional subscribers to meet my goal. The offer of a free copy of Silk to new subscribers will remain for at least the next couple of days. Just click here to find out everything you need to know to subscribe. And remember, new subscriptions will begin with Issue No. 3, which should go out on February 14th. I also did another short entry to the Amazon Connect plog.

Before the Olympics began, Spooky and I spent some time studying Liz and Colin Murray's Ogham system. And I may make a Wicca post later today. Or I may not. Or I may, but block comments. I really don't want this to become something that forms the focus for arguments here. Or even vigorous discussions. And I also am not looking to offend anyone, but my opinions so often do just exactly that. It's my superpower.

Yesterday, in the comments to yesterday's entry (on LJ, for you Blogger folks), someone broached the subject of the applicability of human morality to Narcissa Snow, and i made reference to the afterword I wrote for the subpress edition of Low Red Moon, where I briefly discussed this very problem. Of course, not everyone has the subpress hardback, only a few do, so only a few have read what I wrote there on this problem. So I'm quoting from it below (behind the cut):

Can something that's not quite human be fairly accused of murder, if it's only killed human beings?

Is it a cannibal, if it eats what it kills?

I wrote Narcissa as something more terrible than a human murderer of humans, serial or otherwise. Not a mindless force of Nature, and not something entirely alien, but a creature for whom the rights and wrongs of humanity — indeed, the
fact of humanity itself — was never precisely relevant. To my mind, this removes Low Red Moon from the realm of the serial-killer novel, yet also keeps it clear of tales of rampaging animals (Peter Benchley's Jaws and King's Cujo are classic examples of that genre). It's not that Narcissa is free of morality. She's not. But the codes that govern her actions must exist somewhere beyond the edges of our knowledge and experience. She's a being apart from the eloquent primacy of Blake's tyger, in her exile from the "forests of the night," but something far more problematic than a Jeffrey Dahmer or Fincher's John Doe.

Is she Evil, or only the careless consequence of Evil?

The unforgiven sins of the fathers, or a domino perpetuation of man's fall from an imagined, ancient grace?

Like Lovecraft's amphibious inhabitants of Innsmouth, or Pasiphaë's labyrinth-bound Minotaur, she follows from the perversion of an Order, and exists as something shameful (at least to the keepers of the Order in question). But, even as she defies and defiles, she's chosen a side and struggles, in her madwoman's way, towards reunion. Towards a reconciliation with Order. Towards a transcendence of her monstrosity.

And therein lies the problem.

But the question I kept asking myself, as Narcissa raced the moon, was: What have the damned to lose, in seeking their salvation?

And therein lies another problem altogether.

Comments

( 11 comments — Have your say! )
tactileson
Feb. 11th, 2006 06:02 pm (UTC)
The first time I ever read your afterward for Low Red Moon I thought it was perhaps the most eloquent summation an author has ever given about one of their characters. I still think so today. It's a beautifully written piece that helps tie up pieces of Narcissa and open up new pieces still for discovery.
sovay
Feb. 11th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC)
If I wanted to use the line "What have the damned to lose, in seeking their salvation?" as an epigraph, would I ask permission from you or your agent?
greygirlbeast
Feb. 11th, 2006 09:21 pm (UTC)
If I wanted to use the line "What have the damned to lose, in seeking their salvation?" as an epigraph, would I ask permission from you or your agent?

Neither. As it's prose, and less than 170 words (or whatever), your using it as an epigraph in protected by the "fair use" clause. Should your publisher desire permission, however, just remind me and I'll gladly give it. :)
sovay
Feb. 11th, 2006 10:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you. : )
eldritch00
Feb. 12th, 2006 05:33 am (UTC)
I was just as struck by that line as you were!
anthologie
Feb. 11th, 2006 07:32 pm (UTC)
Have you ever considered moving to California? It's February, the sun is returning, the fruit-trees are blossoming. The earth is waking up. It doesn't snow here in the Bay Area, and although it does get cold it doesn't get as cold as what you're used to (and seemingly don't like).

*smile*
greygirlbeast
Feb. 11th, 2006 09:22 pm (UTC)
Have you ever considered moving to California? It's February, the sun is returning, the fruit-trees are blossoming. The earth is waking up. It doesn't snow here in the Bay Area, and although it does get cold it doesn't get as cold as what you're used to (and seemingly don't like).

Problem is, it never really gets very warm, either. I think northern California's beautiful, but I'm not sure that I could ever live there (never mind the earthquakes).
anthologie
Feb. 11th, 2006 09:32 pm (UTC)
Depends where you live. In the East Bay, a lot of places have regular spring temperatures above 80, summers in the 90s and 100s.
mackatlaw
Feb. 12th, 2006 06:39 am (UTC)
"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." -- Mark Twain. From my college years out there, I remember it rained a lot and never got warm enough for me. It never got as cold as Alabama can, I'll grant it that, but my stock of sweaters and leather jackets started from self-preservation out there.

Northern California I can't speak for, but the Bay Area is where I'd be if I didn't like Southern Gothic.
stsisyphus
Feb. 13th, 2006 03:34 am (UTC)
Is it a cannibal, if it eats what it kills?

I've always found calling the ghul "cannibals" a misnomer, since unless they are one of those curious human crossovers (e.g. Lovecraft's Pickman; who appears to be the only such example), they aren't human.

As for the rest of this ponderous little afterword, I think you and I might have a good four hour argument (and/or screaming match or laughing fit) over a few dozen pints of stout, but that's really not necessary here. What a thorny little debate you've drafted...
rysmiel
Feb. 13th, 2006 04:58 pm (UTC)
To be the novel I promised Merrilee would have a "happy ending," and to have earlier judged that it does in fact have an ending which is much less grim that of Low Red Moon or Murder of Angels, there's an awful lot of sorrow here at the end of it.

Well, Iain Banks does claim that a happy ending is one where not everybody dies, so it depends how you scale it really.
( 11 comments — Have your say! )