I'm having one of those annoying, difficult days when I'm fairly certain that no one's reading my work, or too few to keep NYC interested (which is, effectively, the same thing), that I've taken the wrong road and now it's much too late to ever go another way. I hate these days, these dim swamps of self-doubt and anxiety. It's not an issue of whether I'm right or wrong with regard to these questions, only one of not allowing my misgivings to lock me up. There's no time to waste. Of that much I'm entirely certain.
Personally, back in early 1996, when I'd finished Silk and my agent was taking the book to market, if you'd told me I'd ever publish so much, that ten years farther in I'd still be writing novels*, I'd have never believed it. I was fairly certain that Silk would be the beginning and the end. I have plenty enough days when I wish that it had been, and plenty of others when I'm grateful that all these other novels have come afterwards. No, this isn't really leading anywhere. It's just the junk I think a hundred times a day. Imagine how much more I might accomplish if I could manage to rid myself of such unproductive scraps of cognition.
I begin to actually believe that writing, like any art, is "simply" the process of being true to oneself, no matter what the inconvenient and unseemly consequences. I hope that doesn't sound trite.
Anyway...yesterday I did indeed clean my office, which sorely needed it. Letters and e-mails and royalty statements and mss. were filed away. The floor was swept. Unwanted bits of paper were discarded. It looks much better in here today. About six p.m., I read another chapter of Gerhard Maier's superb book, Unearthing African Dinosaurs: The Tendaguru Expeditions. I'm trying to finish it up, as so many other books are waiting to be read. I've long been fascinated by the Late Jurassic Tendaguru fauna, which is coeval with America's Morrison Formation (approx. 150 million years B.C.E.) and has produced such wonderful beasts as Kentrosaurus aethiopicus, Dicraeosaurus sattleri and D. hansemanni, Brachiosaurus brancai, Elaphrosaurus bambergi, Janenschia robusta, and Dryosaurus lettowvorbecki. What wonders creationists miss by fancying that the world has always been more or less as it is now and that life on earth was manufactured in a few days:
Later, after dinner at Fellini's in Candler Park, I watched a Nature episode on grizzlies in Yellowstone (beautiful bear footage, but ultimately very disheartening), and then Spooky and I watched the Iron Chef America andouille battle. That was Sunday.
In a couple of days I'll be beginning work on a vignette for Sirenia Digest #4 (subscribe!). Remember, this month you'll also be getting the short story "Alabaster," which I hope will help to promote the collection of the same title. Also, later today, we'll begin the auction of another lettered copy of Frog Toes and Tentacles, plus velvet/silk "cozy." This time, however, we'll be doing it a little differently. Instead of offering a particlar letter, the winner will be free to choose from those twelve that we have available. These are: L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, T, U, V, W, and Y. Also, please note that proceeds from this auction and all current eBay auctions will be going to repair Spooky's iBook (the logic board appears to have gone belly up). So, please bid and bid generously. Thank ye.
*For the record, as I've said before, I do not create "product," nor do I think of my readers as "consumers."