There's this enormous white padded envelope lying on my office floor. The UPS dude brought it yesterday. It contains the second-pass galley of Murder of Angels and a photocopy of my corrected first-pass pages. Tomorrow, I have to open that envelope and check the latter against the former to be sure that production made all the changes I asked for. Except the commas, of course, because we know I only got 70 of those, but all those other changes. It will be relatively painless, compared the the first pass, but I only have this weekend to get it done. Actually, I only have tomorrow to get it done. The worst part is that, at this late stage, I'm only allowed to check to see that requested changes (commas aside) have been made. If I find new errors, they have to stay. And last night, I was looking through one of the ARCs and discovered that on the epigraph page for Part Two ("Wars in Heaven"), I've attributed two lines quoted from Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" to "The Hounds of Love." I know exactly how it happened. Originally, I was using album titles, not song titles, for lyric quotes. When I switched over, I missed this one (and so did everyone else). I'm going to try to convince them this should be changed for legal reasons, but I suspect they'll refuse to correct it. And so it goes.
Yesterday was a write-off. After hours of trying to do something and only doing nothing instead, I finally gave up and fell asleep in the loveseat beneath one of the living-room windows. I slept from about 5:30 p.m. until about 6:30 p.m, and I think it was the best sleep I've had in a couple of weeks. At one point, Spooky came out of her sewing room to tell me she'd found one of my missing bras in the dirty laundry and discovered me asleep, and she decided not to wake me. Afterwards, I woke groggy and disoriented. We had burritos, and then we fed Mr. Kitty (formerly Young Master Goblin; he now lives next door, and we're catsitting him while his people are on their honeymoon). I chased lightning bugs. It was still hot outside at twilight.
It seems there was Important Stuff I was going to say today, but the headache alien thing has eaten its way into my memory banks. Whoa. There's goes my fifth birthday party...
Today, I'm going to a matinee.
Last night, just before bed, I checked my e-mail and discovered what might be the best fan letter I've ever recieved. It actually made me feel a little better, and I can't help but include it here. Shameful, I know, to be so vainglorious. Whatever. I have concealed the name and the location of the author, for reasons that may or may not be obvious. He knows who he is, and I am very grateful. He writes:
Dear Caitlin R. Kiernan,
OK, but Lenny Bruce didn't write books anywhere near as important as yours. I finished Murder of Angels today — I work as an hourly wage slave at a Barnes & Noble and Steve at Roc was nice enough to send me a copy of the unbound galleys.
I was already (and pledge to always be) a rabid fan of your work — but MOA has left me happy-wriggling in its brutal transcendence. The characters, concepts and bitter truths were magical for me. Now I understand why we sacrifice things for the people we love. Everything was beyond vivid — like how, when your characters light cigarettes or the house goes up, I can smell the smoke.
I know you're dancing around burnout, partially because the industry pays you less than a tenth of what you're worth — and you do an infinitely better job than the many hacks that are out there — but, (and I swear I wouldn't bother to thank you like this if MOA wasn't the best book I've read since LRM and I have two degrees in literature and used to teach writing for a snooty private college so I have a half-right to pontificate like this) MOA is up there with Pale Fire, House of Leaves, and Gravity's Rainbow in terms of its ability to show its story without falling back on cliches or easy answers...so please be careful on the burnout front. You, in my opinion, are one of the best writers alive and you keep getting better.
So I've become disjointed and it's late and I stayed up most of last night reading, then spent today (like every day) handing bland, mundane and uselessly predictable books to bland, mundane and uselessly predictable people — but I'm so thrilled that, despite all the ickyness of the world, you wrote something so beautiful and divine.
I handsell your books like crazy and run a writing group twice a month (in XXXXXXXXXX, XXXXXXXXXXXXX, not too far from the Old Gent in Providence) so please stop by if there's anything I can do to thank you for all the joy you've given this reader, bookseller and writer.
I've babbled enough. Simply put: I've read at least a thousand novels, and Murder of Angels is one of the best ever. And, on top of all that, through your blog, you've shown me the way to The Dresden Dolls and The Cruxshadows and a plethora of other wonderful things...
with infinite thanks and gratitude,
XXXXXXXX X. XXXXXXX
Now, if only The New York Times Review of Books and the people who hand out Hugos would be so stricken.
No Ambien last night.
And we might have found a British manufacturer of SFX contacts with suitable substitutes for the contacts I've been getting from Mesmereyes. If so, we can circumvent the frelling FDA and won't have to have our eyeballs poked and prodded, and Nar'eth will appear as planned. We were hoping Japan might be helpful, but they have eyeball Nazis, too.