Yesterday was an extremely frustrating sort of writing day. I've got only a few days to finish up Tales from the Woeful Platypus, with two or three more vignettes to go. Sounds easy enough. I sat down and began a piece called The Garden of Live Flowers (title from Lewis Carroll), spent maybe an hour on 277 words, and called Spooky in to hear it. Afterward, the conversation went something like this:
Me: It's okay, isn't it?
Spooky: It's very, very good.
Me: But it's not a vignette.
Spooky: No. It's the start of a short story.
So, I sat the 277 words aside, promising myself that someday I would come back to them and write the short story that they begin. In truth, I know I likely never shall. My harddrive is rotten with unfinished fragments. It is riddled with them. Anyway, I began again, keeping the same title. I did another 137 words, then stopped in mid sentence, realising that it was happening again. I didn't even bother calling Spooky in to read it. I merely grumbled. Once again, I'd begun a short story. Soooo. I started a third time, using the same title. This time I did only 41 words before it became apparent this was not the start of a vignette-shaped thing. I set it aside. I began a fourth time with the same title. I stopped myself at 113 words. Spooky looked in to see what all the growling noises were about. By this point, a couple of hours had passed, and I'd written 568 words, and none of it had gotten me any closer to meeting the deadline on Tales from the Woeful Platypus. I considered calling it a day, getting drunk, and falling asleep in the bath tub. Instead, I chose a new title, "Forests of the Night" (from Blake, also used for Chapter Seven of Low Red Moon). And apparently, yesterday, the fifth time was the charm. I did 779 words on "Forests of the Night," which appears to be a vignette-shaped piece of fiction suitable for Tales from the Woeful Platypus, and which I hope I like as much today as yesterday.
Also, I got the final inks from Vince for "Untitled 23," and the illustration is gorgeous, and he said that he liked this piece so much he would have liked to have done three or four illos for it. I wrote a lengthy reply to a lengthy e-mail from Sonya (sovay), regarding our as-yet-untitled collaboration. We've reached the point where loose threads and such have to be attended to. I expect to receive the last part of the story from her this afternoon or evening. This is the first time I've collaborated with anyone on anything since Poppy (docbrite) and I wrote "The Rest of the Wrong Thing" and "Night Story, 1973" back in late 2000. It's widely known I don't play well with others, so I don't try collaborating very often. But after reading Singing Innocence and Experience and meeting her in Cambridge last month, I had a feeling that Sonya and I could write together, and together we have written a dreamy, creepy, beautiful sort of story that I could not have written on my own. With luck, then, Sirenia Digest 10 will be sent out on Wednesday (the 27th).
There were three marvelous storms yesterday, and today the weather has turned autumnal once again.
We had a very lovely Mabon.
I got an e-mail this morning from Liz, my editor at Penguin, reminding me that my corrections to the galleys for the mass-market paperback edition of Threshold were due week before last. Digging about the chaos of books and paper surrounding my desk, I discovered the galleys, buried beneath a large book on symbolist painters and another on deep-sea oceanography. I have to go now and write an apology. Fortunately, the book had already been proofed to hell and back again. But that lapse should give you a good idea of my mental state of late.