At least we finished proofing Low Red Moon yesterday. Today, it goes back to NYC. My corrections and changes were fairly extensive. We were at it most of the day — chapters Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, and the epilogue ("Stations of the Cross," "At the River's Edge," "Mother Hydra," and "The Land of Dreams," respectively; pp. 264-337 in the Roc tpb). Though we started fairly early, by one o'clock, I was working on the ms. until 9:10 p.m. (CaST). And though it's not an accusation I'm aware has ever been leveled at me, if anyone ever does accuse me of being in the writing thing "just for the money," if nothing else I can point to the time spent on these corrections and laugh in herhisits silly, frelling face. By a conservative estimate, Spooky and I have devoted 15-20 hrs. on Low Red Moon corrections since we began on Tuesday, December 5th. We were paid for none of this time, of course. This was entirely voluntary. It's not too difficult to calculate what that time comes to in "wages" lost, time I could have spent writing new stories for which I would be earning money, and the sum is significant. I don't know why I'm going on about this. Exhaustion, more than anything else, I suspect.
Anyway, the thing I said yesterday about brutality and shame and "unrealised realities," remember that? Yesterday, I started reading Chapter Twelve, and right there in the very first paragraph I find:
The same dream every time Deacon closes his eyes long enough to begin drifting down towards sleep, the same dream or close enough that it may as well be, all the horrors of Sunday night replayed again and again as if he's looking for some way to make it all come out differently. Some alternate, happy ending yet to be discovered, hidden deep within the minutiae, right there for the taking if only his stubborn subconscious self is allowed to pick through the broken pieces enough times. Guilt and regret and a loss that he's only just beginning to comprehend, the bourbon in his belly and the migraine that doesn't get any better no matter how much he drinks.
So, I take this as an indication that my "guilt" over the story was already manifest as I was writing it.
Marvelously warm again yesterday. But there was a wind and some clouds, so it felt cooler, though it really wasn't. I opened the office and living-room windows to air the place out a bit. I hate that shut-away winter smell. We're supposed to have low 70s by this weekend. We had a very long walk in the afternoon, southwest as far as the intersection of North Highland and Bemina Ave. NE. Back in the 1960s, 217 acres were cleared to make way for a section of highway. More than 500 homes dating back to the late 19th Century were destroyed in the process. Local outcry halted the highway construction, but the houses had already been demolished. Atlanta, like most Southern cities, has a long history of trying to forget itself. Anyway, that's why we have Freedom Park. It's the highway that never was. The thought of all those houses, the damage done to these neighborhoods, saddens me, but at least something good eventually came of it.
Just before bed last night, there was a rambling, poorly focused conversation about the hostility too often encountered among NeoPagans to critical thought and the natural sciences, and how this is exactly the opposite of the way things ought to be, perhaps even the opposite of the way things were in the American NeoPagan community as recently as the late 1970s. Also, the general perception of magick as technology (not science, but technology), as something to be used primarily to exploit a resource/s for personal material gain, rather than as a means of reaching a better understanding of the world. Please god/s/ess, help me get this job, win the lottery, cheat on my taxes, not get sick, find someone who loves me, etc. and etc. What can the universe do for me, rather than how can I exist in equilibrium with the universe. In this way, I think a lot of witches try to exploit Nature precisely the same way that "ordinary," non-magickal technologies exploit Nature. I say try because I continue to perceive most "magick" as only superstition and wishful thinking. But still, there's an ill intent at work here. And, at some point, I suggested that the word most abused and least understood among NeoPagans and Wiccans must surely be energy. But I am going on, aren't I? And probably pissing off people I don't actually mean to piss off. Sorry.
Spooky relisted the green-haired boy from Alabaster on eBay last night. Also, another of her dolls, which I've been quite smitten with. I am ever smitten with blind things. Anyway, yeah, the green-haired boy comes with one of the lettered copies of Alabaster (you pick the letter) and the "Highway 97" chapbook. Have a look. I'm probably going to list a few other things, as long as she's cranked up the eBay engine again.
Mostly, I'm still liking The Lost Room. There were some annoying moments last night, bits clearly thrown in an attempt to satisfy a perceived demographic with romance and touching sex. But I am of the opinion that one should not have sex in Room 10, anymore than one should have sex in 5 and 1/2 minute hallways or beneath the roof of Hill House. It'll be interesting to see how they wrap it all up tonight.