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a secret room, a tangled web to unweave

So, for the past three days now, while I've waited to be told what has to be changed, waiting for news that might not come for another week but which might also come at any moment, I've thought I can at least not let this time go to waste. I can't get started on The Dinosaurs of Mars or Joey LaFaye or the "Onion" screenplay, because I can't begin something long knowing that I might have to set it aside immediately and return to editing and rewriting the product of the Forced and New Reconsolidated marches of January and February. But for the past three days, during which I have only struggled to write a simple, brief vignette, I've been drawing blanks. Yesterday, I did write — 121 words, a single page — but it was another dead end. Finally, I decided to proof "Houses Under the Sea" for The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, so that I could say I'd done something productive with the day.

I suspect the problem here is threefold: 1) After 18 issues of the digest since December 2005, and all the pieces that were done specifically for Frog Toes and Tentacles and Tales from the Woeful Platypus, it's simply getting harder to think of things I have not done at least once already; 2) I am terribly distracted, waiting for news from HarperCollins, to be told what unpleasant editing lies ahead; and 3) I'm truly, deeply exhausted, as I've been writing and editing without any significant sort of break or vacation or what the hell have you since we got back from Rhode Island way back at the end of August (I'm not counting that short and mostly miserable trip to Alafrellingbama). Any one of these things is enough to confound me.

The platypus is looking thin in the skin.

But I will try again today. The Mordorian Death Meander (née Death March) is threatening to become no more than a Mordorian Death Crawl.


In the hazy distance, I can glimpse low ridges and deep gullies where Núrn ends and the volcanic peaks of the Mithrim Spar begin. But I feel no sense of accomplishment at having survived this long or having come so far. I am too weary for such exertion as lie ahead of me and can only hope that I may yet be allowed some rest before I must attempt to find the road and the winding pass through the mountains and past the baleful walls of Seregost, as well. And even should I make make it that far and pass the old garrison undetected. all of Gorgoroth will still stretch out before me. And I may have more immediate problems. In the night, as I trudged north alongside the river, I spotted a large and shaggy crow on the path in front of me. Remembering the black bird who betrayed me to the pirates, I picked up a convenient rock to hurl and, with luck, kill the pest. But it laughed, the way crows laugh, and told me it was of the Crebain, that old crowstock from Dunland and Fangorn. "Then you have named yourself my enemy!" I shouted back at the beast, but it only laughed again. "The Eye is passed away," said the bird. "And Saruman the White and the Black Riders, too. Old allegiances have been broken or are fast breaking. And I bring you news." "Then speak whatever ill tidings you bring," I replied, resuming my search for a good throwing stone. The crow watched me and said "You are being tracked, Sindeseldaonna, by one in the service of the black Easterling—"

"How can this be?" I demanded. "The Nine were utterly destroyed with their master when the Ring was unmade." The crow pecked at the parched ground a moment, then stared up at me. The stars were fading in the west as the morning sun began to spill into Mordor. "Nay. One of them still walks," spoke the Crebain. "Khamûl, Shadow of the East, the last of the Nazgûl. And in his service is a madman I have heard the orcs call setsuled Kinslayer, and he has tracked you—" Then I told the bird I knew full well who the man was, but my head reeled with the crow's revelation, that one of the Nazgûl was still abroad in the world. Was this some Crebain trick? A deceit of my pursuer, meant to drive me still nearer to despair and surrender? "It is only the truth, daughter of Rohan whom the elves call Sindeseldaonna. And he will have you soon. You will not ever outrun such as him." And then, before I could ask why I was being told these things, the great crow cawed and spread its wings and flapped away across the river and west, as though chasing the vanishing night towards the distant Caran Road and the plains of Lilithlad.


Anything else about yesterday? No, not much. Spooky took me out for Thai. We finished The Children of Húrin, which we both loved, so thanks again, Rachel. We began Lemony Snicket's The Miserable Mill. Oh, and we lamented the near total absence of a goth scene here in Atlanta. There was one, long ago, but it mostly withered away rather inexplicably about 2001 or 2002. Now there's nothing but the Hot Topic kids in the exburbs. Spooky misses Portland and Boston, and I miss what Atlanta once had.

I should wrap this up. Here's the wishlist, for anyone else who might be interested in helping to relieve the imminent sting of -03. Thanks. Okay. Later, kiddos.


( 8 comments — Have your say! )
(Deleted comment)
May. 21st, 2007 04:14 am (UTC)

There's Always HeXxt, when it starts again, or The Mark, which just started. Nothing spectacular, but it's a little bit, you know?

HeXxt looks interesting, but I'm not sure I wouldn't be out of place at The Mark.

In other news, I'd like to buy you either coffee, alcohol, or both, for your natal anniversary, if that were amenable to you.

Okay. Sure. E-mail me, and I'll e-mail you back. We'll figure out when and where.
(Deleted comment)
May. 21st, 2007 05:29 am (UTC)

I'll say this: there was more dancing at the Mark than there was at HeXxt

Sadly, my dancing days are pretty much behind me.
May. 21st, 2007 02:47 am (UTC)
Colin Meloy now has your stuff.

I gave two of your books to Colin Meloy today.

He appeared with his friend Daniel Handler (yes, Mr. Snicket himself) at a Q&A at the Beaverton Powell's, and I went, and after meeting Mr. Handler in the signing line I went back and talked to Mr. Meloy. I introduced myself as "a fan of a fan" and asked if he'd heard of you. He hadn't. I described your work quickly ("Dark fantasy...Imagine if H.P. Lovecraft and Ray Bradbury had a kid"), and said you were a fan of his. I then went over and bought a new copy of Daughter of Hounds and a used copy of Low Red Moon, and gave them to him as gifts.

He asked if LRM was named after the Belly song; I blanked on that, but he looked at the quotes page and confirmed it. He appreciated the gift of the books; I said that I hoped he liked them, wished him luck with his kid, and headed out.

I hope he likes them. And hey, you got another new sale!
May. 21st, 2007 04:16 am (UTC)
Re: Colin Meloy now has your stuff.

I gave two of your books to Colin Meloy today.

Wow. Thank you.

I then went over and bought a new copy of Daughter of Hounds and a used copy of Low Red Moon, and gave them to him as gifts.

Those are the two I'd have picked. Thanks, Chris. I'm going to go have some sort of fan girl meltdown now...

May. 21st, 2007 04:29 am (UTC)
I beam, beamingly.
Good to hear. I'm glad it worked out this way. I came up with the idea while in the signing line, and a giant well-stocked bookstore is a good location for spawning an idea like that...
May. 21st, 2007 05:26 am (UTC)
Re: I beam, beamingly.

a giant well-stocked bookstore is a good location for spawning an idea like that...

Spooky speaks fondly of Powell's. And it's true that, right now, there aren't a lot of bookstores where you can find Low Red Moon.
May. 21st, 2007 05:37 am (UTC)
Re: Colin Meloy now has your stuff.
I just posted my entry on going to the Daniel Handler-Colin Meloy appearance. Appreciate it, you might. (Talk like Yoda, I do, when tired, I am. Yes.)
May. 21st, 2007 05:48 am (UTC)
How does the wish list work?
( 8 comments — Have your say! )