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The beginning is begun.

Yesterday, I wrote 509 words, and so began my long walk across Joey Lafaye in search of THE END. It might not sound like much, a measly 509 words on "The Locksmith of Elfland's Daughter," but it feels like ten times that number. Because now the book is begun. That initial wall of dread has been displaced. I have some idea what I will be writing today. And that makes all the difference.

My thanks to Dr. David Kirkpatrick for sending me the following Lucius Shepard quote yesterday (taken from Postscripts #7):

I love the fume and bubble of words, sucked up through the waterpipe of the brain and gusted forth as a smoke of poetry or prose. The doing of it, I mean. The indulging in the addiction, the acting out of the art. I am content producing words for money, even when the work goes badly, as in many cases it does, and the product is malformed, not as I imagined, as in many cases it is. I never set about doing it for reasons less than love, though often that love is spent before the work is done, made diffuse by having to produce a result too quickly, by growing weary of theme or character, or from the sheer effort involved in trying to attain what often seems unattainable; i.e. a good story.

It's one of those paragraphs I wish that I had written.

Also, this comment to yesterday's entry, from pwtucker:

Kudos on the Dunsany reference! That's an excellent title to kick things off with, and remember, even Joyce would sometimes take a whole day to come up with the perfect five words. You're in good company.

I have no idea how widely Lord Dunsany is read in this day and age. My guess would be not nearly widely enough. Too many times I've had people say something like, "It's so cool how Lovecraft has influenced your writing." And I have replied, "As have Lord Dunsany and Algernon Blackwood and Arthur Machen and Ambrose Bierce and M.R. James and William Hope Hodgson." And I get looks like I've started speaking some obscure dialect of an obscure and ancient language. And, in some ways, yeah, Joey Lafaye is harking back to Dunsany and Blackwood and others, perhaps by way of Bradbury and a few other more recent literary influences.

Oh, returning to the matter of Scott's The Lay of the Last Minstrel, I neglected to mention yesterday that it is misquoted in Fairies. The passage in question should read:

A moment then the volume spread,
And one short spell therein he read.
It has much glamour, might,
Could make a ladye seem a knight;
The cobwebs on a dungeon wall
Seem tapestry in lordly hall;
A nutshell seem a gilded barge,
A sheeling seem a palace large,
And youth seem age, and age seem youth —
All was delusion, nought was truth.


Yesterday was mostly a good day. We had a fine walk down Sinclair and talked with Daisy Dog. In Second Life, Spooky and I (as Artemesia Paine and the Professor, respectively) attended the New Babbage Guy Fawkes festivities, where an effigy was set aflame on a raft in the canal between the Imperial Theatre and Junie Ginsburg's shop. There were fireworks. It was a fine evening. But now I must drink my coffee and get back to....well...you know.

Comments

( 4 comments — Have your say! )
tjcrowley
Nov. 6th, 2007 04:57 pm (UTC)
I had a ferret that I named Mary Jane Rush, Maryjane for short. Everyone assumed I named the ferret after marijuana. This is what I get for living in California.
derekcfpegritz
Nov. 6th, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC)
Sadly, Dunsany is almost completely unknown today in America outside of Lovecraft scholarship. In Ireland and the rest of the UK, however, his books are still perennial favorites! I generally loathe buying British books (the design is pathetic, the paper is pulpy shite, and the bindings crumbly), but it's virtually impossible to get Dunsany books in the States. Thank Mynarthitep for Amazon.co.uk.
alvyarin
Nov. 6th, 2007 07:12 pm (UTC)
I love Dunsany, although most of what I've read of him has been online (thank you, Project Gutenburg). Ditto the other authors you mentioned.

I'm so glad to see William Hope Hodgson on the list, as I'd been meaning to ask you for ages if you'd read Nightland. I would love, love, LOVE to see your take on that tale. Or maybe not so much the tale, as on the land itself. Please, if you ever set anything in Nightland (and I'm not sure if you ever do stuff like this), tell me where the heck I can get it.
corucia
Nov. 7th, 2007 01:18 am (UTC)
I thought you might find that quote appropriate. There were quite a few eminently quotable bits in that Shepard piece, but that one stood out.

Regards, David
( 4 comments — Have your say! )