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You make this all go away

A night of such nightmares, that I cannot describe myself as mere dreamsick this morning. Whatever comes after dreamsick, whatever is worse, something very near fever. But I will not write about them, the dreams, because that's likely what "they" "want," that unconscious bit of me, and after that it can bloody well go fuck itself.

Good morning.

I sent Joey Lafaye out to a few people yesterday, what there is of the novel so far. On the up side, Sonya (sovay) says she loves it. On the down side, I won't hear what my agent thinks until next week. Others, I am still waiting to hear from. And I have this quote, something I wrote regarding the release of Daughter of Hounds back on January 1, 2007, and I suspect these sentiments are at the heart of much of my current displeasure with my work:

I think this "new book" thing would not continue to be so weird, and would not seem weirder each time it happens, if each new book did not seem to come and go with so little fanfare. Were I the sort of author lucky enough (and it is a matter of luck) that I enjoyed nationwide publisher-sponsored book tours, actual publicity, reviews in the New York Times Book Review, bestselling status, and so on — if these novels were, as they say, celebrated — I think it would not seem so odd. Because then a novel would be finished, after two or three years of diligent work on it, and there would be this period following publication where it was noticed for a time, before I had to sit down and begin another. Instead, they just come and go. They accumulate like dead leaves. With luck, they sell well for a month or two, get a few good reviews here and there, and then, for me (and most everyone else), they are forgotten. I have to quickly move along to the Next Thing. I have to find the Next Thing, because the Last Thing certainly won't be paying the bills. And so it just seems weird, that there is this book, again.

Better, if one has said a thing already, and one is happy with how that thing was said, to simply restate oneself then think up some new way of saying the same thing again.

---

Yesterday, Spooky and I finally saw Joe Wright's Atonement (based on a novel Ian McEwan). And I know that studies have actually demonstrated that readers tend to perceive those who write negative reviews as being brighter people than those who write positive reviews. But, on the one hand, we are extremely selective about the films we pay to see in the theatre, and on the other, it's not like I really give a shit. And, on the third hand (it's here, somewhere), the fact remains that Atonement is a supremely beautiful and well-crafted film. And it would be absurdly disingenuous of me to pick about for some little flaw or loose thread, so that readers would think I can write "critical" or "balanced" reviews. Atonement is one of the best treatments of tragedy I have ever seen, I think. I loved the unreliability of the narrator, and the nonlinear nature of the unreliable narration, and the fact that we finally come to understand the recurring clack of typewriter keys. I truly am pleased when a storyteller says "No, that's not what actually happened. This is what actually happened." I've only had the courage to do it a couple of times ("Riding the White Bull" comes to mind). Anyway, yes, I would call Atonement one of the three best films of 2007, of those I have seen.

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The poll regarding Part One of "The Crimson Alphabet" is still going. Please vote, if you are a subscriber and if you have read Part One of "The Crimson Alphabet," but please vote only once. I'll post the poll for Part Two of "The Crimson Alphabet" later today.

That's enough for now.

Postscript (2:50 p.m. CaST) — It looks like Tales of Pain and Wonder may soon be sold out, and Subterranean Press has posted a notice regarding the 50+ page chapbook, Tails of Tales of Pain and Wonder, which is basically, buy now or miss out. Also, this is the first time the cover montage I did for the chapbook has been posted anywhere.

Comments

( 11 comments — Have your say! )
coppervale
Feb. 2nd, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)
Your very astute and precise observations about the 'new book' thing are some one of the reasons I pressed for sequels, if not a full-on series, when I was pitching publishers.

It was an attitude I carried over from comics (which you probably can understand better than most of my lj friends): comics are habitual entertainment. Readers get accustomed to familiar characters and worlds. Conversely, creators are sometimes trapped by their characters/stories. Very few can dance from book to book. But if they DO get lucky enough to have a hit, then their audience for the other work will become much more aware of it, and the publisher, much more supportive.

So really, that was my plan: to establish something readers would come back to again and again, so that I'll have a potentially larger audience for the more idiosyncratic single works I want to do.
greygirlbeast
Feb. 3rd, 2008 02:18 am (UTC)

Your very astute and precise observations about the 'new book' thing are some one of the reasons I pressed for sequels, if not a full-on series, when I was pitching publishers.

Actually, after DoH, when it was time to pitch the next novel to Penguin, my agent pressed me to pitch a series. I tried to imagine Joey LaFaye as the beginning of a genuine series (as opposed to the loose sort of series all my novels up to now form). But, I just don't seem to be able to think of novels in series. It gets back to that very inconvenient bit about not knowing what happens until I write it.

(which you probably can understand better than most of my lj friends)

Sometimes I miss that from comics, yes. But somehow, I can't seem to form story arcs for novels the way I could for comics.

So really, that was my plan

I want a plan. A plan would be nice. ;-)



coppervale
Feb. 3rd, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
To be perfectly honest, my plans usually involve my stepping off of a cliff, then declaring, "I think we'll go THIS way."
sovay
Feb. 2nd, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
I loved the unreliability of the narrator, and the nonlinear nature of the unreliable narration, and the fact that we finally come to understand the recurring clack of typewriter keys.

Yes. Especially the typewriter keys.
robyn_ma
Feb. 2nd, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC)
Atonement is like English repression taken to the nth degree: If you type 'cunt,' your life will be ruined. If you take a dip in a fountain with your clothes on, your life will be ruined.

Didn't exactly ruin it for me, but I found that part of it amusing.

(I'm leaving out the bit where the kid finds them shagging because it's funnier that way.)
greygirlbeast
Feb. 2nd, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)

Didn't exactly ruin it for me, but I found that part of it amusing.

The film must be viewed within the context it occurs, social and historical. But this is true of all things. Otherwise, it is all in danger of becoming comedy. Anyway, it was not the word cunt, ultimately, nor the dip in the fountain, but the coincidence of the search for the lost twins, a jealous child's crush, and the rape of yet another child that ruined the lives here. I feel fairly certain the word and the fountain scene would never have led to much, otherwise.
robyn_ma
Feb. 3rd, 2008 12:54 am (UTC)
True. But then I have a thing about English repression. I have an amused fondness for it, since it usually leads to such tasty melodrama. Stuff like Remains of the Day is like porn for me.

I do admire that sort of thing, though, because one of my favorite mantras is 'Stoicism is underrated.'

Edited at 2008-02-03 12:56 am (UTC)
sfmarty
Feb. 2nd, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC)
On the recommendation of a friend I was avoiding Atonement. Will go to it now.

On another note, have you read Lawrence Durrell's Alexandrian Quartet? Three novels about the same thing, from differing points of view, and the fourth one telling what really happened. Havn't read it in years, but I was in love with the books then.
greygirlbeast
Feb. 3rd, 2008 02:10 am (UTC)


On another note, have you read Lawrence Durrell's Alexandrian Quartet?


I haven't. But it sounds interesting. One of the things I always loved about Anne Rice's first two novels were that they told so much of the same story, from two differing POVs.
activistgirl
Feb. 2nd, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the reminder about TPAW-it's been on my list of the many things that I needed to get around to but this finally lit the fire under the bum.
I have a question about SubPress for you. I ordered the magazine issue #6 when I ordered Mercury and, while I got the book and chapbook as planned, I have yet to see the magazine. I've emailed subpress (at) gmail (dot) com a couple times but never got a response. I can't seem to find a phone number for them so I'm at a loss for what to do. Any suggestions?
For what it's worth I am very excited about Joey Lafaye, have been ever since you first started talking about it-whatever shape it ends up taking!
greygirlbeast
Feb. 3rd, 2008 02:12 am (UTC)

I have a question about SubPress for you. I ordered the magazine issue #6 when I ordered Mercury and, while I got the book and chapbook as planned, I have yet to see the magazine. I've emailed subpress (at) gmail (dot) com a couple times but never got a response. I can't seem to find a phone number for them so I'm at a loss for what to do. Any suggestions?

I'll drop Bill a line and ask him about it for you. Can you email me the name that you placed the order under?

(to greygirlbeast(at)gmail(com)

For what it's worth I am very excited about Joey Lafaye, have been ever since you first started talking about it-whatever shape it ends up taking!

I know I'm in a grim mood lately, but your enthusiasm really is appreciated.
( 11 comments — Have your say! )