This is irony, black and simple.
Yesterday I wrote 1,224 words on Chapter One of The Red Tree. On the one hand, I see the story unfolding, and I am starting to see my way along this trail. Or trial. But, on the other hand, I remain terrified of this very, very strange novel that I have been left with so little time to write. I have reached a point in my writing career where the publishing industry has "branded" or categorized me, placing me towards the "horror" end of the "urban dark fantasy" spectrum. This has very little to do with what I write or how I wish what I write to be perceived. It has to do with marketing strategies and demographics and sales trends and figures and other such bullshit that has nothing whatsoever to do with writing. My publisher expects a certain sort of novel from me. Mostly, the want me to write like other, more successful authors, or, at least, continue to write like my earlier novels. Without being told outright, I know this. But, The Red Tree, while bearing many thematic similarities to those earlier novels, is something different. For one thing, it isn't urban. For another, there are many metafictional elements, and I know that many people who read from that category into which I have been shoved, and who review it, are only marginally literate and will be offended by what they deem pretense (it is pretense, of course, as the unpretentious novel has never been written and never will be) and too artsy and whatever other adjectives marginally literate readers cling to for dear life. I fear my agent's reaction to the manuscript I have not yet written, and the reaction of my publisher, and the fact that I have two or three months to write a book that wants at least a year, and all of this slows my writing even more. It will be a miracle if I write even one word on the novel today; the insecurity is simply too great, especially given the boost it's getting from this bloody headache.
Anyway, once the writing was done yesterday, there was time for a quick bath, time to get dressed, and make it over to India on Hope Street (across from Swan Point Cemetery, where HPL is buried, and Lippett Memorial Park), where we were meeting S. T. Joshi and his wife, Leslie, along with Angel Dean (local musician and artist) and Jonathan Thomas (a local writer and musician) for dinner. Gods, what a poorly constructed sentence. But, yes, dinner. Quite a marvelous dinner. Spooky and I ordered the saag paneer and lamb vindaloo. Both were perfect, and the lamb's heat was quite satisfying. We talked about, I don't know...everything. Lovecraft, writing and writers, the fact that I went to high school with Charles Barkley, Providence, documentaries, Woonsocket, food, weather, anti-depressants, the Carter Administration, Princeton, Brown University, small-press publishing, albino swamp Yankees, Indian cinema, genre, and I don't know, a hundred other things. I think it was about 9:30 p.m. when Spooky and I got home. My thanks to Joshi and company for a fine evening. It will be a long time until I'm used to this "social life" that I suddenly seem to have developed. Oh, and because I am such a hopeless fangirl, I actually brought my copy of the second edition of H. P. Lovecraft: A Life along for S. T. to sign. Yeah, I'm a goddamned dork.
So...I'm pretty much at a loss today. Your guess is a good as mine.