I'm hardly awake now, and dreamsick. I woke from a dream of drowned meadows, of Spooky and I walking in a meadow or an orchard soon after a flood. A storm, near as I can recall. Sitting in my office, waiting for the dream to release me, I thought of flooded fairie meadows, "the Green Meadows of Enchantment" off Gresholm Island, near Wales, and "The Voyage of Bran Mac Febal":
Bran deems it a marvellous beauty
In his coracle across the clear sea:
While to me in my chariot from afar
It is a flowery plain on which he rides about.
What is a clear sea
For the prowed skiff in which Bran is,
That is a happy plain with profusion of flowers
To me from the chariot of two wheels.
The first thing that I noticed, walking in the wet grass, was that there were very large shrimps on the ground, tucked in between green blades. They were dead. Looking about us, I realized that the standing water was filled with dead sea life, and I recall seeing large crabs, sea cucumbers, lobsters, and anemones. I looked overhead, and crabs hung from the branches of a sodden tree. I pushed aside some of the grass and discovered several stranded jellyfish. My fingers brushed the whitish, translucent bell of one of them, and Spooky cautioned me about the stinging tentacles. I can't recall much more than this. The colours were so brilliant. The trees and grass so very green, and the colours of the sea creatures were very bright. And the light from the sky was muted, as though there were still clouds.
Bettie Page is gone. Which is...strange.
Yesterday, I finished with my revision of "Emptiness Spoke Eloquent" for The Very Best of the Mammoth Book of Best New Horror. I won't say that I rewrote the story. Everything happens that happened before, and the events have all the same significance. But I did significantly reword it. In trying to explain why I felt compelled to make such revisions, I wondered what, precisely, motivated Kate Bush to record new vocals for "Wuthering Heights" before the release of The Whole Story in November 1986. The original version of the song was recorded in 1977, when she was 18. Nine years later, she re-recorded the vocal track, though not the instrumentals. I haven't looked about to see why she did this. It's probably in an interview somewhere. But I would imagine that, to her ear, the vocals had come to sound dated, and she knew she could do better. And, in my opinion, she did (I know many disagree). I much prefer the new vocals to the old, though I liked the old vocals quite a lot. In some ways, she created two very different songs. Anyway, all this was going through my head yesterday while I was working on the story.
Afterwards, I sent it to Sonya (sovay), who'd kindly offered to read for typos. And then I signed the signature sheets for A is for Alien. And I made sure we had a bio from Vince for the book, as yesterday was absolutely the last day to get that sort of thing to subpress before the book goes to the printer. "Emptiness Spoke Eloquent" got one last proofing and was emailed to Steve Jones.
And that was yesterday.
Last night, two more episodes of Doctor Who, "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead." Together, they're the best of the series since "Blink." Steven Moffat wrote all three, of course, and I do wish he were writing all the series. "Forest of the Dead" actually managed (like "Blink") to transcend the inherent campiness of the show. There's some fine writing in that script. And later, Shaharrazad and Suraa waded about the Dustwallow Marsh and managed to reach Level 40. The strangest thing about the evening was that we dueled one another. Neither of us had ever dueled before. Suraa won once, and Shah won once. We seem to be pretty evenly matched, paladin and warlock, all the advantages and disadvantages balancing out. But I'm not sure I see the point of dueling. Anyway, yeah, Lvl 40. Guess I'm not a "noob" any longer.
I should repost this: I've not said much at all about the forthcoming trade paperback edition of Alabaster. The oversight hasn't been intentional. I think I have too many books to keep up with these days. Anyway, yes, there will be a trade paperback edition of Alabaster released in April 2009, which includes all the original Ted Naifeh illustrations. This will be my first tpb with subpress, so I am hoping that it does well for them. You may now pre-order.